The Project Gutenberg eBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 67, No. 411, January 1850

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 67, No. 411, January 1850

Author: Various

Release date: December 1, 2013 [eBook #44332]

Language: English

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No. CCCCXI.     JANUARY, 1850.     Vol. LXVII.


The Year of Reaction,1
My Peninsular Medal. By an Old Peninsular.
   Part III.,15
American Adventure,34
The Dark Waggon. By Delta,71
The Green Hand—A "Short" Yarn. Part VII.,76
British Agriculture and Foreign Competition,94



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




No. CCCCXI.     JANUARY, 1850.     Vol. LXVII.


If the year 1848—"THE YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS" was one pre-eminent among all others for the magnitude and interest of the events it brought forth, the year which has just expired—THE YEAR OF REACTION—is still more worthy of serious reflection, and affords subjects for more cheering meditation. If the first exhibited the whirlwind of anarchy let loose, the second showed the power by which it is restrained; if the former filled every heart with dread at the fierce passions which were developed, and the portentous events which occurred in the world, the latter afforded reason for profound thankfulness, at the silent but irresistible force with which Omnipotence overrules the wickedness of men, and restrains the madness of the people.

"Celsâ sedet Æolus arce,
Sceptra tenens, mollitque animos, et temperat iras.
Ni faciat, maria ac terras cœlumque profundum
Quippe ferant rapidi secum, verruntque per auras.
Sed Pater Omnipotens speluncis abdidit atris,
Hoc metuens; regemque dedit qui fœdere certo
Et premere et laxas sciret dare jussus habenas."[1]

The history of the world during those periods of convulsion, happily of very rare occurrence, when an eruption of popular passions takes place—when thrones are overturned, and the long-established order of things is subverted—is nothing else but the folly and wickedness of man warring against the wisdom of nature. All history demonstrates that there is a certain order of things which is favourable to human felicity—under which industry flourishes, population increases, the arts are encouraged, agriculture improves, general happiness is diffused. The basis of such a state of things is the security of property; the moving power which puts in motion the whole complicated machine of society, is the certainty that every man will enjoy the fruits of his toil. As clearly do past events demonstrate, that there is a state of things wherein the reverse of all this takes place; when industry is paralysed, population arrested, the arts languish, agriculture decays, general misery prevails. The chief cause of such a state of things is to be found in the insecurity of property, the dread that industry will not reap its appointed reward; but that external violence or domestic spoliation may interfere between the labourer and the fruits of his toil. When such a state of things arises from internal commotion, it is generally preceded by the warmest hopes, and the most unbounded anticipations of felicity. It is universally characterised by a resolute disregard of experience, and a universal passion for innovation in all the institutions of society, and[2] all the relations of life. It constantly appeals to the generous affections: speaks of humanity, justice, and fraternity; proclaims mankind as brothers; and professes the warmest desire for general felicity, and the diminution of the sources of human suffering. It veils the advance of selfishness under the guise of generosity. Revolutions demonstrate that the homage which vice pays to virtue is not confined to individuals. The maxim of Rochefoucault applies also to nations. Its truth is never seen with such brightness as during the intensity of a revolution; and this demonstrates at once the wisdom which governs, and the selfishness which desolates the world.

So prone, however, are the bulk of mankind to delusion; so easily are they led away by expressions which appeal to their passions, or projects which seem to forward their interests; so little are the lessons of experience either known to, or heeded by, the immense majority of men, that we should be led to despair of the fortunes of the species, and dread in every age a repetition of the seductive passions which had desolated the one that had preceded it, were it not that a provision is made for the extinction of popular passion in the very first effects of its ebullition. It is in its effect upon property that the curb is found which restrains the madness of the people; by the insolvency it induces that the barrier is formed, which as a matter of necessity forces back society to its habitual forms and relations. In the complicated state of social relations in which we live, it is by the capital of the rich that the industry of the poor is put in motion; by their expenditure that it is alimented. However specious and alluring the projects may be which are brought forward by the popular leaders, they involve in them one source of weakness, which inevitably ere long paralyses all their influence. Directly or indirectly, they all tend to the destruction of property. To excite the passions of the working classes, they are obliged to hold out to them the prospect of a division of property, or such a system of taxation as practically amounts to the same thing: the immediate effect of which is a cessation of expenditure on the part of the affluent classes; a hoarding of capital; a run upon the banks for specie; universal scarcity of money, general distrust, and a fearful decrease of employment. These evils are first felt by the working classes, because, having no stock, they are affected by any diminution in their daily wages; and they are felt with the more bitterness that they immediately succeed extravagant hopes, and highly wrought expectations. Invariably the effects of revolutions are precisely the reverse of the predictions of its supporters. No man is insensible to his own suffering, however much he may be so to that of his predecessors; and thence the universal and general reaction which, sooner or later, takes place against revolutions.

That this reaction would take place to a certainty, in the end, with the French revolution of 1848, as it had done with all similar convulsions since the beginning of the world, could be doubted by none who had the least historical information: and in our first article on that event, within a few weeks of its occurrence, we distinctly foretold that this would be the case.[2] But we confess we did not anticipate the rapidity with which the reaction has set in. Not two years have elapsed since the throne of Louis Philippe was overturned, and a republic proclaimed in Paris amidst the transports of the revolutionary party over all Europe, and the gaze in astonishment of all the world; and already the delusion is over, the transports are at an end, the Jacobins are silent, and the convulsed commonwealth is fast sinking back to its pristine monarchical form of government. Every country in Europe felt the shock. The passions were universally let loose; sanguinary wars arose on every side; and while the enlightened Free-traders of England were dreaming, amidst their cotton bales, of universal and perpetual peace, which should open to them the markets of the world, hostilities the most terrible, contests the most dreadful, dissensions[3] the most implacable, broke out in all quarters. It was not merely the war of opinion which Mr Canning long ago prophesied as the next which would desolate Europe: to it was superadded the still more frightful contest of races. The Lombard rose against the German, the Bohemian against the Imperialist, the Hungarian against the Austrian; the Celt and the Saxon stood in arms against each other. Naples was rent in twain; a revolutionary state was established in Sicily; the supreme pontiff was dethroned at Rome; Piedmont joined the innovating party; Lombardy rose up against Austria, Bohemia was in arms against Vienna, the Magyars revived against the Germans the fierce hostility of five centuries; Prussia was revolutionised, Baden ravaged, Denmark invaded; the Poles could with difficulty be restrained amidst the general effervescence; the Irish openly made preparations for rebellion and separation from Great Britain. England itself was shaken: the gravity and practical tendency of the Anglo-Saxon character in part yielded to the general contagion. London was threatened with a revolutionary movement; the Chartists in all the manufacturing towns were prepared to follow the example; treasonable placards, calling on the people to rise, were to be seen on all sides; and the mighty conqueror who had struck down Napoleon exerted his consummate skill in baffling the rebellion of his own countrymen, and won a victory over anarchy not less momentous than that of Waterloo, and not the less memorable that it did not cost a drop of human blood.

What a contrast, within the short period of eighteen months, did Europe afterwards exhibit! France, the centre of impulsion to the civilised world, was restrained; the demon of anarchy was crushed in its birthplace; the visions of the Socialists had been extinguished in the blood of the barricades. Dispersed, dejected, in despair, the heroes of February were languishing in exile, or mourning in prison the blasting of their hopes, the ruin of their prospects, the unveiling of their sophistries. Revolution had been crushed without the effusion of blood in Berlin: law had regained its ascendency; rebellion had quailed before the undaunted aspect of the defenders of order and the throne. Naples had regained the dominion of Sicily; the arms of France had restored the Pope at Rome; the Eternal City had yielded to the assault of the soldiers of Louis Napoleon. Austria had regained her ascendency in Italy; the perfidious aggression of Charles Albert had been signally chastised by the skill and determination of the veteran Radetsky; Milan was again the seat of Imperial government; the dream of a Venetian republic had passed away, and the Place of St Mark again beheld the double-headed eagle of Austria at the summit of its domes. Baden was conquered, Saxony pacified; the fumes of revolutionary aggression in Schleswig had been dissipated by the firmness of Denmark, and the ready, although unexerted, support of Russia. Poland was overawed by the Colossus of the North; and even the heroic valour of the Magyars, so often in happier days the bulwark of the Cross, had yielded to that loyalty and tenacity of purpose which has so long distinguished the Austrian people, joined and aided by the support which, on this as on many previous occasions, Russia has afforded to the cause of order in Europe. Though last, not least, Great Britain was pacified: the dreams of the Socialists, the treason of the Chartists, had recoiled before the energy of a people yet on the whole loyal and united. Ireland, blasted by the triple curse of rebellion, pestilence, and famine, had ceased to be an object of disquietude to England, save from the incessant misery which it exhibited; and its furious patriots, abandoning in multitudes the land of their birth, were carrying into Transatlantic regions those principles of anarchy, and deathless hatred at civilisation, which had so long laid waste their own country.

Acknowledging, as all must do, with devout thankfulness, that it is to the Great Disposer of events that we are to ascribe so marvellous a DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL—so blessed an escape from a fate which would have renewed, in Europe, a devastation as wide-spread, and darkness as thick, as occurred during the middle ages—it may yet, humanly speaking, be discerned[4] how it is that our salvation has been effected. The days of miracles are past; the law is not now delivered amidst the thunders of Mount Sinai; the walls of fortresses do not fall down at the sound of the Lord's trumpet; there is no longer a chosen people, over whose safety the eye of Omnipotence watches, and whom, in the last extremity, the destroying angel rescues from their enemies. The direction of human affairs by Supreme Wisdom; the coercion of wickedness; the support of virtue; the ceaseless advance of the race of man, amidst all the folly and selfishness with which its concerns are conducted, have not, indeed, passed away: all these are in as complete operation now as when the Red Sea opened to the retreating Israelites, or the walls of Jericho fell before the blast of Joshua's trumpet, or the rending of the vail of the Temple announced that the era had commenced when the whole human race was to be admitted to the sanctuary of the temple. But it is by human means alone that Providence now acts; it is by general laws that the affairs of men are regulated. The agents of Omnipotence are the moving principles of the human heart: the safeguards against ruin are to be found in the barriers which, in injured interests or counteracting passions, are raised up amidst the agitated multitude, against the further progress of devastation. It is not from oblivion, therefore, but with a constant recognition of Divine superintendence, that we shall now endeavour to trace out the means by which the most alarming moral pestilence which ever appeared in modern times has been arrested; the happiness of Europe saved, for the time at least, from the destruction by which it was menaced—from the earthquake in its own bosom; and the progress of real freedom throughout the world prevented from being blasted by the selfish ambition or insane delusions of the demagogues who, for a time, got possession of its current.

The first circumstance which must strike every observer, in the contemplation of the terrible crisis through which we have passed, is, that the destruction with which we were threatened was mainly, if not entirely, owing to want of moral courage on the part of the depositaries of power. The Revolution in Paris, it is well known, owed its success entirely to the pusillanimity of the men of the royal family. Louis Philippe, old and enfeebled by disease, was paralysed by a still more fatal source of weakness—the consciousness of a throne won by treason—the terror inspired by the sight of the barricades, behind which his own government had been constructed. His sons who were present showed that the Orleans family had lost, with the possession of a usurped throne, the courage which, for several generations, had constituted the only virtue of their race. The King of Prussia abandoned the contest in Berlin in the moment of victory—a nervous reluctance to the shedding of blood paralysed, as it had done in the days of Louis XVI., the defenders of the throne. In Austria, the known imbecility, physical and moral, of the emperor, rendered him wholly unequal to the crisis in which he was placed—delivered over the empire, undefended, to a set of revolutionary murderers, and rendered a change in the reigning sovereign indispensable. In Rome, the Pope himself began the movement—he first headed the reform crusade; and whatever his unhappy subjects have since suffered is to be ascribed to his blind delusion and weak concessions. Such was the conduct of the kings of Europe—such the front which our sex in high places opposed to the revolutionary tempest. But women often, in the last extremity, exhibit a courage which puts to shame the pusillanimity of the men by whom they are surrounded; and never was this more signally evinced than in the present instance. The Queen of France tried in vain, at the Tuileries, to inspire her husband with her own heroic spirit; the Duchess of Orleans showed it in front of levelled muskets in the Chamber of Deputies; and, that order is still preserved in our country, is to be ascribed in no small degree to the firm conduct of the sovereign on the throne, and the determination with which she inspired her government to risk everything rather than concede one iota to the revolutionists.

As it was the opposite conduct from this, and the moral weakness of the depositaries of power, which mainly[5] induced the revolutions of 1848, and rendered them so formidable, so those causes which have at length arrested that terrible convulsion seem to have been no other but the moral laws of nature, destined for the correction of wickedness and the coercion of passion, when they have risen to such a pitch as seriously to endanger the existence of society. And, without presuming to scan too deeply the intentions of Providence, or the great system by which evil is brought out of good, and an irresistible power says to the madness of the people, as to the storms of the ocean, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be staid," we may probably discover, humanly speaking, the means by which the evil has been arrested.

The first circumstance which has produced the reaction, and arrested the progress of evil so much more rapidly than was the case in the former great convulsion, is the memory of that convulsion itself. It is no doubt true, that every generation is taught by its own and none by its predecessors' sufferings; but, in the case of the first French Revolution, the suffering was so long-continued and dreadful, that the memory of it descended to the next generation. It was impossible that the sons of the men who had been guillotined, exiled, or mown down by the conscription, who had seen their estates and honours torn from them by the ruthless hand of Revolutionary violence, should not retain a vivid sense of the sufferings they had experienced, and the wrongs they had undergone. All classes, not excluding even those who had been most ardent and active in support of the first Revolution, had writhed alike under the calamities and exactions of the latter years of the war, and the ignominious conquest in which it had terminated, which was only felt the more keenly from the unparalleled triumphs to which the nation had so long been habituated. Add to this, that the attention of all the intelligent classes of society in Europe generally, and in France in particular, had been long, and to an extent of which in this country we can scarcely form an idea, riveted on the events of the first Revolution. The Reign of Terror was not forgotten; the prophecy of the historian[3] proved true:—"A second French Revolution, of the same character as the former, and the age in which it is to arise must be ignorant of the first." Its heartstirring incidents, its mournful catastrophes, its tragic events, its heroic virtue, its appalling wickedness, its streams of blood, were indelibly engraven on the hearts of a considerable, and that too the most influential, part of the people. The revolutionists, indeed, in every country—the Red Republicans in France, the Chartists in England, the Rebels in Ireland, the Carbonari in Italy, the Illuminés in Germany, were perfectly prepared to renew for their own profit the same scenes of spoliation, bloodshed, and massacre. But such extreme characters form, even in the most depraved society, but a small part of the whole inhabitants. It is the delusion or timidity of the great body, not the absolute strength or numbers of the violent party, which is the principal danger. The force of the first Revolution consisted in its novelty; in the enchantment of its visions, the warmth of its professed philanthropy, the magnitude of its promises. But time had dispelled these, as it does many other delusions. The mask had fallen from the spectre which had charmed the world, and the awful form of Death had appeared.

The second circumstance which tended to coerce, more rapidly than could have been hoped for, the progress of the revolution of 1848, was the firmness and loyalty of the soldiers. It is historically known that it was the defection of the troops which brought on, and rendered irresistible the march of the first Revolution: which induced, in rapid succession, the Reign of Terror, the assignats, the conscription, the capture of Paris, the subjugation of the kingdom. But here, too, experience and suffering came to the aid of deluded and wandering humanity. It was seen that what is unjust and dishonourable is never expedient: that the violation of[6] their oaths by the sworn defenders of order is not the commencement of the regeneration, but the first step in the decline of society: and that to fear God and honour the king is the only way to insure, not only the preservation of order, but the ultimate ascendancy of freedom. On the foundation of the revolt of the Gardes Françaises in 1789, were successively built the despotism of the Committee of Public Salvation, the blood of Robespierre, the carnage of Napoleon. The awful example was not lost on the next generation. The throne of Charles X. was overthrown by the defection of the troops of the line; but it was again found that the glorious fabric of civil liberty was not to be erected on the basis of treachery and treason. None of the troops revolted on the crisis of February 1848. The Guards and the line were alike steady. Marshal Bugeaud, when he received the command, speedily passed the whole barricades, and in six hours would have extinguished the revolt. The throne was lost not by the defection of the troops, but by the pusillanimity of the princes of the blood; and accordingly, when the next contest occurred—as occur it ever will in such cases—the troops were resolutely led, the revolution was put down under circumstances ten times more formidable, though not without a frightful loss of human life.

We are so accustomed to the loyalty and steadiness of the English army, that the possibility of their wavering never enters into our imagination. But still all must admit that we too, with all our boasted safeguards of popular representation, general information, a free press, and centuries of freedom, stood on the edge of an abyss; and that, not less than Austria or Prussia, our salvation had come to depend chiefly, if not entirely, on the fidelity of the soldiers. If the six thousand men who garrisoned London on the 10th April 1848 had wavered, and one-half of them had joined the insurgents, where would now have been the British constitution? Had a hundred thousand men from Kennington Common crossed Waterloo Bridge, headed by a regiment of the Guards, and three regiments of the line, where would now have been the British liberties? Where would have been all the safeguards formed, all the hopes expressed, all the prophecies hazarded, as to its being perpetual? But in that dread hour, perhaps the most eventful that England ever knew, we were saved by the courage of the Queen, the firmness of the government, the admirable arrangements of the Duke of Wellington, and the universal steadiness and loyalty of our soldiers. We are quite aware of the special constables, and the immense moral influence of the noble display which the aristocracy and middle classes of England made on that occasion. But moral influence, often all-powerful in the end, is not alone sufficient at the beginning; physical force is then required to withstand the first assault of the enemy: and, highly as we respect the civic force with batons in their hands; and fully as we admit the immense importance of that citizen-demonstration in its ultimate effects, we ascribe our deliverance from the instant peril which threatened, entirely to the steadiness of the British army, and the incomparable arrangements of their chief.

In the Continental states, order succeeded in regaining the ascendency over anarchy entirely in consequence of the fidelity of the soldiers. On that memorable day, when the Prussian army marched into Berlin playing the old airs of the monarchy, and formed in a circle around, distant only twenty-five paces from the insurgent host, and there tranquilly loaded their pieces, the opposing forces were directly brought into collision; it was seen that, in a few seconds, law or rebellion would be victorious. Law prevailed, as it generally does where its defenders are steady and resolutely led—and what has been the result? Is it that freedom has been extinguished in Prussia, that liberty has sunk under the pressure of tyrannic power, and that a long period of servitude and degradation is to close the bright meridian of her national splendour? Quite the reverse: anarchy has been extinguished in Prussia only to make room for the fair forms of order and liberty, which cannot exist but side by side; the revolutionists are overawed, but the lovers of real freedom are only the better confirmed[7] in their hopes of the ultimate establishment of a constitutional monarchy, such as Prussia has been sighing for for thirty years. It is ever to be recollected that the prospects of freedom are never so bright as when they are in the inverse ratio to those of revolution; liberty is never so safe as where anarchy is most thoroughly repressed; despotism is never so near at hand as immediately after the greatest triumphs of insurrection.

In Austria a different and more melancholy prospect has been exhibited. That great and noble country has been the victim, not merely of the passions of revolution, but of those of race. It has been torn asunder, not only by the ambition of the revolutionists, and the ardent zeal of a people yet inexperienced in social dissensions sighing after freedom, but by the force and inextinguishable rivalry of different and discordant races. The Lombard has risen up against the German, the Bohemian against the Austrian; the Magyars have buckled on their armour against both, and, animated alike by revolutionary zeal and national jealousy, have striven to obtain what they deem the first of blessings—national independence—by revolting against the government of Austria, in the moment of its utmost need. That strange compound of races and nations, the Austrian monarchy, in which it is hard to say whether the Slave, the Magyar, the Teuton, the Lombard, or the old Roman had the preponderance, and the union of which, for so long a period, had been a subject of astonishment to all observers, at length revealed its inherent weakness. Worse than the war of opinion, the war of races began. Like the Lacedemonian confederacy, after the defeat of Leuctra, or the Athenian after the catastrophe of Aigos Potamos, or the Roman republic after the disaster of Cannæ, the Austrian aggregate of kingdoms threatened to fall to pieces on the dreadful shock of opinion which resulted from the success of the French revolution. The contest of nations did not now intervene, to bar the spread of democratic ideas; the military passions were not arrayed in opposition to the civic. Lamartine was perfectly right in his prognostic: the pacific French revolution of 1848 achieved greater conquests, in three months, than the warlike republic of 1793 had gained in ten years. Prussia was apparently revolutionised; Austria was all but won to the democratic side; Vienna, Prague, and Milan were in the hands of the insurgents. Never, in the darkest periods of the revolutionary war, was Austria in such desperate straits, as when Radetsky retreated behind the Mincio, and the treacherous assault of Charles Albert was aided by the whole strength of revolutionary Italy, and the tacit support or lukewarm indifference of France and England.

But in that awful hour, by far the most perilous which Austria ever knew, and which threatened with immediate and irrevocable destruction the whole balance of power in Europe, she was saved by the fidelity of her native soldiers, and the incomparable spirit of her German nobility. Then appeared in its highest lustre what is the principle of life and the tenacity of purpose which exist in an aristocratic society, not yet wholly debilitated by the pleasures and the selfishness of a court. Although the Hungarian nobles, for the most part, sided with the Magyar insurgents; although the whole Lombard troops had passed over from the standards of Radetsky to those of Charles Albert, and all the Hungarians in his service sullenly wended their way back to their native places; although Prague was wrested from the crown by the Bohemian insurgents, and Vienna by a vehement urban tumult in the capital; although Hungary was not only lost, but arrayed in fierce hostility against the monarchy—the noble Austrian leaders never lost heart—they realised the dream of the Roman poet—

"Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ."

Windischgratz in Bohemia, Radetsky in Italy, Jellachich in Austria, stood forth as the saviours of the monarchy, and, with it, of the cause of European freedom. Though deserted by their sovereign, who had bent before the revolutionary tempest, they fronted, sometimes, it is believed, in[8] opposition to constrained orders, the dangers with which they were assailed—they acted in conformity with the maxim of a noble people not yet debased by democratic selfishness: Vive le Roi quand-meme! Slowly, but steadily, the forces of order regained their ascendant over the assaults of anarchy. The Tyrol, ever steadfast in its loyalty, first offered an asylum to the emperor, when driven from his capital; Prague was next recovered, and Bohemia coerced by the moral courage and skilful dispositions of Prince Windischgratz; Radetsky, shortly after, reinforced by the loyalty of Austria, regained his ascendant on the Mincio, routed the revolutionary rabble of Italy, and restored Milan to the Imperial government; Vienna, after a desperate conflict, was won by the forces of Order; and Jellachich and Windischgratz enjoyed the proud triumph of having restored his capital to their discrowned sovereign. Hungary, inhabited by a bolder and more numerous race, actuated by stronger passions, held out longest, and was only subdued after a sanguinary conflict, by the aroused vigour and national passions, aided by the support of the Colossus of the North, which has so often sent forth its battalions as the last resource of order and religion, when all but vanquished by the forces of anarchy and infidelity. Yet, though thus constrained, in the last extremity, to call in the aid of the Czar, and array a hundred thousand Muscovites on the plains of Hungary, the stand thus made by the Austrian monarchy is not the less glorious and worthy of eternal remembrance. It demonstrates what so many other passages in the history of that noble people indicate, how great is the strength, and unbounded the resources, of a brave and patriotic nation, even when afflicted by the most terrible disasters; and how uniformly Providence, in the end, lends its protection to a people who have shown themselves worthy of its blessings, by faithfully discharging their duty in a period of disaster. The year 1849 will ever rank with the glories of Maria Theresa, the triumph of Aspern, the devotion of Wagram, as the brightest periods in the long and glorious Austrian annals.

The people of England, ever ready to sympathise with even the name of freedom, and prone beyond any other nation to delusions springing from generous feelings, acting on erroneous information, were at one time much disposed to sympathise with the Hungarian insurgents. They enlisted the wishes of a considerable part, especially of the citizens of towns, on their side. Never were generous and estimable feelings more misapplied. The contest in Hungary, it is to be feared, was not in the slightest degree a struggle for public freedom: it was an effort only to establish the domination of a race in opposition to a lawful government. Like the Sikhs or Ameers in India at this moment, the Normans in England in former times, or the "insane plebeian noblesse" of Poland, whom John Sobieski denounced as the authors of the ruin of his country, the Magyars were a proud and haughty dominant race, not a fourth part of the whole inhabitants of Hungary, but brave and ambitious, and animated with the strongest desire of establishing an independent oligarchy in their wide-spread country. They took the opportunity for asserting their principles when Austria was pierced to the heart, and its provinces, apparently all falling asunder, had the fairest prospect of establishing separate dominions, as in the ancient Roman empire, on the ruins of the Imperial authority. Had they succeeded, they would have established the same monstrous tyranny of a dominant race, which has so long blasted the happiness, and at length destroyed the independence of Poland.

That the contest in Hungary was one for the domination of a race, not the freedom of people, is evident from two circumstances which have been studiously kept out of view by the Liberal party, both on the Continent and in England. The first is that after the emperor had conceded to Hungary the most extreme liberal institutions, based on universal suffrage, the Magyar leaders sent private orders to all the Hungarian regiments in Radetsky's army to leave his banners, and return to Hungary; thus rendering to all appearance the dismemberment of the monarchy inevitable, and surrendering the Italian provinces, the brightest jewel in the Imperial[9] crown, to the tender mercies of Charles Albert. The second is, that, in the contest which ensued, the Hungarians were in the end overthrown. Possessing, as Hungary does, fourteen millions of inhabitants—nearly a moiety of the whole Austrian empire, and four times more than Upper and Lower Austria, with the Tyrol, which alone could be relied on in that crisis—it is evident that, if the whole Hungarian people had been united, they must have proved victorious, and have decided the contest long before the distant Muscovite battalions could have appeared on the theatre of war. The Hungarian insurrection broke out in April 1848, and was aided by contemporaneous revolts in Prague, Lombardy, Venice, and Vienna. To all appearance the Austrian monarchy was torn in pieces. Muniments of war they had in abundance: Comorn, with its vast arsenal and impregnable walls, opened its arms to receive them. When Georgey capitulated, he had one hundred and thirty-eight guns, besides those in the hands of Kossuth and Bem. Fully half the military stores of Austria fell into the hands of the Hungarians, the moment the insurrection broke out. Yet, with all these advantages, they were overcome. This demonstrates that the war was not a national one, in the proper sense of the word: that is, it did not interest the whole people. It was an effort of a gallant and ambitious race, forming a small minority of the population, to establish a domination over the whole remainder of the inhabitants, and sever themselves from the Austrian empire; and a greater calamity than such a separation, both to the Hungarians themselves and the general balance of power in Europe, cannot be imagined.

How was the balance of power to be maintained in Europe, especially against Russia, if the Austrian monarchy had been broken up? Experience had long ago proved that no coalitions for the preservation of the independence of central Europe, either against Russia on the one side or France on the other, had the least chance of success, in which Austria did not take a prominent part. Even the disasters of the Peninsular campaigns, and the awful catastrophe of the Moscow retreat, could not enable Europe to combat Napoleon, till Metternich, at the Congress of Prague, threw the weight of Austria into the scale. It was by an alliance of Austria, France, and England that, at the Congress of Vienna, a curb was put on the ambition of Russia: by a similar alliance that the Turkish empire was saved from ruin, when the Muscovite standards were advanced to Adrianople, and the Pacha of Egypt was encamped on Scutari. It was a coalition of Austria, England, Russia, and Prussia, which in 1834 coerced the ambition of France, when M. Thiers had sent orders to the French admiral to attack and burn the English fleet in the bay of Vourlas, at dead of night. But if Austria had been broken up into a Hungarian, a Lombard, and a Bohemian republic, how was such an alliance to be formed? What central power could, in such an event, have existed under such circumstances, to oppose a mid impediment to the grasping ambition of Russia on the one side, and France on the other? Prussia, it is well known, is entirely under the influence of Russia, and does not, except in the first fervour of revolution, venture to deviate from the policy which it prescribes. Sweden and Denmark are mere subsidiary states. Austria alone is so strong as to be able, with the aid of England, to bid Russia defiance; and is situated so near to its southern provinces, as to be actuated by a ceaseless dread of its encroachments. The breaking up of the Austrian empire would have been a fatal blow to the balance of power, and with it to real liberty in Europe. It would have left the field open to the Cossacks on the one side, and the Red Republicans on the other.

It is deeply to be regretted that Austria was not able to regain its dominion over its rebellious Hungarian subjects, without the aid of the Muscovite arms. Although the Czar has recalled his troops after the vast service was rendered, and no projects of immediate aggrandisement are apparent, yet it is impossible to doubt—it is fruitless to attempt to disguise—that the influence of Russia in the east of Europe has been immensely extended by this intervention. So weighty an obligation as saving an[10] empire from dismemberment is too great to be easily forgotten; and supposing, what is probably the case, that gratitude is a feeling unknown to cabinets—and that the recollection of salvation from ruin is likely to produce no other sentiment but that of dislike—still the contest, which was adjourned, rather than decided, on the Hungarian plains, has for a very long period, it is to be feared, thrown Austria into the arms of Russia. They are united by the common bond of enduring interest. The Magyars in Hungary, the Poles in Sarmatia, are the enemies of both; and each feels that it is by a close alliance of the cabinets, that the evident dangers of an insurrection of these powerful and warlike races can be provided against. It is more than probable that a secret treaty, offensive and defensive, already unites the two powers; that the crushing of the Magyars was bought by the condition, that the extension of Muscovite influence in Turkey was to be connived at; and that the Czar will one day advance to Constantinople without fear, because he knows that his right flank is secure on the side of Austria. Certain it is, that the joint demand made by Austria and Russia, for the extradition of the Hungarian refugees, and which, as all unwarrantable stretch against the independence of Turkey, was resisted with so much spirit and wisdom by England and France, looks very like the first-fruits of such an alliance. And observe, now, the immediate effects on the balance of power of the revolution of 1848. This invasion of the independence of Turkey was made by Russia and Austria in concert, and was only resisted by France and England! Woful, indeed, for the interests of real freedom, has been the result of those convulsions which have ended in transplanting Austria from its natural position, and have converted the jealous opponent of Muscovite power into its obsequious ally. Nothing could have effected such a metamorphosis, but the terrible convulsion which almost tore out the entrails of the Austrian empire. But that is ever the case with revolutionists. Blinded by the passions with which they are actuated, they rush headlong on their own destruction; and destroy, in their insane ambition, the very bulwarks by which alone durable freedom is to be secured in their own or any other country.

It is commonly thought in this country that the war in Hungary was a contest for national independence, and that it bears a close analogy to the memorable conflicts by which, in former times, the independence of Scotland was maintained, or the liberties of England purchased. There never was a more unfounded opinion. After the Hungarian insurrection had taken place, indeed, and when the Austrian empire had been wellnigh torn to pieces in the shock, Hungary was formally incorporated with Austria, just as the grand-duchy of Warsaw was with Russia after the sanguinary revolt of 1831, and Ireland with England after the rebellion of 1798. But anterior to the revolution, what step had the cabinet of Vienna taken which was hostile to the independence of Hungary? Not one. The constitution which the Austrian government had given to the Hungarians, if it erred at all, did so on the liberal side: for it conceded to a people, scarcely emerged from barbarism, a constitution founded on universal suffrage, such as England, with its centuries of freedom, could not withstand for three months. It was the Hungarian insurgents who are responsible for the loss of their national independence; because they first put it in issue by joining Lombardy and the revolutionists of Prague and Vienna, in their assault upon the Imperial government, at a time when nothing whatever had been done which menaced their separate existence. The truth is, they thought, as many others did, that the Austrian empire was breaking up, and that now was the time to become a separate power. Having voluntarily, and without a cause, committed high treason, they cannot complain with reason, if in a mitigated form they incur its penalties by forfeiting their national existence.

The ultimate suppression of the revolt in Hungary has been attended with a most distressing amount of bloodshed on the scaffold, and the occurrence of several mournful scenes, in which courage and fidelity have[11] asserted their wonted superiority, in the supreme hour, over all the storms of fate. God forbid that we should either justify or approve of such severity, or deprive the heroic Hungarian leaders of the well-earned praise which some of them deserve, for their noble constancy in misfortune! But while fully admitting this on the one hand, we must, in justice to the Austrian government on the other, recall to recollection the circumstances in which they were placed at the close of the contest, the dangers they had undergone, and the dreadful devastation which the Hungarian war had brought upon their country. When Georgey capitulated and Comorn surrendered, Austria was wellnigh exhausted by the conflict: she had owed her salvation in part at least to foreign intervention. She had been forced to proclaim her weakness in the face of Europe, and to bring down the hated Muscovite battalions into the heart of the empire. In judging of the course which her rulers, when victorious, pursued, we must in justice recall to mind the perils they had escaped, and the humiliations to which they had been reduced. We must recollect also the state of civilisation which Hungary has attained, and go back, in imagination, to what we ourselves did in a similar stage of national progress. Hungary is hardly more advanced in civilisation than England was during the Wars of the Roses, when the prisoners on both sides were put to death without mercy, and eighty princes of the blood or nobles were massacred in cold blood; or than Scotland was when the Covenanters murdered all the Irish in Montrose's army, with their wives and children. What did the English government do at Carlisle after the advance of the Pretender to Derby, or in Ireland after the rebellion of 1798? What has she recently done in the Ionian islands, after the insurrection in Cephalonia? Nay, would we have been less rigorous than the Austrians, even at this time, if we had been reduced to similar extremities? It is very easy to be lenient after an insurrection which has been extinguished in a cabbage garden, and rendered the insurgents ridiculous in the eyes of all the world; but what should we have done, and how would we have felt, if Smith O'Brien at the head of the Irish rebels had invaded England, taken London, nourished for a year and a half a frightful civil war in the heart of the empire, and compelled us to call in the legions of France into the midland counties to save the nation from ruin? We do not mean, by these observations, to justify the executions of Haynau and the other Imperial generals: God knows, we deplore them as much as any one can do, and yield to none in admiration of the heroism of the Hungarian leaders, who have shown themselves so worthy of the noble nation to which they belong. But we extenuate, if we cannot justify, the severity of the Austrians, by the recollection of their sufferings; and reserve the weight of our indignation for those insane and selfish demagogues who, for their own elevation, lighted so terrible a conflagration, and caused so much noble blood to be shed, alike on the part of those who fanned and those who sought to extinguish the flames.

The third circumstance which seems to have mainly tended to stop the progress of revolution in Europe, has been the great amount of interests in France which could not fail to be injured, either by foreign warfare or domestic Socialist triumph. This is mainly owing to France having already undergone fusion in the revolutionary crucible. Scarcely anything remains to melt, but the dross which had flowed out of the first furnace. The great estates and church lands were divided; two-thirds were cut off from the national debt. Nobody remained to despoil but the tiers état and revolutionary proprietors. They stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of their all, which they saw was seriously menaced; and thence the stoppage of the revolution at Paris, and the rapid retrograde movement of opinion on the subject, in the majority, over all France. Foreign war was not less an object of apprehension than internal spoliation. The peasants recollected the conscription and the Cossacks, and the weighty contributions of the Allies; the bourgeois dreaded the cessation of foreign travelling in their country, and the termination of the prolific shower of English gold. It was a general terror that the best interests of society were[12] in danger which produced the determined resistance to the insurgents in Paris on the 23d of June, and formed the majority of four millions who elected Prince Louis Napoleon to the president's chair. Beyond all doubt, the greater part of the electors, when they recorded their suffrages for him, understood they were really voting for an emperor, and opposing the barrier of force to the revolution.

This circumstance suggests a very important consideration, on which it well becomes the people of this country to ponder, in reasoning from the example of France to themselves. It is not unusual now to hear the opinion advanced, that the result of universal suffrage in France proves that the apprehensions entertained on this subject, on this side of the Channel, are unfounded; and that, in truth, there is no such effectual barrier against revolution as universal, or, at least, a very low suffrage. America is frequently referred to, also, in confirmation of the same opinion. But under what circumstances has universal suffrage been forced to uphold property in these two countries? Recollect that both are overspread with a host of small proprietors: in France no less than 6,000,000 persons, for the most part in very indigent circumstances, being holders of land; and in America, the whole soil, from its having been so recently reclaimed from the forest, and the law of equal succession, ab intestato, being in the hands of the actual cultivators. But can any opinion be formed from this as to what would be the effect of a change in the electoral law, which created 6,000,000 of voters in a country where there are not 300,000 holders of land, and not above an equal number of proprietors in the funds? It is evident that we can never argue from a country which has been revolutionised, and where property has been divided, to one where neither of these events has taken place. Doubtless the robber will make a fight before he allows his prey to be torn from him; and when there are six millions of persons, for the most part possessed of the fruits of robbery, the rendering these back will not be very easily effected. But if we would see the effect of an extended suffrage, in a country which has not been revolutionised, and where the strong curb-chain of individual interest does not exist to restrain the majority, we have only to look to what the electors of France in 1793 did with the estates of the church and the nobility; to what the American freeholders did in 1837, when they destroyed five-sixths commercial wealth of the country, by raising the cry "Bank, or no Bank:" or what the British ten-pounders have done with the other classes of society, and, eventually, though they did not intend it, with themselves, by their measures of free trade and a restricted currency. Beyond all doubt, these measures would at once be repealed by an extended constituency; but are we sure they would stop there? What security have we they would not apply the sponge to the National Debt, confiscate the church property, and openly, or by a graduated assessment on land, divide the estates of the nobility?

But perhaps the most powerful agent, which has been at work, in stopping the progress of revolution in Europe, has been the public and private Insolvency which in an abandoned state of society inevitably and rapidly follows such convulsions. This is the great check upon the government and the madness of the people. That France, ever since the revolution of February 1848, has been in a state of almost hopeless monetary embarrassment, is well known to all the world. In fact, nothing but the most consummate prudence, and the adoption of the wisest measures on the part of the Bank of France, has saved them from a general public and private bankruptcy. What those measures were, will immediately be explained. In the mean time, to show the magnitude of the difficulties against which they had to make head, it is sufficient to observe, that in twenty-one months the Revolutionary Government has incurred a floating debt of £22,000,000; and that the deficiency for the year 1849, wholly unprovided for—and which must be made good by Exchequer bills, or other temporary expedients—is no less than eleven millions and a half sterling. It is not surprising it should have swelled to this enormous amount; for the very first demand of revolutionists, when they[13] have proved victorious, is to diminish the public burdens and increase the public expenditure. And they did this so effectually in France, that in one year after the revolution of 1848, they had increased the public expenditure by 162,000,000 francs, or about £6,500,000; while they had caused the public revenue to fall by 248,000,000 francs, or nearly £10,000,000!

The dreadful prostration of industry which such a state of the public revenue implies, would have proved altogether fatal to France, had it not been rescued from the abyss by the surpassing wisdom with which, in that crisis, the measures of the Bank of France were conducted. But the conduct of that establishment, at that trying crisis, proved that they had taken a lesson from the archives of history. Carefully shunning the profuse and exorbitant issue of paper which, under the name of assignats, effected so dreadful a destruction of property in France in the first revolution, they imitated the cautious and prudent policy by which Mr Pitt surmounted the crisis of 1797, and brought the nation triumphant through the whole dangers of the war. They obtained an act from the legislature authorising the issue, not of £600,000,000 sterling of notes, as in 1793 and 1794, but of 400,000,000 francs, or £16,000,000 sterling, not convertible into gold and silver. This, and this alone, it was that brought France through the crisis of the Revolution. Specie, before this aid was obtained, was fast disappearing from circulation; the Bank of France had suspended cash payments; three of the principal banks in Paris had become bankrupt; the payment of all bills was suspended by act of government—for this plain reason, that no debtor could find cash to discharge his engagements. But this wise measure gave the French people that most inestimable of all blessings in a political and monetary crisis—a currency which, without being redundant, is sufficient, and, being not convertible into the precious metals, neither augments the strain on them, nor is liable to be swept away by foreign export. In consequence of this seasonable advance, the crisis was surmounted, though not without most acute general suffering; and industry, since a government comparatively stable was established, in the person of Prince Louis Napoleon, has revived to a surprising degree over the whole country. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the general misery which prevailed in France, desolated by a revolution, but sustained by a moderate inconvertible paper currency, was greater than was felt in the manufacturing cities of Great Britain, saved by the firmness of government and the good sense of the nation from a political convulsion, but withering under the fetters of a contracted currency, and unrestricted admission of foreign produce.[4]

One thing is perfectly apparent from the result of the revolution in Italy, that the establishment of either civil liberty or political independence is hopeless in that beautiful peninsula. The total and easy rout of the Piedmontese and Tuscan forces by Radetsky is a proof of this. Venice was defended by its Lagunæ—Rome not by the descendants of the ancient masters of the world, but by the revolutionary mercenaries of Poland, Hungary, and Germany, whom the Austrian victories drove back from the banks of the Po to those of the Tiber. On the other hand, the example of Naples, where the firmness of the king has preserved in the end his dominions entire, though Sicily for[14] a time was severed from the kingdom, and Naples itself was the theatre of a bloody convulsion, proves alike of what flimsy materials revolution is composed in the south of Europe, and through what a perilous crisis a nation can be safely conducted, when the depositaries of power are not unworthy of the elevated duties with which they are entrusted.

Still more important is the lesson read to the world by the attempted revolution in England and Ireland. That Great Britain was threatened with the convulsions, in the throes of which France and Germany were labouring, is universally known. The Chartists openly declared that monarchy could not stand two months in England or Scotland; the Repealers were counting the hours till the Saxon was expelled from the Emerald Isle, and a Hibernian republic proclaimed in Dublin, in close alliance with the great parent democracy in Paris. Where are these boasters now? The English revolutionists were morally slaughtered in London on the 10th April: the Irish rebels were blown into the air by the fire of the police in the cabbage garden. They have been more than vanquished; they have been rendered ridiculous. In despair, they are now leaving in crowds their wo-stricken isle; and it is to be hoped a better race, more industrious habits, and a more tractable people, will gradually be introduced into the deserts which Celtic improvidence and folly has made. It is a glorious spectacle to see an attempted revolution which broke out in both islands suppressed almost without the effusion of blood; and England, the first-born of freedom in modern times, reasserting, in its advanced period of existence, at once the order and moderation which are the glorious inheritance of genuine Liberty.

Would that we could say that our foreign policy during the two last eventful years has been as worthy of praise, as the conduct of our government in combating our internal enemies has been. But here the meed of our approbation must fail. Contrary alike to our obvious interests and to our real and long-established principles, we have apparently been guided by no other principle but that of fomenting revolution, after the example of France, in every country which the contagion had reached. We all but severed Sicily from Naples, and openly assisted the Sicilian insurgents with arms and ammunition. We once stopped, for "humanity's sake," the Neapolitan expedition from sailing to combat the rebels: we more than once interposed in favour of Charles Albert and the Piedmontese revolutionists: we have alienated Austria, it is to be feared, beyond redemption, by our strange and tortuous policy in regard to the Hungarian insurrection: we, without disguise, countenanced the revolutionary Germans in their attack upon the Danes. What object Ministers had in that, or how they thought the interests of England, a great commercial and exporting nation, were to be forwarded by throwing its whole customers into confusion and misery, we cannot divine. Apparently, their sympathy with revolution anywhere but at home, was so strong, that they could not abstain from supporting it all around them, though to the infinite detriment of their own people. And it is a most curious circumstance, that, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer constantly told us—no doubt with a certain degree of truth—that the failure of our exports, and the general distress of the country, was, in a great degree, to be ascribed to the European revolutions, the whole policy of the Foreign Office, during the same period, was directed to countenance and support these very revolutions.

But from the painful contemplation of the follies and aberrations of man, let us turn, with thankfulness, to the contemplation of the great moral lessons which the events of the two last years teach us as to the wisdom and beneficence of Nature. It is now clear beyond the possibility of doubt, that the wisdom of Providence has provided barriers against the passions, vices, and follies of men; and that if the leaders in thought and station fail in their duty, an invisible bulwark against the progress of anarchy is provided in the general misery which is the consequence of their excesses. Pre-eminent above all others in the history of mankind, THE YEAR OF REACTION, immediately succeeding THE YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS[15], is fraught with the demonstration of these great and consoling moral and religious truths. From it the patriot will derive consolation and hope, amidst the darkest periods which may yet be in store for the human race: for never was a darker period than that through which we have passed; and from its checkered scenes the virtuous and upright will draw the conclusion that there are limits to human wickedness even in this scene of trial; and that the safest, not less than the most honourable course, for all classes, from the throne to the cottage, in periods of danger, is to be found in the fearless discharge of DUTY.




Next morning, shortly after daybreak, we were all hurried out of our berths by Joey, to come on deck, and take a first view of the coast of Spain. We made the land to the north-east of Cape Villano, and were not a little struck with the bare, black, scowling aspect of that mountainous and iron-bound coast. Off Oporto we stood in, with the design of entering the river. But a signal from the shore announced the bar impassable, and we had nothing before us but the delightful prospect of standing off and on, till the weather permitted us to land the bags. Gingham, I observed, stood anxiously peering with his telescope in the direction of the bar, where the sea, for miles, was foam and fury. "Well," said I at last, "are you looking for a cork in that yeast?"—"I am," replied Gingham, "and there it is. See, they have passed the bar. We shall soon have them alongside."

I saw nothing, but at length was able to discern in the distance a small speck, which was executing most extraordinary vagaries in the midst of the surf. Now it was high, now low; now visible, now lost. Its approach was indicated, not so much by any perceptible change of position, as by an increase of apparent magnitude. Gingham now handed me the glass, and I saw a large boat, full of men, pulling towards us like Tritons. At length they reached the ship. Smart fellows those Oporto boatmen—know how to handle those clumsy-looking, enormous boats of theirs. What a scene was that alongside! The wind high; the sea rough; the boat banging against the ship's side; the men in her all talking together. Talking? Say jabbering, shouting, screaming. I was in perfect despair. Where was my Portuguese? Hadn't I studied it at Trinity College, Cambridge? Couldn't I make out a page of my Portuguese Gil Blas? Hadn't I got a Portuguese grammar and dictionary in my trunk? And hadn't I got a nice little volume of Portuguese dialogues in my pocket? Yet not one word could I understand of what those fellows in the boat were bawling about. Their idiom was provincial, their pronunciation Spanish. That I didn't know. It seemed to me, at the time, that all my toil had been wasted. Never despair, man. If you want to learn a language, and can't learn it in the country, why, learn it at home. You may, you probably will, feel at a loss, when you first get among the natives. But, after two or three days, all will begin to come right: your ear, untutored hitherto, will begin to do its part; then your stores of previously acquired knowledge will all come into use, and you may jabber away to your heart's content. But mind, whatever the language you learn—Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, or High Dutch—go to work in a scholarlike, businesslike manner; learn the verbs, study the syntax, master all the technicalities, or you are doing no good. Doubtless, in your travels abroad, you will fall in with lively old English residents, who "speak the language as fluently as a native," and tell you[16] it's all nonsense, they never looked into a grammar, nor into a book neither. But never mind that; follow your own plan. Speak the language whenever you can—that of course; hear it spoken; dine at the table d'hôte—that's worth a five shilling lesson at any time, and you get your dinner extra; but, all the while, read daily, work your grammar, turn out the words in your dictionary, and mark the result. You, after a space, can not only speak the language, but write it; whereas those intelligent individuals, let alone writing, can't read it. Another suggestion, which I—but where are we? What are we talking about? While I am boring you with suggestions, the despatches have been handed into the boat; the boat has shoved off, and is making for the shore—plunging, ramping, tearing through the surf under a press of sail: and, on the deck of the Princess Wilhelmina gun-brig, stand three new and very rum-looking passengers—a Spaniard, a Portuguese, and a nondescript—one deal box, one old leathern portmanteau, one canvass bag, two umbrellas (blue,) one ditto (red,) and a high-crowned Spanish hat, tied up in a faded cotton pocket-handkerchief.

Our new companions were all a little "indisposed" the first day; but, the weather moderating in the night, they grew better the next, and were able to take their places at the dinner table. The Spaniard had come on board, assuming that he was to victual himself, or pay extra. Under this impression, opening his box in the forenoon, he produced with much gravity a bundle, consisting of half-a-dozen oranges, some very coarse brown bread, a flask of wine, and a chump of splendid garlick sausage, all tied up together, in a second cotton pocket-handkerchief. Spreading said handkerchief on the cabin table as a cloth, he next brought out from his pocket a formidable cheese-toaster, and was preparing to do battle with the prog. The Major, perceiving his mistake, addressed him in Spanish, politely explaining that the passage-money covered everything, and that he could call for whatever the ship afforded. The Hidalgo, thus advised, and courteously thanking the Major, contented himself with an orange, carefully tied up the remaining provender as before, and restored it to the sky-blue deal box.

This act of the Major's, benignant reader, piqued my curiosity. The Major was a very good fellow, as you have doubtless discovered ere this; but he was not a man to do anything without a motive. I couldn't feel easy, without getting to the bottom of it.

"Very kind of you, Major," said I, "to give the Don that information respecting his rights in transitu."

"Kind?" said the Major indignantly; "what do you mean by kind? Had he once attacked that sausage, we should have smelt garlic all the way to Lisbon." I now appreciated the Major's urbanity.

"Close fellows, those Spaniards," added the Major. "I knew very well he wouldn't give me part of his sausage. Didn't go for it."

"Why, if you had shared the feast," said I, "we should have smelt garlic twice as bad."

"Yes," replied the Major "but I shouldn't have smelt it at all."

Said hidalgo was a tall, kiln-dried attomy of a man—hair black and lanky—forehead high and corrugated—eyebrows pencilled and elevated—eyes almost closed by the dropping of the eyelids—nose long, thin, and very inexpressive—mouth diminutive—chin sharp—cheek-bones high and enormously prominent—cheeks hollow and cadaverous, regular excavations; half one of his oranges, stuck in each, would about have brought them to a level with his face. Of course he was dubbed Don Quixotte. The Portuguese came on board with his hair dressed as a wig, enormous white choker, no neck (that's why I called him Punch,) chapeau de bras, short black cock-tail coat, white silk waistcoat flowered green and gold, black satin unmentionables, black silk stockings, and top-boots—the tops a sort of red japan. As to the third visitor, no one could assert who he was, or what he was. He obtained a passage without any document from the Oporto authorities, on the plea that he was a courier, and carried despatches from Oporto to Lisbon. This, the Colonel remarked, was rather odd, as the bag generally[17] went by land. One said he was a Spaniard; another said he was a Jew. Gingham pronounced him a Frenchman:—but what could a Frenchman be doing there? The one index of his identity was a nose, which forthwith won him the name of 'Hookey.' Hookey spoke French, Spanish, Portuguese, lots besides—disclaimed English—yet seemed always listening while we talked. He was constantly smiling, too; the habit had given him a deep semicircular maxillary furrow—say trench if you will—on each side of his ugly mug. There was something in his smile that I didn't like. If he saw you looking at him, he put on a smile.

At dinner the Colonel, anxious to do the honours, took an early opportunity of challenging Don Quixotte to a glass of wine. The Don filled a bumper; the Colonel nodded: the Don, with majestic and silent gravity, rose slowly from his seat, his glass in one hand, the other on his heart; bowed profoundly to each of the company in succession; tossed off the wine; melo-dramatically extended the empty glass at arm's length; bowed again; sighed; squeezed his hand very hard upon his heart, and sat down. The Major challenged Punch, who half filled his tumbler, sipped, filled up with water, sipped again, nodded then, not before, as if he would say "Now it will do," and drank off the whole. Captain Gabion challenged Hookey, who, alone of the three, performed correctly. "Hookey, my boy," thought I, "where did you learn that?"

Neither Punch nor Don Quixotte manifested the least disposition to amalgamate with us. They kept themselves apart, replied civilly when addressed—that was all. I must say, speaking from my own observations, it is a slander which describes the English abroad as exclusive. The exclusiveness, so far as I have seen, lies much more with the Continentals.

But if, on the present occasion, the Spaniard and the Portuguese kept their distance, it certainly was far otherwise with my friend Hookey. I take the liberty of calling him my friend, because I was particularly honoured by his attentions. I have already said that he seemed interested in our conversation. The interest extended to everything about us. He inquired respecting each and every one; his name, his rank, his department, his destination: asked me, in an off-hand way, if I could guess how many troops the British general had—what was to be the plan of the ensuing campaign—did our Government intend to carry on the war with vigour? When, by inquiring elsewhere, he discovered that I was attached to the military chest, he redoubled his attentions, and eke his interrogatories. Had I bullion on board? How much? Should I convey treasure from Lisbon to headquarters? On bullock-cars or on mules? By what route? Of course I should have a guard—did I know? Travelling up the country would be dangerous as the army advanced into Spain—wouldn't it advance?—when?—he knew every part of the Peninsula—was himself bound for headquarters after delivering his despatches—would be happy to go with me—wouldn't mind waiting a day or two in Lisbon—would assist me in obtaining a servant—a horse—a mule—anything. I, communicative as he was inquisitive, lavished information in floods; advised him as to the amount of bullion on board, to go down into the hold, and see with his own eyes; informed him, as a particular secret, that I shouldn't wonder if I was sent to headquarters, unless it happened otherwise; and hadn't the least doubt that I should have the conveyance of whatever amount of treasure was placed under my charge for that purpose; declined saying anything then about a servant, horse, or mule, as I should probably find "Milord Vilinton" had thought of me, and had everything of that kind ready against my arrival; begged to tell him I was a person of great importance, but maintaining the strictest incognito—hoped he wouldn't mention it. Presently he stole away to the forecastle, where I got a sight of him. He was jotting down like mad.

On the evening of our second day from Oporto, we made the Berlings; been six weeks at sea, from leaving the Tagus. If, instead of coasting it, which secured them a foul wind, they had struck out at once, from the mouth[18] of the river, two or three days' sail into the Atlantic, they would probably have got the wind they wanted. That is what Captain Nil did, when I came home, passenger from Lisbon, 1843, in his clever little fruit-ship, the King Alfred. Didn't we give the go-by to the northerly current which blows down the coast, and catch a south-wester, which was just what we needed? Didn't we jockey two other orangemen, that started in company, and thought to beat us by working up along shore? And didn't we bring our prime oranges first to market, and sell them off-hand at London Bridge, with an extra profit of ten shillings a chest?

The morning after we passed the Berlings, we saw the Rock of Lisbon. This, I suppose, is about the most striking object the mariner beholds, in approaching any coast in the known world. Not more than fifteen hundred feet above the level of the sea, it stands so dark in tint, so grim in aspect, so ragged in outline, you fancy some fresh earthquake has heaved it up, crude and pinnacled, from the volcanic bowels of the soil, and there left it to frown above the waves that thunder at its base, and spout up in unavailing froth and fume. "There it stands," said Gingham, "the old Rock! Often have I rounded it before; often have I viewed it; often have I ranged it: worthy the attention of the naturalist; still more of the geologist; but, above all, of the meteorologist: the Promontory of the Moon; yes,

The hill where fond Diana looked and loved,
While chaste Endymion slept and dreamed of heaven:

the advanced guard of mountain ridges, that condense the invisible vapours of the ocean; the medium and thoroughfare of electric communication between Europe and the Atlantic! See how the thin air of the tropics becomes mist, when it reaches those thunder-splintered pinnacles—hem! Lady of the Lake. See how it caps them with a perpetual cloud, which, though perpetual, is constantly diminished by the moisture which it discharges, and constantly replenished by fresh supplies of vapour from the sea. Here, the wind is north: but there, in that elevated region, the upper current is blowing steadily from the south-west. Take my advice, Mr Y——. Don't leave Lisbon without visiting the Rock. Go to Cintra. Inquire for Madam Dacey's hotel; and don't allow her to charge you more than two dollars a-day, wine included, spirits and bottled porter extra."

Gingham now drew out his telescope. "Ah!" said he, "there's Colares; and there's Cintra, just at the base of the Penha. There goes a donkey party, on a visit to the Cork Convent. My respects to the old Capuchins. There's Madam Dacey herself, fat and rosy as ever, scolding Francisco the cook for spoiling that omelet. How are you, old lady?—Villain! He's making a pâté with one hand, and taking snuff with the other! Don't roast that hare, blockhead; it's dry enough already. Make it into soup. That's the way to serve a Cintra hare. Clap a thin slice of bacon on the breast of each of those red partridges, before you put them down. What, boil that gurnet? Bake it, bake it, stupid! Serve it up cold for supper: beats lobster, and should be dressed the same way—oil, cayenne, vinegar, and a modicum of salt. I say, Francisco; mind you send up the soup hot. What an extraordinary fact, Mr Y——! You may get good soups, and all the materials for good dinners, go where you will; but our own countrymen are the only people in the world who know how a dinner should be served up, and set on table. Why, sir, at those hotels at Lisbon and Cintra, I've tasted most splendid soups, magnificent!—but, positively, sent to table lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—tepid, sir! what do you think of that?"

I was thinking, just at that moment, that I should like to hear more about Cintra. But Gingham had now got on the subject of la cuisine; la cuisine was one of his hobbies (he kept a stud)—and, once mounted, there was no getting him off. Yet Gingham, much as he delighted in dinner-giving, was not himself a gourmand. In him the passion was disinterested—a matter of taste—a sentiment. And ah! need I add[19] how it enhanced the value of his friendship?

About noon we crossed the bar; by two P.M. were off Lisbon, and, while I was all agape, admiring the surpassing beauties of the scene, had dropped our anchor. Captain Gabion took me by the elbow, and proposed that we should sojourn at the same hotel. The motive transpired that afternoon. Gingham had his own quarters, in the Rua d'Alecrim. We all landed together at the Yellow House, where our luggage underwent an examination—in those days a very off-hand business, the English, in fact, being in military occupation of the country. My traps were despatched among the first; and I sat waiting for the Captain, whose turn came later. Meanwhile Hookey's bag was opened, and the contents turned out. Among them I expected to see a letterbox; but there was nothing that looked like despatches. While Hookey was engaged with his bag, he was joined by a shabby-genteel personage, who had the look of a military man in plain clothes—an Englishman, or, I rather thought, an Irishman. They recognised each other at once, and seemed to meet by appointment—left the office arm in arm, the new-comer carrying Hookey's bag. They passed without observing me, as I sat in the background near the door, among bags and boxes. Both were speaking English: i. e., Hookey, English as it is spoken by Frenchmen; his companion, English as it ought to be spoken, the pure vernacular of the Sister Isle. "Kim, kim away wid ye, now; isn't it aal krikt and wrigler?"—"Oh, yase; now I sal comb vid you, presently." "Aha! Mister Hookey; so you don't understand English," thought I. Not to be an eavesdropper, I started up, and put out my paw, in tender of a parting shake. Hookey, a little taken aback, clasped it fervently in both his; and, repudiating disguise, laughed, and spoke English again, grasping and shaking my fist with intense cordiality. I suppose it was his surprise, that made him substitute greeting for leave-taking: "Ah, how you do, sare? I hope you varraval."

Gingham took a kind but rather distant leave. The Captain and I adjourned with our luggage, which was first cleverly laid together and packed, and then borne, swinging by ropes from two bars, which rested on the shoulders of four stout Gallegos, who walked two and two, hugging each other round the neck, and stepping together in admirable time. The Captain indicated the road; and we soon reached our domicile, MacDermot's Hotel (as it was then called), Rua do Prior, Buenos Ayres,—for air and prospect, the finest situation in all Lisbon; and that is not saying a little.

I was for ordering dinner forthwith. The Captain, for reasons best known to himself, wished an hour's delay. Reluctantly acceding, I retired to my private apartment, and commenced operations in the soap and dowlas line. Presently the Captain tapped at my door, and entered. Wanted me just to walk down with him to the water's side—wanted me particularly. Away we went. The Captain spoke little—seemed to have some project. At length he opened: "I rather think the skipper will catch a precious good hiding presently; serve him right." All this was Greek to me, though I had heard something of the skipper's bad conduct to the Major.

We now, having descended by a side street as steep as a ladder, entered the main road, or broadway, which runs by the water's side. Who should meet us there, but the Major? He was evidently on the look-out for us, and joined forthwith. "Has the boat left the brig yet?" said Captain Gabion.

"Not yet, I think," said the Major; "I saw her alongside, though. Come down to the water's edge. That's the place."

We descended, through a passage between stone walls. Captain Gabion now addressed me a second time: "Mr Y——, I have already undertaken to officiate as the Major's friend. You must pick up the skipper."

"Well, but what's it all about?" said I. "Hadn't any idea of your intention. You never told me."

"No time for explanation now," said the Captain. "Will you officiate, or will you not?"

"Always ready to do the needful[20] when the case requires," said I. "But, if the Major feels himself aggrieved, is there no other redress? Won't it be infra dig.?"

"The fact is," said the Major, "I don't intend to give him a heavy licking—only just to polish him off a bit. As to redress, if I lodged a complaint, it must come ultimately before our own authorities. Now Englishmen abroad, when ill-treated, are always ignored or deserted by their government. I've seen that often. That rascal would get off scot-free; and the very fact of my having applied would be remembered to my disadvantage, and perhaps would injure me in my profession. If I was a Frenchman or a Yankee travelling abroad, and had been oppressed or ill-treated, I would apply to my government. But as I am an Englishman, what would be the use?"

"Well," said I, "the skipper's conduct on board was very bad, I admit; to you, I've heard, particularly. But it's all over now. Come, let him off this time."

"Very well," said the Major. "In a fortnight he sails for England—takes home a ship-load of British officers, sick, wounded, invalided. If he ill treats such fine fellows as you and me, and goes unpunished, how will he treat them, do you think? I'll tell you what. All I fear is, after he has got a few taps, he'll go down; then there'll be no getting him up again, and he'll escape with only half his deserts. Now that's just what I want you to prevent."

"Well," said I; "if I am to officiate as the skipper's friend, of course I must do him justice. I only tell you that."

"Very well," said the Major, between his teeth. "You pick him up; that's all."

We reached the high bank by the water's edge, just above the landing-place. A boat was seen approaching from the Princess Wilhelmina: four men pulling, skipper steering. Captain Gabion addressed the Major:

"I'll tell you what; it won't do here. First, there isn't room. Secondly—don't you see?—when he gets more than he likes, he has nothing to do but to roll down the bank, jump into the boat, and shove off. Thirdly, the boat's crew might interfere; and then we should get the worst of it."

Meanwhile the boat reached the jetty; the skipper landed; ascended the bank by a zigzag path with Snowball at his heels; passed without noticing us, as we stood among other lookers on; and walked up the passage. The Major followed him. Captain Gabion and I followed the Major.

Just as the skipper was emerging from the passage into the street, the Major stepped smartly after him, and tapped him on the shoulder, exclaiming, "Take that, you ruffian." That was a sharp application of the toe.

Like a caged lizard touched in the tail, the skipper sprang fiercely round.

"What's that for?" he cried, with a furious look.

"Ah, what's that for?" replied the Major, administering a stinging soufflet.

The skipper, calm in an instant, and savage in cold blood, commenced peeling. I stepped up to him, received his jacket, and handed it to the nigger, thereby installing myself in office. The Major turned up the cuffs of his coat-sleeves.

"Now, coolly, my man," said I, as the skipper went in like a mad bull.

The first three rounds, like the Three Graces, had a mutual resemblance. Superior to the Major in weight and strength—formidable, too, as a hitter—the skipper did not succeed in planting a single effective blow. Some were stopped, some were dodged, some fell short, and one or two hit short. Still worse for the skipper, he had no idea of guard. His antagonist, a first-rate artiste, went on gradually painting his portrait. At the end of the third round, "his mammy wouldn't a' knowed him." The Major, in striking, did not throw in his weight, merely hit from the shoulder and elbow. But his punishing told: he hit with a snap; he hit fast; he had the faculty of rapidly hitting twice with the same hand. In short, the skipper was evidently getting the worst of it. All this time, the Major continued perfectly cool and fresh; and, like Shelton, the navigator—whom I remember well, though you, perhaps, do not—as[21] often as he stopped a hit, he politely inclined his head, as much as to say, "Well intended—try again." At the close of the third round, however, in consequence of the skipper's attempting a rush, the Major was constrained to put in a really hard blow as a stopper. It not only answered that purpose, but nearly lifted the skipper, and sent him reeling some paces backwards.

Instead of coming, as before, to my extended arms, and seating himself, like a good child, on my knee till time was up, the skipper now staggered towards Snowball, and began rummaging in his jacket. I was too quick for him. Just as he extracted an enormous clasp-knife, I whipped it out of his hand, and passed it to Captain Gabion. On this demonstration, supposing that "legitimate war" was at an end, and my "occupation gone," I was quietly walking away, with my hands in my pockets. But the Captain, having first communicated with the Major, met and stopped me, saying, "Come, we overlook that. The next round."

The fourth round presented no novelty. The painting went on; I may say, this time, was pretty well finished. Never was an ugly monkey more completely "beautified" than the poor skipper. He still had his strength and wind, and there was as yet no reason why he should not ultimately win—especially as he hit out like the kick of a horse, and one of his blows, if it told, might have turned the day. I began, however, to be apprehensive that he would soon be put hors de combat, by losing the use of his peepers. When, therefore, I sent him in the fifth time, I whispered, "You must try to close, or you'll have the worst of it."

Suddenly rushing in, giving his head, and boring on with his right arm extended, the skipper, at the commencement of the fifth round, contrived to get his left about the Major's waist. This led to a grapple, and a short but fierce struggle. The skipper had the advantage in physical power; but the Major was his superior in wrestling, as well as in the nobler science. They fell together, the Major uppermost. On the ground, strength resuming its advantage, the skipper soon rolled the Major over, and had the ascendency. Supposing the round concluded, I was going to pull him off. "Let alone, let alone," said the Major; "leave him to me." The Major, I presumed, was waiting an opportunity for a "hoist."

The skipper now, with his right arm extended, held the Major's extended left, pinned down by the wrist. The skipper's left arm and shoulder were passed under the Major's right, so as completely to put it out of commission. With his left hand, the skipper seemed to be pulling the Major's hair. All this was so completely hors des règles, that nothing but the Major's veto kept us from interposing.

At this juncture of the combat there was evidently something out of the usual course, which particularly interested the nigger. Stooping down almost to a squat, his face peering close over the heads of the two combatants, his big eyes bulging and gloating with eager expectation, his mouth open, his blubber lips projecting, and his two hands uplifted and expanded with intense curiosity, he watched the result. Just in time, I grasped the skipper's thumb! Half a second more, and the Major's eye would have been out of its socket!

Captain Gabion, breathing the only execration I ever heard from his lips, choked the skipper off.

The Portuguese bystanders, though much interested in the fray, had not been thoroughly sensible of its character. To them, probably, the fight had looked as if a man, in perfect possession of his temper, had been merely playing with a very savage assailant, so clean and easy was the Major's style of punishing. But now, when they walked up, and looked in the miserable sufferer's face, they perceived the serious nature of the castigo administered. Instead of features they beheld—a mask, I was going to say, but that would be incorrect; for in most masks, you have eyes, nose, and mouth. Here, distinctness was obliterated; and as to eyes, why, you couldn't see the eyelashes. I handed the skipper to Snowball, advising he should be taken on board, and seen to. Snowball walked of, conducting him down the passage. I thought of the knife, procured it from the Captain, ran, and handed it to the nigger.[22] "Tell him," said I, "never to use that again, except for cheese-toasting, picking his teeth, and so forth." "Yes, massa; me tell him you say so." "I say, Snowball," added I, "hadn't you better put a little oil on his face, to keep off the mosquitos? If they get at him as he is now, they'll drive him mad." "Ah no, massa," said Blackey, regretfully; "no muskitto here, dis tree, five week; dis place too cold, mosh very. Let alone, no muskitto on de wottah here, nebber at no time."

I hurried back, and found Captain Gabion supporting the Major, who stood with both hands spread out over his right eye, and, to all appearance, suffering intense agony. Blood was visible between his fingers, and on his cheek. The Captain, solicitous to ascertain the amount of injury, made a gentle attempt to withdraw the Major's hands.

"Don't! don't!" gasped the Major. "Has he—got my eye—in his pocket?"

"All right, all right," replied the Captain; "you have still a spare eye to wink with. Near thing, though."

"To-night I meant to have slept at Villa Franca," said the Major, still speaking as if his agony was extreme. "My man is waiting just by with the horses, at the chafriz."

"Nonsense, nonsense!" said Captain Gabion; "to-night you must sleep at our quarters. Pledget is there, and will look at your eye. Mr Y——, there's the chafriz; that stone fountain, where you see the open space."

I stepped in that direction, and found an English servant, holding two horses. The Major had intended to "polish off" the skipper, mount forthwith, and away for Sacavem at a hand-gallop. So he might; only that the skipper, according to his own ideas of manly combat, having got his opponent undermost, and secured a grip of the Major's love-lock with his four fingers, had hooked his thumb-nail, and eke a portion of his thumb, in the ——but enough. I brought up the man and horses, and with some difficulty we got the Major to the hotel.

Pledget was there, examined the eye, did not consider the injury serious, but deferred giving any decided opinion. Ordered the Major to bed, and prescribed leeches: wanted to apply a poultice, but the patient couldn't bear the pressure. For a few days he remained a prisoner. After that, I met him in the streets with a green shade—eye doing well. Next spring, saw him on duty. No damage was then visible, save and except a small scar at the inner corner of the eye.

How soon, or how slowly, the skipper recovered from his polishing I never learned. The skipper, it appears, a year or two before the American war broke out, had put into the Tagus in a vessel from New Orleans, damaged. She was detained for repairs; and he, not liking an idle life, had procured employment in a Falmouth ship. After the war commenced, he chose to continue in the packet line. The exact nature of his offence, offered to the Major, I never ascertained. But it was something connected with the pumping of bilge-water, when the Major was suffering from sea-sickness, prostrate on the deck. Some years after, I heard of the skipper again. He had left Falmouth, and had obtained the command of a packet running between Southampton and the coast of France. He still had a bad name for insulting and ill-treating his passengers; and, what is curious, he again received a polishing from an English officer, at Dieppe. On this occasion, if I mistake not, the operator was an officer of the engineers. Whether said officer came out of the mêlée a Cyclops—the little dog forgot to mention.


The morning after our landing from the packet, I sought out, and with some difficulty discovered, my uncle's office; where I was very cordially received by both uncles, and very politely by the other gentlemen of the department. I announced myself prepared to start forthwith for headquarters; fully expecting to be off that night, or next day at latest. Uncle No. 1 told me I must go home with him to dinner, and see my aunt and cousins. Uncle No. 2 advised me to look out for a billet.


All this sounded ominous. The sympathising reader is already advised, that my progress from Lisbon to headquarters was not quite so expeditious as I had anticipated. The cause of the delay was this.

My dear mother, as I have already related, had overruled all objections to my joining the Peninsular army; and through her influence, my honoured father gave his reluctant consent. Shortly after, he was ordered to sea: his ship left the Downs; and he did not return, till after my departure from England. As the time of my departure drew nigh, my dear mother, left to her own cogitations, began to view the subject in a very different light. In short, she was perfectly frightened at her own act; and, when it came to the last, wrote off, without my knowledge, a letter to my uncle No. 2, entreating him by all means to detain me at Lisbon, not for the world to send me up the country—in short, to keep me far beyond the sound, let alone the range, of hostile cannon. Her letter, posted at Deal the very day I started thence for London, came out to Lisbon by the same conveyance with myself; and was doubtless in my uncle's hands, when I presented myself at the office. Many years after, in looking over some old correspondence, I found a letter of hers to my father at sea, revealing the whole plot.

Next morning, I again presented myself, still expecting to receive my orders, and be off slick to headquarters. Uncle No. 2 was there; hoped I had not been much tormented with bugs and fleas; pointed out a desk with a high seat; and informed me—that was my place!

The scene, which would have instantly appalled the whole department, had I given expression to my feelings, was happily prevented by one reflection, which struck me just in time; viz., that I was now an employé, bound to obedience by military law, and that Nunky was my commanding officer.

I sulkily took my seat; and Nunky left me for a few minutes, to the pleasing process of mental digestion. Presently, he stood by my side with a huge bundle of papers:—laid the papers on my desk.

"A fortnight," said he, "will probably elapse ere you can proceed to headquarters. I wish, in the mean time, you would just see what you can do, in arranging these convalescent accounts. We could not spare a hand for them, and they have got sadly into arrear. Do try what you can make of them."

I went to work;—worked hard for a fortnight. At the end of that time, with occasional directions from my uncle, the confused mass of accounts was reduced to something like order. Still nothing was said about my journey to headquarters. Fresh work was given me, which took another week. I began to get regularly savage—was rapidly turning misanthrope—sympathised with George Barnwell. Nunky requested my company in a private room.

"You came out," said he, "expecting to go up the country."

"Yes; and on that understanding I applied for the appointment, as I expressed in my letter from England. On that understanding too, unless I mistook the reply, my services were accepted."

"Well, G——," said he, "I put it to yourself. The fact is, those plaguy convalescent accounts have given us more trouble than all the business of the office besides. Till you came out, we never have had a clerk that could do them. You do them excellently. Of course, you are well aware the public service is the first thing. The long and the short of it is, you perform this duty so much to our satisfaction, your uncle J—— and I have come to the determination—we must keep you with us at Lisbon."

This, my dear madam, with the exception of being crossed in love—and to that, you know, we all are liable—was my first serious disappointment in life. Baulked in my schemes of military glory—for already, in imagination, I was a gentleman volunteer, had mounted a breach, and won a commission—I had now but one remedy; to resign my clerkship, and return forthwith to England. And this, under other circumstances, I should doubtless have done. But the case, as I then viewed it, stood thus. Here were my two dear uncles, with enormous responsibility—that of[24] dispensing and accounting for the whole ready-money transactions of the Peninsular army; here was one miserable branch of accounts, which gave them more trouble than all the rest; and here was I, the only lad that could tackle it. Though that, by the bye, was just so much soft solder; for there were at least a dozen gentlemen, in our department, who could have made up and kept the convalescent books quite as well as myself, and probably far better.

Well; bad luck to the shilling. There was no remedy; so I settled to my work; devoting my leisure hours, as a safety-valve, to the furious study of Portuguese and Spanish. This blew off my wrath, and in after years proved of good service.

But I rather suspect, gentle reader, you're a bloody-minded fellow, and want to get away without further bother from Lisbon to the seat of war, among shot and shells, grape, canister and congreves. So, cutting it short, I shall just tell you how, at last, I out-generalled my dear uncle, and broke from bondage. After that, if you've no objection, we'll be off at once to join the army.

Please to bear in mind, then, that I was utterly unconscious of any wish that I should remain at Lisbon, on the part of my honoured parents, or either of them. Had I been aware, I would have acquiesced. My position, according to the view which I now took of it, was this. My parents had acceded to my scheme of joining the army: my uncles had brought me out upon that understanding, and upon no other: and yet, on my arrival, instead of forwarding me up the country, had, for no earthly reason that I could discover, detained me at Lisbon, to discharge a duty which, it was now perfectly clear, might quite as well have been committed to other hands. This, I say, being my actual view of the case, you will not think it strange, that I deemed it perfectly fair to employ all lawful means for my own enlargement and emancipation.

An opportunity presented itself, in the early part of 1814. The Allied army was now in the Pyrenees and south of France. Convoys of specie had been, from time to time, despatched to headquarters; and were always accompanied by a clerk or conductor of our department, who went in charge. While headquarters remained in Portugal, or were not far advanced into Spain, this duty was considered an agreeable change, and was rather sought than shunned. But, as the distance lengthened, the departmental view of the subject became different. The journey was now tedious, and began to be deemed unsafe. Reports occasionally reached us of British officers ill treated, robbed, or murdered on the road, by our brave Spanish allies. Our conductors, who were for the most part natives, began to be very subject to the fever of the country. Whenever their turn came to take the charge of treasure to headquarters, they were sure to have it. Well; how could they help that? You see, it was an intermittent fever. In this condition of affairs, another large amount of specie was counted out, packed, and all ready for remittance: and—no conductor being forthcoming—one of my fellow-clerks received directions to make the usual preparations for attending it to headquarters. Obeyed, as a matter of course; but didn't like it at all. Communicated to me his secret sorrows—was really far from strong—would much prefer remaining at Lisbon. My determination was taken: I volunteer, as his substitute. Proposed my plan, to which he assented with hilarity.

Still, there, was need of management. Had I spoken to Nunky in private, I knew full well I should be foiled. Combining persuasion with authority, he would discourage the scheme, and I should have no course but acquiescence. So, waiting till office-hours, I took my usual place, expecting his appearance in the great room, where half-a-dozen of us were seated together at our desks.

His step was heard in the passage. Half-a-dozen tongues ceased to wag, and half-a-dozen pens went hard to work, while half-a-dozen noses came into close contiguity to half-a-dozen official documents. Nunky entered, took his seat, and commenced the perusal of a pile of letters. I stood beside him.

"Well, G——?"

"I believe, sir, Mr N—— has received[25] instructions to prepare for a journey to headquarters. Not being in very good health, he would be glad, with your permission, to remain at Lisbon. I therefore beg leave to offer myself as his substitute."

Nunky gave me a look:—saw at once that he was beat. In private, he might have urged his objections: but, before the whole office, he could not appear to dissuade me from taking my turn at a duty, now considered anything but agreeable. No course, then, remained for him, but to signify his consent. "Oh, very well," said he, "if that's the way you've settled it between yourselves. Of course, I can have no objection. Get the usual advance, then; draw your allowance for a mule; and have all ready for starting the day after to-morrow."

Exchanging winks with my fellow-subs, right and left, I returned triumphant to my seat. Nunky remained a few minutes at his desk, evidently in a little bit of a fidget. How could I tell that, do you think, when I sat with my back to him? Oh, I suppose you never were a clerk in a public office. Else you wouldn't require to be informed, that office-clerks have eyes in the back of their heads. When the governor is present, his actions, each and all, are seen and chronicled by every subordinate in the room. And a great relief it is, let me tell you, to the tedium of public business, to recount, criticise, and dramatise them, the moment he's off. Nunky took up a letter, and began to read it—laid it down unread—took up another—rose from his seat—sat down again—put on his hat—and bolted.

Dicky Gossip—a Portuguese clerk commonly so called—rushed forthwith to the front office, and returned with equal rapidity. "Ah, Mister Y——, you is doane. You no sall go up to de coantree deece toim. Your oankle I vos see him git into him coashe. Ah, him, gallop down de treet, faster as four mules can carry him. Ah, Mister Y——, I sall tell you vot!"

In the course of the afternoon, I received a message to attend my uncle in another apartment. He met me with a look of triumph, which, I feared, boded no good.

"Well, G——," said he, "I wish you had mentioned that business this morning in private. Then, you know, we would have talked it over together. As, however, you chose to tender your services in the public room, of course I was forced to view the thing officially, and there's no remedy for it. You have volunteered for headquarters, and to headquarters you must go."

"Oh, thank you, sir! thank you. That's just what I always wished."

"Just what you always wished? Of course I know that, as well as you can tell me, Mr G——. Happy to say, though, I have effected one arrangement, which will make matters far safer, and more agreeable too."

"I fear, sir, if you send me off without the treasure, you will have some difficulty—"

"No, no, G——; you and the treasure will go together; that of course. But the fact is, I've been thinking those Spanish fellows behave so ill, I'm hardly justified in forwarding so large an amount of specie by land, all the way from Lisbon to the Pyrenees. In short, since you spoke to me this morning, I have been on board the flag-ship—seen the admiral. You and the treasure go to Passages in a frigate. Beautiful vessel—passed under her stern in coming ashore."

Alas, my object, then, was only half effected! I was to join the army, but not to travel through Spain. Nunky saw my chagrin and chuckled.

"Come, come, Mr G——," said he, "you beat me this morning; now I've beat you. So make up your mind to a voyage by his Majesty's frigate the M——. Be quick with your arrangements, for she's prepared to sail at a moment's warning. We shall ship the treasure instanter. So everything is ready, when you are."

The next day, at noon, I stood on the deck of the M——, a silent and admiring spectator of a grand, peristrephic panorama, as we glided down the Tagus under easy sail.



No occurrence worthy of record signalised our voyage from Lisbon to Passages. As you are a member of the Yacht Club, though, and passionately fond of romantic scenery, follow my advice, and treat yourself, some fine week in the summer, to a run along the north coast of Spain—say from Cape Finisterre to the mouth of the Bidassoa. By the bye, hadn't you better reverse it? An awkward thing you'd find it, to catch an on-shore wind at the head of the Bay of Biscay. What would become of you—ah, and what would become of that clever little craft of yours, the Water Wagtail, with her dandified rig, and her enormous breadth of beam, and her six pretty little brass popguns as bright as candlesticks, should a stiff north-wester surprise you on that horrid coast? Won't it be better, then, to secure some safe roadstead—the Gironde for instance—make that your starting-point; choose your weather; and, coasting along the shores of Biscay and Asturias, have the pleasure of feeling that you are running out of the Bay, and not running into it?

That I leave to you. But depend upon it, if you visit that coast, you will see not merely rocks, not merely mountains, not merely wild scenery; but scenery so peculiar in character, that you will not easily find the like. Such was the scenery which, on a fine day towards the beginning of March, 1814, I viewed one morning early, standing by the side of the Hon. Mr Beckenham, third lieutenant of the M——. Mr B., having the morning watch, and thinking it dull alone, had persuaded me to turn out, long, long before breakfast;—as he said the night before, "to view that magnificent coast at daybreak;" but, as he obligingly informed me when I came on deck, "that he might enjoy the pleasure of my agreeable society."

The scene, at a first glance, rather disappointed my expectations. "Stupendous ridge of mountains those Santillanos, though," said Mr B.; "equal, I should think, to the Pyrenees themselves—of which, in fact, they are a continuation, though some maps of Spain don't show it."

The view, as I viewed it, had a threefold character. First, there was the coast itself; a black line, occasionally diversified with specks of white; this line a ledge of rocks, extending along shore as far as the eye could reach, both east and west. The ocean-swell, incessantly rolling in, though the morning was still, thundered on this eternal sea-wall: and the surf, of which, at our distance, the eye distinguished nothing but those white specks, visible from time to time, presented, when viewed with a glass, every conceivable variety and vagary of breaking waves: the foam now rushing up some sloping shelf, like troops storming a breach; now arched sublime in a graceful curve, that descended in a smoking deluge of spray; now shooting vertically to a columnar height, as though the breaker had first dashed downwards into some dark abyss, and then, reverberated, flew sky-high in a pillar of froth. Beyond this line of rocks, appeared, secondly, a ridge of low hills, presenting nothing very remarkable, either in aspect or in outline. And beyond these again, further up the country, appeared, thirdly, a very respectable and loftier range—mountains, if you're a Lincolnshire man, and choose to call them so.

"So, this is your ridge of mountains," said I. "Stupendous? I don't call twelve or fourteen hundred feet stupendous, anyhow. And I'm inclined to think you might look down on most of them, at that altitude."

"You don't see them," said he. "You are looking at the coast range. Do you perceive nothing beyond?"

"Nothing but a few light clouds," said I, "in the sickly blue of the morning sky."

"Well, look at them," replied Mr. B. "View those clouds attentively. Watch whether they change their shape, as clouds usually do, when seen near the horizon."

I watched, but there was no visible change. The clouds were fixtures! Sure enough, those faint, pale streaks above the hills, that gleamed like aerial patches of silver vapour, were no other than the lofty summits of[27] the distant Santillanos, capped with snow, and touched by the beam of early morning. It was worth a turnout, any day.

Well, at length we reached Passages. Night had closed in, before we dropped our anchor off the harbour's mouth. The captain dreaded the very disaster to which I have already alluded, that of being caught by an on-shore wind in that ugly corner. It was settled, therefore, that a boat should be sent at once to announce our arrival, and the treasure landed next morning early, in order that the frigate might be off with the least delay possible.

Next morning early, then, the treasure—dollars packed in boxes, one thousand dollars in a bag, two bags in a box—was brought up from the hold, and stowed in three boats alongside. Making my best bow to the captain, and tendering both to him and to his staff, my sincere and grateful acknowledgments for all the polite attentions, &c., I stepped over the side, and seated myself in the boat destined for my conveyance. In the largest boat, which also contained the largest portion of the treasure, sat the Hon. Mr Beckenham; in the next was a middy; in my own, which was the smallest, were only about half-a-dozen boxes, and four sailors to pull ashore. Mr B. requested me to steer. We pulled for the mouth of the harbour, which was distinguishable, at the distance of a mile, by an abrupt and narrow cleft, dividing two lofty hills; and by a line of foam, which extended right across the entrance, without any visible opening.

Three boats leaving the ship in company, there was a race of course. Mine was astern, having been brought close alongside for my accommodation, and so getting the last start. The race was commenced by middy, who, by the rules of the service, ought to have kept astern of Mr B., and therefore tried to get ahead of him. My men, seeing the contest, began pulling like mad; and, though outnumbered by the crew of the other boats, yet ours being light, and the weather moderate, soon overtook and passed them. We pulled away, maintaining the lead, till a dull roar, like continued thunder, reminded us that we were just upon the bar. There it was, right ahead, crossing our course, not a hundred yards distant, and no passage perceptible; the sea, elsewhere, comparatively tranquil, there swelling and raging, like a mild-tempered man in a passion; the breakers curling, flouncing, tumbling one over the other, rolling in opposite directions, tilting as they crossed, and flying up with the force of the shock. How were we to pass? or by what dodge to give the go-by? My men, excited by the race, would have led at that moment into Charybdis. Still they pulled, onward, onward, to all appearance right upon the reef. The difficulty was solved, like many other difficulties, just when we got into the thick of it. The reef, single in appearance, was in reality double; that is to say, it consisted of two ledges, one ledge overlapping the other: so that, just at the instant when three strokes more of the oars would have taken us into the midst of the tumblification, a narrow opening, with comparatively smooth water, appeared at our left; a turn of the rudder brought us cleverly round into that friendly channel, and the next moment we floated on the tranquil surface of the outer harbour. The luff-tackle and the reefer, as if they had let me go ahead only to see how a landsman could turn a corner, now seemed disposed to renew the race. Raising a shout, which rang from hill to hill in the cleft of that narrow roadstead, their crews gave way again with redoubled ardour. But, having gained the precedence outside, we easily kept it in smooth water, and led in, with a sweep, through the larger harbour to the town. There, as we coasted along, I noticed a little jetty; and on it, in the full uniform of our department, a little man, who was anxiously watching our approach. I laid my boat alongside, jumped ashore, and received a hearty welcome from Mr Deputy-Paymaster-General Q——, whom I had previously known at Lisbon, and who was now in charge of the military chest at Passages. Another individual whom I had met at Lisbon, a gentleman holding office in a department attached to the army—suppose, for want of a better name, we call him "My Friend"—stepped up at the same time, as if he[28] had come by accident, was amazingly glad to see me, took my hand, and greeted me with many smiles—begged I wouldn't think of troubling myself about a billet—his quarters were quite roomy enough for two. Had I a mule? Shouldn't be able to get one in all Passages. Must have something. He would sell me a pony cheap.

A working party was at hand, to convey the boxes of specie from the jetty to the office, which was established hard by, for the convenience of landing remittances that came by sea. A guard was now set, and the sailors turned to, handing the boxes smartly out of the boats, and ranging them on terra firma; the shore party began conveying them from the jetty into the office. The Hon. Mr Beckenham was in a dreadful fuss to get back to the frigate. "The skipper wants to be off while the wind is fair, and the men haven't breakfasted,"—nor had he. Up came my commanding officer just at the moment, and hoped Mr B. and the middy would favour us with their company to breakfast, as soon as the boxes were stowed.

Mr B. glanced circularly at the horizon, looked at the clouds, looked at the flags in the harbour, looked at the clouds again. "Don't think there's any sign of a change of wind at present," said he. "Blows very steady from the south, sir," said the middy. The boxes were housed; they suffered themselves to be persuaded, and walked with us into the office. "My friend" also received an invite, and came in company.

The men in the boats were supplied with bread, butter, and cheese; some enormous Spanish sausages, by way of a relish, delicious Spanish onions, as mild as an apple, and a handsome allowance of brilliant draught cider. By all means ship a barrel, if you touch at Passages in the Water Wagtail. Mr Q—— conducted us to his private apartment, where we found a substantial breakfast awaiting us. I walked into the balcony, which looked towards the water; took a view of the men in the boats. All had their knives out, each sat in an attitude of his own, the cider evidently gave general satisfaction, the prog was rapidly disappearing, and the subject of conversation was twofold—the race, already accomplished, from the frigate to the jetty; and the race, soon to come off, from the jetty to the frigate. "My friend" stood at my elbow, saw me laughing at Jack, laughed himself—laughed heartily. "When will you come and look at the pony?" said he. Mr Q—— summoned us to breakfast.

Breakfast over, the lieutenant and his aide-de-camp took their leave. I went to look after my baggage, of which "my friend" had taken charge in the hurry of landing, promising to see it stowed with the treasure, where it would be under a guard. There was the guard, and there was the treasure; but there, was not my baggage. Found him—demanded an explanation. "Why, to tell the truth, the working party being there, he had embraced the opportunity, and had sent off my things at once to his own billet. We might as well go there at once. Could look at the pony by the way." Just as we started, my commanding officer called after me, "Mr Y——, I shall want you to give me a few particulars respecting the treasure. You may as well do so before going out. Then you may consider yourself at liberty for the rest of the day." I accompanied him into a small room, on the door of which was wafered "Private." "My friend" waited outside, in the street.

"Did you send any message to that gentleman last night," said Mr Q——, "when the boat came ashore from the frigate?"

"None whatever, sir. I didn't even know he was at Passages."

"Wasn't he aware that you were coming from Lisbon?"

"I don't see how he could be, sir. For it wasn't mentioned there till the day before I sailed; and of course no intelligence could have come in that time by land."

"Then he didn't meet you this morning by appointment?"

"Certainly not, sir. The meeting was quite casual."

"Casual? He was waiting about here for an hour before you landed; running into the office, out of the office, poking his nose into every corner—couldn't think what he wanted. Oh, I suppose he must have fallen in with the second lieutenant yesterday[29] evening. That's how he heard of you, no doubt. Old cronies, I suppose."

"Not at all, sir. We met twice at Lisbon. That's all that I ever saw of him, till this morning."

"Indeed! Well, he seems very attentive. Does he appear to have any object? What was he saying to you in the balcony?"

"Said something about a pony he wants to sell. That was all, sir."

"Oh!" said Mr Q——. The "oh" came out something like a groan a yard long, first forte, then minuendo, with the forefinger applied laterally to the apex of the nose, and one eye sapiently half-closed. "Ay, ay; I see. That's what he's after, no doubt; he wants you to buy Sancho. Well, perhaps you can't do better. I know the pony well. Doubt whether you'll find anything else to suit you in all Passages. A mule, indeed, would answer your purpose better; but the price of mules is enormous. Have you drawn your allowance for a horse?" "No, sir. As I came by water, and dollars are cumbersome, I thought it best to defer that till I reached Passages."

"Oh, very well; it's all right, then. Mr Y——, I feel it my duty to say this to you; let me know before you close the bargain. Till then, the eighty dollars are as well in my hands as in yours. Horses will soon be dog-cheap. Few to be had in Spain for love or money; lots, though, in France. Once at headquarters, you may mount yourself ad libitum; and the pony will do well enough to carry you up. Well, Mr Y——, with regard to quarters, the town is so full, I was thinking we must try and accommodate you here. But as Mr what's-his-name has made the offer, I feel it my duty to say this to you—you had better accept it."

"Will you look at the invoice of the treasure, now, sir? Or shall I bring it to-morrow?"

"Show it me now. Any gold?"

"All silver, sir; dollars, half-dollars, and quarters."

"What's this? Eight bags of a thousand, halves; twelve bags, quarters; five bags, small mixed. Why, it will take us an age to count it all."

"My fingers were sore with counting, before I left Lisbon, sir."

"Yes; and they must be sore again, before you leave Passages. Glad to find you have had practice, though. Shouldn't mind the dollars: a middling hand, you know, can count his thirty thousand a-day; but that small mixed takes no end of time. Well, Mr Y——, I feel it my duty to say this to you—hold yourself in readiness to start for headquarters, in charge of treasure, this day week at latest. If I can get you off a day or two earlier, all the better. But the money must be counted; the boxes must be looked to and repaired. And then the mules—why, you'll want sixty at least. Let me see. Nearer eighty, unless I can take part of the silver, and give you doubloons. Well, I'll see old Capsicum in the course of the morning, and ascertain what mules he can let me have. Be here to-morrow at ten, and then I shall be able to tell you more about it."

Delighted to hear once more the name of Capsicum, and doubting whether to call on him, or wait till we met, I was leaving the room to rejoin "my friend" in the street, when Mr Q—— called me back.

"Of course, you know, Mr Y——," said he, "I have no wish to interfere with a fair bargain. Make your own agreement for the pony. I have nothing to say against the party who wishes to sell, and would be the last man to disparage a gentleman attached to any department of the British army. Only I feel it my duty to say this to you—keep your weather-eye open. Good morning."

"My friend" and I walked off together to the stable. His Portuguese servant, Antonio, was in attendance, led out the pony, walked him, trotted him, led him in again. The pony, I thought, was a respectable pony enough; not in bad condition, neither; rather small, though, for a rider six feet high. His legs, supple, well-turned, and slender, were decidedly Spanish. But the barrel, round, bulging, and disproportionably large; the hum-drum, steady, business-like pace; the tail, long, thick, and coarse the drooping neck, the great hairy ears, the heavy head, the lifeless eye, and the dull, unmeaning cast of countenance, betokened rather a Gallic origin. I declined giving an immediate answer as to purchasing. "My[30] friend," with a laugh, said I was quite right; and we walked off together to his billet. "Very dull place, this Passages," said he. "Shall be happy to go with you across the harbour, and show you the market. By the bye, of course, before you leave, you'll take a view of St Sebastian. There stands the poor old town, all knocked to smash, just as it remained after the siege. If you wish to form a conception of the tremendous effect of cannon-balls, ride over by all means. You may get there in less than half-an-hour, upon the pony."

We now reached "my friend's" quarters, which consisted of one long, narrow room, with a couple of windows at the end nearest the street, and a couple of alcoves at the other, each alcove containing a very humble bed. As to the windows, you are not to understand by the term window, bless your heart, anything in the shape of glass, sashes, or window-frame; but simply a stone opening in the stone wall, with nothing to keep out the wind and rain, but a pair of old clumsy shutters, which were far from shutting hermetically. The whole furniture of the apartment consisted of a ship's stove, borrowed from one of the transports in the harbour; a door laid on two trestles, to serve as a table; and, on each side of the said table, a bench. Yet often, when the troops were engaged in active service, such accommodations as ours would have been deemed a luxury; and many a wrangle arose for far worse quarters. I noticed that the trestles and benches, which consisted of rough deal, hastily knocked together, looked new. This "my friend" explained, by informing me that the captain of the transport had lent him his carpenter. Having seen to my baggage, which was all right, and ascertained that we had four hours to dinner, I took the first opportunity of cutting my stick, having inwardly formed my determination to be off at once on foot, and take a view of St Sebastian. Six or seven months had now elapsed since St Sebastian was stormed and taken by the British and Portuguese forces.

Less than an hour's walk brought me to the scene of that fierce, and, for a period, doubtful conflict. The road was closed up by hills, which afforded no opportunity for a prospect; and not a soul did I meet in the whole distance. All at once I came in sight of the battered and demolished fortress. Imagine a town knocked to pieces. Imagine this town suddenly presenting itself to your view. The road unexpectedly opened upon a sandy plain, on which rose a few eminences, called the Chofres, that had afforded a position for some of the breaching batteries of the besiegers; at the extremity of this plain ran the river Urumea, discharging itself into the sea; and on an isthmus, beyond the river, stood St Sebastian. It stood like a city in the desert. All was solitude and desolation. The town, though it had contained many thousand inhabitants, at this moment afforded no visible indication of human residence. It was not forsaken; yet nothing could I discover of the tokens which usually indicate life and activity as we approach the abodes of men—on the road, neither vehicles, nor cattle, nor human beings. I was alone, and the city was solitary. No; here, at my feet, upon the sandy plain, was a memorial, at least, of man and of his doings. A rise in the level had been washed down at its edge by the rains of winter; and, projecting from the crumbling bank, appeared the bleached and ghastly remains of a human being; doubtless one out of the multitudes who, having fallen in the siege, had been consigned to a shallow and hasty grave. I will not deny that the sight arrested my steps. Remember, it was the first victim of war I had ever looked upon. Nay, more; it invested the whole panorama with a new character. I stood, as it were, surveying a vast cemetery, the soil now concealing in its bosom the multitudes who, not long before, had drenched its surface with their blood. Entering the town, I did indeed see before me, as "my friend" had said, "the tremendous effect of cannon-balls." Yet that was not the whole: destruction appeared in a threefold aspect. The batteries had knocked houses and defences into rubbish and dust; the mines had torn up the works from their foundations; and a general conflagration had ravaged the whole town. The scene was sombre[31] and oppressive. War had now advanced his pavilion into other lands; but here had left in charge two vast and hideous sentinels—Desolation and Silence! I passed through some of the principal streets, in which the fallen stones had been piled on each side, to make a thoroughfare; and walked along the ramparts, where some of the dead were still visible, partially covered by fragments of the ruined masonry. No living creature did I encounter, save one, a miserable object, a soldier in the Spanish uniform, apparently an invalid, recovering from wounds or sickness. On my approaching him, he appeared unwilling to speak or be spoken to. Nor is it difficult to explain why a Spaniard, meeting an Englishman on the walls of St Sebastian, should feel little disposed for conversation. And so I visited the place, inspected the fortifications, and returned to Passages, without exchanging a word with any one.

"My friend," in honour of my arrival, had invited a brace of dinner-guests: one, like myself, a clerk of the military chest, the other a young hospital mate. Our dinner was excellent; Irish stew, a Passages hare, and an enormous omelet, all cooked by Antonio; capital draught cider; with the cheese, two bottles of English porter as a particular treat; and Andalusian wine ad libitum.

I must here say a word on the subject of Irish stew. A standing dish at headquarters was that Irish stew. Amongst the followers of the army were a number of youths, Spanish and Portuguese, principally the latter, age from sixteen to twenty, happy, on the small consideration of a few dollars per month, to enter the service of any Senhor Inglez who would hire them. Most of the clerks attached to headquarters had a servant of this description; and as each clerk was entitled to draw double rations, the arrangement was convenient. It was the chief business of this servant, to discharge the two very congenial duties of groom and cook; and no one was eligible to the office who could not make Irish stew. "Well, Pedro, what's for dinner to-day?"—The answer was invariable, "Oirish-too." The ration beef—it was generally beef—was popped into a saucepan with anything else that came to hand—bread, onions, leeks, potatoes if you could get them, and just enough water to cover the whole;—then stewed. Whatever the ingredients, still it was "Oirish-too." Now—perhaps the idea never struck you—the true difference between English and foreign cookery is just this: in preparing butcher's meat for the table, the aim of foreign cookery is to make it tender, of English, to make it hard. And both systems equally effect their object, in spite of difficulties on each side. The butcher's meat, which you buy abroad, is tough, coarse-grained, and stringy; yet foreign cookery sends this meat to table tender. The butcher's meat which you buy in England is tender enough when it comes home; but domestic cookery sends it up hard. Don't tell me the hardness is in the meat itself. Nothing of the kind: it's altogether an achievement of the English cuisine. I appeal to a leg of mutton, I appeal to a beef-steak, as they usually come to table; the beef half-broiled, the mutton half-roasted. Judge for yourself. The underdone portion of each is tender; the portion that's dressed is hard. Argal, the hardness is due to the dressing, not to the meat: it is a triumph of domestic cookery.—Q.E.D. Well; if time was short—say, a meal to be prepared on coming in from a march, the rations not issued till three hours after, and Pedro ordered to "make haste, and get dinner depressa,"—why, then, to appease the wolf in your stomach, the Irish stew was ready in no time—boiled like fury—dished up in half an hour. In that case, you got it in the genuine English style—done in a hurry: the broth watery and thin, the potatoes bullets, and the bouilli shrunk, indurated, screwed up into tough elasticity, by the sudden application of a strong heat, and the potent effect of hard boiling. Engage a "good plain cook"—tell her to boil a neck of mutton—that will show you what I mean. All London necks of mutton come to table crescents—regularly curled. But if, on the contrary, you were in quarters, or the troops halted a day, then you got your Irish stew after the foreign fashion. Breakfast cleared away, your horse is brought[32] to the door, that you may ride a few miles forwards, and take a view of the operations, or ogle Soult through a telescope. Pedro then commences his culinary operations forthwith. The beef—and what-not besides—is whipped into the saucepan; the saucepan is set among the embers upon the hearth: and there it stands—not boiling—scarcely simmering—suppose we say digesting—throughout the forenoon, and till you are ready to eat. Long before dinner, savoury steams announce a normal process of the cuisine, a process both leisurely and effectual. At length, crowned with laurels, and, like all heroes, hungry after fighting, you return from the skirmish in front, having barely escaped a stray cannon-ball that made your horse—oh, didn't it?—spin round like a teetotum. The rich repast awaits you—the whole is turned out, and smokes upon the table—the bouilli is tender, the "jus" appetising and substantial, the tout-ensemble excellent. And if, with an eye to his own interest in the concern, Pedro has slipped in a handful or so of garlic, why, you live all day in the open air—so it doesn't much signify.

Well, so much for Irish stew. We wound up the evening with ship-biscuit and brandy-and-water—ration brandy—French—superb. What an exchange for the horrid agoardente of Lisbon, that excoriated your palate, indurated your gizzard, and burnt a hole in your liver! I happened to mention my morning visit to St Sebastian. All my three companions had seen St Sebastian during the siege—were present at the storming. "Sorry I was not ordered up in time," said I.

"You'll never see anything like that," said the doctor.

"Well, can't you tell me something about it?"

"No, no," replied he; "rather too late for that to-night. I must be moving."

"Come, gentlemen; mix another tumbler round," said "my friend." "If we cannot go into particulars, at least, for the satisfaction of Mr Y——, let us each relate some one incident, which we witnessed when the city was taken by storm. Come, doctor; you shall begin."

"Really," said the doctor, "it was such a scene of slaughter and confusion, I can hardly recollect anything distinctly enough to tell it. I got into the town almost immediately after the troops, to look after the wounded; just those that required to be operated on at once. Found my way into a by-street; came among some of our fellows, who were carrying on such a game, drinking, plundering, firing at the inhabitants, and I don't know what-all besides, I was glad enough to escape with my life, and got out of the place as fast as I could. Don't really remember any particular occurrence to relate. Oh, yes; just as I was coming away, I saw one old woman—beg pardon; ought to have said elderly gentlewoman—pinned to a post with a bayonet, for defending her daughter's virtue."

Well, gentlemen, said "my friend," "I also will relate an incident, connected with that dreadful day. But, first of all, I must show you something. What, would you say, is the value of that, doctor?" He produced a very handsome diamond ring. "Worth fifty dollars at least," said the doctor, holding it to the lamp. "I say, worth it; that is, in the trade. Would sell, in Bond Street, for more than double that price, as they'd set it in London." The doctor, I should mention, was the son of a fashionable watchmaker—bore the sobriquet of Tick.

"Well," continued my friend, "how do you think I became possessed of that ring? Just after the town was carried, I watched a lull in the firing from the castle, and went in over the breach. Only one or two round-shot fell, as I was climbing up. Met there an English sailor, a man-of-war's man, coming along in high good humour, perhaps a little the worse for liquor. He was shouting, laughing, holding up his two hands, as if he wanted me to look at them. The fellow had been plundering; plundering a jeweller's shop. "Now I'm dressed out for a ball," said he, "all for one like a Spanish lady." What d'ye think he had done? All his fingers, both hands, were covered down to the tips with splendid rings, rings set with precious stones, as thick as curtain-rods. Brilliants, rubies, emeralds, amethysts, he had stuck them on, one after the other, till[33] there was no room left. Told him I'd buy them: offered him a dollar for the lot; two dollars; five dollars. 'Avast,' said he, 'I'm a gentleman. Don't want none of your dumps, messmate. Shouldn't mind giving you one, though, for good luck. Here, take this big un.' It was a great ugly Brazilian topaz. 'No, no,' said I; 'give me this little one.' He gave it me; I thanked him; and he walked away, laughing and shouting.—Worth fifty dollars, you say. Is it though, doctor? For forty-five down, you shall have it."

The doctor made no reply; and, for a few seconds, there was a dead silence. "Come, Mr Pagador senior," said he; "I've got three gunshot wounds, an ague, and a dysentery.—Must see them all, before I go to bed. Please to proceed."

"I think," said my fellow-clerk, "our host had a good chance of being shot, when he mounted the breach; for the French, I remember, kept up a fire on all who passed that way, long after it was carried. You're sure you got that ring on the breach, are you?... I, also, had a narrow escape, after I got into the town. I was walking up one of the streets, and passed a wine-shop, where a lot of our fellows were assembled, within and without. A few yards beyond was a corner; another street crossed. Just at the crossing, in the middle of the road, lay an English soldier, dead. There was nothing particular in that; for I had passed several dead before, as I came along. Walking on, I noticed two soldiers looking at me and talking. 'Better tell him, then,' said one of them. 'Tell him yourself,' said the other; 'I shan't tell him. He's only a commissary.' Just before I reached the corner, some one gently laid hold of my arm. I turned round. It was that officer of the engineers—Gabion—yes, Captain Gabion. 'Wouldn't advise you to go beyond the corner,' said he.—'Why not?' said I. 'Don't you see that man lying on the road?' said he.—'Any danger?' said I. 'I'll soon let you see that,' said he: 'have the kindness to lend me your hat.' I gave him my hat—staff-hat—bought it new at Vittoria. He stepped forward, held it out by one end, just poked about half of it beyond the corner. Crack! a rifle-bullet came clean through it. 'The French,' said he, 'still occupy that street. I set a sentry here just now, to keep people from passing on. But he's off; plundering, I suppose, or getting drunk. I'm sorry for your hat, though.' Rum trick, that of Captain Gabion's, I must say. I thought it very unkind. Kept me from getting shot; much obliged to him for that. But spoiled my new staff-hat—cost me ten dollars."

"Yes," said the doctor, "that's just what he is; always up to some practical piece of wit, and grave as a judge. Grave? I should rather say melancholy. Such a fellow for joking, too! Why, he'd crack a joke if a shell was fizzing at his feet. One of the coolest officers in the service."

"Where is Captain Gabion now?" said I.

"Oh, somewhere in advance," said the doctor; "you may be sure of that; somewhere with the troops in the south of France. He and his friend, that major of the artillery, had a narrow escape, though, in the winter. Must needs go paying a morning visit to a French family just this side of St Jean de Luz, before the enemy were driven across the Nivelle. Just escaped a party of them by hard riding. Don't see, though, that your hat, Mr Pagador, is much the worse, merely for being pinked."

"It makes people stare so," said he, "that's all I care about. Looks just exactly as if one had been shot through the head."

"Shouldn't mind giving you my new foraging cap and a dollar for it," said "my friend." Again there was a short silence. It was clear, in fact, that "my friend's" disposition to barter and bargain was not altogether admired.

"Well, gentlemen," said I, "you have all been good enough to tell me something about St Sebastian. Now, I'll tell you something. Did you ever see a dead man swim?"

"I've seen a dead man float," said the doctor; "never saw one swim."

"Well, that's what I saw this morning. And you may see it to-morrow, if you choose to go and look. I'll tell you how it was. The tide was up, and the river Urumea nearly full. I was standing on that part of the[34] rampart, where, as you know, the rubbish dislodged by the springing of the mine is shot down into the bed of the river. In that vast heap, no doubt many of the storming party found a grave, where they still lie buried, under tons upon tons of shattered masonry. In some instances, however, the sufferers were not entirely overwhelmed by the explosion; and their remains are still partly visible, bleached by the sun and wind. The water was perfectly clear; you might see the rocks in the bed of the stream. My eye, measuring the shattered pile on which I was standing, mechanically descended from its summit to its base, which juts out far into the river. Just under water, I noticed something in motion. The appearance attracted my attention. Descending the mound to the water's edge, what do you think I saw? A man half emerging from the fragments, and swimming, yes, swimming beneath the surface, striking out with both hands, as if struggling to get free. So visible was the object, so distinctly I saw every movement, my first impulse was to step down into the water, drag him out from the rubbish before he was drowned, and land him on terra firma. I looked again—he was long past drowning. There he had swum, at high water, every day since the city was stormed, and the mine was sprung. His bones, half bared of flesh, were still held together by the ligaments; the mine, by its explosion, had buried him up to the middle; but from the loins he was free: the play of the waves tossed him to and fro; the water, in its flux and reflux, now caught his arms and spread them out; from his sides to their full extent, now brought them back again:—anybody would have said it was a man swimming. Well, I shall dream of it to-night. I shall again be standing on that breach before daylight; fancy I see the dead man swimming out beneath my feet; and perhaps hear him calling for help under water. Only hope I mayn't fancy it's myself."

"It's curious," said the doctor, "when a fellow first joins, how a thing of that kind strikes him as remarkable. Well, good night all."


There is a class of literature peculiarly American, and unlikely to be rivalled or imitated to any great extent on this side the Atlantic, for which we entertain a strong predilection. It is the literature of the forest and the prairie, of the Indian camp and the backwood settlement, of the trapper's hunting ground, and, we now must add, of the Californian gold mine. It comprises the exploits and narratives of the pioneer in the Far West, and the squatter in Texas; of the military volunteer in Mexico, and the treasure-seeking adventurer on the auriferous shores of the Pacific. In common with millions of Europeans, we have watched, for years past, with wonder, if not always with admiration, the expansive propensities of that singularly restless people, who, few in number, in proportion to their immense extent of territory, and prosperous at home under the government they prefer, yet find themselves cramped and uneasy within their vast limits, and continually, with greater might than right, displace their neighbour's boundary-mark and encroach upon his land. The mode in which this has been done, in a southerly direction, by the settlement of emigrants, who, gradually accumulating, at last dispossess and expel the rightful owner, has been often described and exemplified; and nowhere[35] more graphically than by Charles Sealsfield, in his admirable Cabin Book and Squatter Nathan. The Anglo-German-American, deeply impressed by the virtues of his adopted countrymen, and especially by that intelligence and enterprising spirit which none can deny them, sees merit rather than injustice in the forcible expulsion of the Spaniard's descendants, and makes out the best possible case in defence of the Yankee spoliator. Still, when stripped of factitious colouring and rhetorical adornments, the pith of the argument seems to be that the land is too good for the lazy "greasers," who must incontinently absquatilate, and make way for better men. As for Indians, they are of no account whatever. "Up rifle and at them!" is the word. In utter wantonness they are shot and cut down. Let us hear an American's account of the process.

"When Captain Sutter first settled in California he had much trouble with the Indians, but he adopted, and has pursued steadily from the first, a policy of peace, combined with the requisite firmness and occasional severity. Thus he had obtained all-powerful influence with them, and was enabled to avail himself of their labour for moderate remuneration. Now all was changed: the late emigrants across the mountains, and especially from Oregon, had commenced a war of extermination, shooting them down like wolves—men, women, and children—wherever they could find them. Some of the Indians were undoubtedly bad, and needed punishment, but generally the whites were the aggressors; and, as a matter of course, the Indians retaliated whenever opportunities occurred; and in this way several unarmed or careless Oregonians had become, in turn, their victims. Thus has been renewed in California the war of extermination against the aborigines, commenced in effect at the landing of Columbus, and continued to this day, gradually and surely tending to the utter extinction of the race. And never has this policy proved so injurious to the interests of the whites as in California."—(Sights in the Gold Regions, p. 152-3.)

Mr Johnson illustrates by examples the system he thus condemns, and shows us war-parties of white men issuing forth for razzias upon Indian villages, receiving, as they depart, the valedictory benediction of the patriarch of the settlement, a veteran backwoodsman, well known in the Rocky Mountains as a guide and pioneer, and who, after a long and adventurous career, has at last located himself, with his active, reckless, half-breed sons in the beautiful and romantic valley of the Saw Mill. This bloody-minded old miscreant, John Greenwood by name, boasted of having shot upwards of a hundred Indians—ten of them since his arrival in California—and hoped still to add to the murder-list, although incapacitated by age from distant expeditions. His cabin was the alarm-post where the foragers assembled, and whither, on their return from their errand of blood and rapine, they brought their ill-gotten spoils, the captive squaws, and the still reeking scalps of their victims. With male prisoners they rarely troubled themselves; although, upon one occasion during Mr Johnson's stay in their vicinity, they brought in a number, and shot seven of them in cold blood, because, "being bad-looking and strong warriors," it was believed they had participated in the murder of five English miners, surprised and slain a short time previously. Expeditions of this kind are called "war-parties;" and the propriety of the system of which they form a part is as fiercely and passionately defended by the Americans in California, as is the propriety of slave-holding by the free and enlightened citizens of the southern states of the Union. It were far from prudent to preach emancipation in Florida or Louisiana; at the "diggins" it is decidedly unsafe to call the shooting of Indians by the harsh name of murder. "We saw a young mountaineer, wild with rage, threaten the life of an American who had ventured to suggest that the murders committed by these Indians were provoked by many previous murders of the whites, and that they should not be avenged by indiscriminate slaughter, but by the death of the guilty." The horrible character of the frequent massacres is aggravated by the adoption, on the part of the white savages, of the repugnant and barbarian usages of the unfortunate heathens whom they first provoke and then hunt to the death,[36] by the tearing off of scalps, and suchlike hideous and unchristian abominations. Unfortunately, these scenes of slaughter and atrocity are of constant occurrence, not only in that far-off land where gold is to be had for the gathering, but wherever the white man and the red come in contact. The air of the prairie and backwoods seems fatal to all humane and merciful feelings, and the life of the Indian is held no dearer than that of skunk or buffalo. Mr Parkman tells us of "a young Kentuckian, of the true Kentucky blood, generous, impetuous, and a gentleman withal, who had come out to the mountains with Russel's party of California emigrants. One of his chief objects, as he gave out, was to kill an Indian—an exploit which he afterwards succeeded in achieving, much to the jeopardy of ourselves and others, who had to pass through the country of the dead Pawnee's enraged relatives." No censure is passed upon this generous and gentlemanly young murderer by Mr Parkman, whose book would nevertheless indicate him to be a man of education and humanity, but who is apparently unable to discern any moral wrong in wantonly drilling a hole through the painted hide of a Pawnee. The system of extermination seems practically inseparable from the aggrandisement of American territory at Indian expense. When Mexicans are to be ejected, the process is more humane, or at least less cold-blooded and revolting in its circumstances. But, although the barbarity diminishes, the injustice is as great. By American annexators and propagandists, respect of property may be set down as an Old World prejudice; still it is one by which we are contented to abide; and we cannot see the right of any one to turn a man out of his house because he does not keep it in repair and occupy all the rooms, or to pick a quarrel with him as a pretext for appropriating a choice slice of his garden. A considerable portion of the people of the United States are evidently convinced that they are the instruments of Providence in the civilisation and population of the New World, and look forward to the time as by no means remote when their descendants and form of government shall spread south and north, to the exclusion of British rule and Spanish-American republics, from Greenland to Panama. As a preparatory step, their pioneers are abroad in all directions; and some of them, being handy with the pen as well as with the rifle, jot down their experiences for the encouragement of their countrymen and edification of the foreigner. Before us are three books of the kind completely American in tone and language, and of at least two of which it may safely be affirmed that none but Americans could have written them. In fact they are written in American rather than in English; particularly Mr Johnson's "Sights," of which we can truly say that, but for our intimate acquaintance with the language of the United States, acquired by much study of this particular sort of literature, we should have made our way through it with difficulty without reference to the dictionary, which we presume to exist, of American improvements on the English tongue. The book swarms with Yankeeisms, vulgarisms, and witticisms; the latter of no elevated class, and seldom rising above a very bad pun; notwithstanding which, Sights in the Gold Regions is a very amusing, and, to all appearance, a very honest account of life at the diggings. The other two books are the work, the one of a philosopher in the woods, and the other of a sailor on horseback. Mr Parkman, who, as regards literary skill, is superior to either of the companions we have given him—although his book has less novelty and pungency than either of theirs—left St Louis in the spring of 1846, on a tour of curiosity and amusement to the Rocky Mountains, with the especial object of studying the manners and character of Indians in their primitive state. He has a good eye for scenery and tolerable descriptive powers, and some of the adventures and anecdotes he relates are striking and interesting. But, for a fine specimen of rich rough-spun Yankee narrative, commend us to Lieutenant Wise of the United States navy. There is no mistake about the gallant author of Los Gringos. He makes no more pretence to style or elegance than a boatswain's mate[37] spinning a yarn upon the forecastle. Despising the trammels of orthography and probability, sprinkling his comical English with words from half-a-dozen other languages (often ludicrously distorted), sometimes shrewd, frequently very humorous, invariably good-humoured and vivacious, this rollicking naval officer hoists the reader on his shoulders, and carries him at a canter through his great thick closely-printed New York volume, with infinitely less fatigue to the rider than he himself experienced when, perched upon a Spanish saddle, and armed with a whip "whose lash was like the thongs of a knout," he urged the sorry posters along the road to Mexico's capital. In a few lines of preface, the humorous lieutenant discloses his plan and gives us a glimpse of his quality. "The sketches embodied in this narrative," he says, "were all written on the field of their occurrence: the characters incidentally mentioned are frequently nommes du mer. It is not expected by the author that even the most charitable reader will wholly overlook the careless style and framing of the work, or allow it to pass without censure; nor has it been his object to deal in statistics, or any abstract reflections, but merely to compile a pleasant narrative, such as may perchance please or interest the generality of readers; and in launching the volume on its natural element—the sea of public opinion—the author only indulges in the aspiration, whether the reader be gentle or ungentle, whether the book be praised or condemned, that at least the philanthropy of the publishers may be remunerated, wherein lies all the law and the profits." After which facetious and characteristic preamble, Lieutenant Wise goes on board his frigate; is tugged out of Boston harbour, and sails for Monterey; is alternately buffeted and becalmed; is in danger of stranding on the Dahomey territory and reviles creation accordingly, but ultimately escapes the peril and sets foot on shore at Rio Janeiro, in which pleasant latitude he frequents the coffee-houses, and partakes of mint juleps and other cold institutions; watches the niggers dancing and jabbering their way along the streets, with little fingers affectionately interlaced, and sistling polkas through their closed teeth; and is somewhat scandalised, and yet vastly amused, by the samacueca, a South American polka of much grace but questionable decency, on beholding which he, Lieutenant Wise, being, "as an individual, fond of a taste of cayenne to existence," clapped his hands and vociferously applauded. This eccentric dance, however, was at Valparaiso, we find—not that the fair Brazilians are behind any of their South American sisters in the license they accord their supple forms and twinkling feet. At last, and in the heat of the war between Mexico and the States, Lieutenant Wise reached Monterey, where his ship cast anchor. California had been taken possession of by the Americans, and fighting was going on in the neighbourhood. Before the war, Monterey contained about five hundred inhabitants, but when Mr Wise, arrived, scarcely a native was to be seen. The men were away fighting in the southern provinces, a few women scowled from their dwellings at the gringos (the name given to Anglo-Americans in Mexico and California). Yankee sentinels were posted, knife in girdle, and rifle-lock carefully sheltered from the rain; and persons moving about after dark were greeted at every turn with the challenge—"Look out thar, stranger!" quickly followed by a bullet, if they delayed to shout their name and calling. There was nothing to be had to eat, drink, or smoke, and the general aspect of affairs was cheerless enough. Presently in rode sixty horsemen, gaunt bony woodsmen of the Far West, dressed in skins, with heavy beards and well-appointed rifles, fellows "who wouldn't stick at scalping an Indian or a dinner of mule-meat," and who belonged to the Volunteer Battalion, in which they had enrolled themselves "more by way of recreation than for glory or patriotism." They were not easy to understand, having passed most part of their lives in the Rocky Mountains, a district which has its own peculiar phraseology.

"We soon became quite sociable, and, after a hearty supper of fried beef and biscuit, by some miraculous dispensation a five gallon keg of whisky was uncorked, and, after a thirty days' thirst, our new-found friends slaked away unremittingly.[38] Many were the marvellous adventures narrated of huntings, fightings, freezings, snowings, and starvations; and one stalwart, bronzed trapper beside me, finding an attentive listener, began:—'The last time, captin, I cleared the Oregon trail, the Ingens fowt us amazin' hard. Pete,' said he, addressing a friend smoking a clay pipe by the fire, with a half pint of corn-juice in his hand, which served to moisten his own clay at intervals between every puff—'Pete, do you notice how I dropped the Redskin who put the poisoned arrow in my moccasin! Snakes, captin! the varmints lay thick as leaves behind the rocks; and, bless ye, the minit I let fall old Ginger from my jaw, up they springs, and lets fly their flint-headed arrers in amongst us, and one on 'em wiped me right through the leg. I tell yer what it is, hoss, I riled, I did, though we'd had tolerable luck in the forenoon;—for I dropped two and a squaw, and Pete got his good six—barrin' that the darned villains had hamstrung our mule, and we were bound to see the thing out. Well, captin, as I tell ye, I'm not weak in the jints, but it's no joke to hold the heft of twenty-three pounds on a sight for above ten minits on a stretch; so Pete and me scrouched down, made a little smoke with some sticks, and then we moved off, a few rods, whar we got a clar peep. For better than an hour we see'd nothin'; but on a suddin I see'd the chap—I know'd him by his paintin'—that driv the arrer in my hide: he was peerin' round quite bold, thinkin' we'd vamosed; I jist fetched old Ginger up and drawed a bee line on his cratch, and, stranger, I giv him sich a winch in the stomach that he dropped straight into his tracks: he did! In five jumps I riz his har, and Pete and me warn't troubled again for a week.'"

After two months passed at Monterey, the American squadron assembled and a new commodore arrived, whereupon Lieut. Wise's captain was not sorry to be allowed to lift his anchors, and avoid playing second fiddle to the new commander-in-chief by transferring his pennant to the waters of the San Francisco. On the way thither his lieutenant treats us to some yarns of extraordinary toughness. Speaking of the lasso, in the use of which the Californians are particularly skilful—catching a bull by the tail and making him fling a somerset over his horns, or dragging a grizzly bear for miles to the baiting place—he calls to mind having once seen a troop of horses "at General Rosas' quinta, near Buenos Ayres, trained to run like hares, with fore and hind legs lashed together by thongs of hide: it was undertaken to preserve the animals from being thrown by the Indian bolas, and the riders, as a consequence, lanced to death. But I was far more amused one afternoon, when passing a fandango, near Monterey, to see a drunken cattle-driver, mounted on a restive, plunging beast, hold at arm's length a tray of glasses, brimming with aguardiente, which he politely offered to everybody within reach of his curvettings, without ever once spilling a drop." These marvellous feats are nothing, however, compared to the cannibal exploits of some unfortunate emigrants, who, having loitered on their way, were overtaken by the snow in the Californian mountains, and compelled to encamp for the winter. Their provisions and cattle consumed, even to the last horse hide, famine and insanity ensued. Those who starved to death were eaten by the survivors, whose appetites, if we may believe Mr Wise, were quite prodigious. A Dutchman, he gravely assures us, actually ate a full-grown body in thirty-six hours; and another boiled and devoured, in a single night, a child, nine years of age. We cannot venture to extract the revolting details that follow. The lieutenant's facetiousness upon this horrible subject is rather ghastly; and the particulars supplied by a young Spaniard, who "ate a baby," are abominable in the extreme, although possibly true. At least Mr Wise assures us he had them from the lad's own lips. And, whilst his strength lasted, poor Baptiste was drudge to the whole party, doing his duty well, fetching fuel and water, until at last, as he told Mr Wise, "very hungry, sir; eat anything."

On the wild and dreary track from the States to California, frightful disasters occur to caravans of emigrants, which, encumbered with women and children, and sometimes under incompetent leaders, lose precious time by the way, and are caught and crushed by the terrible winter of those desolate regions. Journeying near the Sacramento, Mr Johnson came upon the house of "old Keysburg the cannibal, who revelled in the awful feast[39] on human flesh and blood, during the sufferings of a party of emigrants near the pass of the Sierra Nevada, in the winter of 1847. It is said that the taste which Keysburg then acquired has not left him, and that he often declares, with evident gusto, 'I would like to eat a piece of you;' and several have sworn to shoot him, if he ventures on such fond declarations to them. We therefore looked upon the den of this wild beast in human form with a good deal of disgusted curiosity, and kept our bowie-knives handy for a slice of him if necessary."

Sailor though he is, Mr Wise troubles his reader very little with nautical matters. During a few weeks he was a good deal afloat, having succeeded to the command of the Rosita, a forty ton schooner, with a crew of fifteen sailors, a small boy, and a mulatto cook, who had once been "head bottle-washer of a Liverpool liner, with glass nubs on de cabin doors;" but otherwise most of his time seems to have been spent on shore, riding, shooting, dancing, and love-making, doing military duty in garrison at Mazatlan, throwing up fortifications, and surprising parties of Mexicans, whose fear of the Gringos was most intense and ludicrous. In their civil wars, and when contending with the Spaniards for their independence, the Mexicans have occasionally fought doggedly, although never skilfully; but when opposed to combatants of the Anglo-Saxon race, they have invariably shown themselves arrant cowards. Although the soldiers of the States have even less military discipline than those of Mexico, the bodily strength, skill with the rifle, intrepidity, and self-reliance of the former, would render them formidable opponents even to well-drilled European troops. As to the Mexicans, no matter how great the numerical odds in their favour, they never could or would stand against the hardy Yankee volunteers. In the summer of 1846, Mr Parkman met, upon the wild and lonely banks of the Upper Arkansas, Price's Missouri regiment, on its way to Santa Fé.

"No men ever embarked upon a military expedition with a greater love for the work before them than the Missourians; but if discipline and subordination be the criterion of merit, these soldiers were worthless indeed. Yet when their exploits have rung through all America, it would be absurd to deny that they were excellent irregular troops. Their victories were gained in the teeth of every established precedent of warfare; they were owing to a singular combination of military qualities in the men themselves. Without discipline or a spirit of subordination, they knew how to keep their ranks, and act as one man. Doniphan's regiment marched through New Mexico more like a band of Free Companions than like the paid soldiers of a modern government. When General Taylor complimented Doniphan on his success at Sacramento and elsewhere, the colonel's reply very well illustrates the relations which subsisted between the officers and men of his command. 'I don't know anything of the manœuvres. The boys kept coming to me to let them charge; and when I saw a good opportunity, I told them they might go. They were off like a shot, and that's all I know about it.'

"The backwoods lawyer was better fitted to conciliate the good-will than to command the obedience of his men. There were many serving under him, who both from character and education, could better have held command than he. At the battle of Sacramento, his frontiersmen fought under every possible disadvantage. The Mexicans had chosen their own position; they were drawn up across the valley that led to their native city of Chihuahua; their whole front was covered by intrenchments, and defended by batteries of heavy cannon; they outnumbered the invaders five to one. An eagle flew over the Americans, and a deep murmur rose along their lines. The enemy's batteries opened; long they remained under fire, but when at length the word was given, they shouted and ran forward. In one of the divisions, when midway to the enemy, a drunken officer ordered a halt; the exasperated men hesitated to obey. 'Forward, boys!' cried a private from the ranks; and the Americans, rushing like tigers upon the enemy, bounded over the breastwork. Four hundred Mexicans were slain upon the spot, and the rest fled, scattering over the plain like sheep. The standards, cannon, and baggage were taken, and among the rest a waggon laden with cords, which the Mexicans, in the fulness of their confidence, had made ready for tying the American prisoners."

A curious picture of military undiscipline—of egregious cowardice on[40] the one hand, and fortunate audacity on the other. It is evident that the Doniphan mode of carrying on the war—consulting the men's pleasure, with officers drunk before the enemy, and privates giving the word of command—however successful it may prove against the wretched Mexicans, or in mountain and guerilla warfare, would never answer in the open field against a regular and skilfully commanded army. The question, then, follows,—How far could these staunch and gallant American riflemen be trained to the strict discipline and military exercises and manœuvres essential to the efficiency of large bodies of troops, without impairing the very qualities, the feelings of independent action and self-reliance, which render them so valuable as irregular warriors? This inquiry, however, is not worth pursuing; for we suppose there is little chance of Uncle Sam meddling in European quarrels, and sincerely trust he will so curb his annexing mania as to avoid all risk of European armaments encountering him in his own hemisphere. Touching these Missourian volunteers, however, Mr Parkman's account of their appearance, and of his interview with them, is most graphic and characteristic. One forenoon he and his companion, Mr Shaw, turned aside to the river bank, half-a-mile from the trail, to get water and rest. They put up a kind of awning, and whilst seated under it upon their buffalo robes, and smoking, they saw a dark body of horsemen approaching.

"'We are going to catch it now,' said Shaw: 'look at those fellows; there'll be no peace for us here.' And, in good truth, about half the volunteers had straggled away from the line of march, and were riding over the meadow towards us.

"'How are you?' said the first who came up, alighting from his horse, and throwing himself upon the ground. The rest followed close, and a score of them soon gathered about us, some lying at full length, and some sitting on horseback. They all belonged to a company raised in St Louis. There were some ruffian faces among them, and some haggard with debauchery; but, on the whole, they were extremely good-looking men, superior beyond measure to the ordinary rank and file of an army. Except that they were booted to the knees, they wore their belts and military trappings over the ordinary dress of citizens. Besides their swords and holster pistols, they carried, slung from their saddles, the excellent Springfield carbines, loaded at the breech. They inquired the character of our party, and were anxious to know the prospect of killing buffalo, and the chance that their horses would stand the journey to Santa Fé. All this was well enough, but a moment after a worse visitation came upon us.

"'How are you, strangers? Whar are you going, and whar are you from?' said a fellow, who came trotting up with an old straw hat on his head. He was dressed in the coarsest brown homespun cloth. His face was rather sallow, from fever and ague, and his tall figure, although strong and sinewy, was quite thin, and had, besides, an angular look, which, together with his boorish seat on horseback, gave him an appearance anything but graceful. Plenty more of the same stamp were close behind him. Their company was raised in one of the frontier counties, and we soon had abundant evidence of their rustic breeding: dozens of them came crowding round, pushing between our first visitors, and staring at us with unabashed faces.

"'Are you the captain?' asked one fellow.

"'What's your business out here?' inquired another.

"'Whar do you live when you're at home?' said a third.

"'I reckon you're traders,' surmised a fourth; and, to crown the whole, one of them came confidently to my side, and inquired, in a low voice, 'What is your partner's name?'

"As each new comer repeated the same questions, the nuisance became intolerable. Our military visitors were soon disgusted at the concise nature of our replies, and we could overhear them muttering curses against us. Presently, to our amazement, we saw a large cannon with four horses come lumbering up behind the crowd; and the driver, who was perched on one of the animals, stretching his neck so as to look over the rest of the men, called out,—

"'Whar are you from, and what's your business?'

"The captain of one of the companies was amongst our visitors, drawn by the same curiosity that had attracted his men.

"'Well, men,' said he at last, lazily rising from the ground where he had been lounging, 'it's getting late; I reckon we had better be moving.'


"'I shan't start yet, anyhow,' said one fellow, who lay half asleep, with his head resting on his arm.

"'Don't be in a hurry, captain,' added the lieutenant.

"'Well, have it your own way, we'll wait awhile longer,' replied the obsequious commander.

"At length, however, our visitors went straggling away as they had come, and we, to our great relief, were left alone again."

A most mirth-provoking specimen of American character. But we must return to our friend and favourite, Lieutenant Wise, who is truly a Yankee Crichton in a pea-jacket. Besides his nautical skill, and the lingual accomplishments already adverted to, he is a Nimrod in the hunting-field, a Centaur on horseback, a Vestris in the mazes of the dance. Lovers of wild sports in the West will luxuriate in his descriptions of hunting exploits, of his combats with grizzly bears fourteen hundred pounds weight, and his chase of an antelope whose fore-leg he had nearly severed from its shoulder with a rifle bullet, but which still managed to run four leagues, the wounded member "traversing round in its flight like a wheel," before receiving its death-wound. Unable to extract a tithe of the passages that tempt us, we hurry on to his departure for the Mexican capital, whither he was sent early in the month of May, as bearer of a despatch, and in company with a Mexican officer, with whom the lieutenant was at first disposed to be most friendly and sociable, but who forfeited his esteem by the cool proposal of a plan to cheat the government, and whom he soon managed to leave behind—no difficult matter, for the Mexican was cumbered with portmanteau and sumpter mule, whereas the Yankee's sole baggage, as he himself informs us, consisted of two shirts and a toothbrush. Thus lightly equipped, his pace was very rapid; not so much so, however, as to prevent his noting down all that occurred by the way. After La Barca and Ruxton, it is a difficult task to give novelty to an account of Mexican travel and peculiarities. Mr Wise has surmounted the difficulty; and so great is the freshness and originality of his narrative, that we read it with as much zest and enjoyment as if it were the first instead of the twentieth book relating to Mexico which we have perused within the last few years. His anecdotes are most racy and piquant; his sketches of Mexican women, officers, leperos, and of his own countrymen in Mexico, are taken from the life with a truthful and vivid pencil. With the class of leperos he had already made acquaintance on the threshold of the country. Turning, one day, into a bowling alley at Mazatlan, with the officers of a British frigate, he gave a fine horse to hold to one of those Mexican mendicants. The fellow's hatred of the gringos was stronger than his love of gain; for no sooner was he left alone than he drew a pistol from the holsters, shot the horse, and ran for his life, which certainly would not have been worth a maravedi had he tarried for the arrival of the enraged lieutenant. "Oh, Mr Smithers!" exclaims the disconsolate mariner thus cruelly dismounted—"Oh, Mr Smithers! you keep a good ten-pin alley, sing a good song, and your wife prepares good chocolate; you are, together, good fellows; but you should never, O Smithers! transform your establishment into a knacker's yard. And you, my cruel lepero! had I ever got a sight of you along that weapon you handled so well—ah! I wellnigh wept for sorrow that night, and did not recover my spirits for a fortnight." The leperos, we need hardly explain, are the pest of Mexico—ragged, dirty, often disgusting with disease or deformity, born idlers, beggars, and thieves—in the latter capacity so especially skilful, that Mr Wise inclines to the belief that a man, standing open-mouthed in a crowd of them, could hardly escape having the gold picked from his molars. They reaped a rich harvest at the time of the American invasion. It was a case of "nos amis les ennemis." The conquerors were preyed upon by the conquered. Iron bars were unavailing against the cunning rogues. "One evening some expert practitioner contrived to entice a valuable pair of pistols, clothing, and other articles, from my table in the centre of a large apartment, by introducing[42] a pole and hook through the iron grille of the window; and the same night, my friend Molinero was robbed of his bed-clothes, while sleeping, by the same enterprising method." By a strange tolerance, these leperos are admitted everywhere; and in the splendid coffee and gambling houses of the large cities, they are found rubbing their filthy rags against officers' embroideries and the fine broadcloth of wealthy burgesses. At Guanaxato, Mr Wise gives a lively description of a scene of this kind in the handsome saloons of the Gran Sociedad, recalling to our memory, though at a long interval, some striking pages of the first volume of Sealsfield's gorgeous Mexican romance, Der Virey and die Aristocraten. The lepero's chief pastimes are thieving, sleeping, and gambling for copper coins. By way of variety, he occasionally gets up a mortal combat. We think the following the best account of a knife-duel we ever read:—

"A lepero was purchasing a bit of chocolate; it fell in the dirt, when another, probably thinking it a lawful prize, seized it and took a large bite; whereupon the lawful owner swung a mass of heavy steel spurs attached to his wrist, jingling, with some force, on the offender's head. In a second down dropped the spurs, and serapas (a kind of blanket) were wound round the left arms. With low deep curses and flashing eyes, their knives gleamed in the light; the spectators cleared a ring, and to work they went. I sprang upon a stone pillar to be out of harm's way, and thus had a clear view of the fray. Their blades were very unequally matched: one was at least eight inches, and the other not half that measurement; but both appeared adepts at the game, watching each other like wild cats, ready for a spring—moving cautiously to and fro, making feints by the shielded arm, or stamp of the foot, for a minute or two; when, quick as a flash, I saw two rapid passes made by both: blood spirted from an ugly wound in the spur-vender's throat, but at the same moment his short weapon sealed the doom of his antagonist, and he lay upon the ground, lifeless as the bloody steel that struck him. I glanced at the wounds after the affair had terminated, and found the knife had been plunged twice directly in the region of the heart. There was no effort or attempt made by the beholders to arrest the parties; and the survivor caught up his spurs—a bystander quickly folded a handsome kerchief to his neck—and threading the crowd he was soon out of sight. The corpse was laid upon a liquor-stand, with a delf platter upon the breast."

The Mexican capital was not a little Americanised at the period of Mr Wise's visit. The account he gives of the state of affairs there, is not very creditable to the morals and tastes of the victorious volunteers; and he expresses a natural doubt whether the scenes there enacted will have been beneficial to the thousands of young men whom the war had called to Mexico. The great hotels and coffee-houses were all under Yankee dominion, with Yankee ice, and drinks, signs, manners, customs, and habits, "as if the city had been from time immemorial Yankeefied all over, instead of being only occupied a short twelvemonth by the troops." Debauchery of every kind was rife, but gambling was the vice that took the strongest hold. In the large tavern or restauration, where Mr Wise usually dined, in every nook from hall to attic, with the exception of the eating-room, in the corridors and on the landing-places, gaming-tables were displayed.

"Such a condensed essence of worldly hell, in all its glaring, disgusting frightfulness, never existed. And there never was lack of players either—no! not a table but was closely surrounded by officers and soldiers—blacklegs and villains of all sorts—betting uncommonly high, too—many of the banks having sixty and eighty thousand dollars in gold alone on the tables—and once I saw a common soldier stake and win two hundred ounces at a single bet. Other saloons were filled with Mexican girls, with music and dancing, attended by every species of vice, all going on unceasingly, day and night together."

This is an American's account. Of course most of this lavish expenditure and gambled gold had their origin in the plunder of Mexico. Indeed, Lieutenant Wise does not mince the matter at all, but informs us how he himself, after a night-excursion in the vicinity of Mazatlan, returned laden with spoil, and felt such an itching to search people's pockets that he made no doubt of soon becoming as good a freebooter as ever drew sword. He[43] was then, however, but a novice in the science of pillage, for he afterwards learned that a saddle, which he had appropriated, contained six golden ounces, whereby the saddler, to whom he intrusted it for renovation, was much benefited. When an officer holding the United States commission saw nothing derogatory in plunder, there can be no doubt of the rapacity of the dissipated and reckless desperadoes of which the American expeditionary force was notoriously in part composed. And in an army where discipline was lax, and a spirit of anti-military equality prevailed amongst officers and men, the contagion would rapidly spread. Doubtless this was an aggravating cause of Mexican hatred to the Gringos. Nevertheless, when the fighting was over, kindness and attention were shown to the invaders, and some of the Mexican officers appear to have been thrashed into a most affectionate regard for their conquerors. One fine fellow, a colonel of cavalry, all gold and glitter, with richly chased sabre scabbard, and spurs of a dazzling burnish, insisted upon giving a breakfast to a large party of American officers. There were a number of Mexican militaires present, all decorated, some with emblems of battles in which they had been defeated; and as the repast was in some degree public, (being held in a large billiard-room,) a number of casual observers assembled round the table, and helped to drink the numerous toasts, pocketing their glasses after each, to be ready for the next. The banquet began with a bumper of brandy, by way of whet; a most miscellaneous collection of edibles was then placed upon the board, and claret and sherry circulated rapidly to the health and memory of a host of living and dead generals, both Mexican and American, beginning with Washington and Hidalgo, and gradually arriving at Santa Anna and "Skote," (Scott,) for which last-named pair of warriors Mr Wise estimates that at least eighty or ninety cheers were given. The Mexicans, habitually temperate, got exceedingly drunk, and, like most southerns when in that state, furiously excited; the chief characteristics of their intoxication being unbounded affection for their guests, and admiration of their own prowess.

"Our gallant host, in a few disjointed observations, assured us that he was not only brave himself, and loved bravery in others, but that his horse was brave, and had been wounded in divers battles. 'Io soy valiente!' said the fierce colonel, pounding the orders on his capacious breast, and forthwith proclaimed to the audience his intention to pay for everything that anybody could possibly eat or drink for a fortnight; and, seizing me by the arms, he impressively remarked that I was the most intimate friend he ever had except his wife, and requested me to throw his huge shako up to the ceiling, solely for amistad, and for the good-fellowship of the thing—which I instantly did, and made the bearskin and golden plates ring against the rafters. Thereupon he called for more wine, and desired all who loved him to break a few glasses, commencing himself with a couple of decanters."

At which period of the action the landlord cut off the supplies of liquor, anticipating, doubtless, the entire demolition of his establishment; and the revellers got to horse, and went for a turn in the Alameda, then thronged by all the fashion of Queretaro, in which city these jovial proceedings occurred. After galloping round the promenade, at a pace that terrified the natives, Lieutenant Wise ran a "jouist," as he calls it, with one of his Mexican friends, who was still under the influence of his unwonted libations.

"In true Californian style, he shook his bridle, gave spur, and came leaping like a flash towards me. I was no novice at the sport, and, touching one of the finest horses in the army with my heel, the gallant sorrel sprang forward to meet him. We met in full career; my charger stood like the great pyramid, but the shock rolled my antagonist into the street. I should in courtesy have got down from the saddle to his assistance, but, reflecting that without a ladder I never should be able to get on my high steed again, I remained quiet. Being a sailor, I gained great reputation by this feat, and gave an entertainment on the strength of it."

Surely there never was a jollier fellow than Lieutenant Wise of the United States navy. A rare good companion he must be, a real bonus[44] socius across a julep, a very storehouse of fun, frolic, and adventure. So well do we like his society, that we are only sorry we cannot at present accompany him further on his rambles, or return with him to Mazatlan, where he arrived at a flying gallop, after a ride of 2500 miles on horseback—the last 112 leagues in fifty-three hours, (said to be the quickest trip on record,) to be received by a host of friends, and by a Yankee band playing, "Hail, Columbia!" and sail with him to Polynesia, and revisit Valparaiso and Lima, and many other places, in all of which he manages heartily to amuse both himself and his reader, till he finally drops anchor in the waters of the Chesapeake, arriving, with equal satisfaction to both parties, at the end of 450 pages, and 55,000 miles. His book richly deserves an independent notice; but as we started by associating it with others, we are compelled to lay it aside, whilst we visit the glittering coast of California, in company with Mr Theodore Johnson, who arrived on the 1st of April 1849 in Sancelito Bay, and proceeded forthwith to look for the city of the same name, whose wide and elegant streets he had frequently traced upon the map. After some search, he found the city. "It consisted of one board-shed and one tent, holding on to the hill-side like a woodpecker against a tree." Thus was his first illusion dissipated. A few other Californian castles were speedily to crumble. "The latitude of Richmond, and climate of Italy, the gold of Ophir, the silver, red wood and cedar of Solomon's temple, the lovely valley of the Sacramento, the vineyards of France, indigo of Hindostan, and wheat of America, golden rocks, and rivers flowing over the same metal," such were a few of the bright promises that had lured him, "in company with thousands of his go-ahead countrymen," to the Eldorado of the Pacific. These were the things he expected; let us collect, from his first week's experience in California, those that he really found. Ugly barren hills, a miserable sandy-clay soil, producing a weed which a starving jackass will scorn, and a fine dust, against which the most impenetrable eyelids are not proof, a repulsive and disagreeable climate in the month of April, (growing worse as the summer advances,) the extremes of heat and cold following each other in constant succession, water often extremely scarce, and impregnated with quicksilver, platina, and other minerals, killing the fish, and giving Christians the Sacramento fever, "a slow, continual fever, which men go about with for months; but in its more violent forms soon mortal, always affecting the brain, and, in case of recovery, leaving the mind impaired. The lung fever and rheumatism are brought on by working in the cold water, and stooping continually under the burning sun." The scurvy, too, was prevalent, from the use of salt provisions, for none could find time to procure fresh ones, to hunt or tend cattle; and if they did leave their eternal digging for such pursuits, the prices they expected were preposterous. Wild cattle and game are plenty in the valley of the Sacramento and adjacent mountains, but in California the hours are truly golden, and not to be wasted on kitchen considerations; to say nothing of the hardship of driving wild oxen or carrying a gun across a rugged country with the thermometer at 109° to 112° in the shade—the usual temperature in June and July, and one fully justifying the derivation of the name California from two Spanish words signifying a hot oven, caliente horno. "The thermometer stood at 90° Fahrenheit, at noon, in the shade of Culloma valley, on the 16th of April; and at night we slept cold in our tent with our clothing on, and provided with abundant blankets." With such a climate, and with no grass in the mountains fit to sustain them, it is no wonder that the best pack-horses can carry but one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds weight across the mountains, and frequently fall down and die if overladen. At the time referred to—that is to say, in the month of April last—Mr Johnson "continually saw old miners departing for the cañons[6] of the middle and north Forks, with one month's supply of[45] provisions, consisting of seventy-five lb. of pork and seventy-five lb. of pilot bread, for which they paid respectively at the rates of one hundred and fifty and one hundred and twenty dollars per hundred pounds! Now, although the prices of these articles were rapidly declining on the sea-board, by reason of the immense importation, yet the price of fresh beef was twenty-five dollars per hundred pounds in San Francisco, and must farther enhance there, the supply then being quite insufficient. Fresh provisions will therefore be consumed at the seaport and trading towns, and not in the mining region. The humbug of preserved meats was already exploded, great quantities having been spoiled." All this was very different from the promised vineyards and corn-fields; and Mr Johnson, who had not come to California to feed on salt junk at six shillings a pound, and to drink mercurial water, began to wish himself back again almost as soon as arrived.

In countries where a large majority of the men are content to give, year after year, their skill, energy, and time, in exchange for a few hundred pieces of gold, or even of silver, the reports of a land where the most precious of these metals turns up under the ploughshare, abounds in the rivers, mingles with the highway-dust, and is picked from the bricks of the houses, are naturally at first received with doubt and misgiving, and suspected of exaggeration, if not condemned as fiction. We confess, for our part, that we attached little weight to the first accounts of Californian marvels, and that long after the wise men of the East had begun to debate, in the shadow of the grasshopper, the possible effect upon the currency of the anticipated influx of the produce of the diggings, we still were sceptics as to the magnitude of the newly-found treasure. But even those who gave readiest credence to the tale of wonder, could hardly, we should have thought, have expected that the ingots were to be gathered without trouble or pain beyond that of performing a long journey and filling a big bag. Evidently this was Mr Johnson's notion, and that of not a few others of his sanguine countrymen, "who left their homes and families, and the decencies of civilisation, with the expectation of acquiring an adequate competency by the efforts of a single year." At what figure Mr Johnson rates an "adequate competency" we know not; but it is evident he expected to be placed on pretty nearly the same footing as those Oriental princes who, after wandering through the desert to the enchanted gardens, had the free pick of trees whose fruits were diamonds and rubies. The real state of affairs proved very different. A few persons, dwellers in California when the golden richness of the soil was first discovered in 1848,[7] may have made large fortunes on easy terms, by being[46] early in the field, and through barter with the Indians, who (before they were frightened and soured by the shooting and scalping practices of the Oregonians and others) were willing enough to labour and trade, and to give gold-dust weight for weight for glass beads and other baubles. We read of one man, a western farmer, owner and occupier of a loghouse, known as the Blue Tent, who arrived in California before the gold discoveries, treated the Indians well, learned their language, employed them to dig, and realised, it is said, two hundred thousand dollars. Another old settler, we are told, accumulated, in the season of 1848, also by help of the Indians, nearly two bushels of gold-dust. Our arithmetic is not equal to the reduction of this into pounds sterling, but at a rough estimate we should take it to represent a very pleasing sum—possibly the competency Mr Johnson aspired to. But those palmy days of gold-gathering have fled, violently driven away; the Indians, welcomed with bullets instead of beads, will work no more, and every man must dig for himself. And so did Mr Johnson—but only for a very short time, and with no very prosperous result. The gold fever, under whose influence he and his companions started for the diggings, was still burning in their veins when, on the second day after leaving San Francisco, they halted for the night on the river bank, and one of them, "thrusting his bowie-knife into the ground, revealed innumerable shining yellow particles, immediately announced gold discoveries on the Sacramento, and claimed the placer." But it was mica, not gold. They had much further to go, and worse to fare, before reaching the right metal. It was the interest of the United States' government and of certain speculators to tempt emigrants to the distant territory on the shore of the Pacific; and accordingly, says Mr Johnson, "the wonders of the gold region were trumpeted to the world, with unabating, but by no means unforeseeing zeal. Glowing accounts were sent to the United States of the result of all the most successful efforts in the mines. To these were added a delicious climate and wonderful agricultural fertility. The inaccessibility of the placeres, the diseases, the hardships, &c. &c., were quite forgotten or omitted." And thus a certain number of ambitious young men, (many of them wholly unfitted, by their previous mode of life for roughing it in a new country,) were lured from their comfortable homes in New York and elsewhere, in the confident expectation that, on arriving in California, they would ascend beauteous rivers in commodious ships, sleep on board at night, and pleasantly pass a few hours of each day in collecting the wealth that lay strewn upon the shore. Such is the account given of the matter by poor Johnson, who denounces the journey across the mountainous and roadless country as most toilsome, and the whole adventure as disappointing and unsatisfactory. At last he and his companions reached the lower bar[8] on the south fork of American River, shouldered shovels, buckets, and washing-machine, and applied themselves to the task.

"The scene presented to us was new indeed, and not more extraordinary than impressive. Some, with long-handled shovels, delved among clumps of bushes, or by the side of large rocks, never raising their eyes for an instant; others, with pick and shovel, worked among stone and gravel, or with trowels searched under banks and roots of trees, where, if rewarded with small lumps of gold, the eye shone brighter for an instant, when the search was immediately and more ardently resumed. At the edge of the stream, or knee-deep and waist-deep in water, as cold as melted ice and snow could make it, some were washing gold with tin pans,[47] or the common cradle-rocker, while the rays of the sun poured down on their heads with an intensity exceeding any thing we ever experienced at home, though it was but the middle of April. The thirst for gold and the labour of acquisition overruled all else, and totally absorbed every faculty. Complete silence reigned among the miners: they addressed not a word to each other, and seemed averse to all conversation."

After digging and washing twenty bucketfuls of earth, Mr Johnson's party had obtained but four dollars' worth of gold. At noon, the sun's heat being intolerable, they knocked off from work; not much encouraged by the result. This, however, they admit, was a poor digging, the stream being yet too high, and the bar not sufficiently exposed—to say nothing of their being novices at the work. They persisted little, however: another trial was made with no better result; and, in short, a week's effort and observation sickened them of a toil so far less lucrative than they had anticipated. Two of the party (Mr Johnson was one of them) resolved to return to San Francisco till the healthier season of winter; a third, having some goods, took to trading; the fourth and last, a hardy little down-easter from Maine, stuck to the diggings.

By this time, we are not entirely dependent on American books or newspaper correspondence for intelligence from the Californian mines. Some portion of the gold that has come to this country has been brought by the finders; and only the other day, a party of them reached England, having left the diggings as lately as the beginning of October. The details obtained from these men, who are of various European countries, confirm, in all important particulars, the statements of Mr Johnson, with merely the difference of tint imparted by failure and success. Either easily discouraged or physically unequal to encounter the hardships inseparable from the search for and extraction of the gold, Mr Johnson, disappointed in his sanguine expectations, makes a sombre report of the speculation; whereas these more persevering and prosperous miners, having safely returned to Europe, their pockets full of "chunks," scales and dust of the most undeniable purity and excellence, naturally give a more rose-coloured view of the enterprise. They admit, however, (to use the words of one of them,) that "it takes a smart lad to do good in California," and that it is useless for any one to go thither unless prepared to rough it, in the fullest sense of the word. At first, they inform us the amount of theft and outrage was very great; but summary and severe punishment checked this. Mr Johnson deplores the existence of Lynch-law. It really appears to us that California is the very place where such a system is not only justifiable, but indispensable. One miner stated that he belonged to a band or club, thirty in number, who threw together all the gold they found, and shared alike; sharp penalties being denounced against any member of the society who attempted to divert his findings from the common stock. The amount obtained by each member of this joint-stock company during the season of eight or nine months was equivalent to thirteen or fourteen hundred pounds sterling. Not quite the "adequate competency" anticipated by Mr Theodore T. Johnson, but still a very pretty gain for men, most of whom would probably have found it impossible, in any other way, and in the same time, to earn a tithe of the amount. More than one of them proposed, after depositing his treasure safely in Europe, to augment it by a second trip to the gold region; and held the time occupied by the voyage to and fro as little loss, digging being impeded by the winter snows. The winter of 1848-9 was very severe, the snow lying four feet deep on the mountains, and having fallen even on the coast; a circumstance unprecedented in California, whose Spanish and Indian inhabitants attributed the disagreeable phenomenon to the American intruders. Notwithstanding this unwonted rigour, however, we learn from Mr Johnson that "large numbers of hardy and industrious Oregonians spent the last winter in the mines of California, generally with success commensurate with their perseverance, prudence, and sobriety." The lumps of gold, according to the account of the miners already referred[48] to, (and which tallies exactly in this particular with Mr Johnson's statement) are found in what are called the dry diggings, in the red sandy clay of the ravines on the mountain sides; whilst the dust and scales are obtained by washing the earth and sand from the rivers. Lumps of pure gold, with a greater or less admixture of quartz, are also found in the crevices of a white-veined rock.

Whilst denouncing the expense of health and labour at which the Californian gold is obtained, Mr Johnson admits the vast quantity of the metal that has been and still is being collected. In town, fort, and settlement,—in every place, in short, where a score or two of men were congregated, he beheld astonishing evidence of its abundance. "Quarts of the dust or scale gold were to be seen on the tables or counters, or in the safes of all classes of men; and although the form of small scales was most common, yet pieces or lumps of a quarter to three ounces were to be seen everywhere; and among several chunks one was shown us by C. L. Ross, Esq., weighing eighty-one ounces. This was solid pure gold with only the appearance of a little quartz in it." In one day he saw bushels of gold, most of it too pure for jewellery or coin, without alloy. Although the price of the metal was maintained at sixteen dollars per ounce, its depreciation in comparison with labour and merchandise was enormous; and in the mines, during the winter of 1848, "a good deal of gold was sold for three or four dollars the ounce." Carpenters and blacksmiths received an ounce a-day. Lumber was at six hundred dollars per thousand feet. A lot of land, purchased two years previously for a cask of brandy, fetched eighteen thousand dollars. At a French café, a cup of coffee, bit of ham, and two eggs, cost three dollars, or 12s. 6d. A host of details of this kind are added, most of which have already been given in the American and English newspapers. Captain Sutter's saw-mill was earning a thousand dollars a-day. At the Stanislaus diggings, in the winter of 1848-9, a box of raisins, greatly needed for the cure of scurvy, then raging there without remedy, sold for its weight in gold dust, or four thousand dollars! Reckless expenditure is the natural consequence of easily-acquired wealth. The diggers, after a brief period of severe labour, would come into town for what they called "a burst," and scatter their gold dust and ingots like sand and pebbles, keeping "upon the ball" for three or four days and nights, or even for a week together, drinking brandy at eight and champagne at sixteen dollars the bottle, often getting helplessly drunk and losing the whole of their gains. One fellow, during a three days' drunken fit, got rid of sixteen thousand dollars in gold. Two hopeful youths, known as Bill and Gus, who took an especial liking to Mr Johnson and his party, had come in for "a particular, general, and universal burst;" and they carried out their intentions most completely. They were tender in their liquor, and, in the excess of their drunken philanthropy, they purchased a barrel of ale at three dollars a bottle, and a parcel of sardinas at eight dollars a box, and patrolled the district, forcing every one to drink. In paying for something, Bill dropped a lump of gold, worth two or three dollars, which Mr Johnson picked up, and handed to him. "Without taking it, he looked at us with a comical mixture of amazement and ill-humour, and at length broke out with—'Well, stranger, you are a curiosity; I guess you hain't been in the diggins long, and better keep that for a sample.'" Even in all sobriety, miners would not be troubled with anything less than dollars, and often scattered small coins by handfuls in the streets, rather than count or carry them. And as neither exorbitant prices nor drunken bursts sufficed to exhaust the resources of the gold-laden diggers, gambling went on upon all sides. "Talk of placers," cried an American, who had just cleared his thousand dollars in ten minutes, at a monte-table in San Francisco; "what better placer need a man want than this?" At Sutter's Fort, a halting-place of the miners, gambling prevailed without limit or stint, men often losing in a single night the result of many months' severe toil. Drunkenness and fighting diversified the scene. "Hundreds of dollars were often spent in a night, and thousands[49] on Sunday, when Pandemonium was in full blast." Such iniquities were no more than might be expected amongst the ragamuffin crew assembled in California, and which included discharged convicts from New South Wales, Mexicans, Kanakas, Peruvians, Chilians, representatives of every European nation, and thousands of the more dissolute and reckless class of United States men.

It is not surprising that some of the minority of honest and respectable men, who found themselves mingled with the mob of ruffians and outlaws assembled in California, thought the prospect of wealth dearly purchased by a prolonged residence in vile society and a most trying climate, and by labour and exposure destructive to health. Mr Johnson assures us that, among the miners who had been long at the diggings, he saw very few who were not suffering from disease—emaciated by fever till they were mere walking shadows, or tormented by frequently recurring attacks of scurvy and rheumatism. If there was a constant stream of adventurers proceeding to the diggings, there was also a pretty steady flow of weary and sickly men returning thence. It would seem, from Mr Johnson's account, that no previous habit of hard labour qualifies the human frame to follow, without injury, the trying trade of a gold-grubber. "We met a party of six sailors, of the Pacific whalers, who were returning to go before the mast again, swearing, sailor-fashion, that they would rather go a whaling at half wages than dig gold any more." Mr Johnson was somewhat of the same way of thinking. He sums up a general review of California in the following words:—

"So large an emigration of the American people, as have gone to that territory, must make something of the country. They will make it one of the states of this Union, at all events, and speedily, too: and although the country is only adapted by nature for mining and grazing, yet a constant trade must result from the former, and more or less agriculture be added to the latter, from the necessity of the case. A few have made, and will hereafter make fortunes there, and very many of those who remain long enough will accumulate something; but the great mass, all of whom expected to acquire large amounts of gold in a short time, must be comparatively disappointed. The writer visited California to dig gold, but chose to abandon that purpose rather than expose his life and health in the mines; and as numbers were already seeking employment in San Francisco without success, and he had neither the means nor the inclination to speculate, he concluded to return to his family and home industry."

Finally, the disappointed gold-seeker addresses to his readers a parting hint, apprehensive, seemingly, of their supposing that his own ill-success has warped his judgment, or induced him to calumniate the country. "If you think," he says, "we have not shown you enough of the elephant, but got on the wrong way and slid off backwards, please to mount him and take a view for yourself." By which metaphorical phrase, if the worthy Johnson means that we are to go to the diggings, and judge for ourselves, we can only say we had much rather take his word than his advice, and read his book by our fireside than tread in his footsteps amongst the mountains of California.

Without further comment, but with a warm recommendation, we close these three American volumes. It were idle to subject to minute criticism books that make no pretensions to literary merit, and which, professing only to give, in plain language, an account of the writers' personal adventures and experiences, are written in off-hand style, and are wholly free from pedantry and affectation. If they are occasionally somewhat rude in form, like the men and countries they portray, they at least are frank and honest in substance; and they contain more novelty, amusement, and information, than are to be found in any dozen of those vapid narratives of fashionable tourists with which the Bentley and Colburn presses annually cram the nauseated public. We have been much pleased and diverted by the unsophisticated pages of Messrs Johnson, Wise, and Parkman.



To add another to the numerous eulogies which have been justly bestowed on the memory of Howard the philanthropist, is not our object. We are far from making the attempt: our aim is to contribute something to the more accurate and familiar knowledge of the man himself—his life, his character, his career, his services.

It not unfrequently happens that the great men of history, whom we have admired in our youth, sink grievously in our estimation, and lose their heroic port and proportions, when we survey them more nearly, and at a season of maturer judgment. They shrink into the bounds and limits of commonplace mortality. We venture even to administer reproof and castigation, where, perhaps, we had venerated almost to idolatry. Such is not the case with Howard. Poets have sung his praises, and his name has rounded many an eloquent period. Howard the philanthropist becomes very soon a name as familiar to us as those of the kings and queens who have sat upon our throne; but the vague admiration, thus early instilled into us, suffers no diminution when, at an after period, we become intimately acquainted with the character of the man. We may approach the idol here without danger to our faith. We may analyse the motive—we may "vex, probe, and criticise"—it is all sound. Take your stethoscope and listen—there is no hollow here—every pulse beats true.

The Howard that poets and orators had taught us to admire loses none of its greatness on a near approach. But it undergoes a remarkable transformation. The real Howard, who devoted his life to the jail and the lazaretto, was a very different person from that ideal of benevolence which the verse of Darwin, or the eloquence of Burke, had called up into our minds. Instead of this faint and classic ideal, we have the intensely and somewhat sternly religious man, guided and sustained, every step of his way, not alone, nor principally, by the amiable but vacillating sentiment which passes under the name of philanthropy, but by an exalted, severe, imperative sense of duty. It is Howard the Christian, Howard the Puritan, that stands revealed before us. The form changes, but only to grow more distinct and intelligible. The features have no longer that classic outline we had attributed to them; but they bear henceforth the stamp of reality—of a man who, without doubt, had lived and moved amongst us.

Those who have rested content (and we think there are many such) with that impression of Howard which is derived from the panegyrics scattered through our polite literature, and who accordingly attribute to him, as the master-motive of his conduct, simply a wide benevolence—a sentiment of humanity exalted to a passion—must be conscious of a certain uneasy sense of doubt, an involuntary scepticism; must feel that there is something here unexplained, or singularly exaggerated. Their Howard, if they should scrutinise their impression, is a quite anomalous person. No philanthropist they have ever heard of—no mere lover of his kind, sustained only by the bland sentiment of humanity, not even supported by any new enthusiastic faith in the perfectibility of the species—ever lived the life of this man, or passed through a tithe of his voluntary toils and sufferings. Philanthropists are generally distinguished for their love of speculation; they prefer to think rather than to act; and their labours are chiefly bestowed on the composition of their books. Philanthropists have occasionally ruined themselves; but their rash schemes are more notorious for leading to the ruin of others. As a race, they are not distinguished for self-sacrifice, or for practical and strenuous effort. There must, therefore, to the persons we are describing, be a certain doubt and obscurity hanging over the name of Howard[51] the philanthropist. It must sound like a myth or fable; they must half suspect that, if some Niebuhr should look into the matter, their heroic figure would vanish into thin air.

Let them, however, proceed to the study of the veritable Howard, and all the mystery clears up. The philanthropist of the orator gives place to one who, in the essential elements of his character, may be ranked with Christian missionaries and Christian martyrs. Instead of the half-pagan ideal, or personification of benevolence, there rises before them a character which a rigorous analysis might justly class with those of St Francis or Loyola, or whatever the Christian church has at any time exhibited of exalted piety and complete self-devotion. The same spirit which, in past times, has driven men into the desert, or shut them up in cells with the scourge and the crucifix; the same spirit which has impelled them to brave all the dangers of noxious climates and of savage passions, to extend the knowledge of religion amongst barbarous nations—was animating Howard when he journeyed incessantly from prison to prison, tracking human misery into all its hidden and most loathsome recesses. He who, in another century, would have been the founder of a new order of barefooted monks, became, in Protestant England, the great exemplar of philanthropic heroism. Perhaps he too, in one sense, may be said to have founded a new religious order, though it is not bound together by common rules, and each member of it follows, as he best may, the career of charitable enterprise that lies open before him. The mystery, we say, clears up. Benevolent our Howard was, undoubtedly, by nature, as by nature also he was somewhat imperious; but that which converted his benevolence into a ceaseless motive of strenuous action, of toil, and of sacrifice; that which utilised his natural love of authority, transforming it into that requisite firmness and predominance over others without which no man, at least no reformer, can be rigidly just, and, face to face, admonish, threaten, and reprove; that which constituted the mainspring and vital force of his character, was intense piety, and the all-prevailing sense of duty to his God. The craving of his soul was some great task-work, to be done in the eye of Heaven. Not the love of man, nor the praise of man, but conscience, and to be a servant of the Most High, were his constant motive and desire.

Men of ardent piety generally apply themselves immediately to the reproduction in others of that piety which they feel to be of such incomparable importance. This becomes the predominant, often the sole object of their lives. It is natural it should be so. In such minds all the concerns of the present world sink into insignificance; and their fellow-men are nothing, except as they are, or are not, fellow-Christians. Howard was an exception to this rule. Owing to certain circumstances in his own life; to the manner of his education; to his deficiency in some intellectual qualifications, and his pre-eminence in others, he was led to take the domain of physical suffering—of earthly wretchedness—for the province in which to exert his zeal. For the preacher, or the writer, he was not formed, either by education or by natural endowment; but he was a man of shrewd observation, of great administrative talent, of untiring perseverance, and of an insatiable energy. The St Francis of Protestant England did not, therefore, go forth as a missionary; nor did he become the founder of a new sect, distinguished by any doctrinal peculiarity; but he girded himself up to visit, round the world, the cell of the prisoner—to examine the food he ate, the air he breathed, to rid him of the jail-fever, to drive famine out of its secret haunts, and from its neglected prey. It was this peculiarity which led men to segregate Howard from the class to which, by the great elements of his character, he belongs. To relieve the common wants of our humanity was his object—to war against hunger and disease, and unjust cruelties inflicted by man on man, was his chosen task-work; therefore was it vaguely supposed that the sentiment of humanity was his great predominant motive, and that he was driven about the world by compassion and benevolence.

His remains lie buried in Russia. Dr Clarke, in his travels through that[52] country, relates that "Count Vincent Potoçki, a Polish nobleman of the highest taste and talents, whose magnificent library and museum would do honour to any country, through a mistaken design of testifying his respect for the memory of Howard, has signified his intention of taking up the body that it might be conveyed to his country seat, where a sumptuous monument has been prepared for its reception, upon a small island in the midst of a lake. His countess, being a romantic lady, wishes to have an annual fête consecrated to benevolence; at this the nymphs of the country are to attend, and strew the place with flowers." There are many, we suspect, of his own countrymen and countrywomen, who would be disposed to honour the memory of Howard in a similar manner. They would hang, or carve, their wreaths of flowers upon a tomb where the emblems of Christian martyrdom would be more appropriate. We need hardly add that the design of the romantic countess was not put into execution.

The vague impression prevalent of this remarkable man has been perpetuated by another circumstance. Howard has been unfortunate in his biographers. Dr Aikin, the earliest of these, writes like a gentleman and a scholar; manifests throughout much good sense, a keen intelligence, and a high moral feeling; but his account is brief, and is both defective and deceptive from his incapacity, or unwillingness, to portray the religious aspect of the character he had undertaken to develop. Dr Aikin's little book may still be read with advantage for the general remarks it contains, but it is no biography. Neither was Dr Aikin calculated for a biographer. He wanted both the highest and the lowest qualifications. Details, such as of dates and places, he had not the patience to examine; and he wanted that rarer quality of mind by which the writer is enabled to throw himself into the character of a quite different man from himself, and almost feel by force of sympathy the motives which have actuated him. This the cultivated, tasteful, but, in spite of his verse, the quite didactic mind of Aikin, was incapable of doing.

The Rev. Samuel Palmer, who had known Howard for thirty years, appended to a sermon, preached on the occasion of his death, some account of his life and career. But this, as well as several anonymous contributions to magazines, and a brief anonymous life which appeared at the same time, can be considered only in the light of materials for the future biographer.

The task lay still open, and Mr Baldwin Brown, barrister-at-law, undertook to accomplish it. He appears to have had all the advantages a biographer could desire. He had conversed with the contemporaries and friends of Howard, and with his surviving domestics—an advantage which no subsequent writer could hope to profit by; he was put in possession of the materials which the Rev. Mr Smith and his family, intimate friends of Howard, had collected for the very purpose of such a work as he was engaged on; Dr Brown, professor of theology at Aberdeen, another intimate friend of Howard, transcribed for him, from his commonplace book, the memoranda of conversations held with Howard, and committed to writing at the time; and, above all, he was furnished with extracts and memoranda from diaries kept by Howard himself, and which fortunately had escaped the general conflagration to which the philanthropist, anticipating and disliking the curiosity of the biographer, had devoted his papers. Several influential men amongst the Dissenters interested themselves in obtaining information for him; and the list of those to whom he expresses obligations of this kind, occupies two or three pages of his preface. Mr Brown was himself a man of religious zeal—we presume, from his work, a Dissenter: he could not fail to appreciate the religious aspect of Howard's character. As a lawyer, he was prepared to take an interest in the subject of his labours—the reformation of our prisons and our penal laws. Thus he brought to his task many peculiar advantages; and the work he produced was laborious, conscientious, and very valuable. Unfortunately, Mr Baldwin Brown was a dull writer, by which we here imply that he was also a dull thinker, and his book will be pronounced by[53] the generality of readers to be as dull as it is useful. Notwithstanding the attractive title it bears, and the many interesting particulars contained in it, his biography never attained any popularity. It was probably read extensively amongst the Dissenters, to whose sympathies it more directly appeals than to those of any other class of readers; but we think we are right in saying that it never had much circulation in the world at large.

More parsonic than the parsons, our lawyer-divine can resist no opportunity for sermonising. The eloquence of a Dissenting pulpit, and that when it is but indifferently supplied—the tedious repetition, and the monotonous unmodulated periods of his legal text-books—these combine, or alternate, through the pages of Mr Brown. Yet those who persevere in the perusal of his book will be rewarded. He is judicious in the selection of his materials. He presents us with the means of forming an accurate conception of Howard; though, in so doing, he seems to reveal to an attentive reader more than he had well understood himself.

Tedious or not, this is still the only biography of Howard. A Mr Thomas Taylor has written what appears to be an abridgment of the work. His book is more brief, but it is still more insipid. What notion Mr T. Taylor has of biography may be judged of from this, that he thinks it necessary, in quoting Howard's own original letters, to amend and improve the style—preserving, as he says, the sense, but correcting the composition. He is apparently shocked at the idea that the philanthropist should express himself in indifferent English, even though in a hasty letter to a friend.

Very lately Mr Hepworth Dixon, whose work has recalled us to this subject, has presented us with a life of Howard. It cannot be said of Mr Dixon's book that it is either dull or insipid; it has some of the elements of popularity; but we cannot better describe it in a few words than by saying that it is a caricature of a popular biography. Its flippancy, its conceit, its egregious pretensions, its tawdry novelistic style, are past all sufferance. It is too bad to criticise. But as, in the dearth of any popular biography of Howard, it has assumed for a time a position it by no means merits, we cannot pass it by entirely without notice. For, besides that Mr Dixon writes throughout with execrable taste, he has not dealt conscientiously with the materials before him. His notion of the duty of a biographer is this—that he is to collect every incident of the least piquancy, no matter by whom related, or on what authority, and colour it himself as highly as he can. Evidently the most serious preparation he has made, for writing the life of Howard, has been a course of reading in French romances. It is with the spirit and manner of a Eugene Sue that he sits down to describe the grand and simple career of Howard.

Mr Dixon has not added a single new fact to the biography of Howard, nor any novelty whatever, except such as he has drawn from his own imagination. Nor does he assist in sifting the narrative; on the contrary, whatever dust has the least sparkle in it, though it has been thrice thrown away, he assiduously collects. That he should have nothing new to relate is no matter of blame; it is probable that no future biographer will be able to do more than recast and reanimate the materials to be found in Brown and Aikin. But why this pretence of having written a life of Howard from "original documents?" We beg pardon: he does not absolutely say that he has written the Life of Howard from original documents—the original document, for there is but one, may apply to the "prison-world of Europe," of which also he professes to write. This "earliest document of any value connected with the penology of England," which, with much parade, he prints for the first time, relates to the state of prisons before the labours of Howard. Impossible to suppose, therefore, that Mr Hepworth Dixon meant his readers to infer that, by the aid of this document, he was about to give them an original Life of Howard.

Let us look at Mr Dixon's preface—it is worth while. It thus commences:—

"Several reasons combined to induce the writer to undertake the work of making out for the reading world a new biography[54] of Howard; the chief of them fell under two heads:—

"It lay in his path. Years ago now, circumstances, which do not require to be explained in this place, called his attention to the vast subject of the prison-world."

We must stop a moment to admire this favourite magniloquence of our author. Howard wrote a report on the state of prisons; Mr Dixon writes on nothing less than the prison-world of Europe! He heads his chapters—"The Prison-world of the Continent," "The Prison-world of England." If Mr Dixon, in his patriotic labours, should turn his attention to the nuisance of Smithfield market, he would certainly give us a treatise on "The Butcher-world of Europe," with chapters headed, with due logical gradation, "The Butcher-world of England," and "The Butcher-world of London."

"It lay in his path," was one reason why he wrote his biography. "It needed to be done," was the other. We agree in the last of these reasons, whatever demur we make to the first. A more popular biography than Mr Brown's would certainly be a useful book. But what can Mr Dixon mean by saying, that, "although Howard was the father of prison-science, the story of his life has hitherto been made out without reference to that fact?" Messrs Brown and Aikin were not, then, aware that the excitement of the public attention to the great subject of prison-discipline was the chief result, and the direct and ostensible aim of the labours of Howard!

But now we arrive at Mr Dixon's statement of his own peculiar resources for writing the Life of Howard, and the valuable contributions he has made to our better knowledge of the man; in short, his claims upon our gratitude and confidence:—

"It has been the writer's study to render this biographical history of Howard as worthy of its subject, and of the confidence of the reader, as the nature of the materials at his disposal would allow. He has carefully collated every document already printed—made, and caused to be made, numerous researches—conversed with persons who have preserved traditions and other memorials of this subject—travelled in his traces over a great number of prisons—examined parliamentary and other records for such new facts as they might afford—and, in conclusion, has consulted these several sources of information, and interpreted their answers by such light as his personal experience of the prison-world suggested to be needful. The result of this labour is, that some new matter of curious interest has turned up—amongst other things, a manuscript throwing light on the early history of prison reforms in this country, found in the archives of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and for which he is indebted to the courtesy of the secretary, the Rev. T. B. Murray; and the writer is assured that no other papers exist in any known quarter. The material for Howard's life is therefore now fully collected; whether it is herein finally used, will entirely depend upon the verdict of the reader."

From all this mystification, the reader is at least to conclude that something very important has been done, and contributions very valuable have been made, for a final biography of Howard. Documents collated—researches made, and caused to be made—then a discovered manuscript, which now is, and now is not, appertaining to the subject—assurance "that no other papers exist in any known quarter!"—"materials now fully collected!" Oh, Admirable Crichton! Our author has done all this for us! Our author has read the memoirs of Baldwin Brown—and that not very attentively: if he has done more it is a pity, because there is not the least trace of it in his book. Our author has read the memoirs of Baldwin Brown, and travestied his narrative, and then writes this preface, as a travesty, we presume, of erudite prefaces in general. The book altogether does not belong to literature, but is a sort of parody upon literature.

We may as well give our readers the benefit of the rest of the preface:—

"The mental and moral portraiture of Howard attempted in this volume is new." [Fortunately, and to the recommendation of the volume, it is not new, but a transcript of that which his predecessor had drawn.] "As the writer's method of inquiry and of treatment was different to that ordinarily adopted, so his result is different. His study of the character was earnest, and, he believes, faithful. After[55] making himself master of all the facts of the case which have come down to us, biographically and traditionally, his plan was to saturate himself with Howardian ideas, and then strive to reproduce them living, acting, and suffering in the real world."

How the Howardian ideas suffered from this process, we can somewhat guess. The rest of the sentence is not so plain:—

"The writer lays down his pen, not without regret. Long accustomed to contemplate one of the most noble and beautiful characters in history, he has learnt to regard it with a human affection; and at parting with his theme—the mental companion of many hours, and the object of his constant thoughts—he feels somewhat like a father who gives away his favourite daughter in marriage. He does not lose his interest in his child; but she can be to him no longer what she has been. A touch of melancholy mingles with his joy. He still regards his offspring with a tender solicitude—but his monopoly of love is ended."

Oh, surely no!

We propose, as far as our limits will permit, to retrace the chief incidents in the biography of Howard. A brief sketch of his life and character may not be unacceptable to our readers. Such strictures as we have passed upon his latest biographer, Mr Dixon, we shall have abundant opportunities to justify as we proceed.

The well-known monument in St Paul's Cathedral, which, from the circumstance of the key held in the hand of the statue, has been sometimes taken by foreigners for the representation of the apostle St Peter, bears inscribed on the pedestal that Howard "was born in Hackney, in the county of Middlesex, September 2, 1726." But both the place and the year of his birth have been differently stated by his biographers. The Rev. S. Palmer, who had known him long, writes that he was born at Clapton; Dr Aikin, that he was born at Enfield. To the authority of the Doctor, on such a point as this, we attach no weight; it is plain to us that he gave himself little trouble to determine whether he was born at Clapton or Enfield. It was probably at Clapton; but Clapton is in the parish of Hackney, so that there is really no discrepancy between Mr Palmer's statement and that on the monument. The year 1726 seems also to be generally received as the most probable date of his birth. After all the discussion, we may as well adhere to the inscription on the pedestal of the statue.

The father of Howard had acquired a considerable fortune in business as an upholsterer and carpet warehouseman in Long Lane, Smithfield. He was a dissenter, of Calvinistic principles; and, it is presumed, an Independent. The question has been raised, whether our Howard was descended from any branch of the noble family of that name; but his biographers generally agree in rejecting for him the honours of such a pedigree. Nor can any one be in the least degree solicitous to advance such a claim. The military achievements of a Norman ancestry would diffuse a very incongruous lustre over the name of our Christian philanthropist. Thus much, however, is evident, that at one time there existed some tradition, or belief, or pretence, in the family of the citizen Howard, that they were remotely connected with the noble family whose name they share. "The arms of the Duke of Norfolk, and of the Earls of Suffolk, Effingham, and Carlisle, are placed at the head of the tombstone which Howard erected to the memory of his first wife, on the south side of Whitechapel churchyard." Such is the assertion of the anonymous biographer in the Universal Magazine, (vol. lxxxvi.) who stands alone, we believe, in maintaining the validity of this claim. And Mr Brown, after quoting these words, adds—"From actual inspection of the mouldering monument, I can assure those of my readers who may feel any curiosity on the subject, that this description of its armorial bearings is correct; and am further enabled to add, on the authority of his relative, Mr Barnardiston, that the distinguished individual by whom that monument was erected, occasionally spoke of Lord Carlisle as his relative; thus claiming at least a traditional descent from the Howards, Earls of Suffolk." That such a man as Howard should have used these arms once is significant; that he should have used them only once, is equally so. He[56] was one of the last men, if we have read his character correctly, who would have assumed what he did not, at the time, think himself entitled to; and one of the last who would shrink from claiming a right where his title was clear.

Mr Dixon not only rejects the claim, but is highly indignant that it should ever have been suggested. "Howard sprang from a virgin and undistinguished soil;"—why the upholsterer's should be peculiarly a virgin soil we do not see. "Attempts, however, have not been wanting to vulgarise his origin—to rob its greatness of its most natural charm—by circling his brows with the distant glitter of a ducal crown; by finding in his simple lineaments the trace of noble lines, and in his veins the consecrated currents of patrician blood." Strange waste of eloquent indignation! But he does not keep quite steady in his passion. "No," he exclaims, "let Howard stand alone. His reputation rests upon a basis already broad enough. Why should we pile up Pelion on Olympus?" There was, then, a Pelion to pile upon Olympus? We had thought not. Our author should have kept these red and purple patches at a greater distance: they do not harmonise.

Meanwhile the father of Howard had so little of what is commonly called aristocratic pride, that although he had retired from business, and had a good property—and property, too, in land—to leave to his son, he yet wished that son to tread in his own footsteps. He apprenticed him to a wholesale grocer in Watling Street.

The education of young Howard was such as is, or was, generally given to a lad of respectable parents intended for trade. He was at two schools. Of the first, Howard himself is reported to have said, that, having been there seven years, "he left it not fully taught in any one thing." He left it when a boy, and what boy ever left his school "fully taught in any one thing?" The remark is rather characteristic of the speaker than condemnatory of John Worsley, the schoolmaster in question. His second school was kept by a Mr Eames, a man of acknowledged ability. But how long he remained there is not known. At this school he made the friendship of one Price, afterwards that Dr Price who remains, to all posterity, impaled in Burke's Letter on the French Revolution. The great orator thrust his spear through his thin texture, and pinned him to the board; and never, but in this rich museum, will any one behold or think of Dr Price. Perhaps he deserved a better fate, but his case is hopeless now. Yet, if it can heal his memory to connect his name with one who was not a revolutionary philanthropist, let him have all the benefit of the association. Howard had never acquired the art of writing his own language with ease and correctness, and therefore it will be directly understood how valuable to him, in the preparation of his reports, was the help of a literary friend. That literary friend he found in Dr Price. In a letter to him, Howard writes, "It is from your kind aid and assistance, my dear friend, that I derive so much of my character and influence. I exult in declaring it, and shall carry a grateful sense of it to the last hour of my existence."

After his father's death, Howard purchased his freedom from the wholesale grocer's in Watling Street, and travelled upon the Continent. He was not without taste for the arts; and it was at this time, Mr Brown supposes, that he brought with him from Italy those paintings with which he afterwards embellished his favourite seat at Cardington.

On returning from this tour, he took lodgings at Stoke Newington, in the house of Mrs Loidore, a widow, upwards of fifty, of rather humble station in life, and a perpetual invalid. She, however, nursed him with so much care, through a severe illness, by which he was attacked while residing under her roof, that, on his recovery, he offered her marriage. "Against this unexpected proposal," says Mr Brown, "the lady made remonstrances, principally upon the ground of the great disparity in their ages; but Mr Howard being firm to his purpose, the union took place, it is believed, in the year 1752, he being then in about the twenty-fifth year of his age, and his bride in her fifty-second. Upon this occasion, he[57] behaved with a liberality which seems to have been inherent in his nature, by settling the whole of his wife's little independence upon her sister. The marriage, thus singularly contracted, was productive of mutual satisfaction to the parties who entered it. Mrs Howard was a woman of excellent character, amiable in her disposition, sincere in her piety, endowed with a good mental capacity, and forward in exercising its powers in every good word and work."

Thus runs the sober narrative of Mr Brown. Not so does Mr Dixon let pass the opportunity for fine descriptive writing. Read and admire:—

"As he became convalescent, his plan ripened into form. When the danger had entirely passed away, his health was restored to its accustomed state; he offered her, as the only fitting reward of her services—a toy? an ornament? a purse? a house? an estate? or any of those munificent gifts with which wealthy and generous convalescents reward their favourite attendants? No. He offered her his hand, his name, his fortune! Of course, the good lady was astonished at the portentous shape of her patient's gratitude. She started objections, being older, and having more worldly prudence than her lover. It is even said that she seriously refused her consent to the match, urging the various arguments which might fairly be alleged against it,—the inequality in the years, fortune, social position of the parties, and so forth—but all to no purpose. Howard's mind was made up. During his slow recovery, he had weighed the matter carefully—had come to the conclusion that it was his duty to marry her, and nothing could now change his determination. The struggle between the two must have been extremely curious: the sense of duty on both sides, founded upon honest convictions, no doubt,—the mutual respect without the consuming fire,—the cool and logical weighing of arguments, in place of the rapid pleading of triumphant passion; the young man without the ordinary inspirations of youth, on the one hand; the widow, past her prime, yet simple, undesigning, unambitious, earnestly struggling to reject and put aside youth, wealth, protection, honour, social rank,—the very things for which women are taught to dress, to pose, to intrigue, almost to circumvent heaven, on the other;—form together a picture which has its romantic interest, in spite of the incongruity of the main idea. Humble life is not without its heroic acts. Cæsar refusing the Roman crown, even had he been really serious, and without after-thought in its rejection, is a paltry piece of magnanimity, compared with Mrs Loidore's refusal of the hand of Howard. At length, however, her resistance was overcome by the indomitable will of her suitor. One of the contemporary biographers has thrown an air of romance over the scene of this domestic struggle, which, if the lady had been young and beautiful—that is, if the element of passion could be admitted into the arena—would have been truly charming. As it is, the reader may receive it with such modifications as he or she may deem necessary. 'On the very first opportunity,' says this grave but imaginative chronicler, 'Mr Howard expressed his sentiments to her in the strongest terms of affection, assuring her that, if she rejected his proposal, he would become an exile for ever to his family and friends. The lady was upwards of forty [true enough! she was also upwards of fifty, good master historian,] and therefore urged the disagreement of their years, as well as their circumstances; but, after allowing her four-and-twenty hours for a final reply, his eloquence surmounted all her objections, and she consented to a union wherein gratitude was to supply the deficiencies of passion!' Criticism would only spoil the pretty picture—so let it stand."

Criticism had already spoilt the picture, such as it is. But this matters not to Mr Dixon. The quotation he has thought fit to embellish his pages with, is taken from an anonymous pamphlet published in 1790, under the title of The Life of the late John Howard, Esquire, with a Review of his Travels. Mr Dixon, however, evidently extracts it second-hand from the note in Mr Brown, where it is quoted, with some other passages from the same performance, for the express purpose of refutation and contradiction. This is what Mr Dixon would call artistic—the picking up what had been discarded as worthless, and, with a gentle shade of doubt thrown over its authenticity, making use of it again.

A note of Mr Brown's, in the same page of his memoirs, (p. 634,) will supply us with another instance of this ingenious procedure. That note runs thus:—

"We are informed in the memoirs of Mr Howard, published in the Gentleman's Magazine[58], that, during the period of his residing as a lodger in the house of Mrs Loidore, he used to ride out in the morning for a few miles with a book in his pocket, dismount, turn his horse to graze upon a common, and spend several hours in reading. 'On a very particular inquiry, however,' says the author of the Life of Mr Howard, inserted in the Universal Magazine, 'of persons very intimate, and who had often rode out with him, we are assured that they never saw, nor ever heard of such a practice.'"

Mr Dixon makes use of the first part of the note, ignoring the second.

"It is said," he writes, gravely suspending his judgment on the authenticity of the fact—"it is said, in a contemporary biographical notice, that he would frequently ride out a mile or two in the country, fasten his nag to a tree, or turn him loose to browse upon the way-side; and then, throwing himself upon the grass, under a friendly shade, would read and cogitate for hours. This statement, if true, would indicate more of a romantic and poetical temperament in Howard, than the generally calm and Christian stoicism of his manner would have led one to expect."

That Mr Dixon never consulted the memoir itself, in the Gentleman's Magazine, we shall by-and-by have an opportunity of showing. That memoir, worthless as an authority, has become notorious for the calumny it originated. But this collator of documents, this inquirer after traditions, this maker of unimaginable researches, has never turned over the pages of the Gentleman's Magazine for that obituary which, owing to its slanderous attack, has excited so much controversy in all the biographies of Howard, his own included.

This wife, so singularly selected, died two or three years after her marriage. Howard is again free and solitary, and again betakes himself to travel. We are in the year 1755, and the great earthquake of Lisbon has laid that city in ruins. He goes to see the grand and terrific spectacle. Dr Aikin calls it a sublime curiosity. We presume that no other motive than curiosity impelled him on this occasion; it would be certainly very difficult to suggest any other. No difficulties, however, daunt Mr Dixon. According to him,—"Howard, attracted by reports of the unexampled sufferings of the survivors, no sooner found himself at his own disposal, than he determined to haste with all possible speed to their assistance!" Single-handed, he was to cope with the earthquake.

Lisbon, however, he was not fated to reach. The vessel he sailed in was taken by a French privateer, and he, with the rest of the passengers and crew, carried into Brest, and there retained prisoner of war. The calamities of imprisonment he here endured himself, and under no mild form: afterwards, when other circumstances had drawn his attention to the condition of the prisoners, the remembrance of his own sufferings came in aid of his compassion for others. "Perhaps," he says, in the preface to his first report, "what I suffered on this occasion increased my sympathy with the unhappy people, whose case is the subject of this book."

Released upon parole, he returned to England, obtained his exchange, and then sat himself down on his estate at Cardington. Here he occupied himself in plans to ameliorate the condition of his tenantry. Scientific studies, and the study of medicine, to which, from time to time, he had applied himself, also engaged his attention. It was at this period he was elected a member of the Royal Society, not assuredly, as Mr Thomas Taylor presumes, from the "value attached" to a few communications upon the state of the weather, but, as Dr Aikin sensibly tells us, "in conformity to the laudable practice of that society, of attaching gentlemen of fortune and leisure to the interests of knowledge, by incorporating them into that body."

Howard now entered into matrimony a second time. On the 25th April 1758, he married Henrietta Leeds, second daughter of Edward Leeds, Esq. of Croxton, in Cambridgeshire. This alliance is pronounced by all his biographers to be in every respect suitable. Parity of age, harmony of sentiment, and, on the part of the lady, the charms of person and amiability of temper, everything contributed to a happy union. And it was so. Unfortunately, the happiness was as brief as it seems to have been perfect. His second wife also expired[59] after a few years,—"the only years," Howard himself has said, "of true enjoyment he had known in life."

On this occasion, Mr Dixon, after infusing into Howard "the bland and insinuating witchery of a virgin passion," proceeds to describe his Henrietta in the most approved language of the novelist: "Although her features were not cast in the choicest mould of Grecian beauty, she was very fair—had large impressive eyes, an ample brow, a mouth exquisitely cut," &c. Shall we never again get the chisel out of the human face?

Connected with this second marriage of Howard, his biographers relate a trait of character which will be differently estimated by different minds—we relate it in the words of Mr Dixon:—

"We must not omit an incident that occurred before the ceremony, which is very significant of Howard's frankness and firmness at this epoch. Observing that many unpleasantnesses arise in families, from circumstances trifling in themselves, in consequence of each individual wishing to have his own way in all things, he determined to avoid all these sources of domestic discord, by establishing his own paramount authority in the first instance. It is just conceivable that his former experience of the wedded life may have led him to insist upon this condition. At all events, he stipulated with Henrietta, that, in all matters in which there should be a difference of opinion between them, his voice should rule. This may sound very ungallant in terms, but it was found exceedingly useful in practice. Few men would have the moral honesty to suggest such an arrangement to their lady-loves at such a season; though, at the same time, few would hesitate to make the largest mental reservations in their own behalf. It may also be, that few young belles would be disposed to treat such a proposition otherwise than with ridicule and anger, however conscious they might be, that as soon as the hymeneal pageantries were passed, their surest means of happiness would lie in the prompt adoption of the principle so laid down.

"Would that men and women would become sincerer with each other! The great social vice of this age is its untrustfulness."

And Mr Dixon thereupon launches into we know not what heroics upon etiquette, upon English law, morals, and the constitution, all à propos of Henrietta's obedience! For our own part, we do not look with much respect upon this stipulation which calls forth the admiration of Mr Dixon, and apparently meets with his cordial sympathy. Such a stipulation would probably be a mere nullity; with, or without it, the stronger will would predominate; but if we are to suppose it a really binding obligation, forming the basis of the conjugal union, it presents to us anything but an attractive aspect. It was the harsh feature in Howard's character, or the mistaken principle that he had adopted—this love of an authority—this claim to a domestic absolutism—which was to give no reasons, and admit of no questioning.

In justice to the character of Howard, we must not leave this matter entirely in the hands of Mr Dixon. Everything he draws is, more or less, a caricature. The authority on which his narration is founded is the following statement of the Rev. S. Palmer, given in Brown, p. 55:—

"The truth is," says Mr Palmer, in his manuscript memoir of his distinguished friend, "he had a high idea (some of his friends may think, too high) of the authority of the head of a family. And he thought it right, because most convenient, to maintain it, for the sake of avoiding the unhappy consequences of domestic disputes. On this principle I have more than once heard him pleasantly relate the agreement he made with the last Mrs Howard, previous to their marriage, that, to prevent all altercation about those little matters which he had observed to be the chief grounds of uneasiness in families, he should always decide. To this the amiable lady readily consented, and ever adhered. Nor did she ever regret the agreement, which she found to be attended with the happiest effects. Such was the opinion she entertained, both of his wisdom and his goodness, that she perfectly acquiesced in all that he did, and no lady ever appeared happier in the conjugal bonds."

Here the matter has a much less repulsive aspect than in Mr Dixon's version, who has, in fact, exaggerated, in his zeal, a trait of Howard's character, which his best friends seem always to have looked upon with more or less of regret and disapproval.

As the only other circumstance connected[60] with Howard's domestic life which we shall have space to mention, has also a peculiar reference to this trait in his character, we will depart from the chronological order of events, and allude to it here. His last wife left him one child, a son. This son grew up a dissolute youth; his ill-regulated life led to disease, and disease terminated in insanity. To this last malady, Mr Brown tells us he is authorised to say that there was a hereditary predisposition—we presume he means upon the mother's side.

Immediately on the death of Howard, there appeared, amongst the obituaries of the Gentleman's Magazine, a memoir of the deceased, in which the miserable fate of the son is directly charged upon the severity of the father. The whole memoir is full of errors. For this, the extreme haste in which it was necessarily written forms an excuse. But no excuse can be given for the perverse and malignant spirit it betrays. The very next number of the magazine opens with four or five letters addressed to Mr Urban, all remonstrating against, and refuting this baseless calumny; and every biographer has felt himself compelled to notice and repel the slander.

The fact is, that the writer or writers of the memoir—for several were engaged in concocting this very hasty and wretched performance—were quite ignorant, both of the education the son had received, and of the profligate course, and the consequent derangement of his health into which he had fallen. They knew only that the son was in a lunatic asylum, and that the father was a severe disciplinarian; and they most unwarrantably combined the two together, in the relation of cause and effect. "All prospects," they say, speaking of the youth, "were blasted by paternal severity, which reduced the young man to such an unhappy situation as to require his being placed where he now is, or lately was."

The vindication of Howard from this slander is complete; the origin of the son's malady is clearly traced; his affection for his child is amply demonstrated, and his unceasing anxiety to train him to virtue and piety is made equally manifest. But his most intimate friends entertained the opinion that his conduct towards his son was not judicious, and that his method of training up the youth was by no means so wisely, as it was conscientiously adopted. This is the sole charge, if such it can be called, to which the father is obnoxious; nor, from this, do we pretend to acquit him.

"It is agreed, on all hands," says Mr Brown, "that Howard entertained the most exalted notions of the authority of the head of a family—notions derived rather from the Scriptural history of patriarchal times than from any of our modern codes of ethics, or systems of education." Accordingly, we are told that he trained up his child from earliest infancy to an implicit obedience. Without once striking the child, but by manifesting a firmness of purpose which it was hopeless to think of shaking, he established such an authority over him that Howard himself, on one occasion, said, that "if he told the boy to put his finger in the fire, he believed he would do it." When he was an infant, and cried from passion, the father took him, laid him quietly in his lap, neither spoke nor moved, but let him cry on till he was wearied. "This process, a few times repeated, had such an effect, that the child, if crying ever so violently, was rendered quiet the instant his father took him." When he grew older, the severest punishment his father inflicted was to make him sit still in his presence, without speaking, for a time proportioned to the nature of the offence. But this impassive, statue-like firmness must have precluded all approach to companionship or confidence on the part of the son. It was still the obedience only of fear. "His friends," we quote from Mr Brown, "and amongst the rest the most intimate of them, the Rev. Mr Smith, thought that in the case of his son he carried those patriarchal ideas rather too far, and that by a lad of his temper (the son is described as of a lively disposition) he would have been more respected, and would have possessed more real authority over him, had he attempted to convince him of the reasonableness of his commands, instead[61] of always enforcing obedience to them on his parental authority." We therefore may be permitted to say, that we look upon this aspect of Howard's character as by no means estimable. As a husband he claimed an unjust prerogative, and as a parent he divorced authority from persuasion, nor allowed obedience to mingle and ally itself with filial affection.

Mr Dixon does not, of course, omit his tribute of indignation against the calumny of the Gentleman's Magazine. We said that he had not given himself the trouble to look at the memoir itself which he denounces. Here is the proof:—

"The atrocious slander to which reference is made," says Mr Dixon, "was promulgated in the Gentleman's Magazine, in an obituary notice of the philanthropist. The charge was made on the strength of one asserted fact—namely, that Howard had once locked up his son for several hours in a solitary place, put the key into his pocket, and gone off to Bedford, leaving him there till he returned at night. On the appearance of this article, the friends of the illustrious dead came forth publicly to dispute the fact, and to deny the inferences deduced from it. Meredith Townsend, one of Howard's most intimate friends, sifted the story to the bottom, and gave the following account of its origin."

The charge was not made on the strength of this one asserted fact—nor on any fact whatever—it was made on the mere authority of the writer. The story alluded to is not to be found in the obituary of the Gentleman's Magazine. The writers of that obituary had never heard of the story, or we may be sure they would have made use of it. The friends of the illustrious dead could not, therefore, have come forward, in refutation of this article, to "dispute the fact and deny the inferences." If Mr Dixon had but read Brown's memoirs attentively he would not have fallen into this blunder, which shows how little else he can have read.

The story alluded to had been circulated during the life of Howard, and when he was absent on one of his journeys. The Rev. Mr Townsend, "many years Mr Howard's pastor at Stoke Newington," took the first opportunity he had of mentioning it to Howard himself, who contradicted it, and related to him the incident which he supposed must have given rise to the report. On the death of Howard the story was again revived, where, or by whom, Mr Brown does not tell us. The Rev. Mr Palmer thereupon obtained from Mr Townsend the explanation which he had received from Howard himself. The letter which the latter gentleman addressed to the Rev. Mr Palmer is given at length in Brown, (note, p. 645.) This letter the Rev. Mr Palmer communicates to the Editor of the Universal Magazine, and mentions that extracts from it, unauthorised by him, had found their way into the Gentleman's Magazine.

The explanation of the story there given, is briefly this. Howard was engaged one day with his child in the root-house, which served also as a summer-house, when the servant came in great haste, to say that a gentleman on horseback wished to speak to him immediately. Not to lose time, he told the little fellow to sit quiet, and he would soon come to him again. To keep him out of mischief he locked the door. The gentleman kept him in conversation longer than he expected, and caused his forgetting the child. Upon the departure of the guest, recollecting where the child had been left, he flew to set him at liberty, and found him quietly sleeping on the matting of the floor.

It was on the 31st March 1765 that Howard lost his second wife. After spending some time in the now melancholy retirement of Cardington, he again quits England for the Continent. Travel is still with him, as with so many others, the mere relief for unavailing sorrow, or for the wasting disease of unemployed energies. It is during this journey to Italy that we are able to trace, more distinctly than usual, the workings of Howard's mind. Some memoranda, and fragments of a diary which he kept, have given us this insight.

It was his design to proceed to the south of Italy. He stops at Turin. He is dissatisfied with himself. This life of sight-seeing, this vagrancy of the tourist, does not content him. He will go no further. But we must give the extract itself from his journal. We quote from the more faithful text[62] of Mr Brown—Mr Dixon having the habit of omitting, here and there, a sentence if it does not please his taste, and tricking the whole out with dashes and a novel punctuation.

"Turin, 1769, Nov. 30.—My return without seeing the southern part of Italy was on much deliberation, as I feared a misimprovement of a Talent spent for mere curiosity, at the loss of many Sabbaths, and as many donations must be suspended for my pleasure, which would have been as I hope contrary to the general conduct of my Life, and which on a retrospective view on a death Bed would cause Pain as unbecoming a Disciple of Christ—whose mind should be formed in my soul.—These thoughts, with distance from my dear boy, determine me to check my curiosity and be on the return.—Oh, why should Vanity and Folly, Pictures and Baubles, or even the stupendious (sic) mountains, beautiful hills, or rich valleys, which ere long will all be consumed, engross the thoughts of a candidate for an eternal everlasting kingdom—a worm ever to crawl on Earth whom God has raised to the hope of Glory which ere long will be revealed to them which are washed and sanctified by Faith in the blood of the Divine Redeemer! Look forward, oh! my Soul! how low, how mean, how little is everything but what has a view to that glorious World of Light, Life, and Love—the Preparation of the Heart is of God—Prepare the Heart, Oh! God! of thy unworthy Creature, and unto Thee be all the glory through the boundless ages of Eternity.

Sign'd J. H.

"This night my trembling soul almost longs to take its flight to see and know the wonders of redeeming Love—join the triumphant Choir—Sin and Sorrow fled away—God my Redeemer all in all—Oh! happy Spirits that are safe in those mansions."

Accordingly he retraces his steps. He flies back to Holland. He is now at the Hague. It is Sunday evening, 11th February 1770. Here is a portion of his self-communing. Many of these quotations we will not give; we know they look out of place, and produce a strange, and not an agreeable impression, when met with in the walks of polite literature. But, without some extracts, it is impossible to form a correct idea of the character of Howard.

"Oh! the wonders of redeeming love! Some faint hope, even I! through redeeming mercy in the perfect righteousness—the full atoning sacrifice shall, ere long, be made the instrument of the rich free grace and mercy of God through the divine Redeemer. Oh, shout my soul grace, grace—free, sovereign, rich, unbounded grace! Not I, not I, an ill deserving, hell deserving creature!—but where sin has abounded, I trust grace superabounds. * * * *

"Let not, my soul, the interests of a moment engross thy thoughts, or be preferred to my eternal interests. Look forward to that glory which will be revealed to those who are faithful to death. My soul, walk thou with God; be faithful, hold on, hold out, and then—what words can utter!—J. H."

But he could not rest in Holland. "Continuing in Holland," he writes, "or any place, lowers my spirits." He returns to Italy. He visits Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Rome, and extends his tour to Naples.

It was, and may still be, a custom with a certain class of religious people, to make, in writing, a solemn covenant with God, and sign it with their own hand. It is at Naples that Howard retires into his chamber, indites and signs such a covenant. He appears, afterwards, to have carried it with him. With the same sort of formality with which a person republishes a will, he "renews the covenant, Moscow, September 27, 1789."

Through the remainder of this journey we need not follow him. He returns to England, and we see what sort of man has landed on its shores.

Those who are acquainted with the religious world and religious biographies, will bear us out when we say, that the language we have quoted from this journal, and the other extracts which may be read in Brown, would not, of themselves, manifest any extraordinary degree of piety or self-devotion. With a certain class of persons, such language has become habitual; with others, it really expresses nothing but a very transitory state of excitement. Solemn self-denunciations—enthusiastic raptures—we have heard them both, from the lips of the most worldly, selfish, money-loving men we have ever known. It is the after life of Howard which proves that in him such language had its first, genuine, full meaning. These passages from his diary explain his life, and his life no less explains them.


On his return to Cardington, he occupied himself, as before, with plans to improve the condition of his tenantry; building for them better houses, and erecting a school. But at length an event occurred which supplied his self-consuming energy with the noble task it craved. Elected High Sheriff for the county of Bedford, the duties of his office led him to the interior of the prison. He witnessed the sufferings, the extortion, the injustice, the manifold cruelty, which the supineness of the legislature allowed to reign and riot there.

"The distress of prisoners," he tells us, in the preface to his first report, "came more immediately under my notice, when I was sheriff of the county of Bedford; and the circumstance which excited me to activity in their behalf was the seeing some, who, by the verdict of juries, were declared not guilty; some, on whom the grand jury did not find such an appearance of guilt as subjected them to trial; and some, whose prosecutors did not appear against them; after having been confined for months, dragged back to jail, and locked up again, till they should pay sundry fees to the jailor, the clerk of assize, &c. In order to redress this hardship, I applied to the justices of the county for a salary to the jailor in lieu of his fees. The bench were properly affected with the grievance, and willing to grant the relief desired; but they wanted a precedent for charging the county with the expense. I, therefore, rode into several neighbouring counties in search of a precedent; but I soon learned that the same injustice was practised in them; and, looking into the prisons, I beheld scenes of calamity, which I grew daily more and more anxious to alleviate."

These oppressions, these calamities he dragged to light. He may be said to have discovered them—so indifferent, at this time, was one class of the community to the misery of another. His official position gave him just that elevation requisite to make his voice heard. The attention of parliament was roused. He was examined before a committee of the whole House; he received the thanks of parliament; and a bill was passed to remunerate the jailor by a salary, instead of by fees—thus remedying one of the most extraordinary mal-practices that was surely ever endured in a civilised society.

Here, then, was a task to strain all his powers, and absorb all his benevolence. Here was misery to be alleviated, and injustice to be redressed, and a nation to be aroused from its culpable negligence. Benevolent, liberal, systematically and perseveringly charitable, not averse to the exercise of authority and censorship, of restless and untameable energy, and of a singular constancy and firmness of purpose, the task employed all his virtues, and what in some positions of life would have proved to be his failings. Even to his love of travel, his new occupation suited him. What wonder that, with all these aptitudes, the religious man, devoured by his desire to do some good and great work, should have devoted to it his life and his fortune, his days and his nights, and every faculty of his soul. He had now found his path. His foot was on it; and he trod it to his dying hour.

After inspecting the jails of England, Scotland, and Ireland, he, in 1775, took the first of those journeys on the Continent, which had, for their sole object, the inspection of prisons. And henceforward, in all his travels, he is so absorbed in this one object, that he pays attention to nothing else. Not the palace, rich with painting and sculpture; not the beautiful hills and valleys—only the prison and the lazaretto can retain him for a moment. Once he is tempted to hear some fine music—it distracts his attention—he foregoes the music. The language of Burke, in his well-known panegyric, is true as it is eloquent.

"He has visited all Europe—not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples—not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a scale of the curiosity of modern art—not to collect medals or collate manuscripts—but to dive into the depths of dungeons, to plunge into the infection of hospitals, to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain, to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt, to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and compare and collate the distresses of all men, in all countries. His plan is original, and it is full of genius as it is of humanity. It was a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity. Already the benefit[64] of his labour is felt more or less in every country. I hope he will anticipate his final reward, by seeing all its effects fully realised in his own."

But the boon—for a great task of this kind was a veritable boon to such a spirit as Howard's—was nearly missed. Before he went abroad on his first journey of philanthropy, he ran the risk of being imprisoned himself, within the walls of the House of Commons, as member for the town of Bedford. The borough had formerly been under the control of the house of Russell. Responding to the cry of "Wilkes and Liberty!" the corporation had risen against their lord. To free themselves from his control, they had boldly created five hundred honorary freemen, coined, in short, five hundred votes, which were to be at their own disposal. The measure seems to have passed undisputed. They were, of course, victorious. Whom they elected, in the first glow of patriotism, we do not know; but, after a few years, the corporation rewarded their own patriotic efforts by selling the borough to the highest bidder. Such, at least, was the accusation brought against them in the town of Bedford itself, where a strong party rose which made strenuous efforts to wrest the election out of their hands. By this party, Whitbread and Howard were put in nomination. The candidates of the corporation were Sir W. Wake and Mr Sparrow. After a severe struggle on the hustings, and in the committee of the House of Commons, the election was decided in favour of Whitbread and Wake. Howard lost his election—happily, we think—by a majority only of four votes.

On his return from the Continent, he published his first report on the state of prisons. We had designed to give some account of this, and the subsequent publications of Howard, but our space absolutely forbids. Perhaps some other opportunity will occur, when we can review the history of our prisons, to which the volumes of Howard form the most valuable contribution. We must content ourselves with a few general remarks on his labours, and with the briefest possible account of this the great and eventful period of his life.

To lead our readers over the numerous, toilsome, and often perilous journeys which Howard now undertook, for this national and philanthropic object of improving our prisons and houses of correction, would be utterly impracticable. But, to give them at once some adequate idea of his incessant activity, we have thrown into a note a summary, taken from Dr Aikin, of what may be considered as his public labours.[10]

These long, incessant, and often[65] repeated journeys—were they necessary, some will be tempted to ask, for the object he had in view? Surely a few instances, well reasoned on, would have been sufficient to put us on the right track for the reformation of our prisons. But it should be considered, in the first place, that Howard was teaching a people pre-eminently practical in their intellectual character, a people who require to be taught by example and precedent. The most philosophical reasoning, the most eloquent diatribe, would not have availed half so much to stir the public mind, as, on the one hand, these details which Howard threw before it, fact upon fact, unsparingly, repeatedly—details of cruelty and injustice perpetrated or permitted by our own laws; and, on the other hand, this plain statement, brought from abroad, that in Ghent, that in Amsterdam, that even in Paris, many of the evils which we suffered to remain as incurable, were cured, or had never been allowed to exist. It was much to tell the citizen of London that in Flanders, and in Holland, there were prisons and bridewells that ought to put him to the blush.

And, in the second place, let it be considered, that Howard himself was pre-eminently a practical man. He neither wrote books of speculation, nor thought in a speculative manner. It was from detail to detail that his mind slowly advanced to principles and generalisations. These prisons, they were his books; these repeated circuits he made through the jails of Europe, they were his course of reading. He reperused each blotted page of human misery till he was satisfied that he had comprehended all it could teach. He was no Beccaria to enunciate a principle from the recesses of his library, (though it should be mentioned, in passing, that he had read Beccaria—that the man of speculative talent had stimulated the man of administrative talent, and the two were co-operating, all over Europe, on the same great subject of penal legislation;) his eye was ever upon practices, he got wisdom in the concrete, principle and instance indissolubly combined: he so learnt, and he so taught.

Again, in England itself, there was no system that equally regulated all the jails of the country; or, to speak more correctly, there was no uniformity in the abuses which existed amongst them. Arrangements were found in one, no trace of which might be discovered in another. All were bad, but the evils in each were different, or assumed different proportions. In some, there was no separation between the debtor and the criminal; in others, these were properly classified, but the criminal side might be more shamefully mismanaged than usual. In some, there was no attention paid to the sick; in others, the infirmary might be the only part of the jail that was not utterly neglected. There might be a good supply of medicine, and no food. In some, the separation of the two sexes was decently maintained; in others not. It was impossible to make any general statement that would not have called forth numerous contradictions. An accusation strictly just with regard to York, might be repelled with indignation by Bristol; whilst, on some other charge, Bristol might be the culprit, and York put on the show of injured innocence.

Some prisons were private property; they were rented to the jailor, and he was to extract the rent and his profit, by what extortion he could practise on his miserable captives. These were prisons belonging to liberties, manors, and petty courts, of the existence of which few people were aware. In some of these the prisoner lay forgotten by his creditor—lay there to starve, or live on the scanty and precarious charity of those who gave a few pence to "the starving debtor." In many cases the jailor—for all remuneration and perquisite—was allowed to keep a tap. Of course, whatever was doled out to the prisoner by charity, was spent in drunkenness. The abuses were of all kinds, strange, and numberless. Howard tracked them out, one by one—recorded them—put them in his book—published them to the world.

Add to all this, that, after some time, he became invested with the character of censor of the prisons. He looked through them to see that, when a good law had been made, it was obeyed. There was never a[66] commissioner so universally respected. Men are not so bad but they all admired his great benevolence, and his justice equally great. No bribery, no compliments, and no threats, could avail anything. In vain the turnkey suggested to him, that the jail-fever was raging in the lower wards: the crafty official had so deterred many a visiting magistrate, who had thanked him politely for his warning, and retired. Howard entered, and found no jail-fever; but he found filth and famine, that had been shut up there for years from the eyes of all men. No danger deterred him. The infected cell, where the surgeon himself would not enter—from which he called out the sick man to examine him—was the very last he would have omitted to visit. This character of public censor he carried with him abroad, as well as at home. Foreign potentates courted his good opinion of their institutions—consulted him—shrank from his reproof—a reproof all Europe might hear. The Grand-duke of Tuscany, the Emperor of Germany, the Empress of Russia, were all anxious to see and hear him. He had no flattery for them; the report he gave was as faithful as a page out of his note-book.

As a popular misconception has prevailed upon the character of Howard, attributing benevolence to him as almost a sole motive, so a like popular misconception has prevailed, as to the nature and objects of that benevolence. He is sometimes spoken of as if to visit the sick and the captive, and relieve them individually, was the main object of his charitable journeys, and his unremitting inquisitions. If, indeed, he had done nothing more than seek out those unhappy men, who, at the bottom of their infected dens, lay abandoned by all the world, he would have been entitled to our admiration, and to all the merits of a heroic charity. But he did more than this. He aimed at a permanent improvement of the condition of the prisoner. He aimed farther still. His object was the same which excites so much attention at the present moment: by a good system of imprisonment, both to punish and reform the criminal. "To make them better men," is a phrase often in his mouth, when speaking of prisoners; and he thought this might be effected by combining imprisonment with labour, with perfect abstinence from intoxicating drinks, and other good regulations. Those who will read his reports with attention, will be surprised to find how often he has anticipated the conclusions to which a wider experience has led the reflective men of our own age. There is a note of his upon Solitary Confinement which might be adopted as a summary of those views which enlightened men, after many trials of various systems, have rested in. No false sensibility accompanied the benevolence of Howard. In some respects he was a sterner disciplinarian than would be generally approved of.

Upon this aspect of his character there remains only one remark to add: his mind was never absorbed in the great objects of a public philanthropy to an oblivion of his near duties and his private charities: he was to the last the just, considerate, benevolent landlord, quite as much as he was Howard the philanthropist.

"During his absence in one of his tours," says Dr Aikin, "a very respectable-looking elderly gentleman on horseback, with a servant, stopt at the inn nearest Mr Howard's house at Cardington, and entered into conversation with the landlord concerning him. He observed that characters often appeared very well at a distance, which could not bear close inspection; he had therefore come to Mr Howard's residence in order to satisfy himself concerning him. The gentleman then, accompanied by the innkeeper, went to the house, and looked through it, with the offices and gardens, which he found in perfect order. He next inquired into Mr Howard's character as a landlord, which was justly represented; and several neat houses which he had built for his tenants were shown him. The gentleman returned to his inn, declaring himself now satisfied with the truth of all he had heard about Howard. This respectable stranger was no other than Lord Monboddo; and Mr Howard was much flattered with the visit, and praised his lordship's good sense in taking such a method of coming at the truth, since he thought it worth his trouble."

The traveller who undertook all these philanthropic journeys was a man of slight form, thin, and rather beneath the average height. Every[67] feature, and every movement, proclaimed energy and determination. "An eye," says Dr Aikin, "lively and penetrating, strong and prominent features, quick gait and animated gestures, gave promise of ardour in forming, and vivacity in executing his designs." "Withal there was a bland smile," says another of his biographers, "always ready to play upon his lips." "I have," continues Aikin, "equally seen the tear of sensibility start into his eyes, on recalling some of the distressful scenes to which he had been witness; and the spirit of indignation flash from them, on relating instances of harshness and oppression." In his dress and person he was remarkably neat, and in his ablutions, we are told, punctilious as a Mussulman;—far more so, we suspect. For the rest, he had reduced his wants to the lowest possible scale. Water and the simplest vegetables sufficed. Animal food, and all vinous and spirituous liquors, he had utterly discarded. Milk, tea, butter, and fruit were his luxuries; and he was equally sparing in the quantity of food, and indifferent as to the stated times of taking it.

From the prisoner, and the subject of prison-discipline, it is well known that the attention of Howard was directed to measures for arresting the plague. It was a grand idea this—that he would lead the way to some general scheme to be adopted throughout Europe, and the contiguous parts of Asia, for checking the incursions of, and perhaps finally exterminating, the plague. For no object did he suffer so much, or expose himself to so great dangers; embarking purposely in a vessel with a foul bill of health, and undergoing the perilous confinement of the lazaretto, that every practice of the quarantine might be thoroughly known to him. Nowhere was his conduct more heroic. It cannot be said here, however, that his object was equally well chosen, or that his labours were attended with any good result. Whilst it would be difficult to over-estimate the value of his service as inspector-general of the prisons of Europe, we can detect nothing in this latter scheme but an unfortunate waste of heroic benevolence. In dealing with jails and houses of correction, he was dealing with evils, the nature of which he, and all men, could well understand; but, in dealing with the pestilence, he was utterly in the dark as to the very nature of the calamity he was encountering. It is very probable that, had he realised his utmost wishes, and built a lazaretto on the most improved plan, combining every valuable regulation he had observed in every lazaretto of Europe, it would only have proved an additional nuisance.

This period of his life is more full of striking incidents than any other, but we must hurry rapidly over it.

"The point," says Mr Brown, "at which he wished to commence his new investigations was Marseilles; but the extreme jealousy of the French government respecting their Levant trade, had long kept the lazaretto of that port carefully concealed from the eye of every foreigner; but, as Mr Howard's object was such as ought to have awakened neither political nor commercial jealousy in any one, Lord Caermarthen, then secretary of state for foreign affairs, made an application to the French minister for permission for him to view this celebrated building. After waiting some time at the Hague, in expectation of its arrival, he went to Utrecht to visit his friend Dr Brown, at whose house he received a letter from his lordship, informing him, not only that the request he preferred had been peremptorily refused, but that he must not think of entering France at all, as, if he did, he would run a risk of being committed to the Bastille. Howard, however, was not to be deterred. He started immediately for Paris. At Paris, "having gone to bed, according to his usual custom, about ten o'clock, he was awaked between twelve and one, by a tremendous knocking at his room door, which, starting up, in somewhat of an alarm, he immediately opened; and, having returned to bed, he saw the chambermaid enter with a candle in each hand, followed by a man in a black coat, with a sword by his side, and his hands enveloped in an enormous muff. This singular personage immediately asked him if his name was not Howard. Vexed at this interruption, he hastily answered, 'Yes—and what of that?' He was again asked if he had not come to Paris in the Brussels diligence, in company with a man in a black wig? To this question he returned some such peevish answer, as that he paid no attention to such trifles; and his visitor immediately withdrew in silence. Not a little alarmed at this adventure, though[68] losing none of his self-possession, and being unable to compose himself to sleep, Mr Howard got up; and, having discharged his bill the night before, took his small trunk, and, removing from this house, at the regular hour of starting took his seat in the diligence, and set off for Lyons."

Such is the narrative of Mr Brown. It has been supposed that this midnight visitor was an officer of the police, and that, had Howard remained a few hours longer at his hotel, he would have been arrested. But some mystery still hangs over this adventure. Howard, in one of his letters, alluding to it, says that he had since learnt who his strange visitor was, and adds that "he had had a narrow escape;" and his biographer Mr Brown tells us that—

"He learned that the man in a black wig was a spy, sent with him to Paris, by the French Ambassador at the Hague, and that he himself would have been arrested then, (at Paris,) if Mr Le Noir had not been at Versailles on the day of his arrival; and, several persons having recently been arrested on very false or frivolous grounds, he had left orders for no arrests being made before his return, which was not until late in the evening of the next day, when he was pursued, but not overtaken."

If it was this that Howard learnt, we think his informant must have deceived him. An air of great improbability hangs over this story. The French government is represented as being so anxious to arrest Howard, if he should enter France, that it sends a spy to travel with him from the Hague; if so, the identity of Howard was sufficiently known to the police on his arrival at Paris. Yet we are next told that an officer visits Howard at midnight, only to assure himself that it is Howard;—pays a visit, in short, that can have no other effect than to give the alarm to his intended captive. In addition to this, we are to suppose that this person, whom the French government is so anxious to arrest, pursues his journey unmolested, and spends five days at Marseilles, visiting the very lazaretto to which it was known he was bound, and the inspection of which that government was so solicitous to prevent.

As to the other motives by which Mr Brown accounts for these hostile proceedings of the French government, we can attach no weight to them whatever. On a previous visit to Paris, Howard had been extremely desirous to survey the interior of the Bastille. Not being able to obtain permission, he had boldly knocked at the outer door, and, assuming an air of official authority, walked in. He had penetrated to some of the inner courts before this little ruse was detected. He was then, of course, conducted out. He was obliged to content himself with an account of the Bastille written in French, and the publication of which had been forbidden by the government. He obtained a copy, and translated it into English. For this, and for another cause of offence of a far slighter character, it is difficult to suppose that Howard had excited the peculiar animosity of the French government.

Howard visited the lazaretto of Marseilles, however, under the full impression that the police were on the search for him. From Marseilles he went to Toulon, and inspected the arsenal and the condition of the galley-slaves. To obtain admission into the arsenal, he dressed himself, says Mr Brown, "in the height of the French fashion," Englishmen being strictly prohibited from viewing it at all. We are told that this disguise was easy to him, "as he always had much the air and appearance of a foreigner, and spoke the French language with fluency and correctness." Mr Dixon, faithful to his system of caricaturing all things, describes him as "dressed as an exquisite of the Faubourg St Honoré!" We presume that it was the French gentleman of the period, and not the French dandy, that Howard imitated.

He next visited the several lazarettos of Italy—went to Malta—to Smyrna—to Constantinople, everywhere making perilous inquisitions into the plague. At Smyrna he is "fortunate enough" to meet with a vessel bound to Venice with a foul bill of health, and he embarks in it. On its way, the vessel is attacked by pirates. "The men," says Mr Brown, "defended themselves for a considerable time with much bravery, but were at length reduced to the alternative of striking, or being butchered by the Moors, when, having one very large cannon on board, they loaded it with[69] whatever missiles they could lay their hands upon, and, pointed by Mr Howard himself, it was discharged amongst the corsair crew with such effect that a great number of them were killed, and the others thought it prudent to sheer off." Pointed by Mr Howard himself! We can well understand it. The intrepid, energetic man, Fellow too of the Royal Society, would look at the elevation of the gun, and lend a helping hand to adjust it.

We throw into a note a parting specimen of the manner of Mr Dixon. Not satisfied with the simple and probable picture which Mr Brown presents to us, he makes Howard load the gun as well as point it—makes him sole gunner on board; and in order to improve his tableau, after having fought half the battle through, recommences it, that he may discharge his gun with the more effect.[11] Mr Dixon advertises, as his next forthcoming work, a history of our prisons. We are sorry that so good a subject has fallen into such bad hands. Unless he should greatly improve, we shall have a book necessarily replete with much popular and interesting matter, in not one page of which will the narrative be strictly trustworthy.

At Venice he is conducted to the lazaretto, to undergo the quarantine. He is shut up in a close loathsome room, the very walls of which are reeking with foul and pestilential odours. Surely never was a valuable life so heroically ventured, for so futile a purpose. Whilst lying here, smitten with a low fever, he received—we quote from Mr Brown—"intelligence from England of two circumstances which had transpired there, each of them an occasion of the deepest affliction to his mind. The first was the formation of a fund for the erection of a statue to his honour; the second the misconduct of his only son."

We can well believe they were both afflictions. Those who have entered into the character of Howard, will feel at once that the project of doing him any public honour would be, in his own language, "a punishment, and not a reward." It was mingling with his conduct and motives that very alloy of vanity, and consideration for men's opinion, which he was so anxious to keep them clear from. If a generous man has done a kind action for kindness' sake, how it spoils all if you pay him for it! You lower him at once. He refuses your payment; he would deny, if he could, his previous action; he begs, at all events, it may be utterly forgotten. To pay Howard in praise was, to his mind, as great an incongruity. He shrank from the debasing coin. He would have denied his philanthropy: "Say it is my hobby, if you will," he is heard at one time to mutter. Dying, he says to his friend—"Lay me quietly in the earth, place a sun-dial over my grave, and let me be forgotten." Child of Time—was it not enough?

When he had escaped the lazaretto and returned to England, he wrote a letter to the gentlemen who had undertaken to collect subscriptions, requesting them to lay aside their project. The money collected was in[70] part returned, a part was spent in liberating a certain number of poor debtors, and the residue was applied towards erecting, at his death, the statue of him in St Paul's Cathedral.

His son he was compelled to consign to the care of a lunatic asylum. He now published the information he had obtained, at so much risk, upon lazarettos, and the mode of performing quarantine, together with additional observations upon prisons and hospitals at home and abroad. Connected with this publication, an incident is related, which shows the extraordinary value Howard had put on the materials he had collected, and also the singular perseverance and determination of the man. We give it in the words of Mr Brown:—

"On his return from his Turkish tour, one of his boxes was stolen as he was getting into a hackney-coach in Bishopsgate Street, from the stage in which he had travelled from Dover. It contained a duplicate of his travels, twenty-five guineas, and a gold watch. The plan of the lazaretto of Marseilles, of which he possessed no duplicate, was, happily, in the other box. Had it not been so, he declared to his friend Dr Lettsom, that, notwithstanding the risks he had run in procuring that document, so important did he consider it, that he would a second time have exposed himself to the danger of a visit to France to supply its place."

We believe he would.

This publication completed, and his son so unhappily disposed of, the veteran philanthropist quitted his country again, and for the last time. It was still against the plague that his enterprise was directed. He seems to have thought that successful barricades, by quarantine and other measures, might be erected against it. With the plague, as with the cholera, it is generally admitted there is some occult cause which science has not yet penetrated; but the predisposing, or rather the co-operating causes, are, in both cases, dirt and bad diet; and the quarantine which would attack these is the only measure which, in our present state of knowledge, is worthy of serious consideration. It was his purpose, this time, to travel through Russia into Turkey, and thence, perhaps, to extend his journey far into the East, to whatever city this grim enemy of mankind might have taken possession of.

He had reached as far as Cherson, on the eastern borders of Russia, visiting, according to his wont, prisons and hospitals on his way. Here he was seized by a fever which proved mortal, and which he is supposed to have caught in visiting, with his usual benevolence, a young lady, to whom also it proved fatal. He was buried in the grounds belonging to the villa of a French gentleman who had shown him much attention. A small brick pyramid, instead of the sun-dial he had suggested, was placed over his grave. The little pyramid or obelisk still stands, we are told—stands alone, "on a bleak desolate plain." But Protestant England has a monument in that little pyramid, which will do her as much honour as any colony or empire she has planted or subdued.





The Water-Wraith shrieked over Clyde,
The winds through high Dunbarton sighed,
When to the trumpet's call replied
The deep drum from the square;
And, in the midnight's misty shade,
With helm, and cloak, and glancing blade,
Two hundred horsemen stood arrayed
Beneath the torches' glare.


Around a huge sepulchral van
They took their stations, horse and man—
The outer gateway's bolts withdrawn,
In haste the drawbridge fell;
And out, with iron clatter, went
That sullen midnight armament,
Alone the leader knew where bent,
With what—he might not tell.


Into the darkness they are gone:—
The blinded waggon thundered on,
And, save of hoof-tramp, sound was none:—
Hurriedly on they scour
The eastward track—away—away—
To none they speak, brook no delay,
Till farm-cocks heralded the day,
And hour had followed hour.


Behind them, mingling with the skies,
Westward the smoke of Glasgow dies—
The pastoral hills of Campsie rise
Northward in morning's air—
By Kirkintilloc, Cumbernold,
And Castlecary, on they hold,
Till Lythgo shows, in mirrored gold,
Its palaced loch so fair.[12]


Brief baiting-time:—the bugle sounds,
Onwards the ponderous van rebounds
Mid the grim squadron, which surrounds
Its path with spur and spear.
[72] Thy shrine, Dumanie, fades on sight,[13]
And, seen from Niddreff's hazelly height,
The Forth, amid its islands bright,
Shimmers with lustre clear.[14]


The Maiden Castle next surveyed,
Across the furzy hills of Braid,
By Craig-Milor,[15] through Wymet's glade
To Inneresc they wound;[16]
Then o'er the Garlton crags afar,
Where, oft a check to England's war,
Cospatrick's stronghold of Dunbar[17]
In proud defiance frowned.


Weep through each grove, ye tearful rills!
Ye ivied caves, which Echo fills
With voice, lament! Ye proud, free hills,
Where eagles wheel and soar,
Bid noontide o'er your summits throw
Storm's murkiest cloud! Ye vales below,
Let all your wild-flowers cease to blow,
And with bent heads deplore!



Ye passions, that, with holy fire,
Illume man's bosom—that inspire
To daring deed, or proud desire,
With indignation burn!
Ye household charities, that keep
Watch over childhood's rosy sleep,
Ashes bestrew the hearthstone,—weep
As o'er a funeral urn!


On—on they speed. Oh dreary day,
That, like a vampire, drained away
The blood from Scotland's heart—delay,
Thou lingering sun to set!
Rain, twilight! rain down bloody dews
O'er all the eye far northward views;
Nor do thou, night of nights! refuse
A darkness black as jet.


Heroic spirits of the dead!
That in the body nobly bled,
By whom the battle-field for bed
Was chosen, look ye down,—
And see if hearts are all grown cold,—
If for their just rights none are bold,—
If servile earth one bosom hold,
Worthy of old renown?


The pass-word given, o'er bridge of Tweed
The cavalcade, with slackened speed,
Rolled on, like one from night-mare freed,
That draws an easier breath;
But o'er and round it hung the gloom
As of some dark, mysterious doom,
Shadows cast forward from the tomb,
And auguries of death.


Scotland receded from the view,
And, on the far horizon blue,
Faded her last, dear hills—the mew
Screamed to its sea-isle near.
As day-beams ceased the west to flout,
Each after each the stars came out,
Like camp-fires heaven's high hosts about,
With lustre calm and clear.


And on, through many a Saxon town
Northumbrian, and of quaint renown,
Before the morning star went down,
With thunderous reel they hied;
While from the lattices aloof,
Of many an angled, gray-stone roof.
Rose sudden heads, as sound of hoof
And wheel to southward died.



Like Hope's voice preaching to Despair,
Sweetly the chimes for matin prayer
Melted upon the dewy air
From Hexham's holy pile;
But, like the adder deaf, no sound,
Or stern or sweet, an echo found
'Mid that dark squadron, as it wound
Still onwards, mile on mile.


Streamers, and booths, and country games,
And brawny churls, with rustic names,
And blooming maids, and buxom dames,—
A boisterous village fair!
On stage his sleights the jongleur shows,
Like strutting cock the jester crows,
And high the morrice-dancer throws
His antic heels in air.


Why pause at reel each lad and lass?
A solemn awe pervades the mass;
Wondering they see the travellers pass,
The horsemen journey-worn,
And, in the midst, that blinded van
So hearse-like; while, from man to man,
"Is it of Death"—in whispers ran—
"This spectacle forlorn?"


Bright are thy shadowy forest-bowers,
Fair Ashby-de-la-Zouche! with flowers;
The wild-deer in its covert cowers,
And, from its pine-tree old,
The startled cushat, in unrest,
Circles around its airy nest,
As forward, on its route unblest,
Aye on that waggon rolled.


And many a grove-encircled town,
And many a keep of old renown,
That grimly watched o'er dale and down,
They passed unheeding by;
Prone from the rocks the waters streamed,
And, 'mid the yellow harvests, gleamed
The reapers' sickles, but all seemed,
Mere pictures to the eye.


Behold a tournay on the green!
The tents are pitched—the tilters keen
Gambol the listed lines between—
The motley crowds around
For jibe, and jest, and wanton play
Are met—a merry holiday;
And glide the lightsome hours away
In mirth, to music's sound.



And hark! the exulting shouts that rise,
As, cynosure of circling eyes,
Beauty's fair queen awards the prize
To knight that lowly kneels.
"Make way—make way!" is heard aloud—
Like Red Sea waters part the crowd,
And, scornful of that pageant proud,
On grinding rush the wheels!


Hundreds and hamlets far from sight,
By lonely granges through the night
They camped; and, ere the morning light
Crimsoned the orient, they
By royal road, or baron's park,
Waking the watchful ban-dog's bark,
Before the first song of the lark,
Were on their southward way.


By Althorpe, and by Oxendon,
Without a halt they hurried on,
Nor paused by that fair cross of stone,
Now for the first time seen,
(For death's dark billows overwhelm
Both jewelled braid, and knightly helm!)
Raised, by the monarch of the realm,
To Eleanor his queen.[18]


Five times through darkness and through day,
Since crossing Tweed, with fresh relay
Ever in wait, their forward way
That cavalcade had held;
Now joy!!! for, on the weary wights,
Loomed London from the Hampstead heights,
As, by the opal morning, Night's
Thin vapours were dispell'd.


With spur on heel, and spear in rest,
And buckler'd arm, and trellised breast,
Closer around their charge they press'd—
On whirled, with livelier roll,
The wheels begirt with prancing feet,
And arms,—a serried mass complete,
Until, by many a stately street,
They reached their destined goal.



Grim Westminster! thy pile severe
Struck to the heart like sudden fear;—
"Hope flies from all that enter here!"
Seemed graven on its crest.
The moat o'erpassed, at warn of bell,
Down thundering the portcullis fell,
And clang'd the studded gates,—a knell
Despairing and unblest.


Ye guardian angels! that fulfil
Heaven's high decrees, and work its will—
Ye thunderbolts! launched forth to kill,—
Where was it then ye slept—
When, foe-bemocked, in prison square,
To death fore-doomed, with dauntless air,
From out that van,
A shackled man—
Sir William Wallace stept!




"Well," continued the commander, his voice making use of the breeze as he stood aft of the group, "I could not have slept more than three or four hours on a stretch, when I was woke up by a fellow shoving his lantern in my face, and saying it wasn't me he wanted; for which I gave him a hearty objurgation, and turned over with a swing of the cot to go to sleep again. The sailor grumbled something about the parson being wanted for the captain, and all at once it flashed on my mind where we were, with the whole of last night's ticklish work—seeing that, hard rub as it was, it had clean left me for the time. "Try the aftermost berth, then," said I, slipping out in the dark to put on my trousers. The fact was, on going below to our state-room, I had found my own cot taken up by some one in the confusion; and as every door stood open at night in that latitude, I e'en made free with the nearest, which I knew was the missionary's. In a minute or two I heard Westwood meet the mate, who said he thought the captain would like to see him, and hoped they hadn't "disturbed the other gentleman." "Oh no, I daresay not," said Westwood, rather nervously, guessing, I daresay, what he was wanted for; while Finch slipped quietly past to listen at the state-room door, where both he and I might hear the "other gentleman," whoever he was, snoring pretty plain. When the first officer shut the door to, however, turned the key, and put it in his pocket, I nearly gave vent to a whistle.—"I see!" thought I; "but, my fine fellow, it seemed you never were meant for a good jailor, anyhow!" He was no sooner gone than I walked forward toward the captain's cabin, near the after-hatchway, anxious enough to see how the poor man was, since I had had such a share in bringing him to a point, one way or another. Westwood was standing against the light out of the open door, and I looked in along with him, at the cot slung high to the beams like a lump of shadow, the lamp striking across below it on all the captain's little affairs—his glazed hat and his wet coat, the names of two or three old books, even, hanging in shelves against the bulkhead—and into the little state-room off the cabin, where the surgeon was stooping to mix a draught. The hard-featured Scotch mate stood holding the captain's wrist with[77] one clumsy flipper, as if trying to feel his pulse, fumbling about his own face with the other, and looking more concerned than I'd thought possible for him. "Well, I've slept a—good deal," said the captain, in a weak voice, putting up his hand slowly to rub his eyes, but seemingly quite composed, and knowing nothing of what had happened—which rid me of the horrid notion I could scarce help before, that he had known what he was about. His head was close shaved, and the look of a sailor clean gone off his face with the bluff, honest oak-colour it commonly had, till you'd have wished him decently in his bed thousands of miles off, with women slipping out and in; only the blood from his arm hanging down on the sheet, with the sharp point of his nose and the shape of his knees coming up off the shadow, kept it all in one with the wild affair on deck a few hours gone. "She's on her course, you say?" added he, listlessly. "Must be a very light breeze though, Mr Macleod." "So it is, sir; so it is, no doubt!" replied the second-mate, soothing him; "did ye say we'll pent the ship, sir?" "Ay, before we go into port, Mr Macleod, to be sure," said Captain Williamson, trying to put a cheerful tone into his voice; "she's had a good deal of buffeting, but we musn't let 'em see it, you know! Didn't you lose a mizen-topmast somehow, though, Mr Macleod?" "'Deed ay, sir," said Macleod hastily, afraid he was getting upon the scent of what had happened; "the first officer's watch it was, sir—will I tell Mr Finch ye're wanting to speak to him about it, Captain Williamson?" and he began to shuffle towards the door. "Finch? Finch?" said the sick man, passing his finger over his eyes again; "what voyage is this, Mr Macleod?" "Why—why," said the Scotchman, starting, and rather puzzled himself. "Oo, it's just this voyage, ye know, sir! Mr Finch, ye mind, sir?" "No, no; don't let him leave the deck for a moment, Macleod!" said the captain anxiously: "harkye, James, I'm afraid I've trusted overmuch to the young man all along! I'll tell ye, Mr Macleod, I don't know whether I was asleep or not, but I heard him somewhere wishing he had the command of this ship! I shouldn't like him to take her off my hands! Have you seen the Scilly lights yet, Mr Macleod?" The mate shook his head; he had contrived to persuade the poor man we were far homeward bound. "If you'd only get the pilot aboard, Mr Macleod," the captain went on, "I'd die contented;—but mind the charts—mind the charts—I've got the charts to mind for another sort of voyage myself, James!" "Hoot, hoot, captain!" said the Scotchman, "what sets ye for to talk after that fashion—you'll be up an' about decks directly, sir! What were ye saying about topem'sts now, sir?" Captain Williamson gave the second mate a glance that looked into him, and he held down his head, for the man evidently believed fully, as none of us could help doing, that there was death on the captain's face. "James, James!" said the captain slowly, "you've no notion how some things weigh on the mind at a pass of this kind! Other things one don't remember—but there's one in particular, almost as it were yesterday—why, surely you were with me that voyage, Mr Macleod! when I let some o' the passengers take a boat in a calm, and all—" Here he stopped, seemingly overcome. "There was one young creature amongst 'em," he went on, "the age of my own girl, Macleod—my own little Nan, you know—and now—now I miss her—and, and—" The poor man gave a great gulp, clutching the mate's arm, and gazing him in the face. "Wasn't it a long time ago?" said he, very anxiously; "if it wasn't, I would go mad! They were all drowned—drowned—I see that black squall coming down on the swell now, man, and the brig, and all of us looking out to the wind'ard!" "I mind something about it," replied Macleod stoutly, though he looked away; "'twas none o' your fault, though, Captain Williamson—they were just fey, sir; and more than that, if ye mind, sir, they took the boat again' all orders—on the sly, I may say." Westwood was on the point of starting forward to make known how the case stood, on the strength of our finding the paper in the bottle; when I pressed his arm, and whispered that it could only make[78] things worse, and cheat the sick man of a notion more likely to do him good than otherwise. "It's a heavy charge, Mr Macleod, a heavy charge!" said he, falling back again; "and one Mr Brown needn't envy." "Mr Finch, sir, ye mind," put in the second mate, setting him right; "but keep up your heart, sir, for anysake!" "I feel I'll last over the time o' next full tide," said the captain solemnly. "I don't want to know how far we're off, only if there's any chance at all, Macleod, you won't spare canvass to carry her in." The Scotchman rubbed one of his hard cheek-bones after the other, and grumbled something or other in his throat by way of agreement. The whole thing was melancholy to see after last night's stir, with the dim lamp or two twinkling along the gloom of the steerage, the dead quietness of the ship, and the smothered sort of glare under the captain's cot bringing out the mere litter on the floor, to the very cockroaches putting their ugly feelers out of one of his shoes in a corner: he shut his eyes, and lay for a minute or two seemingly asleep, only murmuring something about a breeze, and then asking them to shove out the port, 'twas so close. The second mate looked to the surgeon, who signed to him to do it, as if it didn't much matter by this time; while he gave him the draught of physic he was mixing, however.

The Indiaman was beginning to swing slowly before the first of the flood, stern off at her anchors; and whenever the port was opened, 'twas so still otherwise, that you heard the tide clearly in the cabin, rippling along the timbers to the copper upon her bows—plash, plash, and lap, lip, lap, like no other earthly sound that a man can hear—and you even began to note it on something else a good bit off, though it seemed to be all quite dark out-board. The captain's eyes opened by degrees, till we saw them looking at us out of the shadow of the cot, and the second mate started as if to mend his mistake; only 'twas plain enough, by that time, the captain knew the sound, half raising himself up and listening. A few early musquitoes came in, and, after dancing about to refresh themselves in the light and warmth under the cot, began to bite savagely; every one of us had a distant horn sounding in his ear, and each was rubbing it or his nose, except the sick man; but not one of them settled on him. As the starboard port slued gradually opposite to the nearest shore, a low, deep hum was carried in over the water, ebbing and flowing, and full of dim, creeping noises, like things stirring in their sleep, as if the little cabin had been an ear to the ship. At times the tree-frogs broke out in a loud clicking chirrup; then, between the fits of it, when all seemed still again for a moment or two, you heard a low, half-smothered, small sound, deeper down, as it were, fill up the break with its throbbing and trill-trilling, as if just one land-cricket or a grasshopper did it, till it came out as clear as though it were a child's rattle close by, and all of a sudden stopped; when back floated the huge whispering hum again, with a damp smell of leaves on a cold breath of the land air, that died away as quickly as it reached us. The bewilderment on Captain Williamson's white face for that minute's time was cruel to witness, and Macleod would certainly have closed the port, but for the captain's seizing his arm again, with a wild, questioning sort of a look into the second mate's eyes. "Oh, good God!" faltered out the captain, "it's—it's land!—where—where?—" "For goodsake, sir," said Macleod, "don't ask me the now—take a bit sleep, sir." We could hear one another breathing, when ting-tang went four bells on deck. You heard it going across to the shore, as it were; and a few moments after, out of the humming far and wide along the land, back came the sound of another bell, toll upon toll, like some clock striking the hour a long way off. Then a third one followed on it, from a different direction, ringing clearer in the air; while the murmur and the rush seemed to swell up the more all round, and the plashing of the tide made the ship heave at her anchors. The mate shivered, Westwood and I started, but some extraordinary notion or other gleamed over the captain's face as he sat up. He was quite in his senses, too, apparently, though it seemed to[79] be neither more nor less than sheer joy that overcame him, for he let out a long breath, and his eyes were glistening as if the tears stood in them. "James—James Macleod!" said he quickly, with a husky voice, "you oughtn't to've deceived one you've sailed so long with; but you meant me a good surprise, and 'twas kindly done of you! I know the very run o' the clocks off Greenwich Reach, man; d'ye think one could mistake the sound of Lon'on town, fidgeting when it wakes, either?—we're—we're home already!" And he fell back in the cot, with the drops running down his cheeks, smiling happily all the time at Macleod in a way that went to one's heart; while the Scotchman stared helplessly to the surgeon, who slipped to the port and closed it. "I know by your way, James," continued the poor man, "you wanted to send up to Virginia Row for 'em all; but don't send for an hour yet; better go up yourself and break it to 'em—break it to 'em, be sure of that, James; I shouldn't wonder but I pulled up, after all. Ay—that first one we heard was Greenwich Hospital—t'other in Dickson's brewery or Redriff—" Here his eyelids began to drop, owing to the sleeping-draught he had got, when suddenly they opened wide again. "Ha!" said he, listening, and putting up a finger, "but I haven't heard St Paul's strike six yet; it's seldom so long after; ought to be heard from here of a morning; let's—" By little and little, however, the sick man's eyes closed, and you heard him murmuring, as his finger sank down, "Macleod, say—to her—say—luff, luff, my lad, keep her her course—," till his shrunk face was as quiet on the pillow as if he'd been really at home the first night after a voyage.

"Oh man, doctor!" said the second mate, heaving a breath, "isn't terrible! Good forgive me for a lee to a dying man! Take an old seaman's word for it, Doctor Small, yon clock ashore was no mortal soond, sir; ye may keep your drogues for them they'll do good to. 'Twas neither more or less than the captain's dregy!" "Phoo!" answered the Scotch surgeon, who was one of your sceptical chaps, as I heard say, "some other vessels here, of course, that's all." The sailor gave him only a smile of pity for not being able to distinguish the sound of a ship's bell. "There can't be a town hereabout, Collins?" whispered Westwood. "A town,—no!" said I, "it's the best wilderness sign you can have—the African bell-bird!"[19] "Ah, ah!" said the surgeon, laughing, "there now, Macleod,—of course it can be explained naturally, like other things." The second mate gave me a doubtful scowl; but seeing Westwood, whom he had always seemed to think rather in the way before, his eye softened.

"You'll be wanting to see the captain as soon as he wakes up, sir," said he. "I'm terrified to face him—but if ye'd juist slip in when he comes to himself, sir, I'm thinking, reverend sir, ye might wile him off yon terrible notion o' his." Westwood shook his head seriously, not knowing what to say. "Ay, ay, sir," continued Macleod, as he half closed the door, "no doubt a man ought to be upon better things; but it's hard for him, when he's got a wife and weans six thousand miles away, and wants them alongside in a couple of hours—uncommon hard, sir! She's a douce, careful body, too, Mistress Williamson, like the captain's self; and I heard her fleech sore with the captain before we sailed, for to bide quietly ashore this time, for good. Poor woman! if she didn't e'en go the length o' partin' in anger the last morning, wae's me! till the very moment when (he telt me himself, sir,) she out with her arms round his neck, crying like to choke! An' all to—but if the captain had a fault, 'twas the love o'—good forgive me, though, when it was but studying his faim'ly, Mr Thomas! If it was only an auld tarry deevil like me, now, with neither kith or kin!" "Except cousins, Mr Macleod," said the surgeon, as he wiped his lancet on his coat-tail—"plenty of them in the High—" But he caught Westwood's eye, and was ashamed to finish his cursed heartless joke, though[80] the rough second mate was too full of his feeling to hear it: when Westwood said something about our all thinking too little of these things before-hand, but how the captain was plainly a man that had done his duty carefully, which no doubt would ease his mind. The mate looked up, and eyed him sideways for a moment: "Eh? what?" said he, bluntly; "it's not so little I mind o' what I used to hear at the kirk langsyne, as not to know that's not the right doctrine. D'ye think, sir, that's what'll put him over, when he finds out this is not Greenwich Reach? There's the Methody minister with the glasses, though!" he broke out, when again a look of despair came over his broad hard-favoured countenance. "They're always upon works, too, I've heard!" said he, turning and murmuring to himself; "oh, if I could but hoist out a bit screed o' the truth, myself, to comfort the poor man with! Lord, how didn't I think of the Shorter Carritch—let's see how't went—'What is the chief end of'—no, it's 'What is faith in—faith in the only rule to direct us—no, no.—Baptism is a sacrament—where—whereby"—and he was still overhauling some old catechism in this fashion, twisting himself all the time as if he were twisting a stiff rope the wrong way, with a look of misery none of us could have had the heart to laugh at, when a middy's voice came squeaking down the dark after-hatchway. "Mr Macleod, sir, the chief officer wants you on deck." Westwood slipped quietly off, and the young surgeon was beginning to talk easily, to rid his mind of something, perhaps; till I asked if there wasn't any chance. "Oh, the captain, you mean?" said he, "don't think there is—he's a bad subject! If we were out at sea now, Mr Collins, the calenture would make him think the waves all grass, or something as green as—as the cawdets used to call—" I looked at the fellow sternly, and he changed his key, though with a surprised air. "You're blessed early up, though, you two!" said he. "I suppose that cursed squall kept you idlers awake; but how they managed without the first mate I can't think. Clever fellow, Finch! but wasn't it a curious trick of the poor skipper to box him up below here? I fancy he'd a guess we would all soon be under the mate's command! It's a queer thing the brain, isn't it, Mr Collins? For exaumple, now, there's the captain it makes think something or other a clock near London, with everything accordingly! Macleod fancies it a soopernatural knell, and twaddles about some Calvinist stuff he learnt at school. Then you and me, you know, imaugines it's a bird—now whuch is it after all? Nothing—maybe, eh?" The fellow capped all with a sneer, as much as to say I was a fool, which I had stood from him several times before; though now I could have kicked him, more for his heartless way than aught else. "I'll tell you, Mr Small," said I, "what I think you—you're neither more nor less than a—" but I turned on my heel. "I'm off, however," said he, "to turn in again."

Through the half-closed door one could see the sick man's face sleeping so quiet in the shadow from the lamp, you heard not a breath. I looked up the after-hatchway. It seemed still quite dark; and a patch of the deep dark-blue sky showed high over the square opening, with two or three keen sparks of stars, green ones and blue ones—you'd have thought the ladder, short as it was, went up to somewhere clean above the world. But the moment I got on deck, I saw it was really lighter—the heavy fog creeping slowly astern of the ship on both hands; the white mist rolling faster over it before the sea-breeze against her bows, which had swung seaward by this time from the tide, that rushed like a mill-stream upon both her tight cables; while the muddy river-water, bubbling, eddying, and frothing away past, spread far up in the middle, into the dusk astern. Such a jabbering, croaking, hissing, shrieking, and yelling, too, as burst into one's ears out of the dark, as if whole legions of monkeys, bull-frogs, parrots, parroqueets, and what not, were coming together full upon us from both sides, one band nearer than the other; till the heavy boom of the surf round the point, and the roar of the tide coming in over the shallows about the river-mouth, pretty well drowned it. The sudden change was a good relief, Babel though it[81] seemed, after the closeness below, with what had been going on; and I looked ahead towards the sea, which lay away out off our larboard bow, round the headland, and over the opposite point; a cold, watery streak of light showing it from where the breakers rose plunging and scattering along the sandy bar, to the steady gray line of horizon, clipped by one of the two brown chops we had got into. It looked dreary enough as yet, the mouth of it being wider than I'd fancied it from seaward at night; though even with full water over the long spit of sand in the middle, there was no draught at all for the Indiaman except by the channel betwixt it and the bold point on our right; and pretty narrow it appeared from our present berth, heaving as it did with the green swell that set in, while meantime the mist scudding across the face of the headland let us see but the hard lump of bare black rock underneath.

In less time than I've taken to speak, however, the full space of sky aloft was turning clear, the sea far away suddenly shone out blue, with the surges tipped white; you saw a sparkling star high over it sink slowly in, and the fog spread off the water near us, till here and there you caught the muffled-up shape of a big tree or two looming through, not half-a-mile off our starboard quarter; the mist creeping over the headland till the sharp peak of it stood out against its shadow on the shoulder of a hill beyond, and old Bob Martin's single clump of cocoas on the rise, waving in landward from the brisk sea-breeze. One passenger after another came peeping sleepily out of the companion-hatch, at the men clearing away the wreck of the spars, and swabbing the quarter-deck down; but scarce had Smith, one of the young writers, reached the poop, when he gave a shout that covered both poop-ladders in no time, with people scrambling over each other to get up. Next minute you'd have fancied them a knot of flamingoes with their wings out, as the bright red daybreak brought out the edge of the woods far astern, through a hazy lane in the purple mist, topped so with stray cocoa-nut trees and cabbage-palms, dabbled like brushes in the colour, that they scarce knew them to be woods at all, and not a whole lot of wild savages fresh from other business of the kind, coming down with all sorts of queer tools upon us; more especially when one heard such a chorus of unaccountable cries, whistling, and screaming, as seemed to struggle with the sound of the sea ahead of us, and the plash alongside. The huge round sun struck hot crimson along the far turn of the reach, with all manner of twisted blots upon him, as it were, and the very grass and long reeds seemingly rustling into his face, so one didn't for the moment know him either; while the muddy chocolate-coloured eddies, sweeping and closing beyond the ship's rudder, glittered and frothed up like blood; and every here and there, along the streak of light, the head of a log or a long branch came dipping up terribly plain no wonder the old Seringapatam had apparently turned tail to it all, ready to bolt if she could. Almost as soon as you took your hands off your eyes, though, and could see without a red ball or two before them,—there was the nearest shore growing out toward our starboard bulwark all along, crowded with wet green woods, up into steaming high ground—all to eastward a dazzle of light, with two or three faint mountain-peaks shooting up far off in it, and a woody blue hill or so between; while here and there a broad bright hazy spoke off the sun came cutting down into the forest, that brought out a patch full of long big leaves, ten times greener than the rest, and let you look off the deck into the heart of it amongst the stems over the bank. The jabber in the woods had passed off all at once with the dusk, the water deepening over the bar, and the tide running slower, so that every one's confused face turned breathless with delight as it grew stiller and stiller. The whole breadth of the river shone out by this time, full and smooth, to the opposite shore three times as far away, where the wood and bulrushes seemed to grow out of the water; a long thick range of low, muddy-looking mangroves, with a cover of dark-green, rounding from the farthest point one saw, down to some sandy hummocks near the mouth, and a ridge of the[82] same, drifted up by the wind off the beach. Beyond that side there was nothing, apparently, but a rolling sweep of long coarse grass, with a few straggling cocoa-nut trees and baobabs, like big swollen logs on end, and taken to sprouting at top: a dun-coloured heave of land in the distance, too, that came out, as it got hotter, in a long desert-like, red brick-dust sort of a glare. The sole living things to be seen as yet, were some small birds rising up out of the long grass, and the turkey-buzzards sailing high over all across, as if on the look-out.

The air was so cool and clear, however, from the tornado overnight—not a cloud in the sky, and the strange scent of the land reaching us as the dew rose off it—you could see far and wide, with a delicious feeling of it all, that kept every one standing fixed on the spot where he first gained the deck, even the men looking over their shoulders with the ropes in their fists, and the fresh morning breeze lifting one's hair. Surprised as the passengers were, nobody spoke a word, except the three or four children shouting, dancing, and pointing together; without being noticed, till all at once the whole poopful burst into one confusion of questions and exclamations, running hither and thither, shaking hands and jostling each other like distracted people. I had a spyglass at my eye, making out the other shore, when, turning round in the middle of it, the first thing I saw was Violet Hyde's face, as she stood with one little foot on the stair-head behind me, holding the rail with one hand, her eyes sparkling and her parted lips murmuring like one in a dream. "Oh, Mr Collins!" exclaimed she, breathless; "what is this? Where are we—is it fairyland? A river!" "Yes, in Africa," I said; "but whether it's the Bembarooghe or the—" "That fearful, fearful evening!" continued she, shuddering: "I saw the frightful sky, and heard the storm—and now!—Were we not in some very great danger, sir?" "Yes, ma'am, we were," replied I, as stiffly as I could; "but, happily, its over now," and I gave my cap a lift to move off, uneasy as I was every moment, lest Sir Charles should catch me speaking again to his daughter. However, Miss Hyde was gazing eagerly at the land, and I had to wait. "What lovely, lovely green!" she half whispered: "oh, if one could only tread upon!—so unEnglish those strange tall trees look! are they not cocoa-trees and—and—" Suddenly her voice faltered, and she turned round with her bright blue eyes swimming in tears—"How—how thankful we should be that we are not—like our poor, poor friends, who were lost!" exclaimed she. I thought of the poor captain below in his cot, but next moment I was explaining, to her sheer amazement, how the real truth of the matter stood, though, if possible, it seemed to horrify her still more. "I can't think what they may be," I rapped out; "but if I had the command of this ship, I'd up anchor this very hour, and go out—at least as soon as the tide ebbed; but, at any rate, at the Cape I mean to get hold of some schooner or other, and if it were to China, why, I'll cruise after 'em till I—" "Then you think—" began she, and an arch, inquisitive sort of look danced in both her eyes as she turned away to watch the shore again, saying slowly, "You are a—a naval gentleman, then, Mr West—Mr Collins?" I tried to stammer out something by way of an explanation, but it wouldn't do, and I said, "At any rate, I'm no better, by this time, than an idler aboard here, ma'am!"

All at once I caught a side-look from her eyes, that wasn't meant for me, as she glanced over the poop-netting. Half provoking and half sweet it was, though, and it made my brain somehow or other seem to spin round, till a little after, before I well knew what I was about, I was holding the long spy glass for her to see the bank of the river,—her warm breath coming on my ear as I stooped before her, near enough to have kissed the muslin on her shoulder, while her rosy mouth changed with every new spot that the glass brought near; and she had to hold one taper fore-finger on the other eye-lid to keep it shut, so that I could dwell on her face as if she'd been asleep. "There, there!" exclaimed she, "are actually flowers—with such immense leaves! And now—an enormous tree, with roots hanging from the branches, and other[83] stems growing up into them. Why, yes!—is not that a banian-tree, Mr—," and she looked away at me, when of course the tree was vanished, and instead of that, the rather undeniable expression of a fellow in love, two or three inches off, bent fair upon her. Violet Hyde coloured a little, and looked in again. "And—I think—" continued she, "I see—oh, two such beautiful creatures—deer, I think—coming out to drink from the river!" All this time, the ecstacies of the rest kept up the noise and confusion: the young lady's maid was gaping open-mouthed at the shore, not even noticing her young mistress's straw bonnet fall off, and I had just picked it up with one hand, to put it quietly over that matchless nut-brown hair of hers, shining suddenly in the sun like silk, when the Judge's voice sang out sharp from the other stair, "Violet, child, you'll have a sun-stroke. Kitmagar, you scoundrel, beebee sahib punkah lao, sirrah!" I held on to the telescope like grim death, while that eternal punkah was hoisted over us both, the Judge eyeing me somewhat coolly for the first moment. "Well, well, Mr Westwood," said he, however, "you've got rid of that proud freak of yours;—such behaviour as yours yesterday, I assure you, I shouldn't have endured from any one else, young man! But, my dear boy," added he, suddenly, "from what I can gather, indeed saw myself last night, I am convinced we owe you a very great deal—even, I suspect, the safety of the entire vessel!" Miss Hyde had left off using the glass, and, as I stood up, she gave me a quick glance of amazement. "Mere chance, sir," I stammered. "Why," said Sir Charles, "I saw you at the steerage in the middle of the hurricane, when I believe the actual officers of the ship had left it in dismay. I tell you what, Mr Westwood, you're a bold fellow; and your uncle and I must see in India if we can't reward you in some way, my dear boy!" All this fondling style of thing, and for little more than a piece of luck, would have disgusted me, if I hadn't been more taken up with watching the side of Violet Hyde's face, as she listened for sounds in the woods ashore. "Strange wasn't it, Violet, my dear," continued he to his daughter, that my friend the Councillor's nephew should have gone out in the same Indiaman, so fortunately—though of course, after all, it was the first this season." "Ah!" said she, starting, "I beg pardon, papa,—what did you—weren't you talking of the river?" "Don't you hear, child," said the Judge, "I said it was a curious coincidence, Mr Westwood's going in this vessel." "Oh yes, indeed!" answered she, and couldn't help looking down a little confounded. But the lady's-maid was putting on her tiny slipper, which had come off, while her father mentioned that of course I'd had practical reasons for not owning my profession hitherto;—meaning, I suppose, that I didn't speak for fear of having to work, like the monkeys—though the sharp old lawyer must have had a better guess by this time, and queer enough it must have been to see her face, listening to him as he explained it all. I stood biting my lips, meanwhile—two or three times on the point of telling him it was all nonsense about my being a nephew of any hanged old nabob whatever; when Sir Charles said carelessly he should leave the Seringapatam, if possible, at the Cape of Good Hope, as he couldn't trust safely to the present officers.

Just then up got the merry chant of the men running round with the capstan-bars, to get up anchor; the chief officer wishing, as it was found, to carry her farther into the river with the breeze—for the sake of filling our water-casks the easier, according to him, but more likely out of sheer spite at what had been done without him. What with eagerness in the cuddy to get on shore and see the woods, the breakfast below was a rare scene, no one minding what he did, even to rushing slap into a couple of ladies' berth for his boots, or laying a couple of loaded Joe Mantons into somebody's bed, swallowing biscuit and butter on the way.

Suddenly we heard the splash of paddles in the water, with a hail in some foreign tongue or other, and hurried on deck in a body; where we found the ship tiding it slowly up, under jibs and foretopsail, and beginning to open a longer reach where the river seemed to narrow in. A black-eyed,[84] black-bearded fellow, with a tallowy, yellow, sweaty sort of complexion, in a dirty jacket, drawers, and short boots, and an immense grass hat, shouting Portuguese louder and louder into the first-mate's ear, till he actually put both hands together and roared through them,—pointing to himself now and then, as if surprised he wasn't known. All at once, evidently quite disgusted, he turned and looked over the side, saying something to one of the ugliest and most ill-looking mulattoes I ever saw, who sat in the stern of a long rough canoe, hollowed out of some tree, with two naked black rowers, less of the real nigger than himself, as they leant grinning up at the bulwarks with their sharp teeth, that appeared as if they'd been filed to a point. The mulatto gloomed, but he gave no answer, and as one of the cadets and I knew a little Portuguese, we managed together to get something out of the fellow on deck; though at noticing me for the first time that morning, I saw Finch turn red with surprise. We understood the man to ask if we wanted nothing particular in the river, the meaning of which I saw better on bethinking me of the fire along the bush inside the headland, that had let me see the marks of it—no doubt a signal to some craft they had taken us for. However, so soon as he heard we needed no more than water and spars, after musing a minute, and speaking again to Rodriguez, as he called the mulatto, he said he would pilot us to a convenient berth himself, for two or three dollars; notwithstanding his title was, as he said, Don José Jeronimo Santa somebody, commandant of the Portuguese fort something else. The river, we found, was the Nouries or the Cuanené, where they had a settlement called Caconda, a good way up; a remarkably bad country, he gave us to know, and not worth staying in, from the number of flies, and the elephants having got into a cursed way of burying their tusks,—except, he hinted, for the plenty of blacks, all anxious to be sold and to see foreign countries; but the trade was nothing yet, absolutely nothing, said he, blowing his nose without a pocket handkerchief, and suiting the act to the word, as he mentioned his notion of throwing it up and going farther north-west. By this time we had stood over to the lowest shore, till you could see the thick coffee-coloured mud in among the roots and suckers of the dark-green mangroves, with their red pods bursting under their rank-looking leaves,—and over them, through the tall coarse guinea-grass, to the knots of feathery cocoas behind, swarming with insects: when he gave the sign to go about, one of his blacks heaving a lead, and grunting out the depth of water, as the ship made a long stretch across towards the woody side again, and Don José all the time taking it as easy as if the quarter-deck were his own, while he asked for a cigar and lighted it. Joke though he did, yet I couldn't like the fellow at all; however, as soon as she got pretty near the shore, about a quarter of a mile from the mouth of what seemed a wide creek, glittering up between a high fringe of cane and bamboo clumps, he had the sails clued up, a single anchor let go in four or five fathoms, and our Portuguese friend got his money and bundled over the side, pulling quietly ashore.

The tide by this time was quite still, and the breeze sank almost at once, as we were shut in from the sea; when we were surprised to see the striped Portuguese flag rise off a tall bamboo stick, among the bushes on the open shore, nearly abreast of us; where a low, muddy-like wall was to be made out, with something of a thatched roof or two, and a sort of rude wooden jetty running before it into the water. Shortly after, Don José came paddling out again, and got on board, this time with an old cocked hat on, excusing himself for not having fired a gun—which was to save us expense, he remarked, being particular friends—seeing that he'd got to demand twelve dollars of harbour dues and duties, whereas, if he saluted, he must have charged fourteen. The cool impudence of this brought the chief officer from the capstan; but the steady face of the fellow, and the glance he took round the deck when the cadet told him he'd better be off at once, made me think he had something or other to back him. Mr Finch, as usual, fumed up into a passion,[85] and told the men to fling him over into his canoe, which they accordingly did, without the least nicety about it; the Portuguese next minute picking himself up, and standing straight, with the look of a perfect devil, as he shook his fist at the whole ship, while the canoe slid off to the shore.

Budge even so much as a single fathom, at present, we could not; and most of us were too much in the spirit of fun and venture to care a fig for having made an enemy of Don José-So-on, as the cadet called him; indeed, it seemed rather to set a finer point on people's admiration of the green jungly-looking shore next to us, with its big aloes and agaves growing before the bush, and all sorts of cocoas, palms, monkey-bread, and tall white-flaked cotton-trees, rising in every way out from over the rest. For my part, I thought more of the Portuguese's interest, after all, than his hatred—which proved correct, by his soon sending out a sulky message by the mulatto, offering to sell us fowls and a bullock, at no ordinary price. However, all hands from the cabin were mad already to get ashore somewhere, and the cadets bristling with fowling-pieces and rifles, each singing out that he was ready to supply the whole ship with fresh meat; so the mulatto had to sheer off, with a boat nearly lowered over his head. From where we lay at the time, what with the large creek off one bow, and the broad river ahead of us, spreading brimful along to the light, the water had the look of a huge lake, fringed in by a confused hazy bluish outline steeping in the heat, where the distance clipped behind the lumps of keen verdure, showering over a dark mangrove-covered point. Before the two large quarter-boats could be got ready for the ladies and the rest of us, in fact, we heard the gig full of writers and cadets beginning to pop away at everything they saw alive, out of sight from the ship; till at last we were afloat, too, pulling slowly into the middle of the stream, and the men eyeing us lazily as they turned-to about the rigging, to send up new spars in place of those lost. The old Indiaman's big bows stood looming up broad astern of us on the sluggish eddies round her cable, with her tall steady fore-spars and furled yards rising white against the low line of marshy shore in the distance, and wavering in her shadow below, till the thick green branches of the next point shut her out, and the glare off the face of the creek shot level over all of us in the two cutters, wild with every kind of feeling that India passengers could have after two months' voyage.

For my own part, I should have had rather a suspicion how absurd it was to go a pleasuring in an African river we knew nothing about, especially when I saw that a day or two so long after the rains might suck it up, during ebb, into a pretty narrow mid-channel: all I thought of was, however, that I was steering the boat with Violet Hyde in it, the kitmagar holding his gaudy punkah over her before me, while the Judge, with his gun in his hands, was looking out as eagerly, for the time, as the four griffins were pulling furiously, in spite of the heat that made the sweat run into their eyes.

The other party were soon off ahead of us up the main river, under care of the Scotch surgeon, laughing, talking, and holloing in chase of the cadets who had first left. However, Sir Charles thought there was more likelihood of game along the creek, and the ladies fancied it something new, so I steered right into it; the fat midshipman, Simm, watching me critically as I handled the yokelines which he had given up to me in a patronising way, and the sailor in the bow regarding the exertions of the griffins with a knowingly serious expression, while he dabbled his flipper at ease in the water. As the tide steadied, this said creek proved to be a smaller river, apparently from the hilly country I had noticed beyond the woods; by the clearness of its current, that showed the pale yellow reflection of the close bamboo-brake on one side, deep down into the light—the huge sharp green notched aloe-leaves and fern shoving here and there out of it—the close, rank, stifling smell of rotten weeds and funguses giving place to the strange wild scent of the flowers, trailing and twisting in thick snaky coils close up the stems on our opposite[86] hand, and across from branch to branch, with showers of crimson and pink blossoms and white stars; till, eager as the ladies were to put foot on land, 'twas no use looking as yet for a spot of room, let alone going farther in. The cadets were not long in being blown, either; when the midshipman, the bowman, and I had to relieve them. However, then I could look straight toward Violet Hyde's face, the shade of the scarlet punkah hanging over it, and her soft little straight nose and forehead catching a flickering burst from the leaves as we sheered at times under cover of the bank; while her eyelids, dropping from the glare, gave her bright eyes a half-sleepy sort of violet look, and it was only her lips that let you see how excited she felt. The griffin who had the tiller steering with the judgment of a tailor's 'prentice on a picnic to Twickenham, we came two or three times crash into the twigs of some half-sunk tree; then a blue bird like a heron would rise direct ahead of us, with its tall wet spindle legs and spurs glistening like steel behind it into the light, and a young snake in its sharp bill; or a gray crane rustled out of the cane from overhead, its long wings creaking in the air out of our sight. Suddenly you heard a long chirruping croak from a tree-frog, and the ground ones gave full chorus from farther in, whining and cackling, and peep-peep-peeping in one complete rush that died as suddenly away again, like thousands of young turkeys—then out in the midst of the quiet would come a loud clear wheetle-wheetling note from some curious fowl in an opening, with another of the same to match, dimmer amongst the thick of the bush. However everything of the kind seemed to sink down with the heat at noon, the very buzz of flies round every dark feather of the cocoas, and the musquito hum along the bank, getting fainter; till one heard the heat, as it were, creeping and thrilling down through the woods, with the green light that steeped into both edges of the long creek; every reed, cane, leaf, and twig, seemingly, at last giving it back again with a whispering, hushing crackle, and the broad fans of the palms tingling in it with rays from them, as they trembled before you in the glare, back into the high bundles of knotted and jointed bamboo, with their spiky-tufted crowns.

"Can you not almost feel the forest grow!" exclaimed Miss Hyde; while the boat floated quietly to one side, and her charming young face shining out from the punkah, before Master Gopaul's deucedly ugly one, coolly staring past his snub nose, made one think of a white English rose and a black puff-ball growing together under a toadstool; plenty of which, as red as soldiers' coats, and as big as targets, looked here and there out of the bank. It put new spirit into me to see her, but still we could do little more than shove across from one side to the other—till something all at once roused us up in the shape of a long scaly-like log, seemingly lying along in the sun, which tumbled off the edge with a loud splash, and two of the young fellows let drive from their fowling-pieces, just after the alligator had sunk to the bottom. Rather uncomfortable it was to come sheering right over him next moment, and catch a glimpse of his round red eyes and his yellow throat, as the mud and weeds rose over him. The other ladies shrieked, but Violet Hyde only caught hold of her father's arm and started back; though her blue eye and the clear cut of her pretty nostril opened out, too, for the moment her lips closed. Five minutes after, when a couple of large guinea-fowl sprang up, Sir Charles proved himself a better shot than the cadets, by dropping one of them over the water ahead of us, which was laid hold of by the reefer of the Indiaman, and stowed away fluttering into the stern-locker—Simm observing coolly that it was a scavengering carrion-sort of bird, but perhaps one of his messmates might like to take it home stuffed to his sister. The Judge merely smiled and patted the mid on the shoulder, remarking in great good-humour that he, Simm, would make a good attorney; and on we held, soaking to our shirts and panting, until the bowman hooked down the stem of a young plantain, with a huge bunch of full ripe yellow bananas under the long flapping leaves at its head, right into the midst of us, out[87] of a whole clump of them, where the smooth face of the cove showed you their scarlet clusters of flowers and green round pods hanging over it, hidden as they were from above. Every man of us made a clutch, and the stem almost lifted Simm out of the boat with it, as it sprang back into the brake, rousing out a shower of gaudy-coloured butterflies, and a cloud of musquitoes, and making the paroquets scream inside; while the cadets' mouths were so full they couldn't speak, the reefer making a gulp with the juice seeming to come out at his eyes, the sailor spitting out his quid and stuffing in a banana, and the ladies hoping they were safe to eat; as I peeled the soft yellow rind off, and handed one to Violet Hyde, which she tasted at once. But if ever one enters into the heart of things in the tropics, I'd say 'tis when that same delicious taste melts through and through and all over you, after chewing salt junk for a space. I remember one foremast-man, who was always so drunk ashore he used to remember nothing in India but "scoffing[20] one bloody benanny," as he called it; "but hows'ever, Jack," he'd say, "'twas blessed good, ye know, and I'm on the look-out for a berth again, jist for to go and have another." One of us looked to the other, and Miss Hyde laughed and coloured a bit when I offered her a second, while her father said full five minutes after, "'Gad, Violet, it almost made me think I saw Garden Reach in the Hooghly, and the Baboo's Ghaut!"

This whole time we couldn't have got more than three-quarters of a mile from where the ship lay, when all at once the close growth on our left hand began to break into low bush, and at length a spot offered where we might get ashore tolerably, with two or three big red ant-hills heaped up out of the close prickly-pear plant, and the black ants streaming over the bank, as well as up the trunk of a large tree. The monkies were keeping up a chattering stir everywhere about; and two or three bright-green little lizards changing into purple, and back again, as they lay gleaming in the sun on the sides of the ant-heaps, and darted their long tongues out like silver bodkins at the ants coming past. In we shoved with a cheer, and had scarce moored to the tree ere the ladies were being handed out and tripping over the ground-leaves to the ankles, starting on again at every rustle and prick, for fear of snakes; till the bowman in charge was left in the boat by himself, and, there being seven of us with guns over our arms, the next notion of the griffins was to get a sight of some "natives."

In fact there was a sort of a half track leading off near the bank, through among the long coarse grass and the ferny sprouts of young cocoas, and a wide stretch of open country seen beyond it, dotted all over with low clumps of trees and bush rounded off in the gush of light, that gave it all a straw-coloured tint up to where a bare reddish-looking ridge of hill looked over a long swell of wild forest, off a hot, pale, cloudless sky. Here and there you saw the shadow of one bluff lying purple on the side of another, and a faint blue peak between, letting north'ard into some pass through the hills, but no signs of life save a few dun big-headed buffaloes feeding about a swampy spot not very far off, and rather too shaggy, by all appearance, to make pleasant company. Accordingly, we held for a few yards under the shade, where the fat mid, thinking to show off his knowingness by getting cocoa-nuts for the ladies, began to shy balls of mud from the creek-side at the monkeys in the trees. However, he brought us rather more than he bargained for, till the whole blessed jungle seemed to be gathering between us and the boat to pelt us to death with nuts as big as eighteen-pound shot, husks and all; so off we had to hurry into the glare again, Sir Charles half carrying his daughter through guinea-grass up to the waist—when somebody felt the smell of smoke, and next minute we broke out near it, wreathing up white from inside a high bamboo fence, propped up and tied all along with cocoa-nut husk. "What the devil!" shouted the foremost cadet, as soon as he found the opening, "they're cannibals!—roasting a black child,[88] by heaven!" and in he dashed, being no chicken of a fellow ashore at any rate, the others after him, while the Judge, Simm, and I, kept outside with the ladies, who were all of a shudder, of course, what with the thought, and what with the queer scent of roast meat that came to us. "Ha, ha!" laughed the cadet next moment, "it's only a monkey, after all!—come in, though, Sir Charles, if you please, sir,—nobody here, ladies." There, accordingly, was the little skinned object twirling slowly between two bamboo sticks, over a fire beneath two or three immense green leaves on a frame, with its knees up not to let its legs burn; about a dozen half-open sheds and huts, like little corn-stacks, thatched close with reeds, and hung with wattled mats of split bamboo, giving the place more the look of a farmyard than a village; as there was a big tree spreading in the middle, a few plantains, yams, and long maize-stalks flowering out of the coarse guinea-grass which the niggers hadn't taken the trouble to tread down all round inside of the fence. However, we weren't long of perceiving an old gray-headed black sitting on his hams against the post of a hut, watching us all the time; and a villanously ugly old thief he looked, with a string of Aggry beads about his head, and a greegree charm-bag hung round his shrivelled neck, which was stuck through a hole in some striped piece of stuff that fell over to his knees, as he sat mumbling and croaking to himself, and leering out of the yellows of his eyes, though too helpless to stir. Something out of the way attracted my notice, glittering in front of the hut over his head; but, on stepping up to it, I wasn't a little surprised to find it the stern-board of some small vessel or other, with the tarnished gilt ornament all round, and the name in large white letters,—"Martha Cobb,"—the port, Boston, still to be made out, smaller, below. This I didn't think so much of in itself, as the craft might have been lost; till, on noticing that the old fellow's robe was neither more nor less than a torn American ensign, in spite of his growls and croaks I walked past him into the hut, where there was a whole lot of marlinspikes, keys, and such like odds and ends, carefully stored up in a bag, marked with the same name, besides a stewpan with some ostrich feathers stuck where the handle had been, as if this rascally black sinner wore it on his head on state occasions, being probably the head-man and a justice of the peace! What struck me most, though, was a pocket-book with a letter inside it, in a woman's hand, addressed to the master of the brig Martha Cobb; dated a dozen years before, yellow and fusty, and with tarry finger-marks on it, as if the poor skipper, God knows, had read it over and over in his cabin many a fresh breeze betwixt there and Boston. I put it in my pocket, with a curse to the old black devil, as he croaked out and fell on his face trying to bite me with his filed teeth when I passed out, to follow the rest out of the bamboo pen; wondering, of course, where all the negroes could be, unless they were dodging about the river shore to watch the Indiaman,—little chance as there was of their trying the same joke with the Seringapatam, as with the Martha Cobb.

As for the women, however, I had scarce joined our party going out, when we met a half-naked black hag with a bunch of cocoa-nuts and husk. The moment she saw us she gave a squeal like an old hen, and fell flat, while several younger ones, jogging along with their naked black picaninnies on their backs, turned tail and were off with a scream. Next minute we were almost as startled as they could be, when three plump young jetty damsels dropped down right into the bushes alongside of us, off as many tall cocoas which they'd been climbing by a band round them, for the nuts. "Mercy on us!" said the eldest of our lady-passengers: and it was rather queer, since they had nothing earthly upon them save very very short pet—I beg your pardon ma'am, but I didn't know any other word—however off they scampered for the woods, Simm and one of the cadets hard after them, and we turning away to smother our laughter, especially as the griffin had forgot his mother being with us. The middy being first started, he was a good way ahead, when all at once the sternmost of the[89] black girls tripped in the band she had over her shoulder, Simm giving a cheer as he made prize of his chase; but scarce before the whole three of the dark beauties had him smothered up amongst them, laughing, yelling, and squalling as they hauled him about; till I saw the dirk Simm sported glitter in one of their hands, and I made towards the spot in the notion of their finishing him in right earnest. The black damsels ran off together as the unlucky reefer picked himself up, coming to us with his hair rubbed up like a brush, his cap out of shape in his hand and the gold band off it, his red face shining, and all the gilt anchor-buttons off his jacket, besides being minus his dirk. "Simm! Simm! my fine fellow!" said his friend the cadet, like to die with laughing, "what—what—did they do to you? why, your head looks like a chimney-sweep's mop!" Simm knocked his cap against a tree to set it right, without a word, and we followed the others to the boat, where he swore, however, that he'd kissed 'em all three; at which Mrs Atkins fairly took him a slap on the side of the head, saying he was a nasty improper boy, and she was glad his poor mother couldn't see him run after creatures of that kind in African woods—"Natives, indeed!" said she, "I have heard so often of native modesty, too, in books; but, after all, there's nothing like experience, I think, Sir Charles?" "Certainly not, ma'am," replied the Judge, humouring her, as she hadn't often had the chance of speaking to him before; "'tis almost as bad in India, though, you know!" "Oh, there, Sir Charles," said the lady, "I never happened to go out, of course, except in the carriage!" "Ah," said the Judge coolly, "you should try an elephant sometimes, ma'am."

After this, as Sir Charles was bent on getting a shot at something better, with a glass or two of Madeira to refresh us, we pulled farther still up the small river, passing the mouth of a deep marshy inlet, where I noticed a few long canoes belonging to the Congo village we had seen; the close, heavy heat of the woods getting if possible worse, and the rank green growth topping up round us as flat as before; when the sound of a loud rush of water up-stream broke upon us through the bush to northward, the surface rippling, and a slight cool breath seeming to flutter across it now and then, the very noise putting fresh soul into you. Suddenly we opened out on a broad bend where it was hard work to force her round, and next moment a low fall was gleaming before us, where a hill-stream came washing and plashing over one wide rocky step above another in the turn, then sweeping out of a deep pool to both hands, and running away ahead, in between the spread of trees, seemingly to a sort of a lagoon, where you saw the light in the middle glancing bright down upon its face. A broad blue burst of air and light struck down along the hollow the stream rushed out of, off the roots of a regular mountain, leaning back to the sky, with its big tufted knolls and its shady rifts thrown out blue beyond one or two thick scaly-stemmed date-trees, waving their long, feathery, fringe-like leaves to the least bit of a breeze, on as many rough points near at hand: the whole shape of the mountain you couldn't see for the huge mahogany trees, teak, and African oak, rising up over one shoulder into a lump of green forest. In five minutes more we were through into the lagoon, which very possibly took round into the main river again, only the opposite end, to our surprise, was all afloat with logs of big timber choking it up, so that there we must stick or go back upon our wake.

However, the lagoon itself being broad enough and round enough in all conscience, with a deep hollow opening up out of it on the high ground, the Judge and the cadets thought a better place couldn't have been chosen for landing after a little sport, while we left the fair ladies to rest in the cool, and look at the lotus-lilies spread all over one cove of it, floating white on their large leaves. The green edge of scum ran about the black shadow on the rest of it, gathering round where a big branch or two had fallen in, with the hot white sky looking bluer out through the broad leaves coming together aloft, and the showers of little sharp ones in the tamarind twigs, mangoes, iron-wood, sumach, and all sorts; while here and[90] there a knot of crimson blossoms looked out from under the boughs in the dark, humming with small flies. Beautiful spot as it was everyway, especially after the heat, yet I didn't much like the idea of letting the ladies stay by themselves, except the sailor and the kitmagar. Nothing particular had turned up to trouble us, certainly; but I daresay 'twas because there was one of them I never looked at without her soft fairy-like air making me think of something that might happen to her, life-like though she seemed. When I saw a big branch over her head, I kept fancying what it would do if it fell— and now, the thumping slabs and stones we scrambled over up into the gully toward the mountain, seemed to have come tumbling down off it to the very water's edge, covered with nets of thick creeping plants, and trails of flat fingery-leaved flowers, such as you see in hot-houses at home. A few yards higher, too, where the ground broke away into a slanting hollow out of the bush, 'twas all trampled and crushed, half-withering together in the heat of the sun, the young trees twisted and broken, and two or three good-sized ones lying out from the roots, which I set to the score of the timberers rolling down their logs, for some craft that evidently got their cargoes hereaway. After all, the thought of a slap at some wild game was tempting enough, the Judge appearing to consider any one but a sportsman nobody at all: so up we went behind him out of the gully, till we were all blowing like so many porpoises on the head of it, Sir Charles raising his finger as we peeped across a grassy slope right under us, where a whole drove of small slender-legged antelopes were feeding. We had just time to rest, getting a breath of air off the heights, when one of the foremost lifted its head, listening the opposite way from us; next moment the entire scatter of them came sweeping direct over to leeward in a string,—we could almost catch their bright black eyes through the grass, when the crack of our seven barrels turned them bolt off at a corner, and they were gone like wind on water. All of us had missed save Sir Charles Hyde; but his rifle-bullet had sent one of the antelopes springing up in the air ten feet or so, rolling over and over into the grass again, where we found it lying with its tongue out, and its large eye glazing amongst the blades and dust—a pair of huge turkey-buzzards falling, as it were, out of two specks in the sun above us, already, and rising with an ugly flap while we got round the dead creature.

"Hallo!" said the mid, suddenly, looking back over toward the hollow we'd come out of; "what's that?"

From where we stood we could just see through the wild cane to the mouth of the gully, half a mile down or more, leading upon the trees by the lagoon. I thought I could hear a dull heavy sound now and then going thump thump down the hollow and along it, the stones rumbling from one spot to another at the root of the hill; but noticing a light smoke rising farther into the course of the creek, with a faint echo of axes at work somewhere in the woods below, I wasn't sorry to find the timberers were still in the river, showing we weren't the only civilised folks that thought it fit to visit. Perhaps it might have been a quarter of an hour more, however, and we were all looking out sharp for birds of any kind to pop at, happening to turn my head, I saw the long reeds were moving about the banks below, and the trees twisting about furiously; and no sooner had I made a few paces than, good heavens!—right in the break of the trees at the landing-place—there was a huge brute of some sort coming slowly up out of the water; then another, and another, glistening wet in the bright light as the shadow of the branches slipped behind them. A blindness came over my eyes, and I had scarce time to make out the big block-like heads and moving trunks of five or six black African elephants, ere the whole case flashed upon me, and away I dashed full speed down the slope. The big beasts were turning quietly off into the hollow, and two or three of their calves trotted after them out of the bushes, munching the young cane-stalks as they lifted their pillars of legs, and their tufty little tails, when I passed a fire of sticks blazing under a slab of rock, with the Judge's guinea-fowl plucked and roasting before it from a string, the bowman's tarpaulin[91] and his pipe lying near by—a sight that doubled the horror in me, to know he had left the boat at all; and no doubt, as I thought, taken fright and run off, man-o'-war's-man though he was. I made three springs over the stones down to the water, terrified to look in, hearing it, as I did, splash and wash about the sides, up among the leaves of the trees; while a couple of monstrous brutes were to be seen by the light in the midst of it, still wallowing about, and seeming to enjoy sending the whole pool in wide rings and waves as far as it would go, with the noise besides: the one half swimming, and the biggest standing aground as he poured the water out of his long trunk all over his back, then broke off a branch and waved it to and fro like a fan round his flapping leathery ears.

Such a moment I hope never to know again—not the least sign of the boat could I see in the green black blink of the place, after the glare above; and I stood like a madman at the thought of what the herd of monsters had done, when they came suddenly down upon it; then I gave a wild cry, and levelled my ship's musket at the big elephant's head, as he brought his small cunning eye slowly to bear upon me, dropped the branch, and began to swing his forehead, all the time looking at me and wading out to the shallow—by Jove! my flesh creeps at it just now—though I couldn't have stirred for worlds till he was close enough for me to fire into that devilish eye of his. 'Twas no more than the matter of half a minute—till you may fancy what I felt to catch sight all at once of the cutter splashing up and down in the gloom below the branches, the ladies and the Hindoo crouching down terrified together, except Violet Hyde, who stood straight, holding the boat firm in by a bough, her white face fixed through the shadow, and her hair floating out of her straw-bonnet each time her head went up among the leaves, with her glittering eyes on the two elephants. Suddenly some heavy black figure dropped almost right over her into the boat, and she let go with a low cry, and sank down with her hands over her eyes; when they went sheering out towards the creek, the fore-topman handling his boat-hook in her bow, without his tarpaulin. As for the wild elephants, I had just time to come to myself before the foremost had his feet on the stones below me, getting cautiously out of the pool; these awkward antics of theirs being possibly signs of too much satisfaction in a bathe, for them to show aught like fury, if you didn't rouse them; so I was slipping quietly round the nearest tree when I heard the cadets halloing up the hill. The old bull-elephant seemed a dangerous customer to meet, and I was hurrying over the dead grass and branches to give warning, just as Sir Charles Hyde could be seen coming down before the rest, his rifle over his shoulder. However he brought up, the moment I sang out to stop: both the elephants were stalking off lower down into the hollow, and I dropped behind the slab where Tom Wilkes had been roasting his bird, when some fool of a cadet let drive at the bull-elephant from above, hitting him fair on the front. You heard the rifle-bullet hit slap against it as if on an anvil: the she-elephant made off at a fast trot, but the big brute himself turned round on the moment, lifting his trunk straight aloft with a sharp trumpeting scream through it, and looked round till his small red eye lighted on the Judge, who seemed quite out of breath from his sport.

"The fire! that fire, for God's sake, Mr Westwood, else I am lost!" called out Sir Charles, in a calm distinct key from where he stood with his eye fixed on the elephant, and could see me, too,—a moment or two before the huge round-backed lump of a brute came running round into the track, stumbling heavily up the dead branches of the fallen trees and the dry guinea-grass, with a savage roar between his two white tusks—and I saw what the Judge meant, just in time to throw over the whole heap of flaming cocoa-tree husk among the withered grass and stuff a few yards before the monster, as dry as tinder, while the light air coming down the gully of the mountain, drove it spreading across his course up through the twigs, and sweeping in one sudden gust of fire up to the very end of his trunk. I saw it lift over the smoke[92] like a black serpent, then another scream from the brute, and away he was charging into the hollow again, the flame licking up among the grass astern of him, and darting from one bough to another towards the cane-brake below. I had scarce drawn a long breath, and remembered the devil's own thought that had come into my head when the Judge called to me, ere he slapped me on the shoulder. "You did nobly there, my dear boy," said Sir Charles; "managed it well! 'Gad, it was a crisis, though, Mr Westwood!" "I'm afraid, however, sir," said I, eying the crackling bushes, smoking and whitening to a dead smoulder in the sunlight, then flashing farther down as the hill-breeze rustled off, "I'm afraid we shall have the woods burning about our ears!" Down we hurried accordingly, and hailed the cutter, where scarce had we leisure to pass a few quick words and tumble in, before I heard a shout beyond the other turn of the creek, through the end of the lagoon; then something like the cheep of ropes through blocks, with the bustle of men's feet on a deck, and next minute a perfect hubbub of cries, whether Dutch, Portuguese, English, or all together, I couldn't say,—only it wasn't likely the last would kick up such a bother for nothing. Four or five Kroomen came leaping round and along the float of logs at the far end, their large straw hats shining in the light over their jet faces, as they peered across into the lagoon. The minute after they vanished, we saw the white upper spars of a schooner slide above the farthest of the wood, and her bowsprit shoved past the turn just enough to show her sharp lead-coloured bow, with the mouth of a gun out of a port, and a fellow blowing the red end of his match behind it. All at once the chorus of shouts and cries ceased, and a single voice sang out along the water, clear, stern, and startling, in bad Portuguese, "Queren sieté? who are you?" Still we gave no answer, quietly shoving off as fast as we could, the flicker of the fire in the brake behind the trees beginning to show itself through the black shade of the lagoon. "Queren siete?" sang out the voice, louder than before, in a threatening way, and the logs were knocking and plashing before the schooner as the Kroomen hauled at them to make an opening. "Amigos! Amigos!" hailed we in turn; "Ingleses, gentlemen!" shouted the cadet who knew Portuguese, calling to them not to fire, for heaven-sake, else they would do us some harm. With this, the hubbub was worse than before; they plainly had some design on us, from the confusion that got up; but by that time we were pulling hard into the narrow of the river, and took the fair current of it as soon as the boat was past the falling stream we had seen before, till we were round into the next reach.

In fact the rate we all bent our backs at this time, was pretty different from coming up: the cadets seemed hardly to feel the heat, fierce and close though it was, at thought of those that might be in our wake, and nobody spoke a word at ease till at last, after an hour's hard work, taking it in turns, we came full in sight of the Indiaman at her anchor on the broad current. The ladies blessed the very ropes hanging from her bowsprit, and we got safe aboard, where we found the two other boats had come back long before; and every one of us turned in directly after sundown, as tired as dogs.

Well, I didn't suppose I had slept an hour, dreaming terribly wild sort of dreams about Violet Hyde and elephants, then that I'd saved her myself, and was stooping to kiss her rosy lips, when a sudden noise on deck startled me,—I shoved myself into my clothes and rushed on the quarterdeck. She had gone aground at her stern in swinging, in the water the Portuguese rascal gave her, canted a little over to starboard, away from the shore; and till morning flood nothing could be done to haul her off. The fog was rolling down with the land-breeze, and the jabber in the woods, again, thickened the confusion; when all at once a dim flash off the shore glimmered in the white fog, and a round-shot whistled just astern, pretty well aimed for her bilge, which would have cost us some work if it had hit. After that, however, there was no more of it, the fellow probably having spent either all his powder or his balls. As for[93] his fort, I heard the chief officer swearing he would knock it about his ears next day—a thing that couldn't have done him much harm, certainly, unless mud were dear.

No sooner had the men gone below, leaving the ordinary anchor-watch, than Mr Finch, to my great surprise, walked up to me, and gave me a strange suspicious look, hinting that he began to have a good guess of what I really was, but if anything new of the kind turned up, said he, he should know better what to say to me. "Mr Finch," said I, starting, "this won't do, sir—you'll either speak your mind before cabin and cuddy, or to-morrow morning, by Jove! you'll go quietly ashore with me, sir—as I think, now you remind me of it, we settled to do, already!" The mate's face whitened, and he eyed me with a glare of malice, as I turned on my heel and began to walk the quarterdeck till he went below.

However, the thought of the thing stuck to me, and I kept walking in the dark to get rid of it: the four or five men of the anchor-watch shuffling lazily about, and all thick save ahead up the river, where the land-breeze blew pretty strong, bringing now and then a faint gleam out of the mist. I was leaning against the fore-chains, listening to the ebb-tide, and thinking; when I saw one of the men creeping in from the bowsprit, which you just saw, where it ran up thick into the dusk, with scarce a glimpse of the jib-boom and flying-jib-boom beyond. The sailor came up touching his hat to me, and said he thought he saw something queer off the boom-end. "Well," said I gruffly, "go and tell your mate, then." I didn't know the fellow's voice, though it had a particular twang in it, and he wasn't in Jacob's watch, I knew. "Why, your honour," he persisted, "I knows pretty well what you air—asking your pardon, sir—but I think you'd make more out of it nor any of the mates!—It's some'at rather skeary, sir!" added he. Accordingly I took hold of the man-ropes and swung myself up the bowsprit, and had my feet on the foot-rope below the jib-boom, when I heard his breath, following behind me. "Never you trouble yourself, my man," said I; "one at a time!" and back he went in board again—for something curious in his way struck me, but I wanted to see what he meant. I had just got near the flying-jib, half-stowed in as it was on the boom, and I fancied, with a creep of my blood in me, I made out a man's head over the sail; but next moment a hand like a vice caught me by the throat, and some one growled out—"Now ye infarnal man-o'-war hound, I have ye—and down you goes for it!" The instant I felt it, my coolness came back; as for grappling, I couldn't, and the ebb current ran below to her bows at a rate fit to carry one out to sea in half an hour. I saw the whole plot in a twinkling, and never moved; instead of that I gave a sort of laugh, and followed the husky twang of the other man to a tee. "He won't come, Harry, my lad!" said I, and my ugly friend let go before he had time to think twice. "He be blowed!" said Harry, scornfully; "an' why won't he, mate?" He had scarce the words out of his mouth, though, ere I took him a twist that doubled him over the spar, and down he slipped, hanging by a clutch of the sail. "I suppose, my fine fellow," said I, "you forgot Fernando Po, and those nigger adventures of yours—eh?"—and I went in without more ado.

I hadn't been ten minutes on deck, however, when I heard both of them swearing something or other to the first mate. A little after Finch came forward to me, with a ship's-lantern, and three or four of the men behind. "Mr Collins, or whatever's your name, sir," said he aloud, "I believe you've been seen just now at the bowsprit-end, making signals or something to the shore! You're in arrest at once, sir, and no more about it!" "What the deuce!" said I, my blood up, and pulling out a pair of pocket-pistols I had had in the boat, "let me see the man to—" At the moment a blow of a handspike from near the mast laid me senseless on the deck, and I knew nothing more.——But I see 'tis too far gone in the night to carry out the yarn, ladies!



"I do say it is for the public advantage that I should say to him, (the farmer,) continue your improvements: I cannot undertake to guarantee to you, by legislation, a particular price; but this I will say, that as long as corn is under 51s., you shall not be exposed to the importation of foreign corn." So spoke Sir Robert Peel in February 1842, as the proposer of an excellent law for the improved regulation of the corn trade. The pledge was a distinct one; and the very homeliness of the language saves it from equivocal construction. In the course of the same debate, Sir Robert, with just and prudent caution, expressly abstained from committing himself to the obviously fallacious doctrine of a fixed remunerative price. He held, as we hold, that, according to varying circumstances, that remunerating price must vary. He did not, and could not, forget that, under war prices and war taxes, wheat could not be cultivated with profit in this country, unless the quarter sold for 80s.; neither was he blind to the fact, that we had seen the average price so low in 1835 as 39s. 4d., notwithstanding the operation of a highly protective law. But he also held that, although it was impossible, with all the aids which agricultural experiment and statistical science could bring, to fix an immutable price for the quarter of wheat—as he had previously done in the instance of the ounce of gold—still, from averages taken throughout the country for a series of years, it was possible to frame some general proximate conclusion, which the legislature was bound to keep in mind, whilst considering any laws or alterations of rates that might hereafter affect the interests of the British farmer. So that, when Sir Robert Peel enunciated the following opinions, we maintain that the principle which guided him was strictly correct; and we accept these as embodying the main argument that led to the conclusion, which we have placed above as the commencement and the text of this article. "Now, with reference to the probable remunerating price, I should say that, for the protection of the agricultural interest, as far as I can possibly form a judgment, if the price of wheat in this country, allowing for its natural oscillations, could be limited to some such amount as between 54s. and 58s., I do not believe that it is for the interest of the agriculturist that it should be higher. Take the average of the last ten years, excluding from some portion of the average the extreme prices of the last three years, and 56s. would be found to be the average; and so far as I can form an idea of what would constitute a fair remunerating price, I, for one, should never wish to see it vary more than I have said. I cannot say, on the other hand, that I am able to see any great or permanent advantage to be derived from the diminution of the price of corn beyond the lowest amount I have named, if I look at the subject in connexion with the general position of the country, the existing relations of landlord and tenant, the burdens upon the land, and the habits of the country."

These opinions are quite distinct, and from them we gather that Sir Robert Peel, in 1842, considered that, on an average, 54s. was the lowest price at which the British farmer could raise wheat for the market—so long, at least, as he was liable to the same burdens as formerly, occupied the same position in the country, and paid the same rent to his landlord. Following out these views, Sir Robert Peel introduced his sliding-scale of duties, and the result would seem in a great measure to vindicate his sagacity. Let us take the averages for the six years immediately following:—

  s.  d.
1842,     573


It will thus be seen that the average price of wheat, during those years, was within fivepence of the calculation made by Sir Robert as the fair and natural average for the preceding ten years, and that it almost hit the precise medium between the two extremes which he assumed.

Now, we are not aware that Sir Robert Peel has ever directly retracted these opinions, although many passages might be quoted from his speeches to show that he considered increased cheapness—the necessary result of his free-trade measures—some sort of compensation for the probable decline in the value of agricultural produce. But the income-tax and increased public burdens may fairly be set against any saving on the ground of cheapness, and the question remains precisely where it was before. The averages of sixteen years, excluding extraordinary impulses to an unnatural rise or fall, entitle us to assume that the British farmer cannot raise wheat profitably at lower prices than 56s. per quarter; and Sir Robert Peel, whatever may be the effect of his subsequent measures, once gave his solemn guarantee that, when prices should fall below 51s., there should be no foreign competition.

We have no desire to rake up old matters of discussion, or to reflect upon pledges which may either have lapsed or been broken. Our present business with Sir Robert is simply to have his evidence as to the remunerating prices of corn, and that evidence we have stated above. We are, therefore, entitled to assume that any great and permanent decline of prices, following upon increased foreign imports, must have a most deleterious effect upon the agriculture of the country, unless some remedy can be found which shall lessen the cost of production. As usual, there is no lack of volunteers to suggest remedies. Dr Buckland, of iguanodon and icthyosaurus celebrity, discourses learnedly of subsoils and manures, and offers to show how acres of wheat may be raised upon soils hitherto yielding no other crop than rushes, ling, or heather. It is the misfortune of scientific men that they live in a world of their own; for, had the learned fossilist been aware of what has been passing around for the last twenty years, he would have known that no sane person ever questioned the truth of his assertions. With the aid of draining, manure, and other artificial appliances, corn may be grown almost anywhere within the compass of the British islands. No man disputes that. The simple question is: Will the corn, when grown, yield a fair return for the expenses attendant upon its growth? Until the geologists and chemists have acquired so much real practical knowledge as to be able to answer this query satisfactorily, they will best consult the public interest by confining themselves to their quarries and their laboratories. That agriculturist who should deny the advantages which his own science has derived from the aid of chemistry, would not only be an ungrateful, but an exceedingly unreasonable man; nevertheless, he cannot be charged with either ingratitude or folly if, after calculating the cost of the productive agent, and the value of the produce, he declines to expend his capital in forced improvements, which at the end of the year, and with diminished prices, must leave him a considerable loser. If high farming could be shown to be productive, high farming would be the rule and not the exception. In Scotland we have farmed so high, that we are quoted at all hands as an example to the rest of the world. If we mistake not, Dr Buckland himself, in some of his stimulating addresses, has referred to the agricultural system of the Lothians as a specimen, or rather the specimen, of what may be achieved by science combined with energy. We accept the compliment; and in the course of the following pages we shall endeavour to show him, and his friends, how the pattern farmer is likely to fare, and how he has fared already, under the operation of the new code which modern liberalism has introduced for the encouragement of British enterprise.

Next to the chemists, and moving closely in their wake, come the free-trading landlords who assented to the great experiment. If we select Lords Ducie and Kinnaird as fair specimens of this class in England and in Scotland, we shall do no more than give that prominence to their names which[96] is challenged by their late assertions. Our occupancy of the Scottish field, from which we are unwilling to depart, precludes us from entering into any investigation of the views promulgated by the English earl. But we have no scruple at all in dealing with the Scottish baron, who, in the letter of advice addressed to his tenantry of the Carse of Gowrie, has taken infinite pains to show that the superior husbandry of Scotland has been stimulated, if not created, by the exaction of high rents; and, by an easy corollary, that future improvement depends mainly upon the maintenance of these rents, irrespective altogether of the decline in the value of produce! This, we are bound to admit, is a comfortable landlord's theory; and, if the agricultural tenants who frequent the reading-room at Inchture are convinced of its practical soundness, we should be extremely sorry to utter a single word which might tend to unsettle their faith. But we fear that Lord Kinnaird, like many other inconsiderate individuals, has committed a serious mistake in rushing precipitately into print. We agree with him, on the whole, that rent is a desirable thing, which ought not, under ordinary circumstances, to be violently diminished; still we must adhere to our deliberate opinion, that, if a great organic change, affecting the interests of agriculture to a serious degree, is consequent upon any measures of the legislature, both landlord and tenant must be prepared to suffer in a certain ratio. It is all very well to recommend the aid of chemistry, provided, at the same time, that adequate capital is forthcoming. Even with capital, to be drawn from the tenant's, and not the landlord's pocket, it will require more than mere assertion to persuade the former that, by an enormously increased outlay in phosphate of lime, sulphuric acid, magnesia, manganese, gypsum, guano, and what not, he may raise crops the abundance of which shall compensate him for a direct loss of 16s. or 20s. on the quarter of wheat, with a corresponding diminution in the value of every other kind of agricultural produce. Some of those who, according to Lord Kinnaird, have shown themselves "the best and most successful farmers," men who have heretofore been engaged in business—that is, commercial business—may be induced to try the experiment; but if there be any truth in the reply which Mr Thomas Ross of Wardheads, a farmer in the Carse of Gowrie, has made to his lordship's pamphlet, the result of the trials hitherto attempted by such enterprising persons, upon the Kinnaird estates and in the immediate neighbourhood, may be best estimated by a perusal of the Gazette, wherein the names of divers unfortunate speculators are recorded. But, to speak plainly, the time has gone by for any such absurd trifling. What we want are facts, not theories; least of all, theories so palpably preposterous as to carry their refutation on their face.

We do not, by any means, intend to insinuate that Lord Kinnaird is to be taken as a type of the Scottish or British landlords. On the contrary, we believe that he forms one of a minority so infinitesimally small, that the number of them would hardly be worth the reckoning. The position of the landlord and the tenant is, on the clearest of all grounds, inseparable; and it is in vain to suppose that the one class can, by possibility, have a distinct interest from the other. No doubt, during the currency of existing leases, entered into before the rapid conversion of the two great political rivals to the doctrines of free trade, the landlord may insist upon having the full penalty of his bond, and may wring the last farthing from the hand of the despairing farmer. We are living in times when vested interests have lost their character of sanctity: the legislature, while forcing down prices, provided no remedy for the relief of those who were tied up by bargains, reasonable when contracted, but ruinous under the altered circumstances; and the tenant, though forced to struggle against the might of foreign importation, has no legal claim on the proprietor of the soil for a corresponding deduction from his rent. But the good feeling which has always existed between the landlords and the tenantry of this country, if we assume no higher motive, will doubtless operate, in the majority of instances, to temper the rigour of the bargain, should the pressure continue to increase; and year[97] after year, as leases expire, and as the results of practical experience become more generally understood, competition will disappear, and rents fall to a point exactly corresponding to the expectation of future prices. It is a bad sign of the times, though certainly an instructive one, when we find a wealthy peer, in a letter addressed to his tenantry, expressing his opinion that retired tradesmen and others—men who have never handled a plough in their lives, and who are far better versed in the mysteries of long-stitch than in those of draining—make much better farmers than those who have been reared to agriculture from their infancy. According to this view, the farmer is a mere booby compared to the man whose intellects have been sharpened in the shop, the counting-house, or the manufactory; and the experience which he has gained positively unfits him for the actual exercise of his profession! Such views must be corroborated by the testimony of deeper sages than Lord Kinnaird, before they pass into general acceptation; and we cannot help thinking that the noble author would have used a wise discretion had he been less explicit in his reasons for preferring the novice to the practised farmer. Besides their habits of accurate accounting, and their total freedom from prejudice, retired tradesmen appear valuable, in the eyes of Lord Kinnaird, for two especial reasons:—"In the first place, that they have capital; secondly, that they are not afraid to expend it, knowing that thus alone can their land be made productive." To such persons we would address a word of warning, cautioning them to use their acquired powers of accounting rather before than after they enter into any agricultural bargain; and in particular, we would advise them to look narrowly to the figures of their noble encourager, detailing the results of his own experience in the farm of Mill-hill, brought down, with great show of accuracy, to the close of 1847—before protection ceased, or prices fell—but no later. In the course of such investigations, they may light upon an anomaly or so which no arithmetician can explain, and be rather chary of receiving his lordship's dogmas, that remuneration from farming is "not dependent on high prices," and that "no one possessing capital need be afraid of investing it in a farm."

The last champion of increased production as an antidote against free trade, is not the type of a class, but a single individual—whose testimony, however, being in some respects practical, is worth more than that of all the chemical doctors and interested landlords put together. We allude to Mr James Caird, whose pamphlet, entitled "High Farming under Liberal Covenants, the best Substitute for Protection," has already excited so much attention, that, if rumour does not err, its author has been deputed by government, at the recommendation of Sir Robert Peel, to visit Ireland with the view of reporting upon the agricultural capabilities of that country. We shall presently have occasion to examine the details of that pamphlet, as minutely as their importance deserves; at present we shall merely note, in passing, that it does not profess to set forth the results of the author's own practical experience, although Mr Caird is well known to be a farmer of great intelligence and ability; and, further, that it directly points to liberal covenants on the part of the landlord as an indispensable basis of the arrangement. In fact, therefore, we find that Lord Kinnaird and Mr Caird, though both writing on the same side, entertain views widely differing from each other, as to the future terms of adjustment between the two great agricultural classes. Lord Kinnaird is for "high rents;" Mr Caird for "liberal covenants." It is impossible that both of them can be right; and were we to join issue solely upon the facts which each of them has adduced, we should have no hesitation in deciding in favour of the practical farmer. But we apprehend that, even with the aid of liberal covenants, Mr Caird has failed in making out his case, as we shall shortly prove, when we proceed to analyse his statements.

We have already made an approximation to the price which, in ordinary[98] seasons, and under existing burdens and covenants, grain ought to bear, in order to yield a fair remuneration to the British grower. That price, as we have already said, has been held to range from 54s. to 58s. per quarter. This we hold to be a moderate computation; but if a further limit be desired, we shall admit—though for argument's sake only—that with great retrenchment and economy, curtailing his own comforts, but not materially reducing the wages of the labourer, the farmer may continue to grow wheat at an average of 50s., and nevertheless pay up his annual rent as before. A glance at former averages will show that this is a remarkably low figure; and, being taken as an average, it of course implies the supposition that in some years the price will be higher, in order to compensate for others in which it may be lower. Our primary business, therefore, is to ascertain whether, under the operation of the new system, prices can ever rise, supposing the present breadth of land to remain in tillage, above this average amount; or whether they must not permanently diminish so much as to destroy the vestige of an independent average in this country, and substitute foreign growing prices for our own. The question is a very momentous one, for it involves the existence of our national agriculture, and not only that, but the existence of the larger portion of the home market for our manufactures, compared with which our exports are comparatively as nothing. It is our earnest desire to approach it with all candour, temper, and moderation; and we shall not, if possible, allow ourselves to be betrayed into a single angry word, or discourteous expression, towards those who have differed from us hitherto in opinion. Neither shall we advance or reiterate opinions upon grounds purely theoretical. Ever since this contest began, we have taken a decided and consistent part, and have not scrupled to expose, by argument, what we held to be the glaring fallacies of free trade. That argument, necessarily inferential at first, has since been borne out and corroborated by every fact which has emerged; and, on that account alone, we think we are entitled to demand a serious consideration of the matter which we now lay before the public, as the result of an investigation, in the course of which no pains or trouble have been spared, and which may help to guide us all, be our politics what they may, to a true sense of the danger which must immediately arrive, if we remain but a few months longer in a state of fancied security. Our warning may be derided by some, but the day of reckoning is at hand.

The first point, therefore, to which we shall entreat attention is, the prospect of future prices; regarding which we possess some information that may possibly take the reader by surprise.

The adoption of free-trade principles, as regards the trade in corn, proceeded upon a false estimate of the precise quantities available for the supply of this country. Those who, from various motives, combined for the purpose of allowing the foreigner an unrestrained competition in the British market, had no idea of the strength of the power which they had thus evoked; while the fearful and doubting protectionist, who yielded too soon to the clamour, was little aware of the extent of the evils which his supineness was to bring upon him. The statistics of the question were altogether overlooked—at least no proper means were taken to obtain them in a faithful manner. The returns made by the foreign consuls, and the evidence collected as to the ordinary available supplies at foreign ports, were, in nearly every instance, the mere reflex of the views of interested parties, furnished to men unable, from their habits or education, to judge of their approach to accuracy. The voluminous report of Mr Jacob, which might have been of use as a warning, at any rate, that cheap food does not always make a happy and comfortable people, seems to have been forgotten in these latter days. Hence the theories of those who had some experience in trade, and whose published opinions on mercantile matters had obtained credit and celebrity, came to be mainly relied upon. Among these, the ideas of Mr Tooke, whose authority stands pre-eminently high in such matters, as to prices, and the quantity of foreign grain which[99] might, in the event of free trade, find its way to our shores, were much insisted on. But how far these are erroneous and delusive has been sadly proved by our experience of the effects of free trade in corn since 1846.

Mr Tooke says, in the third volume of his work on the History of Prices, in the section entitled, "Conjectures as to the Prices at which Wheat would range, in the event of Free Trade"—which, under ordinary circumstances, he assumes to be 45s. per quarter,—"The quantity which we might look to import, at an average of the price I have named, might approach to from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 of quarters." He goes on to say, "If there were to be a fixed duty of 8s. the quarter, I very much doubt whether the annual importation would reach that quantity;" and afterwards adds, "Before quitting this point, however, I must observe that my estimate of the price at which a foreign supply might be expected, of the extent supposed, may be considered by some of the opponents of the corn laws as strengthening the ground for the supporters of them, inasmuch as such statements may be made to work upon the minds of the farmers, in frightening them with the prospect of cheap foreign corn."

What wonder, then, if the panic has materially increased, since the history of free trade, for the last three years, has revealed such a fearful addition to this estimate: for how stands the fact? In place of 2,000,000 quarters of wheat annually, from the passing of the Corn-Law Repeal Act (26th June 1846) until the 5th November 1847, a period of little more than sixteen months, we imported 7,229,916 quarters of wheat—while the total of all kinds of grain entered for consumption amounted to 16,331,282 quarters! Some idea may be formed of the effects of such an augmented importation, if we bear in mind that, from 5th July 1828 to 1st Jan. 1841, a period of nearly thirteen years, the whole quantity of foreign wheat and flour entered for home consumption was 13,475,000 quarters.

But lest it should be argued that this was a supply produced by extraordinary circumstances, and which could only be furnished from accumulations of former seasons—as was, indeed, said at the time—the further history of the trade has shown us that our foreign supplies continue to pour in at precisely the same rate. The total of all kinds of grain and flour entered for consumption in the last nine months, ending 5th September 1849, as exhibited by the Board of Trade returns, shows an amount of 9,870,823 quarters, the quantity of wheat being for this period 3,821,292 quarters; and of wheaten flour—besides frightening the farmers, bearing ruin to our own millers—3,236,993 cwt.—together equivalent to quarters of wheat, 4,746,147. And all this, be it observed, has been imported while the average price per quarter has been one sixpence only above that named as likely to exclude the approach of more than 1,500,000 or 2,000,000 quarters from our shores! Formerly—in the first years of the century, up to 1842—the farmer had to contend against a foreign supply of grain amounting to little more than 1,000,000 quarters per annum—now, in some cases, under obligations contracted on the faith of protection to native industry, he is called upon to make the vain struggle against an inundation of foreign corn amounting to upwards of 1,000,000 quarters per month! He cannot, it is evident, maintain the contest long.

Such were the facts assumed as the basis of our legislation, and already they stand forth to the public eye as gross and palpable blunders. The British agriculturist has, beyond all question, been injured to an extent infinitely greater than was anticipated by any one—an extent so vast, that, could it have been predicted as a certainty, the rashest theorist would have recoiled from the danger of such an experiment.

But we have by no means, as yet, attained the lowest point of depression. At the close of the year 1849, we take the general average price of wheat as at 40s. per quarter, and we shall probably have a breathing time of two or three months, until the Continental ports are again available for navigation. We shall hereafter consider whether, under any circumstances, the price which we have just quoted can remunerate the farmer: in the mean time, let us see whether it is[100] likely that, in future, even this price can be maintained.

It is no easy matter to ascertain the rates at which corn may be grown on the Continent. The current prices at foreign ports, such as Hamburg, have, in reality, little bearing upon this most vital point, though they have been eagerly assumed by the free-traders as a sure index of future prices. Very little consideration will show every one that the true way towards forming a fair conclusion on the subject, is to ascertain, as nearly as may be, the cost of grain, not at the ports from whence it issues, but in the inland countries where the greater proportion of it is grown. The reason for this is obvious. Under the old system, when protective duties were the rule, the demand for foreign corn was exceedingly fluctuating and uncertain. We never dealt directly with the foreign grower; but, between him and the British consumer, at least three profits intervened. There were middlemen, principally Jews, who made it their regular business to purchase up the superfluity of the Polish crops on speculation, and to sell it to the Dantzic dealers. Then came the profit of the latter, and also that of the British corn-merchant; and, as the trade was notoriously a precarious one, these profits were of considerable amount. The demand, however, may now be considered as fixed and steady. Henceforward, under the operation of free trade, the two considerations of quality and cheapness must alone regulate the market. Not only the superfluity of Continental harvests will be available, but new land, of which there are immense tracts of the finest description, hitherto untilled, will be put under cultivation, and the produce regularly transmitted to this country, where a ready market can at all times be found. The first symptom of this new regular trade will be the disappearance of one of the intermediate profits. This is not subject of prophecy; it has already taken place. The foreigners have now taken the whole of the foreign grain trade exclusively into their own hands. We are informed by the first corn-merchants of Leith, that there is not a single order sent for grain from this country. "The finest Dantzic wheat, free on board," writes one of our correspondents, "will not be sold to a British merchant for less than 38s. the quarter; and as no more than 40s. or 41s. could be got for it here, there is no margin for a profit, and the risk is not run. But the foreigner will send it on his own account, and sell it here at 38s. and realise a profit. You thus see that the entire trade is out of British hands, for the prices of our own grain must entirely be ruled by those of the foreigner; and the consequence is, that every bushel sent to this country is on consignment and not to order."

There still remains another profit, that of the middleman, to be reduced. The creation of a constant and steady demand from the foreign ports—which demand cannot be otherwise unless a protective law is reimposed—will naturally excite the dealers to purchase directly from the Polish grower. In this way they will have double profits, without enhancing materially, if at all, the original cost of the grain; for, in other Continental corn-growing countries, untilled land may be had to any extent for next to nothing, and no farming capital, as we understand the word, is required. Here a remark or two, founded upon past history, may be useful. About a century and a half ago, or rather about the time of the Revolution of 1688, the average price of wheat, as stated by Adam Smith, amounted to 28s. in England. Public burdens were at that time moderate, and so were poor-rates; still they were of such an amount as to be felt by the farmer. The wages of the agricultural labourer were at least seven shillings per week, equal to about 10s. 6d. of our present money, and the rent of arable land might be estimated over-head at 5s. 6d. per acre. All these items are enormously above the rates at present known in the Continental corn-growing countries, and some of them have no existence there. It is difficult to get at Polish charges, especially since the late change in our policy, for we have invariably found that foreign proprietors are most jealous of disclosing their true domestic position. Nor can we wonder at this, for the truth, were it broadly told, might tend materially to check that liberal[101] sympathy, which of late years has been so abundantly shown to the insurgents of central Europe. We are, however, fortunately enabled to throw some useful light upon this matter. Our informant is a Scottish agriculturist, who, some years ago, was engaged as land-steward on the estates of a Polish nobleman in Gallicia, and who, therefore, had ample opportunity of witnessing the foreign system. If the reader glances at the map of Europe, tracing the course of the Vistula from Dantzic, and then following the upward line of its tributary, the Bug, he will find laid down in close proximity the extensive districts of Volhynia, Podolia, Kiow, Gallicia, and others, formerly Palatinates, which together constitute the largest, richest, and most productive corn-field of Europe. Here there are no farmers, and—what is more strange to us—no free labourers who receive a weekly wage. The land is tilled for the profit of the owner; a superintendant presides over it as taskmaster; and the workers of the soil are serfs in the actual position of slaves, who toil late and early without other remuneration than the coarse rye bread, and similar fare, which is necessary to support existence. The manufactures of Manchester and Sheffield have not found their way into this region, and never will; because the population, being utterly without means, could not purchase them, and probably would not were the means within their power. Their dress is of the most primitive kind, and differs in no respect from that of tribes utterly barbarous—being chiefly constructed of the skins of animals. They are hardy, docile, and exceedingly sensitive to kindness, but as far removed from civilisation as the tribes of Tartary; and their owners—for that is the proper term—take especial care that no doctrine shall reach them which in any way may interfere with the exercise of despotic rule. In short, they are like so many cattle cultivating the land for their masters at the bare expense of their keep. To demonstrate more clearly the difference of the value of labour, we may here state, on the best authority, that in that district where the finest wheat, distinctively known as "high-mixed Dantzic," is grown, the ordinary price of a quarter of wheat will defray the expense of from forty to forty-five days' work, whilst here it can procure only from twenty to twenty-five days. The climate is excellent, and the yield of the soil considerable. Wheat may be grown for several years successively without manure, and always with comparatively little work. The produce is floated down the numerous rivers which intersect the district, to Dantzic and other coast towns on the Baltic, where it is stored; and these will in future form the great depots of the grain furnished by central Europe for British consumption. Contrast this state of matters in modern Poland with that of England in 1688, when land yielded a considerable rent, when poor-rates and public burdens were levied, and when the labouring man received a reasonable wage; and we must arrive at the conclusion that the remunerating price of wheat in the former country must be something greatly lower than 28s. per quarter. We are almost afraid to state our conviction, lest it should appear exaggerated; but we do not doubt that Polish wheat could be delivered at Dantzic at 16s., and yet leave a considerable profit to the grower. We must also note that the variableness of our climate, and the comparative poorness of our soil, places us at a vast disadvantage in point of quality, as compared with the southern grower. It can be established, by consulting the prices-current of Mark Lane for a series of years, that it would require a differential duty of 6s. per quarter on wheat, on this account alone, to put the British farmer on a fair footing with the great bulk of his foreign competitors. Last season, the difference between the best foreign and English wheat throughout the year, as proved by the same authority, was upwards of 10s. per quarter.

We beg it will be distinctly understood, that, in estimating the remunerative prices of foreign grain, we do not profess to arrive at more than general conclusions. It matters nothing for or against our argument whether wheat can be delivered at Dantzic a little cheaper, or a little dearer, than the above sum. We leave room on either side for a considerable[102] margin. This much, however, we know for a fact, that an eminent corn-merchant in Leith has, in former years, purchased fine wheat, free on board, at Dantzic for 18s., with the offer of a constant supply, and that no circumstances have since then emerged to enhance the cost of production. Besides this, as Mr Sandars well remarks in one of his published letters, we have had plain and evident experience of foreign production under the working of the corn law of 1842. We had a fixed duty of 20s. per quarter in actual operation for four years; and in 1844 and 1845, such duty was paid, week after week, and in the latter year for six months consecutively, at a time when our general averages were only 46s. to 47s. a quarter. Was the foreigner at that time selling at a loss? His price, then, adapting itself to ours, was 26s. and 27s., deducting the duty, and at that time, be it remembered, he was unprepared for competition. So that, from experience not five years old, we may gather what kind of future competition awaits us, and also what we are annually sacrificing in revenue, by madly abandoning protection. Does any one believe that, in 1845, had there been no duty on foreign corn, wheat would have fallen to 26s., or the foreigner have sold his crop at that price? The remitted duty goes into the pocket of the foreigner, who is selling in the dearest market, and underselling our farmers, as he will be able to do—for he has tested that ability already—down to a point which must extinguish British agriculture. We know also from Mr Meek's report, quoted by Sir Robert Peel in 1842, that "the prices of corn in Denmark have, during the last twenty-five years, averaged, for wheat, 28s. 10d., rye, 19s. 9d., barley, 14s., and oats, 10s. 6d. per quarter," and it is obviously ridiculous to suppose that the cost of production in Poland is nearly so high as in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein. Last year Denmark sent us upwards of a million quarters of grain. These are facts which have distinctly emerged, and they are all-important at the present time, when the tenantry are urged to expend further capital on the chance of future rise of prices. It is now perfectly clear that the returns, which were assumed as the basis for the great experiment, are worthy of no confidence. On the other hand, we do not wish that our opinions, which point to a totally different result, should influence any one in his future line of conduct; but, beyond our opinions, there are certain facts, which we have just stated, and the import of which cannot be misunderstood, and these may serve as warnings for the future. Of the capability of the foreigner to supply us with any given amount of grain, we think no reasonable man can doubt. There is a breadth of soil open sufficient to supply more than twenty times the most exorbitant demand. It is his power to undersell us, and the extent of that power, which have been questioned; and on the solution of that question depends the utility of high farming, in this country, on a grand and comprehensive scale. We shall show that, at present prices, high farming is so far from remunerative, that those who practise it are actually incurring an immense loss; and that, unless rents come down to zero, or at least to a point which would utterly ruin the landlords, high farming cannot be proceeded with. We have shown that, within the last five years, we have been supplied, and that regularly, from abroad, when wheat was at 46s. per quarter, and a duty of 20s. existed; and, at such rates, it is quite evident that all attempt at competition would be hopeless. Wheat could not be grown remuneratively at 26s. or 27s. in England before a single shilling of the national debt was incurred; and no man is mad enough to insist upon its possibility now. When, therefore, the Free-traders tell us that the present is a mere temporary depreciation, we ask them—and we demand a distinct reply—for an explanation of the imports in 1845. How was it that, for a long period, foreign corn came in plentifully, paying the duty of 20s., when our home averages were at 46s. and 47s.? Can they assign any special reason for it? If not, the conclusion is plain, that the foreign growers can and will undersell us down to that point, if we possibly could compete with them so far, and all the while add to their profit,[103] while they also abstract from our revenue.

Our belief, as we have said already, is, that the foreigner could afford to go much lower, and that he could furnish us with wheat at little more than 18s. We have stated above an instance of this kind, and, if necessary, we could furnish more. Nor will the statement appear exaggerated to those who will take the trouble of comparing English prices and English burdens, as they existed before the Revolution of 1688, with the prices and rates of the great corn-growing countries of central Europe at the present moment, making due allowance for climate and the difference of social institutions. At the same time, let it be understood that we do not aver, that all the foreign grain which way find its way here can be grown at such low prices. Pomeranian and Bohemian wheat is more expensive in culture than that of Poland; and we know that there is some difference between Hamburg and Dantzic prices. Still our conviction is most decided, that henceforward the foreigner has the game entirely in his hands; that he may prescribe what price he pleases to this country; and that every year, in spite of all efforts, all home harvests, all variety of seasons, prices must inevitably decline. If it were possible that, by high farming, or any other means, we could produce wheat remuneratively at 30s., or 25s., the foreigner would be ready to sell in competition at 25s. or 18s., even supposing he received hardly any profit. His business is to get hold of the British market, and that once accomplished, he may elevate or depress prices as he pleases. The declension will be gradual, but it will be perfectly steady. This year wheat has been brought down to 40s., not in consequence of an exuberant harvest, as in 1835, but through competition. A million of quarters per month have been poured in to sink prices, and we are now debating at home whether British agriculture can go on under such circumstances. Tenants are mourning over their losses; labourers are feeling the pinch of lowered wages; some landlords, in apprehension of diminished rents, are exhorting to further outlay of capital; statesmen are consulting with chemists; and agitators, who have made all the ruin, are shouting for financial reductions. In the mean time, the winter is crawling on apace. The price of grain in Britain has been beat down by competition with a poor foreign crop, for such unquestionably was the yield of 1848. That of 1849 was a splendid one, and, the moment the ports are opened in spring, its influence will be felt. The question will not then be of 40s, but of a price still lower; and we apprehend that, in that event, the argument will be nearly closed. We do not, however, anticipate that the reduction will be rapid. The dealers at the different foreign ports will best consult their own interest by keeping, as nearly as possible, just below the quotations current in the British market. In this way large profits will be secured during the whole maintenance of the struggle, which must end by the British farmer, overloaded with rent, taxes, and public burdens, giving way to his competitors, who, with no such impediments, and with a better climate and richer soil, will monopolise his proper function. We shall then experience in corn, what our West Indian colonists, under the same kind of legislation, have experienced in sugar. The greater part of the soil of Britain will be diverted from cereal growth; and, as the earth does not yield her produce without long wooing, we shall be at the mercy of the foreigner for our supplies of food, at any rates which he may choose to impose.

As to the matter of freights, about which so much was at one time said and written, we need not complicate the question by entering into minute details. From information upon which we can rely, we learn that, at this moment, steamers are constructing for the sole purpose of effecting rapid and continual transit between foreign and British ports, for the conveyance of grain—a circumstance which speaks volumes as to the anticipations of the Continental traders. We may also observe that ordinary freights form no bar to importation, since they are now hardly greater from the Baltic to this country than from Ross-shire to Leith, or from many parts of England to London. One fact, communicated[104] by a correspondent connected with the shipping trade, has peculiarly impressed us. We give it in his own words: "I enclose you a price-current, which will give you the prices of all grain. Grain from America has lately come home, both in American and British ships, at 4d. per bushel freight, and flour at 6d. per barrel—but much more frequently shipped on the condition that, if it leaves a profit, the one half goes to the shipper, and the other half to the owner of the ship for freight." He adds, "The freights from Quebec and Montreal are higher—say 2s. 6d. or 3s. for flour; but as British shipping ceases being protected after 1st January, they will be equally low there." So much for pulling down one interest by way of compensation to another!

The reader—or rather the critical economist—may treat the foregoing remarks as speculative or not, according to the colour of his opinions. All the discussion upon free-trade has been speculative, and so was the legislation also. We take credit for having anticipated what we now see realised; but beyond that, and beyond the facts which the experience of former years has given us, and which we have just laid before our readers, we are, as a matter of course, open to objection, and also liable to error. We have not been arguing, however, without sound data—such as, we suspect, never were brought fully under the eye of our statesmen—and they all tend manifestly and clearly to the same conclusion. That conclusion is, that, without the reimposition of a protective duty, prices cannot rise above the present level. Our argument goes further; for we hold it to be clear that, without some extraordinary combination of circumstances which we cannot conceive, prices must decline, and decline greatly. We look for nothing else; but having had our say as to the future, and pointed out the prospect before us, we shall now confine ourselves to present circumstances, and endeavour to ascertain whether, with a continuance of present prices, and under existing burdens, agriculture can be carried on in Britain at a reasonable profit to the farmer.

Mr Caird's pamphlet, though it has attracted a good deal of attention, contains no hints or information which are new to the practical farmer. Its high-sounding title would lead us to suppose that he had discovered some improved system of agriculture, which might be applicable throughout the kingdom. We read the pamphlet; and we find that it contains nothing beyond the description of a very low-rented and peculiarly-situated farm, the occupant of which appears to have realised considerable profits from an extensive cultivation of the potato. It is not necessary that we should do more than allude to the general tone of the pamphlet, which seems to us rather more arrogant than the occasion demanded. Mr Caird, we doubt not, is a good practical farmer; but we should very much have preferred a distinct and detailed statement of his own experiences at Baldoon, to an incomplete and unattested account of his neighbour's doings at Auchness. A man is fairly entitled to lecture to his class when he can show that, in his own person, he is a thorough master of his subject. A farmer who has devised improvements, tested them, and found them to answer his expectations, and to repay him, has a right to take high ground, and to twit his brother tenants with their want of skill or energy. But Mr Caird is not in this position. He is occupier of a farm of considerable extent, but he does not venture to give us the results of his own experience. It is possible that he may himself pursue the system which he advocates, but he does not tell us so; he points to Mr M'Culloch as the model. This is at best but secondary evidence; howbeit we shall take it as it comes; and as this is strictly a farmer's question, it may be best to allow one practical agriculturist to reply to the views of another. We might, indeed, have abstained altogether from doing so, for Mr Monro of Allan, in a very able pamphlet, entitled Landlords' Rents and Tenants' Profits, has distinctly and unanswerably exposed the fallacies of Mr Caird. Still, lest it should be said that we are disposed to reject, too lightly, any evidence which has been adduced on the opposite side, we have requested Mr Stephens, author of The Book of the Farm, to favour us with his views as to Auchness[105] cultivation. We subjoin them, for the benefit of all concerned.

"On perusing Mr Caird's pamphlet, every practical man must be struck with astonishment at the inordinate quantity of potatoes cultivated at Auchness.

"The entire thirty acres of dried moss, (p. 7,) and twenty-five acres of lea, (p. 15,) were in potatoes in 1848; and the county Down farmer, whose statement is reprinted at the close of Lord Kinnaird's pamphlet, reports that the number of acres occupied by potatoes in 1849 was ninety. This is more than one-third of the whole area of the land. I have considered attentively the calculation made by the farmer; and I think that, in order to meet present prices, it should be modified as below. You will also observe that, in my opinion, the outlay on the farm has been too highly estimated.[21]

"90 acres potatoes, at 712 tons each, £2 per ton,£135000
 60 acres wheat, at 36 bushels each, £2 per quarter,54000
 Profit on 130 cattle, at £6 each,78000
 Profit on 150 sheep, at 10s. each,7500
 Profit of 5 milk cows, at £12 each,6000
 Labour, 40s. per acre,52000
 Manure purchased, (p. 23, Caird,)25600
 Food for cattle purchased, (do.,)27000
 Seed potatoes, 108 tons, at £2, for 90 acres,21600
 Seed wheat, 120 bushels, at 5s.,3000
 Tradesmen's bills, at £7 per pair horses each half-year,7000
 Incidental expenses,5000
 Interest on £2000 capital, at 10 per cent,20000

"This balance sheet shows a profit of £931; but as the potatoes are worth £1350, which is no less than £419 more than all the profit, it is evident that it is the potato alone that affords any profit under this instance of high farming. Indeed Mr Caird admits as much when he says, 'The great value of a sound potato crop induces the tenant to adopt such means as will not interfere with the continued cultivation of this root.' The admission is, that the profit rests entirely on the precarious potato. The potato has hitherto been safe in the moss of Auchness, and it is safe there in no other class of soil. In Ireland, even the moss does not save it. There is no high farming in the matter, in so far as manures are concerned, for as much and richer manure is used in the neighbourhood of large towns; and as on the moss at Auchness too much manure may be applied, at least after a certain time, so there may be on other soils; and thus high farming, in reference to soils, just means heavy manuring. Mr Caird says, 'The potato has been grown on the moss land successively, year after year; but the entire reclaimed portions, from being so frequently manured, are becoming too rich, and the crop beginning to show signs of disease, and a tendency to grow to tops rather than roots, which makes it necessary to adopt some plan of reducing its fertility.' It is known to every farmer, that it is quite possible to overmanure any crop, and the effects of overmanuring are, the breaking down of the straw of the grain crops, and the hollowing of the core of the tubers and bulbs of the green crops. The inference then is, that a profit which depends entirely on potatoes is uncertain in any year; and the particular case of Auchness, in which that profit is derived from moss, is not generally applicable to the country,[106] and cannot, therefore, be held up as an example to farmers.

"The farm of Auchness contains nothing remarkable: for although the peculiar culture of the potato in moss is generally inapplicable, there are many farms in Scotland which have moss attached to them. The sea-ware may also be got on most farms on the coast, and where this is the case, it is commonly used. The soil is not good, and is certainly below the average quality; but I cannot understand what is meant by Mr Caird, when he asserts, on p. 7, that the '125 acres of light sandy soil is better adapted for wheat than for barley or oats when in a high state of cultivation,' for, in other parts of the country, such a soil would be eminently suited for barley. The steading is large for the size of the farm, but every steading ought to be made conformable to the farm by the landlord. The system of farming followed by Mr M'Culloch, of having 'no fixed rotation of crops,' is highly objectionable, and Mr Caird, with great propriety, does not commend it; since the farmer who manages so, has no dependence on the amount of crop he may receive any year, and must work according to circumstances, and not on principle, as the unhappy Irish hitherto have done. In this respect, also, Auchness is no example for the country; and, were a regular rotation followed on it, so many potatoes could not be grown, and the profits would be proportionally reduced.

"On the whole, then, I would say that Auchness farming is not generally applicable; and therefore it is useless to proclaim it as an antidote to free competition. For although it is probably true, as Mr Caird says, 'that green crops are likely henceforth to be the main stay of the agriculturists of this country,' yet he must be conscious that he is wrong in recommending, as an example, and as a substitute for protection, the enlarged cultivation of potatoes as a green crop, seeing that their growth has, of late years, been attended with great uncertainty. Is it not a mockery, then, to tell us that our main stay against foreign competition should depend upon a peculiarly uncertain crop? Will his pointing to a moss of 30 acres in Wigtonshire, convince the farmers of this great kingdom, that their future safety, as a class, must entirely depend upon their cultivating such a root on such a soil, in preference to wheat on the fertile loams of glorious old England? I apprehend that such a result is beyond the power of argument."

The non-agricultural reader must pardon us for the insertion of these details. They are necessary for our case, because, if high farming can be made an efficient substitute for protection, we are bound to adopt it, and we should owe a deep debt of gratitude to any one who could point out the way. We are fully alive to the necessity of agricultural enterprise; and, if we thought that our farmers were standing beside their mired waggon, clamorously invoking the assistance of Jupiter, when they should be clapping their own shoulders to the wheel, we would be the first to remonstrate on the heinous folly of their conduct. It is because no amount of personal exertion has been spared, that we seek to enforce their claim according to the utmost of our ability; and, in doing so, we are bound to prove, that no ordinary means which have been suggested for their extrication can be of the smallest avail. Mr Caird has come forward in the character of adviser, and we have stated the opinion of practical men as to the feasibility of his scheme. We have yet more to state, for nature has already denounced his plan far more effectually than opinion. When the county Down farmer visited Auchness in July last, he found more than one-third of the whole farm under potato culture. Upon that crop depended not only the whole profits, but a great deal more. Without the potatoes, there would have been a loss, at a more favourable calculation than his, of £419, on a farm paying only £262 of rent. Since then, we are informed on the best authority, that disease has attacked the potatoes. The highly-manured moss could not preserve from decay, if it did not accelerate it, the uncertain and precarious root. Mr Caird must not quarrel with the penalty he has incurred for having totally misunderstood the nature of the question which is now agitating the public mind. Whilst all others were directing their attention[107] to cereal produce, he kept his eyes obstinately fixed on a little patch of ground which seemed to give unusual facilities for the growth of the doubtful potato. He never attempted to show that, without potatoes, and an exorbitant growth of that vegetable, high farming could pay at Auchness, even with the important elements of very low rent, and singular liberality on the part of an enthusiastic landlord. He perilled his whole case upon the probable returns of a root which every farmer views with suspicion; and—more than that—his statistics, which he wished to be inferred were of universal application, were only applicable to a few remote and isolated spots in Scotland. The result is, that, with all these advantages, the experiment has failed; and that all the liquid manures, economy of dung, guano stimulants, and so forth, as practised at Auchness, cannot, at present prices of produce, force up so much grain, or feed so much stock, as will nearly pay for the required and inevitable expenses. We pass over all possible mistakes. It may have been matter of delicacy for Mr Caird to have exposed the balance-sheet of his neighbour, or he may have assumed, rather hastily, statistics for which he had meagre warrant. We can allow him a large margin. Without potatoes, and such an extent of potato as would be plainly ludicrous if adopted as a general rule, Auchness never could have paid. With potatoes, it has failed in the very year wherein Mr Caird has chosen to exhibit it as a universal model.

So much for the only instance of high farming which has been adduced, as an example of its efficacy in superseding the protective system. In justice to Mr M'Culloch, whom we believe to be a most intelligent farmer, let it not be thought that we presume to call it empirical. On the contrary, we are convinced that that gentleman has acted with great judgment, suiting his management to the nature of the ground with which he had to deal; and that he has made as much of it as any man could do under similar circumstances. He was compelled to deal with a precarious crop, and few men could have dealt with it better: still, his method is no example to others differently situated, nor are his results to be taken by them either as matter of warning or of triumph. It is sufficient for us that Auchness farming, successful or not, is peculiar, and cannot be dragged in as a rule or example for the English or the Scottish farmer. We have enough of high farming statistics to lay before our readers, and, therefore, without any further apology, we dismiss the matter of Auchness, as totally inapplicable to the great question at issue.

In order to arrive as nearly as possible at the true state of the case, in so far as Scottish farming is concerned, we put ourselves into communication with two gentlemen, of the highest eminence in their profession. We need scarcely tell our countrymen on this side of the Border, that it would be difficult to find better testimony on such a subject than that of Messrs Watson of Keillor, and Dudgeon of Spylaw; and we apprehend, moreover, that many English agriculturists are fully acquainted with their character and high reputation. Through their kindness we have been furnished with the statistics of farms situated in the fertile grain-growing districts of Forfar and Roxburgh; and the calculations as to the yield, prices, and expenses, were made from their own books. The rent set down is that which is usual in the district for land of the best description, and the tenant's capital is named at an amount which might enable him to develop the full capabilities of the soil. The estimates have been most carefully framed, with the view of avoiding every kind of exaggeration; and they have been gone over by Mr Stephens, who attests their general accuracy. They are as follows:—

No. I.

Returns of Produce from a 500 acre farm in Strathmore, county of Forfar, on a five-shift rotation of crops, with an improved stock of cattle and sheep, on an average of years previous to free trade in corn, cattle, &c.; and

Comparative Statement of what may be calculated upon as the returns[108] from the same farm under the present legislative measures affecting British agriculture.

Rent of the farm, as fixed for 19 years, assuming former average price of corn and cattle, &c.,


Invested capital of £6 per acre at entry, £3000. Interest upon this sum, at rate of 10 per cent,


Floating capital of £4 per acre, £2000. Interest thereon, 5 per cent,


Expenses of management, wages, tradesmen's accounts, insurances, grass seeds, &c., at the rate of 20s. per acre per annum,


Annual loss by casualties on live stock by disease and accidents,


Public burdens leviable upon the farmer, including poor-rates,


Sum chargeable against the farm annually,


To meet this sum there is the produce of 200 acres of corn crop, and the profits on live stock, (the whole grass and green crop being consumed on the farm.)

100 acres of oats, producing 48 bushels per acre,4800
     Off for servants, horses, seed, &c.2400
     Leaves disposable oats,2400at 3s.£36000
40 acres of spring wheat, producing 32 bushels per acre,1280
     Off for seed,160
     Disposable wheat,1120at 7s.39200
60 acres of barley, producing 42 bush. per acre,2520
     Off for seed and horses, &c.,500
     Disposable barley,2020at 4s.40400
Profits from live stock, fed upon 200 acres grass, and 100 acres green crop,  80000
     Total returns,  £195600195600
Leaving annually to the farmer, for his skill and industry, over interest of capital employed, a sum of     £10600

Convert the above disposable produce into money, at the present prices, or rather at what may be fairly calculated upon for future seasons, under a system of free trade, and the following is the result:—

2400 bushels of oats, at 2s. per bushel,£24000
1120 bushels of wheat, at 5s. per ditto,28000
2020 bushels of barley, at 2s. 9d. per ditto,277150
Live stock, (as above, £800,) less 20 per cent on former prices, leaves64000
     Net return,£1437150
     Sum chargeable as above against the farm,185000
Leaving the farmer minus, for rent, capital, and expenses of management,£4125041250
     Total loss annually incurred by difference in price occasioned by free trade,   £51850

Keillor, 1st December 1849.

No. II.

Statement of the average Produce of a farm in a full state of productiveness,
managed agreeably to the five-shift course, as usually
adopted in the south-eastern Borders of Scotland, where the returns
[109]of stock form a very considerable means of remuneration, and the
price of which, of course, is a material element in the calculation
as to the rent to be given.

Thus, then, assuming the rent of 500 acres of useful land for this purpose—upon the estimate of the price of grain and stock, as warranted by their value previous to the introduction of the new corn law and tariff—to be,

This farm has been put into good productive condition by means of the tenant's capital, at a cost in draining and lime, (sunk,) £2500. It is well known that nearly twice this amount has in many instances been thus expended; but we assume this as a fair average on a farm so rented.

Interest upon which sum, to enable him to recover the same during an ordinary lease of from nineteen to twenty-one years, at 10 per cent,


Interest on capital invested in stock, &c., yielding an annual return of £1500, at 5 per cent,


Expenses of management—wages, tradesmen's accounts, extra manures, &c.,


Casualties, loss on stock, &c.,


Public and Parish Burdens,


To meet this sum, there is the produce of 200 acres of grain, in each
year, distributed as follows:—

Acres.Bushels.Bushels. Bushels.
100 Oats,at 48 per acre—4800.Off seed, horses, and servants,2420
60 Wheat,at 33 per acre—1980.Off seed,180
40 Barley,at 40 per acre—1600.Off seed, servants210

Remain disposable, at the prices on which his calculations were founded and warranted by the rates, as is proved, under protection:—

2380 Oats, at 3s.,£35700
1800 Wheat, at 7s.,63000
1390 Barley, at 4s.,27800
Returns upon stock estimated, at prices then current, to yield,75000
Profit—remuneration for tenant's industry and skill,   £24500

The above grain produce yields, at the highest average I feel warranted
in assuming, under free trade—

2380 Oats, at 2s.,£23800
1800 Wheat, at 5s.,45000
1390 Barley, at 2s. 9d.,19100
   In place of, as above,126500
Thus the difference of proceeds of grain crop alone, more than absorbs all the tenant's remuneration, by   £14100

JOHN DUDGEON, Spylaw, 3d December 1849.[22]


We addressed the following circular letter to some of the most eminent agriculturists in Scotland, enclosing copies of the above statements:—

"Edinburgh, 8th December 1849.

"Sir,—Wishing to publish in our Magazine as accurate a statement as we could obtain of the real condition and prospects of agriculture in Scotland at present, we have for some time been engaged in correspondence on the subject with various gentlemen connected with agricultural pursuits.

"The enclosed statements of the working of a farm, and the quantity and value at present prices of the produce, have been drawn out by Mr Watson, Keillor, Forfarshire, and Mr Dudgeon, Spylaw, near Kelso, assisted by Mr Stephens, author of the "Book of the Farm."

"At the suggestion of Mr —— we write to ask whether you will consent to allow us to affix your name to these statements, as attesting their accuracy, to the best of your experience, in farming. If it strikes you that in any of these statements the profits are either over or under estimated, we shall feel greatly obliged by your pointing out where you think the error lies. Any correction you may make we shall submit to the consideration of one or all of the above-mentioned gentlemen, with whose names, as competent judges of the working of a farm, you are probably acquainted.

"We shall feel further obliged by your making any remarks that may occur to you, and stating any facts that have come within your own observation, our only wish being to get as near the truth as may be. The article in the Magazine, into which this attested statement will be introduced, is founded upon the facts that we have been able to gather in the course of somewhat extended inquiries by ourselves, or rather by friends on whose knowledge of agriculture we could safely rely.

"Will you be so good as to send any answer you may think proper to this application, within a week from this date, or sooner if you can, as we have very little time to get everything into order for publication in the January number of our Magazine.—We are," &c.

The following gentlemen have given us permission to use their names, as attesting the accuracy of these statements, to the best of their experience, in farming:—


Thomas Sadler, Norton Mains, Ratho.


John Brodie, Abbey Mains, Haddington.
Andrew Howden, Lawhead, Prestonkirk.
Peter Ronaldson, Moreham Mains, Haddington.
Wm. Tod, Elphinstone Tower, Prestonkirk.


Robt. Hunter, Swinton Quarter, Coldstream.
Wm. Dove, Wark, Coldstream, attests Mr Dudgeon's only.
Robt. Nisbet, Lambden, Greenlaw.


R. B. Boyd, of Cherrytrees, Yetholm.
Nicol Milne, Faldonside.
Wm. Broad, Clifton Hill, Kelso.
Fred. L. Roy, of Nenthorn, Kelso.
James Roberton, Ladyrig, Kelso.


James B. Fernie, of Kilmux.
John Thomson, Craigie, Leuchars.


Alexander Geekie, Baldowrie, Coupar-Angus.
David Hood, Hatton, Glammis.
James Adamson, Middle Drums, Brechin.
Wm. Ruxton, Farnell, Brechin.


Robert Walker, Portleithen Mains, Aberdeen.
John Hutchison, Monyruy, Peterhead.
Robt. Simpson, Cobairdy, Huntly.
William Hay, Tillydesk, Ellon.
William M'Combie, Tillyfour, Aberdeen.


Peter Brown, Linkwood, Elgin.


J. Garland, Cairnton.
R. Barclay Allardyce, of Ury, Stonehaven.
James Falconer, Balnakettle, Fettercairn.


We further subjoin extracts from the letters of several of these gentlemen, containing remarks or suggestions about the statements:—

"I was favoured with your letter and enclosure of the 8th inst. I have gone carefully over the statements of the working of a farm, and the quantity and value, at present prices, of the produce—all of which appear to me to be fairly stated. I have drawn up a statement of the returns of produce of a 400 acre farm in Mid-Lothian, which, if it meets your approval, you are at liberty to publish along with the others. The prices of the grain which I have assumed are in some instances higher than those of Messrs Dudgeon and Watson; but I think this can be explained, by the farm being situated in the neighbourhood of the best market."—(THOMAS SADLER, Norton Mains, Ratho.)

"I am in receipt of your letter of the 8th current, inclosing statements by various eminent agriculturists, showing the difference between times past and to come for farmers. I perfectly coincide with these gentlemen; and consider their valuation of produce and price to be average and just: although we are not at present realising the prices quoted, yet it is fair that an allowance should be made this year for the full crop wheat."—(ANDREW HOWDEN, Lawhead, Prestonkirk.)

"On looking over the statements you handed me of the comparative value of farm produce, under protection and free-trade prices, as drawn up by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, my first impression was, that they had fixed the protection price of grain too high; but on taking the average prices of my own sales of the different kinds of grain, as entered in my corn-book, from crop 1827 to that of 1845, I find they are not beyond what I have actually received during that period. The only points in which I differ from these gentlemen's statements are in the rents fixed by them for land yielding the crops they mention, which in my opinion should not be less than 35s. per acre, and £1000 might be taken from the sum put down as necessary for floating capital by Mr Watson; and I think, upon an average of years, that £50 should cover the loss of live stock. These alterations I have suggested would make no material change in the calculations, which, in the main particulars, I hold to be perfectly correct."—(ROBERT NISBET, Lambden, Greenlaw.)

"I have to acknowledge the receipt of your agricultural statements, and have carefully examined them, especially Mr Dudgeon's, as being the one with which I am best acquainted. I have tested its various items, and have found them generally correct, and in agreement with my own practical experience. There is one, however, which I consider too low—viz., the allowance of barley for seed and servants. Mr Dudgeon, I believe, uses a drill-sowing machine, and, by that means, will save about one bushel of seed per acre; but as this mode of sowing has not come into general use, the following is what is commonly found necessary—

40 acres, at 3 bushels,120
7 servants, at 18 bushels,126

From the general accuracy of the statement, I have no hesitation in consenting to the use of my name in connexion with it."—(WILLIAM BROAD, Clifton Hill, Kelso.)

"Having for several years farmed land in the vicinity of Kelso, and of a description somewhat similar to that described by Mr Dudgeon, Spylaw, I beg to say that I agree essentially with the statement subscribed by him. It exhibits, in my opinion, a fair estimate of the returns of such a farm when in good condition, and of the necessary expenses attending the working and keeping it in good order. In many cases, a much larger sum has been expended in improvements, but that would probably make no great difference in the result; for while the occupier would have a larger sunk capital to draw out of the land, he would probably have a smaller rent to pay. I may remark, that even where land has been thoroughly drained, or does not require it, there is usually a large sum sunk at the commencement of a lease in liming, for I consider that almost all land in this district would require to be limed during the currency of a lease, in order to yield full crops."—(FRED. L. ROY, Nenthorn, Kelso.)

"I think Mr Dudgeon makes too little allowance for stock and insurance, (£50.) Mr Watson's allows double, (£100,) which is low enough. Some of my neighbours here have lost from £200 to £300 by pleuro-pneumonia upon cattle alone, independent of other stock. I also think they are both wrong in the average quantity of grain grown. It may be done upon a farm of good land, in high condition, but—I mean taking a whole county—it is, I think, above the mark. For example, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, being six years running, with as fine appearance of wheat as I ever grew, I did not average twenty-six bushels per acre, weighing 64 lb. to 65 lb. per imperial bushel, in these six years. I considered my loss equal to 2000 bolls wheat below a fair crop, all in consequence of the fly."—(JOHN THOMPSON, Craigie, Leuchars.)


"I have carefully looked over Mr Watson's statement, and I think that his calculations are very correct, and agree entirely with my experience, except in regard to the profits upon stock, which I think he has rather overrated, as the price of stock is falling every week. I do not think it necessary, however, to make out a separate statement."—(David Hood, Hatton, Glammis.)

"In reply to yours of the 8th instant, requesting my opinion as to the accuracy of the statements in your enclosed proof-sheet, I have to state that, after mature consideration, I generally concur with the statement drawn by Mr Watson as to the results; though, I think, that as a deduction of £20 per cent on the profits of livestock has been made in the free-trade account, a like percentage should be deducted from the amount stated for casualties in the charge, thus making the loss under free trade £20 less. It also appears to me, that both the capital invested, and the amount received for crop and stock, are considerably beyond the average of farming capital and proceeds in Strathmore and the eastern district of Forfarshire; but as the statement is headed as "under the improved system of agriculture," of course the amounts must be different, and therefore are acceded to.

"It may be remarked, that the depreciation of £20 per cent on the value of livestock, which has taken place this year, ought only to be deducted from the average of the last ten or twelve years, as the present prices might be considered equal to what we had been receiving previously to the opening up the southern markets.

"In my own case, the rent is considerably lower than that assumed, as I occupy a large proportion of unequal, inferior soil, which I have drained at my own expense; and, in order to raise the same quantity of grain per acre as mentioned in the statement, I have hitherto had to pay at least £100 more for manure than what seems to be allowed for under the title 'expenses of management.'"—(William Ruxton, Farnell, Brechin.)

"I received yours of the 8th, with the enclosed statements regarding the prospects of agriculture, and as this was a ploughing-match day, (the Buchan district,) I deferred writing you until I should also show it to several experienced farmers for their opinions, and we all consider the statements as near as may be correct."—(John Hutchison, Monyruy, Peterhead.)

"I have examined minutely the statements drawn up by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, and have compared them with some calculations that I had previously made myself, and have no hesitation in allowing my name to be affixed to them as attesting their accuracy, in so far as my knowledge of the localities in which they are drawn up leads me to be a judge. Had I had time, I should have liked to have furnished you with a similar comparative statement of the difference likely to be made by free trade in our more northern climate, where we cannot raise the same quality of grain, and where little or no wheat is grown, and I am much afraid it would not have been so favourable to farmers as Messrs Watson and Dudgeon's are. The average price of what has been sold of this year's crop, in the counties of Aberdeen and Banff, is not more, I am sure, than 1s. 8d. per bushel for oats, and 2s. 6d. for bear or barley."—(Robert Simpson, Cobairdy, Huntly.)

"As to the statements of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, the items appear to me, on the whole, to be fairly put. My only difficulty is in regard to the £3000 put down in Mr Watson's statement as invested capital. I presume, however, he includes in this draining and lime sunk, machinery, implements, horses, &c.; and, considering the valuable breed of cattle and sheep on the Keillor Farm, I would not regard £5000 as at all too large an estimate for capital of both kinds. As to the considerable difference in profits shown in Nos. I. and II., that might be accounted for in many ways. In 500-acre farms, with equal management and a like rent, greater differences will be induced by variations in the soil and climate alone.

"On the presumption above stated, as to what Mr Watson means by invested capital, I have no difficulty in allowing you to affix my name, as attesting, to the best of my knowledge, the substantial accuracy of statements Nos. I. and II."—(William M'Combie, Tillyfour, Aberdeen.)

"I have gone over the respective statements with much care and anxiety, and have compared the different items entered to the debit and credit of the farm by both gentlemen with my own experience in such matters, and, on the whole, I have no hesitation in pronouncing them as nearly correct as, under the circumstances, they could be framed. Were I to draw up a statement of a farm of the like extent in this county, I believe the result would be still less favourable for the farmer, because if we have such returns as are stated by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, we obtain them by the application to our land of a larger quantity of foreign manure than those gentlemen seem to use."—(Peter Brown, Linkwood, Elgin.)


Some of the gentlemen to whom we wrote, whilst entirely concurring in the estimates of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, have not authorised us to affix their names. Only three gentlemen, out of nearly fifty, have refused their assent on the ground of difference of opinion. The most important objection specified by any of them was, that the prices of grain assumed in No. II., as having been received before protection was withdrawn, were higher than those warranted by the fiars' prices of the county. Such were, however, the actual prices received in those years by Mr Dudgeon; and the reader is requested to refer to the extract from Mr Nisbet of Lambden's letter for a corroboration as to that point. That there should be some difference of opinion is only natural, when the variations of soil, climate, and locality are considered; but we think it will generally be admitted, that the ordeal to which these estimates have been exposed, without exciting more challenge than we have just noticed, is a tolerably convincing proof of their general accuracy.

The receipt of these statements has induced several gentlemen, in different parts of the country, to draw up further estimates of the working of farms in their own districts, and these documents we now proceed to lay before our readers—

No. III.

Statement of Income and Expenditure on an Aberdeenshire farm of the
ordinary description, taking the value of produce at an average of a
series of years—say 19—previously to the late alteration of the law in
relation to the importation of corn and cattle.—Extent, 250 acres.

Annual Expenditure.

Rent of a farm of 250 acres imperial, at £1, 1s. per acre,£262100
Invested capital, £1000—interest at 10 per cent,10000
Floating capital, in stock, &c., £1800—interest at 5 per cent,9000
Servants' wages, per annum,12900
Day-labourers' wages, &c.,1500
Rye-grass and clover seeds,2000
Tradesmen's accounts,5000
Public burdens,1500
Casual losses of stock, and partial insurance,4000
Expenses in driving grain and extraneous manures, in the shape of tolls, &c., with necessary expenses at markets,2000
Total expenditure,£741100

Annual Income.

250 acres, on the five-course rotation:—

In oats—80 acres, at 6 qrs. per acre,480 qrs.
Deduct for seed, 60 qrs.
Do. for horses, meal, &c., 120 qrs.
 180 qrs.
Oats to be disposed of,300 21s.= £315 00
In barley—20 acres, at 512 qrs. per acre,110 qrs.
Deduct for seed, malt,15 qrs.
Barley to be disposed of,95 29s.=137150
Realised from cattle fed on 100 acres of grass and 50 acres of turnips,  40000
Total income,  852150
Profit—or return for labour, skill, and risk of capital,  £11150

Income under Free-trade Prices.

Oats, 300 quarters, at 14s. per quarter,£21000
Barley, 95 quarters, at 20s. per quarter,9500

And—on the supposition that no reduction of the price of fat cattle is to take place on account of the free importation of foreign animals—let us take the receipts from cattle fed on the grass and turnips as above, viz.,

Total income under free-trade prices of grain,£70500
Brought forward,£70500
Expenditure as above, viz.,741100
Loss per annum,£36100
Or, adding former profit, viz. as above,11150
Total loss, on grain alone, by free trade,£147150

I consider the above a fair statement of the expenditure and income on a farm in the lower district of Aberdeenshire, under former and under present circumstances. It will be observed that no wheat is grown; but the soil is well adapted for the rearing and feeding of cattle, and from this source the Aberdeenshire farmer expects to derive a large proportion of his returns. In the comparison, reference is had solely to the fall in the price of the kinds of grain cultivated. Whatever decline in the price of fat cattle may arise from free trade, will fall heavily on the farmers of this district; and the reduction of income thus occasioned will, of course, add to the amount of loss shown above.

Little Ythsie, 13th December 1849.

Having lately had an opportunity of examining a number of actual accounts of income and expenditure on various farms, I can confirm the substantial accuracy and fairness of the above statements, Nos. I. and II. Mr Hay's statement above, referring to the system of agriculture with which, in this part of the country, we are most conversant, may, in my humble opinion, be regarded as fair and just, and as near the average that a comparison of a number of individual cases would indicate, as it can be made.

I am sensible that, in many cases of calculations—more especially in those in which certain assumptions have to be made—it is quite possible, even with a show of fairness, to bring out by means of figures almost any result that may be desired; but it is to be observed that, in the above statements, the same assumptions (if they can be regarded as such) are made on both sides of the comparison, with the exception of the prices at which agricultural produce is taken; and it is submitted with confidence that these are neither made higher in the one case, nor lower in the other, than experience warrants.

Tillydesk, 14th December 1849.

No. IV.

Estimated Value, of the produce upon a farm in Roxburghshire of 500 acres,
managed according to the five-shift rotation, thus:—

200 acres of corn crop.
200   "   of grass.
100   "   of turnips.

It is here assumed that there are no local advantages, the whole green crops being consumed upon the farm by sheep and cattle.

I. Produce of Corn Crops.

Oats,100 acres,at 48, =4800, off 2400,leaves for sale,2400
Wheat,60 "at 38, =1980, off 180,"1800
Barley,40 "at 42, =1680, off 340,"1340

Average Value during the ten years preceding Crop 1848.

2400 bushels of oats, at 3s.,£360
1800 bushels of wheat, at 7s.,630
1340 bushels of barley, at 4s.,268
Value of grass and turnips, 80000
Total amount of produce sold, £205800
[115]Brought forward, £205800

Expenses and Rent—

Annual charges for wages and tradesmen's bills, &c.,£40000
Public and parish burdens,4500
Annual outlay for extra manures,15000
Capital sunk upon improvements, £2500, at 10 per cent,25000
Value of stock and crop, forming a floating capital of £2000, at 5 per cent per annum,10000
Insurance of stock against deaths and other casualties,5000
Rent,   80000
Tenant's profit,   £26300

Estimated Value of the same amount of produce at the present rate of

2400 bushels of oats, at 2s.,£24000
1800     "     of wheat, at 5s.,45000
1340     "     of barley, at 2s. 9d.,21450
Value of grass and turnips,   70000
Total amount of produce,   £160450
Amount of expenses, as above,   99500
Rent,   30000
Tenant's loss   £191150
Value of produce by 1st estimate,   £211800
Do. by 2d do,   1615100
Difference,   £502100

The total amount of capital invested is £4500, of which £2500 is sunk upon improvements. According to the first estimate, the annual return, exclusive of 5 per cent per annum for repayment of the sum sunk, would be £548, or at the rate of about 1215 per cent. According to the second estimate, the annual return would be £45, 10s., or at the rate of about 1 per cent per annum upon the same sum.

I shall be glad to allow my name to be affixed to Mr Dudgeon's statement, as attesting, in so far as my experience goes, the accuracy of it.

My estimates and his very nearly correspond; but as every one has his own method of making up such statements, I take the liberty of handing along with it this detail of my own.

In all, excepting in regard to the value of live stock, or produce of grass and turnips, we nearly agree; and this difference may be accounted for, because no part of farm produce varies so much in its return as that of the live stock. Upon such a farm as that which is taken as an example, sheep and cattle are not wholly reared upon the farm, but part are bought in to fatten; hence the returns depend upon three circumstances,—1st, upon the crops of turnips and grass being less or more abundant; 2d, upon the price of lean stock; and, 3d, upon the price of fat. While, therefore, the butcher market may be very high, the feeder may not necessarily be well paid,—and hence, in making up returns under this head, a correct average is not easily ascertained; and as there must always be a difference of opinion among practical men upon this part of the subject, I think, for publication, Mr Dudgeon's method of stating the returns in one sum is preferable to giving them in detail.

Ladyrig, 13th Dec. 1849.


No. V.

Statement of the Annual Charge against, and Returns from, a 400 imperial acre Farm in Mid-Lothian—on an average of ten years previous to free trade in corn and cattle;—with a comparative statement of the Returns of Produce from the same farm under the present free-trade measures affecting agriculture. The farm alluded to is managed on the four-course shift—the whole straw, turnips, and clover being consumed on it, and an average number of stock fattened.

Rent of farm, 400 acres at 45s. per acre,£90000
Interest on sunk and floating capital,24000
   Expenses of management, wages, tradesmen's accounts, extra manures, grass and clover seeds, and miscellaneous expenses,81700
Casualties in stock, and fire insurance,4000
Public and parish burdens,4000
Total yearly charge,£203700

To meet this sum there is the produce of 230 acres corn crop, 10 acres potatoes, and the profits from live stock as follows:—

100 acres oats, at 48 bushels per imperial acre,4800
   Less for seed, servants' meal, and horses,2004
Leaving for sale,2796at 3s. 3d.,£45470
70 acres wheat, at 32 bushels per acre,2240
   Less for seed,220
Leaving for sale,2020at 7s.,70700
30 acres barley, at 48 bushels per acre,1440
   Less for seed,100
Leaving for sale,1340at 4s.,26800
30 acres beans, at 40 bushels per acre,1200
   Less for seed,110
Leaving for sale,1090at 4s. 6d.,24550
Produce of 10 acres potatoes, after deducting seed,  10000
Profits from live stock fed upon 60 acres turnips and 100 acres grass,  55000
Total return,   £2324120
Profit, £287120

The like quantities of disposable grain, taken at the present prices,
fetch as follows:—

2796 bushels oats, @ 2s. 4d.,£32640
2020 bushels wheat, @ 4s. 9d.,479150
1340 bushels barley, @ 3s. 0d.,20100
1090 bushels beans, @ 3s. 3d,177126
10 acres potatoes,10000
Add profits from live stock,55000
Total returns£1834116
Sum chargeable as above against the farm,£203700
Leaving the farmer short, for rent, capital, and expenses of management,   20286
Total loss annually incurred,   £49006

Notron Mains, 14th December 1849.


No. VI.

Valuation of Produce, and Expense of Management of a Farm of 320 Scots acres, situated within five miles of Edinburgh, on an average of seven years previous to potato failure in 1846, and farmed according to the four-shift rotation, the straw being sold in Edinburgh, and dung bought. The produce is a fair average of the best-managed farms within five miles of Edinburgh, during the period from which the average is taken. The prices noted are what were realised, being about 3s. 6d. per qr. above the average prices of the county, and the expense of management charged is what was actually paid.

Acres. £s.d.
50Potatoes, at £17 per acre,85000
30Turnip, at £16 per do.,48000
50Wheat, 5 qrs. per acre, at 58s. per qr.,725 0
30Barley, 7 do. do., at 34s. do.,35700
50Pasture, let at £4 per Scots acre,20000
30Hay, at £7 per do.,21000
80Oats, 712 qrs. per acre, at 26s. per qr.,78000
 Produce of straw sold,45000
 Manure made on the farm from horses, &c.,8000
 Value of produce,413200
 Expense of management,4025176

[We ought, perhaps, to explain that this case is peculiar. It is that of a first-class farm in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, attested by men of the same standing as its tenant, and similarly situated; the average of the produce is very high, and the rent corresponding. Mr Gibson, the tenant farmer, has taken the details of the following statement from his books; so that it becomes of much value, as showing the statistics of farming in the immediate vicinity of the metropolis of Scotland. In estimating the productiveness of this farm by the extent of the yield, our English readers must bear in mind, that it is divided by the Scots and not the imperial acre as in the other estimates, the former being one-fifth larger. It will be allowed, on all hands, that the yield of this farm is extraordinary.]

Acres. £s.d.
e50Potatoes, at £2 per Scots acre,10000
e30Turnip, at 4s. per do,600
d50Wheat, 23 qrs. at 60s.,6900
30Barley, 14 qrs. at 35s.,         24100
f50Pasture, at 17s. per acre,42100
o30Hay, at 15s. per do.,22100
r80Oats, at 40 qrs. at 28s.,5600
  50 acres potatoes, 34 tons per acre, horse and cow manure driven from Edinburgh, at 6s. per ton,51000
  30 acres turnip, 30 tons do., at 4s. per ton,18000
  Keep of 15 horses, at £28 per annum,42000
  Do. of 1 riding horse, do.,2800
  Wages of farm overseer, per annum,3200
  Do. 8 ploughmen, at £27 per do.,21600
  Do. 2 labourers at 10s., and 1 boy at 5s. per week,6500
  Outdoor women-workers per annum,16500
  Reaping 160 acres corn crop, at 12s. per acre,9600
  Wages of extra men securing crop,1300
  Cutting 30 acres hay, at 3s. 9d.,5126
  Cutting hedges, and keeping fences, gates, and houses in repair,1000
  Smith work, per annum,3500
  Carpenter work, do.,2200
  Veterinary surgeon, do.,700
  Saddler work, do.,1700
  Millwright, engineer, mason, and slater's accounts,1000
  Coals for steam-engine, and steaming and bruising horse food,1200
  Annual loss on live and dead stock, from death and tear and wear,9000
  Tolls, custom, and marketing expenses,2500
  Poor-rates and statute-labour, previous to passing of New Poor Law,30170
  Assessed taxes and income tax,19180
  Interest on £1500 capital, sunk in permanent improvements, at 10 per cent,15000
  Interest on floating capital of £2000, at 5 per cent,10000
  Rent of 320 Scots acres, at £4 10s. per acre,144000
  Expense of management,£4025176


Valuation of Produce and Expenses of Management of the same Farm, for Crop 1849: as the Wheat crop is considered to be the best we have had in the district since 1835, every allowance is made for this in estimating the produce. The Oat, Barley, and Bean crops are under an average, but are charged at average quantities; the prices noted are what are being realised. In the expense of management full allowance is made in every item affected by present prices, except the seed, which is charged as paid for at seed time: had it been charged at present prices, there would fall to be deducted from expense of management a sum of £28.

25Potatoes, supposing them to be sound, at £20,50000
35Turnips, at £14,49000
20Beans, 5 qrs. per acre, at 26s. per qr.,13000
45Wheat, 6 qrs. per acre, at 38s. per qr.51300
35Barley, 7 qrs. per acre, at 23s. per qr.,281150
50Pasture, let at £4 per acre,20000
30Hay, at £5, 10s. per acre,16500
80Oats, 712 qrs. per acre, at 18s. per qr.,54000
 Produce of straw, sold, at present prices,40000
 Manure made on the Farm,7000
 Value of Produce,£3,289150
 Expense of Management,3,786140
 Annual Profit previous to 1846,£10626
 Loss incurred by difference of price under free-trade,£60316
S25Potatoes, at £4 per Scots acre,10000
E35Turnips, at 5s. per acre,8150
E20Beans, 1212 qrs., at 34s., per qr., price, at seed time,2150
D45Wheat, 20 qrs., at 62s., do.,6200
 35Barley, 1712 qrs., at 33s., do.,28176
F50Pasture, at 14s. per acre, do.,3500
O30Hay, at 12s. do., do.,1800
R80Oats, 40 qrs., at 22s. per qr., do.,4400
  25 acres potatoes, 30 tons per acre, horse and cow manure, driven from Edinburgh, at 5s. per ton,187100
  20 acres beans, 20 tons manure per acre, at 5s. per ton,10000
  35 acres turnips, 25 tons do., at 3s. 6d. per ton,15326
  Guano and other extra manures applied to turnip, potato, and other crops,12500
  Keep of 15 horses, at £22 per annum,33000
  Keep of 1 riding horse, do.,2200
  Wages of farm overseer, per annum,3000
  Do. 8 ploughmen, at £25 per do.,20000
  Do. 2 labourers, at 9s. each, and 1 boy 5s. per week,59160
  Outdoor women workers, per annum,16500
  Reaping 160 acres corn crop, at 10s. 6d. per acre,8400
  Wages of extra men securing crop,1200
  Cutting 30 acres hay, at 3s. per acre,4100
  Cutting hedges, and keeping fences, gates, and houses in repair,1000
  Smith work, per annum,3500
  Carpenter's work, do.,2200
  Veterinary surgeon, do.,700
  Saddler work, do.,1700
  Millwright, engineer, mason, and slater's accounts,1000
  Coals for steam engine, and steaming and bruising horses' food,1000
  Annual loss on live and dead stock, from death and tear and wear,9000
  Tolls, custom, and marketing expenses,2500
  Poor rates and statute labour under New Poor Law,5400
  Assessed taxes and income tax,19 180
  Interest on £1500 capital, sunk in permanent improvements, at 10 per cent,15000
  Interest on floating capital of £2000, at 5 per cent,10000
  Rent of 320 acres, at £4, 10s. per acre,1,44000
  Expenses of Management,£3,786140

Woolmet, 18th December 1849.
{John Finnie, Swanston.                   
Attested by {George Watson, Libberton Mains.
{Alexander Scott, Craiglockhart. 


Let those who believe that, by high farming, the soil can be stimulated so as to produce enormously augmented crops, at a large additional profit, consider the above statistics well. They are the statistics of the very highest farming in Scotland. The English agriculturist has been taunted for his backwardness in not adopting the improvements of his northern neighbour, who, with a worse climate, has made the most of the soil. Such has been the language used by some of the advocates and apologists of free trade, who are now urging the farmer to lay out more capital in draining and manures—assuring him that, by doing so, the returns will far exceed the interest of the outlay. With a fine disregard for the elements of arithmetic, they insist that low prices can in no way interfere with his success, and that only exertion and enterprise are wanting to raise him above the reach of foreign competition. The above tables exhibit the experiment, worked out to its highest point. In these cases capital has been liberally expended, energy tasked to the utmost, and every means, which science can devise or experience suggest, called into active operation. The farmers of Mid-Lothian, Berwickshire and Forfarshire may fairly challenge the world in point of professional attainments. They have done all that man can do, and here is the reward of their toil.

Supposing, then, that hereafter the permanent price of wheat were to be 40s. a quarter; that other cereal produce remained at corresponding rates; and that the value of live stock did not diminish—points, upon all of which we are truly more than sceptical—it will follow that high farming, such as is at present practised in the best agricultural districts of Scotland, cannot by possibility be carried on. No possible reduction of rent would suffice to enable the farmer to continue his competition. Such a fall must necessarily have the effect of annihilating one of the two classes; for the landlord, burdened as he is, would cease to draw the means of maintenance from his estate, and it is questionable whether the residue would suffice to pay the interest of the mortgages and preferable burdens. To the people of Scotland this is the most vital question that has engaged their attention since the Union. Our national prosperity does not depend upon manufactures to the same degree as that of England. By far the greater portion of our wealth arises directly from the soil: by far the larger number of our population depend upon that for their subsistence. Even if Manchester statistics were applicable to England, the case is different here. If the prices of agricultural produce should continue as low as at present—and we cannot see what chance exists of their rising, in the face of such a tremendous import—the effect upon this country must be disastrous. Such prices would reduce Scotland, at one fell swoop, to the condition of Ireland: paralyse the home market for manufactures; throw hundreds of thousands out of employment; lower the revenue; augment the poor-rates; and utterly disorganise society. And yet what help for it? The farmer cannot be expected to pay for the privilege of losing several hundreds per annum by cultivation. Let Mr Watson's statement be examined, and it will appear that the enterprising and skilful tenant of a farm of five hundred acres, in the best corn district of Forfar, cannot clear his expenses unless the rent of the land is reduced by one-half, and, even if that were done, he could only realise a profit of sixpence per acre! Such a result, we fairly allow, would appear, at first sight, to be incredible; yet there it is—vouched for by men of name, character, and high reputation. This is the extreme case; but, if we pass to Berwickshire, we shall find that a reduction of half the rent would barely place the tenant in the same position which he occupied previous to the withdrawal of protection. Look at No. IV., and the result will appear worse. Even were one half of the rent remitted, the profits of the tenants, at present prices, would be less by £100 than they were at the former rates of corn. Very nearly the same results will be brought out, if we calculate the necessary reductions on the rents of the Mid-Lothian farms. Lord Kinnaird may see in those tables the fate which is in store for him; and he cannot hope to escape it long, even by[120] inserting, in his new leases, the most stringent stipulations as to money payments which legal ingenuity can devise. It is just possible that "men of business habits," retired shopkeepers, and others of that class, may be coaxed and persuaded into trying their hands at a trade of which they know literally nothing. They may be incautious enough to put their names to covenants, not conceived according to Mr Caird's liberal principle, and so pledge their capital for the fulfilment of a bargain which common sense declares, and experience proves, to be preposterous. The necessary consequence will be, that the rent must be paid out of capital, a process which cannot last long; and the unhappy speculator, as he finds his earnings disappearing, will curse the hour when he yielded to the delusion, that high farming must be profitable in spite of the variations of price. The poor seamstress, who weekly turns out of hand her augmented number of improved shirts—and who lately, though on exceedingly erroneous principles, has found a warm advocate in the kind-hearted Mr Sydney Herbert—has, in her own way, tested the value of the experiment. There is more cotton to be shaped, and more work to be done, but the prices continue to fall. She makes two additional shirts, but she receives nothing for the additional labour, because the remuneration for each is beaten down. The free-trade tariffs are the cause of her distress, but the unfortunate creature is not learned in statistics, and therefore does not understand the source of her present misery. No more, probably, do the female population of the Orkney islands, whom Sir Robert Peel reduced to penury some years ago, by a single stroke of his pen, through the article of straw-plait. From Lerwick to the Scilly Isles, the poor industrious classes were made the earliest victims. The tiller of the land is liable to the operation of the same rules. By the outlay of capital, he forces an additional crop, but, the value of produce having fallen, his returns, estimated in money, are just the same as before. If the maintenance of rents throughout the United Kingdom depends simply upon the supply of dupes, we are afraid that the Whig landlords will speedily find themselves in a sorry case.

We by no means wish to treat this question as if Scotland alone were concerned. The English agriculturist, who knows that strict economy is the rule in northern farming, will readily acknowledge that our observations have even greater force when applied to his own case. It would have been presumption in us, had we passed beyond the limits of our own field of illustration, which, however, will bear comparison with any other. On the whole, we think it will hardly be questioned, that, if high farming in the Lothians or on the Border is a losing trade, it cannot be made profitable elsewhere within the boundaries of Britain.

We are told that this is a landlord's question; and we find Messrs Bright and Cobden, with more than their usual malignity, chuckling over the prospects of the downfall of a class which they honour with their rancorous hatred. They do not affect to disguise the pleasure which they derive from knowing that, at this moment, the rents are being paid from the farmer's capital; and, so far, they bear important testimony to the truth of the calculations we have submitted. It is not our business at present to diverge into ethics, else we might be tempted to hazard a few observations on the brutal and un-British spirit which pervades the whole of their late harangues. All that we shall do now is to remark that they are trying, by every means in their power, to persuade the tenantry of Britain that this is a mere landlords' question; and we are bound to confess, that such writers as Lord Kinnaird have materially contributed towards fostering this delusion. A very little consideration, however, will show the utter fallacy of such an opinion; and we feel convinced that the good sense of the tenantry of Scotland will interfere to prevent them from being led astray by the devices of their inveterate enemies.

So far as we can gather from the opinions enunciated by the leaders of the Manchester school, at their late gatherings, their view resolves itself into this. Abolish the rents, and agriculture will go on as before. Little argument is necessary to show, that the[121] proposition, even were it admitted, is by no means in favour of the farmer.

Our excellent contemporary, The Standard, has already disposed of it in a single sentence:—Wipe off the rents, and you wipe away the class which heretofore has paid the rents. Mr Bright would fain attempt to persuade the farmers that they are altogether independent of the landlords, and that no suffering can reach them. Have then the landlords, in most instances, expended nothing on the soil? Their outlay does not appear in balance sheets, however large may be its amount; but, were that outlay added to the farmer's expenditure of capital, there can be no doubt that, even without rent, at present prices, farming would be otherwise than profitable. But did it never strike Mr Bright that, failing rents, the landlords must necessarily take their farms into their own hands, as indeed has occurred already in several districts of the country? We presume he does not contemplate a quiet confiscation of estates—if he does, confiscation will not stop there. We suppose the owner must still have the option of keeping his property; and if so, as he will derive no profit from it in the shape of rent, he must either farm it himself, or act as labourer on wages under a farmer. We apprehend there can be little doubt as to the course he will take, when driven to such an extremity. As a body, tenant-farmers will cease to exist. They may go to Poland if they please, and employ their practical skill, and such remnant of capital as they can save from the wreck of their fortunes, in the patriotic task of growing wheat cheaper than before, for the British manufacturing market; but in this country there will be no longer any room for them. We shall be thankful to know if any course more feasible can be suggested; but indeed ingenuity seems to be at fault, and the Free-traders hardly affect to conceal their conviction that such must be the result. The following extract from a leading article in the Times of 6th December, will show the views entertained by that very influential journal.

"If any landowners or tenants are thoroughly persuaded that, under the operation of free trade, land will yield no rent to the owner, or no profit to the farmer, let them dispose of their land or their farms. The whole world lies before them. The funds, the share-market, trades and manufactures innumerable and new ones every day, the colonies, the United States, the Antipodes, Europe, and literally the whole surface of the globe, is open to the enterprise of wealthy or ingenious men. Those who regard an English landlord or yeoman as an animal to be kept in a hothouse will think this very cruel advice, but it is advice which nine-tenths of our fellow-subjects have to follow, at least once in their lives. The law of change is impressed on the whole face of society. Man improves by being transplanted to new soils, and grafted on new stocks. Why should not the heroic qualities of our gentry be employed in the improvement of the world, and in the spread of civilisation, religion, and manners? Why should not the skill of our farmers be turned to account in making the whole earth bring forth its full produce? As it happens, there are no classes actually concerned in the material and operations of industry who can change their place with so little difficulty or cost as the owners and cultivators of the soil. The landowner can sell his estate, and buy another, or invest the money in the funds, any day he pleases. The tenant can dispose of his lease and his stock without much sacrifice. Can an attorney, a physician or surgeon, a beneficed clergyman, a merchant, a retail shopkeeper, or, indeed, any commercial or professional person, change his locality ten miles without sacrificing at least 30 or 50 per cent of his present income? Yet many such are obliged to migrate, and resign present income, besides all the other losses involved in a move, in the mere hope of ultimately improving their condition. As for our agricultural labourers, who, we are often told, are the staple of our population, for many years the whole force and pressure of our social institutions has been applied to compel their migration. Landlord, tenant, parson, overseer, and even a man's own fellow-labourers, are all in a conspiracy to elbow him out of the crowd, and the sooner he yields to that pressure the better. Why, then, should it be thought a hard thing to give the same advice to the landowner and the farmer?"

So write the Free-traders, and we wish them joy of their argument. Henceforth, then, we ought to abandon all foolish scruples connected with home, and kindred, and country—all national considerations, all the ties and common feelings that[122] hitherto have held Englishmen together! Truly, the cause which requires such advocacy as this must be in a desperate condition. Such language however, extravagant and puerile as it is, has some extrinsic value; for it shows us the utter selfishness and entire disregard of the Free-traders for every other interest in Britain except their own.

We shall probably be told that we are alarmists. It is no new charge against us. The same thing was said when we denounced the policy of government towards the West Indian interest, and also when we foreshadowed the commercial crisis which overtook us in 1847. One exception may be taken to our agricultural views, on the ground that farms have been let in Scotland without any diminution of rent. We allow that such is the case. We admit that, even during the bygone year, there has been considerable competition for farms; and we know very well that this circumstance has tended to allay the fears of many. But, after all, what does it prove? Nothing more, we apprehend, than that the farmer is most reluctant to abandon the profession to which he has been bred, and in which his capital is invested; and that, in times of notoriously unsettled and vacillating legislation, he may be, perhaps, too sanguine as to the possibility of another change. The fact that some farms, in various parts of the country, have, of late, brought full and even higher rents, is not enough to warrant the idea that present engagements can be met. It does not follow that these will continue to be paid; nor do the parties themselves, we presume, expect to be able to fulfil their engagements, if future prices are such as we have felt constrained to reckon them. We have seen of late, in other matters, how easily people are deceived by sanguine anticipations; and it has recently been lamentably proved, that it is often long before disastrous events produce their due effect in indicating true value. If, in the less intricate matter of railway speculations, we have seen men who boasted of their superior information, involving themselves in the downward course of these unfortunate concerns, under the idea that the turning-point of depression had been attained, and that golden profits might be realised, is it marvellous if the farmer should be deceived in a matter which has been so much mystified, and which his predilections and peculiar position, in most instances, will not admit of his viewing calmly and dispassionately, even if he possessed the means of correct information? His education and habits compel him to endeavour to continue his occupation at all hazards. If once he abandon his calling, he is out of a situation as well as a home. It often happens, besides, and now it is peculiarly the case, that, to dispose of his stocking—a necessity incumbent upon the loss of his farm—is to make a sacrifice of his property. At present, live stock is from 15 to 20 per cent under what he has been in the habit of receiving for the last few years. Hence, upon such a vexed question as the effects of the corn laws, modified and free, have become, it is only natural that, in his doubt, and darkness, and perplexity, he should stretch a point to keep possession of his occupation; trusting that, if matters continue to be adverse, his landlord will have the like commiseration for him which it is his duty to testify for his neighbour, who, under other circumstances, is also writhing beneath the pressure. In such a case, rent becomes altogether a question of chance, left to be modified and controlled by after circumstances.

In this view it is not difficult to understand why farms falling out of lease have been taken at rates absurdly disproportioned to the present prices of agricultural produce. Ask any intelligent farmer, who has placed himself in this position, and he will frankly confess that he does not expect to be able to pay his rent, unless some very material change in the value of produce shall take place. How should he think otherwise? In the better districts of Scotland, farming has been carried so high that there is hardly any margin left for improvement. Up to a certain point, the soil may be artificially stimulated; but, that point once reached, any further appliances become positively hurtful, and defeat the intentions of the grower. The flower of our tenantry—the men whose exertions have[123] made the land what it is—can go but a little way further. Nor can the severest moralist tax them with a breach of probity if they should enter into bargains which, under the operation of the present laws, they cannot possibly fulfil. The legislature took no account of them when it abolished protection. Parliament dealt with them more tyrannically than any irresponsible monarch would have dared to deal with a people far less intelligent and far less cognisant of their rights. The laws have ceased to be, in the estimation of the multitude, final. We now consider them, and most justly, as mere make-shifts which cannot stand against the pressure of a well-organised agitation; and men speculate on the probability of their changes, just as gamblers make adventures on the probable fluctuations of the funds. No man can deny that such is the case. Free trade is in the ascendant to-day: to-morrow, protection may be uppermost. A sad state of things truly; but such as must necessarily occur, when statesmen, whose heads have grown hoary in office, desert principle to adopt expediency, and repudiate the professions of a whole lifetime, for the sake of outwitting their political opponents. Our steadfast conviction is, that unsettled legislation has tended more than anything else to prevent an immediate depreciation in the rents. Foster gambling, and you create gamblers. Farms are now taken on speculation, with the view, not to increased production of the land, but to further changes in the experimental policy of the nation.

But in reality we apprehend that such cases are the exception, and not the rule. We have heard it trumpeted abroad that certain farms in East Lothian were let during the course of last year at an advance. We have taken pains to investigate this matter; and we find on inquiry that, in some cases, such farms have been taken by new men of little agricultural experience. Lord Kinnaird may be glad to hear this, but we cannot view it in the light of an encouraging symptom. Others, no doubt, have been retaken, probably under the influence of such considerations as we have just stated. Again, we find that some farms in the south of Scotland are very differently situated now, than they were before. The extension of the railway system has given to such of them as are near stations, advantages which were enjoyed heretofore by such farms only as were in the immediate vicinity of large towns; and in this way their value has been increased. But it is quite evident, that, unless some extraordinary fallacy lurks in the tables which we have given above—unless the leading practical agriculturists of Scotland are either possessed by some monstrous arithmetical delusion, or banded in some organised conspiracy to mislead the public mind—no exceptional case can be admitted as of any weight whatever in determining the general question. On the part of ourselves, and of our correspondents, we not only invite, but we broadly challenge investigation. We desire that the truth may be made known, because any delusion on either side must tend to the public detriment.

If our statistics should be admitted as correct, we think it must be clear to demonstration that British agriculture cannot maintain itself longer against the competition of the foreign grower. We believe it impossible for any man who has attended to the minute statements given above, to arrive at an opposite conclusion. No appliances, no energy, no high farming, can avail in this ruinous struggle. To expect that more capital will be embarked in so losing a trade, is perfectly idle. Even if tenants had the wish to do so, they would fail for the want of means. It will be seen from the preceding tables what amount of capital is usually perilled on Scottish farms, and what amount of loss, at present prices, the farmer must necessarily sustain. Even in better times, few men could afford to do as much as has already been done by the agriculturists of the Lothians and Berwickshire; and, under existing circumstances, the great body of the tenantry cannot find the means to continue their ordinary operations. With capital exhausted and credit denied to him, what is the farmer to do? The question is one which we would fain see answered, and that immediately, by those who have brought us to the present pass. It cannot remain long unanswered, without such an augmentation[124] of distress as must render all remedy ineffectual.

So far we have spoken for the tenant, who, as an old contracting party, has been utterly sacrificed by free-trade legislation. As a new contractor, we have shown that he is placed under circumstances of peculiar disadvantage, arising from ignorance as to his real position, his past exertions, and his future prospects. Had we spoken rashly on this matter, we should have been liable to the utmost blame; but we have not put forward any one position which is not based upon facts, laboriously ascertained, and closely scrutinised; and all these are open to challenge, if any assailant has the mind, or the power, to refute us. We state nothing which is not founded on evidence of the clearest kind, and we shall be glad if our statements can be met in a precisely similar manner.

We observe that Mr William Ewart Gladstone, in an address delivered at the late meeting of the Fettercairn Farmers' Club, has taken a different line of argument; and if his views should prove to be correct, we must necessarily admit that the British agriculturist has no ground for complaint at all. We are, it seems, making a vast deal of noise without anything to justify it. We are clamouring about an imaginary evil, when we ought to be deeply grateful for natural benefits vouchsafed to us. So thinks Mr Gladstone, or at least so he speaks; and as his undeniable talents, and the high official position which he formerly occupied, entitle him to an attentive hearing, we shall briefly recapitulate his views. These are not new, for, if we recollect right, they were enunciated so early as last spring by the Hon. Sydney Herbert, a gentleman belonging to the same political section as Mr Gladstone, and they were then triumphantly refuted by Mr John Ellman, in his letter addressed to the Duke of Bedford. Since that time, however, another harvest has intervened, and Mr Gladstone now takes up the argument of his friend under better auspices, and with a greater show of plausibility.

Foreign competition, according to Mr Gladstone, is not the cause of low prices. "This is not," says he, "the first time that we have had difficulties. We have had many periods when low prices prevailed. Certainly, at present, prices are extremely low; but, in many parts of the country, there is a sort of compensation for these low prices arising from great abundance—the result of improved processes of growing the crop, and, of consequence, an improved yield. With regard to the cause of declining prices, I cannot adopt the line of argument of those who look only to importations as the chief cause. I do not pretend to speak so accurately of Scotland, but, as to England, the wheat crop this year was the largest ever known. Upon one single acre of land, of average quality, no less than sixty-eight bushels of wheat have been taken from the crop of this year. I must also point out the fact to you, that, although the crop is the largest, the prices are by no means the lowest we have seen—for instance, in the year 1835, when the sliding-scale was in full operation, we had wheat at 35s. per quarter, and this not only for a short time, but for the whole year. If it be true, therefore, that, at the present time, we have prices 5s. per quarter higher than they were in 1835, with a corn-law prohibitory till wheat rose to 70s. per quarter, then I cannot see that we have any such great cause for alarm as many imagine."

The first remark that we shall make with reference to this statement, is, that it is utterly incorrect. We do not know from what source Mr Gladstone ordinarily draws his figures, but if any one will consult the official tables of returns for the year 1835, he will find that the average of wheat was 39s. 4d., and not 35s., as Mr Gladstone has unwarrantably asserted. We have gone over the weekly averages for the whole of that year, and we find that wheat was never once quoted so low as 35s. In a matter of this kind, accuracy is a cardinal virtue, and we cannot allow such a statement as this to pass unnoticed. The following are the lowest weekly and aggregate averages for the whole year, taken from the official tables, and we have[125] purposely selected these in order that Mr Gladstone may have the full benefit of the nearest approximation to his figures.



What, then, are we to think of Mr Gladstone's averment, that, in 1835, we had wheat at 35s., "and this not only for a short time, but for the whole year?" Not even for the week have we a vestige of any such quotation! This is blunder the first, and it is so serious a one, that, on his own showing, it is enough to invalidate the whole of his argument. It is not a fact "that, at the present time, we have prices 5s. per quarter higher than they were in 1835." The difference is a fractional part of a shilling; and if Mr. Gladstone wishes to find a time when the prices were five shillings lower than at present, he must go back to the year 1779; and, in travelling towards that period, he will meet with some startling facts in the financial history of the country, which are well worthy of observation. In 1779, he will find wheat at 33s. 8d., the produce of such a harvest that the export of grain exceeded the import by 217,222 quarters. But he will also find that the national debt, at that period, was just one-fourth of what it now is; and that the poor-rates of England, instead of touching eight millions, were considerably short of two.

Secondly, it is not true that the last wheat crop was the largest ever known in England. This is a wild and utterly extravagant assertion. The bygone crop was a good one, less on account of quality than of gift; but every agriculturist knows that, within the experience of the present generation, we have had far finer crops. That of 1815 was enormous in its yield—so great that we did not import a single quarter of grain, and the average price of wheat for that year was 63s. 8d. The crop of 1822 was not very much inferior. These are notorious instances; but in order to ascertain, with as much precision as possible, the relative quality of the bygone crop, we submitted the statement of Mr. Gladstone to one of the most extensive corn-dealers in Leith, and the following is his reply. "Mr. Gladstone's statement is certainly very unlike that of a person of his high authority; though I conceive it as calculated to do much mischief in the present depressed state of the corn-trade, as many people will judge of it from Mr. Gladstone's high standing. In my opinion, however, nothing can be more absurd than estimating a crop by a yard in any field, or by a single acre. We hear now a great deal of the land being more productive, by draining and other improvements; and it was to be expected that, when a good wheat season occurred, we should have more wheat than in previous years; but, from all the confirmation we have yet obtained, I am by no means disposed to believe that the last crop is a great one, far less that it is greater than ever known. The present generation, I have no doubt, have seen larger crops of wheat than our forefathers; but I think 1814, 1815, 1822, 1825, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1841, and 1842, were better seasons than the last. Essex, and several other English counties which had bad crops in 1848, have much greater crops in 1849; but Lincolnshire, and several other very important counties, have very deficient crops on certain varieties of soil. All that can be said of the present crop is, that it is a full one, generally speaking. More of it, I am sure, will yield under 40 bushels an acre than over 40; and very little, indeed, 60 or 68, as Mr. Gladstone says a single acre has produced." So much for the general yield; let us now revert to the seasons which Mr. Gladstone has selected for comparison.

The crop of 1835 was not only larger than that of 1849, but it came to us under circumstances which[126] entirely preclude a comparison of the years, if prices are to be taken as a criterion. The crop of 1835 was the last of a series of fine ones. We subjoin the statistics from 1830, which was a bad season, to 1836, when the harvest was again unfavourable:—

Year.Quarters imported.Average price.

It will thus be seen that it was a succession of good harvests which brought down the prices gradually from 66s. 4d. in 1831, to 39s. 4d. in 1835. Last year we had one good harvest following a remarkably bad one, and yet Mr Gladstone would attempt to persuade us that the present reduction of price arises solely from excessive plenty, as in 1835! If it were so, where would be the room for that importation, which, during the first eight months of the bygone year, has more than doubled that of 1848, for the corresponding period? For his own sake, we are sorry to find Mr Gladstone resorting to fallacies so exceedingly flimsy and transparent. Surely he must be aware that the extreme depreciation of price, which is the cause of agricultural distress, could not by any possibility be the result of the late harvest—for this unanswerable reason, that, in the earlier parts of the year, before the corn had shot in the fields, prices were rapidly dwindling. The deficient crop of 1848 could not have put prices down—we presume that even Mr Gladstone will not maintain that—and yet, for the week ending April 7, 1849 we find the averages of England as follows:—


44s. 5d.28s. 9d.16s. 9d.26s. 5d.28s. 1d.29s. 6d.

So then, after a poor crop in 1848, we find prices lower than they were in 1834, after a series of fine crops, and we are calmly asked to adopt the conclusion that a single good crop in 1849 has done all the mischief! Mr Gladstone might just as well tell us that our present prices are affected by the crop of 1850, which is now lying in embryo in the seed.

But we have not yet done with Mr Gladstone, who goes on to assert that low prices have nothing to do with importations from abroad. This position he tries to fortify by rather an ingenious process, as will be seen from the following extract from his speech:—

"Let me point out also that I had the curiosity to obtain an account of the last month's importations into this country, and, on comparing the same with those of 1848, the decrease this year is very remarkable; and, besides, with diminished importations this year, must be taken into account the fact, that from the condition of the crop this year, as compared with the last, the value of our grain is at least 5s. superior to the mere nominal price. In October, last year, you had good prices for wheat; in this year, bad. I ask, was this owing to importations from abroad, or was it not? I give you the result in figures, which I think will convince you what is the reason of the low prices. In October 1848, the importation of wheat to this country was no less than 506,000 quarters; in 1849, it is only 154,000 quarters. How are we to account for this, but simply from the great abundance of wheat at home this year, while in 1848 the supply was somewhat short; and, so far as regards the English farmer, I consider he is better off this year, with his large crop and low prices, than he was last, with his small crop and high prices."

If anything could make us lose our patience, while dealing with so momentous a subject, it would be the sight of such statements as these. Observe how the matter stands. Mr Gladstone is arguing that importations from abroad do not affect prices here, and, by way of proof, he gives us the statistics of a single month. He says—Last October you had good prices and large importations: this October you have bad prices and diminished importation. Ergo, importations have nothing to do with prices! Is Mr Gladstone ignorant of the fact, that, for the first eight months of the year 1849, the quantity of grain imported was more than double that of the preceding season, and that almost every warehouse in our ports is filled almost to bursting with[127] foreign grain? Is he aware that this diminished import for October, if extended over the year, would give an amount greater than was brought in during any famine year previous to 1839? Let us see how this matter stands, adopting his very favourable calculations.



The October imports, which Mr Gladstone considers as being reduced in consequence of the good harvest at home, would, if spread over the year, amount to 1,848,000 quarters—being very little less than the average amount imported from 1836 to 1840, when we had five bad or indifferent seasons in succession. Mr Gladstone, however, we apprehend, leaps too rapidly at his conclusions. He should have waited until the frost set in, and then, perhaps, he might have been able to point to a materially diminished importation. We should like to know how he will dispose of the ascertained statistics for November. They are as follows:—


Wheat and wheat flour,215,134
Barley and barley meal,90,304
Oats and oat meal,114,311
Rye and rye meal,6,201
Indian corn,46,306

being equal to 513,615 quarters of all kinds of grain for the month! These are the diminished importations! But we shall come down even later, and inquire what sort of proportion the arrivals of foreign grain bear to those of British growth in the London market, according to the last accounts. We copy from the Times of December 11:—

"Corn Exchange, Monday, Dec. 10.—Throughout the past week, there have been good arrivals of wheat, barley, and oats into this market from abroad, although of wheat the quantity reported has been less than of other grain. Of English corn of any kind, (if we except barley,) the total reports are insignificant, and but a few cargoes of oats from Ireland. The state of the trade, on the several market days, was languid, and even at lower prices for barley and oats, buyers were indisposed to get into stock."

The following is a statement of the arrivals of grain at London from the 3d to the 8th of December, which may serve to indicate the sources from which the population of our vast metropolis is fed; and we leave Mr Gladstone to reconcile it, as he best can, with his new theory of importations:—

Rye, 514

So then, after the harvesting of "the largest wheat crop ever known in England," and at the dead season of the year, when the navigation of the Elbe is closed, the importation of foreign wheat into the London market exceeds the arrival of English wheat by a ratio of nearly five to one! And, with such facts before us, we are forbidden to believe that imports affect prices! We hope, when we next meet Mr Gladstone, to find him in a more logical humour, and better prepared with his facts.

It is not surprising if, in a controversy of this kind, we should find the Free-traders openly contradicting each other, and very often themselves, in the advice which they gratuitously offer to the agriculturist. One section recommends further outlay on the land, more extended and elaborate tillage, and prophesies in return an augmented cereal crop. Another totally repudiates this view, but advises that the loss should be made good by green crops, wider pastures, and an infinite multiplication of cattle. The former philanthropists want more grain; the latter insist upon an extended consumption of butcher meat. The tendency of late legislation[128] has been in favour of the latter view, and the consequence has been a depreciation in the value of cattle throughout the kingdom, of at least from 15 to 20 per cent. The consumer has not yet got the full benefit of it, but the farmer has incurred the loss; and we know instances of pasturings on which, for the last two years, not a single shilling of profit has been realised. The cattle when sent to market, after being fattened, have brought the same price which was given for them in their lean and hungry condition. The Free-traders are very bold about cattle, alleging that, in this respect, there is nothing to fear from the effects of foreign competition. And undoubtedly, to a casual observer, this would appear to be one of the least objectionable parts of their scheme. Still there is something mysterious in the fact of the great depreciation. The prices of cattle have fallen, until profit has been nearly extinguished; and if we exclude altogether the idea of foreign competition, the necessary conclusion will be, that the supply has vastly exceeded the demand. This is but poor comfort to those who are told to look to green crops for their remuneration. But we think that the subject requires a closer examination than it has yet received. We are convinced that the depreciation of live stock is intimately connected with importation, and the result of our inquiries will show whether we are right or wrong. But first let us glance at the ascertained effects of importation under the relaxed tariff.

The first fruit of the unrestricted trade in live stock—which exhibited a number that mounted up, for the first five years, at a rate increasing annually fourfold, until the number of "oxen and bulls" reached from 1385 in 1843, to 27,831 in 1848—was no doubt sufficiently alarming. But, judging from the trade of the year ending 1848, and of the present season, this influx would appear to have reached its full. Assuming this to be the case—as the entire number would not, on a rough calculation, furnish more than a week or ten days' supply of beef to the whole country—perhaps there is not much reason to apprehend any great depression in home prices from the influence of the importation of foreign live stock. Besides, from the tendency of recent improvements in agriculture—should these fortunately continue in operation—to increase materially the supplies of beef and mutton, it is possible that these necessaries could, in future, be afforded at such a price as to exclude the probability of any great accession to our importations for many years.

We believe that the only considerable harm which has resulted from the importation of live stock, has been the importation of two very fatal diseases, which have, since then, carried off numbers of cattle and sheep, and which, like most epidemics, will in all human probability become permanent. The mortality was so serious, that Parliament has already passed an act establishing a sort of conditional quarantine; and it has been calculated by those who are skilled in such matters, that the number of animals that have died in consequence, is considerably greater than the whole amount of the importation. In this way it is easy to reckon the amount of our losses and our gains.

But there is a farther importation of butchers' meat in another shape, which is far more difficult to contend against—namely, that of "cured beef, bacon, and pork." The importation of these articles has increased so rapidly and enormously, since the introduction of free trade—the two latter to upwards of sixfold since 1847—that the whole together, it may be reckoned, now afford a quantity of food exceeding in weight four times that of the "oxen and bulls" imported during the last year. This is a mere beginning, but already the effects of it have been widely and calamitously felt. It is not only affecting the graziers, but it is displacing a large and hitherto flourishing trade, both in Britain and in Ireland; and, if carried out further, as it clearly will be, not one single rallying point or chance of escape will be left to the British agriculturist.

The following is the statement of a Liverpool correspondent, dated 6th December last:—

"I enclose you a price-current, with the latest quotations of American[129] provisions, which are the prices to the wholesale dealers. In the best qualities of beef and pork, the trade generally get 5s. to 10s. a package profit, and on an ordinary article a much larger margin is allowed.

"American beef is far superior to Irish, and brings more money. The import of the latter is about 1000 tierces—of the former, 20,000 tierces. Irish pork stands higher than American, and the finest quality eastern will sell within 5s. per barrel of Irish. The import of Irish is about 3000 barrels—of American, 35,000 barrels."

The following table will show the comparative prices of Irish and American produce:—

Comparative Table of Prices of Irish and American Provisions at Liverpool, in December 1849.

 s.s.s. d. s.
Prime mess beef, per tierce, 304 lbs.,     80 to 8567  6 to 81
Prime mess pork, per barrel, 200 lbs.,62 to 6634 0 to 60
Mess do., per do.,54 to 6045 0 to 50
Bacon, per cwt.,45 to 4830 0 to 32
Lard, per do.,38 to —33 6 to 34

These are figures which may well astound the boldest Free-trader; for they show that the provision trade is altogether passing from our hands. To those who regard the welfare of Great Britain, they furnish additional proof of the headlong rate of our decline. But we have yet other statements to make, for which, we are certain, no one was prepared, though the facts they disclose are the necessary consequence of such comparative prices as we have just given. We believe that the British navy, which is victualled by contract, is at this moment supplied from foreign, and not British produce!

We crave the special attention of the reader to the following letter from a gentleman residing in Dundee, who stands nearly at the head of the meat-curing business in Scotland. We have authority to give his name, if that should be considered necessary. His letter bears date 12th November 1849:—

"In reply to the queries put to me by you, as to the value, &c. of foreign provisions, I beg leave to hand you a statement of the difference of price of Scotch and American beef, calculating the Scotch beef at the present low price of 40s. per cwt., and the present price of my American prime mess beef at 87s. 6d. per tierce of 304 lbs., the quality of which is not inferior to the best Scotch beef.

Present price of Scotch beef, from butcher, 40s. per cwt., or for 304 lbs.,£586
Price of tierce, 5s. 6d.—expense of curing, 4s.,096
In leakage of weight.076
Allowance of value between necks, shanks, and prime beef,026
Present price of one tierce Scotch beef,£680
Present price of my prime mess American beef,476

"By this statement you will see that there is a difference of £2, Os. 6d. per tierce, or 14s. 9d. per cwt., in favour of the American; besides, I allow 212 per cent off for cash, which I hardly think the butcher does at the above price. Neither am I the importer of this beef, but purchase at the sales in Liverpool, though a broker; neither am I an underseller, 87s. 6d., (212 per cent off,) being about the general price for such an article in various markets. Owing to the low price and excellent quality of American beef, almost every ship from this port, going to the south, takes it in preference to our home beef; and when in England, last month, we found there was nothing else used by the English vessels, with the exception of a little fresh beef, which they take with them when they go out; and one house in London informed me that they had supplied the navy with 3080 tierces of American beef.

"American pork can be purchased at a very low price, but as yet I have seen none fine, and there are but few of our shipowners that would take it. There is, however, hardly anything else than American hams and flitch bacons sold in this and other manufacturing towns; and although the quality is not fine, still the price is low, and purchasers are to be found on that account.

"Hamburg beef and pork are both of a good quality, and sell generally about 10s. per cwt. below the price of Scotch. I had, however, an offer of[130] 500 barrels from one of the largest houses in Hamburg fully 15 per cent below what I can afford to cure Scotch; it, however, being last year's cure, I did not accept of the offer.

"There are several houses opened lately in Hamburg, who are curing a first-rate article in a first-rate style for the London market; and one of my London correspondents, writing lately, informs me of a house in London (to which I have sent a great quantity of pickled pork for the last twenty years,) having opened a curing establishment in Hamburg for the cure of pickled pork on the Scotch system. It was doing up nicely, and affecting the market for Scotch greatly; he adds that, from the price and quality of the article, it would be a death-blow to the Scotch curers. I may also say that it looks very like it. Some years ago I was curing about seven tons a-week for the London market alone, and found plenty of demand; now, at the present day, I can hardly get clear of two tons a-week, and that at very low prices—so low, indeed, that we are compelled to look for other markets in other places; and I am confining myself principally to prime mess pork among the shipping of this and other ports. These are facts which I can authenticate, as I have had many years' experience in the curing both of beef and pork for home and foreign markets; and you are at perfect liberty to make any use of this information which you may think proper."

From this, and other statements of a similar nature which have reached us, and which we refrain from inserting, solely on account of the unusual space which our remarks must otherwise occupy, we entertain no doubt whatever that in the article of meat the competition is as formidable as in that of grain; and that there is no limit to the extent of competition, save the ultimate inability of the burdened British agriculturist to hold his ground against the untaxed and unreciprocating foreigner. In a very short time, if the system is not perfected at present, we may expect to see the rations of the army, the stores of the navy, and the contracts for all large establishments, supplied from foreign produce. The displacement of home industry, and the extinguishment of important trades indicated in the foregoing letter, are perhaps matters of minor importance in such a revolution as this: nevertheless, they are too serious to be contemplated without the greatest alarm.

So stands the agricultural interest at this moment—an interest, be it observed, in which the prosperity of wellnigh three-fourths of the population of this mighty empire is concerned. We might say, with perfect truth, the interest of the whole population; but as those of the Manchester school deny their identity with the rest of us, we must exclude them; and they cannot think us ungracious or illiberal if we assign to them a number of adherents far greater than we believe they actually possess. These are the effects of what they call free trade; BUT FREE TRADE IT IS NOT, being simply the most shameful species of one-sided and partial legislation. The Manchester men dare not, for their souls, carry out the principle to its full extent. The agriculturist has a right to demand that this shall be done; that, exposed as he is to the competition of the world, and burdened, as he must remain, with debts contracted ages ago to the profit of the capitalist, and burdens swollen to their present amount by manufacturing pauperism, no other class shall be protected from a similar free competition. No plea for revenue duties to be raised upon customs can be held valid in equity now. Why should there still exist a protective duty of from ten to fifteen per cent against foreign manufactures? Why is any one portion of our consumption to be taxed, whilst another is allowed to go free? Are we not entitled to demand that the same measure which has been dealt to us, shall be meted out to every man in Great Britain and Ireland, let his trade or occupation be what it may? Are we not entitled to say this much to the manufacturers, who were foremost in the late movement—You have compelled us to compete with Poland for grain on equal terms: you therefore must in future compete with the foreign manufacturer on a similar condition of equality? Why are we to pay fifteen per cent duty for foreign silk manufactures; for velvets, gauzes,[131] satins, and suchlike? Why ten per cent for more than a hundred articles of consumption, including cotton, woollen, and hair manufactures, lace, gauze, brass, brocade, stoneware, steel, &c.? Why should we be prohibited from growing, if we can do it, our own tobacco? Why are Messrs Cobden and Bright, and their confederates, to nestle under the wing of protection, whilst the agriculturalist is left utterly bare? Apart from policy, and simply on the ground of justice, we denounce such infamous partiality. If, without even the shadow of a coming reciprocity on the part of foreign nations, we are desired to face competition, let there be no exceptions whatever. There can be, and there is, no just medium between entire free trade and equitable protection for all. The voice of the whole nation will ere long declare that no such medium shall exist. What enormous amount of benefit have Manchester manufacturers conferred upon the community at large, that they are to be bolstered up by customs' duties, whilst the agriculturist is trodden under foot? What fractional portion of the greatness of this country has been achieved by the professors of the spinning-jenny and the billy-roller, who now, in defiance of history and of fact, would fain persuade us that THEY, forsooth, are the flower of Britain, the oracles of its wisdom, the regulators of its policy, the masters of the destiny of mankind?

It has been the fashion of late, for those gentlemen, to talk as if the British farmers were infinitely behind the rest of the world in activity and intelligence. It has been insinuated, that they are unworthy occupants of an exceedingly fertile soil, the capabilities of which they have not tested, through indolence and prejudice. Some such accusation is implied, in all the late stimulating exhortations to increased exertion; and Lord Kinnaird does not hesitate to tell us so, almost in as many words. These are, no doubt, recent discoveries, for it is not long since we were told, by the very same parties, that the superior agricultural skill of our farmers was such as to set foreign competition at defiance! That was one of the principal arguments employed for effecting the repeal of the corn laws; but now, when the results have proved totally contrary to anticipation, it is convenient to turn round, and accuse the farmer of a total want of those very qualities which were assigned as reasons for the change. The obvious fallacy in the first proposition, does not make the inconsistency of the second a whit less monstrous. No wonder if the insult should be bitterly felt by the agriculturist.

We are perhaps too apt, at the present moment, to allow the former promises of the Free-traders to slip out of memory. If we were to search through the abandoned rubbish of the League, we should find ample evidence of the gross fraud which was passed upon the country by the leaders of that nefarious faction. On the 19th December last, we find Mr Cobden, at Leeds, speaking as follows:—"I have always contemplated a transition state in this country, when there would be pinching and suffering in the agricultural class in passing from a vicious system to a sound one; for you cannot be restored from bad health to good without going through a process of languor and suffering. I have always looked forward to that time." If this statement be true—if Mr Cobden did "always contemplate" such a state of matters—it would not be difficult to convict him of something worse than hypocrisy. Three days later, at the memorable meeting held at Huntingdon, Mr G. Day, one of the speakers, made the following pithy remarks:—"He would refer, however, to the magnificent promises which had been held out by Mr Cobden as certain to be realised by free trade, and to do so he was free to refer to his letters. 'First, with regard to the landlord, I do not mean to say that the landlords will not get as good rents with free trade as they have now with monopoly: No doubt they will get on a great deal better with free trade. The landlord has nothing to fear.' Again, he said, 'The landlords will have the same rents with free trade as they have at present.' In speaking of the tenant-farmers he said, 'The tenant-farmer will under free trade be an independent man. I say that the farmer has nothing to fear from competition.' With regard to the poor, what did this gentleman say? 'There[132] would be no complaining poor in our streets, no income-tax, no property-tax, no poor-rates, but all classes would be benefited by the adoption of free trade.' These were the promises made to them by a free-trader—the leader of them; and in the Bread-Tax Circular, No. 146, page 255, they would find what he had read to them—Mr Cobden's own words."

Does Mr Cobden admit that he wrote this circular? If he does, perhaps he will be good enough to explain how he reconciles the views contained in it with his new assertion that he always contemplated a transition state of suffering for the agricultural class? We recommend him, for his own sake, to clear this matter up. Rash averments may be pardoned; but deliberate double-dealing, never.

"It is cruel," writes one of our correspondents, a practical farmer of great experience, "that the advocates of the measure, in their exultation, should pretend not to see that the facts of the case have revealed a much more alarming aspect to their opponents than they anticipated; and that even the danger to themselves, from this cause, does not bring conviction of the falsity of their views. They affect to blame the farmer for ignorance, want of skill and enterprise—forgetting that, not long since, he was wont to be held up as a pattern of all that was superior in agricultural advancement, and that our island stands conspicuous among foreigners for its garden cultivation. Still, we are told, it is want of energy, and of a free application of capital, which prevents the British farmers from successfully competing with the Continent: as if overwhelming supplies of foreign corn, and, consequently, a greatly reduced price, were not sufficient reasons to oblige the agriculturist to modify the enterprise, and curtail the expenditure for which he had hitherto been so distinguished. Such unjust reflections may serve to raise up and maintain a feeling of prejudice against the farmer, and to bring him into obnoxious comparison with other arts, where science has fortunately been more successfully applied; but it is not to be expected, that a hopeless rivalry, and a low price, are to have the effect of stimulating to efforts and outlay, beyond what was induced by protection and a remunerating return.

"It has been customary to bring the farmer's position into contrast with that of the manufacturer, who is said to fear no foreign competition. But is the comparison a just one? The British manufacturer possesses every advantage and appliance to render his productions superior, and, consequently, also cheaper. Britain is the great mart of all the chief staples of new produce. Her machinery is the best—her fuel is the cheapest. On the other hand, the farmer here is deficient in raw material. He labours an obstinate soil, for the use of which he pays high; while his climate—the main element to give security and save expense—is far inferior to that of his rival."

Our friend might have gone further; for, if we enter into the comparison, we shall find that the British farmer has taken more advantage of his natural position than the British manufacturer. The true way of arriving at a just conclusion upon this point is, by contrasting, in the first instance, the natural advantages enjoyed by either class.

The motive power of the British manufacturer is derived from coal, of which he has an unlimited supply: the motive power of the British farmer is, except to a very small extent, dependent upon animals, which is infinitely more expensive and tedious; requiring more work with less command of power. The manufacturer can try any experiment he pleases, either in the construction of his machinery or in the texture of his fabric, in the course of a few days or weeks, and adopt or reject it as best suits his purpose: the farmer cannot attempt any experiment upon his crops without waiting a whole year for the result; nor any upon his live stock in less than two or three years. In the mean time, his expenses and rent go on as usual. The British manufacturer is not dependent on the climate: the British farmer is altogether so dependent; the climate of this country being proverbially uncertain and changeable, and very often ungenial. We apprehend, therefore, that, as to natural advantages, the home manufacturer stands[133] on a far more advantageous footing than the home agriculturist.

Let us next contrast the state of the two classes abroad. The foreign manufacturer has few natural advantages. He does not possess the command of coal for his motive power, but is compelled to erect his factory on the bank of some stream, without regard, otherwise, to the convenience of the locality. Iron for machinery is far more expensive abroad than here; in fact, most of the Continental machinery is directly exported from Britain. On the other hand, the foreign farmer has all the advantages of an equable, rich soil, and of a good and steady climate.

Now, then, let us see how far the British manufacturer, with all his natural advantages, has surpassed his foreign rival. Does he make a better article than the foreigner? Can he beat the German linen, the Russian duck, the Swiss calico, the Saxon or Austrian broad-cloth, the porcelains of Dresden and Sèvres, or the silks, stained papers, and prints of France? If not, where is his superiority? As to designs, it is notorious that he is infinitely behind the Continent. No doubt he sends ship-loads of flimsy textures, with flaring colours and incongruous patterns, to semi-barbarous countries; and he can deluge the markets of the world with cheap goods, so furbished and tricked out that they sell from appearance only. But what hold has he of the Continent? He cannot compete with the manufacturers there in point of quality: if he could make a better article, no Zollvereins or combinations would be able to keep him out. These remarks apply to the bulk of our manufactures, which are made for foreign export; and these, in point of quality, are precisely what we have described them. There are undoubtedly high class manufacturers here, especially in the woollen and linen trades, who supply the home market with high class goods. But how do they stand? They are protected from foreign competition. It is in their favour that the highest import duties remain; and, were those restrictions removed to-morrow, they would be undersold in the British market. If any one thinks we are wrong in this matter, we shall be glad to hear him explain why the duties remain? It cannot be for revenue, since, if the British manufacturer can beat his foreign rival, without reciprocity, in the foreign market, it would be an absurdity to suppose the tables turned, and the foreign manufacturer paying duty solely for the sake of offering us a worse article in Britain. If not for revenue, why are the duties continued by statesmen who have declared for free trade? The answer is clear. These are protective duties; and they are continued for this reason, that, with all his natural advantages, the British manufacturer is not able to set Continental competition at defiance.

Lastly, let us look to the British farmer, in so far as energy and enterprise are concerned, in contrast with his rival. Here no detailed statement is necessary. In spite of all natural disadvantages, the soil of Britain is better tilled than that of any other country. We ask with a natural pride, greater perhaps on account of adverse circumstances, whether the husbandry of the Lothians or of the Border counties can be matched anywhere out of Britain? Where, on the surface of the globe, are the agriculturists who have approached our tenantry in the free outlay of capital, ready intelligence, persevering enterprise, and high professional skill? And yet these men, admittedly at the head of their craft, are to be told, forsooth, that they have been indolent and ignorant; and that retired tradesmen and shopkeepers would make far better farmers than they!

Judging from results, then, which of the two classes has best done its duty to the state? Which of the two has availed itself most of the advantages which lay within its reach, and done most to overcome the power of natural disadvantages? We apprehend that, in all respects, the efforts of the agriculturist have been greater than those of the manufacturer. If the former is to fall a sacrifice, let it not at least be said that his indolence provoked his fate. Out of agriculture manufactures arose; and it is now, we presume, the intention of our rulers, that the one shall decay, and the other survive: that the former shall fall unprotected, and the latter[134] struggle on with the whole monopoly of protection. If so, the results are clear enough. The manufacturer who the other day accosted Mr Muntz in the following terms:—"We have eaten up the West Indian planters, we have eaten the Irish landlords, we have finished the colonies, and now we are at the farmers; and I don't know that we won't be eaten ourselves,"—saw plainly the effect of our legislation. Mr Cobden sees its effect as well; but now, at the eleventh hour, when the tide is turning against him, he is straining every nerve to maintain his false position. It is the misfortune of demagogues, but a great blessing to the rest of mankind, that they invariably become intoxicated with the first draught of success, and seldom recover their reason. So is it with Cobden now. His late rabid harangue at Leeds, in which he ransacked the vocabulary for terms of abuse to heap upon the landed gentry, was perhaps the most insolent speech ever uttered in a free nation. Surrounded by his fetid chimneys, and his squalid dupes, he assumes the tone of a dictator, holds out threats of annihilation to all who dare to question his policy, and actually throws the gauntlet of defiance to the constituencies of the United Kingdom! There is no mistake at all about the force and significance of his SHALL. Right or wrong, every man in this empire must walk as Cobden directs him, else some nondescript vial of unutterable wrath and retribution is to be poured on his devoted head. These are not the arguments of a reasonable man, but the ravings of a positive maniac. They will delude no one, whilst they serve to show the base nature of the man who utters them. The gladiator of old, blowing sulphur flames through a hollow nut, and passing himself off for a god, was not a more rank impostor than this seven times baffled prophet. Is it not something unparalleled in the annals of assurance to find this person, himself protected, declaiming against all protection, save that of his immediate class, and avowing his deliberate determination to overthrow every institution of the country, if we shall cease from enriching the Polish magnates at the expense of the British labourer? Let us see what this man is doing. He, whose fortunes were notoriously redeemed by the questionable wages of agitation, is now publicly announcing his intention, if thwarted, of pursuing a line of conduct which would necessarily result in the abolition of the monarchy, and the establishment of a republic in Britain. There is no mistaking the tendency of the hints which are thrown out by him and his fellows. They abstain, indeed, and certainly wisely for themselves, from broadly proclaiming their ends in such language as would bring them within the immediate grasp of the law. They say nothing about the Crown, for that would be dangerous; but they resolutely avow their determination, if possible, to pull down the aristocracy; and they point to the abolition of the House of Peers as a measure which, at some future period, may engage their serious attention. Add to this their perpetual laudation of American institutions, as preferable to our own—their open and avowed sympathy with the insurgents of democratic Europe—their bitter and malignant abuse of every one who has been instrumental in putting down insurrection—their scheme for abandoning the colonies as worthless appendages, and so breaking up the integrity of the empire—their proposals, so violently urged and reiterated, of such a reduction in the army and navy, as would render both arms of the service utterly inefficient—add all these, and we shall be at no loss to discover the real aim of this foul and scandalous confederacy. We are aware that it is somewhat difficult to define the limits of sedition; still Mr Cobden had better have a care of his language whilst indulging in such revelations as he has of late chosen to set forth. It will be no child's-play if he actually should attempt to put the smallest of his threats into practice.

Setting Mr Cobden aside, we have still an observation to make. It is not a little edifying to contrast the tone assumed at present by the disciples of the Manchester school with that which they adopted after the passing of the disastrous measures of 1846. We were then entreated, in Parliament and out of it, to give the experiment a fair trial. It was[135] admitted that divers extraordinary occurrences had intervened to postpone the great advantages to the nation which must flow from the opening of the ports, yet still we were asked to believe that the calculations of Mr M'Gregor were perfectly sound, and that in a little time all would be well. We have waited, patiently enough, until the last fragment of agricultural protection has been removed—until it is obvious to every one, save an exporting and protected manufacturer, that nothing short of protection can save the landed interest of Great Britain from total ruin—and until ruin, in its worst shape, has already overtaken Ireland. And what was it that we waited for? Reciprocity; the sole thing which, by the acknowledgment of the Peel party, could justify the experiment. Reciprocity, which Mr Cobden promised us if we would only show the example. Now that reciprocity is out of the question, our antagonists turn round, revile us as fools for adhering to our original opinions—though the experience of each succeeding year has attested their accuracy and soundness—and, in the contemptible cant of the day, denominate their free-trade policy "an accomplished fact."

They are right in one sense. It is a fact that this great nation has suffered itself to be misled by the machinations of a selfish and unscrupulous faction. It is also a fact, that for a time these machinations have been successful. But the great fact which now concerns us is, that the British nation is fully alive to the imposture; and that being the case, we entertain not the slightest doubt as to the ultimate issue.

One word in conclusion to our friends. It is the policy of those who are against us—and indeed their last desperate chance—to promote disunion among the ranks of those who draw their subsistence from the land, and whose welfare depends upon the agricultural prosperity of Britain. They are trying to set the tenant against the landlord, the labourer against the farmer; and their efforts have been assisted, to no inconsiderable extent, by the folly of weak men, who, in their terror, are attempting, by all the means in their power, to shelter themselves from the consequences which they thoroughly foresee. Our policy, as well as our duty, is to maintain a firm and united front. It would be madness to suppose that among the three great agricultural classes, there can be any disunion of interest. Landlord and farmer depend upon each other; the one class cannot be prostrated without the other falling a victim. And both of them have a duty to perform to the labourer, which must not be disregarded. He, as the lowest in the scale, is often the first to suffer; but woe to our land if the labourer should be trodden under foot!

We repeat that we have no fear for the future. We see on all hands the unmistakeable signs of a mighty reaction, which cannot but defeat the designs of that grasping faction for whose benefit alone this ominous experiment has been made. Deeply as we deplore the misery which has overtaken us, we must regard it as the penalty incurred for having swerved from the old path by which Britain attained her greatness—for having listened too readily to the suggestions of selfish and incompetent men. The experience of each succeeding month shows the error of the course we have been pursuing, and demonstrates the necessity of a return. Why should we fear? England—that noble country which stands pre-eminent among the nations of the world for its loyalty, enterprise, and independence—for its regard to sterling worth in the lowest, as well as the highest sphere—has awakened from its momentary trance. The voice of the people, before which that of faction must be silenced, is proclaiming, in clear and articulate language, that the virtual possession of its free and unviolated soil shall not be yielded, through fraud, to the foreigner, who never could have taken possession of it by force of arms; and that the English yeomanry will not submit to be sacrificed or annihilated for the wretched interest of a handful of manufacturers, whose gains are dependent upon the extension of a foreign market. We rejoice to see that the men of England are up and doing.[136] Their energy, if rightly directed, nothing can withstand. Cobden may bluster, as demagogues always do; and Bright may insinuate revolutions which he has neither the courage nor the power to attempt; but the day for such trashy vapouring has gone by, and England will no longer allow her greatness to be perilled at the bidding of such miserable upstarts. The issue of the late elections, and the triumphant meetings which are everywhere held in England, for the maintenance of her national and agricultural prosperity, should excite us to similar efforts. If our statements of what is occurring here can strengthen the hands of our brethren in the south, we shall be more than amply repaid for the pains we have expended in a close and laborious investigation. England may not require support; but support is ready for her. Ireland, from the depths of present misery, sees the hand which is striving to keep her down, and prepares herself for another struggle. Scotland will not remain inactive. Her interest is so clear, that it would be almost wasting words to attempt to explain it further. Let but this experiment go on for a few years longer, and all that we have gained, by more than a century of unremitting toil, will be lost to us: our improvements will be annihilated, and our people pauperised. Deprived of her yeomanry, as noble a body of men as exists upon the face of the earth, the nationality of Scotland is gone. We trust, then, that in every part of the country the appeal will be energetically answered. Scotsmen are slow to move; but being moved, they have a will and resolution that can bear down any obstacle whatever. There never was a time when the old national spirit was more imperatively required to show itself than now. Let us then speak out boldly in defence of our country, and tell those Manchester conspirators, in answer to their insolent challenge, that—beyond that circle of smoking factories, which they falsely imagine to be the heart of Britain—there exists a majority of loyal British subjects, who despise their dictation, detest their hypocrisy, and utterly defy their power.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] Æneid, i. 56.

[2] See "The Fall of the Throne of the Barricades," April 1, 1848.

[3] Alison.

[4] In Paris, after the Revolution in April and May, it was stated there were 300,000 persons out of employment, including the dependants of those without work. This number was, doubtless, fearfully great out of a population of 1,200,000 souls. But it was exceeded in some parts of Great Britain. In April 1848, the number of unemployed persons in and around Glasgow was so excessive, that an examination of them was made, by order of the magistrates of that city, with a view to an application to government for assistance. The men out of work were found, in that city and its vicinity, to be 31,000, which, allowing two and a half dependants to each male, implies 93,000 persons destitute of employment, out of a population at that time estimated at 360,000; being somewhat more than 300,000 out of 1,200,000 in Paris.

[5] Sights in the Gold Regions, and Scenes by the Way. By Theodore T. Johnson. New York: 1849.

The California and Oregon Trail: being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life. By Francis Parkman, Jun. New York and London: 1849.

Los Gringos; or an Inside View of Mexico and California: with Wanderings in Peru, Chili, and Polynesia. By Lieutenant Wise, U.S.N. New York and London: 1850.

[6] "A cañon is the narrow opening between two mountains, several hundred and sometimes a thousand feet in depth; rising, some of them, like perpendicular cliffs on either hand, as if torn asunder by a violent convulsion of nature. Through these pour the rushing mountain torrents of the wet diggins of the gold regions of California."—Sights in the Gold Regions, p. 180.

[7] At Sutter's saw-mill, from which the Culloma valley takes its second name, Mr Johnson saw and conversed with Mr Marshall, a proprietor of the mill, and one of the first discoverers of the gold. The discovery was made when cutting out the mill-race, across a portion of the former bed of a stream. "He pointed out to us the particular location of the first discoveries. This is some fifty yards below the mill, where a large fir-tree extends across the race. He stated that they threw up a good deal of gold, mixed with the sand and clay, before they seriously examined it, or ascertained its character." It must have struck many as singular, that gold mines so near the surface should so long have been unobserved. California was explored as far back as the year 1700 by the Jesuit Eusebio Kino, who first ascertained it to be part of the great American continent, and not an island, as was previously believed: Soon afterwards, missionary stations were established there, paving the way for the Spanish conquest of the country. Some of the padres still remain, but their mission-houses are dilapidated, and their influence is gone. To them Mr Johnson attributes the long concealment of the metallic wealth of California. "That these priests were cognisant of the abundance of the precious metal at that period, (a century ago,) is now well known; but they were members of the extraordinary society of the Jesuits, which, jealous of its all-pervading influence, and dreading the effect of a large Protestant emigration to the western, as well as to the eastern shores of America, applied its powerful injunctions of secrecy to the members of the order; and their faithful obedience, during so long a period, is another proof both of the strength and the danger of their organisation."—Sights in the Gold Regions, p. 111.

[8] "This 'placer,' or bar, is simply the higher portion of the sandy and rocky bed of the stream which, during the seasons of high water, is covered with the rushing torrent, but was now partially or entirely exposed. This is covered with large stones and rocks, or, on the smooth sand, with clumps of stunted bushes or trees."—Sights in the Gold Regions, 177.

[9] John Howard and the Prison-World of Europe. From original and authentic Documents. By Hepworth Dixon.

[10] 1773. High Sheriff of Bedfordshire—visited many county and town jails.

1774. Completed his survey of English jails. Stood candidate to represent the town of Bedford.

1775. Travelled to Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, Flanders, and Germany.

1776. Repeated his visit to the above countries, and to Switzerland. During these two years revisited all the English jails.

1777. Printed his State of prisons.

1778. Travelled through Holland, Flanders, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and part of France.

1779. Revisited all the counties of England and Wales, and travelled into Scotland and Ireland. Acted as supervisor of the Penitentiary Houses.

1780. Printed his first Appendix.

1781. Travelled into Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Germany, and Holland.

1782. Again surveyed all the English prisons, and went into Scotland and Ireland.

1783. Visited Portugal, Spain, France, Flanders, and Holland; also Scotland and Ireland, and viewed several English prisons.

1784. Printed the second Appendix, and a new edition of the whole works.

1785.{ From the close of the first of these years to the beginning of the last, on

1786.{ his tour through Holland, France, Italy, Malta, Turkey, and Germany.

1787.{ Afterwards went to Scotland and Ireland.

1788. Revisited Ireland; and, during this and the former year, travelled over all England.

1789. Printed his work on Lazarettos, &c. Travelled through Holland, Germany, Prussia, and Livonia, to Russia, and Lesser Tartary.

1790. January 20. Died at Cherson.

[11] "For a while the Venetian sailors defended themselves with desperate courage, for it was a question of victory or perpetual slavery with them; but their numbers were limited, their arms indifferent, and altogether the contest seemed too unequal to last long. It was the first actual fighting in which Howard had been present; but the imminency of the danger and the sight of conflict appealing to the strong combative instincts of his race, he fought on deck with the coolness of a Saxon and the courage of a knight-templar. Indeed, it was his self-possession which proved the salvation of the crew. There was only one gun of large calibre on board, and of this he assumed the direction, though he had probably never fired even a rifle in his life; but, in the hour of peril, fighting seemed to come to him, as to most of his countrymen, by inspiration. This gun he rammed almost to the muzzle with nails, spikes, and similar charge, and then, steadily waiting his opportunity, as the privateer bore down upon them with all her crew on deck, apparently expecting to see the Venetians strike their flag, he sent the contents in amongst them with such murderous effect, that, after a moment or two of consternation, the corsairs hoisted sail, and made off at their best speed."—(P. 356.)

[12] It is mentioned by both the chroniclers, Hemingford, (i. 196) and Trivet, (332,) that Edward the First built "a strength" or fort "at Linlitcu" in 1301, and there enjoyed the festivities of Christmas. Lord Hailes inaccurately states that he wintered there; for, by dates since collected from writs, Chalmers has proved that, although Edward was still at Linlithgow on the 12th January, he was, on his way home, at Roxburgh on 12th February, and had reached Morpeth by the 24th.

This fort, or castle, was probably the same that was, a few years afterwards, taken by the stratagem of the patriotic yeoman, Binnock, in concealing some of his followers in a waggon of hay; and who was rewarded by King Robert with an estate, which his posterity long afterwards enjoyed.

[13] Dalmeny Church is unquestionably of very great antiquity. From the style of its architecture, which a most competent authority, Mr Billings, ("Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities," vol. i.) has pronounced to be of the purest Norman, it is referred, at least, to the tenth or eleventh centuries. There is extant a charter of Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar, from 1166 to 1182, witnessed by the parson of Dumanie.

[14] On these banks a castle was afterwards erected by the Earls of Wintoun, the picturesque ruins of which are yet a prominent object, by the edge of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, to the west of Kirkliston. Queen Mary is said to have slept there, on her flight from Lochleven to Hamilton, 2d May 1568.

[15] The name has for centuries been vulgarised into Craigmillar. Adam de Cardonnel, in his "Picturesque Antiquities," adheres to the spelling in the text; although it is generally now admitted that the appellation is Gaelic—Craig-moil-ard, or the high bare rock running out into a plain. The original structure is of unknown antiquity.

[16] Woolmet, or Wymet, and Inneresc, were granted by charter of David the First to the Abbey of Dunfermline; the latter in confirmation of a previous grant by Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret, ("Registrum de Dunfermlyn," Imp. Edin. 1842, p. 5, 6.) A small mausoleum of the Wauchope family now occupies the site of the chapel of Wymet; and the venerable pile of St Michael the Archangel, at Inneresc, was ruthlessly demolished in 1804. The house in which the great Randolph died, which was about half a mile distant, was also hewn down, about ten years afterwards, to make way for a shabby masonic lodge.

[17] The family of Cospatrick, a powerful Northumbrian nobleman, took refuge in Scotland after the death of Harold at Hastings, and in 1072 had extensive lands in the Merse and Lothian gifted them by Malcolm Canmore. They continued to be one of the most opulent and powerful houses in the east of Scotland for a considerable period, as evidenced by their donations, noted in the chartularies of Coldingham, Newbottle, Dryburgh, Kelso, Melrose, and Soltra. Founded on a steep rugged rock, within sea-mark, and communicating with the land through a covered passage, the castle of Dunbar might well, before the invention of gunpowder, have been deemed impregnable. It was often the theatre of warlike contention, and two great battles were fought in its immediate neighbourhood,—the first in 1296, when Earl Warenne defeated the army of Scotland sent for its relief; and the second in 1650, when Leslie was overthrown by Cromwell. It was often besieged, and as often bravely defended; but perhaps never so brilliantly as by Black Agnes against the Earl of Salisbury in 1337.

[18] This venerable memorial, which gives the name of "Queen's Cross" to the neighbouring locality in Northamptonshire, is a beautiful specimen of architecture, although much defaced by time, and the efforts of renovators.

The "trellised" vest, mentioned in stanza XXIV., was a species of armour, so called by contemporary Norman writers; and consisted of a cloth coat, reaching only to the haunches. This was intersected by broad straps of leather, so laid on as to cross each other, and leave small intervening squares of cloth, in the middle of which was a knob of steel. (Vide Meyrick's Ancient Armour, vol. i. p. 11.)

[19] Sc.—The South African and South American Campanero, or bell-bird, whose peculiar note may be heard two or three miles off, chiefly in the loneliest parts of the Brazilian or Benguela forests.

[20] Anglicè, eating.

[21] It will be seen, by referring to the statement in question, that Mr Stephens' calculation is more favourable to the tenant than the other. According to him, the excess of produce over expenditure would be £931. The county Down farmer estimates it at £888.

[22] Since the above statement was drawn up and submitted by us to the consideration of various farmers throughout the country, Mr Dudgeon has requested us to state, that after consultation with several of these gentlemen in his own neighbourhood, (who, he was gratified to find, entirely concurred in the essential particulars of the statement,) he is of opinion that he had deducted rather too small a quantity of oats and barley for seed, according to the average usual in the district. Any alteration which this involves would be a deduction from the tenant's original profit, and an addition to the amount of loss already brought out.

Mr Dudgeon also says—"I omit at present adding to this deficit the depreciation which it may be further estimated will result permanently from the open trade in live stock and cured provisions. But it may be stated that the recent depression in the value of stock from that of late seasons, amounting to at least 15 per cent, shows a farther present loss on the calculated profits of this farm to the extent of £112, 10s."

[23] The statistics of Mid-Lothian appear in another page. They are attested by several of the first farmers in the county.

Transcriber's note:

The transcriber has inserted missing anchors for the following:


Footnote 9: HOWARD.[9]

Footnote 17: Cospatrick's stronghold of Dunbar[17]

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as printed.

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where the missing quote should be placed.