The Project Gutenberg eBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 93, No. 570, April, 1863

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 93, No. 570, April, 1863

Author: Various

Release date: April 7, 2024 [eBook #73347]

Language: English

Credits: Richard Tonsing, Jonathan Ingram, Brendan OConnor, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


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New original cover art included with this eBook is granted to the public domain.

No. DLXX.      APRIL 1863.      Vol. XCIII.


Sensation Diplomacy in Japan, 397
Mrs Clifford’s Marriage—Part II., 414
Sir James Graham, 436
The Inexhaustible Capital, 457
Caxtoniana—Part XV., 471
  No. XX.—On Self-Control.  
  No. XXI.—The Modern Misanthrope.  
Spedding’s Life of Bacon, 480
The Yeang-tai Mountains, and Spirit-Writing in China, 499
Marriage Bells, 521
To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.
No. DLXX.      APRIL 1863.      Vol. XCIII.


1. ‘The Capital of the Tycoon.’ By Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B. London: Longmans.

It is one of the most singular features of our institutions that, when our diplomatic relations with remote and semi-barbarous countries become so involved that even the Government is at a loss to know what course to pursue, the public take up the question in a confident off-hand way; and though, by the force of circumstances, deprived of the information possessed by the Foreign Office, they do not hesitate either to denounce or to approve the policy recommended by those who have studied the subject on the spot, and who alone can be competent to form an opinion on the matter. It is true that papers are occasionally laid before Parliament, but what proportion of those who hold such decided views have read them? In the case of the Arrow, when people voted for peace or war with China, how many members of Parliament had informed themselves on the merits of the question? and what did their constituents know about it? Yet so it is; the ultimate decision upon all important and complicated questions of foreign policy necessarily rests with the most ill-informed class. If they generally decide wrong, we must console ourselves by the consideration that even free institutions have their drawbacks, but in compensation have made us so rich and powerful, that we can always scramble out of any scrape they may get us into. In countries despotically governed, the merits of a secret diplomacy are inestimable; but where the Government is responsible, though it would be difficult to substitute an open system, secret diplomacy is attended with grave inconveniences, for it becomes impossible to furnish that public who sit, as it were, in appeal, with the whole facts of the case upon which they are called to decide. It is then clearly the interest of the Foreign Office to encourage the dissemination of accurate political information in a popular form, when the publication of it does not involve a breach of confidence; and inasmuch as Blue-Books are not generally considered light or agreeable reading, and are somewhat inaccessible, the diplomatist who has a political story to tell, and can do it without betraying State secrets, is a public benefactor. In these days of official responsibility, it is not only due to the public but to himself that he should have an opportunity of stating his case. It may happen that his conduct will be brought publicly in question and decided upon before he has an opportunity of laying before the world all the facts. Great injustice is frequently done to officials serving in distant parts of the world, who even at last are unable to remove the erroneous impressions formed upon incorrect or insufficient information. This has been specially the case in China and the East: a policy based upon an acquaintance with the local conditions as intimate as it was possible for a foreigner to obtain, has been upset by a majority of ignorant legislators, who too often receive their impressions from superficial travellers, or residents with special interests at stake. It is clear that the opinion of a merchant is not so likely to be right in diplomatic questions as that of a trained official, who has passed half his life in studying the language, institutions, and people of the country to which he has been accredited; yet when it comes to be a question between the mercantile community and the minister, the latter is in danger of going to the wall.

While, on the one hand, the traditions of the Foreign Office are opposed to what may be termed diplomatic literature—and they dole out their own information with a somewhat niggard hand—the British community resident in the East, hampered by no such restraints, and aided by a scurrilous press, may prejudice the public mind at home to such an extent that no subsequent defence is of much avail. We cannot wonder then, if, after five-and-twenty years’ experience of China and Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock should take the opportunity of giving a full, true, and particular statement of the political difficulties by which he is surrounded, in anticipation of a crisis which he sees impending, which no diplomacy will be able to avert, but in which he will on his return probably find himself involved.

“By whatever measures,” he remarks, “of a coercive nature, we might seek to attain this object” (the execution of the Treaty in all its stipulations), “it should be clearly seen that there is war in the background, more or less near, but tolerably certain sooner or later to come. During the last two years, whatever a conciliatory spirit could suggest, with temper, patience, and forbearance in all things, had been tried. Diplomacy had wellnigh exhausted its resources to induce the Japanese Government to take a different view of its interests, and to act in accordance with the spirit of the treaties entered into. Little more remained to be tried in this direction, nor could much hope be entertained that better success would follow a longer persistence in the same course.”

The nature of our political relations with Japan is such, that a history of three years’ diplomacy in that country is not attended with the inconveniences which would be incidental to a similar narrative from a European court. Our relations with other friendly nations are in no way involved, and there can be no objection to such a work as that now before us, even in a red-tape point of view. Still, we are not aware of a work of this kind, from the pen of a minister actually at his post, ever having appeared; and although our author gives us a most detailed and graphic account of the moral and social state of Japan, it is the record of his diplomatic relations with the Government of the Tycoon that we regard as being at once the most novel and interesting feature of his book.

“I should probably have hesitated,” says Sir Rutherford in his preface, “had it not seemed important to furnish materials for a right judgment in matters of national concern connected with Japan, and our relations there, while it might yet be time to avert, by the intelligent appreciation of our true situation, grievous disappointment, as well as increased complications and calamities. A free expression of opinion in matters of public interest is not to be lightly adventured upon, however, and in many cases those holding office are altogether precluded from such action. At the same time, much mischief is often done by undue reticence in matters which must, in a country like ours, be the subject of public discussion. It so happened that I was relieved from any difficulty on this head by the publication in extenso of the greater number of my despatches, which were printed and laid before Parliament. And not only was the necessity for silence obviated by such publication in this country, but a similar course was followed at Washington in respect of the despatches of my colleague, the American Minister, during the same period. As in each of these series there is a very unreserved expression of opinion as to the political situation of the country, the action of the Japanese authorities, the views entertained by colleagues, and the conduct of the foreign communities, the decision of the respective Governments of both countries to make the despatches public, and this so freely as to leave little of a confidential character unprinted, effectually removed all the impediments which might otherwise have existed.”

The general reader must not suppose, however, that because politics engage a large share of the work before us, he will, on that account, find it dull. Japan is probably the only country in the world in which diplomacy becomes a pursuit of thrilling excitement. Sometimes it leads to some curious discovery, and reveals to us some part of the political machinery in the government of the country heretofore unsuspected and unknown. Sometimes it furnishes amusing illustrations of the Japanese mode of diplomatic fencing; at others, it involves a frightful tragedy or a quaint official ceremony. Without these details to illustrate each phase through which our political relations have passed, we should never have been able to realise the difficulties with which our officials in those remote regions have to contend, or the nature of the opposition persistently offered by the Japanese Government.

The task of permanently installing for the first time a legation in a city of upwards of two millions of people having been safely accomplished, Mr Alcock entered upon his first diplomatic struggle, the point of which was merely to fix a day for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of Lord Elgin’s Treaty. The discussion preliminary to this formality occupied no less than seven days. At last the details are arranged, and it is decided that the Treaty is to be carried in procession through the city, under a canopy ornamented with flags and evergreens, surrounded by a guard of marines, and followed by fifty blue-jackets; Captain Hand, with a large number of his officers in uniform and on horseback, following immediately after the four petty officers carrying the Treaty. We can well imagine the effect which so novel a procession was likely to produce upon the inhabitants of Yedo. When the formalities were accomplished, “signals, arranged by the Japanese in advance (by fans from street to street) conveyed the news to the Sampson with telegraphic speed in a minute and a half, a distance of six miles.” So our Minister hoists his flag, and settles himself down in solitary grandeur, to pass his life of exile in solving the difficult problem of reconciling the civilisation he represents with that which surrounds him, but which the jealousy of the Government will not permit him to investigate. This does not, however, prevent our author from entering upon lengthy and interesting philosophical disquisitions upon the many moral, social, and political questions which must, under such circumstances, present themselves to a thoughtful mind. He has not been six weeks so employed when he is suddenly roused from his speculations by a tragical event which occurs at Yokuhama. As this is the first of a series of exciting incidents, we will give our readers an epitome of those which occurred during three years, and the particulars of which are detailed at length in various parts of the book:—

“A Russian officer, with a sailor and a steward, were suddenly set upon in the principal street by some armed Japanese, and hewn down with the most ghastly wounds that could be inflicted. The sailor was cleft through his skull to the nostrils—half the scalp sliced down, and one arm nearly severed from the shoulder through the joint. The officer was equally mangled, his lungs protruding from a sabre-gash across the body; the thighs and legs deeply gashed.”

In the succeeding tragedies the wounds are invariably of the above savage nature, but we will not always inflict upon our readers a full description of the horrible details.

Two months after this the servant of the French Consul is cut to pieces in the street—cause unknown. By way of varying the excitement, the Tycoon’s palace is burnt down about the same time, and the Japanese Ministers propose to stop all business in consequence. This is of course not considered a legitimate way of evading disagreeable questions. Diplomatic difficulties continue to be discussed, and the greater part of the settlement of Yokuhama is burnt down:—

“While yet occupied by these events, we were startled by another of more immediate and personal import. It was near midnight; Mr Eusden, the Japanese secretary, was standing by my side, when the longest and most violent shock of an earthquake yet experienced since our arrival brought every one to his feet with a sudden impulse to fly from under the shaking roof. It began at first very gently, but rapidly increased in the violence of the vibrations until the earth seemed to rock under our feet, and to be heaved up by some mighty explosive powder in the caldrons beneath.”

The nerves of our author scarcely recover from the shock of the earthquake when they receive another of a different description. A hasty step is heard outside his room, and “Captain Marten, of H.M.S. Roebuck, threw back the sliding-panel. ‘Come quickly; your linguist is being carried in badly wounded.’ My heart misgave me that his death-knell had struck.” Of course it had; they seldom miss their stroke in Japan. “The point” (of the sword) “had entered at his back and came out above the right breast; and, thus buried in his body, the assassin left it, and disappeared as stealthily as he came.” While discussing this matter, in dashes the whole French Legation—the French Consul-General at the head: “‘Nous voici! nous venons vous demander de l’hospitalité—l’incendie nous a atteint.’ Then follows Monsieur l’Abbé in a dressing-gown—a glass thermometer in one hand, and a breviary in the other; then the Chancellor in slippers, with a revolver and a bonnet de nuit.” What with an assassination in one Legation and a fire in another on the same night, our diplomatists have their hands full. Our author, however, seems to have passed a few nights in comparative tranquillity after this, before he is again roused at four o’clock in the morning by the arrival of an express from Kanagawa with the news that about eight o’clock in the evening two Dutch captains had been slain in the main street of Yokuhama—“a repetition, in all its leading circumstances and unprovoked barbarity, of the assassination perpetrated on the Russians.” After this, beyond a few bad earthquakes, nothing happens for a month or so, “when, on my return from a visit to Kanagawa, the first news that greeted me as I entered the Legation was of so startling and incredible a character that I hesitated to believe what was told me. The Gotairo or Regent was said to have been assassinated in broad daylight on his way to the palace, and this, too, in the very midst of a large retinue of his retainers!” The account, which our author gives at length, of this occurrence, and of the causes which led to it, is most characteristic: we have only space for the result:—

“Eight of the assailants were unaccounted for when all was over, and many of the retinue were stretched on the ground, wounded and dying, by the side of those who had made the murderous onslaught. The remnant of the Regent’s people, released from their deadly struggle, turned to the norimon to see how it had fared with their master in the brief interval, to find only a headless trunk: the bleeding trophy carried away was supposed to have been the head of the Gotairo himself, hacked off on the spot. But, strangest of all these startling incidents, it is further related that two heads were found missing, and that which was in the fugitive’s hand was only a lure to the pursuing party, while the true trophy had been secreted on the person of another, and was thus successfully carried off, though the decoy paid the penalty of his life.”

The head of the Regent is said to have been got safely out of Yedo, and presented to the Prince, who was his enemy, and who spat upon it with maledictions. It was reported afterwards to have been exposed in the public execution-ground of the spiritual capital, with a placard over it, on which was the following inscription: “This is the head of a traitor, who has violated the most sacred laws of Japan—those which forbid the admission of foreigners into the country.” After this, with the exception of a “murderous onslaught made by a drunken Yaconin on an English merchant at Hakodadi,” there is another lull, varied only by putting the Legations in a state of defence. They “were filled with Japanese troops, field-pieces were placed in the courtyards of the several Legations, and the ministers were urgently requested to abstain from going outside!” A month passes, and life is absolutely becoming monotonous, from the absence of the usual stimulant in the shape either of a fire, a murder, or a good earthquake, when there suddenly appeared, “as we were sitting down to dinner one evening, the Abbé Gérard, pale and agitated, bringing with him, in a norimon, M. de Bellecourt’s Italian servant, who had been attacked, while quietly standing at the gate of the French Legation, by two Samourai (daimios’ retainers) passing at the moment, and by one of whom he had been severely wounded.”

A strong digestion must be essential to the comfort of the diplomatist in Japan, for “next month, a few minutes before the dinner-hour, there was a rushing and scuffling of many feet along the passages, the noise of which reached me in my dressing-room, at the extremity of the building, and presently, high above all, came the ominous cry of ‘Cadjee!’ (fire).” The Legation was nearly burnt to the ground, but the Japanese servants behaved well, and ultimately succeeded in extinguishing the flames. We will not recount, in our list of excitements, all the escapes from murderous Yaconins and disagreeable rencontres which are recorded, though they would satisfy any moderate craving for “sensations;” and passing rapidly by, as not worthy of notice, the case of an Englishman who shot a Japanese (and for having punished whom Mr Alcock was afterwards fined at Hong-Kong), come at once to the night of the 14th of January, “when, about ten o’clock, I received a brief note from Mr Harris, asking me to send surgical aid to Mr Heuskin, who had been brought in wounded.”

Mr Heuskin was the secretary of the American Legation—a man universally liked, and a most able public servant. He had received a frightful gash across the abdomen, which proved fatal, besides other thrusts and cuts of less moment. His funeral was attended by all the members of the different Legations, at the risk, however, of their lives. About this time, says our author, “an event occurred calculated to give greater significance to the numerous sinister rumours afloat. Hori Oribeno Kami, the most intelligent, experienced, and respected of the governors of foreign affairs—the one best versed in European business, and the most reasonable and conciliatory of his class—disappeared from the scene.” In other words, he had ripped himself up. The writer of this article, who had formerly been well acquainted with this minister, happening to arrive in Japan shortly after his death, received from the Dutch Consul the following account of the event:—That gentleman had called on Hori Oribeno Kami one day, had found him in rather low spirits, and, on inquiring the cause, was informed by the fated minister that he was about to put an end to himself on the following day; that he had already issued his invitation-cards for the banquet at which the ceremony was to take place; and, further, expressed his regret that the custom of the country limited the invitation to his relations and most intimate friends, and that he was thus deprived of the pleasure of requesting the company of his visitor to partake of the meal which was destined to terminate in so tragic a manner.

The foreign Legations after this come to the conclusion that life at Yedo is attended by too many anxieties, and retire to Yokuhama till the Government should promise to make things safer and more comfortable. This they ultimately pledge themselves to do. Our author has occasion shortly after to make a long overland journey through the country, and on the night of his return to Yedo the Legation is attacked by a band of assassins, who severely wound Messrs Oliphant and Morrison, and very nearly murder everybody. Some idea of the nature of that midnight struggle may be formed from the following list of persons killed and wounded in the passages and garden of the Legation:—

One of the Tycoon’s body-guard, and one groom, 2
Two of the assailants, 2
Severely wounded.
Tycoon’s soldier, 1
Daimio’s soldier, 1
Porters (one died same day), 2
Assailant (captured—committed suicide), 1
Member of Legation, 1
Servants of Legation, 2
Slightly wounded.
Tycoon’s guard, 7
Daimio’s guard, 2
Priest in temple adjoining, 1
Member of Legation, 1
Total killed and wounded on the spot, 23

With reference to the fate of these assailants, the following extract from a letter from Mr Alcock to Earl Russell appears in the papers just laid before Parliament:—

“The Ministers have since informed me that three more of the assailants on the night of the 5th July have been arrested in Prince Mito’s territories, and will be proceeded against; also that the only survivor in the recent attack on the Foreign Minister has confessed that some of the party were men engaged in the attack on the Legation. If so—and only fourteen were actually engaged (which has always seemed to me doubtful)—they will have pretty well accounted for the whole number: Three having been killed on the spot; three taken prisoners and since executed; two committed suicide; three more lately arrested; three supposed to have been killed in the recent attack on the Foreign Minister. Total, fourteen.”

The following paper found on the body of one of the assailants gives the reasons of the band for making the attempt:—

“I, though I am a person of low standing, have not patience to stand by and see the sacred empire defiled by the foreigner. This time I have determined in my heart to undertake to follow out my master’s will. Though, being altogether humble myself, I cannot make the might of the country to shine in foreign nations, yet with a little faith, and a little warrior’s power, I wish in my heart separately (by myself), though I am a person of low degree, to bestow upon my country one out of a great many benefits. If this thing from time to time may cause the foreigner to retire, and partly tranquillise both the minds of the Mikado and the Tycoon (or the manes of departed Mikados and Tycoons), I shall take to myself the highest praise. Regardless of my own life, I am determined to set out.”

[Here follow the fourteen signatures.]

It must be admitted that the Lonins, as the bravos are called, choose their victims with great impartiality as to rank and nationality; they murder servants and ministers, both Japanese and foreign, as the fancy seizes them. A few days after the massacre at the Legation, two of the Japanese Ministers were attacked, but their retinue beat off their assailants: after this nothing particular happened for some time, except that the Governor of Yedo had to rip himself up “for having offended by intruding his opinion at a grand council of the daimios (he not being a daimio).” Meantime the Government offer to build a fortified Legation, and Sir Rutherford moves his habitation temporarily down to Yokuhama: the hostile class seem more determined than ever to carry their point, as we may gather from the following letter left by four of his retainers at the house of their master, the Prince of Mito, whose service they leave to become outlaws:—

“We become lonins now, since the foreigner gains more and more influence in the country, unable to see the ancient law of Gongen Sama violated. We become all four lonins, with the intention of compelling the foreigners to depart.”

[Here follow the four signatures.]

Shortly after this, Sir Rutherford, who has been dining down at Yokuhama with M. de Bellecourt, receives the news at ten o’clock at night, that Ando Tsusimano Kami, the second Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the one supposed to be most favourable to the maintenance of foreign relations, had been attacked as he was on his way to the palace.

“Ando, it appears, instantly divined that he was to be attacked, and, throwing himself out of the norimon, drew his sword to defend himself. It was well he lost no time, for already his people were being cut down by the desperate band of assassins. The next instant he received a sabre-cut across the face and a spear-thrust in the side that had wellnigh proved fatal. As in the previous case of the Regent, the life-and-death struggle was brief as it was bloody. In a few seconds seven of the assailants lay stretched, wounded or dead, on the ground, and only one (the eighth) escaped.”

The Minister himself, after lingering for some time between life and death, finally recovered. While our author is listening to these details there is an alarm of fire, and he spends the rest of the night in putting it out.

“It lasted several hours, and a large block of houses was destroyed. The danger of its spreading over the whole settlement was at one time very great; and that which made the event more serious was the fact of some men dressed like the Japanese police having been discovered by Lieutenant Aplin at the commencement actively engaged in spreading the fire to an adjoining house.”

This is about the last of our author’s list of sensations; but in order to complete the thrilling category we will take a leaf or two out of the Blue-Book of his successor, Colonel Neale, who is appointed to the charge of the Legation during Sir Rutherford’s absence. No sooner does he arrive there than he proceeds to test the charms of a residence at Yedo. A few days after his arrival he writes as follows to his French colleague, whose three years’ experience has taught him not to move out of Yokuhama unnecessarily:—

Sir,—It is with deep regret I have to acquaint you that this Legation has passed through the ordeal of another murderous assault on the part of Japanese assassins. About midnight last night, the sentry at my bedroom door was suddenly attacked and desperately wounded, his life being despaired of. The corporal going his rounds at the same moment was murderously assailed a short distance off; but he managed to reach my door, and there he fell and died. His body was conveyed into the room in which we were assembled, and was found to have received no less than sixteen desperate sword and lance wounds. The wounded sentry was also on the floor of the room, dying fast from nine wounds. This man, by name Charles Sweet, died the following morning.”

After this, Colonel Neale thinks Yedo disagreeable as a permanent residence, and retires to Yokuhama; but, to judge by a letter he writes to Lord Russell a month afterwards, he does not seem to have improved his position:—

My Lord,—It becomes my painful duty once more to lay before your Lordship the details of the barbarous murder of another British subject, Mr C. L. Richardson, a merchant residing at Yokuhama, and the desperate wounding of two other merchants, Mr W. Marshall and Mr W. C. Clarke, both of Yokuhama; the latter gentleman is likely to lose his arm. Mr Richardson, nearly cut to pieces, fell from his horse; and while lying in a dying state, one of the high officials of the cortege, borne in a chair, is stated to have told his followers to cut the throat of the unfortunate gentleman. The lady (Mrs Borradaile), though cut at herself, miraculously escaped unwounded; never drawing rein, and in an exhausted and fainting state, she reached Yokuhama. The body of Mr Richardson was afterwards found, and brought here for interment.”

And so for the present ends the bloody story: we have condensed it as much as possible, both for the reader’s sake and our own; but, considering the important interests we have at stake in Japan, we have felt it our duty to do all in our power to induce people to read the work before us. After they have gratified that morbid craving for excitement which seems to be the literary taste of the day, they may perhaps be induced seriously to think what is to be done under the circumstances. We have not recounted the efforts which our diplomatic agents in Japan have made to obtain redress, nor the success which has attended those efforts. They are to be found detailed at some length in the work before us. If the reader will take the trouble carefully to read Sir Rutherford’s account of the administrative system of Japan, and more especially of the feudal nobility, of the influence they exercise, and the material forces they control, he will perhaps be able to form some idea for himself of the best course to be pursued. If he makes up his mind—as he probably has done—on what he has read in this article, he will come to a totally wrong conclusion. We did not give him a list of horrors in order that he might get up and say dogmatically, “Oh, it’s clear the Japanese don’t want us, and we ought never to have gone there; and the best thing we can do now is to take ourselves off.” We have only recited these horrors to lure the superficial politician into the perusal of a work, the dry parts of which are the most important. He will learn in it under what circumstances we went to Japan in the first instance—how it happened that a treaty was as much forced upon us by circumstances as upon the Japanese—how we never compelled them to make one, as is generally supposed. He will also find how popular the foreigner is among the lower and middle classes of the Japanese, how great is the aptitude of the mass of the population for trade, how readily they enter into commercial pursuits, and how quickly they adopt the appliances and inventions of a more advanced and enlightened civilisation than their own—how anxious they are to improve both their intellectual and material condition. Then, if he looks at the chapter on trade, with the statistics it contains, he will observe how steady is its development, in spite of the obstructive policy of the Government, and how much room there still is for expansion, what vast resources still undeveloped the country possesses, what room for progress in every branch of art and industry. He will find nowhere that the Government deny our right to be in Japan, or even profess anything but the most anxious desire to see the Treaty carried out in all its fulness, whatever they may secretly feel on the subject. They constantly allude to the difficulties they have to contend with from that one dangerous class who are opposed to the foreigner, and who, though not numerous, are so powerful as to be dangerous opponents. Every restriction placed on trade by the Government, it is professed, arises only from a desire to gain time for the conciliation of this class; and we have so far given the ministers of the Tycoon credit for good faith, that we have consented to postpone the opening of some of the ports as stipulated by treaty. Inasmuch, then, as the Japanese Government voluntarily entered into treaty-relations with this country; inasmuch as they profess themselves anxious to see it carried out, and conscious of the benefit it is likely to confer upon the empire; inasmuch as the great mass of the population is decidedly in favour of an extended commercial intercourse with foreigners; inasmuch as the present value of the annual trade with Japan is upwards of a million sterling, and certain to increase; inasmuch as a wealthy British community, consisting of upwards of three hundred persons, have already established themselves in the country, and possess a great deal of valuable property, in the shape of buildings, warehouses, and all the appliances of trade, besides having large sums of money at stake, which they have invested on the faith of a Treaty signed by their own sovereign, and the abandonment of which would be a breach of faith, and entitle them to compensation; inasmuch, moreover, as the whole of our commercial interests in China would be imperilled by a blow so fatal to our prestige throughout the East as withdrawal from Japan;—for all these reasons, we say, the conclusion so rapidly arrived at by our “dear reader” may be, after all, erroneous; and there may be serious objections to the course he would propose, even granting that theoretically he is right in his premises, and that it would have been better had we never found ourselves driven by the Americans into making a Japanese treaty. It is possible, nay probable, however, that we have failed to convince him, and that, gifted with a prophetic eye, he replies to us—“Very well, you will see you will have a row.” We confess that in this instance he is right. We do not see how that is to be avoided. We think it will turn out a good investment of money, and not be immoral, but we admit the fact.

Indeed, the Japanese themselves seem preparing for it, as the following anecdote, narrated by Sir Rutherford, will show:—

“When I paid a visit to Hakodadi some months after my arrival, where there are extensive lead-mines, I asked the Governor why his Government did not allow some of the produce to be exported, suggesting that it might be a source of national wealth and revenue; and the reply was characteristic in many ways. ‘We have none to spare.’ ‘None to spare!’ I rejoined, in surprise; ‘what can you use it for? You neither employ it in building nor utensils.’ ‘We want it all for ball-practice.’ They did not choose to export, for reasons not very easily explained; but they were not sorry, perhaps, to point to such a use for home consumption.”

We cannot flatter ourselves that the feudal class will submit tamely to the inconveniences which the extension of commercial relations with foreign countries may entail upon them. The monopolies they now enjoy are threatened, their power and influence will be diminished in proportion as the mass of the population is enriched, and their prestige damaged by the independent bearing of the foreigner. Are the interests of the country at large to be sacrificed to the prejudices of this class, and are a people desirous of trade, and anxious to advance in the arts of civilisation, to be abandoned because an aristocracy shrinks from contact with the stranger? So long as the Government, whether sincerely or not, profess their intention of carrying out the Treaty, and ostensibly manifest a desire for our presence in the country, the hostility of a single class can be no sufficient reason for the relinquishment of our treaty-rights. The question is how best to meet a hostility which places the lives of our countrymen in danger, and against which, as it threatens the members of the Japanese Government as well as ourselves, they cannot guarantee us. Hitherto one great difficulty in chalking out a policy has been our ignorance of the complex machinery of Japanese government. We have never had an accurate idea of the relations in which the Temporal and Spiritual Emperors, the daimios, and the great Councils of State stand towards each other. The work before us throws more light on this most interesting point than we have yet received, but still we are groping for a policy. The excessive reticence of the Japanese in all matters connected with their system of internal administration, and the secrecy they so religiously observe in all their communications with foreigners, combined with their habitual mendacity, make it impossible for us to do more than guess at the best way of meeting the difficulties as they arise. The longer the diplomatist resides in the country, and the more he studies its institutions and the character of the people with whom he has to deal, the more is he puzzled in deciding upon the best course to adopt. The only persons who feel no difficulty on this score are the merchants’ clerks who have just arrived, and who love to propound their views in the local newspapers. There are those even in this country who profess to understand how to deal with “Orientals,” and because, perhaps, they may have been at Bombay, consider themselves qualified to lay down the law upon any question of policy which may arise between Cairo and the Sandwich Islands; but it is only the superficial observer who classes all Orientals in the same category; they require as many different modes of treatment as “Westerns,” and there is no more resemblance between a Japanese and a Tamul than there is between a Wallachian and a New-Englander. There is a great danger of such persons applying some general principle, which is right in the main, to all cases, and failing to discover when the rule demands an exception. For instance, it is pretty generally admitted that any concession to an Oriental government is considered as a sign of weakness; therefore, although you may have burnt down the Summer Palace of the Emperor of China, and had Pekin at the mercy of your armies, bully the Government of that country into conceding our exorbitant demands, or they will think you weak. Such is the logic of a recent memorial signed by the mercantile community of China. Again, in Japan, when the Tycoon signed a treaty with this country, his ministers, foreseeing the difficulties with which they would have to contend from the opposition of the aristocracy, stipulated that the ports should be opened by degrees, and the commencement of trade thus assumed the form of a political experiment. We have given a list of the bloody results: the Japanese Government points to it, and prays that a postponement for five years may be allowed in the opening of the other ports, to avoid the multiplication of tragedies by the number of ports. The sum appears a simple one: if you have twelve murders a year with three ports open, how many will you have with six? The mercantile community demand that the other three be opened according to Treaty; any concession will be considered a sign of weakness. They may be right in this instance; and as our diplomatic relations with Japan are certain not to run smoothly, it will be always open to them to say there would have been no difficulty had we refused the concession. However that may be, our Government have given the Japanese credit for a certain amount of good faith in the efforts they have made for our protection, and are willing to try the effect of time in softening the asperities of the hostile class.

The most remarkable result which has yet been produced by the introduction of the foreigner into Japan has been the abandonment of Yedo by the aristocracy. It is impossible as yet to foresee the consequences of this movement. The immediate effect of the exodus of more than 200,000 armed men will be to render the capital a safer place of residence for foreigners than it has been heretofore, although it is probable that disbanded retainers, or “lonins” as they are called, may still haunt the purlieus of the Legation with the view of carrying out the policy of their lords in exterminating the foreigner. The Japanese Government has built a fortified Legation on a very defensible position: this will be surrounded by a moat and wall, and garrisoned by a small body of European soldiers. Except when the members of the Mission ride out, they will be comparatively safe, and even then they will be in no danger of meeting those processions which were constantly parading the streets when the city was inhabited by the feudal class, and each of which was composed of hundreds of armed retainers bitterly hostile to the foreigner. The ultimate consequences of this movement it is impossible to foresee. It may be that the daimios have determined to withdraw from any active opposition, and have retired to sulk in their own territories; or they may have left Yedo for the purpose of organising themselves, with the view of bringing about a civil war, and expelling the foreigner by force of arms. The movement may have originated among themselves, and been carried out in defiance of the Government; or it may have been suggested by the Government as a means of relieving them from the danger and annoyance of further collisions with the foreigner. The residence of the daimios at Yedo was made compulsory upon them by the celebrated Taiko Sama, who, after he had reduced the rebellious aristocracy to submission, devised this method of keeping them under surveillance. Every noble was compelled to keep an establishment at the capital, partly as a recognition of the Tycoon as his feudal superior, partly because those members of his family who were obliged to reside there served as hostages for the good behaviour of the prince. It may easily be imagined that this bondage was irksome to so proud a class, and the present Government may have released them from it, on condition of their withdrawing their opposition to the fulfilment of the treaties with foreign powers. It will be seen from the notice we have already quoted, and which was signed by four lonins, that an old law exists, which has never been repealed, prohibiting the residence of the foreigner in Japan; this forms the groundwork of the opposition policy, and it is believed that the Spiritual Emperor has expressed his dissent from the act of its infringement by the Tycoon.

Practically, then, it would seem that political parties in the empire are divided into two classes—one consisting of the Mikado and a large section of the aristocracy, who do not consider themselves bound by treaty-stipulations with foreigners; the other, consisting of the Tycoon and his government, who do; and this latter party, we may conclude, has the sympathy and support of the mass of the population. As, however, the Temporal Government has proved itself too weak to cope with the opposition headed by the Mikado, the question is, how we can best guarantee the safety of our countrymen, and extort that redress which the Government is powerless to enforce in cases of violent outrage. Diplomacy is powerless, for it cannot reach the offenders; and we are thus driven into hostile action. Either we must insist upon the Mikado ratifying the Treaty, and be prepared to employ force in case of his refusing to do so; or we must take summary vengeance upon any individual daimio who offends. The objection to the first course is, that an application to the Mikado for a ratification of the Treaty would imply that it had not been made with the right person in the first instance, and therefore was not valid. We should thus place ourselves in a false position, for which there is no necessity, as the Tycoon’s Government maintain the validity of the Treaty, and deny that any ratification on the part of the Mikado is requisite. On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the recognition of the Treaty by the Mikado would at once put an end to the opposition of the nobles. In the event, moreover, of the Mikado declining to ratify, we should be compelled to use force. And although, as Miako, the residence of the Spiritual Court, is not above thirty miles from the sea, and may be approached for part of the way by a river navigable for gunboats, we could no doubt succeed in any operations we might undertake, we might possibly excite a feeling of hostility towards us, which would not be confined to the feudal class.

The chief objection to the second course—that of proceeding against the daimios separately—would be that, if it did not lead to a civil war, the effect of any such retaliation would be a partial and temporary measure. The first course we have suggested is not alluded to by Sir Rutherford, and as the exodus of the daimios had not taken place at the time of the publication of his work, we have not the advantage of knowing our author’s views upon the probable bearing of this important event upon the politics of Japan. After discussing the difficulties attending a policy of conciliation pushed beyond certain limits, and the objections to the alternative of withdrawal, our author goes on to say:—

“The conclusion would seem to be, that if there was to be any amelioration, foreign powers must change their tactics; and if these involved a struggle, and the nation were passive, the feudal classes alone being actively engaged in such a contest (and this is what might always be expected from all that is known of the country, always assuming that no revolutionary element came into play), the struggle could hardly be a long one. For, some of the most hostile princes struck down, the rest would probably see the necessity of coming to terms, and suing for peace with a better estimate of our power to make our treaty-rights respected, and compel observance, than has yet entered into the conception of Japanese rulers. So, possibly, we might purchase peace, and trade with freedom from all obstructive limitations, as well as with security to life and property. But by no other means that suggest themselves, after long and patient study of the people and their rulers, does this end seem attainable—if once we break with the daimios, and the Government which masks them—to enter upon a course of coercion.”

Such being our author’s views, it is possible that the measures here indicated may be those ultimately adopted; but where the question is surrounded by so many difficulties, any policy must be more or less hazardous. It will be always easy to wait for the result, and then find fault with it; but we think that the considerations we have advanced are sufficiently complicated to disarm hostile criticism, and that we have no right to test the experiments which our political agents are forced to make in Japan by the traditions of diplomacy in other parts of the world.

If we have entered at some length into the political questions suggested by Sir Rutherford Alcock’s book, it is because we deem it important that people should not neglect this opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the state of our relations with Japan. We refrain, in mercy to our readers, from entering upon the great currency question, which has hitherto proved the chief stumbling-block to the successful working of the Treaty, and which involves an interesting financial problem. We will not follow our author into his dissertations upon consular jurisdiction in the East, though, were the subject more popular, there is much to be said upon it. There is room for an essay on the merits of the Japanese civilisation, and Sir Rutherford touches thoughtfully upon topics which would afford interesting matter of philosophical speculation to a metaphysical mind. It is in this sense, perhaps, that his book is so much more suggestive than any of its predecessors. Our author has lived long enough in Japan to study the anomalies presented by its social and political institutions; and although his knowledge of them is necessarily limited and imperfect, we are forced to admit that Western civilisation alone does not suffice to enable us to construct a system of political economy, or justify conclusions based upon the limited experience of European nations. A Chinese sinologue, with a German turn of mind, wrote a book on China and its rebellions a few years ago, in which he incorporated an Essay on Civilisation. We did not agree in the views it embodied, but we thought it appropriate to the subject of his work. Our author, during the pauses which intervened between earthquakes, fires, and assassinations, pondered over kindred matters, and discusses with us whether, as regards civilisation, “nations and individuals attain the highest state which their fundamental convictions will allow.” If there is a part of the world in which an exile would require all his philosophy, it is Japan; and Sir Rutherford probably amused himself by working out as a corollary to the above proposition, “whether the assassination of the British Minister might fairly be classed among ‘their fundamental convictions.’”

Our author dwells at some length upon the varied nature of the obstacles he has had to encounter in the course of his diplomacy. The violence and hostility of the feudal class is by no means the greatest. The tactics which the Japanese employ in carrying their point consists chiefly in mendacity and evasion. Nor do they deny that they are habitually untruthful. Our author illustrates this by the following anecdote:—

“Upon one occasion, an official having been found in direct contradiction with himself, was asked, somewhat abruptly, perhaps, how he could reconcile it to his conscience to utter such palpable untruths? With perfect calmness and self-possession he replied, ‘I told you last month that such and such a thing had been done, and now I tell you that the thing has not been done at all. I am an officer whose business it is to carry out the instructions I receive, and to say what I am told to say. What have I to do with truth or falsehood?’”

Again, it is sufficient that a proposition should emanate from the foreigner for it to excite objection. In spite of professions to the contrary, the Japanese raise difficulties on principle, even when they have no intention of ultimately refusing a demand. They are scrupulously courteous, quick, and subtle, but often childish in argument. Some notion of the trivial nature of their excuses may be formed from the reply to Colonel Neale’s despatch to the Japanese Minister narrating the attempt upon his life, and demanding the punishment, not only of the assassins, but of the daimio whose retainers they were, and who was specially charged with the defence of the Legation. This daimio must have been a party to the attack. It is thus that the Government endeavours to screen him, denying, at the same time, that there was more than one culprit:—

“In the mean time the officer, Ito Goombio, a retainer of Matsdairn Tamban-no-Kami, one of the princes intrusted with the protection of the Legation, committed suicide, consequently his corpse was examined; then one wound caused by the ball of a gun, and two sword-wounds with which he committed suicide, were discovered. Taking these facts into consideration, it is probable that the same officer managed to get in by stealth, and was the assailant. Therefore we have decided that, although the said officer has committed suicide, he cannot escape the customary punishment of this country; and furthermore, that the officers (retainers) who were placed there for protection should be punished, after having been duly examined, for having been wanting in their duty. As the said prince, the master of the criminal officer (retainer), was ordered by his Majesty the Tycoon to protect the foreign nations, he did not neglect to proclaim the order to his subordinate officers (retainers); but the design which the criminal officer (retainer), of his own free-will, and without fearing death, intended to carry out, was most likely owing to a temporary derangement of his mind, brought on by the present state of affairs being unchangeable, and being deceived by false reports, spread about by wanderers, &c. He therefore, very simply, hated foreign nations, and forgot the orders he had received from the Government and his own master. Your Government will naturally suppose, from all the facts of the case, that this proceeds from disaffection of our Government to your friendship, which causes us great shame and sorrow. His Majesty the Tycoon also regrets the attack on account of her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. Therefore his Majesty has ordered us to write a letter to your Excellency, in order to explain all the circumstances of the case, and to beg pardon for all the unsuitable occurrences which have taken place until now, and to testify our friendly feeling.”

How is it possible to deal with a Government who, when called to account for a series of massacres, apologise in this charmingly naïve way for what they call “unsuitable occurrences?” How did they propose to punish the man who had already committed suicide? And is “simple hatred” likely to produce mental derangement? The Government was evidently not responsible. The daimio was in no way to blame. The assassin was temporarily insane, and, though dead, would be punished. It is true, two English marines were hacked to pieces, with twenty-five wounds; but the real culprits were the “wanderers,” who spread a report. That is a specimen of Japanese logic.

In ordinary criminal offences, however, the Japanese are prompt to inflict summary punishment. Here is an original sentence, forwarded to the British Consul in an official letter:—

“To F. Howard Vyse, Esq.
Vagabond in the village of Torocmigawa,

You have, while in the service of the English merchant Telge, stolen 300 rio in his absence, which were kept in an unlocked box. As this is a great offence, you are sentenced to be beheaded.”

The execution-ground was close to the gate of the Legation at Yedo, and gory heads, fresh chopped off and stuck in clay, occasionally glared with glassy eyes upon the passer-by. Not far from Kanagawa was a burning-ground, not unlike a threshing-floor; and English travellers, with a taste for the horrible, used to make it an object for a ride, to inspect the human ashes which were strewn there.

But we have looked enough “on this picture” of Japan—it is time to look “on that.” Those travellers who first saw it in its gala-dress painted it as they found it, and in some respects have their glowing descriptions fallen short of the reality. They never heard of “lonins,” or experienced any “unsuitable occurrences.” They saw a population nude, peaceable, and contented, a landscape of fairy-like beauty, a sky unrivalled even in Italy; and they left before they had recovered from the charming surprise, or had time to appreciate the real value of attractions so novel and unlooked-for. And yet our author, after a residence of three years, writes:—

“But for this class of military retainers and Tycoon officials, high and low, both of which swarm in Yedo, it seems it might be one of the pleasantest places in the Far East. The climate is superior to that of any other country east of the Cape. The capital itself, though spreading over a circuit of some twenty miles, with probably a couple of million of inhabitants, can boast what no capital in Europe can—the most charming rides, beginning even in its centre, and extending in every direction over wooded hills, through smiling valleys and shady lanes, fringed with evergreens and magnificent timber. Even in the city, especially along the ramparts of the official quarter, and in many roads and avenues leading thence to the country, broad green slopes and temple gardens or well-timbered parks gladden the eye as it is nowhere else gladdened within the circle of a city. No sooner is a suburb gained in any direction, than hedgerows appear which only England can rival either for beauty or neatness, while over all an Eastern sun through the greater part of the year throws a flood of light from an unclouded sky, making the deep shadow of the overarching trees doubly grateful, with its ever-varying pictures of tracery, both above and below. Such is Yedo and its environs in the long summer-time, and far into a late autumn.”

Our author’s enthusiasm is not confined to inanimate nature in Japan. He too, in spite of the disaffection of a particular class, has an evident weakness for the country people, and gives us many pleasing traits of national character:—

“Reflections,” he says, “on the government and civilisation of the Japanese press upon the European every step he takes in this land, so singularly blessed in soil and climate, so happy in the contented character and simple habits of its people, yet so strangely governed by unwritten laws and irresponsible rulers.”


“Much has been heard of the despotic sway of these feudal lords, and the oppression under which all the labouring classes toil and groan; but it is impossible to traverse these well-cultivated valleys, and mark the happy, contented, and well-to-do populations which have their home amid so much plenty, and believe we see a land entirely tyrant-ridden and impoverished by exactions. On the contrary, the impression is irresistibly borne in upon the mind that Europe cannot show a happier or better-fed peasantry, or a climate and soil so genial and bountiful in their gifts.”

We must agree with our author, that institutions, however anomalous they may appear to us, must have some merit which can so satisfactorily secure “the material prosperity of a population estimated at thirty millions, which has made an Eden of this volcanic soil, and has grown in numbers and wealth by unaided native industry, shut out from all intercourse with the rest of the world.” So that Sir Rutherford, after all, gives quite as favourable a picture of Japan as any of the “hasty visitors,” the accuracy of whose first impressions he thus impugns:—

“Those writers,” he exclaims, “who, on the strength of a superficial observation, or a flying visit to Nagasaki, have led the credulous public in Europe and America to believe that the triumph of European civilisation in Japan is already secure, and that the Japanese Government is promoting it, must have been strangely deluded! As to progress and advance in the path of civilisation, the papers laid before Parliament at this period, in which I passed in review the progress made in the previous six months—the first after the opening of the ports under treaties in July last—must have given a very different impression.”

But this is a gloomy view of affairs not usual with our author; for a few pages later, remarking on the effect which foreign trade is likely to produce, he observes:—

“How soon such changes may come it is impossible to say, seeing what marvellous progress has marked the last seven years. Notwithstanding their long and resolutely-maintained isolation and exclusivism, carried even into their political economy, and cherished in the national mind as their ark of safety and the shibboleth of their independence, the day has arrived when a British Minister can take up his residence in the capital, and is received by the Tycoon, not as were the chiefs of the Dutch factory at Decima—long the only representatives of Europe—in days now long passed, and never, it is to be hoped, to return.”

In another place—

“They are a well-to-do, flourishing, and advancing people, and for generations and centuries have maintained a respectable level of intellectual cultivation and social virtues.”

Sir Rutherford, in his desponding mood, cites, as an instance of the obstructive and unprogressive policy of the Government, that they refused to accept an offer made by Europeans to run monthly a steamer for them between their own ports; but he writes more sanguinely when he gives us an account of a visit he paid to the Government steam-factory at Nagasaki:—

“I could not but admire the progress made under every possible difficulty, by the Japanese and Dutch combined, in their endeavours to create in this remote corner of the earth all the complicated means and appliances for the repair and manufacture ultimately of steam machinery.”

There he found them making moderator lamps, and farther on there was a forge-factory in complete working order, with a Nasmyth’s hammer.

“And here we saw one of the most extraordinary and crowning testimonies of Japanese enterprise and ingenuity, which leaves all the Chinese have ever attempted far behind. I allude to a steam-engine with tubular boilers, made by themselves before a steam vessel or engine had ever been seen by Japanese—made solely, therefore, from the plans in a Dutch work.”

After this we do not think that the idea which our author ridicules, of the possibility of railways and steam communication in Japan, is so very absurd; considering all that he has undergone, it is not to be wondered at that he should occasionally take a gloomy view of the people and the country. Generally he is sanguine and complimentary, and nobody has had better opportunities of judging. He has visited the northern island, ascended Fusama, spent some weeks at a Japanese watering-place, where he found “peace, plenty, apparent content, and a country more perfectly and carefully cultivated, and kept with more ornamental timber everywhere, than can be matched even in England.” He made an overland journey from Nagasaki to Yedo, which lasted thirty-three days, and the incidents of which form one of the most interesting features of the book. There is an admirable description of a Japanese play, which, judged by the light of the future, seemed to be a rehearsal of the tragedy about to be perpetrated a fortnight later on Sir Rutherford himself. Occasionally the party traversed the territory of a hostile daimio; on these occasions the inhabitants shut themselves up. Thus, at Nieno, a daimio’s capital—

“As we advanced through the streets we found every house and every side-street hermetically closed, not a whisper was to be heard, nor the face of a living being to be seen. The side streets were all barricaded and shut out of view by curtains spread on high poles. His own house, which we passed, was similarly masked by curtains. Even in the adjoining villages no women or children were to be seen.”

These daimios are always followed by large bodies of armed retainers in their journeys through the country, and, as the last murder of our countryman proves, are not to be met without danger. On one occasion, says our author,

“Mr De Wit and I were riding abreast, and without any escort, having left them far behind, when, seeing rather a large cortege filling up the road as we turned an angle, we drew to one side of the road in single file. No sooner did the leading officer observe the movement than he instantly began to swagger, and motioned all the train to spread themselves over the whole road; so that all we gained by our consideration and courtesy was to run the risk of being pushed into the ditch by an insolent subordinate.”

Runners always precede these trains, calling upon the people to prostrate themselves; and the nobles are so accustomed to this act of homage that a European refusing to perform it incurs a great risk. Our author enters into great detail in the account he gives us of the habits and mode of life of the common people, for they alone come under the observation of the stranger; and we may regard the work before us as the most exhaustive description of the country and the people which we could expect from the pen of a foreigner. It is, moreover, admirably illustrated, and the reader cannot fail to rise from its perusal more thoroughly enlightened in all that concerns the singular people of whom it treats, than he could hope to be by all the previous works which have appeared on the same subject from the days of the Jesuit fathers. We had marked many passages illustrative of the everyday life of the Japanese, and some graphic descriptions of those scenes which are most characteristic and remarkable; but we have dwelt so long on the political considerations which have been suggested to us by the remarks of the author, that we can only commend his social sketches to the notice of the reader. The account of Sir Rutherford’s audience with the Tycoon is highly entertaining, and the effect of the actual ceremony must have been ridiculous in the extreme. The attitude of a Japanese in the presence of a superior almost amounts to prostration. In one room were “more than a hundred officers in grand official costume, all kneeling, five and six deep, in rows, perfectly mute, and immovable as statues, their heads just raised from the floor.” This attitude, when adopted by a crowd, is rather striking, perhaps, than ludicrous; but when the crowd begin to walk, the effect must be eminently absurd:—

“The most singular part of the whole costume, and that which, added to the head-gear, gave an irresistibly comic air to the whole presentment, was the immeasurable prolongation of the silk trousers. These, instead of stopping short at the heels, are unconscionably lengthened, and left to trail two or three feet behind them, so that their feet, as they advanced, seemed pushed into what should have been the knees of their garments; besides this, they often shuffle on their hands and knees.”

The performances of the jugglers, wrestlers, and top-spinners in Japan have already been constantly alluded to, but our author’s experiences surpass those of former spectators:—

“One of the most delicate of the performances consisted in making a top spin on the left hand, run up round the edge of the robe at the back of the neck, and down the other arm into the palm of the right hand, still spinning. Another, again, was to toss a spinning-top into the air and catch it on the hem of the sleeve without letting it fall. A third was to fling it high in the air and catch it on the bowl or the angle of a Japanese pipe, pass it behind the back, flinging it to the front, and then catch it again.”

Certainly an importation of Japanese top-spinners would make the fortune of any Barnum who could induce them to leave their country with the certainty of their being obliged to rip themselves up on their return. Let us hope that the discontinuance of this last trick may be one of the first-fruits of the introduction of Western civilisation into Japan.




When the newly married people returned home, after an absence of about two months, the new rule soon but gradually made itself felt at Fontanel. Though Mr Summerhayes had for a long time been the inspiring influence there, there was still all the difference between his will as interpreted by Mrs Clifford and his will as accomplished by himself. Of the two, it must be allowed that the retainers of the family preferred the cordial, kind, inconsistent sway of poor Mary to the firm and steady government of her new husband; and then everybody had acknowledged her right to rule, which came by nature, while every soul secretly rebelled against his, which was a kind of contradiction to nature. Mr Summerhayes’s path was not strewn with roses when he came back to Fontanel; then, for the first time, he had the worst of it. After she was fairly married, and everything concluded beyond the possibility of change, Mary, like a true woman, had found it quite possible to forget all her previous doubts and difficulties, and to conclude, with that simple philosophy which carries women of her class through so many troubles, that now everything must come right. It was no embarrassing new affection now, but acknowledged duty, that bound her to her husband, and she would not contemplate the possibility of this duty clashing with her former duties. So she came home, having fully regained the composure of her mind, very happy to see her children again, and utterly forgetting that they had not yet become accustomed, as she had, to look upon “Cousin Tom” as the head of the house. But it was now that gentleman’s turn to suffer the pains and penalties of the new position which he had taken upon himself. He was fully conscious of all the troubled sidelong glances out of Loo’s brown eyes; and when Charley burst into the house in schoolboy exuberance at Easter, for his few days of holiday, Mr Summerhayes noted the gulp in the throat of the Etonian, when he found it necessary to ask the new master of the house about something hitherto settled between himself and the old groom, with perhaps a reference to the indulgent mother, who could never bear to deprive her boy of any pleasure. Mr Summerhayes let Charley have his will with the best grace in the world, but still saw and remarked that knot of discontent in the boy’s throat—that apple of Adam, which Charley swallowed, consciously, yet, as he himself thought, unobserved by any man. The younger children were perhaps still more difficult to deal with; for it was hard to teach them that Mr Summerhayes was no longer Cousin Tom, to be romped with, but that it was necessary to be quiet and good, and not to disturb the meditations of the head of the house. True, it fell to Mary’s lot to impress this fact upon the rebellious consciousness of Harry and little Alf; but Mr Summerhayes, who at that particular period of his life was all eyes and ears, and missed nothing, did not fail to have the benefit. Then some of the servants were petulant—some were insolent, presuming on their old favour with their mistress—some resigned altogether when they knew “how things was agoing to be;” the most part sneaked and gave in, with secret reflections, every one of which was guessed and aggravated by the new master. It is easy to see that his position had its difficulties and disagreeables; but, to do Mr Summerhayes justice, he behaved with great temper and forbearance in this troublesome crisis. He made it apparent to everybody that he was not to be trifled with; but, at the same time, pretended not to see the little petulancies which were in reality so distinctly apparent to him, and which galled him so much. He swallowed many a mortification just then more bitter and stinging than Charley’s soon-forgotten gulp of boyish pride; and steadily and gradually, without any one knowing much about it, the new master of Fontanel won the day.

He was a man whose previous life had, to a considerable extent, belied his real character. He had lived idly and without any apparent ambition during these forty years, contenting himself apparently, for the last ten, with his dreary old manor-house and spare income. But this was not because he was of a light and easy temper, or satisfied with his lot. He was active enough in reality, now that he had affairs in his hands of sufficient magnitude to occupy him—and thoughtful enough to keep his purposes locked in his own heart, from which they came forth in act and deed, only when full fledged and ready for the gaze of the world. The house of Fontanel gradually recognised the hand of the master. Without any visible coercion upon Mary, the open, liberal, hospitable house came by imperceptible degrees under that stern regime which had made life possible at the manor-house upon the much diminished means of the Summerhayes’. The process was like nothing so much as the change of a ship’s course in a stormy sea. The vessel wavered, reeled for a moment as the helm went round in the new direction, but next minute had righted herself, and was ploughing steadily on in her new course, leaving the ignorant passengers below in total unconsciousness of anything that had happened, except that momentary stagger and uncertainty which it was so easy to account for. Mary was not cut down, either in her hospitalities or charities—or at least, if she was, did not know it; but before a year had elapsed, the expenditure in Fontanel house was smaller, and the expenditure on Fontanel estate greater than it had ever been in the memory of man. Mr Summerhayes was an enterprising and enlightened landlord. He took up the Home Farm with such energy that every tenant-farmer within twenty miles learned, or ought to have learned, the salutary lesson; and he gave loans and bonuses upon improvement, such as suggested to the unimproving sundry sarcasms as to the facility with which men parted with other people’s money. If it had been his own, instead of belonging to his wife and her children, it would have made a difference, people said; but then it was only the unprogressive, whom Mr Summerhayes decidedly snubbed and disapproved of, who made that ill-natured remark. To tell the truth, however, when he set out upon this active career, which was so unlike his former life, Mr Summerhayes of Fontanel became much less popular in the county than the poor squire at the manor had been in old days. Perhaps, in the change from poverty to wealth, he carried things with too high a hand. Perhaps he failed to recognise his own position as an interloper, and acted the master too completely to please the popular fancy. At all events, nobody was satisfied—not even his sisters in the old house, which they had all to themselves; certainly not the little community in his present home, which obeyed and feared and suspected him—perhaps not even his wife.

Mary had a woman’s usual experience before she married her second husband and made this complication of affairs. She knew as a certainty, what all the younger brides have to learn by hard personal training, that the husband must be different from the lover; that the habits of ordinary life will return after a while; and that the wife’s happiness must be of a different kind, if she is happy at all, from that of the bride, to whose pleasure, for the moment, everything defers by a tender fallacy and sophism of nature. But somehow, in its own case, the heart is always incredulous. To marry him had, after all, cost this soft woman a great many natural pangs, and it was hard to find so soon all the affectionate conferences and consultations, by means of which he had at first won her, ceasing altogether, and to feel that the affairs which she had managed so long were now in inexorable hands, and ruled by plans which were only communicated to her when they were ready for execution, if even then. Then poor Mary, who had always been looked on with indulgent eyes, began to feel herself under a sterner regard, and to see that her acts and words were judged solely on their own merits, and not with any softening glamour of love, making everything beautiful because it was she. It is impossible to describe how nervous and unsteady this consciousness made her, and how much more ready she was to make mistakes, from knowing that her mistakes would not be excused, or looked upon affectionately as wisdom in disguise. Poor soul! he was very kind to her at the same time; but his eye was on when she caressed her children; his quick ear somehow caught the little secrets they whispered to her in that sacred twilight hour in her dressing-room before dinner, where Mr Summerhayes had now acquired the habit of coming in to talk with his wife, and finding the children in the way. When they were all sent off on such occasions, it was well for Loo that she generally headed the retreat, before the new master lighted his wife’s candles, and threw an intrusive glare into the sacred atmosphere. Loo was a heroine, but she had a temper. But as for poor Mary, to see her disappointed children trooping away, and to guess with quick instinct the thoughts that were already rising in their little angry hearts, and to lose that sweet moment in which her soul was retrempé and made strong, was very bitter even to her yielding temper and loving heart. She could have cried but for fear of her husband; and many a time had bitter drops in her eyes, which had to be crushed back somehow, and re-absorbed into her breast, when those tell-tale candles flashed their unwelcome light upon her. Yet, notwithstanding all this, she had no right nor wish to call herself an unhappy wife. He was very kind to her—seemed as though he loved her, which makes up to a woman for a great many things; but still a sense of having overturned the world somehow, and disturbed the course of nature—of having introduced bewilderment and confusion she could not tell how, and a false state of affairs—combined, with a certain ache of disappointment, of wounded pride, and unappreciated confidence, to make poor Mary’s musings weary and troubled, and to plant thorns in her pillow.

Thus it happened that nobody was pleased with the change which had taken place at Fontanel, except, perhaps, Mr Summerhayes himself, who seemed sufficiently contented with all that he had done and was doing. Certainly he devoted himself to the improvement of the estate. Such crops had never been dreamt of in the county as those that began to be usual upon the well-tilled acres of the Home Farm; and, when leases fell in, the lumbering old tenants had no chance against the thriving agriculturists whom the King-Consort brought in over their heads at advancing rents, to the benefit of the rent-roll and the country, though not without some individual misery at the same time to lessen the advantage. Some old people emigrated, and got their death by it; some hopeful farmer-families dispersed and were broken up, and found but a checkered fortune awaiting them in the cold world, outside of those familiar fields which they had believed themselves born to cultivate, and almost thought their own; and Mrs Summerhayes had red eyes after these occurrences, and took to headaches, which were most unusual to her; but it was unquestionably the most enlightened policy—it was very good for the land and the country and things in general; and, in particular, there could not be any doubt it was good for the rent-roll of Fontanel.


“I wonder whether Charley Clifford’s coming of age will be kept as it ought to be,” said Miss Amelia Harwood, meditatively. It was more than five years since the marriage, but there was still going to be a bazaar at Summerhayes; and still a large basket stood on the drawing-room table at Woodbine Cottage, full of embroidered cushions, babies’ socks, children’s pinafores, and needle-books and pen-wipers without number, upon which Miss Amelia was stitching little tickets which told the price. “To give him all his honours will be ticklish work for Tom Summerhayes, and to withhold them won’t answer with a boy of spirit like Charley. I am fond of that boy. He behaves very well to his mother; though really, when a woman makes a fool of herself, I don’t wonder if her children get disgusted. I should like to know what she thinks of her exploit now. I always foresaw she would see her folly as the children grew up.”

“Oh, hush, Amelia,” said her elder sister; “don’t be hard upon poor dear Mary now. I was surprised at the time—but of course she must have been in love with him; and it was hard, you know, to be left all alone at her time of life. She is quite a young woman now.”

“She is——” said Miss Amelia, pausing, with inexorable memory and a host of dates at her finger-ends, “either forty-two or forty-three. I don’t quite recollect whether she was born in ‘14 or in ‘15. Now that I think, it was ‘14, for it was before the Waterloo year, which we had all such good cause to remember; and as for being left all alone, she had her children, and I always said she ought to have had the sense to know when she was well off. However, that is not the question. I want to know whether they will make any ado over Charley’s coming of age.”

“Poor boy!—it is sad for him having no father to advise him at such an important time of his life,” said gentle Miss Harwood, with a sigh.

“Oh, stuff!” said Miss Amelia. “Harry Clifford, poor fellow, never was wise enough to direct himself, and how could he have guided his son? I daresay Tom Summerhayes would be a better adviser, if you come to that. But I am sorry for Charley all the same: he’s the heir, and yet somehow he doesn’t seem the heir. His mother, after all, is still a young woman, as you say, and Tom Summerhayes seems to have got everything so secure in his hands that one can’t help feeling something is sure to happen to make the estate his in the end. It can’t be, I suppose; they said the deeds were irrevocable, and that Mary couldn’t alter them if she wished, which I don’t suppose she does;—she loves her children, I must say that for her. Still one never feels sure with a man like Tom Summerhayes; and poor Charley has no more to do with his own affairs than if he were a little ploughboy on Mr Summerhayes’s estate.”

“Hush, my dear,” said Miss Harwood, who was in her summer chair, which commanded, through the openings of the green blind, a view of the village green and the road before the door,—“here are Louisa and Lydia coming to call—and out of breath, too; so they must have some news or something particular to say.”

“About Charley’s coming of age, of course,” said Miss Amelia. “I daresay Mary and Tom have had a fight over it, and he’s judged it as well for once to let Mary have her way. He always had a great deal of sense, had Tom Summerhayes.”

“Oh, I declare, to see how far the Miss Harwoods are on with their things!” cried Miss Louisa Summerhayes, almost before she had entered the room; “but you are always in such good time, Miss Amelia. As for us, we have such a great deal to think about just now, it drives the bazaar out of our heads; almost as bad as if we had a family ourselves,” said Miss Lydia, with a breathless outburst. “I daresay you have heard the news—you who always hear everything from Fontanel.”

“About Charley’s birthday?” said Miss Amelia.

“Well, upon my word, you are a witch of Endor, or something,” said Miss Lydia, whose turn it was to begin the duet; “for dear Tom rode down to tell us only this morning. He is so considerate, dear Tom; and I am sure there never was such a stepfather,—to think of all he means to do, just as if Charley was his own son and heir,” cried Miss Louisa, who was scarcely able to keep in time for want of breath.

“His own son and heir, if he had one, need not to make so much commotion, my dears,” said Miss Amelia, administering with great goodwill a friendly snub; “there is a difference, you know, between Fontanel and the manor-house. I suppose there will be a dinner of the tenantry, and all that. There couldn’t, you know, much as your family is respected in the county, be much of that sort of thing at Summerhayes.”

“My dear, you know Amelia always speaks her mind,” said Miss Harwood; “you don’t mind what she says? I am sure I hope poor Charley will have a good day for his fête, and that everything will go off well. I daresay they will all feel a little strange on such a day, to think of all the changes that have happened. I remember, as if it were yesterday, the day he was born; and oh how happy poor Mary was!”

“I am sure she ought to be a great deal happier now,” said Miss Laura, with a toss of her head, “if she were sensible enough to see her advantages. Dear Tom makes himself a slave to her, and spends all his strength upon the estate; and then never to get any thanks for it. I declare, to hear how you speak is enough to make one hate the world,” said Miss Lydia, with the usual joint disregard of punctuation. “But, Miss Harwood, you always take Mary’s side.”

“I didn’t know we were come so far as to take sides,” said Miss Amelia, dryly; “Mary never takes her own side, that’s clear. She tries to please everybody, poor soul; to make her husband happy by letting him suppose himself the master of Fontanel,—and to make her son happy by making believe he’s all right and in his natural place; and what’s to come of it all after Charley comes of age is more than I can tell; for Charley’s a boy of spirit, though he’s devoted to his mother, and it’s hard never to have anything to say in one’s own affairs. A woman may submit to it, perhaps, but a young man is very different,” said Miss Amelia, with great gravity, breaking off with an emphatic jerk the last end of her thread.

Both the sisters were in tears before this speech was finished. “I am sure it is very hard,” sobbed the elder, as soon as she could speak, “to be in dear Tom’s position, and to have to manage everything, and always to hear it brought up against him that he has nothing to do with the estate, and it belongs to his wife. I wonder how he ever puts up with it,” cried the other, “dear Tom, that is the head of one of the oldest families in the county—far better blood than the Cliffords, whose great-grandfather was in trade; and they would all have been ruined but for dear Tom,” concluded Miss Louisa; “he has given himself up to their interests—and this is his reward!”

“Hush, now,” said Miss Harwood, “I am sure nothing was said that could make you cry; and I see poor dear Mary herself in the pony-carriage driving down by the green. I daresay she will call here. She will be quite surprised if she sees you have been crying. Shouldn’t you like to run up-stairs and set your bonnets straight?”

“I daresay she’ll come in looking as bright as possible,” said Miss Amelia, “and could not understand, if we were to tell her, why we should quarrel and cry over her affairs. After all, it’s a shame she shouldn’t be happy, poor soul; she always makes the best of everything. There she is, kissing her hand to us already. How d’ye do, my dear? And I am sure I think she’s as pretty now as when she was twenty, whatever the men may say.”

“Oh dear, that’s just what the men say,” cried Miss Louisa, with indignation, unable even at this crisis to resist the temptation; “for she always was a gentleman’s beauty,” added Miss Lydia, half under her breath. They were not in the least malignant, and both of them secretly liked Mary in their hearts; but they could not resist the opportunity of throwing a little javelin at her, which certainly did her no harm.

Mary did not reach the door until her sisters-in-law had put themselves in order by the help of the mirror in the back drawing-room. All this time Miss Amelia stood by the window making her comments. “Of course there is a basket to be taken out of the pony-carriage,” said that mollified observer, who was nodding and smiling all the time to the new arrivals, “with a quantity of forced things in it, no doubt; for there’s nothing else to be had at this time of the year. I think I can see strawberries through the lid, which, considering it is only March, is flying in the face of nature, I think. And here is Loo. Well, I am not sure that poor Loo is not as much forced as the strawberries; she looks a long way older than her mother, it appears to me. Poor thing! perhaps it’s not wonderful under the circumstances; and I think Loo would be pretty if she was free in her mind, or had time for anything but brooding over affairs. She is, let me see, eighteen at her next birthday——”

“Hush, Amelia! My dear Mary, it makes me very happy to see you,” said old Miss Harwood, rising from her comfortable chair, with the slow motion of an old woman, to meet the kiss of the mistress of Fontanel. Perhaps it was the contrast of true old age which made Mary, though convicted of having been born in the year ‘14, appear then, in ‘57, so blooming and fresh and youthful. She had lived, on the whole, a quiet life. She had little in her constitution of that rabid selfishness which people call a sensitive temperament. She bore her troubles meekly, and got over them; and even the anxieties and uneasiness of recent years had added but few wrinkles to the fair face of a woman who always believed that everything would turn out well, and heartily hoped for the best. She came in, well-dressed, well-conditioned, sweet to look at and to listen to, in easy matronly fulness and expansion, into the pretty but strait and limited room where the two old sisters lived their life; and when she had kissed them, kissed also the two younger maidens, who were, however, of Mary’s own standing—no younger than herself. They all looked grey, and relapsed into the shade in presence of her sweet looks and natural graciousness. Even Loo, who stood behind her mother’s chair—a tall girl, still with great brown eyes, which counted for twice as much as their real size in her pale face—looked, as Miss Amelia said, old beside Mrs Summerhayes. Hers were the bright but softened tints, the round outlines, the affectionate, tender, unimpassioned heart, which confers perpetual youth.

“How nice it is to see you looking so well!” said Mary. “I don’t think you have grown a bit older, dear Miss Harwood, for twenty years. Loo and I have come down on purpose to ask you to come to Fontanel for Charley’s birthday. He comes of age, dear fellow, next month, you know; and as it is a very very great occasion, we thought a three weeks’ invitation was not too much. You must come to us the day before—the carriage will come for you—and stay at least till the day after, so that you may not be the least fatigued. We are going to have all sorts of pleasures and rejoicing; and I am sure, though I am a foolish old mother to say so,” said the smiling, blooming woman, in whom light and sunshine seemed to have entered Miss Harwood’s drawing-room, “that nobody has more reason to rejoice over a son than I—than we have,—he has always been such a dear boy; he has never given me any anxiety all his life.”

“Well, he’s only just beginning his life,” said Miss Amelia. “What anxiety could he give you, except about the measles and so forth? To be sure he might have been plucked at the university, or rusticated, or something dreadful; but I allow he’s a good boy, and not too good a boy either—which is a great comfort. I am glad you are not going to stint him at his fête: an eldest son has a right to that, I suppose; but I hope you mean to let him have something to do, my dear, after he comes of age.”

“To do? Oh, I daresay he will ynd quite enough to do, for a few fiears, amusing himself,” said Mary, perceptibly growing paler for the moment. “Of course I am calculating upon both of you, Louisa and Liddy,” she said, turning round with an air of making her escape. “To ask such near friends formally would be nonsense, you know; but you must not forget the twenty-fifth; and I hope you will come early, too, and see the preparations, and the tenants’ dinner, and all that is to go on out of doors.”

“Oh, we have got an invitation already,” said Miss Laura. “Not that we would have come unless you had asked us besides, dear Mary,” chimed in Miss Lydia; “but dear Tom called this morning to tell us it was all decided upon,” they both ran on together. “Such a comfort to our minds; for I am sure Liddy and I cannot bear to hear you ever have any difference of opinion,” cried Miss Laura, as her solo broke upon the course of the duet. “And dear Tom is always so glad to do what will please you, dear Mary,” chimed Miss Lydia, as it came to her turn.

Mary turned red and then turned pale in spite of herself. Most people have some specially sensitive spot about them, and this was Mary’s: she could not endure to think that her husband consulted his sisters about things that occurred at Fontanel.

“I was not aware we had any difference of opinion,” she said, with dignity; “things always have to be discussed, and Mr Summerhayes likes to consider everything well before he takes it in hand; but, of course, we can have but one mind about Charlie, who really is the owner of the estate, or at least will be after the twenty-fifth. He is so popular already,” continued the mother, returning to the Miss Harwoods. The tears came to poor Mary’s eyes, notwithstanding all her efforts. She felt they were all watching her, and that to do justice both to her son and her husband was all but impossible; and, besides, at that moment she was under the influence of a little irritation. Mr Summerhayes did not consult his sisters, for whose judgment he had a much greater contempt than it had ever entered into the mind of Mary to entertain for any one in the world; but when he was annoyed or irritated he occasionally took the benefit of their unreasoning sympathy and partisanship, as he had done this morning—and there was nothing in all the business which so galled and exasperated his wife.

“He always was a dear boy,” said kind old Miss Harwood; “and such a sweet baby as he was, my dear. I remember when he was born as if it were yesterday. I was just saying so before you came in. I never saw any people so happy as you, and—hem—it seems foolish, to be sure, talking of what he was as a baby now he’s a man,” she concluded, hurriedly stumbling over that unlucky allusion. Mary again grew a little pale, poor soul. She could not escape from her troubles anyhow—they hemmed her in on every side.

“And so all those things are for the bazaar,” she said, by way of making a diversion. “Loo was to have worked you something, Miss Amelia, but Loo’s fingers are not so useful as they might be. She is a great deal too fond of dreaming; but I don’t think I was very fond of work myself when I was her age; and, of course, she has something in hand for Charley. A birthday would not be a birthday if the girls had not worked something for their brother; though men are such bears, as I sometimes tell Loo,” said poor Mary, beaming brightly out again from behind her cloud, “I don’t think they ever look twice at the purses and slippers we do for them. I suppose the great pleasure is in the doing, as it is with most other things.”

“But I am sure you never found it so with dear Tom,” said Miss Laura; “he was always, from a boy, so pleased with what we made for him. Oh, do you remember those old braces, Laura?” cried Miss Lydia; “he always appreciates what is done for him—always,” and both the sisters chimed in in a breath.

“I was not speaking of Mr Summerhayes,” said Mary, returning into the cloud; “I was speaking of—men in general. I have never had any perfect people to deal with in my experience,” said the mistress of Fontanel, with a sidelong, female blow, which she could not resist giving. “And now we must say good-bye, dear Miss Harwood; it is so pleasant to see you, and to come into this sheltered place where nothing ever seems to change.”

“It is very odd,” said Miss Amelia, as she rose to shake hands with her visitors, “you people who are living and going through all sorts of changes, you like to come back to look at us old folks, and to say it is pleasant to see us immovable. I suppose it has all the effect of a calm background and bit of still life, as the painters say. Perhaps we don’t enjoy it so much as you do; we like to have something happen now and then for a little variety; we are often sadly at a loss, if you did but know it, for an event.”

“Come back soon, my dear; that will be an event for us,” said Miss Harwood, whose soft old kiss was balm to Mary’s cheek, which had flushed and paled so often. Miss Laura and Miss Lydia went out to the door with their sister-in-law, where they took leave of her. “We meant to have driven on to the manor-house,” said Mary; “but we need not go now, since we have seen you; and there is no room in this stupid little carriage, or I would set you down anywhere. Good-bye! don’t forget the twenty-fifth!” and so she drove her ponies away. The sisters went off upon their usual round of calls, discussing her, while Mrs Summerhayes drove through the village. They were not exactly spiteful women, and they did like poor Mary in their hearts: if she had been in trouble they would have rallied to her with all their little might; but they could not help being a little hard upon her now.

“Did you hear what she said about Charley being the true owner of the estate?” said Miss Laura. “After all dear Tom has done!” said Miss Lydia. “Oh, how strangely things do turn out!” cried the elder sister. “He might have done so much better; and to get himself into all this trouble and nobody even grateful to him,” said the younger. “Poor dear Tom!” they both cried together, “he deserved such a different wife.”

Such was the aspect of affairs on the other side; and though it is natural to take part with poor Mary rather than with her subtle and skilful husband, perhaps his sisters were not altogether wrong. If they had not, all of them, got somehow into conflict with nature, things might have happened very differently. As it was, a perpetual false position created mischief on every side.


“I have asked old Gateshead to bring over the deeds you executed before our marriage, Mary,” said Mr Summerhayes, a few days before Charley came of age; “I want to look over them again.”

“Yes!” said Mary, stopping suddenly in what she was doing, and giving one furtive glance at him. She asked no farther question, but waited with an anxious intensity of interest which almost stopped the breath on her lips.

“I want to look over them again—there are some words in the duplicates up-stairs I don’t feel quite sure about,” said Mr Summerhayes.

“But, Tom, you told me they were irrevocable, and never could be meddled with,” said Mary, with a sudden flush of burning colour, which passed away immediately, leaving her very pale. It had been all her comfort for many a day to think that those deeds were beyond her power—or his—to change. She could not help trembling in this sudden terror. She had no confidence in her own power to resist him—and, alas, but a wavering, uncertain confidence in him, that he would be able to resist the temptation of securing, if a change were possible, a stronger title to all the authority and power he at present, in her right, possessed.

“Do you imagine I want them meddled with?” said Mr Summerhayes. “I don’t think women understand what honesty or honour means,” he added, in his harshest tone. “I suppose you believe I am ready to perjure myself, or break my word, or do anything that’s base, for a bit of your estate.”

“Indeed, Tom, I never thought anything of the kind,” said poor Mary, faltering; but she had thought something of the kind, though her thoughts were incapable of such decided expression, and the tremor in her voice betrayed her.

“That’s how it always is,” said Mr Summerhayes, without any passion, but with a concentrated sneer in his voice; “a woman who has anything always suspects her husband of an intention to rob her. Though she may have lived with him for years, and known his thoughts and shared his plans, and thought him good enough to be her companion and protector, the moment she recurs to her money he becomes a robber, and nothing is too base for him to do. No,” he went on, breathing out a long breath of indignation apparently, and offended virtue; “I don’t want to alter the deeds—but I want to read over one clause with Gateshead, to make sure it’s all right. You would not like your children to go to law about it after you are dead?”

“No,” said Mary, with a slight shiver; her fears and her imagination were roused. She, of course, knew nothing about the law, except a general impression that it was never safe to have anything to do with it. She had, however, an unreasoning faith in the efficacy of anything solemnly signed and witnessed, which, notwithstanding, if anybody threw the least doubt upon that document, changed instantly into a total scepticism and unbelief of any value in it at all. She jumped at conclusions, as is the habit of women; and from the most perfect confidence in the security of Fontanel, instantly plunged into the wildest uneasiness about it, and already saw herself compelled to alienate the inheritance from her children;—and all this because Mr Summerhayes had remarked some expression in one clause which struck him as of doubtful meaning,—at least that was all the actual foundation upon which Mary could build her fears.

So it was with feelings of an extremely mingled and doubtful character that she proceeded with her arrangements for the birthday fête, which, to tell the truth, Mr Summerhayes had strongly opposed—he could not very well have told why. Charley was the heir of the estate—as indisputable as if his father had been still its master; yet there was a great difference; and perhaps the stepfather did not feel himself quite equal to the necessary speeches, nor to the cordiality which would be required of him on such a day. Mr Summerhayes had managed everything so completely in his own way—he had felt the house so entirely his own these five years, which yet was not his own, nor vested in him by any natural right—that the idea of acknowledging as much virtually, if not in distinct words, by this public recognition of the heir, galled him strangely. He would rather have gone out of the way; but as he could not go out of the way, he adopted, half unconsciously, the only mode that remained of making himself disagreeable—he found out that possible flaw in the deed. Probably nothing further was in his thoughts than to express the discontent in his mind, and throw a little shadow of insecurity upon the festivities which were sacred to the too-confident heir. Like an ill-tempered father keeping up his power by a vague threat of altering his will, Mr Summerhayes waved his threatening flag over the heads of the family at Fontanel by this faint cloud of suspicion thrown upon the invincible certainty of the deed. He meant nothing more; but evil thoughts are suggestive, and have a wonderful power of cumulation. Perhaps he did mean something more before old Gateshead, whom, on other occasions, he did not hesitate to call an old fogy, was disembarked from his old-fashioned chaise at the door, two days before Charley’s birthday. The firm was Gateshead and Gateshead—but Europe and Asia are not more unlike than were its two members. The elder was, as Mr Summerhayes succinctly expressed it, an old fogy—the other, an acute and tolerably accomplished young man of the world. Mr Courtenay Gateshead, in ordinary cases, was Mr Summerhayes’s favourite, and was honoured with his confidence; but on this special occasion old Mr Gateshead—whose acuteness was somewhat blunted by age—who was a wonderful gossip and genealogist, and who had the most profound respect for the superior legal knowledge of the master of Fontanel, who had once been of the Inner Temple—was, as an old friend of the family, the selected guest.

Mr Gateshead arrived with a big portmanteau and a little tin box. He was rather nervous about this little tin box. He carried it into the drawing-room with him, where he went on his arrival, being a great deal too early for dinner, as old fogies, who are not much wanted in the drawing-room, generally are. But Mary was very glad to see him, as an old friend, and looked at him with a kind of half-conscious appeal in her eyes, of which Mr Gateshead was totally unaware, and which he would have been completely bewildered by could he have seen it. He made some absurd mistakes to be sure. He called her Mrs Clifford, even in Mr Summerhayes’s presence; and then, instead of prudently ignoring his mistake, begged her pardon, and laughed and talked of his bad memory. But the tin box was a heavy burden on the old man’s mind. Every ten minutes or so, he paused in his talk, which was voluminous, to say, “Bless my soul, where is that box?” and to shift it from the table or chair on which he had placed it, to a chair or table nearer. The box oppressed him even in the midst of the gossip in which his soul delighted. He took it up to his room with him, but hesitated, not seeing how he could leave it by itself when he came down to dinner; and at last gratefully accepted Mr Summerhayes’s offer to put it in his own study, where all his own papers were, and which nobody dared go into. It seemed safe under the secure shelter of Mr Summerhayes, whose absolute monarchy was indisputable, and with whose personalities nobody in Fontanel ventured to interfere. There, accordingly, the tin box was deposited, and there, after dinner, somewhat reluctantly on the part of old Gateshead, who was fond of the society of ladies, and of Mrs Summerhayes’s in particular, the two gentlemen adjourned, to talk over that flaw, or possibility of a flaw, in the deeds which were the safeguard of the young Cliffords. They sat late discussing that and other affairs,—so late, that it seemed quite the middle of the night to Mary when her husband awoke her with a cheerful face, to say that Gateshead was of opinion—and he agreed with him, after the close examination they had given it—that the deed was quite unassailable, so that she might have a perfectly easy mind on the subject. “I thought I might run the risk of a cross look for breaking your sleep, Mary, when this was what I had to say. I am very glad myself, for it might have been awkward, as no power was reserved to you under our settlement of will-making, or that sort of thing,” said Mr Summerhayes. “However, it’s all right. I left that old fogy pottering over his tin box in my study. I hope he’ll not set himself on fire before he gets to bed. He’s getting old very fast, Mary. Young Courtenay will soon have everything his own way.” Poor Mary was so pleased, so delighted, so thankful, that it was a long time before she could get to sleep again. She lay half dreaming and dozing, with an exquisite compunction and renewal of love in her heart. Had she perhaps suspected this good husband, who came so joyfully to tell her that all was safe? She made it up to him by the fullest, most lavish restoration of confidence, as was natural to a generous woman; and in the happiest thankful state of mind, though with an odd half-dreaming fancy that old Gateshead had set fire to himself, and that she smelt his nightcap smouldering into slow destruction, fell finally, when it was almost dawn, into a sound sleep.

But Mary could not believe that she had been more than a few minutes asleep when she was awoke by the horrible clangour of the alarm-bell, and by the rushing and screaming of all the servants. Could it be old Gateshead’s nightcap that caused that terrible significant sniff of burning that pervaded the entire atmosphere? Before she could wake her husband, who lay in a profound sleep, Charley had rushed in at the door with the alarming cry of fire. “Fire!—get up, mother, make haste, but don’t flurry yourself; put something on; it’s in the west wing. There’s time to escape,” cried Charley. “I’ll get out the children, and come back for you,” he said, as he rushed off again. “Fire!” cried Mr Summerhayes, springing up. “Good heavens! It’s that old fool, old Gateshead How could I be so mad as to trust him by himself?” and almost before Mary knew he was awake, he too had rushed out of the room, drawing on his dressing-gown as he flew out at the door. “Oh Tom, see to the children; don’t leave me!” cried Mary in her fright, and she too wrapped herself hastily in the first garment she could find, and rushed to the door. She could see nothing but a thick volume of smoke pouring from the west wing through the entire house, into which her husband’s figure disappeared, while every soul in the place seemed emerging out of it in different varieties of fright and undress. “We’ve sent off for the fire-engines; and don’t be alarmed, mother, it’s entirely in the west wing,” cried Charley, who came towards her with Alf in one arm and little Mary in the other. Harry and Loo came crouching close to the big brother behind—all silent, all ready to cry, all staring with wide-open, suddenly-awakened eyes, and frightened out of their very lives. “Oh Charley, Mr Summerhayes will be killed! Where is he going? Is it to look for Mr Gateshead?” cried Mary, who, when she saw her children safe, fell into a panic about her husband. He had rushed into the very depths of that black volume of smoke, in spite of many warning voices. He came staggering back after a few minutes, half suffocated, to the staircase, where he sat down to recover himself. “Oh Tom, Mr Gateshead is safe,” cried Mary, who was shivering in her shawl with cold and terror, and who would not leave her husband, though the smoke came nearer and nearer. “D—Mr Gateshead,” cried the excited master of the house. “Charley, fly to the other side—to the window—my study—the tin box! I’ll take care of your mother,” he shouted, as Charley appeared coming back. When he had placed Mary in safety, Mr Summerhayes himself hurried to the same spot. It was he alone who mounted the ladder, though everybody else said it was madness. But it would have been as sane a proceeding to walk into a furnace as into that room, which was the very centre of the fire. He came down again deadly pale, and almost fainting, with a hurt on his head from a falling beam, and half suffocated with the fiery smoke. The tin box was beyond the possibility of redemption.

But the fire, curiously enough, scarcely penetrated beyond the west wing, which was an unimportant part of the house—a recent addition, where nobody slept, and which, indeed, contained little that was important except Mr Summerhayes’s study, which had been built after his own design, and contained all his pet and personal belongings. Mary and the children watched from the gardener’s cottage the working of the fire-engines; and in the excitement of seeing how the fire was got under, and how little damage, after all, was done to Fontanel, forgot the misery of the morning and their comfortless circumstances. Even Loo felt that her stepfather was to be regarded as a hero, when he came, pale, black, and begrimed—after it became apparent that the work of destruction was stopped—to the cottage to have his head bound up, and to see that his wife and her children were safe. And perhaps Loo was still better disposed towards him when she found that he did not take upon himself any heroic airs, but was in a most savage temper, cursing old Gateshead as nobody had ever before heard Mr Summerhayes curse any man. “I was rash not to see him safe to bed,” cried the master of the burning house; and Mary did all she could, in her generous way, to deprecate and excuse “the poor old man.” “Nobody is to blame; it must have been an accident—only an accident,” said Mary; and Mr Summerhayes, in his rage and vexation, had not even the grace to be civil to her, but still muttered curses upon old Gateshead.

While, for his part, Mr Gateshead went round and round what had been the west wing, wringing his hands. “Burned!—lost!—my tin box. I will never dare look Courtenay in the face again; and, good Lord! what’s to become of the children?” cried the poor old lawyer. He could not help hearing some of Mr Summerhayes’s passionate exclamations, and perceived, by the way everybody hustled past him, that he was blamed for the sudden calamity. Though he was an old fogy, he was as sensitive as any man to a personal grievance. Very soon he began to think about this mysterious business. “Good Lord, the deed! the poor dear children!” said the old lawyer to himself. He, too, grew angry and pale with indignation; but he kept silence and his own counsel. This was the strange and ill-omened event which happened at Fontanel the day before Charley’s coming of age.


The idea of a fire—of a fire in one’s own house, darkly raging in the silence of the night, threatening death to helpless sleepers in their beds—is too overwhelming at first to allow the minds of the startled sufferers in ordinary circumstances to enter into details. Mary, for her part, found so many things to be grateful for,—first, she was so thankful that all were safe—second, so glad to find that even the house was not injured to any serious degree,—and, third, so proud of the energy and zeal of her husband,—that the real loss was a long time of becoming fairly visible to her. Before it dawned upon his mother, Charley, worn out as he was by his exertions, had realised what it was; and had felt, with a strange momentary thrill and shock through his whole frame, that the foundations of the world were crumbling under his feet, and that he dared no longer boast of the morrow. Loo too, who had been almost enthusiastic about her stepfather in that first hour of his heroism, had fallen back again, and was paler than ever, and looked more wistfully out of her background with those great brown eyes. But still Mary continued to kiss little Alf, who was rather impatient of the process, and rejoice over her children. “If it had broken out anywhere else,” she said, “we might all have been burned in our beds. Was it not a wonderful interposition of Providence, Tom, when there was to be a fire, to think it should be there? We had not even any associations with the west wing—except you, dear—I am sure I beg your pardon—but you rather enjoyed building the study, and you must make another one. I shall always think it a special Providence the fire was there.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying, Mary,” said her husband; “it was not Providence, it was that confounded old——Oh, Mr Gateshead! are you in the least aware how this happened? Did you drop your candle, or a match, or anything? or were you burning any of your papers? It is a horrible misfortune to have happened just now.”

“But really, Tom, the house is so little injured it won’t matter for to-morrow,” said Mary; “things can go on just as before.”

“Oh!” said her husband, with a little groan, “don’t talk so lightly; you don’t know what’s happened. Gateshead, why on earth didn’t you go at once to bed?”

“Mr Summerhayes, I’ll thank you to leave off that sort of thing,” said the old lawyer, divided between fear and indignation. “I am not stupid, sir, as you try to make people believe, though I am older than you are. It’s a very strange circumstance, but if Providence has not done it, as you say, neither have I. But I’ll tell you what is your duty, Mr Summerhayes. Before I leave here, which shall be to-day, I’ll draw out a draught-deed to correspond with this one that is unfortunately burnt——”

“What deed do you mean? burnt?” cried Mary, in dismay; “not that deed——”

“Yes, Mrs Clifford—I beg your pardon, Mrs Summerhayes—exactly that deed,” said the solicitor; “and you should not lose a moment in executing it over again—not a moment, especially considering that Charley is just of age.”

That deed!” cried Mary; “oh Tom!” She turned to him in simple distress and lamentation; but he met her eyes with such a strange defiance, and the colour rose so perceptibly in his cheek, that Mary stopped short petrified. What did it mean? She turned round alarmed, and met the curious eyes of old Gateshead, who was studying her looks, with something like confusion. For the moment her heart, as she thought, stopped beating in poor Mary’s troubled breast.

“You should not lose a moment—it ought to be done over again,” said the old man, “while I am here, to prevent any informality. It ought at once to be done over again.”

“Mrs Summerhayes unfortunately has no power to do anything,” said her husband. “No such unfortunate chance was calculated upon at our marriage. No right was reserved to her of making any settlement. You know that well enough, Gateshead.”

“That can be obviated by your joining with her,” said the lawyer. “You could do that, at least, till there’s time to take advice on the subject; for burning only revokes where there’s an intention of revoking, as you’re aware, Mr Summerhayes—and so long as we can prove what was the general purport——”

“In that case, there’s no need for doing anything further,” said the master of Fontanel.

“But the matter is too important to be left on a chance,” said the old lawyer, anxiously; “nobody can ever tell what may happen. For Charley’s sake you ought not to lose an hour. I’ll draw up a draft——”

“Oh, Tom, listen to Mr Gateshead!” cried poor Mary, trying to smile, though her heart felt as if it were breaking, as she laid a timid, beseeching hand on his arm.

Her husband threw her hand lightly off, and turned away. “There is no reason in the world why we should rush into fresh documents,” he said. “Stuff! we are not going to die to-day; and if we did die to-day, why, Mary, your heirs are as safe as ever they were. I’ll think it over, Gateshead, and see Courtenay about it. There is no hurry; and, upon my word, whatever you may think on the subject, I have had about enough of excitement for one day.”

“Does your head ache, Tom?” said Mrs Summerhayes.

“Abominably; and look here,” said her husband, exhibiting his hands, which were considerably burned, “if I am to be made fit for presentation to-morrow, you’ll have to nurse me, Mary. Come along, I have a great deal to talk to you about. I beg your pardon, Gateshead, but now that everything is safe, considering what I have before me to-morrow, I must get a little rest.”

“Then I am to understand that you refuse to do anything in place of the deed that has been burned,” said the old lawyer.

“Refuse! certainly not; I’ll think of it, and see Courtenay about it. We can talk it over at dinner,” said Mr Summerhayes, walking away calmly towards the house with his wife.

This conversation had taken place at the gardener’s cottage, within hearing of Loo, who had all this time been standing at the window. When Mary and her husband went away, the old lawyer uttered a furious and profane exclamation. “He’ll speak to Courtenay. I’m not to be trusted, I suppose; confound the upstart!” cried old Gateshead; “but I shan’t stay here to be insulted by Tom Summerhayes. Lord bless us! what’s the matter, my dear?”

This question was addressed to Loo, who came suddenly up to him, overwhelming the old man with the gaze of her great brown eyes. “Tell me only one thing—is Charley disinherited?” said Loo, grasping with her slight but firm fingers the lawyer’s arm.

“My dear, you don’t understand it,” said Mr Gateshead.

“I understand it perfectly; is Charley disinherited?” asked the anxious girl.

“Well, my dear, it depends on circumstances,” said the lawyer; “don’t look at me so fiercely, it is not my doing. The deeds are destroyed—that’s all. I daresay it won’t make any difference. We can prove——Don’t cry, my dear child; I‘ll stand by you if he tries to do anything—and you can tell your brother so. It shan’t make any difference if I can help it—don’t cry.”

“I don’t mean to cry,” said Loo, with indignation; “is this why the fire was?” The words seemed to drop from her lips before she was aware; then a violent blush rushed over poor Loo’s pale face; she shrank back, and took her hand from his arm, and turned her face away. “I did not mean to say that; I meant to say—I understand,” said Loo, slowly. It was a very woe-begone despairing face that she turned upon him when she looked round again. The old man, who had known her all her life, patted her on the head as if she had been still a child.

“Don’t be afraid, my dear, things will come straight; though your stepfather has been rude to me, I will not go away for your sakes,” said Mr Gateshead; but such a conversation as this could not be carried on. The lawyer returned to the house to be present at the investigation into the cause of the fire which Mr Summerhayes was already making; and Loo, for her part, sick at heart, and in a state of the profoundest despair, went out to seek her brother. It was just as well for both that they did not meet that morning; for neither of the two in their hearts had any doubt upon the subject. As for their mother, she kept by her husband’s side, in a state of mind not to be described; taking hope by times; listening with eager anxiety to hear any explanation that could be offered; trying to believe that he only hesitated to replace the destroyed deed because he had no confidence in old Gateshead, and preferred to consult Courtenay; but in her heart feeling, like Charley, that total shipwreck had happened, and that the foundations of the earth were giving way.


The ruins of the west wing were clearly visible from the great wooden building erected by Mr Summerhayes in the park where the tenants were to dine. It was too cold in March for a tent; and there was no room in Fontanel large enough for these festivities, except the great double suite of drawing-rooms where the doors had been removed, and where there was to be a ball at night. Much was the talk about the alarming event of the previous day, which had shaken half the country with personal terrors, much warmer than are generally awakened by the intelligence of a fire at a friend’s house. On hearing of it, every soul within twenty miles had sighed with resignation or cried out with impatience, giving up all hopes of the festivities to which everybody had been looking forward; but Mr Summerhayes’s messengers with the intimation that all was going on as before, came about as soon as the news of the calamity. Mr Summerhayes himself was more gracious, more cordial, than anybody had ever known him. He spoke of “our dear boy” in his speech to the farmers, and described Charley in such terms, that the heart of Charley’s mother was altogether melted, and she felt ready to commit the fate of her children a dozen times over into her husband’s hands. Nothing could be more manly, more honourable, more affectionate, than the way in which Mr Summerhayes spoke of his own position. He was, he said, his wife’s steward and his son’s guardian; such a position might have been painful to some men—but love made everything sweet; and he was happy in having always had the entire confidence of his beloved clients. He even referred to the honoured husband of the Queen, as in something of a similar position to his own, and brought down storms of applause. Charley made his little speech with great difficulty after his stepfather. The poor boy looked ghastly, and could scarcely get the words out; but his pleased retainers, who believed him overwhelmed by his feelings, applauded all the same. When he had done what was required of him, Charley managed to steal away unperceived by anybody except Loo, who went wistfully after her brother. She overtook him by the time he had got to the woods which skirted the park, and put her arm softly within his without saying anything. The two young creatures wandered under the bristling budded trees in silence, with unspeakable sadness in their hearts. They had nothing to say to console each other—or rather Loo, whose very heart wept over her brother, could think of nothing to say to him. At last, caressing his arm with her tender, timid, little hand, Loo ventured upon one suggestion: “Oh, Charley, poor mamma!” said the girl, in her heart-breaking young voice. “Yes—poor mamma!” said Charley, with a groan. Poor Mary! it was all her doing, yet her children cast no reproach upon her. She, after all, would be the greatest sufferer.

“But, Loo, I can’t stop here after what has happened,” said Charley when they had both recovered a little; “he may be going to do everything that’s right for anything we can tell. Don’t let us talk as if it were anybody’s fault; but I can’t stop here, you know, about Fontanel, doing nothing, as if—— Don’t cry, Loo. You would not like, anyhow, to have an idle fellow for a brother. Harry is the clever one; but I daresay my godfather, the old general, could get me a commission; and I could live on my pay,” said Charley, with a slight quiver in his upper lip, “and perhaps get on. I don’t think I should make a bad soldier—only that there’s the examinations, and all that. It’s very hard, Loo, to have lost all this time.”

“Oh, Charley, Charley dear! I can’t bear it—it’s too hard to put up with,” cried poor little passionate Loo.

“Now don’t you go and take away what little strength a fellow has,” remonstrated Charley; “it must be put up with, and what’s the use of talking? Now look here, Loo; if you make a fuss, it will do no good in the world, but only vex mamma; she can’t mend it, you know. I mean to put the best face on it, and say I want to see the world, and that sort of thing; and believe exactly as if—as if the fire had never happened,” said Charley, with a dark momentary cloud upon his face. “I can make my mother believe me; and it will be a comfort to her to have me out of the way,” said the heroic lad, with something like a suppressed sob, “and to think I don’t suspect anything. It is hard—I don’t say anything else; but, Loo, we must bear it all the same.”

And so they went wandering through the bare woods, poor Loo stooping now and then unawares to gather some violets according to her girlish habits, and Charley, even in the depths of his distress, following with his eye the startled squirrel running along a branch. They were profoundly, forlornly, exquisitely sad, but they could not ignore the alleviations of their youth. Amid all the sudden shock of this disinheritance—in which there mingled so cruel a sense of wrong, so warm an indignation and resentment—Charley still thought, with a rising thrill of courage and pride, that he might carve out for himself a better fortune; while Loo, her brother’s sole confidante and supporter, was herself supported by that exquisite consciousness of being able to console and encourage him, which almost atones to a girl’s heart for every misfortune. They could hear the distant echoes of the cheers and laughter and loud cordial talk of the guests, while they strayed along silent, with hearts too full to speak. Very different anticipations had the two entertained of this famous day so long looked forward to. They were to be the first in all the rejoicings undertaken in their honour—for the glory of the heir-apparent could not fail to be shared by the Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of Fontanel; they had pictured to themselves a brilliant momentary escape out of the embarrassments and restraints which they could not but be conscious of at home, and Charley had even been prepared to feel magnanimous to Mr Summerhayes, who, after all, was but a temporary interloper, and had no right to that inheritance of which the young Clifford was heir indisputable. Now, the sound of the merrymaking went to Charley’s heart with acute blows of anguish. It was an aggravation of the sudden misery, cold-blooded and odious; what were they rejoicing about? Because a poor boy had come to the coveted years of manhood, to learn bitterly, on the eve of what should have been his triumph, that he was an absolute dependant, a beggar, at the mercy of a stepfather. No wonder he could not speak; no wonder he put up his hands to his ears, and uttered a groan of rage and wretchedness when that burst of cheering came upon the wind, and Loo, speechless, could but cry and clench her little hands in the bitterness of her heart. This was between the tenants’ dinner and the ball in the evening, which was to be the gayest ever known in the county. Poor Charley would gladly have faced a tiger, or led a forlorn hope, could he have had such an alternative, instead of arraying himself in sumptuous raiment and appearing at that ball, where his presence would be indispensable. He seized poor Loo’s little hands harshly in his own, and pressed them till she could have screamed for pain. “Don’t cry; your eyes will be red at the ball—your first ball, Loo!” cried her brother, with a kind of savage tenderness; and Loo, half afraid of this strange new development of the man out of the boy, was fain to dry her poor eyes and cling to his arm, and coax him to go in to prepare for the greater trial of the night.

While these two forlorn young creatures were thus engaged, another conversation was taking place at a distance from the scene of the festivities, in the park of Fontanel. Mr Courtenay Gateshead had come down to be present at the tenants’ dinner in his capacity as legal adviser to Mr Summerhayes; but the young lawyer looked on with a preoccupied air, sometimes casting a keen look of inspection at the master of the feast. When the party from the great house left the humble revellers, Courtenay, instead of joining Mr Summerhayes, beckoned aside his uncle and partner. Old Gateshead had stayed for the children’s sake; but had found it totally impossible to change Mr Summerhayes’s first determination. He would not consent to read, much less to sign the document hastily prepared by the anxious old lawyer. He would think it over, he repeated, and see Courtenay, with an implied slight upon the powers and skill of Courtenay’s uncle, which galled the old man to the last degree. The young lawyer found his relative exceedingly sulky and out of temper. “I have something particular to consult you about,” Courtenay said, who did not yet know anything about the destruction of the deed; and Mr Gateshead, who had that disclosure to make, followed him with no very pleasant feelings to the verge of the wood, not very far from where Charley and Loo were wandering in the despair of their hearts. But the old lawyer was much taken by surprise by the question which his nephew did not put to him till they were quite alone, and sheltered from all eavesdroppers by the broad expanse of the park.

“Uncle, you have a wonderful memory. I suppose you remember John Clifford, this boy’s grandfather—he who broke the entail,” said Courtenay, in rather a hurried voice.

“John Clifford—what on earth has he got to do with it?” cried old Gateshead, whose memory was wonderful, but whose powers of comprehension were not equally vivid.

“Oh, nothing, I daresay,” said his nephew. “I want to know what you recollect about him, that’s all—he who joined his father in breaking the entail——”

“A very silly thing to do, Courtenay—a fatal thing to do. Good Lord, only think what a different position these poor children might have been in!” cried old Gateshead.

“Yes, yes—to be sure; but do you recollect anything about John?” said the young man.

“I recollect everything about him,” said the uncle. “Though he was Harry Clifford’s father, and they are both dead ages ago, he was no older than I am. I think we were born in the same year——”

“The same year? and you are seventy; that must have been ‘87. Was it ‘87, uncle? how can we make sure?” said young Courtenay. “I must hunt up the register of baptisms to-morrow.”

“Ah! I remember some talk about that,” said the old lawyer. “The parish books were burned once, and the entry couldn’t be found. There was some talk about it at the time. Burned! I suppose you don’t know what’s happened in this fire? Oh! you’ll hear, you’ll hear quite soon enough. But what has John Clifford’s name come up about now?”

“It’s something rather important for Summerhayes—he looks in wonderful force to-day,” said Courtenay; “but if this should turn out true he will soon sing small enough. I may as well tell you at once, uncle, for I am almost sure about it. My impression is, that the entail was never legally broken; and, consequently, that Mr Clifford had no more right than I have to leave the property to his wife.”

Old Gateshead looked at his nephew with a stupified air. “The entail was never broken?” he repeated vacantly, looking in the other’s face.

“No—the entail was never legally broken,” said Courtenay, with the impatience of an acute and rapid intelligence. “The thing caught my attention some time ago, but I would not speak of it till I had worked it out. John Clifford—listen uncle—executed the papers with his father in the year 1806; and, if I am correct, he was then an infant, and incapable of doing anything of the sort. I don’t believe he came of age till 1807. By Jove! what’s the matter? the old man’s mad!”

“No, Courtenay, the old man’s not mad,” said his uncle. “Hurrah! God save the Queen! Hurrah! why don’t you help them to shout, you cold-blooded young prig? I tell you the boy’s saved. Hurrah, and long life to him!” said old Gateshead, waving his hat frantically, and echoing with the wildest shrill enthusiasm the distant cheers from the tent. “I declare to you these cheers choked me an hour ago,” cried the old lawyer; “there’s things a man can’t do even when he’s an attorney. Courtenay, I say, shake hands. You’re a disgusting young prig, and you’re a deal too clever for my practice; but if you make it out, I’ll give in to you all my life. Good Lord, that’s news! tell me all about it. We’ve got a sharp one to deal with; we’ll have to make very sure, very sure. Let’s hear every step how you came to find it out.”

Which Courtenay accordingly did, and made it perfectly clear to the anxious listener. Charley’s grandfather had been in the unpleasant predicament of having no public legal record of his age; but fifty years after the occurrence of that fortunate mistake, scraps of documents had turned up in the hands of the family solicitor, depositaries for generations of the family secrets and difficulties, which made it easy to establish, not by one distinct statement, but by many concurring scraps of evidence, the exact date of John Clifford’s birth; and to prove, as the young lawyer was now prepared to do, that the entail had never been legally broken; that all the acts of the last two reigns were founded on a mistake; that, consequently, Squire Henry’s will, in so far as it related to the estate of Fontanel, was null and void, and Charley was no longer heir but bona fide proprietor of the lands of the Cliffords. Wonderful news—more than ever wonderful that day.

When Mr Courtenay Gateshead sought Mr Summerhayes to break to him this startling intelligence, the elder lawyer went to find the mistress of Fontanel, who was reposing in her dressing-room, to prepare for the exertions of the evening. Poor Mary was in a very doubtful state of mind that day. She had wept for delight and gratitude when she heard her husband’s speech to the farmers; but when she came to be by herself again, that enthusiastic impression wore off, and the fact came back to her, striking chill to her heart—the fact that her children were now at the stepfather’s mercy, and that poor Charley, the heir, was no longer the heir unless another man pleased. Alas! poor Mary knew now, to the bottom of her heart, that it was another man—a man who, though she was his wife, did not, and could not, look on Charley Clifford as his son. She knew nothing about law, nor that the deed, though destroyed, might yet in its ashes form foundation enough for any amount of lawsuits. It was destroyed, and she had no longer any power, and everything was in Mr Summerhayes’s hands—that was enough to quench the light out of the very skies to the poor mother. She dared not say to herself what she feared, nor what she thought he would do; she only felt that he had the power, and that Charley was at his mercy—and behind all, bitterest of all, that it was her fault. She was sitting resting, in a kind of heavy gloom and stupor, with her head buried in her hands, feeling to her heart that she was avoided by her children, and that this day of triumph was to them a day of mockery, when Mr Gateshead’s message was brought her. He was a very old friend, and her first thought was that he had at last prevailed on Mr Summerhayes to consent to the new deed. She got up in eager haste, and sent her maid to bring him up-stairs. She received the old man there, in that room where her children no longer came as of old. The result was, not very long after, a hurried ringing of bells, and messengers running everywhere for Miss Loo, who was just then coming in, dark and pale from the woods, a very woe-begone little figure in her holiday dress. Poor Mary, overcome by a hundred emotions which she did not dare to tell, had fainted almost in old Gateshead’s arms, to the great dismay of the old lawyer. It was deliverance to her boy, but it was utter humiliation and downfall to her husband. In the struggle of sudden joy, confusion, and pain, her senses and her mind gave way for the moment. Loo rushing in, vaguely aware that something had happened which was well for Charley, believed for the moment, in an overwhelming revulsion of remorse and repentance, that all was henceforward to be ill for ever, and that her mother was dead. But Mary was not dead. She recovered to appear at the ball—very gracious and sweet, as was her wont, but paler than anybody had ever seen her before, as was remarked everywhere. It was a pretty ball, every body allowed; but the family looked more distrait and strange than any family, even under such an infliction, had ever been seen to look. Charley, who had most command of himself after his mother, was doing everything a young man could do to keep his partners amused and the crowd occupied; but even Charley now and then grew abstracted, and forgot himself for a moment. As for Loo, though it was her first ball, and her brown eyes were splendid in the changeable light that quivered in their depths, she kept behind her mother with a look of fright and timidity, at which many a more experienced young lady sneered openly; while Mrs Summerhayes, moving about among her guests with all her usual sweetness, in her mature beauty, could be seen sometimes to give strange wistful looks aside to where her husband stood, mostly in company with Courtenay Gateshead. Mary was pale, but Mr Summerhayes was flushed and strange to look upon. He said, in his gentlemanly way, that the ball was his wife’s business, and that he did not pretend to be able to help Mrs Summerhayes. He kept aloof from her and from her children, clinging, as it seemed, to young Gateshead. There had been a fire to be sure, but a fire only in the west wing, where nothing particular could have happened. What could it be? for the county people were all quick to perceive that something unusual was in the air—at least the ladies did, and did not fail to communicate their suspicions. There must have been a family quarrel, the more acute imagined; and Miss Laura and Miss Lydia Summerhayes, whom their brother dismissed summarily when they attempted sisterly investigations, were fain to make forlorn attempts to discover from Loo what it was. The master of the house had never been seen to speak or look at any of the family all the evening, till the principal guests were in the supper-room, all wondering, as they discussed the good things there, what could be the matter. Charley had got in debt at the university—Charley had formed some unsuitable connexion—and his stepfather was hard upon him. Thus the company speculated; but the company held its breath when Mr Summerhayes laid his hand on Charley’s shoulder, and solved the wonder of the evening in the strangest, most unexpected manner—to nobody so unexpected as to his bewildered wife.

“My friends,” said Mr Summerhayes, in his gentlemanly way (and it must be allowed that, whatever were his faults, Tom Summerhayes always was a gentleman), “we drank this boy’s health to-day as the heir of Fontanel; but since then something has happened which has excited us all considerably, as I daresay you will have perceived; and I have to tell you that Charley is not only the heir, but the master of this house. I am sure,” continued Mr Summerhayes, leaning his arm more heavily upon the shoulder of the astonished youth, “there never was a more hopeful or promising beginning than he will make, and I know he will have all your good wishes. The fact is that the property became my wife’s under a mistake: the entail was supposed to have been broken, which turns out not to have been the case; and it is an additional pleasure to us,” said Mary’s husband, turning round with a smile to meet her look, which was fixed upon him, and then leisurely surveying the amazed assembly—“it is a great additional pleasure to us,” continued Mr Summerhayes, “to find ourselves entitled, on a day every way so happy, to give up our laborious stewardship, and put our boy in possession of his own. I ask you over again, my excellent friends and neighbours, to drink the health of Charles Clifford of Fontanel.”

It was thus that Mr Summerhayes extricated himself from his false position. The cheers which disturbed all the loiterers in the ball-room, and brought them in a crowd to see what it was, were more for the retiring monarch than the new sovereign. Charley himself, in a warm revulsion of his generous heart, had seized both his stepfather’s hands, and wrung them with strenuous gratitude. “I will never forget your generosity,” cried the eager boy, who would have made over Fontanel there and then had Summerhayes pleased, into his keeping over again. Charley knew nothing of the stormy scene with Courtenay—the silent rage and mortification which had thrown off Mary’s attempts at consolation before necessity and his better genius warned Mr Summerhayes of this opportunity left him for a graceful retreat. Charley did not know, nor the world—and the few who did know had no wish to remember. The whole party was in a flutter of admiration; and poor Miss Laura and Miss Lydia did all but go into hysterics between horror at the catastrophe and pride in their brother. Never before had Mr Summerhayes of the Manor taken so high a position before the county as that night when he gave up possession of Fontanel.


“It is not to be expected she can like it much; but she is a good little woman—she always was a dear little woman,” said the Rector; “and Mary’s jointure will make a great deal of difference in the manor-house, and smooth things down considerably. She has been doing all kinds of upholstery there already.”

“By Jove, I knew how it would be!” said Major Aldborough; “I told you all how it would be. I said they’d kill him. He may think he’s got off very easily, in my opinion—cure him of meddling with other people’s children as long as he lives. What the deuce did he want at Fontanel? a great deal better to make himself snug, as I suppose he means to do now, at Summerhayes.”

“Mary will drive down looking just as bright as ever,” said Miss Amelia Harwood. “I always said she deserved to be happy, poor soul—she always makes the best of everything. Her heart was breaking that night of Charley’s birthday. I heard for a certain fact that she fainted just before the ball—a thing I never heard of Mary doing before. Heaven knows what all she was afraid of; there was something very mysterious about that fire; but now, you know, she has recovered her spirits and her colour, and looks just as she used to look. I shouldn’t wonder a bit if she began life over again, and was quite happy in the manor-house now Tom Summerhayes is coming home.”

“And so she ought to be, Amelia,” said good Miss Harwood. “I am sure she has many a poor woman’s prayers.”

All these good people were walking on the Fontanel road. It was a lovely evening in the early summer, more than a year after Charley Clifford’s birthday. Though it was rather beyond the usual limits of Miss Harwood’s walk, she was here leaning on Miss Amelia’s arm to enjoy the air, and to look for somebody who was expected. The Rector had strolled out on the same errand; and that, or something similar, had also drawn Major Aldborough from his after-dinner repose. The old-fashioned gates of the Manor-house were open, and some expectation was visible within. Miss Laura and Miss Lydia, in very summery muslin dresses, were to be seen promenading before the house, and hastened out, when they saw the Miss Harwoods, to join their friends.

“It is very trying for us,” said Miss Laura. “Oh, Miss Harwood, it is a very trying occasion; not that our new house is not very nice and everything very comfortable; but it is very very trying to us,” said Miss Lydia, joining in; “and oh, on dear Tom’s part, such an unexpected change.”

“Your brother is expected home to-morrow, Miss Laura?” said the Rector.

“Yes, to-morrow,” answered Miss Lydia, whose turn it was. “Poor dear Tom is so fond of travelling on the Continent, it is so good for his health; and Mrs Summerhayes wishes to be at home to receive him. Lydia and I are so glad, and yet we are sorry,” chimed in Miss Laura; “it will be such a change for dear Tom.”

“Not nearly so great a change as for poor Mary,” said Miss Amelia, “leaving her children, poor soul; but I daresay she won’t complain, and it must be better for all parties to have it settled. And so you like your new house? I am told that Mary did all the furnishing herself.”

“Oh yes, she is very kind,” said Miss Laura; “she has made everything very nice; you must come and see it. Indeed, if it were not for thinking what a change it is for dear Tom,” cried the sisters both together, with an evident impression that their brother had been defrauded of something he had a right to, “we should all be very happy; for dear Mary,” said Miss Lydia, with a little sob, “is very kind—and look, here she comes.”

She came driving the pony-carriage, as she had appeared so often at Summerhayes. Poor Mary! if she had been a wiser woman would she have been loved as well? She came, all beaming, with the smile on her lip and the tear in her eye—courageous, affectionate, sweet as ever. Charley and Loo had ridden down with her till they came in sight of Summerhayes, and then had taken leave of their mother. Mary, with little Mary by her side in the pony-carriage, drove on to her separate fate alone. She was going to take possession of the old Manor-house, no longer the mistress of Fontanel but Tom Summerhayes’s wife, to receive him when he came home from his travels, and to make life bright, if he were capable of seeing it, to that imperfect and not very worthy man. The agitation in her face was only enough to heighten a little her sweet colour and brighten her tearful eyes. On the whole had she not great reason to be happy? She had forgotten everything but her husband’s virtues while he had been absent, and her children were safe and prosperous and close at hand. She smothered the little pang in her heart at parting, and said to little Mary, with a smile, that she would have had to part with them all the same when they were married. So the mother and the daughter drove down through the soft twilight and the dews to the Manor, not without brightness and good hope; while Charley and Loo rode away towards the darkening east, with a deeper shadow on their young faces, not quite sure how their home would look when their mother was away.

Mary stopped her ponies when she saw the little procession which had come out to meet her; the tears came into her bright eyes again. “It is so kind of you all,” she said, kissing her hand to good Miss Harwood, “and it is so pleasant to think I can see you oftener now.” “God bless you, my dear!” said the two old ladies who had come for love. And Mary said “Amen, and the children too;” and so drove her ponies cheerfully, with smiles and tears, in through the open gates.

Where, however, we will not follow Mrs Summerhayes. Things had turned out a great deal better than could have been expected. Mr Summerhayes was a man of the world, and knew how to make a virtue of necessity. He had given in gracefully and at once, and gained reputation thereby, nobody knowing what his private feelings were when Courtenay Gateshead’s discovery came first upon his own widely-different plans. The fire in the west wing never was explained—nobody, indeed, inquired very deeply into it—and Mary, for her part, forgot it, or associated it only with old Gateshead’s nightcap, to which, she remained firmly convinced, the old man had set fire on his way to bed. The fire at Fontanel was indeed associated with old Mr Gateshead throughout the county, as was indeed a natural and perhaps correct supposition. Anyhow, nothing but the destruction of the west wing had resulted from it, and that was rather an improvement than otherwise to the old place, in which Loo, till they were both married, was to keep house for her brother. Little Mary, who was easy in her temper and happy as the day was long, went with Mrs Summerhayes to the Manor—and Alf and Harry were to have two homes for their holidays. When Tom Summerhayes came home next day, he thought some fairy change had come over the manor-house, and forgave his wife with magnanimity for all the trouble she had brought upon him. Mary accepted the pardon with gratitude, and Miss Laura and Miss Lydia thought Tom a hero; and so, with a tolerable amount of content on all sides, life began over again for the reunited couple. Mary had her own troubles still, like most people; but perhaps had not been much more happy as Mrs Clifford than she was as Mrs Summerhayes.



2. ‘The Life and Times of Sir James R. G. Graham, Bart., G.C.B., M.P.’ By Torrens M’Cullagh Torrens. In 2 vols. London: Saunders & Otley.

These are not exactly the sort of volumes which we could have wished them to be. Sir James Graham, though never a foremost, was still a remarkable man in his age, and doubtless left behind, in his correspondence, and in the memories of his friends, better materials than we find here for an elaborate biography. Still, let us do justice to Mr M’Cullagh Torrens. If family archives have not been unlocked to him, and private friends abstained from telling him more than they could help, he has made very good use of stores which were open to all the world, and strung together, with considerable skill, his scraps of past history. The result is a book which will be much and approvingly read; though we cannot anticipate that it will fire the imagination or touch the feelings of any human being.

The family from which Sir James Graham derived his descent is of long standing in the “debatable land.” Its founder seems to have been “John with the bright sword,” a son of Malise, Lord of Menteith, whom a quarrel with the Scottish King induced, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, to migrate beyond the Scottish border. Carrying with him a band of stout retainers, he soon acquired a settlement there, and became by-and-by the boldest and most successful of the moss-troopers, whose custom it was to harry indifferently the lands of the two kingdoms.

The descendants of John gradually extended their influence and enlarged their possessions. Between the Esk and the Eden, and for some miles to the north of the Esk, there lies a district which, till the Partition Treaty of 1552, may be said to have belonged neither to England nor to Scotland. It was there that the Græmes settled, and there, in spite of many a harsh decree issued against them from both realms, they grew and prospered. And finally, when peaceable times came, they were recognised as large landed proprietors, and useful members of the English community.

The first politician in the family appears to have been Sir Richard Græme, who, after acting as Master of the Horse to the Duke of Buckingham, was taken up and enriched by grants from the Crown. He it was who acquired by purchase Netherby Hall, with various manors lying contiguous to it. Espousing the cause of his master in the civil wars, and following him to the field, he was severely wounded at the battle of Edgehill; yet he contrived, malignant as he was, to keep his estates together, though not without heavy fines imposed upon them by Cromwell.

The immediate successor of the first baronet led a quiet life, and died in his bed. His grandson was more ambitious. He made some figure in Parliament, and was in 1682 created Viscount Preston in the peerage of Scotland. This did not oblige him to retire from the English House of Commons, in which he sat as Knight of the Shire for Cumberland; and he ultimately, after serving as ambassador in Paris, took office as Secretary of State under James II. Lord Preston would never stoop to pay court to William III. He even accepted from James, after his expulsion from the throne, a patent of English nobility, which he pleaded in bar of trial before a common jury, when charged with conspiring to bring back the exiled family. The House of Lords, however, would not acknowledge the patent, and the evidence against Lord Preston proved too strong to be rebutted. He was found guilty, and sentence of death was passed upon him, with attainder of his peerage and forfeiture of his property. It is creditable to the memory of Dutch William that he refused to carry the sentence into execution. Enough of blood had been shed on the scaffold; and the King, though strongly pressed by some of the leading Whigs to let the law take its course, adhered to his own determination. Lord Preston’s daughter, it appears, was one of Queen Mary’s attendants. The Queen found her one day gazing at the picture of James II., and weeping bitterly; and desiring to be told why the maiden wept, she received this answer: “I am thinking how hard it is that my father should suffer death because he loved your father.”

Preston’s pardon alarmed the Jacobites as much as it disgusted and offended the Whigs. The former not unnaturally came to the conclusion that he must have betrayed them. The latter, especially Bishop Burnet, himself the meanest and basest of intriguers, clamoured against the act of clemency, as if some wrong had been done personally to themselves. Both parties were, however, in error. Preston had not been many months at liberty before he was again arrested and sent to the Tower as a traitor; and though fortunate enough in the present instance to show that the charge against him was groundless, his health sank under disquiet of mind, and he died soon after his release.

The Scotch peerage became extinct in the third generation from this, and the estates went to two sisters, one married to Lord Widrington, the other single. On the death of the unmarried sister, the whole of the property came to Lady Widrington—a fortunate circumstance for her lord, for he, like his father-in-law, was a stanch Jacobite, and took the field against the established Government in 1715. He escaped with his life after the failure of the enterprise, but found himself landless and a beggar. Happily the law would not allow Lady Widrington’s possessions to be interfered with, and she was thus enabled to afford Lord Widrington an adequate maintenance during the remainder of his life. Finally, Lady Widrington, dying childless, left the Netherby estates to a first cousin, the Rev. Robert Graham, D.D., second son of the Dean of Carlisle. From him, through his second son, the subject of our present sketch was descended.

Dr Graham was a great improver. Immediately on succeeding to the property, he set himself to drain the lands, clear out mosses, build decent houses for his tenantry, and gradually to raise their rents. He built also, or rather rebuilt, Netherby Hall, carefully collecting and depositing in a room set apart to receive them, the many relics of Roman art which were discovered in digging the foundation. Like improvers in general, however, he worked rather for posterity than for himself; and he not unnaturally desired that with their enlarged resources the family should recover the baronetage, which, for lack of heirs-male, had become extinct. His wish in regard to this matter was accomplished, though neither in his own person nor in that of his eldest son. The latter, by name Charles, survived his father barely a fortnight; and as Charles’s only child happened to be a daughter, the estate, strictly entailed on heirs-male, passed to his younger brother James.

There had never been a Whig in the Graham family till the Doctor professed Whiggish principles. Then, as now, the Whigs took better care of their friends than the Tories; and as they came into power within a month of Dr Graham’s death, Dr Graham’s son received immediate proof that his father’s services were not forgotten. He was created a baronet, and gave, of course, his political support to Fox and his friends. But before the year 1782 was out, Fox made way at the Exchequer for Pitt, and such a breaking up and reconstruction of parties ensued as might have easily perplexed men of stronger minds than Sir James Graham. The result was, that, after some wavering, Sir James attached himself to the great Minister, and continued to the end of his days a stanch Tory in the sense which Mr Pitt and the best of Pitt’s friends were accustomed to apply to the term.

In 1785 Sir James Graham married Lady Catherine Stuart, the eldest daughter of John, seventh Earl of Galloway. Remarkable for her personal attractions, Lady Catherine was gifted at the same time with an excellent understanding and a very genial nature. A little rigid she seems to have been in her religious opinions; a great friend, for example, of Dean Milner, the author of a Church History of which it has been justly observed, that in seeking to achieve an impossible object it effected nothing. Her Calvinistic tendencies, however, never interfered with the exercise of a large and widely-extended benevolence. Neither were her prejudices so rooted as to stand in the way of more worldly friendships. Archdeacon Paley, certainly not religious over-much, found a ready and frequent welcome at Netherby. So did Dr Vernon, the Bishop of Carlisle, whose great idea of Episcopal dignity was to maintain as strict a discipline among his clergy as the temper of the times would admit, and to dispense a generous hospitality at Rose Castle. Thus, the geniality of the laird and the high religious temperament of the lady worked well together, and Netherby Hall became, under their united influence, the centre of everything that was kind and good in the social intercourse of the neighbourhood.

Sir James Graham the first married early. He was barely twenty-two, and Lady Catherine twenty, when they came together, and a large family followed. Daughters arrived first, and by-and-by, on the 1st of June 1792, their eldest son was born. Great rejoicings took place on that occasion, and the child was named at his baptism James Robert George—James, after his father; Robert, after his paternal grandfather; and George, in memory of the man among his ancestors who had least claim to the distinction, his only merit having been this, that in difficult times he exercised great prudence, and managed, in consequence, to keep himself from getting into trouble. Young James’s early education seems to have been conducted at home, though how, we are not told. But in 1802 he was sent with his brother William to a private school at Dalston, a village of which the Rev. Walter Fletcher, Chancellor of the Diocese, was the incumbent.

At Mr Fletcher’s school young Graham failed to make the progress in classics which his friends expected from him. The previous training afforded to him at Netherby may perhaps account for this circumstance. At ten years of age he was already an expert angler and a good shot, accomplishments not to be despised in their proper place, but scarcely conducive to rapid advancement in the path of early scholarship. Hence, when removed to Westminster in 1806, he cut but an indifferent figure at entrance, and, though not idle, never managed afterwards to take a foremost place among his contemporaries. It is fair to add that the place which he did take was always a respectable one. He quite held his own against the late Duke of Richmond, then Lord Charles Lennox, to whom he was fag, and suffered nothing in comparison with the present Earl Russell, the occupant with him of the same form.

Westminster boys have always enjoyed the privilege of admission to the debates in the House of Commons; and among them all, between the years 1806 and 1809, none took more frequent advantage of it than young Graham. He came just in time to listen to some of the last speeches of Pitt and Fox, and to be stirred by the scarcely less exciting harangues of Windham, Grattan, Sheridan, and Canning. These, with Wilberforce’s persuasive appeals against slavery, and Romilly’s stern denunciations of the cruelty of the penal code, took a strong hold of his imagination. He yearned for the time when he, in like manner, might be able to carry the House along with him, and already determined that nothing should on his part be wanting to bring about the accomplishment of the dream. It was the memory of what he had himself felt on such occasions, which induced him, at one of the meetings of the old Westminsters, to argue as he did, with great force, against the project for removing the school into the country. No considerations of physical health ought, in his opinion, to be weighed against the abandonment of an intellectual impulse so powerful as was supplied to the boys by their proximity to the Houses of Parliament; and believing, as we do, that the sanitary drawbacks to Westminster where it now stands are grossly exaggerated, we believe also that Sir James Graham took a wise and even a benevolent view of the matter then under discussion.

In 1809 young Graham quitted Westminster, and became a private pupil in the family of the Rev. G. Richards, Vicar of Bampton, near Farringdon, in Berkshire. There he made the acquaintance of Sir John Throckmorton, one of the most eminent agriculturists of the day, and learned from him how much was to be gained by the application of science and capital to the culture of the soil. His sojourn in Bampton did not, however, extend beyond a year. In 1810 he entered as a gentleman-commoner at Christ Church, and in 1812 quitted Oxford without having at all distinguished himself there, or even passed for a degree.

It must not be supposed from all this that Mr Graham was either an idler or a dreamer. In his own way he picked up a large amount of knowledge. He was a good Latin and a very fair Greek scholar. In pure mathematics he never advanced far, but he was rapid in calculation, and possessed considerable skill in the arrangement of his own ideas. With all this, he was either indifferent about academical honours, or he disliked the order of studies which led to them. In private life he was somewhat reserved, and what ill-natured people might call stately. His style of dress was in the extreme of fashion; and being tall and well made, with a countenance singularly handsome, it is not to be wondered at if, among casual acquaintances, he was set down as a considerable coxcomb. Nobody, however, could lay to his charge that there was any lack of manliness about him. His vacations he usually spent in the north, where he threw himself keenly into field-sports, and was as forward with the fox-hounds as he was successful on the moor and by the river-side. At the same time, his desire to take an active part in the war of politics never grew cold. His father, a consistent supporter of Mr Pitt, had sat in Parliament as the Tory member for Ripon from 1802 to 1807. Mr Graham’s prejudices were all on the other side; a bias which they seem to have acquired partly through the deference in which he held the opinions of his relative, Lord Archibald Hamilton, partly because he met at his father’s table not always the most eloquent or well-instructed advocates of Toryism. Be the causes, however, what they might, he gave himself up to the Whigs, and in 1812 swore fealty to them, by being admitted, on the recommendation of Lord Morpeth, into Brookes’s Club. It was too soon for him as yet to aspire to a seat in the House of Commons; he determined, therefore, to devote a year or two to foreign travel; and as the only portion of the Continent then open to British subjects was the Spanish Peninsula, he set out with the intention of visiting one after another the principal seaports in Portugal and Spain.

Among these seaports there was none which offered to him so many attractions as Cadiz. It was there that the Central Junta met, and Graham not only became a frequent auditor at its sittings, but formed the personal acquaintance of some of its most distinguished members. The circumstance, however, on which, in after years, he used to dwell with the greatest delight, was this—that in Cadiz he received his first introduction to the Duke of Wellington. That great man, it will be remembered, in the winter of 1812, repaired to Cadiz for the purpose of entering with the Spanish Government into arrangements, to which the Spanish Government never adhered. And Mr Graham, being at the time the guest of Sir Henry Wellesley, had the gratification of conversing with the British hero, not in public only, but amid that entire unreserve into which the Duke was apt to throw himself when he felt or fancied that he was among friends, and could therefore give free and safe utterance to his sentiments on all subjects.

From Cadiz Mr Graham proceeded to Palermo, where Major-General Lord Montgomery held a military command. It will be recollected that Sicily was then occupied by an English army, and that Lord William Bentinck, though absent at the moment, was, properly speaking, at the head of it. To Lord Montgomery, however, besides his military command, a high political trust had been committed; and imagining that he saw in Mr Graham a remarkable aptitude for business, he offered to his acceptance the post of private secretary. Nothing could better fall in with the wishes of the young tourist. He accepted the office, and realised fully the expectations of his patron, by whom he was employed to manage an affair requiring great delicacy as well as firmness in handling it. This was nothing less than to make his way through the heart of the French armies, and to open a communication first with Murat, and afterwards with the Austrian Government. It was while so employed that Mr Graham became acquainted with Sir Charles, then Captain Napier, of the Euryalus frigate, of whom he conceived a very high opinion, and with whom, in due course of time, he quarrelled violently.

Mr Graham, after accompanying Lord William Bentinck through his campaign in Italy, returned to England, and began, early in 1815, to feel his way towards a seat in the House of Commons. It was a season, as a few of our readers may possibly recollect, of great suffering among the people, and anxiety to the Government. The renewal of the war with France added upwards of one hundred millions to the national debt; and peace, when it was purchased by the battle of Waterloo, seemed to bring only poverty in its train. A spirit of general disaffection pervaded the masses, and recourse was had to stringent measures in order to preserve the public peace. Drawn away by old associations, Mr Graham joined the ranks of the ultra-Liberals. Lord Archibald Hamilton was his kinsman, and Lord Folkstone, Sir Francis Burdett, and Lord Althorpe, won his political affections. His father, on the other hand, continued to profess the Tory principles in which he had grown old; so that, but for the sympathy of Lady Catherine, the young man might have found himself ill at ease as an inmate of Netherby Hall. Accordingly, he spent but little of his time there in the interval between his return from abroad and the general election of 1818; when, being assured of the support of Lord Milton, and obtaining through his mother letters of recommendation to Mr Wilberforce, he entered the lists as a candidate for Hull, and fought a hard battle to a successful issue.

We confess not to hold the name of William Wilberforce quite in the same degree of veneration in which it is held by his sons. We believe that there was no slight sprinkling of what is vulgarly called humbug in the good man’s character; and we find some corroboration of this suspicion in the fact that, though well aware of Mr Graham’s ultra-Liberal opinions, he nevertheless, because of the affection with which he regarded Lady Catherine, recommended her son to the constituency of Hull. A like charge may, we think, be brought against Dean Milner, subject, of course, to extenuating circumstances. Dean Milner conscientiously believed that the admission of Roman Catholics to political power would be tantamount to the establishment of idolatry in Great Britain: yet he, too, because Lady Catherine sat at his feet, gave a testimonial to her son, whom he knew to be an advocate of Catholic emancipation. By these means, and through the active agency of two Roman Catholic gentlemen and one clergyman of the Church of England, Mr Graham conducted his canvass with such spirit, that on the day of nomination an immense majority of hands was held up in his favour; and at the end of the second day’s polling he was thirty-three ahead of the gentleman whom he had determined to oust, and whom he succeeded in ousting. Those, however, were times when polling went on for fifteen consecutive days, during which electors and their friends lived at free quarters, candidates paying the piper. When, therefore, the returning-officer declared that Mr Graham had beaten Mr Stamford by thirty-eight votes, and when Mr Stamford’s committee thereupon demanded a scrutiny, Mr Graham’s heart sank within him. His father had with difficulty been prevailed upon to sanction his entering into the contest at all. The funds at his disposal were quite exhausted, and here was the battle to be fought over again. But who, having committed himself to such a struggle, ever willingly withdrew from it? Mr Graham did not; and at the end of a month he was pronounced member for Hull, with a debt of £6000 hanging like a millstone upon his back.

The lesson thus taught him at the outset of his career Mr Graham never afterwards forgot. He was fortunate enough to raise the money at interest, without calling upon his father for a shilling; but he registered a vow to rush no more blindfold into scrapes of the kind; and he kept it, in spite of many a strong inducement in after-times to the contrary.

Mr Graham took his seat on the third Opposition bench, behind his relative Lord Archibald Hamilton. Near him sat Mr E. Ellice (the Bear), Sir Robert Wilson, and Mr F. E. Kennedy; below him, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr Hume, and Lord Althorpe. It was a goodly association, and it produced its legitimate results. The war of parties soon began; and in March 1819, scarcely a month after he had taken his seat, the young member delivered his maiden speech. It proved a signal failure. Abounding in platitudes, and spoken with the air and in the tone of an exquisite, it scarcely commanded the attention of the House for a moment, and was brought to a close amid that buzz of general conversation which, more surely than any violent outcry of dissent, marks the disinclination of the Commons of England to be instructed. Mr Graham felt that his shot had missed, yet he by no means lost heart. He believed that the causes of the failure might be equally shared between himself and the House, and he determined to try again and again till he should compel the attention which was now denied him. Meanwhile, he sought comfort under the disappointment in a connection which proved to be the source, to him, of the purest happiness through life. On the 8th of July 1819 he married Fanny Callander, one of the loveliest women whom England, fertile in beauty, had ever produced. She was the daughter of Colonel Sir James Callander, afterwards Campbell of Arkinglas, and the aunt, as we need hardly stop to observe, of the still beautiful and highly-gifted Mrs Norton.

Mr Graham’s next effort was made during that eventful autumn session when Parliament met in consequence of the Peterloo affair, and the Government demanded powers beyond those of the constitution, to deal with the dangers which threatened the country. One of the bills which Ministers proposed, with a view to stop the organised agitation which Radical delegates kept up, prohibited all persons, not resident in a town, or being freeholders, from taking any part in the proceedings of a town meeting. Here was an opportunity which the ambitious member for Hull could not possibly allow to escape. He rose to demand whether the member for a borough, being neither the inhabitant of such borough nor a freeman, would come within the meaning of the Act; and when, to his great indignation, nobody seemed inclined to reply, he had the imprudence to argue the case, and to state it as peculiarly his own. Just at that moment a sound of suppressed laughter was heard in the House, whereupon the member for Hull lost his head, and, after rambling on for a few minutes without a single cheer to sustain him, sat down, retaining no recollection either of what he had said, or of what he meant to say. “There’s an end of Graham,” exclaimed Mr Henry Lascelles, jeeringly; “we shall hear no more of him.” But Mr Lascelles was mistaken.

Nothing daunted by this discomfiture, the baffled senator stood up again when the bill went into committee. This time he had carefully prepared his speech, and the House listened to it, without, however, evincing any signs that it approved. He was still on the losing side in politics; and though his friends saw that there was good stuff in him, even they scarcely ventured to hope that he would ever prove more than a useful second-rate orator, and a good man of business whenever matters of detail came to be considered.

The death of George III. in February 1820 warned the House of Commons that its days were numbered. The Government was desirous of precipitating the dissolution; and the Opposition took, in consequence, an early opportunity to hamper them, as far as might be, by a small reform bill. Lord John Russell proposed that the writs for Grampound, Penrhyn, Barnstaple, and Camelford, should be suspended, in order to afford the new Parliament an opportunity of inquiring into the corruption with which these boroughs were charged. But Lord John’s motion, which Mr Graham supported, though successful in the Lower House, was thrown out in the Upper, and the members dispersed, each to look after his own interest as he best might.

It would have been idle in Mr Graham to offer himself again to the constituency of Hull. He had done nothing in Parliament to secure a re-election, except at the cost of a second contest, and that he could not afford. The interest of the debt incurred by the first election pressed heavily upon his small income, and he at once made up his mind to look for a seat elsewhere. Now the Lowther influence, powerful as it had heretofore been, was beginning to give way in the north of England. Both the county of Cumberland and the city of Carlisle were growing restive, and the Whigs declared their intention of fighting for both seats in the city, and for one at least in the county. It was proposed to Mr Graham that he should stand in the Liberal interest for Carlisle; while Mr Curwen, up to that time the city member, contested the county against Sir John Lowther. Anxious as he was to return to the House of Commons, Mr Graham had the good taste to decline this proposal. He could not fight under a Whig banner so close to Netherby without greatly distressing his father; and, vaulting as his ambition was, it did not blind him to the impropriety of such a course. He contented himself, therefore, with throwing the weight of his influence into Mr Curwen’s scale as candidate for the county. Mr Curwen succeeded, so did Mr John Cam Hobhouse in Westminster, advocating household suffrage, triennal Parliaments, and counting among the busiest of his canvassers the late member for Hull. Mr Graham’s activity on that occasion fixed upon him the attention of certain gentlemen connected by property with the little borough of St Ives. They took him up, he canvassed the constituency, and on the day of election was brought in at the head of the poll. And well and zealously he redeemed the pledges which he had given to his Liberal supporters. He voted with Mr Hume against a proposed increase to the civil-list of George IV., and for inquiry into the expenses of the Regency during the five preceding years. He took part with Mr Brougham in his attack on the droits of the Crown and of the Admiralty, and joined Lord John Russell in demanding that the report on the civil-list should be deferred till the estimates for the year had been fully examined. Every proposal, in short, which had for its object the weakening of the influence of the Crown and the overthrow of existing usages, received his cordial support. He was, with Mr Curwen and Mr Brougham, a decided enemy to the Corn Laws as they then existed. He went into the gallery with Lord John Russell for the disfranchisement of Grampound, and the transfer of its members to Leeds. In a like spirit, he stood by Lord Archibald Hamilton when denouncing the Scottish system of election, and requiring that the number of Barons of the Exchequer should be reduced. Finally, in the disputes which arose about Queen Caroline, he ranged himself under her Majesty’s banner. This was pretty well within the brief interval of less than a year, as indicating the course which he had determined to follow. But a check came. The electors of St Ives were not at all satisfied with their new member. They presented a petition early in 1821 against Mr Graham’s return, and Mr Graham, rather than incur the certain expense and hazard of a scrutiny, resigned his seat.

Mortified as he was at finding himself thus excluded from public life, Mr Graham possessed too good a digestion to let the circumstance prey upon his spirits. His home was then, as it continued to be to the last, the chief scene of his happiness; and the birth of his first-born son, on the 7th of April 1820, shed additional light over the domestic circle. It suited neither his means nor his tastes to reside in London as an idler; he therefore retired into Cumberland, and, settling down at Crofthead, the unpretending house to which he had carried his beautiful bride, he threw himself with all his energies into country pursuits. It was high time that he should. His father, an easy-going and generous man, had never looked after his affairs as became him. He put himself entirely into the hands of an agent, from whom he exacted no accounts, and who did with the rents of the large estate of Netherby pretty much as he pleased. The consequence was that farms and farm-buildings went to ruin. Payments on account were all that the landlord received, and tenants got into arrear so far that recovery was impossible. With some difficulty Mr Graham prevailed upon his father to transfer the management of the property to him, and the work of practical reform began. But the extent of the difficulties with which he had to grapple may be guessed at, when we say that encumbrances to the amount of not less than £120,000 lay like a dead weight upon Netherby.

Mr Graham had accomplished a good deal. Money was raised on more favourable terms; roads were made, marshes drained, farm-buildings rendered habitable, and a better system of tillage introduced, when, in 1824, his father died, and he succeeded to the title and to the estate. An additional burden was of course laid upon the latter in the shape of dower to Lady Catherine, but for the sisters of the new proprietor scarcely any provision had been made. Sir James, like a good brother as he was, supplied the deficiency out of his own funds. But this done, there remained so little on which to reckon, more especially with his views of extensive improvement, that he thought seriously of selling Netherby, and of embarking, with whatever might remain to him after paying off the mortgages, in trade. He even went so far as to open a negotiation with a London banking-house which happened at that moment to desire an extension of its business, and waited only the judgment of Mr James Evan Bailey of Bristol, to whom, through a friend, he referred the question. “Tell him,” said that experienced banker, “to hold fast by Netherby, and keep clear of banking.” By Netherby Sir James accordingly held fast, and within twelve months the names of Messrs Pole, Thornton, Down, & Co. appeared in the ‘Gazette.’

It had been Sir James’s dream that, as a banker or as a thriving merchant, he would find readier access to the political career on which he desired to enter, than as the owner of a large and encumbered estate. The fate of Messrs Pole and Thornton awoke him from that dream, and he bent all his energies to diminish, if he could not entirely remove, the debt upon Netherby. His own habits were prudent and economical. He chose for his associates practical agriculturists, studied every work that came out on the subject of agriculture, and put in practice such suggestions as appeared to be wise. He read, likewise, with a view to prepare himself at some future time for public life, and read to excellent purpose. The consequence was, that every year saw the burden diminish which at the outset seemed to be intolerable; and that, in 1826, his circumstances, if not easy, were at all events much less harassing than at one moment he had expected them ever to be.

It was at this time that he first came before the public as an author. His pamphlet on corn and currency made a great sensation, taking men of all parties by surprise. Its argument went far beyond the age in which it appeared. Upon the Bank Restriction Act of 1797 he laid the blame of all the evils under which the country then laboured, and censured Mr Peel for returning too hastily to cash payments in 1819. The sliding-scale, as a protection to corn-growers, he entirely condemned, and reasoned in favour of free trade, with a small but fixed duty on foreign corn as some compensation for the peculiar burdens which the land was called upon to bear. We who read the pamphlet now, remembering all that the country has gone through, and looking to the present state both of its manufacturing and agricultural interests, cannot sufficiently admire the audacity of the country gentleman who, in 1826, could thus express himself. But his audacity told. Though all the leaders of party, from Lord Liverpool to Cobbet, denounced and censured, there were multitudes in the ranks who approved the Cumberland baronet’s reasoning, and no great while elapsed ere they gave tangible proof of their sympathy with his views.

At the dissolution of Parliament in 1826, Mr James, who for some time had represented Carlisle, retired. A requisition was immediately sent in to Sir James Graham, who replied to it favourably, and came forward as the Liberal candidate. We do not use the stronger term Radical, because, to do him justice, Sir James never voted for universal suffrage and annual Parliaments; but of everything on the sinking-scale short of these two points he was then the advocate. He declared himself in favour of the immediate abolition of slavery, the total removal of religious disabilities, retrenchment in the public expenditure, and the reduction within moderate limits of the import-duty on corn. The struggle was fierce both in Carlisle and elsewhere, for the Catholic Question was approaching a crisis; and Sir James, supported by all the operatives of the city, came in at the head of the poll. His first vote in the House was against the Government, on a question of an increased grant out of the Consolidated Fund to the Duke and Duchess of Clarence; his next, for an inquiry into the abuses in the Court of Chancery. On both occasions he went into the lobby, one of a small minority. But already prospects began to open for him, on which he had no reason to count in returning to public life. Lord Liverpool was struck down by paralysis in 1827, and that scramble for a successor at the Treasury began, of which, by the way, Mr Torrens gives a very inaccurate account. Following implicitly the story told by Mr Stapleton, he endeavours to show that Canning was no intriguer; that George IV. hated and would have set Canning aside, had he seen his way to any other arrangement; and that the Conyngham influence had nothing in the world to say in deciding the King’s policy. We know better; and we know likewise that not the Tories only, but the most consistent and stanchest of the Whigs never trusted Canning. Sir James Graham, on the other hand, ranged himself among the Canningites, and soon became the friend and favourite pupil of Huskisson. He sat on the ministerial side of the Speaker’s chair while Canning led the House, and he retained his place during the administration which succeeded on Canning’s demise. But Lord Goderich’s reign was short; and on the assumption of office by the Duke of Wellington, Sir James withdrew with his Whig allies to the Opposition benches. His opposition, however, appears to have been a good deal modified by the esteem in which he held Mr Huskisson. The Corn Bill which that gentleman introduced, still being a minister, Sir James Graham supported, though it was framed on a principle at variance with that which he had advocated in his pamphlet; and many years elapsed ere he could bring himself to contemplate without alarm the disturbance of the compromise into which, as he believed, contending parties had entered by its adoption.

In 1827 a vacancy occurred in the representation of Cumberland, and Sir James was easily persuaded to resign his seat for Carlisle and to set up for the county. His return was not opposed, and he entered the House after a brief absence as a county member. Though still ineffective in debate, the House began to consider him a man of promise. He was an excellent member of committees, assiduous in his attendance, and remarkably skilful in sifting evidence. He spoke likewise with effect in moving for an inquiry into the fitness of limiting the circulation of Scotch notes to Scotland itself; and his speech, though overladen, as most of his speeches were, with quotations, was referred to by almost all who followed him, whether advocating or opposing the view which he took of the matter. But his great start was taken, when the Duke, by passing his Catholic Relief Bill, gave the first decided shock to the Tory party. Sir James of course approved the measure, of which, as well as of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, he had always been the consistent supporter. And he did more. He took an opportunity of commending Sir Robert Peel, in his absence, for the sacrifice to duty which he had made of his seat for the University of Oxford, and paved the way thereby for the close intimacy which in due time arose between him and that great though not always straightforward or very consistent statesman.

Whatever the Duke’s conduct and views at that critical moment may have been, those of his subordinates strike us now as not only impolitic, but dishonest. Sir George Murray went out of his way to assure the Whigs that he intended to manage the affairs of the colonies on the principles which they advocated. Sir Henry Hardinge became a frequent visitor at Spenser House, and professed opinions there which led Lord Althorpe to reckon upon him as a willing member of a new coalition. Meanwhile three members of Brookes’s, Lords Rosselyn and Jersey and Sir James Scarlett, held office under a Tory chief, and Earl Grey was approached with a view to conciliation by creating his son-in-law, Mr Lambton, Earl of Durham. All this gave sure evidence of weakness on the part of the Government, and encouraged the discontented among its old supporters to aim at its overthrow. On the other hand, Sir James Graham, as if looking rather to a fusion than to the break-up of parties, declared that he saw little difference, except on the question of the currency, between the opinions entertained by the Opposition on the one side, and the friends of the Administration on the other. And, as if to test the House, he moved, on going into Committee of Supply, that since Peel’s bill of 1819 was accepted as a final settlement of the currency question, the salaries of all public servants should be cut down by 20 per cent. Though listened to attentively, he received small support, either from his own friends or the friends of the Government; but he added, by the vigour of his appeal, to the reputation which he had already acquired, and was by common consent assigned a place with Lord Althorpe, Lord John Russell, and Mr Brougham, as one of the leaders of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

Early in May 1830 the Parliamentary campaign opened in earnest, by a notice of motion by Sir James Graham for a return of all the pensions, salaries, and emoluments then receivable by members of the Privy Council. His speech was, in its own way, a telling one; and the motion was met by a proposal from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to supply the honourable member with a comprehensive enumeration of all civil and military offices and salaries under the Crown. Sir James either felt or affected great indignation, and, in rejecting Mr Goulbourne’s counter-proposal, made use of the expression, “That he was not disposed to stoop to ignoble game while flights of voracious birds of prey were floating in the upper regions of the air.” This was one of the clap-traps in which Sir James on all convenient occasions indulged, and it had its effect. Not fewer than 147 members in a House of 382 voted with him—a remarkable sign of the times, a sure proof that men’s passions had overclouded their reason on many matters, and that Government by party, as it had once existed, was for a season at least at an end.

Encouraged by the plaudits which were heaped upon him, Sir James, after remaining quiet for a few weeks, moved to reduce the grant for special diplomatic missions from £28,000 to £18,000 a year. He was again opposed with all the strength which the Government could muster, and again failed. But failure on this occasion was accepted on both sides as a triumph. In a House of 217 members, the motion was rejected by a majority of 19 only. It was a blow to the Ministers scarcely less severe than that which they received the same evening, when Sir James Mackintosh carried his clause in the Forgery Bill against them—abolishing the punishment of death in all cases except where wills were concerned.

The death of George IV., on the 20th of June 1830, was soon followed by the dissolution of Parliament. Sir James went back to his constituents with a reputation largely enhanced; and while his canvass was at its height, tidings of the revolution in Paris arrived. They set the whole country in a blaze, and two Liberal members immediately started for Cumberland. A fierce contest ensued, of the temper of which some idea may be formed when we transcribe one of the toasts which was proposed and accepted amid a tempest of applause at a public dinner given to Sir James Graham at Whitehaven—“May the heads of Don Miguel, King Ferdinand, and Charles Capet be severed from their bodies and roll in the dust, and the sooner the better.” It would be unfair to the memory of Sir James Graham if we omitted to add that he wholly disapproved of this sentiment, and that, while applauding the revolution, he expressed himself anxious that the French people should use their victory with moderation.

We have now arrived at an era into the history of which it would be out of place, while sketching Sir James Graham’s career, to enter much at length. The elections of 1830 had gone against the Government, and the country seemed to have become a prey to anarchy. There were incendiary fires in many places; and when Parliament met in November to provide a remedy, the worst spirit manifested itself in both Houses. The King’s visit to the Lord Mayor of London was postponed; and the Duke, with extraordinary rashness, gave utterance to a statement which his enemies insisted on accepting as a manifesto against all reform. A coalition between the Whigs and the ultra-Tories to expel him from power ensued, and Ministers, being defeated on a question of the civil-list, resigned their places. In bringing all this to pass Sir James had taken an active part, and he received his reward in the appointment of First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in Earl Grey’s Cabinet. He was placed at the Admiralty, however, rather as representing ultra opinions than from any admiration of his talents and industry; for Earl Grey, desiring above all things to throw the authority of Government into the hands of aristocrats, was too prudent to overlook the policy, situated as he then was, of having every great party in the State represented in his Cabinet. Hence the Duke of Richmond, Mr Wynn, Lord Palmerston, Lord Goderich, and Mr Charles Grant, were invited to take their seats beside Lord Lansdowne, Lord Althorpe, and Lord Carlisle; and Lord Durham, Sir James Graham, and Lord Melbourne readily joined them. Among all these there was not one who displayed so large an amount of administrative ability as Sir James Graham, or who with so much frankness acknowledged, when the proper time came, that the improvements effected by him in the department were little more than the execution of plans which his predecessor had already arranged and determined upon.

Earl Grey had taken office pledged to three things,—Retrenchment, Non-intervention in Foreign Affairs, and Parliamentary Reform. Into all these Sir James Graham eagerly threw himself. Returned again without opposition for Cumberland, he took up his residence at the Admiralty, and worked like a slave to keep ahead of the enormous amount of business which devolved upon him. For now his real worth was discovered. What might be wanting in brilliancy he endeavoured to make up by labour; and he held his own, not without a hard fight for it, in the House of Commons. Lord Althorpe, the acknowledged leader of the Ministerial party, was slow and confused. He derived the greatest benefit from the subtle and ambitious promptings of Graham, and often sought for them. Whether the proposal in the first Whig budget to impose a tax on the transfer of stock came from this source does not appear; but the measure, in spite of the eloquence with which Sir James Graham supported it, met with no success, and was withdrawn amid the jeers of the House.

This was a bad beginning, and his speech in defence of the army estimates proved equally unfortunate. The pledge of non-intervention had been thrown over by the Government in the case of Belgium, and an increase to the army was asked for. In advocating this increase, Sir James allowed himself considerable latitude of speech in regard to the condition of Ireland, and O’Gorman Mahon, conceiving that he, among others, had been attacked, called upon the First Lord to retract, or else to give him personal satisfaction. Sir James requested Lord Althorpe to act for him on that occasion, and the quarrel was amicably settled.

The improvements introduced into the constitution of the Admiralty were chiefly these: Sir James abolished the Victualling and Navy Boards as separate establishments; he required the accounts of the office to be kept by double entry; he proposed to throw open the great national asylum at Greenwich to seamen of the mercantile marine; and, failing to accomplish that, he relieved the mercantile marine from the special tax which it had heretofore borne. Nor was he all the while exempt from a full share of the burden of administration in other respects. Earl Grey never lost sight of the pledge which he had given to reform the representative system throughout the United Kingdom, and a committee of four was appointed to investigate the whole subject, and to report upon it to the Cabinet. Lord Durham, Lord John Russell, Lord Duncannon, and Sir James Graham composed that committee, of which no member worked more steadily and with greater zeal than Sir James.

It is not our purpose to tell over again the thrice-told tale of the bloodless revolution of 1831–32. In preparing the scheme which the Government was to bring forward, Sir James Graham appears to have been less extravagant than some of his colleagues. He desired to interfere as little as possible with existing rights in counties, except by adding copyholders and leaseholders to the ancient freeholders. In boroughs he was an advocate for occupancy as a condition to freedom, and was willing that the limit of the pecuniary qualifications should be wide. He objected to the ballot, and to anything like an attempt to establish perfect uniformity of franchise anywhere. Yet such was his infirmity of purpose that he yielded his own opinions to those of men of stronger will, and affixed his signature to a report which recommended the ballot and other arrangements of which he disapproved. It was this weakness, indeed—this apparent inability to arrive at settled convictions and to stand by them—which constituted the great flaw in Sir James Graham’s character as a public man. His biographer, we observe, commends him for the specialty, and endeavours to make what was mere irresolution stand in the light of judicial impartiality. “Half his life,” says Mr Torrens, “was spent in comparing and pondering opposite results, and determining judicially in the silence and solitude of his study on which side the balance lay. ‘Upon the whole’ again and again occurs throughout his private correspondence and public judgments, for judgments they frequently were—a phrase which a statesman of a constitutional country may well employ as eminently expressive of the true candour and humility of wisdom.” Doubtless this is true; but if we find the statesman afterwards going apart from his own conclusions, and falling in with proposals against which he had “on the whole” decided, what can we say of him except that his humility degenerates into weakness, and that, whatever qualities he may possess, firmness of purpose is certainly not one of them?

It is a remarkable fact that not even now could Sir James Graham command the attention of the House. His great attention to business, his value on a committee, and his administrative abilities, were very generally acknowledged, but as a speaker he made little or no impression. Even his advocacy of what may be called his own measure was felt to be feeble—a strange medley of confused discussion and turgid enunciations. But the bill had other sources of strength to depend upon than the logic of its Parliamentary supporters. Political unions and conspiracies out of doors did the work, and the King and the House of Lords were forced to accept their own humiliation. First came the dissolution on the 23d of April 1831, a step into which William IV. was coerced by the overbearing insolence of Earl Grey and Lord Chancellor Brougham. Then followed elections wherein brute force bore down all opposition, and by-and-by such an assembly at Westminster as struck terror into the hearts of the Ministers who had brought it together. On the top of that wave Sir James Graham was again borne into Parliament—a colleague being given to him of opinions far more advanced than his own. So it befell in the borough of Carlisle, so also in the neighbouring county of Westmoreland. It is quite certain that Sir James Graham did not contemplate the crisis, which he had helped to bring on, without alarm. “We have ventured,” he says, speaking of himself and his colleagues, “to drive nearer the brink than any other statesman ever did before; but we did so because aware that if we let go the reins the horses would be maddened into plunging headlong into the abyss, where extrication would be impossible.”

We have alluded elsewhere to Sir James Graham’s reconstruction of the departments in the Admiralty. It is creditable to him that he disclaimed all the merit of originality in such reconstruction. He discovered, on acceding to office, that plans of practical reform were already settled, and he had the good sense to accept and act upon them as his own. He found a willing adviser likewise in Lord Melville, who kept back nothing from him when consulted. Having completed this job, he set himself next to devise some means of getting rid of the necessity of impressment, and was again fortunate enough to have brought to him an important letter, addressed by Lord Nelson to Earl St Vincent. The letter in question suggested that there ought to be a registration of seamen, among whom, at the sudden outbreak of war, a ballot should take place, with permission, as in the militia, to find substitutes. But, anxious as he was to accomplish this object, he shrank as a Minister of the Crown from openly striking a blow at the prerogative. When, therefore, Mr Buckingham moved, “That the forcible impressment of seamen for His Majesty’s navy was unjust, cruel, inefficient, and unnecessary,” Sir James Graham resisted the motion. He fought, however, less for the evil itself than for the manner of applying a remedy, and obtained leave of the House to bring in a bill which has many admirable points in it, but which he was not destined to guide through its various stages till it became law.

The years 1833 and 1834 were seasons of sore trial to the Reform Government. They had evoked a power at home which they found themselves ill able to control. They had entered into treaties and engagements abroad, the necessity of acting up to which involved them in heavy expenses. But most of all were they hampered and annoyed by the operations of the Irish party, which, after helping them to carry their great measure, asked for its reward. The Irish Established Church must be sacrificed; and the better to insure a speedy attainment of that object, an agitation was got up for the repeal of the Union. Now, Earl Grey was not a man to endure contradiction calmly; he introduced a stern Coercion Bill into the House of Lords, which his colleagues fought inch by inch in the House of Commons. In order to conciliate their Radical supporters, they proposed at the same time to reduce the number of Irish bishops, and to substitute for church-rate in Ireland moneys to be raised by taxes imposed on all sees and benefices. Finally, after providing, as was assumed, a better method of managing episcopal and chapter lands, a clause in their bill declared “That it should be lawful to appropriate any portion thence accruing to purposes of secular utility, without regard to the religious opinions of persons to be benefited.” This famous clause (the 147th) was warmly debated, and in the end withdrawn. But neither section of the Legislature seemed to be satisfied. Indeed, in the Cabinet itself diversity of opinion was held in regard to that matter, and no great while elapsed ere diversity of opinion led to separation.

The first overt proof of schism in the Cabinet was presented by the opposite sides which Sir James Graham and his colleagues took on Mr O’Connell’s motion of censure upon the Irish judge, Sir William Smith. Sir James stoutly resisted it. Mr Stanley, Lord Althorpe, and Lord John Russell voted for it. On a division, Sir James went out with a minority of 74, and next morning tendered his resignation. He had proved himself, however, too valuable a member of the Administration to be cast adrift, and Earl Grey refused to part with him. Three nights afterwards he committed another crime by acknowledging in his place that the economy effected by his predecessors at the Admiralty was quite equal to his own. Then followed a discussion upon the Corn Laws, which he defended as they stood; whereas Mr Poulett Thompson, Vice-President of the Board of Trade, proposed to substitute a fixed duty for a sliding-scale. And here an incident befell which deserves notice. Mr Poulett Thompson endeavoured to confute his opponent by reading extracts from a pamphlet which had appeared in 1830, and in which the author, under the nom de guerre of a Cumberland Landowner, advocated entire freedom of trade in corn, as in other commodities. Strange to say, Sir James Graham took no notice of the ironical cheers which followed these quotations, and which marked the conviction of the House that the pamphlet had emanated from his pen. Yet such was not the case. The pamphlet was the work of a Mr Rooke, and was acknowledged as such when, four years subsequently, the author gave to the world a volume on the science of geology. Why Sir James Graham did not decline the honour thrust upon him at the moment, we are at a loss to conceive, and his biographer certainly assigns no satisfactory reason for the proceeding.

The Cabinet worked on not very amicably, and Sir James Graham did it what service he could by taking charge of its bill for remodelling the Exchequer Office. But the time was come when he felt that he could serve it no longer. Lord Wellesley’s measure for converting tithes in Ireland into a permanent rent-charge on the land was cumbered by a question from Mr Shiel, drawing from Lord John Russell something like a pledge, that the Government might hereafter consider the propriety of applying a portion of this rent-charge to secular purposes. And a few days later Mr Ward brought forward his motion, “That the Protestant Episcopal Establishment in Ireland exceeds the spiritual wants of the Protestant population, and that, it being the right of the State to regulate the distribution of Church property in such a manner as Parliament might determine, it is the opinion of this House ‘that the temporal possessions of the Church of Ireland, as established by law, ought to be reduced.’” There was no evading a movement like this. The Cabinet must either resist or accept Mr Ward’s motion, and a majority determined to accept it. Now, however Radical Sir James Graham’s views might be on other points, he was then, as he always had been, a consistent Churchman. On many previous occasions he had declared his determination to defend to the uttermost the inviolability of what he regarded as a fundamental institution of the Empire; and the Duke of Richmond, Lord Ripon, and Mr Stanley agreed with him. When, therefore, this Act for confiscating the property of the Church was accepted by the Cabinet as its own, the four Ministers above named felt that only one course lay open to them: they retired from the Administration, and shook it thereby to its base.

Sir James sat below the gangway, on the Ministerial side of the House, while those gyrations went on which ended in shaking Earl Grey out of the Premier’s chair, and Lord Melbourne into it. With Mr Stanley, and the half-dozen friends who adhered to him, Sir James kept aloof from each of the rival parties, becoming one of the company who, as Mr O’Connell described it, “travelled by themselves in the Derby Dilly.” It is not for us to inquire into the motives which animated the little band at that time. But considerations of delicacy towards old friends were surely rated above their just value when they induced Mr Stanley and Sir James Graham, a few months subsequently, to decline taking office under Sir Robert Peel. Had they met his advances as frankly as they deserved, the Conservative Government of 1835 would have probably stood its ground; and though it be difficult to conceive, looking both at things present and things past, how the commercial system, now in the ascendant, could have been pushed aside, still the progress of that system would have been probably more gradual; it certainly might have achieved its triumph at a sacrifice less costly than the disruption of the great Tory party, which followed on the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.

Sir James was coldly looked upon by the Liberals for abandoning Earl Grey’s Administration, and a cabal was got up to resist his re-election for East Cumberland in the event of his taking office with Sir Robert Peel. He refused to take office, as we have shown, and defended himself well at the hustings against the attacks which were made upon him. East Cumberland chose him again to be its representative, and he again took his seat below the gangway on the Ministerial side of the House. As an independent member, however, he stood aloof from the struggle between Sir Robert Peel and the Whigs, till Lord John Russell brought forward his famous motion “For the appropriation to secular purposes of a portion of the Church property in Ireland.” Then Sir James Graham threw over all party scruples. He delivered against the motion one of the most telling speeches which he ever uttered in Parliament, and went out into the gallery with that gallant band which failed to keep their chief in office by twenty-five votes only. From that moment his severance from the Whigs became a mere question of time, and the bitterness with which the Municipal Reform Bill was argued hurried it on. Sir James had never desired to swamp the poorer voters, either in counties or boroughs, and voted against the extinction of the class of freemen. Having gone out with the Tories, he was preparing to cross the House to his old seat, when a storm of derisive cheering greeted him, accompanied by shouts of “Stay where you are!” He stopped, looked angrily at the benches whence the sounds proceeded, and then sat down with a smile of scorn on his lips on one of the Opposition benches.

For the part which he took in resisting the extension to Ireland of the municipal changes which were effected in England and in Scotland, Mr Torrens severely censures Sir James Graham. This is natural enough. Going far beyond his hero in Radical propensities, Mr Torrens dispenses blame where men of moderate views would award praise. He seems to forget that all legislation for Ireland was undertaken in those days with a twofold purpose only—to conciliate Mr O’Connell, and to humble the House of Lords. The Melbourne Ministry, however, rode their hobby too fast. Not a few of the most distinguished of the old reformers fell off from them. Indeed, to such a height was the spirit of alienation carried, that not Sir James Graham only, but likewise Lord Brougham, Sir Francis Burdett, and Lord Stanley, withdrew their names from Brookes’s, into which Mr O’Connell had been received as a member.

From this date up to the death of William IV. in 1837, party spirit prevailed in Parliament and out of it, with a bitterness which has no parallel in modern times. The Ministers, existing by the breath of Mr O’Connell and the Radicals, seemed indifferent to the consequences of the measures which they proposed. The great body of the Opposition, carried away by personal dislike to their opponents, fought more than one battle which it would have been wise to avoid, and compelled their more judicious leaders to fight with them. On the whole, however, the Duke in the House of Lords and Sir Robert Peel in the Commons managed matters well; and it is only just to Sir James Graham to add, that they found in him a hearty as well as a prudent coadjutor.

The accession of her present Majesty led, of course, to a dissolution, and Sir James Graham had the mortification to find himself opposed in East Cumberland by Major Aglionby, formerly his fastest friend. He received, on the other hand, but a doubtful support from the Conservatives, and on the day of nomination the mob refused to hear him. Naturally proud, and perhaps a little dissatisfied with himself, he quitted the hustings, and went to the poll in bad heart. He was defeated by a majority of upwards of 500 votes, and withdrew, full of indignation, to Netherby. He had suffered not long before this a heavy domestic affliction in the death of his mother; and mortified ambition, coming on the back of private sorrow, wellnigh broke him down. He took no further part in county business; he shut himself out from county society, and spent his time chiefly in reading every new book that came out, and corresponding on important subjects with Sir Robert Peel. It was the interval between his defeat for East Cumberland and his return to Parliament as member for the Welsh borough of Pembroke which made him, what he ever after continued to be, a Peelite to the backbone.

In 1838 Sir James Graham was elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, in opposition to the Duke of Sussex. He delivered an inaugural address, which is probably still remembered in consequence of the uproar which it called forth by certain allusions to the necessity of keeping the Church in alliance with the State; for then the fever of Free-Kirk folly was at its height in Scotland. But in 1839 he had graver matters to attend to. That systematic agitation against the Corn Laws having already begun of which Mr Charles Villiers, and not Mr Cobden, was the author. Sir James spoke in his place against interference with the sliding-scale; at the same time he guarded himself from the charge of desiring to secure a monopoly in the corn-market for the English landowner, and went out of his way to warn the House that nothing could be more perilous to English interests than that monopoly in the supply of cotton which had been conceded to America. He was anxious even then that steps should be taken to encourage the better cultivation of the plant in India, and pressed upon the President of the Board of Control the wisdom of originating such a scheme. Words of warning which, disregarded at the moment, come back upon us now with a melancholy echo!

The progress of the struggle, which ended in the withdrawal of the Appropriation Clause and the passing of the Irish Municipal Reform Bill through both Houses of Parliament, is of too recent date to require that we should speak of it in detail. So is the contest which arose about softening down some of the clauses in the New Poor-Law, of which Sir James, though advocating the law itself, was a strenuous advocate. His speech on that occasion, as well as his censure of the job which pensioned Sir John Newport and raised Mr Spring Rice to the peerage, more and more drew towards him the sympathies of the Conservative party, which indeed had already begun to look to him as one of its future leaders. He was equally efficient in his attacks on the Whig mismanagement of affairs in India and in China, and certainly did not spare his old friends when stirred by their rebukes into invective. At last the collapse came, and in 1841 the country declared against the Whigs. A new Administration was formed, with Sir Robert Peel at its head. Sir James Graham accepted the seals of the Home Office, and for five years public affairs were carried on, if not smoothly in all respects, with remarkable success upon the whole. No doubt, Lord Aberdeen’s legislation in the matter of the Church of Scotland proved unfortunate, and there was little in Sir James Graham’s manner to reconcile the discontented portion of the Scottish clergy to the law as it stood. Indeed, it is a remarkable fact, that almost all the failures in Sir Robert Peel’s policy occurred on points of which the management devolved upon Sir James Graham. To him, in a great degree, was attributed the disruption in the Scottish Church. His bill for the amendment of the Factory Act of 1833 hung fire, and was withdrawn; while his attempt to reform the ecclesiastical courts in England utterly broke down.

In 1843 the difficulties of the Administration really began. Ireland was the rock ahead which they found it impossible to weather. They brought in one bill, which they ultimately abandoned, and were content to appoint a Commission, with Lord Devon at its head, to inquire into the state of the country with a view to future legislation. To some of their adherents, moreover, they appeared to be shaken in their adhesion to the sliding scale of duties on the importation of foreign corn; and day by day the great fact became more obvious that Parliamentary government, based on a widely-extended suffrage, is scarcely compatible with the continuance of monarchy. Fortunately, perhaps, for them, Mr O’Connell chose this moment to reawaken the demand in Ireland for the dissolution of the Union, and to inflame the passions of the people by his monster meetings. Great, we should now say unnecessary, forbearance was exhibited in dealing with this movement; but at last a manifesto appeared, which, besides calling upon the masses to assemble at Clontarf, invited the “Repeal cavalry” to attend in troops of twenty-five,—each under its own officers. The Lord-Lieutenant and Lord Chancellor of Ireland happened both to be in London at the time. They met Sir James Graham at the Home Office with the law officers of the Crown, and that decisive step was taken which not only dispersed the meeting of Clontarf, but shut up Mr O’Connell in jail.

We believe that Sir James Graham did nothing more than his duty to the Crown and to the country throughout these proceedings. He contrived, however, to concentrate all the bile of the Opposition on his own head, and a manner, not always very gracious, repelled, if it did not positively disgust, not a few of the supporters of the Administration. It so happened also, that his bill for limiting the hours of labour in the factories did not meet the views either of the mill-owners or of Lord Ashley (the present Lord Shaftesbury) and his friends. The result was, that being defeated on one point by Lord Ashley, and on another by the mill-owners, he withdrew his measure, and sustained, as unsuccessful legislators usually do, some loss of character from the process. But the most damaging event in the course of his Administration was his having authorised, by warrant, the letters of Mazzini and other refugees to be opened at the General Post-Office. A dead set was made at him; and though he showed clearly enough that the law bore him out, he escaped by a majority of only forty-two in a full House—a narrow one, considering the state of parties—the mortification of having his conduct inquired into by a committee of the House of Commons. It is not for us to say why Lord Aberdeen maintained a profound silence in the House of Lords when the subject came to be discussed there. His Lordship was never famous for excess of pluck; and it was generally believed at the time, and is indeed highly probable, that Lord Aberdeen, being Minister for Foreign Affairs, had at least as much to do with the transaction as the Home Secretary. The truth, however, is, that a great deal too much was made of the matter. Lord John Russell and Mr Macaulay, with other leaders of the Opposition, supported Tom Duncombe in his demand; while Sir Robert Peel resisted it, though with his usual caution. At last, on the suggestion of Sir James himself, a committee was named to inquire privately, when it came out that there had not been a Secretary of State for the last hundred years but had signed warrants similar to that issued by Sir James, and that, in doing as he had done, he acted upon precedent, with, as it happened, more than common moderation.

We come now to the Peel policy of 1845, the renewal of the income-tax and the “further lightening of the springs of industry,” by striking out 430 out of 813 articles on which customs duties still continued to be levied. It would be satisfactory to know what share Sir James Graham had in the inauguration and adoption of that policy. Suspicion was rife at the moment, and it still remains, that he took a very active part in pressing its adoption on the Cabinet. But Mr Torrens throws no light whatever upon the subject. He reminds us, indeed, of some witty sayings uttered on the occasion, such as “that the old leaven of Holland House would work till it produced a thorough fermentation,” &c., and chronicles the beginnings of Mr Disraeli’s influence, by quoting his cutting remarks, “that Protection in 1845 was in the same position with Protestant ascendancy in 1828;” and that “a Conservative Government was an organised hypocrisy.” But not a line is given of private correspondence to show what Sir James’s opinions really were with reference to the present or the past. So it is when Mr Torrens comes to describe the course of legislation which led to the permanent endowment of Maynooth, and the setting up of what Sir Robert Inglis called “Godless Colleges” in Ireland. We have a not uninteresting digest of each debate as it occurred, the names of the speakers on both sides being duly recorded; but of Sir James Graham is said no more than of Mr George Bankes or of Mr Ward, or of others even less worthy of notice than the latter gentlemen. This is the more to be regretted that Mr Torrens speaks feelingly of the enormous amount of labour which the subject of his biography underwent, and which, we may venture to add, from our own personal knowledge of the man, the biographer has by no means overrated. The fact is, that Sir James Graham was what has been termed a glutton of work. Such was the constitution of his mind, that before deciding upon any point, whether practical or theoretical, he looked round and round for argument on both sides, and not unfrequently continued to doubt after he had arrived at a judgment. One thing, however, is certain: he had already, in 1845, become a convert to the doctrines of free trade, and was very urgent in his recommendations to the chief of the Cabinet to inaugurate an entire change of system. Now, Sir Robert Peel, as his famous Elbing letter showed, scarcely stood in need of such pressure. Thrown by mere accident into the Tory party, he never made common cause with it, and seemed to rejoice that the time was at length come for humbling the aristocrats who had so long made use of his talents while affecting socially to look down upon him.

We need not stop to repeat the thrice-told tale of the anti-corn-law agitation, or of the potato blight in the autumn of 1846, and its consequences. Enough is done when we state, that from the first appearance of that disease Sir James Graham saw but one remedy for the evil. In the discussions which ensued he ranged himself with Lord Aberdeen and Mr Sidney Herbert on the side of the Premier, and never, as he subsequently declared, gave a vote with greater satisfaction in his life than that which broke up the Peel Government, and dislocated the great party which it had taken years to consolidate. Not very popular at any time either with the Whigs or their rivals; disliked by the former for his desertion on the Irish Church question; distrusted by the latter because of the political creed of his youth,—he now drew down upon his own head an amount of obloquy, more enduring, if not, for the moment, more intense, than that with which the recreant Tory chief was overwhelmed; and the time shortly arrived when, partly on this account, partly because his proud heart rebelled against the dictates of his contemporaries, public life, especially official, if not Parliamentary life, became to him intolerable.

We must hurry over what remains to be told of this versatile yet vigorous statesman. When Lord Aberdeen formed his Coalition Cabinet, Sir James Graham returned to the Admiralty, where the Crimean war took him by surprise, as it did all the other members of the Administration. Sir James, however, put a bold face upon the matter, and having selected Sir Charles Napier to command the worst-found and worst-manned fleet that ever quitted the English shores, he sent him, at the worst season of the year, to try what could be done for the destruction of Russian power in the Baltic. It was unfortunate, both for the First Lord and for the Admiral, that the Reform Club chose to give the latter a dinner. The speeches uttered on that occasion, and especially Sir James Graham’s speech, resembled more the pæans of victors after the strife, than the statements of men about to incur the hazard of a campaign; and the abortive issue of the expedition covered both with ridicule. It did more, however, than this. A bitter quarrel ensued, which was prosecuted not very decorously, sometimes in the House of Commons, sometimes through the press, and which had no other result than to damage both parties very seriously in the estimation of the public.

The break-up of the Aberdeen Cabinet—to which, by the by, Sir James greatly contributed—may be said to have brought his public life to a close. He retained, indeed, his seat in Parliament—Carlisle having returned him as a good Radical member on two separate occasions. And though he seldom spoke, it was always in angry opposition to the Conservative party, once more reunited under Lord Derby and Mr Disraeli. Private sorrows, however, began to tame him down. In 1857 Lady Graham died—a terrible blow, from which he never recovered; and the death of Lord Herbert in August 1861 affected him deeply. To that excellent man, and at heart most Conservative politician, Sir James Graham was much attached. It seemed, indeed, as if to him had been transferred the entire stock of love and respect of which Sir Robert Peel, while living, had engrossed the larger share; and now, when the grave closed over Lord Herbert, life appeared to have no more interest for Sir James Graham. He made a long journey, in very inclement weather, to attend the funeral of his friend at Wilton, and, returning immediately afterwards to the north, scarcely smiled again. Our latest recollection of him is in church—a tall, handsome, yet shattered man, earnest in his devotions, but bearing upon his brow the cloud which was never to be raised on this side the grave. He died at Netherby, surrounded by his children, on the 25th of October 1861.

It has been said of Sir James Graham that he narrowly escaped being a great man. Certainly he possessed some of the qualities which contribute to build up greatness. He was patient, for example, of labour; careful in coming to conclusions; not at all over-scrupulous in changing or retaining opinions; and a first-rate administrator. But there was not a touch of genius about him, nor one shade of originality. His moral timidity was greater than the world supposed it to be. He often shrank from taking a step which his deliberate judgment approved; he often did what he had resolved not to do, and repented afterwards. Such a man was not fit to lead; and the inward consciousness of his own weakness, perhaps, hindered him from ever aspiring to become the head of an administration. His usefulness, on the other hand, as the second or confidential supporter of a great minister, cannot be over-estimated. He had much improved in later years as a speaker, and commanded the attention of the House; but the style of his oratory continued to the last in perfect accord with his intellectual organisation. On ordinary occasions it was stiff, perhaps pedantic; when anything occurred to ruffle or excite, it became sharp and personal—more, perhaps, than the speaker intended it to be. Taking all this into account, we arrive at the conclusion, that the position which he achieved among the statesmen of the passing age was exactly that which nature intended him to fill. He stood neither in the front rank nor perhaps in the second, but took a very prominent place in the third. In private life he was highly estimable, possessing, however, few of those qualities which gather round their owner troops of devoted friends. His manners were reserved, except with those who knew him intimately; his nature was proud, but he was kind-hearted, charitable, and deeply religious—being free from the two extremes of silly mannerism on the one hand, and pharisaical austerity on the other. He was buried in the churchyard of his own village, only the members of his family and a few old friends following him to the grave.



3. ‘Roba di Roma.’ By William W. Story. 2 vols. London, 1863.

If, at some future day, perhaps still remote, when the present wearer of the triple tiara shall have descended into the tomb, and when the power of some who now support him shall be numbered with the things that were, Rome, in compliance with the wishes of Italy, shall become the capital of that fairest of European kingdoms, there will be one class of persons who, although they may not regret it, will be losers by the change, and those are the foreigners, especially English, who, for six months of the year, take possession of all that is best in the papal metropolis. In addition to its garrison of French troops, that renowned city has now for many years submitted—with a far better will than it does to the presence of Gallic legions—to a foreign occupation of a more agreeable and profitable description. Combining more varied attractions than any other city in the world, Rome has become the first watering-place in Europe. Its waters of Trevi are as fascinating to votaries of pleasure and lovers of art as the most salutary springs to seekers after health. Its galleries and antiquities offer years of occupation, even to the most sedulous of visitors, before these can say that they have sufficiently seen and studied them; its winter gaieties and amusements are abundant to satisfy the greediest of such enjoyments; during its long spring (and much of what is winter elsewhere is spring at Rome) lovers of pleasant rides and delightful scenery discover that in such does the Campagna abound. But still, to that majority of its foreign visitors which soon become sated with pictures and statues and classical remains, Rome’s chief attraction is unquestionably the pomps and ceremonies, the splendour and the shrines of that Church whose headquarters the Italians so earnestly desire to see transported beyond the limits of Italy. Remove the Pope, and of course there is an end to the grand solemnities in which he is the most prominent figure; to the magnificent funzioni of Holy Week, to witness which thousands annually flock to Rome, filling to the roof every hotel and lodging-house; to gorgeous ceremonials, brilliant processions, and high festivals; to the chairing of the Pontiff and the feeding of the beggars; the washing of feet and the sounding of silver trumpets and the benediction from the balcony, with its magnificent scenic effect, with the golden chair and the peacock fans, and the rest of the sumptuous and dazzling paraphernalia. All this must of course depart whenever the Italian Government takes its seat at Rome, unless there should then be found some member of the college of cardinals willing to accept the Pontiff’s spiritual heritage without his temporal sway, and to retain his chair at the Vatican whilst a King of Italy thrones it at the Quirinal. The installation of a commonplace lay government could hardly fail to diminish Rome’s present attractions for foreigners. Everything is now done to render it pleasant to them in all ways. The utmost consideration and regard for their comfort and convenience are shown by the government whose capital they enrich, and by the people, who look upon them as their principal source of profit. Rome has little industry or commerce to live by; what prosperity she still enjoys is due solely to the forestieri; and, as these are chiefly heretics, the anomaly ensues that the heretic is made much more of in the city of the Pope than in any other capital. For him the best places everywhere—the utmost possible immunity from police annoyances—the blandest smiles of doorkeepers and guardians of galleries—the convenient place of public worship, still denied to him in that bigoted Spain which out-herods Herod, and is more papist than the Pope; and, to crown all these advantages, should death overtake him whilst sojourning in Rome, he has the satisfaction of being buried amongst hundreds of his countrymen, some of them of no mean repute, in one of the prettiest flower-grown English cemeteries that can anywhere be found. The favour shown to him is a standing joke in Rome. “I am off to the Sistine, to hear the music,” says Marforio to Pasquin. “Spare yourself the trouble,” is the reply; “the Swiss and the noble guards will not let you in.” “Never fear,” answers Marforio; “I have turned heretic.” There is truth in the jest. To heretics, Rome is indeed the most tolerant of cities, as the Romans are the most supple and complaisant of hosts.

It seems incredible that, in the second half of the nineteenth century, it should be found possible to write two copious volumes about Rome, in which most persons, even of those who fancied they knew the place thoroughly, might find not only much to interest and amuse them, but also a great many novel facts and much original appreciation of things and topics which they thought had long since been worn threadbare. A book, too, neither critical nor political; neither playing the cicerone through Roman galleries, nor meddling, otherwise than by such passing allusions as sufficiently show the author’s sympathies with the much-discussed Roman question. Since there still remained so much to be written on so attractive a theme, how can we explain its not having been done years ago, by some of the many English of literary tastes who annually abide in Rome? The answer is soon found. The English in Rome—or, it may truly be said, in Italy generally—do not, except in very rare cases, get below the superficial crust which veils from them the richness of the mine beneath. They work in a beaten track, and he who arrives to-day does neither more nor less than he who yesterday departed. They may conscientiously visit every object mentioned in their guide-book—they may reiterate those visits until they can tell you from memory the place of every picture or statue in the Vatican or elsewhere, and until they can fairly say that they have thoroughly “done” Rome in the vulgar acceptation of the word. Still they have explored, and seen, and heard but a portion of what lies at their disposal, and would well repay research; they have scrutinised the Rome of the past, but are ignorant of the Rome of the present; they have pondered over the graves of the dead, but of the living they know little or nothing. To a real knowledge and enjoyment of Rome, two things are essential—familiarity with the language and intercourse with the people—the former being, of course, indispensable to the latter. Comparatively few of the thousands of English who annually pass several months in the shadow of St Peter’s—many of them returning year after year to that which is undeniably the most seductive of Continental residences—obtain familiar admission to the highest circle of Roman society; and still fewer care to seek an entrance into any other, or to trouble themselves to converse with natives of lower degree. They treat Rome as they would an extremely agreeable watering-place in England;—they go there to see the lions, to enjoy a delightful climate and pleasant environs, and to give each other dinners and balls. They form an English colony, according to the usage of our countrymen; and their circles are often as exclusive in their way as that of the Roman princes, to which only the highest connections or most potent recommendations insure access. Very few, indeed, are the Italians who find admission into the many pleasant English houses each winter sees opened in Rome. The English live amongst themselves; they have their own quarter (the best, as usual, in the city), their own club, hotels, shops, and habits; the men scarcely ever enter an Italian osteria or café, where they might glean some notion of the manners and customs of the natives, but they appropriate two or three establishments of the kind, which they Anglicise to the utmost extent possible in those latitudes, and which the Romans soon learn to shun, scared by the foreign invasion and by the fancy prices charged for base imitations of British viands. Not one in a hundred of the English who visit Rome are there after May or before November; they see the place and people only in their winter and spring aspects; summer and autumn are unknown to them. Many complete their five or six months’ term of residence without acquiring even a smattering of Italian; and when they leave, all they know of the people is what they may have learned from lying ciceroni, or from native servants and shopkeepers possessed of sufficient English to gull the forestieri. Now, let us suppose a contrary case—that of an Englishman (or American) of more than average intelligence and cultivation, with a keen appreciation of art, a quick perception of the characteristic, and a warm love for Rome, who should abide for six years in that city and its environs, not invariably flying north from summer heats, but contenting himself with temporary retreats to one of the charming nooks the neighbouring hills afford, and who, thoroughly familiar with the language, should lose no opportunity of mingling and conversing with the people, chatting with all he met—with the peasant in the field, the mendicant by the road-side, the itinerant musician who played beneath his window, as well as with the physician, the lawyer, the trader, and the artist, with whom he might more frequently and naturally be brought in contact. Such a man, we apprehend, would be well qualified to write a fresh and pleasant and instructive book concerning a city whose fame must live for ever, and which may appropriately be surnamed the Inexhaustible as well as the Eternal.

Nobody who visited the great Exhibition of 1862 will have failed to observe and admire two pieces of sculpture which the most competent critics declared to be second to none, even if they were equalled by any of those there collected together. The author of ‘Roba di Roma,’ the foreign and fantastical name of a very English and sensible book, might have placed upon its title-page, had it so pleased him, “by the author of ‘Cleopatra’ and the ‘Lybyan Sybil,’” and the advertisement would have been no bad one; for everybody who had admired the sculptor’s beautiful statues would have been curious to see if he were as clever with the pen as he was cunning with the chisel. Mr Story, however, was above seeking any such side-wind of popularity, and proposed allowing his literary labours to stand upon their own merits. This they are well able to do. As pleasant reading, his book at once takes its place in the foremost rank of its class, whilst the information it contains gives it a more solid and permanent value than can be attained by a work intended for mere amusement. Without being in any degree a guide-book, it contains a vast deal which every visitor to Rome would be glad to find in one. There exists a series of Red Books, much more generally studied than the Blue ones, and with which every Englishman is familiar who pushes his Continental explorations beyond Paris. Unequal in degree of merit, the Briton abroad yet can ill do without the worst of them. Amongst the best must be reckoned that for Rome—a work performed conscientiously and con amore by a genial and accomplished citizen of the world, to whom the Eternal City has become almost a second patria. But the very best of handbooks cannot exhaust its subject, when that subject is Rome; and so we counsel every visitor to the papal capital to associate with his Murray Mr Story’s ‘Roba.’

“Every Englishman,” says this gentleman, “carries a Murray for information and a Byron for sentiment, and finds out by them what he is to know and feel at every step. Pictures and statues have been staled by copy and description, until everything is stereotyped, from the Dying Gladiator, with his ‘young barbarians all at play,’ down to the Beatrice Cenci, the Madame Touson of the shops, that haunts one everywhere with her white turban and red eyes. Every ruin has had its score of immortelles hung upon it. The soil has been almost overworked by antiquarians and scholars, to whom the modern flower was nothing, but the antique brick a prize. Poets and sentimentalists have described to death what the antiquaries have left, and some have done their work so well that nothing remains to be done after them. All the public and private life of the ancient Romans, from Romulus to Constantine, is perfectly well known. But the common life of the modern Romans—the games, customs, and habits of the people—the everyday of to-day—has been only touched upon here and there,—sometimes with spirit and accuracy, as by Charles M‘Farlane; sometimes with grace, as by Hans Christian Andersen; and sometimes with great ignorance, as by Jones, Brown, and Robinson, who see through the eyes of their courier and the spectacles of their prejudices. There may be, among the thousands of travellers that annually winter at Rome, some to whom the common out-door pictures of modern Roman life would have a charm as special as the galleries and antiquities, and to whom a sketch of many things, which wise and serious travellers have passed by as unworthy their notice, might be interesting.”

This last reflection suggested itself to Mr Story as he drove into Rome, somewhat more than six years ago, on his third visit to that capital, which has been his residence ever since; and, as he is evidently a man who likes to carry out a good idea, he at once commenced to hoard his observations for future use and public benefit. The impression made upon us by his two copious volumes is, that they have been composed con amore, and at perfect leisure—conditions eminently conducive to success in authorship. That Mr Story loves Rome he need not tell us; his attachment is manifest in his pages. Who, indeed, that has dwelt there long enough to fall under its fascination, does not love it and desire to return thither? Everybody would fain visit Rome, but those only who have been there can fully appreciate the charm it exercises. There are places whose attractions imagination is apt to overcolour, and which consequently disappoint on near acquaintance; but if there be persons who thus find Rome fall short of their expectations, they usually are wise enough to keep it to themselves, and so avoid the charge of extravagance. Doubtless those whose mind, education, and previous pursuits and studies enable them fully to appreciate and enjoy the treasures of art, and of classical and historical associations there heaped up, are few compared to the visitors who form but an imperfect and superficial estimate of what they behold, and who soon are glad to fall back upon less intellectual pleasures. Of these there is no lack. Agreeable society, pleasant promenades, carnival diversions—theatres which, if not uniformly good, at least are sufficiently attractive to audiences which go as much to talk as to listen—the vicinity of a picturesque country, tempting to excursions, which may be compressed into a day or extended to weeks, according as one keeps within the present limits of the Papal territory, or stretches out into Umbria, to Terni and Narni, Perugia and Spoleto,—these varied resources and advantages combine to make Rome delightful, at least in winter and spring, to almost every class of visitors. Considering how many who have visited it have also written about it, it seems scarcely possible, at this time, for anybody to fill seven hundred close pages with matter relating to it without becoming prolix. That, however, is a reproach no one can address to Mr Story. His work shows extensive reading, happily made use of, close observation, and the eye of a true artist. It admits of a broad division into two parts—one of these comprising solely what he himself has seen, heard, and thought; the other including much for which he is indebted to many books, studied to good purpose. As a specimen of the last-named portion, we may cite the chapter entitled “The Colosseum”—the romantic chronicle of that marvellous structure. Its opening is a good specimen of the author’s vivid, rapid manner of placing before us pictures painted in words:—

“Of all the ruins in Rome, none is at once so beautiful, so imposing, and so characteristic as the Colosseum.[4] Here throbbed the Roman heart in its fullest pulses. Over its benches swarmed the mighty population of the centre city of the world. In its arena, gazed at by a hundred thousand eager eyes, the gladiator fell, while the vast velarium trembled as the air was shaken by savage shouts of ‘Habet,’ and myriads of cruel hands, with upturned thumbs, sealed his unhappy fate. The sand of the arena drank the blood of African elephants, lions, and tigers—of Mirmilli, Laqueatores, Retiarii, and Andabatæ—and of Christian martyrs and virgins. Here emperor, senators, knights, and soldiers, the lowest populace and the proudest citizens, gazed together on the bloody games, shouted together as the favourite won, groaned together fiercely as he fell, and startled the eagles sailing over the blue vault above with their wild cries of triumph. Here might be heard the trumpeting of the enraged elephant, the savage roar of the tiger, the peevish shriek of the grave-rifling hyena; while the human beasts above, looking on the slaughter of the lower beasts beneath, uttered a wilder and more awful yell. Rome—brutal, powerful, bloodthirsty, imperial Rome—built in its days of pride this mighty amphitheatre, and, outlasting all its works, it still stands, the best type of its grandeur and brutality. What St Peter’s is to the Rome of to-day, is the Colosseum to the Rome of the Cæsars. The baths of Caracalla, grand though they be, sink into insignificance beside it. The Cæsars’ palaces are almost level with the earth. Over the pavement where once swept the imperial robes now slips the gleaming lizard; and in the indiscriminate ruins of those splendid halls the contadino plants his potatoes, and sells for a paul the oxidised coin which once may have paid the entrance fee to the great amphitheatre. The golden house of Nero is gone. The very Forum where Cicero delivered his immortal orations is all but obliterated, and antiquarians quarrel over the few columns that remain. But the Colosseum still stands; despite the assault of time and the work of barbarians it still stands, noble and beautiful in its decay—yes, more beautiful than ever.”

4. We preserve Mr Story’s orthography, which, although unusual, is doubtless correct. “The name Colosseum, or Coliseum as it is improperly called, seems to have been derived from its colossal proportions, and not, as has been supposed by some writers, from a colossal statue of one of the emperors placed within it” (‘Roba,’ i. 222). A correspondent of the ‘Athenæum’ (7th February 1863) says that, “in volume II. of the ‘Lives of the Roman Empresses,’ p. 50 (Edit. Naples, 1768), there is a note which gives the reason why the correct orthography is Colosseum. Referring to the completion of the great amphitheatre by Titus, the note has the following: ‘Nel mezzo del Anfiteatro si sorgeva una grande statua rappresentante Nerone, chiamata il Colosso di Nerone, da cui quel luogo prese il nome di Colosseo.’” Mr Story remarks that the present name is comparatively modern, and first occurs in the writings of the venerable Bede. To the ancient Romans the Colosseum was known as the Amphiteatrum Flavium.

How profound a calm has now replaced the rush and roar of conflict! You walk down to the Colosseum on one of those soft sunny mornings common in Rome in the early months of the year, and you find it kept by two or three French sentries, and untenanted save by as many dilapidated ciceroni, who crawl out of their secret recesses as you enter the arena, and vie with each other for the honour of conducting you over the mighty remains, in which, as Mr Story happily expresses it, “Nature has healed over the wounds of time with delicate grasses and weeds.” The last time we visited the Colosseum, the drummers of a French regiment were out for practice in its immediate vicinity, startling the echoes of the wondrous old edifice with a diabolical clatter of stick against sheepskin. Saw-sharpening, or the simultaneous tuning of one hundred and fifty fiddles, is hardly more vexatious to the nerves than the discordant rub-a-dub of a dozen squads of apprentice drummers, pounding their instruments with a deafening disregard to harmony. Persons are differently affected by the Colosseum, Mr Story assures us—some with horror, some with sentiment, some with statistics. Persons who go there on drum-practice days are doubtless affected with a vehement desire to get out of earshot. Apart from the unpleasant nature of the noise, it, and the sight of its originators, are destructive of the day-dreams to which solitude and quiet in that great dilapidated structure are so eminently favourable. Most persons will admit that nothing in Rome has impressed them so strongly as the Colosseum. A German writer has said that the Americans are particularly affected by it, more so than most Europeans; and if this be the case, it is doubtless attributable to the striking contrast the tourist from beyond the Atlantic finds between those ruins of a mighty past and the upstart edifices of his own bran-new country. The Americans, it is said, were the first to light up the Colosseum with Bengal fires. A number of Germans, artists and others, attempted it with torches on a dark winter night, but the means were insufficient: the torches, although numerous, struggled in vain to dispel the deep nocturnal gloom which seemed condensed in the giant ruin. The attempt, however, gave the idea to the Americans, who quickly found the money for something on a grander scale; and the Roman pyrotechnists, who are first-rate in skill and experience, produced an illumination with coloured fires which drew out to the Colosseum not only the forestieri but the Romans themselves, usually very careless of the sights the foreigners most run after. Since then such illuminations have become comparatively common, and have been witnessed by most persons who have remained any time in Rome. The effect is very striking, and should be seen once, just as one goes to see the statuary at the Vatican by torchlight; but, for both, the preference will generally be given to daylight, and also, as regards the Colosseum, to moonlight. For the best description of its appearance when lighted in this last-named manner, Mr Story refers us to a book entitled, ‘Rome and its Rulers,’ by that impartial Irish M.P., Mr John Francis Maguire, who, when in the Pope’s dominions, was so peculiarly fortunate as to find there nothing which was not in the highest degree admirable and praiseworthy. Truly a book “in which many things are scented with rose-water,” as Mr Story remarks, and which may also justly be said to abound in moonshine. Of this latter commodity, as collected in the Colosseum, the eloquent Maguire thus discourses:—

“The moon was slowly pursuing her way up the blue sky, and gradually rising, foot by foot, to the height of the unbroken wall of the building, now and then peeping in through arch or window.... Patiently we awaited the higher elevation and full splendour of the chaste Dian, enjoying each new effect as she sported with the venerable ruin, and imparted to its grim antiquity a youthful flush—mocking but delightful illusion.”

Nothing can be more striking than this picture of the moon going up-stairs at a steady, composed pace, fearful, probably, of losing breath by speed, and occasionally pausing at a hole in the wall to squint through it at her Hibernian admirer. But your thoroughpaced Irish or British Ultramontane is very liable to lunar influences when he gets to Rome; and if he chance to be in Parliament, or in a position to make his voice heard in his own country, he is apt to have his head completely turned by the interested attentions shown to him in the highest quarters. We have happened more than once to see gentlemen of that class, devoted supporters of the Pope, by the influence of whose Irish adherents they had been carried into Parliament, arrive in Rome during the recess to seek materials for their speeches in the approaching session. They stay but a short time, and generally know no Italian and little French, but that is a very trifling drawback. They find countrymen amongst the immediate friends and daily visitors of his Holiness, are made much of at the Vatican, are crammed to their hearts’ content with carefully-prepared statistics and fabulous facts, and depart convinced, or seeming to be so, that they have a thorough knowledge of the state of the country, and that all that has been said about Papal misrule is sheer malignant invention. They are taken to see the prisons, and find them far better and more humane in their arrangements than those they looked into as they passed through Piedmont. Of course they do. In Piedmont there is little attempt at concealment. Whatever its faults, the Government there does not take much pains to appear better than it is. In Rome the confiding M.P. sees the model prisons—those kept for inspection. Does he imagine he has seen those where political prisoners are confined? Surely Messrs Maguire, Hennessey, Bowyer, and Co., are not so credulous as that. The Vatican is far too knowing not to ease the consciences of its advocates. Why should they be reduced to the cruel alternative of silence or of speaking in opposition to what they know to be fact? In the Roman prisons there are rooms set apart for favoured prisoners, who there enjoy light and air, and are well fed and treated. Mr Maguire was delighted with the Prison of San Michele, where, “instead of gloom, horror, and noisome dungeons, I beheld a large, well-lighted, well-ventilated, and (could such a term be properly applied to any place of confinement) cheerful-looking hall.” He goes on to talk of “the bright sun streaming in; the superior size and arrangement of the cells,” &c. &c. Mr Story, who dwells a good deal on the subject of Roman and Neapolitan prisons (as the latter were under the Bourbons), and supplies various documents justificatory of the view which he and every unbiassed and rightly-informed person cannot do otherwise than take of them, refers to the well-known Casanova case—that of an unfortunate young Italian who, on his return from a residence in America, was arrested at Viterbo on the sole ground that he had no passport, and subjected to the most barbarous treatment in the Carcere Nuovo at Rome. Thence he was transferred to Naples, and, after a captivity of five or six years, was released by the arrival of Garibaldi. “Oh, Mr Maguire,” exclaims the author of the ‘Roba,’ “did you never suspect that if you had the mischance to be a poor Italian without parents or passport, instead of a member of Parliament, you might have been shown into other rooms than the ‘Salone dei Preti?’ Via!” Why should Mr Maguire trouble himself with such inconvenient suspicions? He and those who resemble him seek their information in the highest quarter—namely, from the Government; and having, beforehand, an excellent opinion of that Government, they cannot think of suspecting it of fraud or misstatement. Moreover he might find in Rome countrymen of his own, and possibly even some Englishmen, ready to support him in the belief that everything is for the best under the pious and enlightened rule of Antonelli. There are always a few bitter Irish bigots and zealous British perverts to be met with in the Papal capital, prompt to deny the existence of abuses, and to extol the excellent working of the priest-government under which the unfortunate Romans groan. They are made much of by the Monsignori, and graciously received by the Pope; and occasionally they find means of making some sort of demonstration which may be magnified in partisan journals into that of an important section of the British residents in Rome. It was an insignificant clique of this kind which, about two years ago, scandalised their countrymen in that capital by waiting upon Francis II. of Naples with expressions of sympathy and good wishes.

The author of the ‘Roba,’ who does not dislike a good-natured hit at his own countrymen’s peculiarities, is amusing with respect to their criticisms of the Colosseum, the Campagna, and other principal features of Rome and its environs. One young lady told him she thought the Colosseum “pretty, but not so pretty as Naples;” and a gentleman was of opinion that it was less well built than the custom-house in his native city, of which the correct lines, sharp angles, and whitewashed superficies were doubtless more grateful to his view than the ruins whose abundance constitutes one of Rome’s chief charms. There are people who would be more struck with the excellent workmanship and first-rate bricks of the tall modern scarp which supports a part of the Colosseum that threatened to crumble away, than they would be with its ruined arches, its broken travertine blocks, its time-worn cornices and flower-draped benches, or than with the lovely ruins of Caracalla’s baths, concerning which Mr Story quotes Shelley, whilst himself describing them with much poetry of expression, and a warm perception of the beautiful. “Come with me,” he says, “to the massive ruins of Caracalla’s baths—climb its lofty arches and creep along the broken roofs of its perilous terraces. Golden gorses and wallflowers blaze there in the sun, out of reach; fig-trees, whose fruit no hand can pluck, root themselves in its clefts; pink sweetpeas and every variety of creeping vetch here bloom in perfection; tall grasses wave their feathery plumes out on dizzy and impracticable ledges; and nature seems to have delighted to twine this majestic ruin with its loveliest flowers. Sit here, where Shelley wrote the ‘Prometheus Unbound,’ and look out over the wide-stretching Campagna.” And if you have with you, as you ought to have, when wandering over those giddy arches and broken platforms, the second volume of ‘Roba di Roma,’ turn to page 97, and read its accomplished author’s graphic and glowing description of the view thence obtained. Unfortunately not all his countrymen possess the same feeling for the beautiful in nature—not all can find a charm in a time-stained marble block, moss-mantled and weed-entwined. To one of Mr Story’s countrymen the Colosseum was simply “an ugly, pokerish place,” whilst another was chiefly struck by its circular form, and a third by the advantages it offered for love-making—this last being a recommendation, doubtless, but one that can hardly have been reckoned upon by the original designers of the edifice. One gentleman (we need not ask from which side of the Atlantic) was liberal enough to say, “I do not object, sir, to the carnival at Rome;” and Mr Story assures us that he knows several who are equally indulgent to the Colosseum and to St Peter’s. He grieves to admit that English and Americans too often speak ill of the Campagna, which seems to him, he declares, the most beautiful and touching in its interest of all places he has ever seen; but he pillories a Frenchman who ventures to despise it. The confident Gaul had just come up from Naples, and was asked if he had seen the grand old temples at Pæstum. “Oui, monsieur,” was his answer, “j’ai vu le Peste. C’est un pays détestable; c’est comme la Campagne de Rome.” Detestable enough, no doubt, says Story, after the fine military landscape that surrounds Paris; “where low bounding hills are flattened like earthworks and bastions, and stiff formal poplars are drawn up in squares and columns on the wide parade of its level and monotonous plains. It is also a peculiarity of the Frenchman that he underrates everybody and everything except himself and his country.” Mr Story is too much in love with the Campagna not to be jealous of its fame. It is quite certain that, with many, this is not so good as it deserves. People who have not explored it are apt to picture it to themselves as a desolate tract, affording pasturage but little wood, and exhaling fever from every cleft in its soil. When once they have driven and ridden or walked (for much cannot be done on wheels) over its varied and picturesque surface, and seen it in the fresh springtime, when its green copses and hedges scent the air, and its sward is diapered with wild-flowers innumerable, many of which are amongst the choice ones of our English gardens, they are lost in astonishment at the beauty of the tract that surrounds Rome. Our own original notion of the Campagna was based on a picture of a dreary expanse, over which the first shades of night were spreading, chasing thence the last deep red glow of sunset; whilst in the centre of the melancholy, treeless plain, a peasant lad, in goat-skin breeks and elf-locks, and suffering, apparently, under a severe attack of jaundice, tended a herd of pallid cattle, which gave one the idea of having just risen from the straw of sickness in some bovine fever hospital. How different this unprepossessing picture was from the reality need not be told to any who have taken the trouble to visit the vicinity of Rome, instead of limiting their daily exercise (as some of the visitors to that city most unwisely, both as regards health and enjoyment, are prone to do) to the small but agreeable garden on the Pincian Hill, and to the more extensive and certainly most delightful grounds of the Villas Borghese, Doria Pamphili, Albani, and other residences of the Roman princes. It would be tedious to enumerate even the half of the charming rides which are to be had within twenty miles of Rome, and which, it must be owned, the younger portion of the floating British population, both male and female, generally make the most of during the early spring months, much more to their own pleasure and benefit than to those of the unfortunate hacks the Roman livery-stable keepers annually provide for the use of the forestieri. A regard for truth compels us also to declare that it is not the male portion of the English at Rome that those Campagna Rosinantes would, could they speak their minds, most object to carry. Rome—whose climate, by the by, has been thought by some to be generally more favourable to women than to men—seems to give our fair countrywomen strength and endurance for an amount of horse exercise they would seldom take in England. Acting upon the principle put into their mouths by ‘Punch,’ “He’s a hoss, and he must go,” they may be seen daily urging their hired chargers across the plain, and performing their twenty-five or thirty miles, chiefly at a canter, to and from the various points of attraction, noted sites, favourite picnic spots, and the like, in the neighbourhood of Rome, and coming in, glowing with health, to dance half the night or more at the numerous pleasant parties given there during the first three or four months of every year. There used to be a subscription pack of hounds in Rome, but the sport was put a stop to, a few seasons ago, in consequence of a young member of the Roman aristocracy having broken his neck over a small ditch. Thereupon Pio Nono forbade the sport, which was considered rather hard upon the English, who, as heretics, might surely have been allowed to fracture themselves to any extent without causing much pain to his Holiness; and, indeed, this feeling was so general, that some were rather inclined to attribute the interdiction to Cardinal Antonelli’s sympathy with the foxes. However that may have been, there was no obtaining a revocation of the edict, and the hounds were sold—to be re-purchased, perhaps, at a future day, when the White Cross of Savoy shall have replaced the Cross Keys on the pinnacles of a liberated Rome. The loss was a great one, however, to the English; and even many of the Italians deplored the stoppage of the mita, as they called “the meet,” which, however, with most of the foreigners (that is to say, of the non-English), was little more than a pretext for picnics and flirtations. Mr Story, with a few humorous touches, gives us an excellent idea of the modus operandi:—

“The hounds bay and the hunt sweeps off in the distance—now lost to sight, and now emerging from the hollows. The volunteers soon begin to return, and are seen everywhere straggling about over the slopes. The carriages move on, accompanying, as they can, the hunt by the road, till it strikes across the country and is lost. The sunshine beats on the mountains that quiver in soft purple; larks sing in the air; Brown, Jones, and Robinson ride by the side of the carriages as they return, and Count Silinini smiles, talks beautiful Italian, and says, ‘Yas.’ He is a guardia nobile, and comes to the house twice a week if there are no balls, and dances with Marianne at all the little hops. Signor Somarino pays his court meanwhile to Maria, who calls him Prince, emphasising the title when she meets her friends the Goony Browns. And so the hunting picnic comes back to Rome.”

As a writer, Mr Story’s strong point is description of scenery, both rural and urban. He is excellent at a landscape; and, in the graphic views he presents to us of Rome’s streets and squares and fountains and markets, beggars and models, washerwomen and pifferari, he is a compound of Prout and Pinelli. From the very first page of the book, one is attracted by the freshness of his vocabulary and the vividness of his style. With his Cleopatra and Sybil bright in our memory, we cannot think he mistook his vocation when devoting himself to sculpture; but certainly the glow and choice of his literary tints incline us to the belief that, as a painter, he might have been even more successful. We are unwilling to quote extensively from a book that will doubtless have been read by many of our readers ere this notice of it gets into their hands, but there are fifty passages that we are tempted to extract instead of merely referring to them. The first short chapter, “Entrance,” contains more than one of these. At page 11 we have a sketch of a couple of the Abruzzi pifferari, piping and blowing on their primitive instruments before one of the fifteen hundred Madonna shrines of Rome—images of the Virgin, with burning lamps, found in all manner of places, at street corners, down little lanes, in the heart of the Corso, in the interior courts of palaces, or on the staircases of private houses—which places the itinerants before us, in flesh and blood, in their conical hats with frayed feathers, red waistcoats and skin sandals, wie sie leibten und lebten, as the Germans say, the old man with a sad amiable face, droning out bass and treble in an earnest and deprecatory manner, and the younger vigorous player on the piffero, “with a forest of tangled black hair, and dark quick eyes that were fixed steadily on the Virgin, while he blew and vexed the little brown pipe with rapid runs and nervous fioriture, until great drops of sweat dripped from its round open mouth. Sometimes, when he could not play fast enough to satisfy his eagerness, he ran his finger up and down the vents; then, suddenly lowering his instrument, he would scream, in a strong peasant voice, verse after verse of the novena, to the accompaniment of the zampogna (bagpipe). One was like a slow old Italian vettura, all lumbered with luggage and held back by its drag; the other panting and nervous at his work as an American locomotive, and as constantly running off the rails. As they stood there playing, a little group gathered round. A scamp of a boy left his sport to come and beat time with a stick on the stone step before them; several children clustered near; and one or two women, with black-eyed infants in their arms, also paused to listen and sympathise.”

Every one who has been in Rome during Advent has seen this group, or one mighty like it and equally characteristic. Turn to the book (chapter on “Street Music in Rome”) for the little scene that follows, for the music of the pifferari song, and for Mr Story’s conversation with the enthusiastic piper, whom, with his companions, he invited up into his house, where they agreeably stunned him with their noisy music, to the delight of his children and the astonishment of his servants, for whom piffero and zampogna had long since lost all charm, and who doubtless looked upon their introduction with somewhat of the same feeling of disgust with which London flunkies would behold that of a couple of organ-grinders and a cage of white mice into a Grosvenor Square drawing-room. However, Mr Story took down the words of their quaint song, which we find printed, probably for the first time, in his book, and he also got from them some curious particulars of their wanderings. The man who blew the little brown pipe was quite a character. He and his companion had played together for three-and-thirty years, and their sons, who presently came up, were to play together with them. “For thirty-three years more, let us hope,” said Mr Story.

“‘Eh! Speriamo’ (let us hope so), was the answer of the pifferaro, as he showed all his teeth in the broadest of smiles. Then, with a motion of his hand, he set both the young men going, he himself joining in, straining out his cheeks, blowing all the breath of his body into the little pipe, and running up and down the vents with a sliding finger, until finally he brought up against a high, shrill note, to which he gave the full force of his lungs, and after holding it in loud blast for a moment, startled us by breaking off, without gradation, into a silence as sudden as if the music had snapped short off like a pipe-stem.”

There are a great many stories and incidents of and relating to Rome and its inhabitants scattered through the ‘Roba;’ and although to us “old Romans,” not all of these may be new, the majority of them will be so to most readers, and they are generally well told and ben trovate. Amongst them we prefer those little anecdotes and traits of character which are evidently derived from the writer’s personal observation, and which, therefore, as might be expected, are amongst the most racy morsels in the book. Take the following as an excellent specimen of quiet humour—a strain in which we like Mr Story better than in his more buoyant mood:—

“My friend Count Cignale is a painter—he has a wonderful eye for colour and an exquisite taste. He was making me a visit the other day, and in strolling about the neighbourhood we were charmed with an old stone wall of as many colours as Joseph’s coat: tender greys, dashed with creamy yellows and golden greens and rich subdued reds, were mingled together in its plastered stonework; above towered a row of glowing oleanders covered with clusters of roseate blossoms. Nothing would do but that he must paint it, and so secure it at once for his portfolio; for who knows, said he, that the owner will not take it into his head to whitewash it next week, and ruin it? So he painted it, and a beautiful picture it made. Within a week the owner made a call on us. He had seen Cignale painting his wall with surprise, and deemed an apology necessary. ‘I am truly sorry,’ he said, ‘that the wall is left in such a condition. It ought to be painted all over with a uniform tint, and I will do it at once. I have long had this intention, and I will no longer omit to carry it into effect.’

“‘Let us beseech you,’ we both cried at once, ‘caro conte mio, to do no such thing, for you will ruin your wall. What! whitewash it over!—it is profanation, sacrilege, murder, and arson.’

“He opened his eyes. ‘Ah! I did not mean to whitewash it, but to wash it over with a pearl colour,’ he answered.

“‘Whatever you do to it you will spoil it. Pray let it alone. It is beautiful now.’

“‘Is it, indeed?’ he cried. ‘Well, I hadn’t the least idea of that. But if you say so, I will let it alone.’

“And thus we saved a wall.”

The preceding scrap reminds us of a passage from Alphonse Karr, one of the most quietly-humorous of living French writers, who relates, in one of his quaint, dreamy, desultory books, how a neighbour of his, who lived in a poor thatched cottage on the fringe of a wood, embowered in flowers, shaded by venerable trees, refreshed by the balmiest of breezes, and enlivened by the songs of countless birds, suddenly disappeared from the countryside. Karr, who had long admired the sylvan retreat, and almost envied its occupant, inquired his fate. He had become rich, he was told; a legacy had enabled him to go and live in the town. He could afford to rent two rooms with new furniture and a gaudy paper, and he looked out upon a dirty street, along which omnibuses continually rolled. “Poor rich man!” Karr pitying exclaims. He had whitewashed his wall.

The Roman Ghetto furnishes the theme of one of Mr Story’s longest and most lively chapters; Fountains and Aqueducts, Saints and Superstitions, the Evil Eye, are the titles of three others. He begins his second volume with a vivid and characteristic sketch of the Markets of Rome, which are well worth the attention of foreign visitors, especially of Englishmen, who will find their arrangements, and much of what is there sold, to contrast strikingly with what they are accustomed to in their own country. Carcasses of pigs and goats adorned with scraps of gold-leaf and tinsel, blood puddings of a brilliant crimson, poultry sold by retail—that is to say, piecemeal, so that you may buy a wing, a leg, or even the head or gizzard of a fowl, if so it please you. There is game of all sorts, and queer beasts and fowls of many kinds are also there; the wild boar rough and snarling—the slender tawny deer—porcupines (commonly eaten in Rome)—most of our English game-birds—ortolans, beccaficoes, and a great variety of singing-birds. Passing into the fruit and vegetable market, one comes upon mushrooms of many colours, and some of them of enormous size, most of which would in England be looked upon as sudden death to the consumer, although in Italy they are found both savoury and harmless. “Here are the grey porcini, the foliated alberetti, and the orange-hued ovole; some of the latter of enormous size, big enough to shelter a thousand fairies under their smooth and painted domes. In each of these is a cleft stick, bearing a card from the inspector of the market, granting permission to sell; for mushrooms have proved fatal to so many cardinals, to say nothing of popes and people, that they are naturally looked upon with suspicion, and must all be officially examined to prevent accidents.” Besides the fruits common in England, figs are very abundant, and of many kinds; and when the good ones come in, in September, the Romans of the lower classes assemble in the evenings, in the Piazza Navona, for great feeds upon them. Five or six persons surround a great basket and eat it empty, correcting possible evil results by a glass of strong waters or a flask of red wine. But figs are a wholesome fruit—much more so than one which at Rome, and in many parts of Southern Europe, is the most popular of all—namely, the water-melon. What millions of people, from the Danube’s banks to the Portuguese coast, are daily refreshed the summer through by those huge green gourds, hard and unpromising in outward aspect, but revealing, at stroke of knife, rich store of rosy pulp, dotted with sable seeds! Pesth is a great place for them; and daily, when morning breaks, so long as they are in season, they are to be seen piled, all along the river-side, in heaps like those of shot and shell in an arsenal, only much broader and higher. All through the hot months, in Hungary’s pleasant and interesting capital, few persons think of dining without associating with the more heating viands a moiety or enormous segment of one of those great cold fruits—a strange digestive, as we Northerners should consider it, but found to answer well in sultry climes. At Rome they are equally appreciated, and are set above the choicest grapes. People make parties to go out of the city and eat them; and this was especially the case some years ago, when the authorities forbade their entrance on account of the cholera, but were unable to prevent their extramural consumption. In ordinary times you find heaps of them in the streets, especially in the Piazza Navona, that great mart of fruit and frippery, vegetables, old books, brilliant handkerchiefs, and other finery for the market-women—old iron, old bottles, and rubbish of all kinds—amongst which miscellany the patient investigator may sometimes discover valuable copies of the classic authors and precious antique intagli, to be purchased for a mere song. Here, as the story goes, a poor priest once bought, for a few baiocchi, a large cut-glass bead which took his fancy, and which a friend, more knowing than himself, afterwards discovered to be a diamond of great value, now belonging, we are told, to the Emperor of Russia. The priest disappeared, which leaves any ingenious and inventive writer full liberty to build a romantic tale upon the incident. The natural finale of the affair, Mr Story opines, would have been for the priest to have married the Emperor’s daughter, but his being in orders was an impediment; and so we are justified in presuming that some less agreeable means was found of easing him of his jewel, which, when he first possessed it, he took to be a drop from a chandelier, but to which he of course clung with desperate tenacity when enlightened as to the quality of the gem. Rome ought to be a good preserve for fiction-writers, there are so many family histories, traditions, and anecdotes current there, which would serve the novelist’s turn. Edmund About availed himself of one such in his tale of ‘Tolla;’ and another over-true tale was interwoven, not very long since, in a pleasant novelet of Roman life in the pages of this Magazine. Mr Story’s volumes abound in suggestive passages of the kind. If Rome be an admirable residence for an artist (and for some of the reasons why it is so, see the ‘Roba,’ i. p. 66, 67), it ought also to be an excellent one for a writer, were it not that it is found by many unfavourable to mental exertion. This is said to be particularly exemplified in the case of diplomatists, many of whom, after a certain time passed in the Papal capital, are apt to conceive an intense dislike to despatch-writing, and to keep their Governments extremely uninformed concerning the state of the Holy City and the prospects of Pontifical politics. We remember to have been told, when in Rome, the names of more than one foreign minister who had been recalled, it was asserted, for no other reason but that nothing could induce him to write despatches. Rome is certainly one of the places where there is most temptation, at least for one half of the year, to neglect business for pleasure; but there is possibly also something in the climate which disinclines many people to headwork. It is much the fashion to abuse the Roman climate; and this has been done, especially of late, by persons desirous to show that Rome is an undesirable, because a highly insalubrious, capital for united Italy. It is to be feared the grapes are sour, and that the yellow flag now hoisted would be struck at the same time with the French tricolour. Our own experience and observations induce us very much to concur with those passages of Mr Story’s book which relate to this question. “Rome has, with strangers, the reputation of being unhealthy; but this opinion I cannot think well founded—to the extent, at least, of the common belief.” Many maladies, virulent and dangerous elsewhere, are very light in Rome; and for lung complaints it is well known that people repair thither. The “Roman fever,” as it is commonly called (intermittent and perniciosa), is seldom suffered from by the better classes of Romans; and Mr Story (who speaks with authority after his many years’ residence in Rome) believes that, with a little prudence, it may easily be avoided. The peasants of the Campagna are, it is well known, those who chiefly suffer from it, and why? “Their food is poor, their habits careless, their labour exhausting and performed in the sun, and they sleep often on the bare ground or a little straw. And yet, despite the life they lead and their various exposures, they are, for the most part, a very strong and sturdy class.” Mr Story gives it as a fact that the French soldiers who besieged Rome in ‘48, during the summer months, suffered very little from fever, although sleeping out on the Campagna; but they were better clothed and fed, and altogether more careful of themselves, than the native peasants. Generally speaking, the foreigners who visit Rome are less attentive than the Romans to certain common rules for the preservation of health. They eat and drink too much, and of the wrong things. They get hot, and then plunge into cold churches or galleries; whereas an Italian flies from a chill or current of air as from infection. Mr Story gives a few simple rules, by following which he declares you may live twenty years in Rome without a fever. He cautions Englishmen against copious dinners, sherry and brandy, and his own countrymen against the morning-dinner which they call a breakfast; and supplies other useful hints and practical remarks. The subject is one which interests many, and such are referred to the ‘Roba,’ i. p. 156–161, and to the chapter on the Campagna, in which high authorities and ingenious arguments are brought to prove that in old times it was not insalubrious, and that in our own it need not be so. Population and cultivation are perhaps all that are needed to render tracts healthy that now are pestilential, but which assuredly were not so in the time of the ancient Romans, since many of them, we know, were their favourite sites for patrician villas. Much might be done by an intelligent and active government, and especially by a good sanitary commission. There was one clever gentleman who wrote that Rome was ill fitted to be the capital of Italy on account of its deficiency in buildings suitable for government offices! Where good reasons are not to be found silly ones may be resorted to, but they of course only weaken the cause they are intended to prop. And if it were to be urged that all the worst plagues flesh is heir to, combine to render Rome for the present impossible as capital of Italy, the most we could admit, by way of compromise, and borrowing a well-known answer, would be, “non tutti, ma Buona parte.”


By the Author of ‘The Caxton Family.’


“He who desires to influence others must learn to command himself,” is an old aphorism, on which, perhaps, something new may be said. In the ordinary ethics of the nursery, self-control means little more than a check upon temper. A wise restraint, no doubt; but as useful to the dissimulator as to the honest man. I do not necessarily conquer my anger because I do not show that I am angry. Anger vented often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge.

A hasty temper is not the only horse that runs away with the charioteer on the Road of Life. Nor is it the most dangerous, for it seldom runs away far. It gives a jerk and a shake; but it does not take the bit between its teeth, and gallop blindly on, mile after mile, in one obstinate direction towards a precipice. A hasty temper is an infirmity disagreeable to others, undignified in ourselves—a fault so well known to every man who has it, that he will at once acknowledge it to be a fault which he ought to correct. He requires, therefore, no moralising essayist to prove to him his failing, or teach him his duty. But still a hasty temper is a frank offender, and has seldom that injurious effect either on the welfare of others, or on our own natures, mental and moral, which results from the steady purpose of one of those vices which are never seen in a passion.

In social intercourse, if his character be generous and his heart sound, a man does not often lose a true friend from a quick word. And even in the practical business of life, wherein an imperturbable temper is certainly a priceless advantage, a man of honesty and talent may still make his way without it. Nay, he may inspire a greater trust in his probity and candour, from the heat he displays against trickiness and falsehood. Indeed there have been consummate masters in the wisdom of business who had as little command of temper as if Seneca and Epictetus had never proved the command of temper to be the first business of wisdom. Richelieu strode towards his public objects with a footstep unswervingly firm, though his servants found it the easiest thing in the world to put him into a passion. Sometimes they did so on purpose, pleased to be scolded unjustly, because sure of some handsome amends. And in treating of self-control, I am contented to take that same Richelieu, the Cardinal, as an illustration of the various and expansive meaning which I give to the phrase. Richelieu did not command his temper in the sphere of his private household: he commanded it to perfection in his administration of a kingdom. He was cruel, but from policy, not from rage. Among all the victims of that policy, there was not one whose doom could be ascribed to his personal resentments. The life of no subject, and the success of no scheme, depended on the chance whether the irritable minister was in good or bad humour. If he permitted his temper free vent in his household, it was because there he was only a private individual. There, he could indulge in the luxury of ire without disturbing the mechanism of the state. There, generous as a noble and placable as a priest, he could own himself in the wrong, and beg his servants’ forgiveness, without lowering the dignity of the minister, who, when he passed his threshold, could ask no pardon from others, and acknowledge no fault in himself. It was there where his emotions were most held in restraint,—there where, before the world’s audience, his mind swept by concealed in the folds of its craft, as, in Victor Hugo’s great drama, L’Homme Rouge passes across the stage, curtained round in his litter, a veiled symbol of obscure, inexorable, majestic fate,—it was there where the dread human being seemed to have so mastered his thoughts and his feelings, that they served but as pulleys and wheels to the bloodless machine of his will,—it was there that self-control was in truth the most feeble. And this apparent paradox brings me at once to the purpose for which my essay is written.

What is Self? What is that many-sided Unity which is centred in the single Ego of a man’s being? I do not put the question metaphysically. Heaven forbid! The problem it involves provokes the conjectures of all schools, precisely because it has received no solution from any. The reader is welcome to whatever theory he may prefer to select from metaphysical definitions, provided that he will acknowledge in the word Self the representation of an integral individual human being—the organisation of a certain fabric of flesh and blood, biassed, perhaps, originally by the attributes and peculiarities of the fabric itself—by hereditary predispositions, by nervous idiosyncrasies, by cerebral developments, by slow or quick action of the pulse, by all in which mind takes a shape from the mould of the body;—but still a Self which, in every sane constitution, can be changed or modified from the original bias, by circumstance, by culture, by reflection, by will, by conscience, through means of the unseen inhabitant of the fabric. Not a man has ever achieved a something good or great, but will own that, before he achieved it, his mind succeeded in conquering or changing some predisposition of body.

True self-control, therefore, is the control of that entire and complex unity, the individual Self. It necessitates an accurate perception of all that is suggested by the original bias, and a power to adapt and to regulate, or to oppose and divert, every course to which that bias inclines the thought and impels the action.

For Self, left to itself, only crystallises atoms homogeneous to its original monad. A nature constitutionally proud and pitiless, intuitively seeks, in all the culture it derives from intellectual labour, to find reasons to continue proud and pitiless—to extract from the lessons of knowledge arguments by which to justify its impulse, and rules by which the impulse can be drilled into method and refined into policy.

Among the marvels of psychology, certainly not the least astounding is that facility with which the conscience, being really sincere in its desire of right, accommodates itself to the impulse which urges it to go wrong. It is thus that fanatics, whether in religion or in politics, hug as the virtue of saints and heroes the barbarity of the bigot, the baseness of the assassin. No one can suppose that Calvin did not deem that the angels smiled approbation when he burned Servetus. No one can suppose that when Torquemada devised the Inquisition, he did not conscientiously believe that the greatest happiness of the greatest number could be best secured by selecting a few for a roast. Torquemada could have no personal interest in roasting a heretic; Torquemada did not eat him when roasted; Torquemada was not a cannibal.

Again: no one can suppose that when the German student, Sand, after long forethought, and with cool determination, murdered a writer whose lucubrations shocked his political opinions, he did not walk to the scaffold with a conscience as calm as that of the mildest young lady who ever slaughtered a wasp from her fear of its sting.

So when Armand Richelieu marched inflexibly to his public ends, the spy on his left side, the executioner on his right, Bayard could not have felt himself more free from stain and reproach. His conscience would have found in his intellect not an accusing monitor but a flattering parasite. It would have whispered in his ear—“Great Man—Hero, nay, rather Demigod[5]—to destroy is thy duty, because to reconstruct is thy mission. The evils which harass the land—for which Heaven, that gave thee so dauntless a heart and so scheming a brain, has made thee responsible—result from the turbulent ambition of nobles who menace the throne thou art deputed to guard, and the licence of pestilent schisms at war with the Church of which thou art the grace and the bulwark. Pure and indefatigable patriot, undeterred by the faults of the sovereign who hates thee, by the sins of the people who would dip their hands in thy blood, thou toilest on in thy grand work serenely, compelling the elements vainly conflicting against thee into the unity of thine own firm design—unity secular, unity spiritual—one throne safe from rebels, one church free from schisms; in the peace of that unity, the land of thy birth will collect and mature and concentrate its forces, now wasted and waning, till it rise to the rank of the one state of Europe—the brain and the heart of the civilised world! No mythical Hercules thou! Complete thy magnificent labours. Purge the land of the Lion and Hydra—of the throne-shaking Baron—the church-splitting Huguenot!”

5. An author dedicated a work to Richelieu. In the dedication, referring to the ‘Siege of Rochelle,’ he complimented the Cardinal with the word Hero. When the dedication was submitted to Richelieu for approval, he scratched out “Hèros,” and substituted “Demi-Dieu!”

Armand Richelieu, by nature not vindictive nor mean, thus motions without remorse to the headsman, listens without shame to the spy, and, when asked on his deathbed if he forgave his enemies, replies, conscientiously ignorant of his many offences against the brotherhood between man and man, “I owe no forgiveness to enemies; I never had any except those of the State.”

For human governments, the best statesman is he who carries a keen perception of the common interests of humanity into all his projects, howsoever intellectually subtle. But that policy is not for the interests of humanity which cannot be achieved without the spy and the headsman. And those projects cannot serve humanity which sanction persecution as the instrument of truth, and subject the fate of a community to the accident of a benevolent despot.

In Richelieu there was no genuine self-control, because he had made his whole self the puppet of certain fixed and tyrannical ideas. Now, in this the humblest and obscurest individual amongst us is too often but a Richelieu in miniature. Every man has in his own temperament peculiar propellers to the movement of his thoughts and the choice of his actions. Every man has his own favourite ideas rising out of his constitutional bias. At the onset of life this bias is clearly revealed to each. No youth ever leaves college but what he is perfectly aware of the leading motive-properties of his own mind. He knows whether he is disposed by temperament to be timid or rash, proud or meek, covetous of approbation or indifferent to opinion, thrifty or extravagant, stern in his justice or weak in his indulgence. It is while his step is yet on the threshold of life that man can best commence the grand task of self-control; for then he best adjusts that equilibrium of character by which he is saved from the despotism of one ruling passion or the monomania of one cherished train of ideas. Later in life our introvision is sure to be obscured—the intellect has familiarised itself to its own errors, the conscience is deafened to its own first alarms; and the more we cultivate the intellect in its favourite tracks, the more we question the conscience in its own prejudiced creed, so much the more will the intellect find skilful excuses to justify its errors, so much the more will the conscience devise ingenious replies to every doubt we submit to the casuistry of which we have made it the adept.

Nor is it our favourite vices alone that lead us into danger—noble natures are as liable to be led astray by their favourite virtues; for it is the proverbial tendency of a virtue to fuse itself insensibly into its neighbouring vice; and, on the other hand, in noble natures, a constitutional vice is often drilled into a virtue.

But few men can attain that complete subjugation of self to the harmony of moral law, which was the aim of the Stoics. A mind so admirably balanced that each attribute of character has its just weight and no more, is rather a type of ideal perfection, than an example placed before our eyes in the actual commerce of life. I must narrow the scope of my homily, and suggest to the practical a few practical hints for the ready control of their faculties.

It seems to me that a man will best gain command over those intellectual faculties which he knows are his strongest, by cultivating the faculties that somewhat tend to counterbalance them. He in whom imagination is opulent and fervid will regulate and discipline its exercise by forcing himself to occupations or studies that require plain common sense. He who feels that the bias of his judgment or the tendency of his avocations is over-much towards the positive and anti-poetic forms of life, will best guard against the narrowness of scope and feebleness of grasp which characterise the intellect that seeks common sense only in commonplace, by warming his faculties in the glow of imaginative genius; he should not forget that where heat enters it expands. And, indeed, the rule I thus lay down, eminent men have discovered for themselves. Men of really great imagination will be found to have generally cultivated some branch of knowledge that requires critical or severe reasoning. Men of really great capacities for practical business will generally be found to indulge in a predilection for works of fancy. The favourite reading of poets or fictionists of high order will seldom be poetry or fiction. Poetry or fiction is to them a study, not a relaxation. Their favourite reading will be generally in works called abstruse or dry—antiquities, metaphysics, subtle problems of criticism, or delicate niceties of scholarship. On the other hand, the favourite reading of celebrated lawyers is generally novels. Thus in every mind of large powers there is an unconscious struggle perpetually going on to preserve its equilibrium. The eye soon loses its justness of vision if always directed towards one object at the same distance—the soil soon exhausts its produce if you draw from it but one crop.

But it is not enough to secure counteraction for the mind in all which directs its prevailing faculties towards partial and special results; it is necessary also to acquire the power to keep differing faculties and acquirements apart and distinct on all occasions in which it would be improper to blend them. When the poet enters on the stage of real life as a practical man of business, he must be able to leave his poetry behind him; when the practical man of business enters into the domain of poetry, he must not remind us that he is an authority on the Stock Exchange. In a word, he who has real self-control has all his powers at his command, now to unite and now to separate them.

In public life this is especially requisite. A statesman is seldom profound unless he be somewhat of a scholar; an orator is seldom eloquent unless he have familiarised himself with the world of the poets. But he will never be a statesman of commanding influence, and never an orator of lasting renown, if, in action or advice on the practical affairs of nations, he be more scholar or poet than orator or statesman. Pitt and Fox are memorable instances of the discriminating self-abnegation with which minds of masculine power can abstain from the display of riches unsuited to place and occasion.

In the Mr Fox of St Stephen’s, the nervous reasoner from premises the broadest and most popular, there is no trace of the Mr Fox of St Anne’s, the refining verbal critic, with an almost feminine delight in the filigree and trinkets of literature. At rural leisure, under his apple-blossoms, his predilection in scholarship is for its daintiest subtleties; his happiest remarks are on writers very little read. But place the great Tribune on the floor of the House of Commons, and not a vestige of the fine verbal critic is visible. His classical allusions are then taken from passages the most popularly known. And, indeed, it was a saying of Fox’s, “That no young member should hazard in Parliament a Latin quotation not found in the Eton Grammar.”

Pitt was yet more sparing than Fox in the exhibition of his scholarship, which, if less various than his rival’s, was probably quite as deep. And one of the friends who knew him best said, that Pitt rigidly subdued his native faculty of wit, not because he did not appreciate and admire its sparkles in orators unrestrained by the responsibilities of office, but because he considered that a man in the position of First Minister impaired influence and authority by the cheers that transferred his reputation from his rank of Minister to his renown as Wit. He was right. Grave situations are not only dignified but strengthened by that gravity of demeanour which is not the hypocrisy of the would-be wise, but the genuine token of the earnest sense of responsibility.

Self-control thus necessitates, first, Self-Knowledge—the consciousness and the calculation of our own resources and our own defects. Every man has his strong point—every man has his weak ones. To know both the strong point and the weak ones is the first object of the man who means to extract from himself the highest degree of usefulness with the least alloy of mischief. His next task is yet more to strengthen his strong points by counterbalancing them with weights thrown into the scale of the weak ones; for force is increased by resistance. Remedy your deficiencies, and your merits will take care of themselves. Every man has in him good and evil. His good is his valiant army, his evil is his corrupt commissariat; reform the commissariat, and the army will do its duty.

The third point in Self-control is Generalship—is Method—is that calm science in the midst of movement and passion which decides where to advance, where to retreat—what regiments shall lead the charge, what regiments shall be held back in reserve. This is the last and the grandest secret: the other two all of us may master.

The man who, but with a mind somewhat above the average (raised above the average whether by constitutional talent or laborious acquirement), has his own intellect, with all its stores, under his absolute control,—that man can pass from one state of idea to another—from action to letters, from letters to action—without taking from one the establishment that would burden the other. It is comparatively a poor proprietor who cannot move from town to country but what he must carry with him all his servants and half his furniture. He who keeps the treasures he has inherited or saved in such compartments that he may know where to look for each at the moment it is wanted, will rarely find himself misplaced in any change of situation. It is not that his genius is versatile, but that it has the opulent attributes which are essential to successful intellect of every kind. The attributes themselves may vary in property and in degree, but the power of the Self—of the unity which controls all at its disposal—should be in the facility with which it can separate or combine all its attributes at its will.

It is thus, in the natural world, that an ordinary chemist may accomplish marvels beyond the art of magicians of old. Each man of good understanding, who would be as a chemist to the world within himself, will be startled to discover what new agencies spring into action merely by separating the elements dormant when joined, or combining those that were wasted in air when apart. In one completed Man there are the forces of many men. Self-control is self-completion.


“All the passions,” saith an old writer, “are such near neighbours, that if one of them is on fire the others should send for the buckets.” Thus love and hate being both passions, the one is never safe from the spark that sets the other ablaze. But contempt is passionless; it does not catch, it quenches fire. The misanthrope who professes to hate mankind has generally passed to that hate from too extravagant a love. And love for mankind is still, though unconsciously to himself, feeding hate by its own unextinguished embers. “The more a man loves his mistress,” says Rochefoucauld, “the nearer he is to hate her.” Possibly so, if he is jealous; but in return, the more he declares he hates her, the nearer he is to loving her again. Vehement affections do not move in parallels but in circles. As applied to them the proverb is true, “Les extrêmes se touchent.” A man of ardent temperament who is shocked into misanthropy by instances of ingratitude and perfidy, is liable any day to be carried back into philanthropy, should unlooked-for instances of gratitude and truth start up and take him by surprise. But if an egotist, who, inheriting but a small pittance of human affection, concentres it rigidly on himself, should deliberately school his reason into calm contempt for his species, he will retain that contempt to the last. He looks on the world of man, with its virtues and vices, much as you, O my reader, look on an ant-hill! What to you are the virtues or vices of ants? It is this kind of masked misanthropy which we encounter in our day—the misanthropy without a vizard belongs to a ruder age.

The misanthrope of Shakespeare and Molière is a passionate savage; the misanthrope who has just kissed his hand to you is a polished gentleman. No disgust of humanity will ever make him fly the world. From his club-window in St James’s his smile falls on all passers-by with equal suavity and equal scorn. It may be said by verbal critics that I employ the word misanthrope incorrectly—that, according to strict interpretation, a misanthrope means not a despiser but a hater of men, and that this elegant gentleman is not, by my own showing, warmblooded enough for hate. True, but contempt so serene and immovable is the philosophy of hate—the intellectual consummation of misanthropy. My hero would have listened with approving nod to all that Timon or Alceste could have thundered forth in detestation of his kind, and blandly rejoined, “Your truisms, mon cher, are as evident as that two and two make four. But you can calculate on the principle that two and two make four without shouting forth, as if you proclaimed a notable discovery, what every one you meet knows as well as yourself. Men are scoundrels—two and two make four—reckon accordingly, and don’t lose your temper in keeping your accounts.” My misanthrope à la mode never rails at vice; he takes it for granted as the elementary principle in the commerce of life. As for virtue, he regards it as a professor of science regards witchcraft. No doubt there are many plausible stories, very creditably attested, that vouch for its existence, but the thing is not in nature. Easier to believe in a cunning imposture than an impossible fact. It is the depth and completeness of his contempt for the world that makes him take the world so pleasantly. He is deemed the man of the world par excellence, and the World caresses and admires its Man.

The finest gentleman of my young day, who never said to you an unkind thing nor of you a kind one—whose slightest smile was a seductive fascination—whose loudest tone was a flute-like melody—had the sweetest way possible of insinuating his scorn of the human race. The urbanity of his manners made him a pleasant acquaintance—the extent of his reading an accomplished companion. No one was more versed in those classes of literature in which Mephistopheles might have sought polite authorities in favour of his demoniacal views of philosophy. He was at home in the correspondence between cardinals and debauchees in the time of Leo X. He might have taken high honours in an examination on the memoirs illustrating the life of French salons in the ancien régime. He knew the age of Louis Quinze so well that to hear him you might suppose he was just fresh from a petit souper in the Parc aux Cerfs.

Too universally agreeable not to amuse those present at the expense of those absent, still, even in sarcasm, he never seemed to be ill-natured. As one of his associates had a louder reputation for wit than his own, so it was his modest habit to father upon that professed diseur de bons mots any more pointed epigram that occurred spontaneously to himself. “I wonder,” said a dandy of another dandy who was no Adonis, “why on earth —— has suddenly taken to cultivate those monstrous red whiskers.” “Ah,” quoth my pleasant fine gentleman, “I think for my part they become his style of face very much; A—— says ‘that they plant out his ugliness.’” For the rest, in all graver matters, if the man he last dined with committed some act which all honest men blamed, my misanthrope evinced his gentle surprise, not at the act, but the blame—“What did you expect?” he would say, with an adorable indulgence, “he was a man—like yourselves!”

Sprung from one of the noblest lineages in Christendom—possessed of a fortune which he would smilingly say “was not large enough to allow him to give a shilling to any one else,” but which, prudently spent on himself, amply sufficed for all the elegant wants of a man so emphatically single—this darling of fashion had every motive conceivable to an ordinary understanding not to be himself that utter rogue which he assumed every other fellow-creature to be. Nevertheless, he was too nobly consistent to his creed to suffer his example to be at variance with his doctrine; and here he had an indisputable advantage over Timon and Alceste, who had no right, when calling all men rogues, to belie their assertion by declining to be rogues themselves. His favourite amusement was whist, and in that game his skill was so consummate that he had only to play fairly in order to add to his income a sum which, already spending on himself all that he himself required, he would not have known what to do with. But, as he held all men to be cheats, he cheated on principle. It was due to the honour of his philosophy to show his utter disdain of the honour which impostors preached, but which only dupes had the folly to practise. If others did not mark the aces and shuffle up the kings as he did, it was either because they were too stupid to learn how, or too cowardly to risk the chance of exposure. He was not as stupid, he was not as cowardly, as the generality of men. It became him to show his knowledge of their stupidity and his disdain of their cowardice. Bref—he cheated!—long with impunity: but, as Charron says, L’homme se pique—man cogs the dice for his own ruin. At last he was suspected, he was watched, he was detected. But the first thought of his fascinated victims was not to denounce, but to warn him—kindly letters conveying delicate hints were confidentially sent to him: he was not asked to disgorge, not exhorted to repent; let bygones be bygones, only for the future, would he, in playing with his intimate associates, good-naturedly refrain from marking the aces and shuffling up the kings?

I can well imagine the lofty smile with which the scorner of men must have read such frivolous recommendations to depart from the philosophical system adorned in vain by his genius if not enforced by his example. He who despised the opinions of sages and saints—he to be frightened into respecting the opinions of idlers at a club!—send to him an admonition from the world of honour, to respect the superstitions of card-players! as well send to Mr Faraday an admonition from the world of spirits to respect the superstitions of table-rappers! To either philosopher there would be the same reply—“I go by the laws of nature.” In short, strong in the conscience of his opinion, this consistent reasoner sublimely persevered in justifying his theories of misanthropy by his own resolute practice of knavery, inexcusable and unredeemed.

“What Timon thought, this god-like Cato was!”

But man, whatever his inferiority to the angels, is still not altogether a sheep. And even a sheep only submits to be sheared once a year; to be sheared every day would irritate the mildest of lambs. Some of the fellow-mortals whom my hero smiled on and plundered, took heart, and openly accused him of marking the aces and shuffling up the kings. At first his native genius suggested to him the wisdom of maintaining, in smiling silence, the contempt of opinion he had hitherto so superbly evinced. Unhappily for himself, he was induced by those who, persuaded that a man of so high a birth could never have stooped to so low a peccadillo, flattered him with the assurance of an easy triumph over his aspersers—unhappily, I say, he was induced into a departure from that system of action which he had hitherto maintained with so supreme a success. He condescended, for the first time in his life, to take other men into respect—to regard what might be thought of him by a world he despised. He brought an action for libel against his accusers. His counsel, doubtless by instruction, sought to redeem that solitary inconsistency in his client, by insinuating that my lord’s chosen associates were themselves the cheats, malignant conspirators against the affable hawk of quality in whom they had expected to find a facile pigeon.

The cuttle-fish blackens the water to escape from his enemies, but he does not always escape; nay, in blackening the water he betrays himself to the watchful spectators. My hero failed in his action, and quitted the court leaving behind him the bubble reputation. If I am rightly informed, Adversity, that touchstone of lofty minds, found this grand philosopher as serene as if he had spent his life in studying Epictetus. He wrapt himself, if not in virtue, at least in his scorn of it,—

Et udo
Spernit humi defugiente penno.

He retired to the classic Tusculum of his villa in St John’s Wood. There, cheered by the faithful adherence of some elegant companions, who, if they did not believe him innocent, found him unalterably agreeable, he sipped his claret and moralised on his creed. Doubtless he believed that “the talk would soon subside,” “the thing blow over.” The world would miss him too much not to rally again round the sage who so justly despised it. Perhaps his belief might have been realised, but,

Vita summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam”—

Death, the only player that no man can cheat, cut into his table, and trumped the last card of his long suit.

In the more brilliant period of this amiable man-scorner’s social career, once, and once only, he is said to have given way to anger. One of his associates (I say designedly associates, not friends, out of respect for his memory, since friendship is a virtue, and he therefore denied its existence)—one of his associates, warmed perhaps into literature by his own polite acquaintance with all that is laide in belles lettres, wrote a comedy. The comedy was acted. My hero honoured the performance by appearing in the author’s box. Leaning forward so as to be seen of all men, he joined his hands in well-bred applause of every abortive joke and grammatical solecism, till, in a critical part of the play, there occurred a popular claptrap—a something said in praise of virtue and condemnation of vice. The gallery of course responded to the claptrap, expressing noisy satisfaction at the only sentiment familiar to their comprehension which they had hitherto heard. But my archetype of modern misanthropy paused aghast, suspended

“The soft collision of applauding gloves,”

and, looking at his associate as reproachfully as Cæsar might have looked at Brutus when he sighed forth “Et tu, Brute!” let fall these withering words, “Why, Billy, this is betraying the Good Old Cause.” So saying, he left the box, resentful. Now, this man I call the genuine, positive, realistic Misanthrope, compared to whom Timon and Alceste are poetical make-believes!



6. ‘The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon.’ By James Spedding. Vols. I. & II. Lord Macaulay’s ‘Essay on Francis Bacon.’

Mr Spedding, in the modest form of a commentary on the letters and occasional writings of Lord Bacon, is now giving us a biography of that celebrated man, which bids fair, for a long time to come, to be our highest authority on the subject. To place all the facts before us on which our judgment of the character of Lord Bacon should be formed, is his great object; he deals in few assertions of his own; he is disposed to let facts speak for themselves; he guides our opinion by a full narrative of the events, and makes few attempts to influence us by argument or eloquence. A more satisfactory or trustworthy book has rarely come before us.

We will not say that Mr Spedding’s narrative is never coloured by an imagination which has received its unconscious prompting from his admiration of Bacon: one rather amusing instance of this colouring of the imagination we think we have detected, and shall have occasion to notice; but no admiring biographer of a great man has more studiously refrained from thrusting forward his own opinions or conceptions where the reader is merely desirous of obtaining a clear insight into the facts themselves. Mr Spedding has not yet completed his task, but he has given us in these two volumes more materials of interest than in the space of a single paper we shall have room to touch upon, and the main topic which occupies them is fully discussed and finally dismissed.

That topic is the relation between Bacon and Essex. Of the splendid Essay of Lord Macaulay’s, which is still ringing in the ears of most English readers, no part was written with more force, or was more damaging to the character of Bacon, than that which treated of his conduct to the Earl of Essex. Many who could have forgiven the peccant Chancellor for being too ready to accept whatever was offered to him in the shape of present or gratuity, could not pardon the cold-blooded and faithless friend. Now it is precisely on this subject that Mr Spedding presents us with materials for forming a very different judgment from that which the eloquent pages of Macaulay had betrayed us into. Up to the period when Essex disappears from the scene, these two volumes give us their clear guidance. Of that guidance we very gladly avail ourselves.

We would premise that it is not our purpose, or endeavour, to defend Bacon at all points—to robe our Chancellor in spotless ermine; neither do we think that the result of renewed investigation is a clear verdict of “Not Guilty” on all the charges that have been brought against him. There is much in Macaulay’s estimate both of the character and the philosophy of Bacon with which we cordially agree. It happens frequently with great historic names that there is an oscillation of public opinion; the too harsh verdict of one writer, or one age, is followed by a verdict as much too lenient. Such oscillation seems to have lately taken place with regard to Bacon, and the disposition is at present to find nothing blameworthy in him. This disposition we do not share. We think that no good is done, but rather harm, when enthusiasm for the brilliant achievements of any man, whether in a career of war, or statesmanship, or letters, induces us to shut our eyes to his moral defects. For in these cases we do not, and cannot, exactly shut our eyes: we do something worse; we try to see that vices are not vices. We lower our standard, that we may pass no unfavourable judgment. It is an ill lesson that teaches us to forgive the overbearing despotism of a great soldier or great minister, or the rascality of a great wit; to see no injustice in a Napoleon, and no villany in a Sheridan. We believe that the censure of Lord Macaulay is too severe, but it is censure and not praise which the character of Bacon provokes. We all know that the fervid eloquence, or rather the ardent temperament, of our more than English Livy, led him into manifest exaggerations; but in general, we should say that his drawing is true to nature, except that it had this too swelling outline. His exaggerations were like those of Michael Angelo, who drew muscles disproportionately large, but who never drew a muscle where none existed. A sterling good sense presided over the verdicts of Macaulay—over the yes or no; but the verdict once determined, the impassioned orator ran the risk of falsifying it by the ruthless, unmitigated energy with which it was delivered.

We should not say of Bacon either that he was the “greatest” or the “meanest” of mankind. But as certainly as he was great in his intellectual attributes, so certainly was he not great in his moral character. Here he lacked elevation. He could tolerate artifice, and dissimulation, and gross flattery. If the crime of Essex justified him, as we are inclined to think it did, in breaking entirely with that nobleman, and treating him as an enemy to the State, what are we to say of the strain of advice which he habitually gives to Essex while the two are yet in perfect amity? A mere personal ambition, to be obtained by the petty arts of the courtier, is all that he prompts his friend to aspire after. Win the Queen—honestly, if possible; but, at all events, win the Queen! This is the burden of his counsel. Bacon was great in his intellectual speculations; he was mean in the conduct of life. The antithesis still remains to us in a modified form. All his life is a continual suing for place; and what he obtained by flattery and subservience, he lost by some poor cupidity.

Bacon was a philosopher from his youth, but from his youth to his old age he was also a lover of social distinctions, and of a sumptuous mode of life. If he had the desire to take all human knowledge for his province, and to extend his name and his good influence into future ages, if he desired to be a reformer even of philosophy itself, he had also other desires of a much more commonplace description; not evil in themselves—good perhaps in themselves—but not subordinated to the high morality which might have been expected from one so wise. But if in his rise to power he showed too much servility—if, when in the seat of power, he showed too much cupidity,—surely no one ever fell from greatness, no one was ever struck down from the seat of power, for so slight a measure of criminality. No historic personage can be mentioned amongst us, on whom so severe a punishment, so deep a disgrace, was inflicted for a fault so little heinous.

The first great error which Bacon committed, the consequence of which pursued him all his life, was the running into debt. It was a life-long fault. It was his fault, not his misfortune. He received less, we know, from his father than he might reasonably have expected, less than his brothers had received, but no biographer has ventured to call him poor—so poor that he could not have held his ground as a student of the law without incurring debt. Whether it was mere carelessness and imprudence, or a wilful spending “according to his hopes, not his possessions,” we find him very early in debt; and as years advance we find the debts, of course, more and more onerous. No one knew better than Bacon that he who owes has to borrow, and that he who borrows will have, in some form, to beg, to sue—will be tempted to sordid actions—will lose his independence, his upright attitude amongst men. There is no greater slavery than debt. It bred in Bacon that “itching palm,” and that perpetual suing, which disgrace his career.

He begins to sue from his very first entry into life. He puts his trust in the Lord Treasurer. And what is remarkable, the very nature of the first suit he makes is unknown. It was some office, not of a legal character, as we should conjecture. Writing to Walsingham about it, he says that the delay in answering it “hinders me from taking a course of practice which, by the leave of God, if her Majesty like not of my suit, I must and will follow: not for any necessity of estate, but for my credit sake, which I know by living out of action will wear.” At this date, 25th August 1585, he does not plead absolute inability to live on his private fortune. Subsequently, when his debts have increased, he writes upon this subject in a very different strain. He is embarrassed by usurers; he is arrested; debt comes upon him, as he says, like an armed man.

Of the earliest years of Bacon few memorials remain. But Mr Spedding brings together two conspicuous facts. The first is, that Bacon, at the age of fifteen, conceives his project of a reformation in philosophy; and the second is, that immediately on leaving college he accompanies Sir Amias Paulet on his embassy to France. Thus philosophy and diplomacy, speculation and state-craft, study and the world, take at once joint possession of Francis Bacon.

Of the first of these facts, and the most important in his life, Mr Spedding speaks in a passage of much eloquence, glowing and chastened withal:—

“That the thought first occurred to him during his residence at Cambridge, therefore before he had completed his fifteenth year, we know upon the best authority—his own statement to Dr Rawley. I believe it ought to be regarded as the most important event of his life—the event which had a greater influence than any other upon his character and future course. From that moment there was awakened within his breast the appetite which cannot be satiated, and the passion which cannot commit excess. From that moment he had a vocation which employed and stimulated all the energies of his mind, gave a value to every vacant interval of time, an interest and significance to every random thought and casual accession of knowledge—an object to live for as wide as humanity, as immortal as the human race—an idea to live in vast and lofty enough to fill the soul for ever with religious and heroic aspirations. From that moment, though still subject to interruptions, disappointments, errors, and regrets, he could never be without either work or hope or consolation.”

But this young philosopher is son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, the late Lord Chancellor; the Queen has laid her hand upon his head while yet a boy, and called him her young Lord Keeper; he is nephew to the Prime Minister; he dreams of courts, of place, of power. He must unite his lofty speculations with the great affairs of State; he must survey human knowledge from the high places of society. He enters Gray’s Inn, is a student of the law, and his heart aches after office and promotion.

There is one person very intimately connected with Bacon, whom Mr Spedding has brought before us with a novel distinctness—his mother, Lady Bacon. We are not aware that her presence will throw much light on the character of her son, but henceforth, we are sure, no biography of the son will be written in which this lady will not be a conspicuous figure. She is one of those strongly-marked characters that always please the imagination; dogmatic, perverse, full of maternal anxiety, pious and splenetic, with marvellous shrewd sense and a very ungovernable temper. The knowledge of her character would enable us to answer one question. Presuming that any one should think fit to ask why Bacon did not seek the retirement of Gorhambury, the answer is quite ready. There would have been no peace for him under the roof of his lady mother. Puritan and termagant, his philosophy would have been “suspect” to her; and his retirement would have been certainly denounced as unpardonable sloth. She is a learned lady, mingles scraps of Latin and Greek in her epistles, and she can write, when the occasion demands, in a very stately English style—stately, but straightforward withal. Her son’s epistolary style is often involved and verbose. He does not often come so directly to the point as Lady Bacon does in the following letter, written to Lord Burghley, in the interest of the Nonconformist clergy, or Preachers, as they were then called. In a conference which had lately taken place at Lambeth between them and the bishops, she thinks they had not fair-play; she appeals, in their name, to her Majesty and the Council:—

“They would most humbly crave, both of God in heaven, whose cause it is, and of their Majesty, their most excellent sovereign here on earth, that they might obtain quiet and convenient audience rather before her Majesty herself, whose heart is in God his hand to touch and to turn, or before your Honours of the Council, whose wisdom they greatly reverence; and if they cannot strongly prove before you out of the word of God that reformation which they so long have called and cried for to be according to Christ his own ordinance, then to let them be rejected with shame out of the Church for ever.... And therefore, for such weighty conference they appeal to her Majesty and her honourable wise Council, whom God has placed in highest authority for the advancement of His kingdom; and refuse the bishops for judges, who are parties partial in their own defence, because they seek more worldly ambition than the glory of Jesus Christ.”

Mr Spedding next introduces to us the same lady under the agitations, as he says, of maternal anxiety. Anthony Bacon, the elder brother of Francis, has been long upon the Continent collecting intelligence, and otherwise amusing or occupying himself. He sends over one Lawson, a confidential servant, to Lord Burghley with some important communication. Lawson is a Catholic. That her son Anthony should be so long in Popish parts is a dire grievance to Lady Bacon; that he should have in his confidence a Papist servant, is not to be borne. She prevails upon Burghley to have this Lawson arrested and retained in England. One snake is, at all events, caught, and shall be held firm. Anthony writes to his friend, Francis Allen, to obtain for him the liberation of Lawson. Allen, furnished with a letter from Lord Burghley (who seems, for his own part, to be willing to release the man), proceeds to Gorhambury. His intercession with Lady Bacon he tells himself in a letter to Anthony:—

“Upon my arrival at Godombery my lady used me courteously until such time I began to move her for Mr Lawson, and, to say the truth, for yourself;—being so much transported with your abode there that she let not to say that you are a traitor to God and your country: you have undone her; you seek her death; and when you have that you seek for, you shall have but a hundred pounds more than you have now.

“She is resolved to procure her Majesty’s letter to force you to return; and when that shall be, if her Majesty gave you your right or desert, she should clap you up in prison....

“I am sorry to write it, considering his deserts and your love towards him; but the truth will be known at the last, and better late than never: it is vain to look for Mr Lawson’s return, for these are her ladyship’s own words—‘No, no,’ saith she, ‘I have learned not to employ ill to good; and if there were no more men in England, and although you should never come home, he shall never come to you.’

“It is as unpossible to persuade my lady to send him, as for myself to send you Paul’s steeple....

“When you have received your provision, make your repair home again, lest you be a means to shorten her days, for she told me the grief of mind received, daily by your stay will be her end; also saith her jewels be spent for you, and that she borrowed the last money of seven several persons.

“Thus much I must confess unto you for a conclusion, that I have never seen and never shall see a wise lady, an honourable woman, a mother more perplexed for her son’s absence, than I have seen that honourable dame for yours. Therefore lay your hand on your heart, look not for Mr Lawson; here he hath, as a man may say, heaven and earth against him and his return.”

Soon after this Anthony does return home, and Lady Bacon addresses him a letter, in which there are some allusions to Francis, which will be read with interest:—

“This one chiefest counsel your Christian and natural mother doth give you even before the Lord, that above all worldly respects you carry yourself ever at your first coming as one that doth unfeignedly profess the true religion of Christ, and hath the love of the truth now, by long continuance, fast settled in your heart, and that with judgment, wisdom, and discretion; and are not afraid or ashamed to testify the same by hearing and delighting in those religious exercises of the sincerer sort, be they French or English. In hoc noli adhibere fratrem tuum ad consilium aut exemplum....

“I trust you, with your servants, use prayer twice in a day, having been where reformation is. Omit it not for any. It will be your best credit to serve the Lord duly and reverently, and you will be observed at first now. Your brother is too negligent herein, but do you well and zealously; it will be looked for of the best-learned sort, and that is best.”

Full of prudence, full of zeal, suspecting her sons themselves and every one about them, anxious to manage them on all points, whether in their diet or their religion, such is Lady Bacon. She is writing still to Anthony.

Gratia et salus. That you increase in amending I am glad. God continue it every way. When you cease of your prescribed diet, you had need, I think, to be very wary both of your sudden change of quantity and of season of your feeding—especially suppers late or full. Procure rest in convenient time; it helpeth much to digestion. I verily think your brother’s weak stomach to digest hath been much caused and confirmed by untimely going to bed, and then musing nescio quid when he should sleep, and then, in consequent, by late rising and long lying in bed, whereby his men are made slothful, and himself continueth sickly. But my sons haste not to hearken to their mother’s good counsel in time to prevent. The Lord, our heavenly Father, heal and bless you both as His sons in Christ Jesus. I promise you, touching your coach, if it be so to your contentation, it was not wisdom to have it seen or known at the Court; you shall be so much pressed to lend, and your man, for gain, so ready to agree, that the discommodity thereof will be as much as the commodity. Let not your men see my letter. I write to you, and not to them.”

And again, a few days later:—

“I am glad, and thank God of your amendment. But my man said he heard you rose at three of the clock. I thought that was not well, so suddenly from bedding much to rise so early—newly out of your diet.... I like not your lending your coach yet to my lord and lady. If you once begin, you shall hardly end. It was not well it was so soon sent into the Court to make talk, and at last be promised and misliked. Tell your brother I counsel you to send it no more. What had my Lady Shriefess to borrow your coach?”

Any comment of ours would only weaken the effect of such graphic letters as these. We are enabled even to follow our zealous, dogmatic, yet motherly woman, into her own household. Edward Spencer was a servant of Anthony’s, but was left for some reason at Gorhambury. He writes to his master:—

“My humble duty remembered to your good worship. I thought good to write to you to satisfy you how unquiet my lady is with all her household.” [Then he enters into a long story how my lady had said of a certain “grænen bitch,” whatever that may be, that it should be hanged; and how, when Edward Spencer obeys her command, and hangs the dog, my lady breaks out into a “fransey.”]—“My lady do not speak to me as yet. I will give none offence to make her angry; but nobody can please her long together.”

And again—

“My humble duty first remembered to your good worship. I thought good to write unto you to sartey you of my lady’s great unquietness in the house. Since her last falling-out with me she showed me a good countenance as ever she did before. Now, yesterday I had a sparhawk given me, and she killed a brace of partridges, and then I came home before the evening was shut in; indeed, all the folks had supped: whereat she seemed to be very sore angry with these words—‘What come you home now? I would you and your hawk would keep you away altogether. You have been a-breaking of hedges between neighbour and neighbour, and now you come home out of order, and show an ill example in my house. Well, you shall keep no hawk here.’ ‘I am the more sorrier I have given no acause that your ladyship should be offended, nor I will not. To please your ladyship I will pull off her head.’ Whereat she stamped and said, I would do by her as I did by the bitch. Insomuch she would let me have no supper. So truly I went to bed without my supper. There is not one man in the house but she fall out withal, and is not in charity one day in a week but with priests, which will undo her. There is one Page that had six pounds on her. Mr Willcocks had a paper with a great deal of gold in it. Wellblod had two quarterns of wheat. Dicke had something the other day; what, I know not.”

There is more of the same kind; though whether it is quite fair to take the testimony of this Edward Spencer without hearing what Lady Bacon could report of him, is worth a thought. He must have been a surly fellow, from his offering so readily to pull off the hawk’s head. Our next quotation brings us back to Francis, and the unhappy subject of his debts: we have hints, too, of the influence under which she suspects these debts to be incurred, which the modern biographer is unable to follow out; and which, from the different manners of a former age, it is difficult entirely to understand. But we are confirmed by these extracts in our previous convictions, that the loss which Francis is said to have sustained by the sudden death of his father (who thus failed to make the full provision for him he intended) cannot be represented as the real cause of his embarrassments. Mr Spedding represents this fact “as perplexing the problem of his life with a new and inconvenient addition.” But it could not have materially perplexed the problem of his life, unless it disabled him from living upon his private fortune. It made him a poorer gentleman; but if he had been a richer, he would still have been a suitor at the Court, and still, in all probability, have incurred debts. He and Anthony live together, and we find them alternately assisting each other. There is no evidence of a great disparity in their fortunes. What share Francis had in the “coach” we know not, but we hear of him purchasing horses; and certainly the mother does not look upon the embarrassments of Francis as some inevitable consequence of his position. She is applied to, in the present case, to assist him in the payment of his debts, by joining in the sale of an estate which belongs to him, but in which she has some legal right. Anthony makes the request, and receives the following reply:—

“For your brotherly care of your brother Francis’s estate you are to be well liked, and so I do as a Christian mother that loveth you both as the children of God; but, as I wrote but in a few words yesterday by my neighbour, the state of you both doth much disquiet me, as in Greek words I signified shortly.

“I have been too ready for you both till nothing is left. And surely, though I pity your brother, yet so long as he pitieth not himself, but keepeth that bloody Percy, as I told him then, yea as a coach-companion and bed-companion,—a proud, profane, costly fellow, whose being about him I verily fear the Lord God doth mislike, and doth less bless your brother in credit and otherwise in his health,—surely I am utterly discouraged, and make a conscience further to undo myself to maintain such wretches as he is. This Jones (?) never loved your brother, indeed, but for his own credit, being upon your brother, and thankless, though bragging. But your brother will be blind to his own hurt.... It is most certain till first Enney (?), a filthy, wasteful knave, and his Welshman, one after another—for take one, and they will still swarm ill-favouredly—did so lead him, as in a train; he was a towardly young gentleman, and a son of much good hope in goodliness. But seeing that he hath nourished most sinful proud villains wilfully, I know not what other answer to make.”

Then, partly relenting, she adds in a postscript:—

“If your brother desire a release to Mr Harvey, let him so require it himself, and but upon this condition, by his own hand and bond, I will not; that is, that he make and give me a true note of all his debts, and leave to me the whole order and receipt of all his money for his land, to Harvey, and the just payment of all his debts thereby. And, by the mercy and grace of God, it shall be performed by me to his quiet discharge, without cumbering him, and to his credit. For I will not have his cormorant seducers, and instruments of Satan to him, committing foul sin by his countenance to the displeasing of God and his godly true fear. Otherwise I will not, pro certo.”

This was a condition which, as Mr Spedding observes, was hard of digestion for an expectant Attorney-General. It was not complied with. But we need not attempt to follow these obscure transactions further; and here we may part company with Lady Bacon. In justice to her let it be added that, if she scolded her son Francis, she could assert his claims boldly before others. In a reported conversation with Sir Robert Cecil she does not scruple to hint that he is but ill used by his powerful relatives. She little understands what manner of son she has; she says truly that he is thinking nescio quid, but she is not without a certain degree of motherly pride, as well as motherly tenderness, for him.

We must now turn to that portion of Bacon’s history in which we see him brought into relationship with Essex. Mr Spedding has represented the friendship of the two men as being based on very noble motives. Essex was no doubt attracted to Bacon, in the first instance, by a generous admiration for his talents. But we do not find that on Bacon’s side there was any reciprocal ardour. We cannot help thinking that what Bacon chiefly saw in Essex was the young nobleman likely to be the great favourite of Elizabeth. Bacon, we are told by Mr Spedding, saw in Essex a man capable of “entering heartily into all his largest speculations for the good of the world, and placed by accident in a position to realise, or help to realise them. It was natural to hope that he could do it.”—(Vol. i. p. 106.) We have a portrait of Essex, as he first appeared to Bacon, drawn in glowing colours. This young nobleman is not only described as being (what all have admitted) generous, brave, and ardent in his friendship, but credit is given him for wide contemplative ends, or, at least, an aptitude is presumed in him for purely patriotic or philanthropic purposes. Now, from the commencement to the termination of his career, all his good qualities are seen in the service of a mere flagrant personal ambition. He is jealous of every honour bestowed upon another: he must be first in the country. And so far from detecting any great plan or noble intention in the use of power, we see him, still at an early age, prepared to throw the whole nation into confusion in order to obtain place or power for himself. And as to Bacon, throughout the whole of his correspondence with Essex there are no traces of anything higher than prudential and sometimes crafty counsels, how best to obtain favour and advancement at Court. The relationship between them is chiefly this, that Essex is to obtain office and promotion for Bacon, and Bacon by his aid and advice is to administer to the greatness of Essex. The relationship has nothing in it peculiarly reprehensible, but nothing certainly of an elevating character. Sometimes the strain of advice which the philosopher gives is of a quite ignoble character, counselling, as it does, a tricky, dissimulating conduct. It is no Utopia of any kind, moral or scientific, that he has in view for Essex, or for himself as connected with Essex. It is how to rise at Court that he studies for his friend, and it is the petty arts of the courtier that he sometimes condescends to teach.

We will content ourselves with one quotation: it must be a rather long one, because a single sentence wrung from its context may give no fair impression of the general strain of a letter of advice. The following was written to Essex soon after his famous expedition to Cadiz:—

“I said to your Lordship last time, Martha, Martha, attendis ad plurima, unum sufficit; win the Queen: if this be not the beginning, of any other course I see no end....

“For the removing the impression of your nature to be opiniastre, and not rulable: First, and above all things, I wish that all matters past, which cannot be revoked, your Lordship would turn altogether upon insatisfaction, and not upon your nature or proper disposition. This string you cannot upon every apt occasion harp upon too much. Next, whereas I have noted you to fly and avoid (in some respect justly) the resemblance or imitation of my Lord of Leicester and my Lord Chancellor Hatton; yet I am persuaded (howsoever I wish your Lordship as distant as you are from them in points of favour, integrity, magnanimity, and merit) that it will do you much good, between the Queen and you, to allege them (as oft as you find occasion) for authors and patterns. For I do not know a readier mean to make her Majesty think you are in your right way. Thirdly, when at any time your Lordship upon occasion happen in speeches to do her Majesty right (for there is no such matter as flattery amongst you all), I fear you handle it magis in speciem adornatis verbis quam ut sentire videaris, so that a man may read formality in your countenance; whereas your Lordship should do it familiarly et oratione fidâ. Fourthly, your Lordship should never be without some particulars of art, which you should seem to pursue with earnestness and affection, and then let them fall upon taking knowledge of her Majesty’s opposition and dislike. Of which the weightiest sort may be, if your Lordship offers to labour in the behalf of some that you favour for some of the places that are void, choosing such a subject as you think her Majesty is likely to oppose unto. And if you will say that this is conjunctum cum alienâ injurâ, I will not answer, Hæc non aliter constabunt; but I say commendation from so good a mouth doth not hurt a man, though you prevail not. A less weighty sort of particulars may be the pretence of some journeys, which at her Majesty’s request your Lordship mought relinquish; or if you would pretend a journey to see your living and estate towards Wales, or the like; for as for great foreign journeys of employment and service, it standeth not with your gravity to play or stratagem with them. And the lightest sort of particulars, which yet are not to be neglected, are in your habits, apparel, wearings, gestures, and the like....

“The third impression is of a popular reputation; which, because it is a thing good in itself, being obtained as your Lordship obtaineth it, that is bonis artibus; and besides well governed, is one of the best flowers of your greatness, both present and to come; it would be handled tenderly. The only way is to quench it verbis, but not rebus. And, therefore, to take all occasions to the Queen to speak against popularity and popular courses vehemently, and to tax it on all others; but nevertheless to go in your honourable commonwealth courses as you do. And, therefore, I will not advise you to cure this by dealing in monopolies or any oppressions. Only, if in Parliament your Lordship be forward for treasure in respect of the wars, it becometh your person well; and if her Majesty object popularity to you at any time, I would say to her, A Parliament will show that; and so feed her with expectation.”

It is only the fear of being tedious that prevents us from giving other passages in which Bacon counsels dissimulation and these petty artifices of the courtier. We do not say that passages like this deserve any violent reprobation, but we do say that the writer of them must have a very lax morality on the subject of truth-speaking; he must be deficient in self-respect, in moral dignity. Such a counsellor would not improve the man who followed his advice, however he might improve his fortunes. There was a love of manœuvring, of petty diplomacy, in Bacon. In one place we find him framing two fictitious letters, the one pretending to be written by his brother Anthony, and the other by the Earl of Essex. This fictitious correspondence was to be shown to the Queen.—(Vol. ii. p. 197.)

In Bacon, we may observe, we have not the mere ordinary contrast between good teaching and bad practice. We have not a Seneca professing a stoical morality and writing apologies for Nero (or any instance of this kind which the reader may choose for himself, for Seneca may have his defenders, and many are disposed at present to say a good word in favour of Nero). It is not a contrast of this kind we have chiefly to remark in Bacon: what we notice is a defect in the cultivation of the moral sentiments. The force of his intellect had gone out in another direction. He had great aspirations for the good of mankind; but these aspirations were connected with his theory of knowledge, and they were aspirations after increased power, and “commodity,” and the physical wellbeing of man. It was not his habit to dwell much upon those moral sentiments which make, in all ages, the elevation of the individual mind.

But the grave and specific charge brought against Bacon is that of ingratitude to his friend. We have to ask what was the amount or kind of obligation under which Bacon had been placed? What was the friendship he was supposed to have sacrificed to his interest? And whether the criminal conduct of Essex did not manumit him from all the bonds of friendship, whatever they might have been? Though not always a high-minded counsellor, Bacon was the last man in the country to tolerate an open act of rebellion against the Queen and the established Government. The evidence, as laid before us by Mr Spedding, proves beyond a doubt the grave criminality of Essex. If we have a friend who passes with us as an honest man, and he suddenly proves a villain, we generally fling our friendship to the winds—we disclaim and renounce the man who, in addition to his other villanies, has practised a treachery upon ourselves. In fact, the condemnation of Essex may be said to be here the acquittal of Bacon.

We shall not haggle about the amount of specific service rendered by Essex to his friend. Every generous mind feels gratitude according to the generosity of purpose of the donor. Essex, in the ardour of his youth, was, as we have said, drawn towards Bacon by admiration of his great intellect, and was only too zealous to promote his interest. His zeal outran his discretion. Nothing came of it but disappointment to both parties. But this would not have extinguished a grateful feeling.

We have no ground whatever for supposing that the intercession of Essex really prevented Bacon from obtaining first the Attorney-Generalship, and, subsequently, the Solicitor-Generalship. That nobleman speaks of his solicitations doing more harm than good; but an expression of this kind was either a generous depreciation of his own services, or the result of a moody anger against the Queen whom he had failed to move. It does not seem that Bacon at this time had any chance at Court. The Queen was in no hurry to promote him. He had obtained no practice at the bar, and it is no want of charity to attribute this in Bacon to an unwillingness to spend his strength and powers on the ordinary routine of legal business. But this unwillingness must have operated against him. The very qualities for which we now admire Bacon must have disparaged him as a man of business in the eyes of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Burghley. A man who has long ago left his college, and who is still dreaming about reforms in philosophy, and who tells the Lord Treasurer himself that “he has as vast contemplative ends as he has moderate civil ends,” does not seem exactly the person for an Attorney-General. Bacon, at all events, does not scruple, on a subsequent occasion, to have recourse again to his friend’s intercession. When Egerton became Lord Keeper, Bacon wished to succeed him as Master of the Rolls, and he requests Essex to write to Egerton in his favour. He makes this request (we may observe in passing) in a diplomatic manner; he writing half the matter in his own letter, and Anthony being more explicit in a letter he sends at the same time. It is impossible not to remark that Bacon is grasping at the higher prizes of the profession before he has endured the heat and burden of a lawyer’s life.

His friend Essex being unable to procure for him either the Attorney-Generalship or the Solicitor-Generalship, and feeling indebted for many services, gave him a small estate, worth, we are told, £1800 in the currency of these times. This was a gift which, in one sense of the word, Bacon may be said to have earned; but, if we may judge according to the present state of feeling on these matters, it was a gift which he could not have felt perfectly satisfied in accepting. Nothing but his debts, we venture to assert, persuaded him to accept it. The services he had rendered were not such as are paid by money—they were never rendered for money-payment. It would be a very coarse interpretation (and one which Mr Spedding has avoided) to call this gift a fee for advice and assistance tendered to the Earl. It was not professional advice that he gave, whether he taught him how to rise at Court, or assisted him in the duties of a privy councillor. There was an interchange of good offices between the two men; but Bacon sinks from his rightful equality if he accepts money as an equivalent for any balance of such good offices as might be in his favour. Mr Spedding suggests that the aid which Bacon rendered in certain masques or devices got up for the entertainment of the Queen must be included in the list of his services; but Mr Spedding would not certainly have counselled him to hold out his hand for a money-payment for what was doubtless entered into in the spirit of a literary amusement. If, indeed, the two speeches which are given us here on Knowledge and in Praise of the Queen were really delivered at these devices, Bacon must have made these entertainments subservient to certain graver purposes of his own. We should like to know if the audience felt thankful to the author for his eloquent but very long orations.

So stands the account against Bacon, and the two men are still friends, when one of them suddenly appears in the new character of traitor and rebel. We say suddenly, for, though Essex had been long plotting some surprise upon the Government—some insurrectionary movement—some advantage to be taken either of his military power or his popularity with the mob—yet he had so far learnt one lesson of his friend, the lesson of dissimulation, that he had been able to conceal from him these secret purposes. Even so far back as when he was organising his great expedition to Ireland, which was to crush the rebellion of Tyrone, he is suspected of some intention of using the forces that were put under his command against the Queen’s Government. We are certainly driven to this alternative: either the Earl on that expedition manifested such incapacity as is unparalleled even in those days of brave knights and incompetent generals; or he acted throughout in the spirit of a traitor. He has the command of an army, large for those days, of 16,000 men; he does absolutely nothing with it—fritters it away; comes up at length to Tyrone with some 4000 men, Tyrone greatly outnumbering him. He draws up his forces on a hill; Tyrone refuses to charge uphill, but invites Essex to a parley. Essex accepts the invitation; has half an hour’s talk with the rebel, who gives him verbally the terms on which he is willing to lay down his arms—terms which are those of a conqueror. Essex promises to carry these terms to the Queen, concludes a truce, and there the campaign ends. The sum total, as Mr Spedding says, would stand thus:—Expended, £300,000 and ten or twelve thousand men; Received a suspension of hostilities for six weeks, with promise of a fortnight’s notice before recommencing them, and a verbal communication of the conditions on which he was willing to make peace.

Essex hastens back to England to make his own peace with the Queen. She at first receives him amicably; but reasons of State overweigh her personal amity; some inquiry must be made into the disastrous expedition; he is commanded to keep his own chamber. This takes place at Nonsuch.

At this juncture Bacon writes the following letter. It proves, as Mr Spedding observes, that Bacon could have had no suspicion of any treasonable scheme on the part of Essex; but we cannot help remarking the tone of hollowness in the letter, and especially in that congratulatory sentence, which cannot fail to strike the reader. He knew enough of the expedition to Ireland to know that, from whatever cause, it was an utter failure.

“My Lord,—Conceiving that your Lordship comes now up in the person of a good servant to serve your sovereign mistress, which kind of compliments we many times instar magnorum meritorum, and therefore it would be hard for me to find you, I have committed to this poor paper the humble salutations of him that is more yours than any man’s, and more yours than any man. To these salutations I add a due and joyful gratulation, confessing that your Lordship in your last conference with me, before your journey, spake not in vain, God making it good, that you trusted we should say Quis putasset, which, as it is found true in a happy sense, or I wish you do not find another Quis putasset in the manner of taking this so great a service. But I hope it is, as he said, Nubecula est, cito transibit: and that your Lordship’s wisdom and obsequious circumspection and patience will turn all to the best. So referring all to some time that I may attend you, I commit you to God’s best preservations.”

We do not believe that Bacon was capable of an ardent friendship for any one; he was urbane and courteous to all, as is the manner with men of thought and equanimity. With regard to Essex, this letter alone would be sufficient proof to us that he had all along been more of the courtier than the friend. No friend, in these circumstances, could have written in this hollow strain of congratulation.

In a short time, however, this strain alters. Essex is examined before the Council, and is committed to the custody of the Lord Keeper. He remains in privacy at York House. The nubecula is growing into a very dark cloud. Bacon, in his interviews with the Queen, does all that a cautious man can do to bring about a reconciliation. But if a reconciliation is impossible, he must serve his sovereign, and not Essex. He now writes thus:—

“My Lord,—No man can better expound my doings than your Lordship, which maketh me need to say the less. Only I humbly pray you to believe that I aspire to the conscience and commendation first of bonus civis, which with us is a good and true servant to the Queen; and next of bonus vir, that is an honest man. I desire your Lordship also to think that although I confess I love some things much better than I love your Lordship, as the Queen’s service, her quiet and contentment, her honour, her favour, the good of my country, and the like, yet I love few persons better than yourself, both for gratitude’s sake and your own virtues, which cannot hurt but by accident and abuse. Of which my good affections I was ever and am ready to yield testimony by any good offices, but with such reservations as yourself cannot but allow; for as I was ever sorry that your Lordship should fly with waxen wings, doubting Icarus’s fortune, so for the growing up of your own feathers, specially ostrich’s, or any other save of a bird of prey, no man shall be more glad.”

To which letter Essex returned a dignified answer, such as a man might have written who intended to retire from an unjust world into contemplative life.

Soon after this correspondence Essex was released from even the gentle confinement in which he had been held. He could have retired, with none to molest him, into contemplative life. His private fortune was untouched; his name was still popular with the multitude. Perhaps, after a short interval of retirement patiently endured, he might have returned to Court, and have been reinstated in all his honour and offices.

The truth was that he had been for some time past tampering with treason of the boldest and most criminal description. Before leaving Ireland he held a consultation with his friends Blount and Southampton, and told them “that he found it necessary for him to go to England, and thought it fit to carry with him as much of the army as he could conveniently transport, to go on shore with him to Wales, and there to make good his landing till he could send for more; not doubting but his army would so increase in a small time that he should be able to march to London and make his conditions as he desired.” The evidence for this treasonable scheme is stated by Mr Spedding, vol. ii. p. 147.

The time had passed for this “monstrous” project, as Mr Spedding justly calls it. But the scheme into which he now enters is still more monstrous; it is still more irrational, and, but for evidence of an unusually clear and stringent character, would be utterly incredible. That scheme was to force himself upon the Queen, and by an insurrectionary movement to be carried, in some way, to the highest position a subject could hold—perhaps to some still higher position. What was to be his pretence? what the cry by which he was to rouse the multitude? The succession to the English throne of James of Scotland had not been formally declared, and the cry was to be that the ministers were plotting to sell the crown of England to the Infanta!! It was too absurd, one would say, even for a mob zealous for the Protestant succession. Some overtures, or solicitations for aid, were made to James, but of what nature we know not. While the Protestants were to be alarmed, the Catholics were to be propitiated by promises of toleration. But Blount and other Catholics who entered into the plot were, no doubt, induced to do so by stronger motives than mere promises of toleration—by those vague expectations and hopes which a season of anarchy and confusion and civil war would open to a party who still amounted to a large minority of the nation. “By the end of January 1601,” to adopt the statement of Mr Spedding, “all their intrigues and secret consultations had ripened into a deliberate and deep-laid plan for surprising the Court, mastering the guard, and seizing the Queen’s person, and so forcing her to dismiss from her counsels Cecil, Raleigh, Cobham, and others, and to make such changes in the State as the conspirators thought fit.” The several confessions of those engaged in the plot, and of Essex himself, leave no doubt whatever of the fact. How such a plot is to be rationally explained is still a perplexity. Sir Christopher Blount, with a company of armed men, was to take the Court gate; Sir John Davis was to master the hall and go up into the Great Chamber, where already some of the conspirators would have straggled in and seized upon the halberts of the guard, which usually stood piled up against the wall; Sir Charles Davers was to have taken possession of the Presence; whereupon Essex, with the Earls of Southampton, Rutland, and other noblemen, would have gone in to the Queen; they would have used her authority for calling a Parliament, condemned all whom they denounced as misgoverning the State, and made, it is added, changes in the government. If such a plot had succeeded, what else could have ensued than to set loose all the several parties, sects, and factions of which the country was composed, to struggle anew for the supremacy?

Meanwhile, some rumours of what was in preparation reached the Court; Essex was summoned to the Council; he excused himself on the plea of ill health. The conspirators were alarmed; it seemed to them that their plot was detected. It was not yet matured—the hour of action had not yet come. Still, it appeared to them that something must be done. His friends were assembled. To surprise the Court was impossible, if the Court was already on its guard. But the city might be raised; an insurrectionary movement might be excited if Essex, still an idol of the populace, went among the citizens proclaiming that his life was in danger from the machinations of his enemies. While this expedient was being debated there arrived from the Court the Lord Keeper, with three other lords, sent from the Queen to know the meaning of this unusual assemblage, and to demand its dismissal. Essex was invited to explain to them the cause of his present discontent. Their coming still further precipitated the action. Essex locked up the four noblemen in his library, and set off himself, accompanied with some two hundred gentlemen, to rouse the city to arms. But for the inopportune appearance of these noblemen, Essex and his friends would have proceeded in stately fashion on horseback to St Paul’s Cross; they would have arrived before the sermon was over (it was Sunday), and would have explained their case to the assembled people. Essex was not deficient as an orator, and he could, at all events, have obtained a solemn hearing. But the visit of the councillors spoilt even the execution of the after-plot. The party went on foot; Essex had no opportunity to address the people; he could only cry out as he passed along that his life was in danger. A nobleman running along the streets on a Sunday morning, followed by two hundred gentlemen with drawn swords, and exclaiming that his life was in danger, must have been a curious spectacle for the citizens of London. But it must have been as unintelligible as it was curious. No one joined him. The Queen’s troops were collected to oppose him. He made his way back to Essex House, where he was captured, and conveyed to prison.

Up to this time Bacon’s conduct towards Essex lies open to no peculiar censure. We have said that he does not appear to us in the light of a very wise counsellor, or a very warm friend; but, as regards Essex, no specific charge of ingratitude can be brought against him. It is after this abortive and miserable attempt at rebellion that his conduct to his former friend changes. And well, we think, it might. Of the character and designs of Essex there could be now no doubt whatever. He has thrown off all disguise. He stands there an enemy to the commonwealth. Nothing but the extreme absurdity of his conduct hides from us its extreme criminality.

The defence which Essex was at first prepared to make was simply the repetition of the false clamour that he had raised when he rushed into the city—that his life was in danger, and that he acted according to the law of self-preservation. But, before the trial came on, several of his associates had made full confession of the actual plot that had long been in agitation, and which, only at the last moment, had been substituted by this open and clamorous appeal to the citizens of London. To Bacon, as one of her Majesty’s counsel, engaged, as we should say, for the prosecution, the real state of the case was known; the full extent of Essex’s criminality was known. Do we wonder that, at this moment, he altogether severed himself from Essex, and took his position as a zealous supporter of the Queen’s government?

Lord Macaulay, who could not have had before him the materials for forming a judgment which Mr Spedding has now placed within the reach of us all, wrote of Essex and Bacon in the following strain:—“The person on whom, during the decline of his influence, he chiefly depended, to whom he confided his perplexities, whose advice he solicited, whose intercession he employed, was his friend Bacon. The lamentable truth must be told. This friend, so loved, so trusted, bore a principal part in ruining the Earl’s fortunes, in shedding his blood, and in blackening his memory.” A more unfortunate sentence, or one more replete with error, was never penned. It would be ungenerous to revive it in presence of the lucid statement of facts which Mr Spedding has given us, if it were not the case that many are still under the impressions derived from this eloquent essay. Essex, as we have seen, was very far from confiding his perplexities to Bacon, or soliciting his advice in those latter days of his life; and Bacon was so far from being instrumental to his ruin, that no advocacy on earth could have saved him. Nor can it be said that he blackened the memory of Essex, for neither on the trial, nor in the narrative which he subsequently drew up of the whole transaction, is the guilt of Essex overcharged. Nay, with the materials before us, the historian could add some very dark strokes to the picture; for he could show that, even at a time when Essex was receiving nothing but favours from the Court, he was meditating treason; and he could add that, in his last moments, he tarnished even his character for generosity by needlessly including others, hitherto unsuspected, in his guilt.

What could have been, we are tempted to ask, the hopes of Essex, or what his final purpose in this act of rebellion? Where could he have stopped? how found safety for himself in any measure short of a deposition of the Queen? He must have known that if, by overpowering her guard and putting a personal constraint upon her, he obliged the Queen to reinstate him in his former command, yet that the moment such force was withdrawn he would have been dismissed again, and exposed to the resentment of a proud and injured sovereign. A subject who goes so far must go farther still. Elizabeth must have been deposed, and James prematurely thrust into her place. It has been even suggested that Essex had some wild dream of filling the throne himself. He was to play Bolingbroke, and Elizabeth Richard II.

Those who take a lenient view of Essex’s character might shape a defence for him out of his very self-will and the headstrong nature of the man. They would say he did not calculate consequences. He had twice before regained the favour of the Queen by manifestation of his own violent and haughty temper. He had managed the Queen by proving that he was as self-willed as herself. He merely intended to follow the same course again—to threaten, and display his power. Such a defence we should not be unwilling ourselves to adopt, if the treasonable projects of Essex had sprung directly, and only, out of his last dismissal from Court and his employments. We can conceive that a spoilt and violent nobleman might have imagined that he could successfully overawe the Queen: she had, indeed, treated him as a spoilt child, and had something of a maternal weakness for him: he might have thought that he could subdue her spirit by this display of his power, and yet not have contemplated any more atrocious act of rebellion. But the ugly fact remains that he was meditating high treason of the most criminal description before he had been dismissed, and while he was still the most favoured subject of her Majesty.

Even to those who knew nothing of his antecedent schemes, it must have seemed a monstrous thing that a nobleman, because he has been dismissed from his command, should think of reinstating himself by an armed attack upon the palace, and a violent seizure of the person of the Queen. So much as this was known to Bacon, and was indisputably proved by the evidence submitted to him. But why, it will be said, did Bacon appear upon the trial at all? If his services were necessary to the support of the Queen’s government, he ought to have given them, whatever his friendship to Essex; but there were others who could have performed his part; he might have stepped aside; he, in silence, might have let justice take its course. “This man is guilty, but he was my friend; let others pursue him to his merited punishment.” He might have said this; we wish he had. It would have been a graceful part to play; it would have added a very pleasing trait to the biography of Bacon.

But such moral enthusiasm had no place in Bacon’s personal character. To retire from the post which his legal functions assigned to him, might have been seriously prejudicial to his own interests, and in the spirit of martyrdom Bacon did not share in the least degree. Meanwhile Essex by his conduct had forfeited the friendship henceforth of all honest men. It must be said that Bacon rather lost the opportunity of doing a gracious act, than that, in performing his duties as counsel to the Queen, he did anything gravely reprehensible. And he performed these duties fairly. It is objected against Bacon that he pressed heavily on the memory of Essex in the account he subsequently drew up of the events. This charge Mr Spedding has quite dispelled. He shows that that account is fully justified by the evidence. The fact is, that for a long time after his death a current of popular opinion ran in favour of the Earl; and the “Declaration,” therefore, which Bacon, with the assistance and under the direction of the Council, drew up, was regarded as a libel upon his memory. People refused to believe him guilty. If any remains of this partiality to the Earl has descended to our times, it will be finally dissipated by Mr Spedding’s work.

There is one specific accusation which Mr Jardine brought against Bacon, which is here very completely refuted. Mr Jardine, in examining the original depositions from which this “Declaration” was drawn up, found paragraphs marked along the margin with a significant om. against them. He further found that these passages had been omitted in the “Declaration,” and he concluded that this om. was in the handwriting of Bacon, who had marked these passages for omission because they told in favour of Essex. Mr Spedding replies:—

“First, it is by no means certain that the marks in question were made with reference to the Declaration at all. Secondly, it is quite possible that the passages in question had been omitted at the trial. Thirdly, whether the omission were right or wrong, there is no ground for imputing it to Bacon personally. Fourthly, the passages omitted do not in any one particular tend to soften the evidence against Essex as explained in the narrative part, or to modify in any way the history of the case, as far as it concerned him.”

The last, the Fourthly, is quite sufficient to demolish Mr Jardine’s hypothesis. These passages appear to have been omitted because they affected living persons whom the Council wished to spare, or because they contained matters which the Council did not wish to publish to all the enemies of the Queen’s Government at home or abroad. Mr Spedding, however, has enabled the reader to judge for himself by publishing these omitted passages.

As very much stress has been laid on the presumed unfairness of this Declaration composed by Bacon, it must be remembered, under the supervision of the Council, we quote at length Mr Spedding’s concluding observations upon it:—

“With regard to the general charge of untruthfulness, I have said that nobody has yet attempted to specify any particular untruth expressed or implied in the Government Declaration. And it is singular that Mr Jardine himself does not form an exception; for though he does specify, as contradicted by one of the omitted passages, a particular statement which he assumes to be contained in the Declaration, it is certain that there is no such statement there; but that, on the contrary, the precise import of that passage, as Mr Jardine himself infers it, is represented in the body of the narrative with delicate exactness. In the absence of such specification, I can only oppose to the general charge a general expression of my own conviction; which is, that the narrative put forth by the Government was meant to be, and was by its authors believed to be, a narrative strictly and scrupulously veracious. It is true that it was written under the excitement and agitation of that last and most portentous disclosure, which, in proving that Essex had been capable of designs far worse than anybody had suspected him of, suggested a new explanation of all that had been most suspicious and mysterious in his previous proceedings; and it may be that things which before had been rejected as incredible were now too easily believed. In so dark a thing as treason it is impossible to have positive evidence at every step. Many passages must remain obscure, and fairly open to more interpretations than one; and in one or two of those points which are and profess to be ‘matter of inference or presumption,’ as distinguished from ‘matter of plain and direct proof,’ there is room, probably, without setting aside such indisputable facts, for an interpretation of Essex’s conduct more favourable than that adopted by the Queen and her councillors.... In my own account of the matter I have abstained, in deference to so general a prejudice, from using the Declaration as an authority; and have assumed as a fact nothing for which I cannot quote evidence independent of it. For the rest, I shall let it speak for itself. It will be found to be a very luminous and coherent narrative, and certainly much nearer the truth than any which has been put forth since it became the fashion to treat it as a fiction.”

Having elected to serve the Queen, and not his former friend (and he probably never hesitated a moment on this subject; he probably would have thought it mere idle romance to sacrifice the actual life and duties before him to the memory of a dead friendship)—having elected to serve the Queen, we do not find that in assisting to conduct the prosecution Bacon behaved with undue harshness towards the accused. The allusion to the Duke of Guise, which Macaulay blames so severely, appears to be one very natural to arise to a speaker on such an occasion. Essex did intend, like the Duke of Guise, to overawe his sovereign. In one respect the parallel pays an undeserved compliment to Essex. The Duke of Guise had the support of a great party—the zealous Catholics; if Essex could have attained the like support from the zealous Protestants, the Puritans, his scheme might, at least, have worn a more rational aspect. Perhaps he fondly conceived that the Puritans would adopt him as their representative. He thought himself a very good Puritan. This bad citizen was highly indignant when Coke cast a slur upon his religion.

Here we lose for the present the guidance of Mr Spedding. We wait with interest for such disclosures as he may make for us in the great charge that burdens the memory of Bacon—that of judicial corruption. There are, indeed, two or three broad facts which, we apprehend, no historical investigation can materially alter, and which, we think, enable us to come to a safe conclusion in this subject. But still there is much we should like to have cleared up to us; especially we should like to know what had been the custom of previous Chancellors in this matter of the reception of presents. Could, for instance, the same charges which were brought against Bacon have been brought against the father, Sir Nicholas Bacon?

The two or three broad facts we allude to are these: 1. After a considerable interval Parliament had met, and “grievances had been gone into.” Monopolies were first attacked, and their attention was called to certain corrupt practices in the Court of Chancery. Bacon was impeached before the House of Lords. 2. The Lord Chancellor no longer stood in an amiable footing with the favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, who was very willing to have the Great Seal to bestow on some other client. The impeached Chancellor was not likely to receive any assistance from the Court. The King advised Bacon to throw himself on his royal mercy. 3. Under these circumstances Bacon did plead guilty, and threw himself on the mercy of the King; who certainly fulfilled his part of the compact by remitting all that he possibly could of the sentence passed by the House of Lords.

Now we cannot suppose that Bacon would plead guilty unless there were really some corrupt practices of which his conscience told him he was culpable. To suppose otherwise would, as Macaulay has argued, convict him of a dastardly conduct almost as infamous as judicial corruption. But although it is impossible to suppose that there was not something to confess—something culpable and illegal to plead guilty to—yet it is very possible that, by showing that he was not more culpable than others, he might have defended himself successfully before the House of Lords. A man of sterner stuff would have adopted this line of defence; he would have carried the war into other territories. Of this the Court was not at all desirous, and Bacon, a lover of peace, thought it the better bargain to plead guilty and keep the King for his friend.

We do not accuse the Lord Chancellor of pleading guilty, and being conscious of perfect innocence; we say that he resigned a line of defence which might have been successful with his judges, in obedience to the wishes of the Court. In the position in which he found himself, submission was better policy than defence.

It is idle to suppose that Bacon received no presents but such as would be classed under the head of fees or customary donations: there was the element of secrecy in the transactions which were now brought to light, and which were to be made the subject of investigation before the House of Lords. The money was given, it is true, to an officer of the Court; it was not slipped into the hand, or dropped stealthily into the sleeve of the judge himself: but the officer of the Court did not talk about such transactions as these; he had the proper esprit de corps, if he had no other motive for silence. But still there are many cases in which a custom, acknowledged to be bad and immoral even by those who fall into it, is yet so prevalent that it seems an injustice to single out any one individual, and punish it in him; and this seems to be the position in which Bacon stands. An illustration occurs to us in some of the vicious customs of trade. The illustration may not be very dignified, but it is apposite. A little time ago the public was suddenly made aware of divers impositions that had been long practised on it. Some articles of commerce were systematically adulterated; others were sold under false descriptions. Here were reels of cotton warranted to contain 300 yards, which did not contain say more than 200; and it was reported at the time (we of course do not vouch for the truth of a statement which we use only by way of illustration) that respectable houses of trade gave orders to the manufacturers for reels of cotton which should be marked as having a greater number of yards than were actually wound on them. Now let us suppose that a custom of this kind prevails, and that suddenly one man, and he not the most flagrant offender, is singled out for punishment. You cannot say the man is guiltless—he will not say himself that he is guiltless; he never approved of the custom, though he fell into it; he knew that it could not bear the light of day; he knew that though his own class did not condemn the custom, the moral opinion of society at large would unhesitatingly denounce it. He pleads guilty—as Bacon did—and throws himself upon the charitable construction of the public. And the public, if it cannot pardon, will not be disposed to punish severely.

The difference between a prevalent bad custom, and a custom which society at a given time does not pronounce to be bad, is stated by Lord Macaulay with his usual force and precision. We shall be glad to hear, from the further investigation of Mr Spedding, which of these most strictly applies to the practice of which Bacon stands accused.

We cannot leave our subject without expressing our assent (with certain reservations) to the estimate which Lord Macaulay has formed of Bacon in his character of philosopher—in that character in which there can be only the difference of more or less admiration.

We admire—as who does not?—the eloquent and far-seeing man who perceived that too much of our time was spent over books, and too little in the study of that nature which appeals at each moment to our senses, and promises to those who will investigate her laws new powers as well as new knowledge. But we agree with Macaulay in setting little store upon the rules of a new logic by which he offered to aid the investigation of those laws. No logic of any kind ever taught a man to reason. No truth was ever discovered by either Aristotelian or Baconian logic. It may be fit and proper to make the process of reasoning a subject of subtle analysis; but just as the poet must come before the critic, and never yet was formed by the critic, so the reasoner comes before the logician, and never yet was an able reasoner made so by rules of logic. It was a glorious word spoken in season, to tell men to observe and to experiment—to take nothing upon mere tradition or authority that could possibly be tested by experiment. But the rules Bacon gives for conducting observation and experiment have never made a good observer, or contributed themselves to our scientific discoveries. “The inductive method,” as Macaulay says, “has been practised ever since the beginning of the world by every human being.... Not only is it not true that Bacon invented the inductive method, but it is not true that he was the first person who correctly analysed that method and explained its uses. Aristotle had long before pointed out the absurdity of supposing that syllogistic reasoning could ever conduct men to the discovery of a new principle—had shown that such discoveries must be made by induction, and by induction alone; and had given the history of the inductive process, concisely indeed, but with great perspicuity and precision.”

We for our part have always noticed that when a man talks much about “Baconian philosophy,” he is going to stuff into our ears some incredible nonsense. He who has good evidence to bring forward—trusts at once to his evidence. Phrenologists, mesmerists, spiritualists, all who have a very weak case, are great discoursers on the rules of induction. They eke out their defective reasoning by proving to us, whether we are aware of it or not, that they are very good reasoners. Most readers, fortunately for themselves, are satisfied with a few brilliant passages of the ‘Novum Organum.’ If they proceeded farther, they might find that not only did it not assist them in their researches after physical truth, but that it embarrassed them considerably as to the real nature of physical science, and the kind of truth to be sought for.

Bacon was a great writer, a great thinker, but he was not “the father of modern philosophy.” If we are to have fathers in science, the title must be given to such men as Galileo, Kepler, Newton. He who discovers one great scientific truth does more even for the logic of science than any writer upon that logic can perform.

Science does not stand in contradiction to the metaphysical or ethical discussions of ancient or of modern times. There is no contrast such as is popularly described between the old philosophy and the new. But a vast addition has been made to one kind of our knowledge. And with regard to that great argument of utility which Lord Macaulay has so eloquently developed, it must be borne in mind that the utility of the physical sciences made itself known by certain individual discoveries and inventions, not by mere abstract contemplation of what the study of nature might produce. In fact, the utility of the pursuit was the very argument which Socrates made use of to draw men from the study of objective nature to the study of themselves. As matters then stood, more seemed likely to be effected by regulating the mind of man than by observing the winds or the clouds, or any of the phenomena of nature.

Let us carry ourselves back in imagination to the state of philosophy which existed at Athens in the time of the Emperor Hadrian, and which Mr Merivale has so pleasantly described in his last volume of ‘The History of the Romans under the Empire.’ Philosophy seems to have come to a dead-lock. “On every side it was tacitly acknowledged that the limits of each specific dogma had been reached; that all were true enough to be taught, and none so true as to be exclusively believed. Their several professors lived together in conventional antagonism, and in real good-fellowship. Academics and Peripatetics, Stoics and Epicureans, Pyrrhonists and Cynics, disputed together or thundered one against the other through the morning, and bathed, dined, and joked together, with easy indifference, through the evening.” Well, let us suppose that amongst this conclave a Baconian philosopher had presented himself, with his new organon and his speculations on the new power men would derive, if, with this organon in their hands, they would proceed to the study of nature. After some struggle to get a footing in what Mr Merivale has described as a most conservative university, he would perhaps have been allowed to open his school in Athens, and he would have added one more figure to that group of philosophers who disputed in the morning, and dined amicably together in the evening. Another admirable talker would have appeared amongst them. This would have been the whole result. But now let us imagine that to this Athens a Galileo had come with his telescope and revealed the satellites of Jupiter; let us imagine that a Cavendish had come with his electric battery and decomposed water into two gases, one of which burst readily into flame; what a stir would there then have been amongst all the schools and classes of Athens! Still larger telescopes would have been made, and the electric battery applied to all sorts of substances. An era of experimental philosophy would at once have been inaugurated.

All honour to the great and eloquent writer; but such palms and such wreaths as Science has to bestow are due to those who have discovered scientific truths. These are they who have really stirred the minds of men as well as placed power in their hands; and, without gainsaying a word of what Lord Macaulay has so brilliantly stated of the utilities of science, it is worthy of notice that in no department of philosophy have truth and knowledge been sought for with so much avidity purely for their own sakes. And it should be added that only by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake can its utilities be developed. For it is one thing to prosecute science with a general conviction that its truths will turn to inventions for the good of man, and quite another thing to set before ourselves some desirable end or object of a practical kind as the goal to which we are striving. This is what the alchemists did when they set before themselves the transmutation of metals as the achievement to be accomplished. To study nature under such guidance as this would be a great mistake. We may be wasting our time on an impossibility; we should certainly be narrowing the sphere of our observation. But when we strive in every direction to proceed from the known to the unknown, by seizing upon every new relation which offers itself to the understanding, then we can hardly fail to stumble upon some discovery of a practical utility. The passion for knowledge sweeps all things into our net, and we may find marvellous treasures there we never dreamt of. The higher sentiment of the love of knowledge is that which can alone conduct us to the utilities of knowledge. We cannot predict what science will enable us to do, and then proceed with our studies in order that we may accomplish this end. It is science which teaches us what new ends can be accomplished. It is an ever-broadening knowledge, procured immediately for its own sake, that opens up to us the new possibilities, the new powers, that man may aspire to and possess.



That portion of China which lies more immediately to the west of the estuary of the Canton river, comprising the Sun-on, Toong-koon, Kinei-shin, and Tai-phoong districts, is exceedingly mountainous, and inhabited by a turbulent people, constantly fighting among themselves, and but little subject to mandarin rule. Even still foreigners scarcely ever visit it; and when, during the war, I first commenced to wander there, the field was entirely my own; and many were the prophecies that, if I returned at all, it would be in at least a headless, if not in a completely disjointed, condition. The torture and murder, a few years before, of six young Englishmen at Hwang-chu-ku, near Canton, when they were only taking an afternoon stroll, had rendered our countrymen particularly chary of trusting their persons in the hands of the Chinese; and at the time my excursions commenced, there was additional danger, arising from the fact that, though Canton was in the hands of the Allied troops, the gentry of the provinces still kept up a species of warfare, and offered rewards for our heads: so, while a few well-armed sportsmen from Hong-Kong might occasionally pass over to the mainland immediately opposite, it was deemed madness to think of spending a night there, or to go any distance into the country beyond. But though the island of “Fragrant Streams,” as the words Hong-Kong signify, has some curious caves and wild lonely spots, its limits are so circumscribed that a residence in it became extremely irksome. To be sure, the quiet old Portuguese city of Macao, with its grotto of Camoens, could be reached in four or five hours by steamer, with the refreshing possibility, as one or two cases proved, of being pirated and murdered on the way by the Chinese passengers; a gunboat, too, would take us up to Canton in about a day: but these places, however interesting, soon became insufficient; they began to present themselves in the disagreeable light of being only suburbs of Hong-Kong, and I resolved to seek entertainment elsewhere.

Being unaware that some German missionaries had, before the war broke out, laboured in the neighbouring districts, I had to feel my way without any previous information as to the character of the different villages and towns, and so incurred some dangers which otherwise might have been avoided. The first time of sleeping on the mainland was in an ancestral hall, along with a friend, whose Chinese teacher even refused to escort us on account of the supposed danger. The next time, accompanied only by some native coolies, to carry bedding and provisions, I wandered for nearly a week among the mountains, and slept at whatever village I happened to be at by sun-down, without meeting any apparent danger, or even unpleasantness. After that—sometimes alone, sometimes with others; sometimes in perfect safety, and at others with extreme risk—I made excursions innumerable. The manner in which I thus explored for myself the country lying to the east of the firth of the Canton river may have given it peculiar charms; but the contrast of its valleys and mountains to those of Hong-Kong, and to those immediately opposite that barren island, would have been sufficient to endear it to all who feel with Goethe, that “the works of nature are ever a freshly-uttered word of God.” The wooded hills and beautiful green valleys were pleasant haunts after the chunam and rotten granite of the mercantile city of Victoria. Those were happy days spent among the mountains of Kwang-tung—crossing rugged passes, ascending lofty peaks, bathing in deep, black mountain-pools, loitering at wayside tea-houses, or under the shade of wide-spreading trees. Those were pleasant evenings—though not always undisturbed by danger, and on the limited-intercourse principle—passed beside some long-robed teacher in the village schoolhouse, some shaven monk in a Buddhist monastery, or even in some opium-perfumed junk, with half-piratical mariners who would gamble the whole night through. Perhaps, gentle reader, you will not be averse to accompany me on one of those otherwise solitary excursions, and so to gain, without the trouble or danger, some little knowledge of the country and the peasant people. Our company will certainly not be of the silver chopstick kind; but I trust it will not be altogether disagreeable or without profit.

The trip I select was made in the first warm days of the spring of 1860, after affairs had been settled in the south of China, and no rewards were out for the heads of foreigners; but I took notes of it at the time, which have kept it fresh in recollection. At first I used to carry my own provisions, cooking utensils, &c.; but after a little further knowledge of the people and their ways, all these were dispensed with; for, besides the expense, it was often difficult to find accommodation for a retinue of coolies, and their tendency to jabber at unseasonable moments was a source of constant annoyance. A pair of chopsticks, a strip of waterproof lined with cork, and a couple of blankets for bedding, together with a change of clothes, and a flask or two containing stronger waters than those which abound in China, were soon found to be all that was necessary, and would easily be carried by a single coolie when slung to the ends of a bamboo pole carried on his shoulders—for men accustomed to bear weights in this way walk as easily with a moderate burden as they do without any. Aheung is my companion on the present occasion. He is old, but sturdy; he works more willingly than younger men, and has an inestimable peculiarity about the formation of his mouth which renders it next to impossible to understand anything he says. Even his own countrymen have difficulty in making out his meaning, and I never attempt it; so he cannot remonstrate with me, and is placed in the position of being a recipient of orders, or, as Carlyle would phrase it, of being passively pumped into as into an empty bucket. Naturally, Aheung is of rather a garrulous disposition, and every now and then he pours out a sudden flood of complicated sounds, resembling a mixture of Gaelic and Chinese; but, on finding that nobody understands him, he as suddenly subsides into abashed silence. Though perfectly honest, he is shrewd at a bargain, and fond of receiving a kumshan, or present, which he pronounces kwumchwha. This old gentleman is also extremely timid, and apt to disappear at critical moments. He goes with me on excursions because he has a wife who knows that it is for his interest to do so, and makes him; but he is seldom at his ease, and mutters an inarticulate protest at every new movement, or holds up his hands and shrugs his shoulders, assuming an aspect of despair. It must be added that he is extremely attentive, of a very kind disposition, with much natural politeness, and of great devoutness or religiosity. I never met such a man for worship. It was all one to Aheung whether he was in an ancestral hall, a Buddhist monastery, a Tauist temple, or a Christian chapel; he never let a chance pass of going down upon his knees and doing “joss-pidgin.” As some men have an omnivorous appetite, so my old Chinaman had a most catholic appetite for worship, and a taste for what Dr Brown calls “fine confused feedin’!” On one occasion he gave great satisfaction to a missionary with whom we were travelling, by his punctuality in attending morning prayers: and the missionary said to me, “That seems a very good old man of yours; I should not wonder if he became a convert.” To my friend’s annoyance, however, Aheung was to be seen at the first temple we came to waving a burning joss-stick, and prostrating before an image of the solemn-faced Buddha, and was much astonished when rebuked for this by the missionary. With such an outfit and a companion one is in light marching order for an active rather than a luxurious excursion; and as the weather has begun to get warm, I dispense with the inconvenience of European shirt, waistcoat, coat, and neck-tie, contenting myself with a loose white China coat, having no collar and no pressure at the armpits, and covered by another silk one of similar make and dimensions. It would be difficult to overrate the comfort and advantage of such a costume to those who have to take exercise in hot weather. As to money, it is impossible to burden my coolie with any considerable sum in Chinese “cash,” as there are a thousand of that coin to the dollar; but ten or twelve dollars will cover all the expenses of the excursion, and that we take in sycee silver, or dollars broken up into small pieces, which are preferred by the Chinese to the entire coin, and in which small payments can be made without the trouble of changing.

A “pull-away boat,” manned chiefly by women, soon carried us across the spacious harbour of Hong-Kong, into a large bay, and on to a fine sandy beach on the opposite mainland. Here the magnificent range of mountains which lines the coast presents a low pass, up which runs a steep cork-screw path, by which we got to the other side of them, and, winding along for an hour, to a narrow wooded gorge at the head of the Leuk-ün valley, which, in the yellow evening light, lay peacefully below, fringed by thick dark woods, above which rose imposing mountains of picturesque form. It is well to take it easy for the first two days, so our resting-place that night was a very short way down the valley, at an ancestral hall in the village of Kan-how. This hamlet comprised not more than a dozen houses, but their hall was large, clean, well built, and served as a schoolhouse, as well as for some other purposes. On entering I found the old men seated in arm-chairs, just finishing a consultation on some important subject or other, and the children soon crowded in, in expectation of the cash which it is both wise policy and Chinese custom for strangers to distribute amongst them. The custodian of this pleasant place was a one-eyed ancient of most forbidding appearance. His one eye not only did the business of two, but gave the impression that it had gone out of his head, and was prowling about generally for something or other. His exterior semblance, however, did belie his soul’s timidity; and his chief failing was a peculiar passion for corks, which he sought after and treasured up with the avidity of a miser. I used to keep a store of beer in this ancestral hall, and on my visits he always seemed to be troubled at night by a suspicion that some cork had escaped his search, or might be abstracted from a bottle, and he would rise to look for it. On one occasion a friend just out from England spent a night with me in this place, and being by no means assured of the safety of sleeping among Chinese, the personal appearance of the Uniocular caused him a great deal of unnecessary anxiety. He could not sleep because of a vision he had of the One-eyed progging at him with a spear, and the One-eyed could not sleep because of an imaginary cork! The game which these two carried on during the night was extremely comical. Their small sleeping-rooms were at opposite corners of the joss-house, and not in sight of each other, so they never actually came in contact. First, the old man would rise, light a reed, and, bending almost double, with his one eye glittering down upon the black stone floor, search for the object of his desire. Roused by the noise made, or the glimmer of the light, my friend would then rise also, and, being unaccustomed to such work, steal out in his stocking-soles, peering into the darkness with a lighted taper in one hand and a revolver in the other. On hearing the creaking of the boards when his enemy arose, the cork-gatherer always extinguished his light, and, on catching a glimpse of the dreadful apparition with the revolver, stole off terrified to his own den, not to re-emerge until all was quiet, and some time had elapsed. Unfortunately, it usually happened, whenever I persuaded a friend to go with me upon the mainland, that some danger, or appearance of danger, occurred, and prevented him from repeating the visit.

One advantage of sleeping upon boards is, that it promotes early rising; but ere I got up next morning, the children of the hamlet were in the temple, reading in their singsong way the Chinese trimetrical classic which they are taught to commit to memory long before they understand almost a word of its meaning. The contrast which Celestial children present to those of the West is striking. They are quiet, calm, perpetrate no tricks, and rarely or never play about. In fact, their demeanour is not unlike that of aged Europeans; while the old men, on the other hand, display something of the liveliness of childhood, especially when engaged in their favourite amusement of flying kites. Though teaching was thus carried on in the temple, yet that building was specially dedicated to the worship of the ancestors of the villagers. “The real religion of China,” it has been truly said, “is not the worship of heaven and earth, nor of idols, but of Confucius and of one’s own ancestors.” The more educated classes, including the mandarins, have special reverence for Confucius; but the mass of the people worship the spirits of their ancestors with profound awe. They believe that each family has a close peculiar interest in all its members, whether before or after death, not one being able to suffer without all being afflicted. Each house has its lararium, in the shape of a small temple, a room, or even a niche in the wall, where the family is poor. This hall at Kan-how had many ancestral tablets hung up in it, and also some for the propitiation of kwei, or friendless hungry spirits, for whom the Chinese have a singular dread. Every district in the country has a temple with the tablets of all persons whose families are extinct. To the imagination of the yellow-skinned children of Han there is something very awful in the idea of a forlorn shivering ghost, wandering through the air without any progeny on earth to care for it, to give it meat-offerings, or the warm regard of human hearts; and they believe that such friendless spirits are always likely to become malignant powers, and to work them evil. Some districts have a ceremony, every ten years or so, called the “Universal Rescue,” for the special benefit of such spirits.

The morning wore away pleasantly as I was sitting on a little terrace, shaded by a large tree, in front of the ancestral hall. A number of small villages dotted the ricefields of the flat valley; and after their morning meal the people came out to their work, some carrying a light plough behind the ox which had to drag it, others with hoes to weed the sweet-potato fields, bands of laughing women going up the mountains to cut grass, and one gentleman taking a morning walk with a long spear over his shoulder. On returning from a visit to a curious rock, called the “Mother and Child,” from its resemblance to a woman with an infant upon her back, I found the school had “scaled,” to use a Scotch phrase; and the teachers, with the elders, were engaged in purchasing articles for a general dinner, and cutting them up. In the discussion which went on upon this subject a few of the pot-bellied children who remained took great interest, throwing in their opinions with much calmness and gravity.

That afternoon I crossed over a second range of mountains into another valley, the path leading down near the side of a huge black precipice, which looked sublime in the moonlight. Not a soul was met on the latter part of the way, for when night descends on China, the country people confine themselves to their own homes, and only bands of robbers are to be met with, or men out for some bloody purpose, such as destroying a village with which they are at war. I had sometimes stopped, at the first village I came to, in the house of an old woman; and one evening, when taking an English friend there, a rather startling incident occurred. As we came round a corner upon the village, just as I was expatiating upon the friendliness of the people and the perfect safety we would enjoy, a gingall was fired, and the bullets came whistling round our heads. My companion looked as if he thought this fact considerably outweighed my theory; but it turned out that the gingall, which takes some little time to go off, had actually been fired before we came in sight round the corner. On this present occasion I went on to another village called Chin-wan, and slept in the house of a young teacher, who remained up, or rather lolling on his couch, till about one in the morning, smoking opium with a friend. It is a remarkable fact that, with only one exception, all the Chinese dominies I came across were in the habit of smoking opium. Probably this was caused by the sedentary, harassing, and dreary nature of their occupation, which makes the soothing drug specially desirable. At one place I was told I could not see the teacher, though it was the middle of the day, because he was asleep from opium. Fancy being told, and as nothing out of the way, that a parochial schoolmaster was invisible, because he was dead drunk! The Chinese, however, usually take opium in moderation, after their meals, just as we do beer and wine, and no discredit attaches to such a use of it. The practice is more fascinating than the use of intoxicating drinks, and more easily glides into excess. Of teachers in China, unfortunately for them, there is an immense supply owing to the number of disappointed candidates at the competitive examinations for the Government service. In this Chin-wan schoolhouse I met a fat man who had been in Hong-Kong, and spoke a little English. If there was any self-approval in my air in telling him that I had walked over the hills, it met with a speedy and severe check, for he immediately said—“Eiya! Hab walkee! allo same one coolie.” This was complimentary, but I had my revenge; for the fat man told me that he was a gentleman living at his ease, whereas I discovered him, early next morning, in a butcher’s shop, with his sleeves tucked up dissecting a fat pig, into whose entrails he staggered on my finding him, and exclaiming, “Hulloa! Allo same one butcher.” It is due to the Chinese, however, to state, that very few of them are ashamed of, or attempt to conceal, their occupations.

Hitherto I had been trifling with the excursion, but next day Aheung knew by our starting early that we were in for work; and deep gloom came over his countenance when he saw the direction I was taking up the Chin-wan or Talshan Valley, towards an old and totally unfrequented path which leads over a shoulder of the Tai-mon shan, or “Great Hat Mountain.” No part of the Scotch Highlands presents a more picturesque appearance than the upper part of this valley, so plentifully are the small pines scattered about, so deep the pools, so wild the stream, so huge and fantastic the shattered rocks. The Great Hat Mountain, over a lower portion of which we go, is about 4000 feet high, and terraced up to the very top, showing it was cultivated at some former period; but now it is entirely without habitations, and covered with long rank grass of the coarsest kind, which forms a serious obstacle to the ascent. I got up to the top once, with great difficulty, and was rewarded by a magnificent panorama of sea and islands, mountains and plains. Even Canton could be seen in the distance; the villages looked as if they could be counted by hundreds, and every island was fringed round with numerous junks and fishing-boats. Considering that the country round is one of the most sparsely populated parts of China, the innumerable indications of human life were somewhat surprising. In conjunction with what I have seen in more thickly habitated parts of China, such as the valleys of the great rivers, I incline to think that the numbers given by the last census which I know of as available were certainly not above the truth. It was taken about 1840, and the members of the Russian Legation at Peking, who had access to it, gave the entire population of the Chinese empire at 412 millions. An old legend regarding the Tai-mon is, that a proprietor and feudal chief in its neighbourhood gave protection and support to the sister of a dethroned Chinese emperor, and, on the emperor regaining power, he rewarded the chief by giving him all the circle of country which he could see from that mountain. It would almost require some such reward to induce one a second time to encounter the fatigue and irritation of ascending it in its present condition. The Chinese have a great idea of the influence of mountains, speaking of them as more or less “powerful,” but this one has no particular reputation that way. The old path we are now taking is in great part overgrown with grass, and leads through a complete mountain solitude, where the silence is broken only by the wind rustling in the rank herbage, and no signs of life meet the eye. Aheung motions me to carry my revolver in my hand; he is in an agony of terror, and I can distinguish him uttering the words lu tsaak, or road-robber, and lo foo, or tiger—two beings with which the Chinese imagination peoples the whole country. To hear them talk of tigers, one would think these animals were as thick as blackberries. Nothing was more common than for villagers to say to me, “There is a tiger about here; would you be good enough to go out and shoot it?” as if I had only to step to the door in order to find one; whereas the fact is, that I never saw the slightest trace of any, though a few certainly do exist. At first I used to be startled by the information constantly tendered that there was a party of road-robbers watching the path a little way on; but as they never appeared, I began to get quite sceptical on the subject, until at last I did unexpectedly meet with five of them, armed with short swords, who were holding the top of a mountain pass. I was travelling in a chair at the time, and on seeing this obstacle my coolies at once put down the chair, and refused to proceed farther. I tried to represent to them that though the robbers were five, we were five also; they replied that they were paid to carry me, not to fight. Deeming it safer to go forward than to go back, I walked up to the men, revolver in hand; and whenever they saw I was so armed, they made off, greatly to my relief, as only three chambers were loaded. Chinese pirates and highwaymen do not live to rob, but rob to live; and so they like to be pretty safe in what they do. As they are lawless only to prolong their lives, it seems to them the height of absurdity to put themselves in any decided peril for the sake of plunder. Theirs is a highly rational system, in consonance with the practical tendencies of the Celestial mind.

Notwithstanding Aheung’s terrors, we got quite undisturbed over the Tai Mon, and reached before dusk a solitary Buddhist monastery, situated in a wood at the head of and overlooking the Pak-heung, or “Eight Village” Valley. As we came down on this place, I heard the firing of a clan-fight at one of the villages below; and often as I have been in the Pak-heung, never have I been there without finding a fight going on, either between two or more of its own villages, or between one or all of its villages and those of the Shap-heung, or “Ten Village” Valley, immediately contiguous. They seemed to have as much stomach for fighting as Aheung had for worship, and the blame was laid chiefly on a large village called Kum-tin, or “Fertile Land,” which suffered from a plethora of wealth, and had disputed claims to land in various directions. Of all places I knew in that neighbourhood, this monastery was my favourite haunt, from the view it commanded, its cleanliness, its secluded position, and its internal quiet. The two or three monks occupying it were always glad to see me, as I gave them presents, and afforded relief to the tedium of their life. On this occasion they gave me, as usual, a hearty welcome; but I was rather startled, on being awakened about midnight by loud shouts, knocking at the outer door, and the flashing of torches beneath my window. This turned out to be some men from one of the fighting villages, who had taken it into their heads to come up to the monastery at that unseasonable hour for mingled purposes of thanksgiving and jollification, and who remained there till morning. They were, however, perfectly civil, and showed no disposition to interfere with me in any way, except in questioning Aheung as to where he came from, and what clan he belonged to. Had he been one of that with which they were fighting, the probability is they would have made him a prisoner.

It was delightful in the morning to sit in the cool air on the terrace in front of this cold or Icy-Cloud Monastery, as it is called, and watch the light mist rolling off the Pak-heung Valley, and brightening over the waters of Deep Bay. Soon from every village the smoke of household fires rose into the calm clear air, while, every ten minutes or so, the boom of a gingall came from the combatants beneath, and reverberated on the grand cliff behind us. The young green rice of the fields below was like a vast lake lying round the villages and wooded knolls, except where in the upper slopes it flowed down from field to field like a river, bearing good promise for the stomachs of industrious hungry men. The little wooded islets rose from the rice sea with their temples and ancestral halls as out of the world’s everyday work and life. On either side of the wide Pak-heung were great, bare, sublime blocks of mountains, with white fleecy clouds occasionally floating across God’s bright blue sky, while fish were leaping in the pond below, and doves were cooing in the trees around.

But one must have breakfast. The resources of the country are confined to rice, salted vegetables, and bean-paste, which are not particularly tempting; but we brought some fish with us, and Aheung has procured some eggs and pork in the nearest village. Strictly speaking, this being a Buddhist place of worship, no food that has had life in it should be allowed to enter; but there are only two monks here at present—an old man and a neophyte—and my sacrilege is winked at. Nay, it is more than winked at, for, as we breakfast together, the chopsticks of the monk gradually deviate towards the palatable fried salt-water fish. Curiously and inquiringly he turns one over, and then, as if satisfied with the result of his careful examination, the old sophist exclaims, “Hai tsai!”—“Vegetables of the sea!” and immediately swallows a piece. Under this cunning and specious phrase he continues to dispose of a very fair quantity of fish; but the pork was a little too much for his conscience, and he affected not to see it at all. He also pretended, my hair being cropped close, to believe that I was a Buddhist. On learning that we were going to a place called Li-long, he briefly informed me that the men of Li-long were robbers, and immediately thereafter shovelled in a vast quantity of rice into his mouth, as if he were afraid to say anything more on that painful subject. This monk, who was quite hale and strong, said he was seventy years old, and looked as if he might live as many more. His occupations, which he took very easily, were praying, chanting, bowing, and reading. The Chinese Buddhists have the idea that, by retiring to solitary places, avoiding bodily activity and all sensual indulgence, living with extreme temperance, and spending their days in meditation and prayer, the vital power is preserved in the system, and gradually collects towards the crown of the head, until at last the devotee gains the possession of supernatural powers. I did not observe that this old gentleman was distinguished in that particular; and the neophyte, it is to be feared, was in a bad way, for I once detected him, the monk being absent, sitting down with a youthful visitor to a dinner where figured the unholy articles of fowl, pork, and Chinese wine, of the two former of which he partook. On a previous visit to this place, a wicked friend of mine, who had full command of the language, disturbed the mind of the neophyte by ardent praise of the gentler sex; and on reading the inscription, “May the children and grandchildren of the contributors [to the monastery] gloriously increase,” he asked him how he could expect his children to increase! This youth was also fond of reading Christian tracts in Chinese. Altogether, what with forbidden literature, forbidden diet, and discourses on the forbidden sex, I fear the neophyte will never attain to miraculous powers.

These Buddhist temples and monasteries are thickly scattered over China. They are often buildings of great size, and afford the best resting-place for travellers, but usually the staff of priests is very small indeed, and these bear no very good name among the people. This one of the Icy Cloud had not so much as a dozen rooms of various sizes, but it was compact and well built. The walls had a few frescoes of non-perspective landscapes, with grotesque devils in the foreground; there were also statues of Buddha, of Kiu-tsaang-keun, or the “Heavenly General,” and of Koon Yum, the Hearer of Cries, or Goddess of Grace, to whom it was specially dedicated. Worshippers were very rarely to be seen in it. Many inscriptions, of which the following are examples, were hung upon the walls:—

“It is easy to leave the world; but if the heart is gross, and you cannot cease thinking of the mud and trouble of life, your living in a deep hill is vain.”

“To be a Buddhist is easy, but to keep the regulations is difficult.”

“It is easy to preach doctrines (taali), but to apprehend principles is difficult.”

“If you do not put forth your works, but only preach, your strength is emptily wasted; and if you talk till you break your teeth, even then it will be in vain.”

“If you are entirely without belief and desire (will), and do not attend to the prohibitions, then your strength will have been uselessly wasted, and your head shaved to no purpose.”

“May the precious ground (of the monastery) be renewed.”

“To be intimate, and not divided, consists in the virtuous roots being gathered in a place.”

“When the image was asked why it turned round and fell backward, it said, ‘Because the people of the time would not turn their heads;’” [they probably being a stiff-necked generation, like the people of many other times and places.]

“Peacefully seclude and regulate yourselves.”

It will be observed that some of these inscriptions are most sensible as well as appropriate. While the last is quite in place in such an institution, it is wisely modified by the five first, which show how retirement can be made profitable, or at least warn against its being unprofitable. The seclusion of a monastery can only be of advantage to those who, having experienced the turmoil and passion of worldly life, really know its bitterness, and desire something better. It is not only the old monk who breaks his teeth in vain, or the neophyte who shaves his head to no purpose. Youth is the time for action—for “the mud and trouble of life”—and in vain do men try to evade it by planting the unhappy slip “in a deep hill,” bidding him observe “the trees of the clouds and the flowers of the mountains,” or oppressing him with moral and religious ideas which he cannot appreciate. Old age, again, is the proper period for meditation and wisdom. How often, in all countries, do we see the virtues suitable to one period of life, or to one station of life, forced upon persons of other ages and of different stations, until their souls revolt within them against all virtue whatever!

Passing northward from the “Eighth Village” Valley, we walked over undulating moorland, broken by low hills covered with white quartz, passing one village called Kum-chin, or the “Golden Cash,” which was surrounded by acres of large fir-trees, lychus and other fruit-trees, well stocked with doves; and another which bore the fragrant name of Wa-cheang, or “Fine-smelling Grain,” though eminently dirty, and surrounded by a stagnant ditch. About two miles after crossing a creek, we skirted the small walled town of Sam-chun, but took good care not to enter. Doubtless at that time we might have done so with tolerable safety, but I once had such a narrow escape in that place, that I had no desire whatever again to tempt its hospitality. Sam-chun is a mart of bad repute, being at the head of a creek, and rather a depôt for goods, frequently pirated, rather than giving hostage for its respectability in cultivation of the soil. Aheung, who was an old man himself, explained its iniquities by the fact that there were few or no old men to be found in it. The first time I visited it, along with a friend, hostilities were going on at Canton, and rewards were out for the heads of foreigners. One of our coolies asked us to go into a shop in the town which was kept by some relatives of his, and in doing so we passed through two small gateways, and also the butchers’ bazaar. The shopmen received us very well, but we had scarcely time to drink a cup of tea before the room was filled by a crowd of ruffians, chiefly butchers from the neighbouring bazaar, armed with knives and choppers. They first began shouting derisively, pressing in and hustling us; then got up the cry “Tá tá!”—“Strike, strike!” with which Chinese commence all their assaults; and then the ominous words “Fanquiei sha tao”—“Cut off the heads of the Foreign Devils”—coupled with some remarks as to what amount of dollars these articles would bring at Fat-shan. Those who know only the ordinary placid appearance of the Chinaman, have happily little idea of the spectacle he presents when working himself into a fury, or the atrocities which he is capable of committing. The butchers round us—and there must have been nearly a hundred in the shop—were pushing one another on and rapidly rising to blood-heat. Another minute would have proved fatal, and as it was, I had no hope of final escape, the only ambition which occurred being that of getting up into a loft close to where I stood, and where our revolvers could have been used with effect. The coolie who brought us into the fix wanted us to fire, but that would have been madness, pressed in as we were by the crowd. Fortunately the shopkeepers, and some more respectable Chinese who were beside us, so far took our part as to assist in getting us hustled out through a door before the bolder of the ruffians had quite worked their way to us; and as we got through, a yell of rage and disappointment rose from the crowd; and it is to be feared that the shopmen suffered, for there was a general row inside, with great crashing of furniture. As the crowd could not get quickly out of the shop, we had the start of it in the streets, but were soon overtaken by the rabble, who pressed closely on us and threw bricks, besides exhausting indecent language in their remarks. Luckily they were rather afraid of our revolvers, and the street was too narrow to allow of their passing to get the gates shut. They called upon the Chinamen we passed at shop doors and side streets to strike us down; and one individual offered to do so with a long hoe, but failed, while on others we tried very hard to smile blandly, as if the whole affair were a joke or a popular ovation. Even on the plain beyond the crowd followed us for two miles; some men from a neighbouring village, armed with gingalls, threatened to cut off our retreat, and a number of junkmen, with filthy gestures and language, invited us to stop and fight them, as if two strangers, just escaped from imminent death, were at all likely to delay for the pleasure of encountering about two hundred pirates. As my friend could not swim, I was afraid we might be brought up at the creek; but the boat was just starting, and, by holding a revolver to his head, we persuaded the ferryman to take us over, notwithstanding the counter-threats addressed to him by those of the ruffians who had still continued to follow.

The whole affair took us so much by surprise, and there was such necessity for immediate action, that we did not fully realise it until we were safe enough to take a rest, when we both began to feel rather faint, and had immediate recourse to our flasks for a glass of brandy. I experienced, however, a peculiarly disagreeable sensation when the crowd was howling round us in the shop; it was not fear of the consequences, but a kind of magnetic effect from the noise and brutal hostility of so many human beings. A little terrier-bitch which I had with me, and which I carried out in my arms, as otherwise it would have been trampled down, was so affected by this that it trembled violently, quivering like an aspen leaf. There is something very trying in the hostility of a howling crowd, and a species of almost physical effluence goes out from it beyond visible positive action. A man who was lynched in Texas a few years ago, and whom a party of soldiers tried to save, was so affected by the conflict round him that he besought his friends either to hang him or to give him up at once. I have heard an old Californian settler say that it was nothing to be in a stampede of wild cattle, compared with being surrounded by a crowd of either terrified or infuriated men.

This occurrence, I daresay, is a sufficient excuse for my never having again entered Sam-chun, though often passing it. The General commanding her Majesty’s forces at Canton got, at our complaint, the Governor of Kwang-tung to issue a proclamation warning against the recurrence of similar outrages; but the Governor-General exercises very little power in that part of the country. Sam-chun is a place of very bad general repute, and even Chinese travellers carefully avoid it, so I had no desire to experiment as to the actual effect of the proclamation. Aheung was with me when this perilous incident occurred; but he carefully disappeared, and only turned up again towards evening, carrying a basket, which he had saved, as the excuse for his absence. After we are fairly past Sam-chun on this our present excursion, he turns round to look at it, grins at me, and draws his hand significantly across his throat. We stop this night at his own village of San-kong, a little further on, and sleep in the schoolhouse, which is large and airy. Moved by the report of my coolie, the people there were particularly civil; and Aheung insisted on providing the morning and evening repast, with abundance of hot t’san, or Chinese wine, at his own expense. He also brought his very aged mother to see me, and she would have kow-towed had I allowed her. Frequently the Chinese are accused of ingratitude, but I must say I have always found a very strong desire on their part to reciprocate favours. At this place a rather curious proposal was made by a Chinese traveller who was halting at a tea-house in front of the village. On seeing me he took off his coat and displayed to the people his bare back, which was cruelly scored by the strokes of a rattan. “See,” he said, “how the foreign devils in Hong-Kong treat a respectable Chinaman: now that we have got this foreign devil amongst us, let us tie him up and flog him, and see how he will like it.” Immediately on this Aheung’s inarticulate voice rose in vehement protest, and the people would not listen to the proposal for a moment; but it made my back shiver, for had it been advanced in a village where I was unknown, it might very possibly have been carried into execution—which would have been neither profit nor glory, and would have been all the harder because I strongly disapproved of the way in which such punishments were carried out by the police. It used to be a most horrid spectacle to see, as often might be done, a poor wretch, with his back all raw and bloody, exposed in Queen’s Road, the most crowded thoroughfare of the town, trembling from pain, shame, and cold, and trying to conceal his face from the passers-by. I could not wonder if a man who had so suffered tried to murder a dozen Europeans, especially if he had suffered unjustly, as was nearly as likely to be the case as not, or for some trivial offence, such as stealing three hairs from a horse’s tail, for which I have known a flogging with the rattan inflicted.

Our next day’s journey was also a short one of only twelve miles. Shady paths along the side of a stream led us to Pu-kak, a large Hakka village, where the German missionaries had formerly a station in the hue, or marketplace, but were forbidden to enter the village itself, or to walk on a neighbouring hill, lest they should disturb the dragon beneath, who could not be supposed to stand the insult of foreigners trampling upon his neck! At the outbreak of hostilities at Canton, the Rev. Messrs Lobschied and Winnes, who were labouring here, were assailed by the people, and had to barricade themselves in their house. The former gentleman got out at night by a back window; and, being pursued, escaped by concealing himself in the water and among the lotus-leaves of a small pond, enjoying the pleasure, while lying there, of hearing the Chinese thrusting their long spears close to him. Mr Winnes was held to ransom for 240 dollars, and was released; but it is doubtful whether that would have taken place had a small military force not been despatched from Hong-Kong for his relief.

At Li-lang, or the village of “Flourishing Plums,” which we next reached, I was glad to find Mr Winnes, and to stay with him. He had been residing there alone, most of the time, for nearly six months, in a small room above a very small chapel and schoolhouse, which were built before the commencement of the war. All his attempts to get a suitable site for a house had been unsuccessful, owing to the geomantic fears of the Hakkas. At one place they were afraid that the White Tiger, whatever that may be, would be disturbed by his building. Another suitable site was refused because the spirits of the ancestors wandering about the graves on the opposite hill would be disturbed by any change of the aspect of the scene, such as a new house would cause. This geomancy is a rather mysterious and difficult subject, which has its own priests, and exercises much influence over the minds of the Chinese. One of the converts of the missionary had been a geomancer, and had written an essay on the subject, in which he makes mention of such awful things as the Deadly Vapour around the dwelling, the Fiery Star which brings destruction, the Nightly Dog who causes apparitions, the Abandoned Spirits who promote ignorance, the White Tiger of the Heavenly Gate, the Seven Murderers, the Gate of Death, the Pestilential Devil, the Hanging Devil, the Strangler, the Poisoner, the Knocker at the Door, the Lamenting Devil, the Scatterer of Stones, the Barking Dragon, the Ravenous Heavenly Dog, and the Murderer of the Year. Talk of the Chinese not being an imaginative people! Why, these mere names suggest a whole world of terror; they are enough to make one shudder and have recourse immediately to a solemn study of the seventy-two principles of the mysterious laws of the efficacious charm for protecting houses.

Another interesting subject on which Mr Winnes gave me novel information was the practice of Spirit-Writing among the Chinese, which has existed from an early period, and strikingly resembles the Western Spirit-Rapping of modern times. I have pretty full notes on this Geister Shrift, as the German called it, but must avoid tedious details. It is sometimes had recourse to by mandarins and educated persons, as well as by the ignorant, for the purpose of gaining information as to the future intentions of Heaven, which are otherwise hid from human beings. One of the most frequent inquiries put is as to whether the questioner will have a number of male children, but all sorts of subjects are inquired into, both personal and political; and many volumes exist, both in prose and verse, alleged to have been written by spirits; so the Seer of Poughkeepsie has been anticipated in the Flowery Land. The Spirit-Writing is called by the Chinese Kong-pit, or “Descending to the Pencil,” and the first step is to cut a bent twig from an apricot tree, affixing at the same time to the tree certain characters which notify that the twig or magic pencil is taken, because the spirit will descend in order to reveal hidden things. Having thus consoled the tree for its loss, the twig is cut into the shape of a Chinese pen, and one end is inserted at right angles into the middle, not the end, of a piece of bamboo, about a foot long and an inch thick, so that were this bamboo laid upon a man’s palms turned upwards, the twig might hang down and be moved over a piece of paper. In a temple, a schoolhouse, or an ancestral hall, chairs are then set apart for the spirit to be summoned, and for the god or saint of the temple or village under whose power the summoned spirit is supposed to be wandering. One table is covered with flowers, cakes, wine, and tea for the refreshment and delectation of the supernatural visitors, while another is covered with fine sand, in order that the spirit may there write its intimations. In order to add to the solemnity of the scene, proceedings are not commenced till after dark, and the spectators are expected to attend fasting, in full dress, and in a proper frame of mind.

The usual way of communicating in China with the higher supernatural powers is by writing supplications or thanksgivings on red or gold-tissue paper, and then burning the paper, the idea being that the characters upon it are thus conveyed into a spiritual form. In order to spirit-writing, a piece of paper is burnt containing some such prayer as this to the tutelary deity or saint of the place:—“This night we have prepared wine and gifts, and we now beseech our great Patron to bring before us a cloud-wandering spirit into this temple, in order that we may communicate with him.” After the saint has had sufficient time to find a spirit, two or three of the company go to the door to receive him, and the spirit is conducted to the seat set apart for him, with much honour, with many genuflexions, and the burning of gold paper. The bamboo is then placed in the palms of a man, so that the apricot twig touches the smooth sand upon one of the tables; and it is usually preferred that the person in whose hands the magic pen is thus placed should be unable to write, as that gives some guarantee against collusion and deception. It is then asked if the spirit has arrived from the clouds; on which, if he is there, the spirit makes the bamboo shake in the hands of the individual who is holding it, so that the magic twig writes on the sand the character to, or “arrived.” When it is thus known that the supernatural guest is present, both he and the tutelary deity are politely requested to seat themselves in the arm-chairs which have been provided, the latter, of course, being on the left, or in the post of honour according to Chinese ideas. They are then refreshed by the burning of more paper, and by the pouring out of wine, which they are thus supposed spiritually to drink; and those who wish to question the ghost are formally introduced to it, for nothing would be considered more shocking than for any one suddenly and rudely to intrude himself upon its notice. After these ceremonies, it is thought proper that the visitor from the clouds should communicate something about himself; so inquiries are made as to his family and personal names, the period at which he lived, and the position which he occupied. The question as to time is usually made by asking what dynasty he belonged to, a few hundred years more or less not being thought anything of among this ancient people, and a ghost of at least a thousand years old being preferred to younger and consequently less experienced persons. The answers to these questions are given as before, the spirit, through the medium, tracing characters upon the sand.

After that, those who have been introduced to the invisible guest put their inquiries as to the future. The questions and the name of the questioner are written upon a piece of gold paper, as thus:—“Lee Tai is respectfully desirous to know whether he shall count many male children and grandchildren.” “Wohong would gladly know whether his son Apak will obtain a degree at the examination at Canton next month.” The paper with the question is then burned, and the spirit moves the magic pen until an answer, most frequently in verse, is traced upon the sand. If the bystanders cannot make out the answer, the ghostly interpreter will sometimes condescend to write it again, and to add the word “right” when it is at last properly understood. After the sand on the table is all written over, it is again rolled smooth, and the kind spirit continues its work. When the answer is in verse, the bystanders often take to flattery, and say, “The illustrious spirit has most distinguished poetical powers.” To which the illustrious spirit usually replies, in Chinese—“Hookey Walker!” Whenever a question is put, the paper is burned and wine is poured out; for Chinese ghosts appear to be thirsty souls, and are not above reprimanding those who neglect to give them wine, or do not regard their utterances with sufficient respect. It is believed that the man in whose hands the magic pen lies has nothing to do with its movements, and its motions can be easily seen, and cause some little noise, thumping down on the table.

These operations go on till shortly after midnight, when, according to the principles of Chinese physical science, the yung, or male principle of life, gains the ascendancy. I am not aware that any covert satire is intended in thus making the ghost loquacious only when under the influence of the yong, or female principle; but it may be so, or there may be something in common in this respect between Chinese spirits and the ghosts of our own land, which used to vanish at the first crowing of the cock. At all events, soon after midnight, the celestial visitor, who is not less formally polite than Chinese still in the flesh, writes on the table—“Gentlemen! I am obliged for your liberal presents, but now I must take my departure.” The gentlemen reply to this, still through the medium of burned paper—“We beseech the illustrious ghost still to remain with us a little longer, and still further to enlighten our minds.” “Permit me to go,” politely answers the spirit, “for I am urgently required elsewhere;” whereon the whole assembly rises, and, advancing to the door with burning papers, escort the ghost out, complimenting him, bowing to him, and begging for his pardon if they have at all failed in doing him honour. At the door they respectfully take leave of him, and allow him to wander on into the darkness and the clouds.

It is curious to find that this supposed modern form of delusion, or else of communication with the spirit world, has been in existence in the Middle Empire for centuries, and it is only one of many things recently springing up in Europe which have been anticipated by the Celestials. A good deal of faith is attached to these ghostly utterances, and the ceremonies are conducted with solemnity. It may be observed that communication with the supernatural world by means of burned papers is not an isolated notion in the circle of Chinese ideas. Everything is considered as having an existence beyond that which it presents to the bodily eye. Even inanimate objects may be said to have a soul; and things (to use the word in its widest sense) have the same relationships to each other in their spiritual as in their visible existence. Thus, the spirits of the dead must eat, whether they be in heaven or hell, in clouds or sunshine. They devour not spiritual turnips, rice, and pork, but the soul or spiritual existence of visible turnips, rice, and pork; and, like other Chinese, they prefer fowl, ducks, and birds’-nest soup, when they can get these luxuries. So far is this carried, that in the “Universal Rescue,” to which I have already referred, separate bathing-rooms are set apart for spirits of the different sexes, in which they are supposed to perform their spiritual ablutions. Thus the present and the past, the visible and the invisible, are inseparably connected, while both are seen to shape the unformed future.

At Li-long Mr Winnes had a small congregation of converts from among the peasantry, and a few intelligent young men whom he was training for missionary or educational purposes; hymns were sung in Chinese, but set to German music. Besides conveying instruction, the missionaries—who have all studied medicine more or less—give medicine and medical treatment to many of the Chinese with whom they come in contact, and try to cure inveterate debauched opium-smokers by taking them in charge for two or three weeks, keeping them under their own eye, and supplying such drugs as are necessary to prevent the system from breaking up when the narcotic food on which it has been accustomed to depend is withdrawn. Credit is due to these educated and intelligent men who thus cut themselves off from the enjoyments of their own civilisation, and devote themselves to the improvement of a somewhat rude and wild people like those who inhabit these mountainous districts of Kwang-tung. In many respects their work is important, and especially as acting as a “buffer,” to use a railway phrase, between two antagonistic races and antagonistic civilisations. In ordinary circumstances they are treated not merely with respect, but also with a friendly confidence rarely extended to foreigners, though when war is abroad and the minds of the people are exasperated their services may be forgotten. By mingling with the people, speaking their language, sympathising with their humble joys and sorrows, and alleviating their sufferings, they present the foreigner in a new and beautiful light to the Chinese, and dissipate the prejudice which has attached itself to his name.

On leaving Li-long next day the German missionary asked me to visit a village called Ma-hum, in the Yeang-tai Mountains, to which I was bound, as it had suffered severely in a prolonged clan-fight, and he thought that the advent of a foreigner would give its inhabitants some little prestige which might save them from the utter destruction with which they were threatened by the neighbouring and more powerful village of Schan-tsun. As the day was warm and the way was long, I engaged a chair and a couple of coolies, who went on sturdily through narrow valleys between low hills frequently covered with pine-apple trees or rather bushes. After passing the large wealthy village of Tsing-fer, or “Clear Lake,” where there are some enormous trees, and, among others, a bastard banian, the trunk of which is forty feet in circumference, we began to enter the Yeang-tai Mountains, where the Throne of the Sun is supposed to be situated. At first they appeared not nearly so beautiful and striking as when I had visited them the previous summer. At that time the orchards of peach, plum, pear, and apple trees, which form the main attraction of the valleys, were loaded with leaves, blossoms, and fruit; the grass was everywhere green; the red sides of the more barren hills were diversified by numerous waterfalls and foaming streams; while fantastic clouds, here dark and threatening, but there lit golden by the sunlight, wreathed the summits of the mountains. In this dry season the more western portions of the Yeang-tai looked bare and unsatisfactory. The spring was not sufficiently advanced for the trees to show more than barely visible, though budding knobs; the grass on the hills was dry and yellow, and our path wound away through interminable small valleys, where the slopes around seemed neither solid rock nor fruitful earth, but ridges of decayed granite which the rains had washed bare and the sun had bleached to a dirty reddish-white. It was like finding a once fair lady in a faded condition and a dubious undress. The fruits which form the product of this district are not particularly satisfactory to European judgment. The plums, apricots, and peaches, though small, are much the best; but it is difficult to get them in good condition, as the Chinese seem to prefer them either unripe or rotten; and they are always gathered too soon, partly on this account and partly to preserve them from the ravages of birds and thieves. The large juicy pears are exceedingly coarse-grained, and have not much taste; the pulp feels dry and gritty in the mouth, and the only way to enjoy them properly is to eat them stewed. The dry leathery apples are miserable indeed. Those fruits in the south of China which belong to the tropical zone are much better than those whose proper place is in the temperate. The pine-apples, the custard-apples, the guavas, the pomegranates, and the olives are very good indeed; but the mangos are small, and much inferior to those of India, Manilla, and the Straits. Some fruits are indigenous and peculiar to the country, as the whampee, which tastes not unlike a gooseberry; and the lychu (whose trees form a fragrant and agreeable feature in the landscape), which is about the size of a large strawberry, and has, within a rough red skin, a white sweet watery pulp, somewhat resembling that of the mangosteen, and not unpleasant to the taste, though the flavour suggests a faint suspicion of castor-oil. It is scarcely necessary to make mention of the numerous varieties of the orange, which is the most abundant and perfect fruit in the south of China.

As we advanced into the larger valleys and among the higher hills, the scenery became more picturesque; and often, far up the mountains, were some large white graves. The Chinese are unlike all other nations in their treatment of the dead. In the first place, they like to have their own coffins ready and in their houses, being in no way disturbed by having such a memento mori constantly before their eyes. I once heard two women disputing violently in Hong-Kong, and on inquiring into the cause, the younger one said to me in “pidgin English,” “That woman belong my moder. I have catchee she number one piccy coffin, and she talkee, ‘No good, no can do!;’” Anglice: “That woman is my mother. I have got for her a coffin of the best kind, and she says it’s not good, and won’t do!” After death the body is closed up in a coffin along with quicklime. This is often kept for some time in the house, and then, most frequently, the bones are taken out and placed in an earthenware urn. The most usual form of the grave is an attempt at representing the shape of an armchair without legs, but this is often thirty or forty feet round, and is built of stone, or of bricks covered with white chunam. At the back of this the urn is placed in an excavation, and the spirit of the defunct is supposed to seat himself there and enjoy the view. Care is taken to give him a dry place, where he will not be disturbed by damp or streams of water, and where the spiritual existence of ants will not annoy. The Chinese love of nature comes out remarkably in their selection of spots for graves. They prefer solitary places, where sighing trees wave over the departed, the melody of birds will refresh his spirit, where he can gaze upon a running stream and a distant mountain-peak. In the ‘Kia Li,’ or Collection of Forms used in Family Services, there occurs the following beautiful funeral lament, which is wont to be uttered at burial:—

“The location of the spot is striking,
The beauty of a thousand hills is centred here. Ah!
And the Dragon coils around to guard it.
A winding stream spreads vast and wide. Ah!
And the egrets here collect in broods.
Rest here in peace for aye. Ah!
The sighing firs above will make you music.
For ever rest in this fair city. Ah!
Where pines and trees will come and cheer you.”

Much more than that in which lies the tomb of Shelley is the situation of some of these Celestial graves fitted to make one “in love with death,” and there is much consoling in the thought which the Chinaman can entertain, that when the cold hand has stilled the beatings of the troubled heart, his disembodied spirit does not want a home, his name and memory are perpetuated in the ancestral hall, his wants are provided for, and the daughter whom he left a child feels that he is near her even to her old age. How different these convictions from the melancholy complaint of Abd-el-Rohaman, the Arab poet, as, fancying himself in the grave, forsaken and forgotten by all his kin, he wrote:—

“They threw upon me mould of the tomb and went their way,—
A guest, ’twould seem, had flitted from the dwellings of the tribe.
My gold and my treasures, each his share, they bore away,
Without thanks, without praise, with a jest and with a jibe.
“My gold and my treasures, each his share, they bore away;
On me they left the weight, with me they left the sin.
That night within the grave, without hoard or child, I lay:
No spouse, no friend was there, no comrade and no kin.
“The wife of my youth soon another husband found;
A stranger sat at home on the hearthstone of my sire;
My son became a slave, though unpurchased, unbound,
The hireling of a stranger who begrudged him his hire.”

The Celestial does not regard death as the termination of delights or separation of companions, and he comforts himself with the thought that the affectionate wishes of all his kin will follow him into Dead Man’s Land, that he will there enjoy companionship, that his spirit may hover for ever over the village and the stream, reverenced to latest generations, influencing the fruitfulness of the all-nourishing earth, the sweep of the winds of heaven, and the courses of the life-giving streams. Until some better ideas be introduced, it would be a pity were this belief disturbed, as it exercises a powerful influence for good by leading the Chinese mind from things seen and temporal—for which it is apt to have too much respect—towards those which are unseen and eternal. It gives to his horizon the awe of another world, and has much effect in preserving those family relationships which lie at the foundation of Chinese social success. It also has a singular effect in consoling the bereaved, and

“Doomed as we are, our native dust,
To meet with many a bitter shower,
It ill befits us to disdain
The altar, to deride the fane
Where simple sufferers bend, in trust
To win a happier hour.”

At the same time, it must be admitted that there is a great deal of confusion and contradiction in Chinese ideas as to the state of the dead. While they speak of the departed spirit as still retaining a full personality of its own, they also, or at least many of them, believe in the separation and return to the primal elements of the various spirits of which the human being is composed. Thus the animal spirit, for instance, would return to and be lost in the great reservoir of animal existence, just as a drop of water in the ocean, and the mind or intellect return to that of mind. Yet their ideas on this subject, however contradictory, and all their feelings, point to death as not an evil in itself, or an event to be dreaded. Hence, in fact, their indifference to life and extreme fondness for suicide. Almost every Chinaman lives in the spirit of their proverb, “The hero does not ask if there be evil omens; he views death as going home.”

At Ma-hum I had a letter of introduction to one of the elders, and found that village small, much impoverished, and greatly dilapidated. Long warfare with Schan-tsun had exhausted its resources; many habitations were empty; the temple and schoolhouse were in ruins; there were very few women—some, I fear, having been sold from distress—and the people had a crushed, desponding air. These clan-fights in the south of China are rather curious, and attention has not been called to them. I never could master all their intricacies, but they occur sometimes between people of different family names, and sometimes between those of different villages and districts. Two villages having the same patronymic sometimes fight, but most usually it is the clanship which determines and guides the quarrel. People of another name visiting the parties are very seldom interfered with, unless it is by the hired combatants, who are generally bad characters, and are sometimes employed by wealthy villages. At one place to which I came, the elders sent out word they would not allow us to enter, as they had more than a thousand mercenary soldiers there, and they could not insure our safety. It is no unusual thing for notice to be given when a battle is to come off, and on these occasions I have seen the hills lined with hundreds of spectators from other places, who entertained no fears for their own safety, were not interfered with, and applauded both parties impartially according to the valour or energy displayed. I say energy, because at one of the most vigorous fights I have seen there was no enemy in sight, or within several miles. Files of men gathered in groups and stretched into line; they ran down hills and up hills again, waving huge flags; they shook their spears, made ferocious attacks upon an imaginary foe, poured out volleys of abuse, and now and then a single brave, half naked, with a turban or napkin round his head, would heroically advance before his comrades, throw himself into all sorts of impossible postures, and indulge in a terrific single combat; but though all this was done, the opposite side never made its appearance at all. Another time I got up into a tree close to two villages, about a couple of hundred yards, from each other, which were doing battle with gingalls. The marksmen protected themselves behind trees and walls and the roofs of houses. Every ten minutes or so, some one would come out and show himself, making derisive insulting gestures; on which a shot or two was fired at him, and the gingall-men on his side tried in their turn to pick off the marksmen. Before any one was wounded, however, I had to descend from the tree and beat a retreat. These fights go on sometimes for days and even weeks in this way, without any more serious loss on either side than a vast expenditure of time, powder, and bullets; but woe to the unfortunate who happens to fall into the hands of the opposite clan or village! If his head is not taken off at once, and his heart cut out, which frequently happens, he may perhaps be exchanged against some prisoner; but it is just as likely that he is put to death in a prolonged and painful way, such as being disjointed or sliced. When a feud has gone on for some time, when all attempts at mediation have proved abortive, and great irritation exists, then the combatants usually come to closer quarters, sometimes in the daytime, but more usually at night. The stronger side in such circumstances relaxes its hostility, and tries to lull its opponents into a feeling of false security. When it has succeeded in doing so, then a strong party will make a sudden dash at the hostile village during the daytime, and kill and carry away as many persons as it possibly can. More frequently, however, a midnight attack is organised. When the enemy are supposed to feel themselves tolerably secure, a vigorous attempt is made to crush them altogether. Some dark night the inhabitants of the doomed village suddenly awake to find themselves surrounded by armed men who have scaled their walls, and set fire to their houses by throwing in among them a number of blazing stink-pots, which also confuse by their fumes and smoke. Then rise to heaven the yell of fury and the shriek of despair. Quickly the fighting-men seize their spears and gingalls, but, distracted by the surprise and by their blazing houses, they are soon shot, pinned down with those terrible three-pronged spears, or driven back into the flames. Little or no mercy is granted to them. Terrified women seek to strangle their children, and themselves commit suicide; but as many of these as possible are saved, in order that they may become servants to the victors. Where the golden evening saw a comfortable village and happy families, the grey dawn beholds desolation and ashes, charred rafters and blackened corpses.

It may be asked whether the Government exercises no control over these local feuds; but in those districts where they exist the mandarins rarely interfere, except by way of mediation and advice. Their power is not so great that they can afford to do more; and, besides, it is not in accordance with Chinese ideas that they should do so. Notwithstanding its nominally despotic form of government, China is really one of the most self-governing countries in the world. Each family, village, district, and province is to a very great extent expected to regulate or “harmonise” itself. In order to this end, great powers are allowed within these limits. The father, or the head of a family, can inflict most serious and even very cruel punishments on its members, without his neighbours thinking they have any right to interfere with him; and, on the other hand, he is held responsible for the misdeeds of his children, and when these have offended against public justice, and are not to be got hold of, he often suffers vicariously in their place. In like manner, villages are allowed great power in the settling of their internal affairs through their elders. Within certain wide limits the district is left to preserve its own peace, without troubling the higher authorities of the province; and if it choose to indulge in the expensive luxury of clan-fights, why that is its own loss. The mandarin of Nam-taw, the capital of the district, had told both the Ma-hum and Schan-tsun people that they were very foolish to go on fighting as they were doing, and he had ordered the latter, as the aggressors, to desist, but there his interference ended: there ought to be virtue enough in the district to put down such a state of matters, but there was not; and by late news from China it appears that the warlike inhabitants of Schan-tsun have been continuing and flourishing in their career of violence; for about a couple of months ago their “young people”—the frolicsome portion of the population—made a night-attack upon the neighbouring village of Sun-tsan, sacked every house, carried off provisions, destroyed the whole place except the temple, and killed at random men, women, and children to the number of 150, no less than 75 of the latter having been destroyed. It is, in fact, this local weakness of the Government which causes the rebellions that devastate the country. A gentleman thoroughly acquainted with the language, writing to me by last mail from the centre of China, truly remarks on this subject: “The causes of the rebellion are, so far as I can see, the overpopulation of the country, the inefficiency of the mandarins, and the indifference of the people. The Chinese enjoy an amount of freedom and self-government which, I suppose, is nowhere surpassed, if equalled; and their social system, which is the result of so many centuries’ experience of what human life is, is sufficient to meet most of their requirements. But it is not sufficient to suppress the uprising of the dangerous classes. To do this the power of the country must be organised into some sort of shape, and then wielded with energy and honesty. Unfortunately, the present mandarins neither have the one nor the other. But the beginning of great changes in China is at hand. I am convinced that any attempt at foreign interference in the civil government of the provinces would do great mischief.”

It will illustrate the sort of democratic feeling which prevails in China, to mention that the elder with whom I stayed had Aheung and my stranger chair-coolies as well as myself to sit down at dinner with him in the evening. The extreme politeness of the Chinese prevents this being disagreeable, and I never saw the commonest coolie either inclined to presume upon such contact, or particularly pleased by it. The German and the Catholic missionaries have their meals in this way when travelling, and I found it, upon trial, to be much the best. In its then condition the resources of Ma-hum were limited, and the house we were in was a mere hovel of sun-dried bricks; but our host produced at dinner fresh and salt fish, pork and turnip soup, boiled pork and salted eggs, fine pork and small white roots like potatoes, with cabbage, bean-paste, and rice, apologising for not having had warning to prepare a better repast. When unafflicted by famine or rebellion, I should say that the labouring Chinese live better than any other people of the same class, except in Australia and the United States. Though they only take two meals a day, yet they often refresh themselves between with tea and sweet cakes; and at these meals they like to have several dishes, among which both fish and pork are usually to be found; often eggs, ducks, and fowls; in some parts of the country mutton, and in others beef. Their cookery is also very good; I never met anything very outré in it, except on one single occasion, chips of dog-ham, which were served out as appetisers, and are very expensive, and come from the province of Shan-tung, where the animal is fed up for the purpose upon grain. The breeding of fish in ponds is one of the most plentiful and satisfactory sources for the supply of food in China, and attempts are being made at present to introduce it into France. The great secret of their cookery is that it spares fuel and spares time. In most of their dishes the materials are cut up into small pieces before being placed upon the fire, and some are even cooked by being simply steamed within the pan in which the invariable rice is cooked. The rice tastes much more savoury than that which we get in this country, and is not unpleasant to eat alone, steam rather than water being used in preparing it for the table—a sea voyage exercising some damaging effect upon its flavour. The great drawback of the food of the lower Celestials is that the vegetables are often salt, and resemble sour kraut; the pork is too fat, and the salt fish is frequently in a state of decay. Bean-paste also—a frequent article among the poor—cannot be too strongly condemned; nor is it redeemed by the fact that it is in much use among the holy men of the Buddhist monasteries, for they have a decided preference for “vegetables of the sea.”

At Ma-hum I got a small empty cottage to sleep in, with only the company of a phoong quei, or “wind box,” used for preparing corn, and exactly the same in construction and appearance as the “fanners” which used to be employed in Scottish barns. My trip, so far as it was by land, ended next day at Nam-tow, the district capital, a large walled town of, I should think, not less than a hundred thousand souls. This place had been bombarded about eighteen months before by our gunboats, in consequence of the mandarins stopping the supplies of Hong-Kong, and withdrawing the native servants; so I was rather afraid of being mobbed, or otherwise ill-treated, if I delayed in it, or turned on my footsteps when looking for the passage-boat to Hong-Kong. Even when there is no positive danger, a Chinese mob is rather trying to a solitary European; but China is a civilised country, and fortunately there were two boats and competition. The consequence of this was, that the touter of one of them waylaid us about a mile and a half from the town, and led me direct to his junk, in which I at once embarked, to the disappointment of the crowd which had begun to gather upon our heels.

I used to find it safer to go about that part of the coast in passage-boats rather than in one of my own, and of course in that way saw much more of the people. These vessels usually go two and two in company, in order to assist one another against the not unfrequent attacks of pirates; and are pretty well armed with stink-pots, two or three small cannon, and spears innumerable. When not crowded they do very well, and a small sum procures the sole use of a small matted cabin without any furniture, if it is not pre-engaged. On this occasion the extra cabin was occupied, and in that of the supercargo, which is also usually available, there was a portion of his family; so I had to content myself with the deck and the “first-class” cabin, which was occupied by shopkeepers and small merchants. The Chinese are not very clean, especially in cold weather, when they put on coat over coat without ever changing the inner one: in the poorer houses the dirt and water are not properly “balanced,” and they have a saying which associates “lice and good-luck;” but, most fortunately for travellers, their pediculi, like horses in Japan, appear to participate in the national antipathy for foreigners. There were about fifty passengers in this boat bound for Hong-Kong, and the cargo consisted of vegetables and sugar-cane. One little boy on board appeared to have been told off to do the cooking and religion. He would suddenly stop in his task of cutting up fish or turnips, and burn a red joss-paper with a prayer upon it, for the success of our voyage; then as suddenly utter an exclamation and dive down again among the pots. This little wretch of a cook, though chaffed at by the sailors and afflicted by a severe cold, appeared perfectly contented, happy, and even joyful—which may be a lesson to some other doctors elsewhere. The Universe, acting under the Chinese system, had found a place which suited him, work adapted to his nature, and such small enjoyments as he could appreciate. He always found time, every five minutes, to snatch a chew at sugar-cane, and even lost five cash by gambling. In these passage-boats the fare is not, and cannot be expected to be, very good; but our diminutive artist prepared for dinner stewed oysters, fried and boiled fish, fat pork, salt eggs, rice, greens, turnips, and onions.

The British sailor adorns his bunk with a rude portrait of lovely Nancy, but our junk had inscriptions savouring of a lofty kind of poetry and morality. In the cabin there was written up in Chinese characters, “The virtue which we receive from Heaven is as great as a mountain;” and also, “The favour (grace) received from the Spirit of the Ocean is as deep as the ocean itself.” On the roof we were informed that Heaven, and not only wood, was above us, by the inscription, “The virtue of the (divine) Spirit illuminates everything.” These were intelligible, but this one, which was on the mainmast, requires interpretation—“There is majesty on the Eight Faces.” It must be understood to mean that there is majesty, or glory, everywhere around. The paper on the rudder exclaimed—“Keep us secure, Tai Shon!” or “Great mountain,” a very holy and “powerful” hill in Schan-tung, to which Confucius has alluded, and to which pilgrimages are made. At the bows there was the cheering assurance, “The ship’s head prospers,” which in our passage was not falsified.

These evidences of high moral feeling, however, were hardly borne out by the conduct of the crew. As ‘Punch’s’ footman observed of the leg-of-mutton dinner, they were “substantial, but coarse;” quite without the politeness of the peasantry; friendly enough, but indulging in rough play, such as giving each other, and some of the passengers, sundry violent pats on the head. The captain, as is everywhere usual at sea, gave his orders roughly, and required them to be promptly obeyed. They don’t think much of firing into another boat, by way of amusement or gentle warning; and are not altogether averse to a quiet little piece of piracy when it comes in their way. On leaving the Canton river the wind and tide in the Kup-shui-moon pass or strait were so strong that we ran in-shore, anchored, and spent the night there. Most of the crew and some of the passengers sat up most of the night gambling, which surely did not look as if their virtue was quite the size of a mountain, and indulged in some violent disputes. Their playing-cards were more elaborate than ours, having many characters and devices upon them, but not a fourth of the size. Being scarcely half an inch broad, though about the same length as ours, and with more distinctive marks, they were held and handled with much greater ease. Instead of being dealt out, they were laid down on their faces between the players, and each man helped himself in order.

The Kup-shui-moon is a great place for pirates, and as I was courting sleep some of the passengers were discussing the probability of our being taken by them, and hung up by the thumbs and great toes to make us send for an outrageous ransom. They did not use Hai traák, the Chinese word for “sea-robbers,” but Pi-long, which is a Chinesified form of the English word “pirate,” and La-lì-loong, which is doubtless their form of the Portuguese word ladrone. Like the Italians with their bifstecca for our abrupt “beefsteak,” the Chinese, when they adopt or use European words, throw them into an extended mellifluous form, in which it is difficult to recognise the original sound. La-lì-loong is a good illustration of this, and so also is pe-lan-dia, by which they mean “brandy.” The estuary of the Pearl river and the neighbouring coast have long been famous for pirates, and the passengers were not without some cause of apprehension. I have seen these professional pirate junks watching in the Kup-shui-moon at one time, and only a few mails ago there came out accounts of an attempt to take an English steamer in or close to it. Not less than their names, Pi-long and La-lì-loong, the pirates of China are a result of foreign contact, and as yet give no signs of diminishing either in numbers or in power.

However, no sea-robbers disturbed our repose. Next morning I found we had passed the strait, and were drawing under the shadow of Victoria Peak.



The British nation has just had one of its grand spontaneous holidays—a holiday so universal and unanimous that imagination is at a loss where to find that surprised and admiring spectator whose supposed presence heightens ordinary festivities by giving the revellers a welcome opportunity of explaining what it is all about. There is not a peasant nor a babe within the three kingdoms which has not had his or its share in the universal celebration, and is not as well aware as we are what the reason is, or why every sleeper in England was roused on this chill Tuesday morning by the clangour of joy-bells and irregular (alas! often thrice irregular) dropping of the intermittent feu-de-joie, with which every band of Volunteers in every village, not to speak of great guns and formal salutes, has vindicated its British rights—every man for himself—to honour the day. We are known as a silent nation in most circumstances, and a nation grave, sober-minded, not enthusiastic; yet, barring mountains and moors, there is not a square mile of British soil in any of the three kingdoms in which the ringing of joyful bells, the cheers of joyful voices, have not been the predominating sound from earliest dawn of this March morning. Labour has suspended every exertion but that emulation of who shall shout the loudest and rejoice the most heartily. If there was any compulsion in the holiday, it was a pressure used by the people upon a Government which has other things to do than invent or embellish festivals. We have insisted upon our day’s pleasuring. We have borne all the necessary expenses, and taken all the inevitable trouble. Is it sympathy, loyalty, national pride? or what is it? It is something embracing all, yet more simple, more comprehensive, more spontaneous than either: it is a real personal joy which we have been celebrating—the first great personal event in the young life which belongs to us, and which we delight to honour. The Son of England receives his bride in the sight of no limited company, however distinguished, but of the entire nation, which rejoices with him and over him without a dissentient or discontented voice. Our sentiments towards him are of no secondary description. It is our wedding, and this great nation is his father’s house.

His father’s house—not now is the time to enlarge upon these words, nor the suggestions of most tender sadness, the subduing Lenten shadow upon the general joy which they convey, and which is in everybody’s mind. It is the house of his Mother whom her people have come to serve, not with ordinary tributes of loyalty, but with intuitions of love. England has learned to know, not what custom exacts or duty requires towards her Royal Mistress, but, with a certain tender devotion which perhaps a nation can bear only to a woman, to follow the thoughts, the wishes, the inclinations of her Queen. Something has come to pass of which constitutional monarchy, popular freedom, just laws, offer no sufficient explanation. The country is at one with the Sovereign. A union so perfect has come about by degrees, as was natural; and the heart of the race which expanded to her in natural sympathy, when, young and inexperienced, she ascended the throne, has quickened gradually into a warmer universal sentiment than perhaps has ever been felt for a monarch. We use the ancient hyperboles of loyalty with calmness in this island, knowing that they rather fall short of the fact than exceed it. It is barely truth to say that any trouble or distress of Hers affects her humble subjects in a degree only less acute than their own personal afflictions; and that never neighbour was wept over with a truer heart in the day of her calamity than was the Queen in hers by every soul of her subjects, great and small. Intense sorrow cannot dwell long in the universal bosom; but the country, not contented with rendering its fullest tribute of grief for the lost, has dedicated many an occasional outbreak of tears through all these months to that unaccustomed cloud which veiled the royal house. And now it is spring, and the purest abstract type of joy—young love and marriage—comes with strange yet sweet significance in Lent, to open, as we all hope, a new chapter in that household history in which we are so much concerned. With all the natural force of revulsion out of mourning, with all the natural sympathy for that visible representation of happiness in which men and women can never refuse to be interested, there has mingled, above all, a wistful national longing “to please the Queen.” Curiosity and interest were doubtless strongly excited by the coming of the bride—but not for the fair Danish Princess alone would London have built itself anew in walls of human faces, and an entire community expended a day of its most valuable time for one momentary glimpse of the sweet girlish countenance on which life as yet has had time to write nothing but hope and beauty. The sentiment of that wonderful reception was but a subtle echo of our Lady’s wish, lovingly carried out by the nation, which is her Knight as well as Subject. To hide our dingy London houses, we could not resort to the effective tricks with which skilful French hands can make impromptu marble and gold: but we did what art and genius could never attempt to do—what nothing but love could accomplish; we draped and festooned and clustered over every shabby line of architecture with a living illumination of English faces, all glowing and eager not only to see the new-comer, but to show the new-comer, what no words could ever tell her, that she came welcome as a daughter to that heart of England in which, without any doubt or controversy, the Mother-Monarch held a place more absolute than could be conquered by might or won by fame. Let us not attempt to read moral lessons to the princely lovers, who, it is to be hoped, were thinking of something else than moralities in that moment of their meeting, and were for the time inaccessible to instruction; but without any moral meaning, the sentiment which swayed the enthusiastic multitude on the day of the Princess Alexandra’s arrival was more like that of a vast household, acting upon the personal wish of its head, than a national demonstration coldly planned by official hands. The Queen, who sat at her palace window in the soft-falling twilight, looking out like any tender mother for the coming of her son and his bride, till the darkness hid her from the spectators outside, gave the last climax of truth and tenderness to that welcome, which was no affair of ceremony, but a genuine universal utterance of the unanimous heart.

Loyalty seems an inherent quality in our race; but it has been a loyalty of sections up to the present time, whenever it has been at all fervent or passionate. It has been reserved for Queen Victoria to make of it a sentiment as warm as in days of tumult, as broad as in times of peace. So thoroughly has she conquered the heart of the nation, that it seems about time to give up explaining why. To those who have been born under her rule, and even to her own contemporaries, a pure Court and a spotless royal life appear no exceptional glories, but the natural and blessed order of things; and we love her, not consciously because of her goodness, but only for love’s own royal reason, because we love her. Nothing can happen of any moment in those royal rooms where so very small a number of her people can ever dream of entering as guests, without moving the entire mass of her people with a sentiment only second, as we have already said, to immediate personal joy or grief. It is this alone that can explain the extraordinary rejoicings of this day. We keep the feast not by sympathy in another’s joy, but by positive appropriation of a joy which is our own. The wedding has, in fact, been celebrated in the presence of all England, with unanimous consent and acclamation of the same. With blessings and tears, with immeasurable good wishes, hopes, and joyful auguries, we have waited at the princely gates to send the Bride and Bridegroom upon their way. Speak it in audible words, oh Princes and Poets! Echo it in mighty tones of power, oh awful cannons and voices of war, which deal no death in England,—sound it forth over all the world and space in inarticulate murmurous thunders, oh unanimous People! Let the Mother smile among her tears to hear how every faithful soul of her true subjects honours her children; and then let there be silence in the midst of all—silence one moment, and no more, for the missing Voice which would have made the joy too perfect—

“Nor count me all to blame, if I
Conjecture of a stiller guest,
Perchance, perchance among the rest,
And though in silence wishing joy.”

And now the thing we wish for most to complete our rejoicing is, if we could but have some spectator worthy the sight, to see all our great towns blazing up to heaven, and every village glimmering over “beneath its little lot of stars,” with all the lights it can gather. A group of sympathetic angels fanning the solemn airs of night with grand expanded wing and flowing garments, watching the great and strange marvel of a nation wild with joy, would be pleasant to think of at this moment. Perhaps to such watchers, lingering on cloudy mountain heights above us, the hamlets shining like so many glow-worms all over the dewy darkling country would be the sweetest sight. London, glowing in a lurid blaze into the night, doing all that is in her to give splendour to the darkness; Edinburgh, more gloriously resplendent, with valleys and hills of fire, improvising a drama of illumination with lyric responses and choral outbursts of sweet light, the emblem of joy, are but the centres of the scene. Here, too, past our village windows, comes the blaze of torches, held high in unseen hands, moving in a picturesque uncertain line between the silent bewildered trees: though nobody wits of us, hidden in the night, that is no reason why we should stifle the joy in our hearts on this night of the wedding. Windsor itself did not begin to thrill with bells earlier than we; and even Edinburgh will have commenced to fade slowly out of the enchanted air into the common slumber ere we have exhausted all those devious rockets which startle the darkness and the dews. Nor we only, but every congregation of cottages, every cluster of humble roofs, wherever a church-spire penetrates the air, wherever there is window to light or bell to ring. Bear us witness, dear wondering angels! Far off by the silent inland rivers, deep under the shadows of the hills, perched upon rocky points and coves by the sea, lying low upon the dewy plains, is there a village over all the island that has not lighted a joyous blaze for love of its Queen, and in honour of the Bride? Health, joy, prosperity, and increase to our Prince and Princess! If they can ever be happier than at this sweet moment, crowned by Love and Youth with that joy which human imagination has everywhere concluded the height of human blessedness, let the heavens advance them speedily to yet a sweeter glory. If there were any better bliss we could win for them or purchase for them, the world well knows we would spare no pains; but as it is, all that loyal hearts can do is to wish, with hearty love and acclaim, every joy short of heaven to the young heirs of all our hopes; but not that for many a happy year.

And now the holiday is over, and the stars begin to show softly over the waning lights and voices fatigued with joy. Is there, perhaps, a Watcher in the royal chambers who weeps in the night when all is over, and God alone sees Her solitude—Our Queen! There is not a woman in England but thinks of you—not a man but would purchase comfort for your heart by any deed that man could do. Since the marriage-feast was spread for you, Liege Lady and Sovereign, what have not Life and Time done for all of us—what happiness, what anguish, what births and deaths! Now is it over, the joy of life?—but still remain tender love and honour, dear duty and labour, God and the children, the heirs of a new life. Oh, tranquil heavens! stoop softly over the widowed and the wedded—over us who have had, and they who have, the perfection and the joy! Enough for all of us, that over all is the Common Father, whose love can accomplish nothing which is not Well.

10th March 1863.

Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.

  1. Typos fixed; non-standard spelling and dialect retained.