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JANUARY, 1882 APRIL, 1882. 




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CONTENTS OP No. 317. ^ 

Art. I. — Les Origines de la France Contemporaine. Par H. 
Taine, de I'Acadeniie Francjaise. L'Ancien Regime 
— La Revolution — La Conquete Jacobine. 3 tomes. 
8vo. Paris: lb80-188I, 1 

II. — 1. Nerone. Commedia in cinque atti ed in versi. Di 
Pietro Cossa. Milano : 1878. 

2. Plauto e il suo 8ecolo. Commedia in versi. Di 

Pietro Cossa, Milano: 1876. 

3. Teatro in Versi. Di Pietro Torino : 


4. Poesie Liriche. Di Pietro Cossa. Milano: 1876. 

5. Poesie. Di Giosue Carducci (' Enotrio Romano '). 

Terza edizione ■ preceduta da una biografia. 
Firenze : 1878. 

6. II Canto dell' Amore. Di Giosue Carducci. Bologna: 


7. Odi Barbare. Di Giosue Carducci, Terza edizione. 

Bologna: 1880, 26 

III.— 1. The Life of Richard Cobden. By John Morley. In 
2 vols. London: 1881. 

2. The Life and Speeches of the Right Hon. John 

Bright, M.P. By George Barnett Smith. In 2 
vols, London: 1881. 

3. Free Trade with France. Letters to the ' Times,' 

with an Introduction by Earl Grey, K.G. London : 

1881, 60 

IV. — 1 . Electric Transmission of Power : its Present Position 
and Advantages By Paget Higgs, LL.D., D.Sc. 
London: 1879, ...... 92 

[And other Works.] 

V. — 1. Carthage and the Carthaginians. By R. Bosworth 
Smith, M.A. Second edition. London : 1879. 

2. Geschichte der Karthager. Von Otto Meltzer. Vol.L 

Berlin: 1879. 

3. Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce in Algeria and 

Tunis. By Lieut.- Colonel R. L. Playfair. Lon- 
don: 1877. 

4. The Country of the Moois. A Journey from Tripoli 

in Barbary to the City of Kairwan. By Edward 
Rae, F.R.G.S. London : 1877. 

5. En Tunisie. Par Albert de la Berge. Paris: 


6. Algeria, Tunisia 6 Tripolitania. Di Attilio Brunialti. 

Milano: 1881, 121 



VI. — 1, The Irish Problem, uud how to solve it. London: 
2. Catechism of tlie History of Ireland, Ancient and 
Modern. A new and revised Edition, with an 
Account of the Land Agitation. By W. J. O'Neill 
Daunt. Forty-sixth thousand. Dublin : 1874, . 155 

VII. — 1. Buenos Ay res and the Provinces of Rio Plata. By 
Sir Woodbine Parish, K.C.H. 8vo. London : 
1839; second Edition, 1851. 

2. Blik paa Brasiliens Dyreverden for sidste Jordom- 

vcelrning. Af Dr. Lund. 4to. Kjobenhavu : 

3. Anales del Museo Publico de Buenos Ayres. Por el 

Dr. Burraeister. 4to. Entrega primera, 1864; 
Entrega duodecima, 1871. 

4. Zoology of the Beagle, Fossil Mammalia. By Richard 

Owen. 4to. London: 1839, .... 18G 
[And other Works.] 

VIII. — 1. Reports from the Select Committees of the House of 
Commons on Public Business in the years 1837, 
1848, 1854, 1857, 1861, 1869, 1871, and 1878. 

2. Reform of Procedure in Parliament to clear the block 

of Hoiise of Commons business. By W. M. 
Torrens, M.P. London: 12mo. 1881. 

3. Parliamentary Procedure. A Paper read at the 

Annual Provincial Meeting of the Incorporated 
Law Society of the United Kingdom, on October 
11, 1881, by W. T. Manning, . '. . .205 

IX.— 1. The Life of Napoleon III. DeriA'ed from State 
Records, from unpublished Family Correspondence, 
and from Personal Testimony. By Blanchard 
Jerrold. 4 vols. 8vo. London : 1874-82. 

2. The Marriages of the Bonapartes. By the Hon. 

D. A. Bingham. 2 vols. London: 18-1. 

3. Recollections of the Last Half-Century. By Count 

Orsi. London: 1881, 221 

X. — The Land of the Midnight Sun. Summer and Winter 
Journeys through Sweden, Norway, Lapland, and 
Northern Finland. By Paul B. du Chaillu. 
2 vols. London: 1881, 25G 

XI.— 1. The Position of the Whigs. By Charles Milnes 
Gaskell. (' Nineteenth Century ' for December, 

2. Burke. By John Morley. London : 1880, . .279 



Art. I. — 1. Lettres et Memoires de Marie d'Angleterre, epouse 

de Guillaume HI. Collection de Documents Authen- 

tiques inedits. Par Mechteld, Comtesse Bentinck 

(nee Waldeck). La Haye, Paris, and London : 1880. 

2. Der Fall des Hauses Stuart. (1660-1714.) Von 
Onno Klopp. "Wien : 1876. 

3. Les derniers Stuarts a St. Germain-en- Lay e. Par la 
Marquise Campana di Cavelli. Deux tomes folio. 
Paris, London, and Edinburgh : 1871, . . .291 

IL — 1. Poems. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti. London: 1870. 
2. Ballads and Sonnets. By Dante Gabriel Eossetti. 
London: 1881, 322 

HI. — Culturgeschichte des Orients unter den Khalifen. Von A. 

von Kremer. Zwei Biinde. Wien : 1875, . . 338 

IV. — 1. P. Terenti ComoediEe. Edidit et apparatu critico in- 
struxit Franciscus Umpfenbach. Berolini : 1870. 

2. P. Terenti Comcediae. With Notes Critical and Exe- 
getical, an Introduction and Appendix by Wilhelm 
Wagner, Ph. D. Cambridge : 1869. 

3. P. Terenti Hauton Timorumenos. Erkllirt von 
Wilhelm Wagner. Berlin: 1872, . . .364 

V. — 1. Origins of English History. By Charles Elton, some- 
time Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, and of 
Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law, author of ' The 
* Tenures of Kent,' &c. London : 1882. 

2. The Making of England. By John Richard Green, 
M.A., Honorary Fellow o£ Jesus College, Oxford. 
London: 1881, 382 

VI. — 1. Correspondence respecting the projected Panama 
Canal. Presented to both Houses of Parliam.ent by 
command of Her Majesty. 1882. 

2. Canal Interoceanique, 1876-77. Rapport sur les 
etudes de la Commission Internationale d'Exploration 
de risthme du Darien. Par L. N. B. Wyse. Paris : 
1877. Rapports sur les etudes de la Commission In- 
ternationale d'Exploration de I'lsthme Americain. 
Par L. N. B. Wyse, Armand Reclus, et P. Sosa. 

Paris: 1879, 411 

[And other Works] 




VII.— 1. lV!!a Vita e delle Operc di Edoardo Fusco, Pro- 
fossore (.rdinaiio di Antropologia e Pedagogia nella 
K. Univtrsita di Napoli, Notizie e Documenti raccolti 
dalla Vedova di lui. Vols. I. and II. Napoli: 
2. La Turchia, ossia Usi, Costuiiii c Credenze degli 
" Osmani, del Comin. Edoardo Fusco. Messi insieme e 

compiuti dalla Vedova di lui, ^^^ 

[And other Works.] 
VIII._1. The Ornithological Works of Arthur, ninth Marquis 
of Tweeddale. " Reprinted from the originals by the 
desire of his Widow. Edited and revised by his 
Nephew, Eobert G. AVardlaw Ramsay, F.L.S., F Z.S., 
M.B.O.U., Captain 74th Highlanders (late 67th 
Regiment), together with a Biographical Sketch of 
the" Author, by William Howard Russell, LL.D. For 
private circulation. 1 vol. 4to. London: 1881. 

2. Proceedings and Transactions of the Zoological 
Society of London. London: 1866-1879. 

3. Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of 
H.M.S. ' Challenger.' Zoology. Vol. II. London : 
1881. On the Birds collected in the Philippine 
Islands. By Arthur, Marquis of Tweeddale, F.R.S. . 465 

IX. — 1. The British Navy: its Strength, Resources, and Ad- 
ministration. By Sir Thomas Brassey, K.C.B., M.P., 
M.A. Vols. I. and II. Shipbuilding for the Purposes 
of War. 8vo, London: 1882. 

2. Forewarned, Forearmed. By the Right Hon. Lord 
Henry Gordon Lennox, M.P. London : 1882. 

3. Address of Sir W. G. Arm.strong, C.B., LL.D., D.C.L., 
F.R.S., President of the Institution of Civil Engineers: 
January 10, 1882. 

4. England on the Defensive, or the Problem of Invasion 
critically examined iinder the Aspect of a Series of 
Military Operations. By Captain J. T. Barrington, 
late of the Royal Artillery. CroAvn 8vo. London : 
1881, 477 

X. — The Haigs of Bemersyde : a Family History. By John 

Russell. 8vo. Edinburgh and London : 1881, . 505 

XI. — 1. Selected Speeches of the late Right Honourable the 
Earl of Beaconsfield. Arranged and edited, with 
Introduction and Explanatory Notes, by T, E. Kebbel, 
M.A. 2 vols. London : 1H82. 

2. Novels and Tales. By the Earl of Beaconsfield. 
Ihighenden Edition. 11 vols. London: 1881. 

3. Wit and Wisdom of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of 
Beaconsfield, collected from his Writings and 
Speeches. London : 1881, 533 



JANUARY, 1882. 


Aet. I. — Les Oi'iQJnes de la Frafide Coufemjioroinr. Par 
H. Tatnk. de I'Academie Franeaise. L'Ancieu Regime — 
La Revolution — La Conquete Jacobine. 3 tomes. 8vo. 
Paris: 1880-1881. 

'JV'OTWITHSTAXDIXG the countless histories and essays to 
-svhich the inexhaustible annals of the French Revolu- 
tion have given birth, this work by M. Taine. who now takes 
rank amongst the most distinguished members of the French 
Academy, is not deficient either in novel facts or in original 
ideas. It is in truth an important contribution to the litera- 
ture of the present age, not only because it throws a clearer 
light on the dark and turbid events of the last century, but 
because it offers an instructive lesson to the present genera- 
tion. This we infer from the general title of the book — ' Les 
' Origines de la Y ranee Co?ifemporai?ie' — to be M. Taiue's chief 
object in writing it. He casts his eyes not only over the past 
revolutions of his country, but over the present and future 
condition of society in Europe. The Revolution which broke 
out in France in 1789 is not over ; it will not be over in the 
lifetime of any man now living ; it is still changing the 
political and social institutions of every country in this hemi- 
sphere : for the inscrutable problems of government, of law, 
and of religions belief, which that explosion tore from the 
ruins of the past, are still unsolved. M. Taine deals with 
them in a philosophical spirit. He disclaims in his preface 
Bot only party prepossessions but political principles. His 
book is an enquiry into what political principles should be, 
and as yet he has found but one on which he can rest. It is 
simply this, that ' human society, and especially modern society, 
^ is vast and complicated — difficult to know and to understand, 


2 Taines Conquest of the Jacobins. Jan. 

* but more easily known and understood by tlic cultivated 

* than by the uncultivated mind, and by liini Avho has studied 

* it than by him who has not.' 

]M. Taine proved by the first volume of his work on the 

* Ancien llegime ' that he had no prejudices in favour of the 
state of things existing in France before the llevolution, and 
no hostility to chanojes which had become inevitable. No 
writer has ever described and recorded the intolerable abuses 
of the Court, the Church, and the condition of the people or 
France in the last century wdth greater minuteness and power. 
M. de Tocqueville, indeed, had preceded him in that part of his 
subject with a depth of insight and a succinct vigour of expres- 
sion to Avhich M. Taine has no claim. But ]\I. de Tocqueville, 
having completed and perfected a Avork of infinite research and 
reflection, swept away the traces of construction — the scaflfbld- 
ing of the edifice. M. Taine, on the contrary, retains in his text 
or in his notes a prodigious number of curious and forgotten 
incidents and circumstances, all drawn from original autho- 
rities, which reveal in detail the state of the government and 
the country. As he approaches more nearly to the sanguinary 
and terrible scenes of the Revolution, he follows the same 
course. Almost all the historians of these extraordinary 
events have fixed their attention, and the attention of theii' 
readers, on the central anarchy of the city of Paris — the 
crater of the volcano — the seat of the Legislative Assemblies. 
of the clubs, of ranks and parties mown down by the guillo- 
tine, of the visible fall and death of the monarchy. But 
M. Taine shoAvs us that these Avell-known incidents are but a 
fraction of the Revolution ; he traces the convulsion to the 
humblest commune in France; the spirit of destruction Avas 
everyAvhere ; nay, the perils of the country Avere so much 
more terrible than the perils of the capital, that croAvds fled to 
Paris, even in the Reign of Terror, as to a city of refuge, for 
there it might, men thought, be possible to find concealment 
in a crowd. This picture of the state of the provinces, as 
M. Taine has executed it, is to a great extent ncAv. No 
one had a full conception of the aAvful condition of the rural 
districts and the utter demoralisation of the Avhole people ; for 
no one had dragged to light as he has done the local records ol 
those atrocious times. 

If Ave take the trouble to compare any of the popular 
histories of the French Revolution Avith this Avork, the contrast 
is so striking that one can hardly believe they are records 
of the same time and the same people. In the facile pages 
of M. Thiers, for instance, the reader Avill not find a trace 

1882. Tains' s Conquest of tlie Jacobins. 3 

of the universal anarchy which devoured the social life of 
France ; his eyes are fixed on the vacillations of a feeble 
Court and the struggles of a factious Assembly ; but he leaves 
absolutely untold the strife which penetrated the remotest 
communes of France, the glaring defects of the Constitution 
of 1791, and the political influences which enabled a small but 
violent faction to acquire by terror, even from an early period, 
supreme power over the nation. This is what M. Taine has 
accomplished. A history of the Revolution written nearly 
half a century ago, with imperfect materials, such as the 
memoirs of Busenval, Bertrand de Molleville, or Dumouriez, 
is a mere sketch of the leading events in the capital. More 
recent and far more profound researches enable the writers of 
our own time to complete the picture. Contemporary writers 
seldom tell, or even know, the whole truth about the events 
they witness ; they cannot penetrate to the causes of them ; 
contemporary records are the only unimpeachable, trustworthy 
materials of history.* 

But whilst we acknowledge our obligation to M. Taine for 
an elaborate and instructive work, we cannot congratulate him 
on his style. It is open to the same criticisms which we felt 
compelled to apply some years ago to his book on English 
literature. He does not, indeed, attempt like Mr. Carlyle to 
present to the reader a lurid picture of the French Revo- 
lution, all smoke and flame ; he relies on facts, and these he 
accumulates with amazing precision and abundance. But his 
language is strained and verbose. His sentences are laboured 
and wrought to excessive length. He altogether wants that 
crispness and ease which is the chief beauty of the French 
language, strong without effort, clear without repetition. We 
fear that the style of French composition has sensibly deterio- 
rated under the pernicious influence of newspaper writers and 
bad novelists ; for, if it were not presumptuous in a foreign 
critic to address such a remark to a member of the French 
Academy, we should say that we cannot discover in these 
redundant paragraphs the genuine traditions of French prose. 
They are disfigured by a straining after effect and an elaborate 

* Thus Mr. Morley says in his remarkable Essay on Burke (p. 190) : 

* The spirit of insurrection that had slumbered since the fall of the 

* Bastille and the march to Versailles in 1789, now (that is in 1792) 
' awoke in formidable violence,' under the excitement produced by 
the Duke of Brunswick's insensate manifesto. Nothing can be more 
untrue. Every page of the work before us proves that the spirit of 
insurrection was raging throughout France in the years 1790 and 1791. 

4 Table's Conquest of the Jacohins. Jan. 

rhetoric -which arc unworthy of a countryman of Voltaire; 
and although they are an indictment of the Revolution, the 
style of them is not a little revolutionary. 

Enough, however, of criticism. Every book has its faults, 
and WG prefer to dwell on the substantial merits of M. Taine, 
■which are of a very high order. Of these the chief appears 
to us to be that whilst no historian of the French llevolution 
has accumulated a larger amount of instructive details, none 
have drawn from them with more effect the general principles 
which recur in all the great perturbations of human society. 
This is the object of his work. He does not attempt a con- 
nected narrative of events already familiar to most readers. 
But he illustrates them with fresh incidents, and he lays bare 
the motive forces by Avhich these extraordinary occurrences 
were brought about. The fundamental principle of the book 
is expressed in the following terms : — 

' In a disorganised society in which popular passions are the sole 
effective force, supreme power belongs to the party which knows how 
to flatter those passions and to use them. Hence, by the side of the 
legal government which can neither repress those passions nor satisfy 
them, an illegal government springs up which sanctions, excites, and 
directs them. Just a* the former government breaks up and sinks, the 
latter grows in strength and organisation, until, becoming legal in its 
turn, it supersedes the power it has displaced.' 

That is Revolution ; that is Avhat M. Taine calls ' Jaco- 
* binism ' — a phenomenon not confined to France in the w^orst 
and most convulsive period of her history, but recurrino; every- 
where when a government is not strong and resolute" enough 
to enforce the law, and when a people is daring and fierce 
enough to break it. The doctrine of the sovereignty of the 
people, ]M. Taine continues, as preached by Rousseau and by 
the revolutionary leaders, implies an absolute and direct con- 
ti-ol of the ])eople over the government it has itself created, 
over its own representatives, over its own laws, over its own 
executive. No delegated power has any real authority; no 
institution, however democratic, can control the popular will. 

' The people must act for itself, must meet, deliberate on public 
affairs, discuss, control, and censure the measures of its representatives. 
press them with remonstrances, correct their mistakes by its own good 
fiense,_stimulate their weakness by its energy, grasp the helm of the state, 
sometimes dismiss the pilot or throw him overboard, and save the ship 
he was steering on the rocks. Such was the doctrine of the popular 
party ; and on July 14, 1789, and October 5 and G, this doctrine Avas 
acted on. In their clubs, in their journals, it was incessantly pro- 
claimed by Loustalot, Camille Desmoulins, Freron, Danton, Marat, 

1882. Taine's Conquest of the Jacobins. 5 

Petion, and Robespierre. To them every act of the government, 
Tvhether local or central, was an intrusion. What profit have we if we 
have overthrown one despotism to establish another ? "We have van- 
quished the aristocracy of the privileged classes, but we are the servants 
of the aristocracy of our own representatives.' 

If the principle be accepted that the popular will is over all 
persons and all institutions supreme, there is an end not only 
of what are called constitutional barriers, but of the very 
bases of civil society and the fundamental la^vs of morality. 
The popular will, or rather the will of popular leaders, in 
a revolutionary crisis, can, and will, and does overrule them 
all. This is no visionary terror of the red spectre : the fact 
has actually occurred in France three or four times in the 
last ninety years, and in some other countries besides. On 
this principle no government can exist at all, for government 
means the control of law. But, by a strange contradiction, 
the very men who hold this language sometimes succeed in 
establishing an arbitrary and absolute power of the most in- 
tolerant kind, and substitute for the authority of law and the 
will of the vast majority of the nation a tyranny w'hich makes 
them infamous in history. "VYe shall presently see by what 
means this usurpation may be accomplished, but before Ave 
proceed let us complete the picture. 

' Exaggerated vanity and dogmatical arguments a,re not rare among 
mankind. In all countries these two roots of the Jacobinical creed 
subsist indestructibly, though beneath the surface. They are every- 
where controlled by the institutions of society. They everywhere aim 
at undermining the old historical fabric which crushes them by its 
weight. Now as then, in the student's garret and the refuge of the 
outcast, amongst doctors without patients and advocates without briefs, 
there are the germs of a Brissot, a Danton, a Marat, a Robespierre, a 
Saint- Just, but for want of air and sunshine they come to nothing. . , . 

' " From the Chateau at Versailles and the antechambers of the palace, 
" authority has passed," exclaimed Mallet-du-Pan, " without a medium 
" and without control, into the hands of the populace and their flatterers. 
" Not only have all legal rights been levelled, but the natural ranks of 
*' society have been inverted." France was transformed into a gaming- 
table — a vast lottery of popular fortunes, of promotion without claims, 
of success without talents, of applause without virtues, and of innume- 
rable olfices distributed wholesale and received retail by the people 
Out of these elements the Jacobin arose, as toadstools spring from de- 
composed matter. He is a mixture of strange contrasts — a madman 
who reasons, a monster with a conscience. Under the influence of his 
dogmatism and his pride, he has contracted two deformities, one of the 
mind, the other of the moral sense. Nothing stops him, for, by inverting 
the order of nature, he has depraved the fundamental conceptions of 
right and wrong. No light reaches the eye which mistakes blindness 

6 Taine's Conquest of the Jacobins. Jan. 

for second sight ; no remorse can touch the soul which calls barbarity 
patriotism and places atrocities on the p?>th of duty.' 

We liavc taken the liberty to compress into a few lines 
some thiity-two pages of M. Taine's invective, which is of too 
rhetorical a character for our taste. But there are touches in 
his picture, which our readers will recognise, even in more 
recent times, and in countries nearer to Great Britain. The 
problem to be solved is this. How came it to pass that a 
small minority of a great nation, never consisting, as M. Taine 
calculates, of more than 300,000 persons, and these of the 
lowest rank and the worst character, could acquire an undis- 
puted ascendency over all the talent, all the property, all the 
classes in the country whose interests were identified with the 
maintenance of law and order ? The answer is that this was 
the result of the audacity and organisation of one party, and 
of the weakness, vacillation, and disunion of the other, in- 
cluding the government itself. The minority terrorised the 
majority, and compelled the reluctant classes to join the move- 
ment, to submit to it, or to perish. 

In M. Taine's second volume he has shown how incompetent 
the government of Louis XVI. was to deal with a desperate 
state of affairs ; the army was never used with effect to put down 
sedition ; the law was mute ; all authority in the provinces and 
in Paris was subverted. The crow^n in France for nearly two 
centuries, since the Fronde, had never had to encounter any 
disturbance or attack more serious than a corn riot : it was 
utterly unprepared for civil war. The nation, trusting to its 
legal defenders, who were incapable of defence, took no steps 
for its own protection : on the contrary, it withdrew from public 
affairs. In December 1789 the new municipal law came into 
operation, and the municipal authorities were everywhere 
elected. People flattered themselves that, under the new 
ref/ime inaugurated by the Constituent Assembly, the revo- 
lution was finished. M. Taine asserts that from July 14, 
1790, the political ambition of the vast majority of the French 
people was satisfied. In fact their trials were about to begin. 
As eveiy imaginable office was filled by election and held for 
a very short period, the recurrence of these elections became 
an intolerable nuisance. The consequence was that the 
electors stayed at home. At Chartres, in May 1790, out of 
1,551 citizens 1,447 failed to attend. At Besanjon, in 
January 1790, out of 3,200 electors 2,141 were absent, and 
in the following November 2,900. At Grenoble, four-fifths 
stood aloof. Paris, in August 1790, had 81,200 electors, but 
of these 67,200 failed to vote, and in November 71,408 were 

1882. Taine's Conquest of the Jacohins. 7 

absent. At the election of deputies for Paris in 1791 more 
than 74,000 declined to appear. Such Avas the use the orderly- 
classes of the French people made of their newly acquired 
privileges. It came at last to this, that out of 7,000,000 
electors, inscribed in the Assemblees Primaires, 6,003,000 
neglected, refused, or feared to exercise the franchise."^ The 
minority Avho voted consisted, of course, of the revolutionary 
party. They therefore succeeded in filling all the offices in 
the country, and once in possession of them they took care to 
exert and to retain their power. For this purpose they every- 
where formed themselves into what they called Committees. 
At Mandre, Count Beugnot saw in the best room of the 
village inn twelve drunken peasants round a table with an ink- 
stand and a register upon it. ' I don't know what they are 
■* doing,' said the landlady, ' but they are there from morning 

* to night, drinking, swearing, and scolding, and they say they 

* are a Committee.^ The same farce was played in every town 
and every commune of France. By the end of September 
1791 a thousand of these clubs had been formed ; in June 
1792, 1,200; and after the fall of the monarchy, 26,000. 
Every one of these village conventions claimed its share of 
sovereign authority, to inflame the passions of one class and 
to tyrannise by terror over the rest. To hold the language of 
an independent journalist like M. Mallet-du-Pan, the best 
and bravest of his profession, was to expose oneself to domi- 
ciliary visits from armed conspirators, who intimidated every 
conscientious citizen by the cry, ' Tremble, die, or think as I 
■^ do ! ' At Marseilles the clubs compelled the municipal 
officers to resign. At Lyons they stopped a battery of artil- 

* To some extent the history of the French Republic even now 
repeats itself. It is supposed that the general election of last summer 
was a decisive proof that the nation adhered to the Republican party; 
but in fact we believe that about three millions of electors neglected or 
declined to vote at all. The result is that an extraordinary number 
of unknown men, needy adventurers, and briefless lawyers has been 
returned ; and the present Chamber, now entering upon its functions, 
•contains scarcely a single man known for high character, talents, or 
political experience. Never was the Parliament of a great nation 
•composed of such representatives. We shall see the result. The poli- 
tical intelligence of France has still a refuge in the Senate. But it is 
& significant fact that not one statesman of mark could l)c found to 
€nter the Ministry of which M. Gambetta is the head. The whole 
•official class has been ostracised, and the same treatment is to be 
applied to the judicial body and the subordinate members of the 

8 Tainc's Conquest of the Jacobins. Jan. 

ieiy. They denounced the upper classes and the clergy. 
They usur])ed authority, and already became ' a monster of 

* desi)otisni.' Yet the National Assembly continued to pro- 
tect them. ' II faut,' it was said, ' que le people se forme en 

* petits pelotons.' These ' petits pelotons ' were formed. All 
that was wanting was a central power to put them in motion 
and direct them ; nor was this long absent. 

' Je fais de Voi'dre uvec dii dcsurdre,'' said M. Canssidicre, one 
of the low-bred charlatans who attempted in 18-48 to parody 
the scenes of the Great Revolution. His recipe for revo- 
lutions was laughed at, but, in fact, it was the true one. To 
spread disorder amongst the people, to excite them by agi- 
tation and enslave them by terror, to break down the barriers 
of the luAv by appeals to their baser passions, is the only mode 
by Avhich a nation can be led to yield its destinies to such 
leaders, and to enable them to establish a false authority and 
an arbitrary power on the ruins of tradition and constitutional 
freedom. That is the Jacobin object and the Jacobin creed. 
PoAver in such hands is the child of anarchy. It has been put 
in practice more than once, even in our times, by the Com- 
mune of Paris, and it took its origin in that celebrated asso- 
ciation or conspiracy Avhich has given its name to the Avorst 
crimes and the most daring leaders of the revolutionary party. 

On the eve of the Revolution, as early as April 30, 1789, 
a political association or league Avas foi'med in Versailles under 
the name of the ' Amis de ia Constitution.' It comprised the 
most honourable and able of the Liberals of France, and 
when it removed to the libi'ar}'- of the Jacobin Convent in 
Paris, after October 6, it consisted of a thousand members. 
Its sittings Avere regular, its proceedings decorous; and' the 
high character it soon acquired made it the model and fruitful 
])arent of all the political associations in France. Thus h 
became the centre Avhich all these local bodies obeyed, for even 
in the tempest of the revolution the old habit of obedience to 
a central authority survived. But Avithin a few months this 
society changed its character, Avhilst it retained its power. The 
revolutionary party triumphed over the true Liberals, and the 
Jacobin Club became ' an instrument admirably adapted to 
' forge an artificial and violent state of opinion, to give that 

* opinion the colour of the spontaneous Avill of the nation, to 

* transfer to a noisy minority the rights of a mute majority, 
' and exercise an irresistible pressure on the Government, and 

* on the National Assembly itself.' In the loAver chambers of 
that same Jacobin Convent, insurrections Avere organised from 
time to time to keep the citizens in perpetual terror. Thus,, 

1882, Taine's Conquest of the Jacobins. 9 

when the confiscation of the property of the clergy was proposed 
on November 1, 1789, these consph-ators convoked the ragged 
host which they called the ' coadjutors of the revolution.' The 
deputies, on their way to the spot where they were to meet, 
were surrounded by a mob of 20,000 to 25,000 ruffians armed 
with sticks, and for the most part without shoes or stockings. 
They insulted the clergy as they passed, and threatened tO' 
murder those who should refuse to vote for the bill. Nearly 
300 members Avere afraid to take their seats. These voted at 
the risk of their lives ; and the decree was carried by 578 to 
346. The watchword of these scoundrels was ' Etes-vous 
^ sur?' and the reply, ^Un homme surj' They were paid 12 
francs a day, and the money was supplied (as M. Taine 
asserts on the authority of Malouet) by the Duke of Orleans 
and the Jacobin Club. 

Nevertheless the number of the revolutionary party was 
still extremely small. At Besanjon in November 1791, and 
even in the following year, out of 6,000 or 7,000 electors 
there were but 500 or 600 Jacobins. In Paris, out of 81,000 
registered electors, they were but 6,700; at Troyes and at 
Strasburg, with 8,000 electors, they were 400 or 500. In 
general, not more than a tenth of the electoral body belonged 
to it, and, if the Girondins and semi-moderates are deducted, 
not half that. M. Taine is convinced that in the worst days 
of the ' fool-fury of the Seine ' there were not more than 
10,000 of these ruffians in Paris, and not more than 300,000 
Jacobins in the whole of France. 

' A small proportion to enslave six or seven millions of adult men, and 
to extend over a country containing 26,000,000 inhabitants a despotism 
more absolute than that of Asiatic sovereigns. But strength is not 
measured by numbers. They are a compact band in a crowd — a crowd 
disorganised and inert, but a band resolved to cleave the mass as a 
wedge of iron cleaves a mass of plaster. The truth is that a nation 
can only defend itself against usurpation from within, as well as against 
invasion and conquest from without, by the power of its government. 
Government is the indispensable weapon of common action ; and if 
government fails or gives way, the majority, busied elsewhere, and 
always irresolute and lukewarm, ceases to be a body and crumbles 
into dust.' 

In France the government of Louis XVI. was extinct, 
without an effort of self-preservation. The government of 
the National Assembly was so ill constructed as to be im- 
possible. No hand was on the helm Avhich commands the 
vessel ; the Jacobins alone had the resolution and the force to 
grasp it. They alone, too, had faith in the Kevolution — that 

10 Taine's Conquest of the Ju cabins. Jan. 

faith which removes mountains. They believed with Moham- 
medan fanaticism in the creed ' Religion is superstition ; mon- 

* archy is a usurpation ; all priests are impostors ; all aristo- 
' crats are vampires ; all kings are tyrants and monsters.' These 
sentiments rose to the height of insanity. When the Abbe 
Gregoire carried the decree for the abolition of royalty, he 
exclaimed, * I confess that for several days the excess of my 

* delight deprived me of sleep and appetite.' * We shall be a 
' people of gods I ' was the boast of a Jacobin from the 
tribune of the Assembly. A sans-culotte was supposed to be 
invulnerable. A sans-culotte mother was said to be exempted 
from the pains of chikibirth. ' Whenever I am convinced, 
said Saint- Just, 'that it is impossible to give the French 

* people des mceurs douces, cnergiques, sensibles, inexorables 

* a la tyrannic et a I'injustice, je me poignarderai.' Mean- 
while, adds M. Taine, he guillotines other people. ' We will 

* make France a burial-ground,' said Carrier, ' sooner than not 
' regenerate the country in our fashion.' In presence of these 
maniacs, society in France was powerless and disarmed. Yet 
even Lafayette spoke of the Jacobins as *a sect whose de- 

* struction was desired by nineteen-tvventieths of Frenchmen ; ' 
and after June 28, 1792, Durand-Maillane declared that 'the 

* communes of France were sick of popular assemblies and 
'would gladly get rid of them.' Nevertheless the violent 
party continually prevailed over the less violent. Four suc- 
cessive times between 1789 and 1794, the Impartiaux, the 
Feuillants, the Girondins, and the Dantonists played the 
desperate game, and four successive times the majority was 
beaten. Why ? Because the majority still clung to the forms 
of law and the dictates of experience and humanity, whilst 
the minority was resolved to win at any cost and by any 
means, and accordingly blew out the brains of its opponents 
and carried off the stakes. Such is the picture M. Taine 
draws of a struggle between a timid constituted authority, 
careful never to strain the law, and indulgent even to its 
worst enemies, and a party animated by the fury of a wild 
beast, and, like a wikl beast, regardless of all restraint. The 
lesson is one which is not without utility. A government has 
always superior powers, it always commands what Mr. Glad- 
stone calls ' the resources of civilisation,' but it must have the 
wisdom and the firmness to use them. Otherwise between a 
government, fettered by numerous scruples and obligations, 
and a revolution to which scruples and obligations are un- 
known, the odds are not in favour of the government, and its 
superior physical power is neutralised by superior moral 

1882. Table's Conquest of the Jacobins. 11 

weakness. Organised lawlessness is more than a match for 
disorganised lawful authority. It has been said of late that 
* force is no remedy ' — a sentiment borrowed apparently from 
a declaration of Mr, Burke in his speech on conciliation with 
America, when he said that force was but a temporary remedy. 
But there seems to be a strange confusion of ideas in the 
application of this generous maxim. Force is no remedy for 
public wrongs. Public wrongs must be redressed. But force 
is the necessary remedy for disorder and crime. Justice herself 
is powerless, if she is disarmed. All laAv must have the sanc- 
tion of force, or it ceases to command obedience, although in a 
well-ordered community the force is latent. But when the 
force of authority is displaced men transfer their obedience to 
the quarter from which force comes. The French devolution 
ran its course until the Jacobin party encountered in the 
person of Napoleon Bonaparte a man as resolute and as un- 
scrupulous as itself. The Sections of the Commune and the 
Thermidorians perished on the 13th Vendemiaire. 

One of the causes of the decline of lawful authority and 
the ascendency of the Jacobins Avas the frightful deterioration 
of the Legislative Assembly. The Constituent Assembly 
contained within its walls men of great talent, large property, 
and illustrious names. The Legislative Assembly, elected in 
1791 under the constitution which its predecessor had framed, 
consisted of 745 members, of Avhoni 400 were la^vyers of the 
lowest rank. Nineteen-twentieths of this body had no equi- 
page but an umbrella and a pair of goloshes. Most of them 
were under thirty years of age. It was calculated that the 
whole Assembly did not possess more than 300,000 francs a 
year in real property. The greater part of them had received 
no education. The pages of M. Taine are crowded with 
instances of their extravagance and their folly. These were 
the men elected under the influence of the Jacobin clubs 
scattered all over France. Their proceedings were as irre- 
gular as their origin was contemptible ; and even when the 
majority were in favour of moderation and order they allowed 
themselves to be intimidated by the violent faction. 

What was the state of the country when, on October 1, 
1791, that Constitution for which such sacrifices had been 
made, and which was hailed with transports of enthusiasm, 
came into operation, being accepted by the King and confided 
to the protection of the Legislative Assembly ? M. Taine 
shall tell us : — 

' In the eight departments surrounding Paris, riots on every market 
day, farms attacked and farmers seized by bands of vagabonds, the 

12 Table's Conquest of the Jdcobins. Jan. 

Mayor of Melun beaten and rescued bleeding from the populace ; at 
Belfort an insurrection to seize a convoy of money and a commissioner 
of the Haut-Khin at the peril of his life; at Bouxvillers, landowners 
attacked by the indigent national guard and the soldiers ol' Salm-Salm, 
houses broken open and cellars pillaged ; at Mirecourt a riot of women 
who besieged the Hotel de Ville with di-ums for three days ; at Koche- 
fort the workmen of the arsenal compelling the municipality to lower 
its ilag; on October IG Avignon was in the power of the savages who 
perpeti'ated tlie atrocious butchery of the Glaciere; on November 14, at 
Montpeliier, eight men and women killed in the street, and the mode- 
rate party disarmed or put to flight. At the end of October the terrific 
insurrection broke out in St. Domingo, which cost the lives of 1,000 
white men and 15,000 negroes, and destroyed the colony. In Paris, 
out of 700,000 inhabitants, 100,000 were paupers, many of them from 
the country. Everywhere alike disobedience to every rank of autho- 
rity ; committees resisting the orders of ministers ; municipalities re- 
sisting the orders of their chiefs ; communes attacking their mayor 
sword in hand ; soldiers and seamen arresting their officers ; prisoners 
insulting the judges Avho tried them and compelling them to retract 
their sentence; mobs fixing the price of corn or plundering it; national 
guards seizing corn on the road or in the granaries ; no security for 
property, life, or conscience ; the majority of the nation deprived of the 
exercise of their religion and of their electoral rights ; as for the upper 
classes, ecclesiastical and noble, officers of the army and navy, merchants 
or landowners, no safety by day or night, no access to the courts of 
justice, no rent, but denunciations, expulsion, domiciliary attacks, and 
no means of combining even in defence of the law, and under the pro- 
tection of legal authority ! And in the face of all this the privilege and 
the impunity of a sect which has formed itself into a political corpora- 
tion, extending its branches throughout the kingdom and even to foreign 
countries, having its own treasury, its executive, its rules, governing 
the government and judging justice, and from the capital to the hamlet 
usurping and controlling the administration.' (Tome iii. p. 122.) 

This picture of anarchy is a dark one. It may be taken 
as a specimen of M. Taine's style. But it is not over- 
coloured. It is composed of indisputable facts ; and with 
some allowance for the change of times and situations it might 
pass for a picture of tlie state of Ireland in 1881, with this 
essential difference— that bcliind the anarchy of Ireland stands 
the power of England, capable, when the moment for action 
an-ives, of controlling the crimes of a people governed by a 
League of Jacobins; and recent events have shown that in 
default of other means a private Defence Association will 
attempt the task. 

It is a common opinion that the French Revolution became 
a reign of anarchy and bloodshed after the fall of the mon- 
archy in August -1792, and that in its earlier years it was still 
an era of hope and progress. M. Taine in his former volume 

1882. Taine's Conquest of the Jac oh ins. 13 

and in these pages completely dispels that illusion. He shows 
by innumerable examples that at a much earlier period all law, 
authority, and order were overthrown, and that the boasted 
Constitution of 1791 did nothing to restoi-e confidence and 
peace. Yet that epoch was hailed with rejoicings and enthu- 
siasm scarcely less insane than the crimes and outrages which 
were devastating every part of France. The three years 
which followed the taking of the Bastille presented a singular 
contradiction : philanthropy in Avords and symmetry in legis- 
lation, but violence in action and disorder everywhere — a 
reign of philosophy seen from abroad, a Carlo vingian disrup- 
tion at home. Malouet described the state of France in the 
beginning of 1792 as 'the Regency of Algiers without the 

* Dey.' Even before the removal of the King to Paris on 
October 6, 1789, the government was destroyed; the successive 
decrees of the Assembly completed its extinction. The in- 
tendants of the provinces had fled ; the military officers were 
not obeyed ; the courts of justice were afraid to act ; all eflfec- 
tive power had devolved upon the commune. But in fact the 
paralysis of authority had begun much earlier, or else this 
change in the state of the country must have been brought 
about with extraordinary rapidity. M. de Tocqueville says 
in his admirable work on France before the Revolution, 
which we hold to be the most valuable and mature of all his 
writings, speaking of the year 1788, immediately before the 
Revolution : * No sign that I can discover from this distance 
' of time announced that the rural population was at all 
' agitated. The peasant plodded onwards in his Avonted track. 

* That vast section of the nation was still neutral, and, as it 
' were, unseen.' He adds, however, in a note, quoting a paper 
of the time : ' In some provinces the inhabitants of the country 
' are persuaded that they are to pay no more taxes, and that 

* they will share among them the property of the landlords.' 
M. Taine, however, produces evidence of a more positive kind. 
In the four months which preceded the fall of the Bastille, there 
were three hundred riots in France. He quotes the reports of 
manj^ of them. The object of these disturbances was to obtain 
corn and to force the authorities to lower the price of bread. 
The proximate cause of this popular discontent was the fright- 
ful scarcity that prevailed in France after the bad harvest and 
the great hailstorm of the preceding year. The people Avere 
starving. Great sacrifices were made to relieve them, but 
in fact food Avas wanting. The disorder soon assumed a 
political character. The cry of ' Vive la liberte ! ' Avas heard, 
and the chief of a department reported : ' In many places it has 

14 Taint a Conqutit of the JacubiH)', .J a 

' been proclaimed that this is a W)rt of war (lcrlare<l ajrair! 
' landowners and ]>rt>i>erty : in the towns as well as in tin- 

* country, the iH?oplc declare that they will pay nothing, no 

• ta\ef«, no dues, and no debts,' This was in March and April 

The commune >vas suddenly invested with ^overeipn power. 
AL Taine quotes instances in which a communf pr<K:oeded 
to establish ita own constitution aw a sovereign state, and 
to apply it* own laws, the first <if which was a partition of 
communal property. Some years :\%o, Avhcn the ominous 
form of the Commune reajJjK'are*! in French history. w(» en- 
deavoured to examine and explain how it happenc<l that the 
municipal institutions, which have proved in England and 
other countries thr* soed-plot and nursery of public liberty, 
had always degenerate<l in France into an instrument of se<li- 
tion, disunion, nnd rev«ilution. The cause to which we traced 
this phrnomenrm wa^ that in France the communes have con- 
tinually assumed jxilitical antl even military powers. M. Taine 
has added very largely to what we knew on this subjec't, and 
has brought to light numerous examples which confirm our 
opinion. There still exist in the Archives o\' France ninety- 
four thick volumes of manuscri[tt njiorts from the local autho- 
rities to the Government, whieh are fille«l with instances of 
the violence and illegality pervading the communes. M. 
Taine's pages teem with events borrowe<l from these authentic 
records. As early as September 1789 the commanding officers 
reported that the troops would only obey the municipalities. 
The King's forces could not move from one garrison to 
another. Arnay-le-Duc arrested the King's aunts on their 
way to Savoy; Arcis-sur-Aubc stopped M. Necker: Mon- 
tigny tried to detain a French ambassador. Com could no 
longer be brought to market, but was seized by annetl bands 
on the high n)ad : the conse<|uence was a recurrence of local 
famines. Yet. strange to say. no attempt was made, cither by the 
Goverrjment or the upper clasues or the peaceable part ol* the 
p(»pulation, to resist and check these disortlers. The nobles 
and the gentry apj)ear tamely to have accepted their fate. 
M. Taine can discover but «me man who seems to have ima- 
gmed the possibility of resistance, one Froment, a Ixturgeois 
of Nime», and he perishe<l in the attempt. The go<Hl and the 
bad, the generous and the extortionate, the liberal and the 
ooosenrative, were denounce«l with e<|ual fury, and robbed or 
plaoghtcred with equal atrocity. ' Fn>m the thnme of the 

* firince to the manse of the cure,' exclaimed Mallet-du-Pan, 

* the whirlwind ha« swept away the resignc<l victinis of tho 

1 sM2. Tniiirs CoiK/inst of t/ic Jarofnn.^. 15 

' Kovolutiou: no rosistjince has been attctujitccl. Could It liavo 
en foreseen tlint within two years France wonUl still he an 
' :iiena in which wild beasts should prey on unanned men?' 
It is impossible for us to follow in these pa^es the hideous 
details of tliis period whicli IVI. Tiiine has accunndated ; but 
no one can know what the Revolution really Avas in the pro- 
vinces without havini; read tliein. 

The most conspicuous and astonishinj^ example of this 
provincial and connnunal Home Rule is that which occurred 
ni the S(mth-cast of France. The cities of the Province (for 
Trovencc still retains its name derived from antiipiity) trace 
their history to the fotmdation of the old Ivoinan municipali- 
ties. They have always been distinguished by a spirit oi 
local indej^endence, and (as is too common among near neigh- 
bours) of mutual rivalry and hatred. Marseilles, Aix, Aries, 
and Avifnon form a ])eculiar quadrilateral. The first cflTcct 
of the Revolution Avas to throw them into a state of anarchy 
and civil Avar. As early as August 17.17tH), M. Lieutand, the 
commander of the National (Juard of Marseilles, a sort of 
hounjroia Lafayette, and the chief of the moderate party, Avas 
deposed bv a horde of brigands, and Marseilles was aban- 
doned to s(»me 4(),(K)0 ])au]>ers and adventurers, many of them 
foreigners, for M. r»lanc (iilly declared that Marseilles con- 
tained ' the froth of crimes throAvn up fi'om the ])risons yii' 
'Genoa, Riedmont, Sicily. Spain, the tlreek islands, and the 
* Barbary coast.' These rutlians mastered the Municipal 
Assembly, from which all the respectable iidmbitanls of the 
toAvn AvithdrcAv, and under the guidance of the .lacnbin Club 
they formed a league Avhich assumed the functions of a sove- 
reign state and scarcely acknowledged any authority in the 
King's Government. Three commissioners sent by the As- 
sembly to restore order Avere maltreated and outraged. A 
SAviss regiment which alone remained faithful Avas cinnpellcd 
to decamp. And at last a thoroughly tiacobin toAvn council 
thrcAv oil the yoke of France and established in Marseilles a 
republic of armed men and robbers, Avhich taxed the peo])le, 
and set about the armed cinupiest of the department. They 
first marched on Aix Avith six pieces of cannon, seized the forts 
and barracks, and installed a revolutionary council there. 
Thence they j>roeeeded to attack Aries. 

'On March 21) (1792), the Marsoillais breached the undofendod 
Avails of Arlca with rnnnon-t>alls, (lom oil shed tho fortifications, and 
levied a contribution of 1, 100, (»()(> livrc?* on tho tK^)wn. In defianciM'f 
tho dorrcc of the National AsscniMy, tli(> I\lounai(hrrs, the long-shore 
men, and tho populaoo rnshed to arnjs, and tyrannisod over the defence- 

IG Taiiie's Coiiqnest of the Jacohina. Jan. 

less ])opulati(in. Tlie victorious party proceeded to imprison, to smite, 
to kill with impunity. Numbers of (piiet citizens are cruelly beaten, 
dragged to prison, or morLnlly wounded. An old soldier of eighty, 
living in the country, is killed by a blow from a musket after lying 
twenty days in prison; women were flogged; all the citizens interested 
in the maintenance of law and order, to the number of 5,000 families, 
Hed ; their houses were pillaged, and all along the road from Aries to 
Marseilles, the rulfians who formed the bulk of the Marseillais army 
were gorged with spoil as in a conquered country. " On epie le 
" moment favorable," says a letter from the village of Maussane, "pour 
" devaster toutes les proprietes et specialement les maisons de cam- 
" pagne. " ' * 

And then tlie examples follow in greater number than we 
can quote. But the fate of Aix and Aries was tolerable in 
comparison with the atrocities committed at Avignon. The 
government of the county of Avignon by the Popes had been 
mild but lax. The absence of taxation and the tolerance of 
the police had attracted to the city the worst characters of the 
neighbouring districts. The Jacobins easily recruited their 
army, and their first act was to drive away the Legate, to 
depose the magistrates who were called ' Consuls/ to hang the 
officers of the National Guard and iho. magistrates, and to 
take their places. Seven of these obnoxious persons, gentle- 
men, priests, and artisans, were hanged on June 11, 1790, by 
the mob. 

' The band then formed an army, whose word of command was 
license and whose pay Avas pillage — an army like that of Tilly or 
Wallenstein — "awandering Sodom, which the ancient Sodom would have 
" abhorred." Of some 3,000 men, only 200 were natives of Avignon : 
the rest consisted of deserters, smugglers, convicts, foreign robbers and 
malefactors, who flocked from afar, even from Paris ; and with them 
marched their women, more foul and sanguinary than themselves. 
Their first act was to murder their General Patrix, as a traitor, because 
he had released a prisoner, and to put in his place a highwayman 
Avho had been condemned to death by the court at Valence, but had 
escaped on the eve of his execution, one Jourdan, nicknamed Coupe- 
tetes, because he was said to have cut off the heads of two of the 
King's guards at Versailles on October G. 

* Under such a leader the troops soon rose to 5,000 or G,000, called 
Mandrins, who infested the country. At Cavaillon they exacted 
25,000 livres; at Baume, 12,000; at Aubignon, 15,000; Caumont was 
taxed at 2,000 livres a Aveek. At Sarrians, Avhere the mayor surren- 
dered the keys of the town to them, the houses Avere sacked, thirty-six 
wagonloads of plunder Averc carried off, and the Avretches burnt. 

* Mercure dc France, 18 fevrier 1792. 

1882. Taine's Conquest of tJie Jacobins. 17 

ravished, and slaughtered with the ferocity of Red Indians ; an old 
lady of eighty, paralysed, was shot and thrown bleeding into the flames ; a 
child of five was cut in halves, its mother beheaded, its sister mutilated. 
They cut off the ears of the cuie, stuck them on his forehead, then 
killed him and a pig at the same time, tore out their hearts, and danced 
upon them. For fifty days all round Carpentras these fiends gave way 
to the cannibal instincts of the worst criminals, nay of maniacs.' 

For all this, and a great deal more which we shall not inflict 
on our readers, M. Taine produces complete authority in 
chapter and verse. Such was the state of the country of 
Petrarch, of the Colonnas, of the Popes of the fourteenth 
century ! It would require another Dante to describe such an 

The city of Avignon trembled at the monsters to whom it 
had given an asylum, and not without reason. Three hundred 
and fifty assassins led by Jourdan, the Jacobin Mainville, 
and the apothecary Mende, terrorised a population of 30,000 
souls. They fired cannon into a church, half evacuated. 
They seized citizens of every rank, and on October 16 and 
following days they massacred sixty-one victims, and thrcAV 
the bodies down the tower of the Glaciere in the old papal 
palace of Avignon, and covered them wdth quicklime. A 
hundred more, slaughtered In the streets, were thrown into the 
Sorgues — belle, fresche, cliiare acque — five hundred families 
fled the city. 

' These were the friends of the Jacobins of Aries and of Marseilles,' 
exclaims M. Taine, 'these were the honourable men whoniM. d'Anton- 
nelle (the mayor) harangued in the Cathedral of Avignon; these are the 
pure patriots, Avith their hand on the piirse and their feet in blood, 
put down at last by a French army, and tried with scrupulous minuteness 
(for no fewer than 335 witnesses gave evidence on the trial), but who 
were nevertheless included by the Legislative Assembly in the amnesty 
which preceded their crimes, and eventually returned to Avignon in 
triumph ! M. Jourdan went back to his business of robbing on the 

' Thus was the conquest of the Jacobins achieved. Already in 
April, 1792, by means almost as violent as those we have just described, 
it extended over twenty departments, and, v/ith less ferocity, over the 
rest of France. The issue of the conflict was everywhere the same : the 
aggressive knot of unscrupulous fanatics, of resolute adventurers and 
greedy vagabonds, imposed its domination on the sheep-like majority, 
which, accustomed to the regularity of an old civilisation, dared not 
trouble order to put down disorder, and feared to rise against insurrec- 
tion. The principle of the Jacobins was everywhere the same. Their 
system was to act imperturbably on all occasions, even after a constitu- 
tion had been voted and the limits of power defined, as if the empire 
was still iu revolt, as if they were clothed with a dictatorship necessary 


18 Tains' s Conquest of the Jacobins. Jan. 

to the safety of the commonwcilth, as if they were invested with every 
power in the name of public safety. Everywhere their tactics wen 
the same to chiim a monopoly of patriotism, imtil, by the brutal de- 
struction of all other societies, they became the sole apparent organ of 
public opinion. The voice of their coterie became the voice of the 
people ; their ascendency was established over all legal authorities ; 
they advanced by continual and irresistible encroachments, and im- 
punity siinctioued their n.surpation.' (P. 179.) 

These are Aveighty words, not only ])ecause tliey denote tlic 
true spirit of the French Revolution, but because they are thr- 
life of all revolutionary movements and pai'ties. The men 
who have lived through the present century have a large ex- 
perience of revolutions. Scarcely twenty years have at any 
time elapsed without some fresh eruption of popular violence 
overturning thrones, trampling on laws, and establishing some 
short-lived sanguinary tyranny which perished by its own 
violence imder military repression. These convulsions have 
swept away many abuses, though they have done but little to 
ensure the permanent freedom, progress, and happiness of 
mankind. But they have taught us two great lessons. The 
first, that political revolutions have almost always been caused 
by the folly and weakness of governments more than by the 
discontent of the people ; the second, that these catastrophes 
have been brought about by small minorities of the population 
and by the least respectable portion of it. The great bulk of 
a nation is slow to adopt visionary and violent schemes which 
war against all the great social interests of a community ; but 
they are incapable of self-defence ; they look to the government 
and the law to protect them ; and as the government of France 
failed to perform that duty, it signed its own destruction and 
abandoned the country to ruin. The chief merit of M. Taine's 
work appeal's to us to be that he has elicited and illustrated 
these general principles more clearly than any other writer who 
has dealt with the same evidence. He has pointed out with con- 
summate ability that whenever a legal government and lawful 
authority fail a lawless government takes its place. Sovereignty 
must everywhere and at all times reside somewhere, and if it 
descends from the throne or the Parliament, it sinks into the 
club or the street. But there are never two sovereignties, and 
if one rises to supremacy, the other is extinct. It might be 
j)ossible to illustrate this proposition by more recent examples, 
but we prefer to leave it to the sagacity and experience of our 
readers to find them out; and we return to the immediate 
subject of the work before us. 

The Jacobin Club in Paris could never have acquired the 

1882. Tailless Conquest of the Jacobins. 19 

terrible power which it exercised over the Assembly and the 
Oovernment, if it had not struck its roots in every part of the 
country. Most of the occurrences to which Ave have briefly 
referred, and which M. Taine relates with far greater detail, 
look place very early in the Ke volution — in 1789, 1790, 1791 
— and soon after the establishment of the Constitution. The 
country was Avholly demoralised and terrorised by the Jacobin 
party. Hence that party was enabled, when a system of elec- 
tions was introduced for all offices, both political and municipal, 
to repel every candidate who leaned to the cause of order, and 
to carry every candidate who joined in the work of destruction. 
It was by this all-pervading influence throughout the kingdom 
that they acquired their power in the Legislative Assembly and 
in every municipal body. The government and the administra- 
tion were alike at their mercy. The representatives of the nation 
■were the representatives of the Jacobin Club. When a re- 
volutionary party succeeds by its organisation in mastering the 
-elections, by driving away the moderate candidates and electors, 
and by appointing its own candidates, it strikes at the heart of 
parliamentary government, and the liberties of the country are 
•at the mercy of a faction. The representatives of the nation 
Sbve not its true representatives, but its tyrants. 

The influence of the Jacobins was great in the Legislative 
Assembly, but it was far greater in the Convention, whose 
members were returned after the fall of the monarchy on 
August 10, and the massacres in the prisons of Paris in the 
iirst days of September. In that climax of the Kevolution, 

* Ce sont les sans-culottes, c'est la crapule et la canaille de 
•* Paris,' said the patriot Palloy, ' etje me fais gloire d'etre de 

* cette classe, qui a vaincu les soi-disant honnetes gens.' ' Three 
^ thousand workmen,' wrote the Girondin Soulavie, ' made the 
^ revolution of August 10 against the reign of the Feuillants, 

* against the majority of the capital and of the Legislative 

* Assembly.' The first days of September witnessed six days 
and five nights of uninterrupted slaughter — 171 murders at 
the Abbaye, 169 at La Force, 223 at the Chatelet, 328 at 
the Conciergerie, 73 at the Tour St. Bernard, 120 at the 
€armes, 79 at Saint-Firmin, 170 at Bicctre, and 35 at the 
Salpetriere ; the prisons of Paris were emptied ! Amongst 
the victims were 250 priests, three bishops or archbishops, 
several judges, an ex-Minister, a princess of the blood royal, 
the noblest names in France, and by their side a negro, a 
few women of humble life, boys, convicts, paupers — none 
were spared. The man whom M. Taine does not hesitate to 
charge with the chief part in these intolerable crimes is Danton 

20 Taines Contjucst of the Jacobins. Jan. 

— Danton, wlio, by reason of his energy, is rather a favourite 
Avith the ai)oh)<rists of the Revolution. He was in fact a leader 
of men ; Danton reigned, and might boast of September 2, as 
he boasted of August 10, ' I did it.' He said himself to the 
father of M. Philippe de Segur, some weeks after these events', 
' We arc the dregs of the people, we have risen from the gutter, 
' and with ordinary conduct we should be sent back there. Wo 

* can only govern by fear. The Parisians are ; a river 

' of blood must flow between them and the emigration.' And 
then he added the well-known Avords : 'To conquer the enemies of 

* France, il faut de I'audace, et encore de I'audace, et toujour.- 

* de I'audace.' 

It is not our purpose, however, to dAvell on these horror- 
which lose nothing in M. Taine's narrative. Our object is t^ 
show their political effect on the course of the devolution 
In the earlier years it was the disorganised state of the coun 
try which enabled the Jacobins to establish their power in tli 
communes and to react on the Assembly in Paris. Froir 
August 10 their victory was complete; they Avere masters oi 
Paris, of the Assembly, and of France. The nation would 
then have receded, if it had been possible, for it had learned 
the cost of a revolution. But it Avas too late. The tyranny 
of the Mountain and the Commune de Paris was established. 
It had entirely usurped the vacant seat of government. Yet, 
Avith the exception of Danton, there Avas scarcely a man among 
these rulers of ordinary talent. Danton himself described them 

* as un tas de b ignorants, n'ayant pas le sens commun, et 

' patriotes seulement quand ils sent souls.' Of another ordc 
of minds Avas Saint- Just. This is Avhai M. Taine says c- 
him: — 

'Yet among these energetic nullities, one young man, of a calm avi 
handsome jDliysiognomy, a sort of precocious Sylla, Avho coming latv 
and only twenty-five years of age, rose from the ranks and by sLct 
atrocity Avon a place. Six years before he had begun his career by ;; 
domestic robbery ; Avhilst staying Avith his mother he carried off one 
night her plate and jcAvels, Avhich he spent in a Ioav house in the IlxW' 
Fromenteau, in the centre of Parisian debauchery ; for this act he av;!^ 
shut up at the request of his family in a house of confinement. Onlp 
return liome he employed his leisure in composing a filthy poem in tl 
style of La Pucelle, and then Avith a convulsive spasm flung himsi 
into the Revolution. To understand the character of Saint- Just read tl 
letter addressed by him to Aubigny on July 20, 1792 : "I am devoured, 
he said, " by a republican fever Avhich consumes me. I feel that I haA ■: 
"that Avithin Avhich Avill rise in this age. You are all coAvards Avlio 
" cannot appreciate me. My palm Avill rise and will overshadow you. 
" Wretches that you are, I am a scoundrel and a cheat because I have no 

1582. Taincs Conquest of the Jacohluit. 21 

" money to give you ? Pluck out my heart and eat it ; you will then 
" become, what you are not, great men."' (Tome iii. p. 421.) 

It must be said that M. Taine's portraits of the revolutionary 
heroes are not wanting in force, or, we believe, in resemblance. 
History has no amnesty for such abominable beings ; they are 
doomed to everlasting infamy. Yet there are those, even at 
the present day, who profess to admire, and Avould perhaps 
repeat, their crimes. We prefer, however, to revert to the 
political aspect of the Jacobin government, and to pass over 
the rest in silence. 

The immediate effect of these acts of violence was to give 
the Jacobins the command of the elections which returned the 
National Convention. Terror had fallen upon the vast ma- 
jority of the electors. The electoral colleges became clubs of 
the most furious description, and they expelled or proscribed 
their political opponents. In Paris, in the Aisne, in the 
Haute-Loire, in Ile-et-Vilaine, in Maine-et-Loire, the mem- 
bers of the moderate opposition were excluded. Vote by 
ballot was suppressed because it afforded a protection to the 
weaker brethren. At Meaux and at Keims, whilst the electors 
were convoked, the cries of priests who Avere being murdered 
were heard. At Lyons, two days after the massacre, the 
Jacobin commandant writes to the Minister : ' The catastrophe 
' which has just taken place, and driven away the aristocrats, 
"* secures to us the majority in Lyons.' Even when a mode- 
rate candidate had the majority, he was not returned, but 
thrown into prison. In some places, in Franche-Comte for 
instance, numerous elections w-ere annulled because the deputy 
chosen was a Catholic. The results of universal suffrage, 
thus tortured and perverted, were curiously at variance with 
the real sentiments of the population, as was shortly after- 
wards demonstrated. All Brittany sent to the Convention 
anti-Catholic republicans, yet those same departments soon 
proved themselves the nursery of the great Catholic and 
royalist insurrection. Three regicides, out of four members, 
represented La Lozere, where six months later 30,000 peasants 
were marching under the white flag. Six regicides, out of 
nine members, represented La Vendee, which was about to 
rise en masse in the name of the King. 

Yet, in spite of this tremendous pressure which falsified the 
elections, the Convention was not originally as Jacobin as 
might be supposed. It contained out of 749 deputies only 
fifty or sixty who were declared supporters of the Commune. 
Seventy-seven members had sat in the Constituent Assembly ; 
186 in that which succeeded it. They were all republicans, 

22 Tainr's Conquest of the Jacobins. Jaii^ 

but they were not assassins. The Phiine, as it was called in 
contradistinction to the Mountain, counted no fewer than 50O 
deputies, including 180 Girondins Avho h'.d it. Nevertheless 
this same Convention, Avithin three months, voted the death of 
Louis XVI. They voted it, as is abundantly shown, under 
the influence of terror and in defiance of their own solemn, 
declarations, to save their lives. On the eve of the judgment 
Vergniaud himself, the most eloquent of the Girondins, said 
to jNI. de Scgur, ' What ! I vote for his execution ! It is an 
' insult to think me capable of so base an action.' He en- 
larged on the danger and iniquity of it, adding ' Thouo-h I 

* were alone of my opinion, I would not vote his death.' On 
the morrow he threw his vote into the fatal urn ! The 
Girondins were the type of sentimental and philosophical 
politicians. They Avere a sect rather than a party, believing 
that salvation lay in their own generous and elevated con- 
ception of public liberty. They had to learn, and the world 
learned through them, that high moral motives and purity of 
conduct are not the only weapons to be used against crime, 
conspiracy, and all the baser forms of popular violence. ' Nos 
' philosophes,' said Schmidt, ' veulent tout gagner par la per- 
' suasion. Ces hommes-la n'ont ete et ne sont encore que des 

* sots a cote d'un coupe-tcte muni d'un bon sabre.' In elo- 
quence they were supreme. Finer language has never been 
addressed to a political assembly. But "it is the curse of the 
gift of eloquence that it deceives those Avho possess it. Thev 
forget that words are but air. And so it came to pass that 
the noble sentiments and generous speeches of the Girondins 
were shivered like glass against the compact organisation of 
the Jacobin Club and the Commune de Paris, fearing nothing, 
believing nothing, daring all things. 

It was not, however, by terror only that the Jacobins 
established their ascendency over France; it was also by 
bi-ibes, for the entire patronage of the country was in their 
hands, partly by popular election, and partly by government 
nomination. No sooner was the Convention installed than it 
decreed the absolute and complete renewal of the Avhole 
administrative and judicial service ; all the local councils, all 
the judicial offices, Avere to be filled with its nominees. The 
profession of lawyers as a class was abolished, so that a man 
might become a judge, not only without knowledge of law, but 
Avithout knowing how to read. The whole staff of the 
National Guard was re-elected. The employes of the post- 
office, the tax collectors, surveyors, notaries, municipal 

1882. Taine's Conquest of the Jacobins. 23 

officers, down to the chamber keepers and sweepers, were all 
to be pure Jacobins. The same rule was applied to the 
tradesmen and contractors who supplied the articles required 
by the Government, which was spending 200,000,000 francs a 
month on the war. Everything by which a centime could be 
gained was snatched as the spoil of war. M. Taine computes 
that one million three hundred thousand offices and appoint- 
ments {treize cent mille places are his words) were thus dis- 
posed of. No wonder that this enormous patronage produced 
its effect at a time when every sort of place was eagerly 
coveted, and when every man who had previously held office 
could be removed by a denunciation. AVe have heard of 
something of the same kind in other countries and in less 
agitated times. This general renewal of offices in favour of a 
victorious faction is one of the most powerful incentives to 
party warfare, and one of the Avorst consequences of democratic 
revolution. It sacrifices men who have served their country ; 
it inflames the bad passions of those who seek to profit by it ; and 
in the end the public is worse served. Add to this the tempta- 
tion to multiply places in order to gratify political supporters, 
and the fact that in France, during the Revolution, the depu- 
ties of the Mountain sold them* Indeed, the corruption of the 
faction was equal to its ferocity. Four hundred places were 
given away by Pache, four hundred more by Chaumette, and 
the Commune of Paris drew 850,000 francs a month for its 
military police. Full pay was issued to regiments which were 
reduced to a skeleton. Madame Roland writes that the sums 
of money of which no account could be given amounted to 130 

Nevertheless neither terror nor patronage, neither plunder 
nor massacre, could attach the population of Paris to this mon- 
strous caricature of authority. There was no employment ; the 
necessaries of life were excessively dear ; instead of 7,000 or 
8,000 bullocks at the market of Poissy, there were 400. 
Paris besieged in 1870 was not much nearer starvation from the 
want of corn and meat than Paris under the Jacobin rule of 
1792. M. Taine relates, which is new to us, that these 
sufferings had revived, not extinguished, the religious feelings 
of the people. When the Host was carried along the streets 
to the dying, multitudes of men, women, and children flung 
themselves on their knees to adore it. On the day of the 

* M. Taine produces evidence in support of these statements 
(p. 369). 

24 Taiiics Conquest of the Jacobins. Jan. 

])rocessioii of the shrine of St. Leu, not a man but took off his 
hat, and the guard of the Section Mauconseil turned out under 
arras. Even tlie ' dames de la Halle ' compelled the revolu- 
tionary committee to authorise the great procession of St. 
Eustache, and hung out their carpets. Everyone kneeled 
as it passed, some with tears in their eyes. Dutard records 
as his opinion, that if the question could be j)ut to the 
vote whether all the members of the Convention should be 
guillotined, nineteen-twentieths of the population would 
support it. Meanwhile, by one of those strange contrasts 
which scarcely present themselves to the imagination, the 
number of persons belonging to the upper classes remaining in 
Paris was still reckoned at 40,000, and these might be seen on 
a fine day of spring, on the eve of the Reign of Terror in 
1792, fluttering down the right-hand avenue of the Champs- 
Elysces in charming dresses, with the gaiety of their race, and 
an utter indifference to public affairs. ' Sheep for the sham- 
^ bles I ' sternly exclaims M. Taine. Where Avere they in the 
following year ? 

Conscious of their unpopularity and of the precarious 
nature of a power resting on such foundations, the Jacobins 
had, at an earlier period of the Revolution, discovered that 
the essential condition of their success, as opposed to the 
Constitutional Party, lay in War. Brissot said in his address 
to the Republicans of France (October 4, 1792) : 'The aboli- 

* tion of royalty was what I had in view when I framed the 
'declaration of war.' And again : ' We were continually met 
*by the Constitution, and the Constitution could only be over- 
thrown by Avar. As long as peace lasted it was not possible 

* to change the religion and the dynasty of France, or to 

* retain the supreme power in our hands.' Once launched in a 
war against all the thrones of Europe, which compelled the 
nation to sustain a death-struo-Gi;le for existence, and all retreat 
was cut off. Yet, strangely enough, the Girondins contributed 
as much as, or more than, the pure Jacobins to this desperate 
enterprise. Couthon, Collot d'Herbois, Danton, Robespierre, 
for once hesitated. It was Brissot * who declared war; it was 
Vergniaud who defended it. The great bulk of the revolu- 
tionary party demanded it — men ignorant alike of foreign 
politics, of international law, and of military affairs. The 

* Brissot Avas not a minister, but he was a leading member of the 
Committee of the Convention for Foreign Affairs. The declaration of 
war against Germany was notoriously forced upon the King and his 
ministers by the Convention. 

1882. Taine^s Conquest of the Jacobins. 25 

King was but a cipher in their hands, for he, at least, foresaw 
no good results from such a contest. The guide and governor 
of the foreign relations of France at that moment was Brissot, 
who became for a few months, by the ignorance and obscurity 
of his colleagues, the most notorious personage in Europe. 
As far as any European calamity can be attributed to an indi- 
vidual, this lies at his door. We will quote M. Taine's descrip- 
tion of this personage in the original, as a specimen of the vitu- 
perative style of this Avriter, for which we confess that we 
cannot easily find adequate expressions in our own language. 
' C'est ce malheureux, ne dans une boutique de ptitissier, eleve dans 
nne boutique de procureur, ancien agent de police a 150 irancs par mois, 
ancien associe des marchands de difFamation et des entrepreneurs de 
chantage, aventurier de phime, brouillon et touche-a-tout, qui, avec ses 
demi-renseignenients de nomade, ses quarts d'idee de gazettier, son 
erudition de cabinet litteraire, son barbouillage de mauvais ecrivain, 
ses declamations de clubbiste, decide des destinees de la France, et 
dechaine sur I'Europe une guerre qui detruira six millions de vies. Du 
fond du galetas ou sa femme bJanchit ses chemises, il est bien aise de 
gourmander les potentats, et pour commencer, le 20 octobre, il insulte 
trente souverains etrangers a la tribune. " La guerre," s'ecria-t-il, " est 
" actuellement un bienfait national, et la seule calamite qu'il y ait n 
" redouter, c'est de n'avoir pas la guerre." ' 

But this shall be the last of M. Taine's portraits, which 
have somewhat the air of vulfjar exajjQ-eration. M. de Saint- 
Simon could paint men in colours as dark, but without con- 

The real value of M. Taine's work, as we said at the com- 
mencement of this article, lies, not in the vivid pictures he 
draAvs here and there of events and characters, but in the lesson 
which this survey of the French Revolution holds up to man- 
kind for all time. Whenever a compact, truculent, and lawless 
minority, having for its leaders the worst, and for its followers 
the lowest, of the community, succeeds in overriding the true 
canons and representatives of aiithority by inflaming the 
passions of oue set of men and by acting on the fears of others, 
by securing a sanction to acts of violence and impunity to ci'ime, 
by concealing the gripe of tyranny under the mask of patriot- 
ism, there is an end of law, of freedom, and of peace. Men 
are tossed about like atoms in the surge of the ocean; they are 
no longer free to follow their inclinations, to protect their inte- 
rests, or even to discharge their duties. They are therefore 
profoundly demoralised, for the landmarks of right and wrong 
are removed; the prophets prophesy false things; and the path 
along which the masses are lured or driven ends in an abyss. To 
such a state of things there is, we fear, but one remedy, which 

26 3Iodern Italian Poets: Jan. 

is to restore the authority of the law and the Constitution by 
military power. That is what the ministers of Louis XVI. 
totally failed to do, and it would seem, from the numerous de- 
fections and desertions of the troops, that no reliance could be 
placed on the discipline of the King's army. The terrible 
lesson therefore lasted for several years, and was at last brought 
to a close by other hands. In France the Jacobins triumphed. 
But in the freest State the world has ever seen, the Union of 
the North American commonwealths, a direct attack on the 
supreme sovereignty of the nation was held to be treason, more 
clearly than it was ever defined by the laws of mediasval Eng- 
land, and it was repressed by the combined forces of a million 
of armed citizens. The Americans preferred the enormous 
evil of civil war to the greater evil of allowing the authority of 
the State to be overthrown by a factious minority in any part 
of it. They judged rightly ; for a State which allows its laws 
to be broken, its authority defied, and its regular forces to be 
insulted and attacked with impunity, deserves to perish. 

Aet. II. — 1. Nerone. Commedia in cinque atti ed in versi. 
Di PiETRO CossA. Milano: 1878. 

2. Plauto e il suo !Secolo. Commedia in versi. Di Pietro 
CosSA. Milano: 1876. 

3. Teatro in Versi. Di Pietro Cossa, Torino: 1877-81. 

4. Poesie Liriche. Di PiETRO CosSA. Milano: 1876. 

5. Poesie. Di GiosuE Carducci (' Enotrio Romaxo '). 
Terza edizione preceduta da una biografia. Firenze : 1878. 

6. n Canto deir Amove. Di GiOSUE Carducci. Bologna : 

7. Odi Barbare. Di GiOSUE CarduCCI. Terza edizione. 
Bologna: 1880. 

OiNCE Italy has recovered her freedom and her independence, 
she presents to the world another Renascence of literary 
power, not altogether unworthy of the beauty of her language 
and the genius of the nation. But like the Renascence which 
marked with so much lustre the close of the fifteenth century, this 
revival of Italian letters has an essentially pagan character. Her 
modern poets are umanisti, like those who adorned the Courts of 
the Medici. It would seem as if, wherever the light of Chris- 
tian faith and Christian morality is obscured, the Latin race 
lapses into classical forms, with something of classical elegance 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 27 

and classical philosophy, but tinctured with pagan vices and 
pagan ferocity. Of late years this tendency of literary thought 
and sentiment in Italy towards classic paganism has been mark- 
edly increasing, especially since the establishment of the capital 
at Rome. The chief glories connected with the Eternal City 
in an Italian mind are not the confessors and apostles, not the 
Christian martyrs, not even the splendour and supremacy of the 
Papacy, the last inheritance of the old universal empire of Italy. 
The traditional glories of Rome which now attract their imagina- 
tion and fire their patriotism are all pagan. Paganism repre- 
sents to them growth, grandeur, power, fame : Christianity 
(inextricably associated in their minds with the Papacy) 
typifies decay, defeat, dissolution. It is difficult for an 
Englishman to realise how completely Catholicism, as a 
political institution, stands for religion in the Italian mind. 
The pious and the non-pious alike accept the two things as 
identical and synonymous. It is not our present business to 
examine into the causes of this fact, which is rooted in the 
fundamental conditions of the national character. But it de- 
serves notice that in Italy some of the most daring innovators, 
the most revolutionary radicals in politics and sociology, are 
at the same time inflexible purists in Hterature, and ardent 
worshippers of classic correctness of form and diction. An 
instinctive affinity of mental temperament has, perhaps, some- 
thing to do with this predilection. The study of the Latin 
authors has for them an interest beyond that of philology or 
archaeology, and even beyond the artistic delight in master- 
pieces of language. There is a subtle bond of kindred be- 
tween the modern Italian and his classic forefathers which 
does not exist between them and men of northern race. And 
this consideration may help us to comprehend the passionate 
paganism of some Italian Avriters of the present day, who to- 
the intelligent appreciation of scholarship add the inherited 
instincts of race. 

Of the writers whose works we are about to consider, Pietro 
Cossa is the poet to whom this passionate paganism can with 
least justice be attributed. He is attracted by classical 
subjects, and by the greatness of ancient Rome ; but he is at 
the same time fully conscious of her monstrous corruption and 
her inhuman tyranny. His earlier poems are filled with 
allusions to the liberating force of Christianity ; and even in 
the play of ' Messalina,' which was written in the meridian of 
his powers, the pure figure of the Christian slave-girl in the 
Suburra is introduced in vivid contrast with the careless ma- 
terialism of her pagan companions, and the coarse brutality of 

28 Modern Itcdum Poets: Jan. 

her pagan master. But the truth is that Cossa's genius, 
essentially dramatic, does not concern itself with philosophic 
theories. l*hilosoj)hic theories may, no doubt, be deduced 
from his plays, as they may be deduced from the facts of life. 
But they form no part of the author's design : at most they 
are tacitly involved in the concrete picture which he presents 
to us. 

In judging of contemporary Italian writers foreigners very 
generally mistrust the praise of native critics, Avho are re- 
proached with facile enthusiasm, and the indiscriminate appli- 
cation of big words to small things. Allowance must, of 
course, be made for national temperament and the nature of 
the national language. Common usage — ' quem penes arbi- 
' trium est, et jus, et norma loquendi ' — everywhere stamps the 
market value on the current coins of speech. But when all 
this has been allowed for, there still remains considerable truth 
in the accusation. Yet Italian writers are not exempt from 
the general law Avhich makes the survival of the fittest a 
matter of struggle and difficulty ; the unfittest, it is true, are 
often hailed by a chorus of eulogistic epithets ending in 
issimo. But any talent marked by originality has to contend 
with that instinctive hostility towards the new and unac- 
customed, which is common to the mass of mankind in Italy 
as elsewhere. Pietro Cossa's success, when once achieved, 
was brilliant, and was still increasing when he died, in the 
August of 1880 ; but it had been long waited for and stoutly 

Cossa was born in Rome in the year 1830. His father was 
a native of Arpino, the birthplace of Marius and Cicero, and 
the Cossa family counts among its ancestors Pope John 
XXIII., who built a splendid palace at Arpino, which is still 
inhabited by some of the poet's kinsfolk. Pope John XXIII. 
was deposed by the Council of Constance, and does not seem 
to have shone by the possession of many Christian virtues — 
indeed, the profession of a pirate, which he followed in his 
youth, would appear to have been his true vocation. But it 
is worth noting, as a matter of curiosity, that this Pontiff was 
an author, and wrote Latin verses which are said to have 
had considerable merit. Cossa was an ardent patriot from his 
youth upwards. When quite a lad he was expelled from the 
Collegio Bomano, then conducted by Jesuits, on the score of 
heresy and excessive ' Italianism.' From that time forward 
ho studied alone. After the fall of the Roriian Republic and 
the entry of the French in 1849 he escaped to South America, 
but soon returned to Italy even poorer than he went. His 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 29 

lyric poems, collected and republished in one volume in 1874, 
bear various dates from 1856 to 1870; and the same volume 
contains ' Mario e i Cimbri,' a dramatic poem in five acts. 
This latter -work was favourably received by the press, but the 
author's own opinion was that it would not stand the test of 
representation on the stage. In 1870 he emancipated him- 
self from ' the Aristotelian ti-ammels ' — to use his own phrase — 
and wrote the ' Nero.' This Avas the first of the series of 
dramas on classical subjects which have established his fame 
in Italy ; but on its first production in Rome it was ' damned 
' with faint praise,' and met with a similar fate in other cities. 
Discouraged and disgusted by the fate of ' Nero,' he Avas about 
to give up writing for the stage, Avhen the unexpected tidings 
reached him that the play had been received with enthusiasm 
in Milan. From that time his hold on the public became 
assured. As he himself modestly says in a letter to Herr 
Siegfried Samosch of Berlin, ' Da quel momento comincio in 
* Italia la mia piccola fama.' To the end of his days Cossa 
was distinguished by a manly self-respecting modesty. He 
was by habit and temperament averse from general society, 
and lived with the utmost simplicity ; he was, in one sense, a 
literary Bohemian, but it was rather after the fashion of Oliver 
Goldsmith than of Alfred de Musset. He never struck 
attitudes nor talked for effect. With strangers he was some- 
what shy and silent; even with friends he Avas seldom lo- 
quacious ; but occasionally, among a few intimate companions, 
he would talk freely and fluently, eloquent above all in 
speaking of the great writers of antiquity with Avhom his 
intellectual life had been chiefly passed, and full of shrewd 
humour in discussing contemporary men and things. Author- 
ship of all kinds is very poorly paid in Italy, and although 
Cossa's plays drew large audiences Avhenever they were 
represented, he was very far from making a fortune by them — 
how far may be judged by the following anecdote, for the 
authenticity of which avc can vouch. For some time past Cossa 
had been in the habit of producing one drama a year, the 
proceeds of which sufficed him to live, and to send constant 
assistance to his aged mother, who survives him. But he was 
accustomed to tell his friends that he kept by him about two 
hundred pounds as a provision for the year in which he should 
not be able to write a play, whenever it might arrive. This 
Avas thought by most persons to be a jest, as Cossa AA%as re- 
markably careless of money. But after his death his intimate 
friend and literary executor, Federigo Napoli, found betAveen 
tli" leaves of the MS. of his unfinished play, ' Silla,' bank 

30 Modern Italian Poets : Jan. 

notes for tlic precise sum of five thousand francs roughly 
screwed up in paper ! The story is at once characteristic of 
the man, and of the pecuniary conditions on which highly 
successful literary work still has to be performed in Italy. 

' Nero ' is the only one of Cossa's acted dramas to 
which he has affixed historical notes. He seems to have felt 
the need of justifying his treatment of Nero's character by 
the authority of Tacitus and Suetonius. But his subsequent 
dramas he left to speak for themselves, having acquired con- 
fidence in his own reputation, or possibly more faith in the 
erudition of his critics. The student Avill recognise in all his 
classical plays how thorough was his knowledge of the Latin 
historians and biographers. Even his adversaries were forced 
to admit that his classicism was no superficial smattering, but 
the result of serious and enthusiastic study. A Roman born 
and bred, he was familiar with the topography and the monu- 
ments of his native city. He did not view them with an eye 
to scientific analysis, but to artistic reconstruction, and nothing 
in his works is more remarkable than their absolute freedom 
from pedantry. There is no ostentation of antiquarian 
learning ; indeed he is always admirably unaffected, and his 
style has the simplicity of strength. It has been said of his 
versification that it is ' Michelaugiolescamente scolpito.' The 
parallel will, at least, hold thus far : that Cossa, when the 
alternative is forced on him, always prefers even rough truth 
to smooth insincerity. The form of his phrase is a means, 
and not an end. In the prologue to ' Nero ' he says of his 
own style : — 

' L'autor s'attenne 
A quella scola che piglia le leggi 
Dal verismo ; e stiraando che in ogn' arte 
Sia belio il veto, bandi dalla scena 
II verso eh' ha romore e non idea.' * 

His diction is concise, energetic, and — in the plays written 
during the last decade — clear. Only in one or two of his 
earlier works, notably in the play of ' Sordello,' do we find 
occasional obscurities, and an artificially involved collocation 
of Avords. Like greater poets, Cossa has had no scruple in 
laying preceding writers under contribution. Not merely inci- 

* The language in which poetry is A\Titten is so essential and insepa- 
rable a part of it, that we shall not attempt to translate the specimens 
of the style of these -writers which we are about to produce. It would 
be an injustice to them to do so; for their chief merit consists in the 
peculiar elegance and vigour of their diction in the Italian tongue. 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 31 

dents and situations, but ideas and phrases, are boldly taken 
from Plutarch, Tacitus, Livy, Suetonius, and occasionally, but 
more rarely, from the Latin poets. Some of the happiest 
strokes in the * Nero,' the ' Messalina,' and the ' Cleopatra ' 
are simply translations from classic writers. 

It would be out of the question to criticise in detail the 
dozen or more of Cossa's published plays ; and we must 
content ourselves with an examination of one or two which 
are more peculiarly marked by the author's special qualities. 
The play of ' Nero,' which he chooses to style ' a comedy,' is 
as good a representative specimen as can be found of Cossa's 
method. It was the first in which he entirely broke away 
from tradition, and trusted to his own inspiration, and it has 
certain characteristics which, more or less, belong to all his 
subsequent productions. To the criticism that his Nero is 
always an artist, and never an Emperor, Cossa replies that it 
has been answered by Nero himself, who when dying ex- 
claimed, ' Qualis artifex pereo,' and not ' Qualis imperator ; ' 
and he observes that Nero never knew what was meant by 
personal dignity, ' The Emperor, therefore,' he writes in his 
brief preface to the play, '■ the grave politician wrapped from 

* head to foot in the majestic folds of his purple, may exist in 

* the imagination of many, but is not to be found in history. 

* . . . Much less cruel than Caligula, because in the latter 

* cruelty, was innate — a delight — whilst in Nero it arose from 

* fear ; more cowardly than a child, superstitious as a woman 
' of the populace, a good poet, a good painter, a better 

* sculptor, magnificent in building, vainglorious to the point 

* of wishing to give his name to Rome, in lewdness lower than 

* the beasts — that is Nero ! ' In the prologue Cossa thus 
excuses himself for giving the title of ' comedy ' to a play in 
which blood is shed and poison administered : — 

' Nerone si mostra 
Comico stranamente nella sua 
Ferocia, e i suoi compagni sono quali 
Pote vedei-li Eoma imperiale 
In iina eta corrotta, senza fede, 
Allegra ne' suoi vizi.' ^ 

This a little reminds one of Mercury's proposal to the audience, 
in the prologue to Plautus's ' Amphitryon : ' — 

' Quid contraxistis frontem, quia tragcediam 
Dixi futuram banc ? Deus sum ; conmutavero 
Eamdem hanc si voltis ; faciam ex tragoedia 
Comoedia ut sit, omnibus tsdem versibus^ 

Tht spectacle has been seen since Plautus of a so-called 

32 Modern Italian Poets: Jan. 

tragedy turning out to be exqu:sitely comic without changing 
a word — ' omnibus isdem versibus ! ' But if Nero's sayings 
and doings as represented by Cossa be comedy, they are 
comedy of a terribly grim sort. The author had better have 
followed Mercury a step further, and declared : — 

' Faciam ut conmista sit tragico-comoedia.' 

The prologue to ' Nero ' at once strikes the keynote of the 
work. It is spoken in the character of Menecrates the 
ctthai'osdus, whom Cossa calls the Emperor's buffoon. After 
a word or two of introduction the speaker proceeds : — 

' II personaggio dalla rea memoria 
Che comparir vedrete inanzi a vol 
Non e gia quel Nerone delle vecchie 
Tragedie, una figura che spaventa 
Con gli ocelli, e lento incede sopva ralto 
Coturno, e fatti a suono di misura 
Tre passi, dice i;na parola ancli' essa 
Misiirata, e prescelta fea le truci 
Di nostra lingua. II mio Nerone, — io dissi 
Mio, perche sono il suo bufFone, — e nn' altra 
Cosa ; egli e lieto sempre, e buono mai.' 

The action of the play is comprised within brief limits. 
In the first scene the revolt of Julius Vindex in Gaul 
is announced, and the play ends with the flight and death of 
Nero after hearing of the proclamation of Galba. The Em- 
peror is first introduced in the act of dictating verses to a 
freedman, when Menecrates enters and announces that two 
persons wait without to be admitted to Cajsar's presence — 
Cluvius Rufus, the chief of the senators, and Ecloge, a Greek 
dancing girl whom Nero has seen and admired in the theatre 
on the previous day. To the surprise of Menecrates, Nero 
chooses to receive the senator first, saying ironically, * The 
' business of the Empire before all ! ' But the true reason of 
his haste to see Cluvius Rufus is soon apparent. Before the 
senator can narrate his errand, and in answer to his first 
greeting, ' II Senato a Nerone invia salute ! ' Nero replies: — 

' Grazie agl' Iddii 1' abbiamo, e vigorosa. 

Pero t' insegneremo uno che langue 
In periglio di vita, e cli' ha bisogno 
Di tutte le cure dei Padri Coscritti : 
11 nostro erario.' 

Urged on by the hints of Menecrates that whilst the Imperial 
treasury is empty, there are many rich patricians who possess 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 33 

magnificent villas, Nero suggests to Rufus that Cassius 
Longinus is an enemy to Caesar and the State. The Senate, 
he declares, 

' fi il custode 
Delle leggi, e accusar deve i nemici 
Deir imperio, e punirli ; — io non pretendo 
Che i diritti del fisco. 

Menecrate. I piu odiatl ! ' 

Cossa represents Nero as having ordered the death of Cassius 
Liongimis, accused of no other crime than preserving in his 
liouse a statue of Brutus the tyrannicide. This is not quite 
historically accurate. Cassius Longinus appears to have 
been merely banished, not killed ; and the crime attributed 
to him, according to Suetonius, was keeping in a genea- 
logical record of his family the image of his ancestor Cassius, 
the murderer of Julius Ctesar. The latter circumstance, 
indeed, Cossa mentions in a footnote. At any rate, no 
injustice is done to the Emperor's character by attributing to 
him the death of Cassius Longinus, who stands in the play as 
a typical example of the frivolous pretences Avhich sufficed to 
Nero for the most ferocious deeds. 

Rufus at length is able to announce his news : there is a 
tamult amono- the leofions in Gaul, and one cohort has dared 
to salute Vindex Emperor. Nero's tone instantly changes to 
one of anxiety and even terror. There are two chords Avhich, 
however lightly touched, inevitably draw from him an earnest 
utterance : one of these is his artistic talent ; the other, his per- 
sonal safety. Alternately careless, ironical, indolent, amorous, 
or ferocious, his moods succeed each other with the rapidity of 
cloud-shadows in a gale. But there is one thing intense and 
real in this unstable nature — its egotism. On hearing Rufus's 

• -I • 

tidings, he bursts out : — 

' II vero 
Is an-i ? . . . Per tutti i numi dell' Olimpo 
E dello Stige, io qui dichiaro Vindice 
Nemico della patria ! Ei ceda tosto 
L' esercito, e ritorni a render conto 
Di sua perduellione.* . . . Ma fidarmi 
Posso di te ? . . . Via, park ! Io sono ancora 
L' imperatore ? ' 

Rufus assures him of his own and the Senate's fidelity ; and, 
in the name of the Patres Conscripti, implores the Emperor 

* This word perduellione, for treason, is a pure Latinisna. It is not 
to be found in the ' Vocabolario Delia Crusca.' 


34 Modern Italian Poets . Jan. 

graciously to consent that tlie month of April be thenceforward 
called after the imperial name Neroniano. Nero not only 
accedes to this flattering request, but adds that it would be 
very fitting to call Rome by his name also. From this he 
takes occasion to vaunt the splendid edifices with which he has 
enriched the city ; and finally dismisses Rufus in tlie follow- 
ing characteristic manner : — 

' Va dunque, 

Buon Eufo ; e sappia il popolo ch' io stesso 

Oggi daro spettacolo cantando 

Nel pubblico teatro. Ammireranno 

L' Edipo Re. Che artista sovrumano 

Quel Sofocle ! Che linipida armonia 

Di concetti e di versi ! 

\_Correndo dietro a Eufo, die fa per uscire, 
Una parola 

Ancor, buon Eufo : Vindice sia teste 

Eichiamato. . . . M' intendi ? — II traditore 

Trovera la sua crece.' 

Immediately on the departure of Rufus, Nero commands 
Menecrates to introduce the dancing girl, and then to with- 
•»■»':;;, draw ; observing cynically that the buffoon harmonises well 
i^:*--,-, -'^jiough -svith the chief of 'our good Senate,' but that his gro- 
■■' ■ •; t^que countenance would be as much out of keeping in the 
,;,^j:' jfrj^sence of youthful beauty as a barbarian's cithern accom- 
':'. jj^-panying a verse of Homer. The rest of the act is chiefly 
', .";■ ©ipcupied with the introduction of Ecloge into the Golden 
House, as paramount favourite, and with the jealousy thus 
aroused in the breast of Acte, Nero's freedwoman and whilom 
mistress. History says but little of this woman ; and the 
author, therefore, has free scope for his imagination in depict- 
ing her. Cossa represents Acte's influence over Nero as being 
based partly on old habit, partly on his superstitious terrors, 
and partly on her native force of character. She is the only 
human being who really loves the tyrant. She remembers the 
promise of his early youth, and endeavours to incite him to 
great deeds Avoi-thy of Ctesar and of Rome. The objection to 
these attempts is their obvious hopelessness. Such appeals, 
we are sure, must be made in vain to such a being, and 
Acte's long, reproachful speeches have not merely the result 
of boring Nero, but, which is far more important, they occa- 
sionally bore the reader. Yet her passionate jealousy of the 
dancing girl, and her fidelity and devotion to Nero in his deepest 
adversity, arc naturally and powerfully draw^n. The character 
of Ecloge is well contrasted with that of Acte. A fine point 
is made in the scene Avhere Acte endeavours to persuade her 

1882. Cossa and Car due ci. 35 

rival to fly from Nero's blood-stained house before his fickle 
fancy change. She cannot terrify Ecloge. The two women, 
so dissimilar in all else, have one ti-ait in common : neither 
fears the much-feared tyrant. Acte braves him by her strength, 
Ecloge by her weakness. She is but a brilliant, thoughtless 
insect, but for that reason as impervious to apprehension as 
Acte herself. You may crush her in a moment ; but while 
she lives, she will flutter and enjoy the sunshine. Acte at 
length, in a paroxysm of jealous fury, rushes on her rival with 
a dagger ; but the dancing girl is saved by the unexpected 
entrance of the Emperor, and Acte mthdraws muttering 
threateningly ' Sempre salvar non la potrai.' The brief 
remainder of the act is worth giving, as a specimen of Cossa's 
power of concentration, and the unfaltering strength with 
which he can add line to line, and touch to touch, each pro- 
ducing precisely the effect aimed at, without penury or redun- 

^ Nerone {solo). Fatal possanza 

Ha quell' Atte su me ; sovente ardisce 
Gelosa opporsi alle mie voglie, ed io 
Che potrei con un cenno 1' eloquente 
Gola troncar di tutti i Senator!, v* 

Mi trove inerme in faccia a questa sola -^ \^*^ 

Femmina ! non e caso naturale. 5^ P**'' 

Costei per certo ottenne un incantato 4q;( \\M^i 

Filtro da qualche maga di Tessaglia a ' 

E a me lo porse. Ma 1' incanto infame (mMIW 

Eompero. . . . L' improwiso impeto d' ira 
Ecco toglie la dolce limpidezza 
Alia mia voce, — e in tal momento ! Vieni 
Menecrate. Qua! nxiove ? 

Menecrate. Immensa folia 

Si mostra per le vie ; corre a bearsi 
Iseir artista divino. 

Ne. Oggi son rauco : 

E i pretoriani ? 

Me. Armati hanno accerchiato 

Tutto il teatro. Avrai sonanti applausi 
E spontanei. 

Ne. Mi siegui. 

Me. Un' altra nuova : 

Cassio Longino e morto. 

Ne. Cosi presto ! 

Me. Appena udi 1' accusa del Senato, 
Sorse dal desco, saluto gli amici, 
E stoicamente si taglio le vene. 

Ne. {sorridendo) . I Komani lian coraggio. 
Me. E il morto avea 

Quattro ville . . . tel dissi. 

36 Modern Italicin Foots : Jan. 

Ne. Ebbene ? 

Me. Ebbene ! 

lo non ho villc. 

Ne. Intcndo ; ne avrai una. 

Ora al teatro ! 

]\Ic. I hmri al gran cantore ! ' 

The second act passes at night in a tavern of the Suburra. 
On its threshold the liost stands gazing at the portentous 
comet * blazing with sinister presage in the sky, and laments 
the famine which threatens the city. ' Brutto mestiere c quelle 
' del tavcrniere quando manca il pane ! ' He is presently joined 
by a veteran gladiator, a slave merchant, and a player [jinnto- 
mimo), Avho discuss the miserable condition of the people. 
Njevius, the player, has studied the ancient chronicles of 
Roman liberty, and utters a good deal of treason against the 
Emperor; whereupon the slave-dealer bids him hold his peace, 
for his rash talk 'smells of the executioner a mile oflP.' To this 
group there enters a woman breathlessly crying for help. She 
is pursued by two drunken slaves who have chased her through 
the streets, and, seeing the door of the tavern open, she runs 
in for shelter. The drunken slaves prove to be Nero and 
jNIenecrates disguised, who have been rushing wildly through 
Rome, terrifying and assaulting all Avho came in their Avay, and 
who follow the fugitive into the tavern. Here, however, Nero 
meets with unexpected resistance. The old gladiator, little 
guessing who is his antagonist, Avrestles with and overthrows 
him. At this moment the Captain of the Prajtorian Guard 
enters, accompanied by an escort of soldiers and guided by 
Acte, Avho has traced Nero in his mad career, and provided for 
his safety. The discovery of the Emperor causes general con- 
sternation. The gladiator, the tavern-keeper, and the slave 
merchant prostrate themselves. Only Najvius the player, 
roused to Irrepressible indignation, dares to brave Caesar's anger, 
and to repi'oach him with his tyranny and the infamies daily 
committed in his name. Nero, at first struck dumb by the 
man's audacity, listens with gradually increasing attention and 
interest, and at the conclusion of Nasvius's violent philippic, 
turns complacently to Menecrates, exclaiming * E un' artista 
costui ! Declama bene e ha bella voce,' and invites the player 
to his house ' as a brother artist.' Then being, as he phrases 
it, ' Assalito nel cor da furiosi impeti di clemenza,' he pardons 
the gladiator ; and to the fugitive woman, who proves to be 

* During Nero's reign two comets appeared: one about a.d. G1, 
and the other four years later. 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 37 

the crphan daughter of Cassius Longmus, he promises the 
restoration of her father's confiscated property. But his bene- 
volent mood does not extend to Acte, to whom he owes his 
safety. Whilst she endeavours to awaken him to a sense of the 
dangers that threaten the Empire, he calls for wine, derisively 
bids her not lecture him as Seneca did, and irritates her 
jealousy by maudlin ])raises of Ecloge's beauty. The act 
terminates by his reeling from the tavern to his litter, sup- 
ported by the arm of Menecrates, who turns to Acte as they 
depart, with a sneer at his Imperial master. 

The third act is the weakest, the dramatic action making 
no progress until its conclusion. The scene is in a chamber 
of the palace used by Nero as a sculptor's studio. He has 
been carving a marble statue of Ecloge, which he resolves 
on forcing some rich senator to buy at an enormous price ; 
the imperial exchequer still suffering from that chronic malady 
which he lamented in the beginning of the play. Cluvius 
Rufus is the luckless purchaser selected, and arrives oppor- 
tunely just as Vinicius {Prafectus Praitorio) announces that 
the troops are clamouring for arrears of pay, and threaten 
to mutiny if they be not satisfied. Nero assures the Prefect 
of the Guard that Rufus will furnish him with the necessary 
sums ; and, enchanted with this stroke, he refuses to attend to 
letters from Gaul and Spain which Rufus submits to him. 
Acte takes the despatches and reads them whilst Nero is 
idly toying with Ecloge. The first letter announces the death 
of Vindex: the second, that the army of Spain has hailed 
Galba Emperor. Startled for an instant by these tidings, 
Nero almost immediately throws off the painful impression, 
and, embracing the Greek girl, cries recklessly, ^Amiamoci, 
* mia bella ! . . . Galba e ancor lontano ! ' 

The fourth act contains some of the finest writing in the 
play, and is full of tragic interest. It opens with a banquet 
in the Golden House, at which are assembled, besides other 
guests, Rufus, Vinicius, Menecrates, and Acte. Ecloge, as 
queen of the feast, is placed beside the Emperor. During the 
orgy Nero improvises an Epicurean hymn to Venus, which is, 
perhaps, the author's best bit of lyric poetry. The conclusion 
has an unexpected turn given to it by a thoroughly Neronian 
trait of sceptical irony. Apostrophising the fair-haired god- 
dess, he terminates thus : — 

' Sorridi, o biouda Iddia ; di noi piu degno 
B il tuo femineo regno. 
Tu sei nostra speranza, — 
Giove e omai troppo vecchio, e muti stanza ! ' 

38 Modern Italian Poets : Jan. 

The piece is, of course, received with enthusiasm by the adu- 
lators of the Divo Ncronc, especially by Menecrates, who 

* gives his vote for the exile of Jupiter.' Acte alone remains 
gloomy and silent. Reproached by Nero, she seizes a wine- 
cup and drinks to the youth and beauty of her rival, challenging 
Ecloge to respond. There is no answer ; the dancing girl 
droops her head on the Emperor's breast; she is dying — by 
poison ! The feast is broken up amidst dismay and horror. 
Acte has disappeared, and Nero, in a frenzy of grief and rage, 
commands that she be sought for and dragged before him. 
The most refined tortures shall punish the murderess of 
Ecloge. But suddenly a new terror invades the palace. 
Galba has been proclaimed in Rome ; rebellion riots through 
the streets ; and the populace is rising against Nero. Rufus 
is despatched to make a desperate appeal to the Senate ; 
Vinicius to assemble his cohorts. The rest fly from the 
presence of the doomed Emperor, who is left alone with the 
overturned wine-cups, the trampled garlands, and the dead 
body of Ecloge. The situation is powerfully dramatic, and 
Nero's soliloquy, when he finds himself thus abandoned, is 
extremely fine. The Greek girl lies in a dreamless sleep — 
' sonno fatal che non aspetta 1' alba.' The Prrotorian Guard 
have deserted the palace, and left it exposed to the incursion 
of the angry mob. Without, the streets in the neighbourhood 
of the palace are deserted and silent save for the rain and 
thunder of a gathering storm. Agitated by abject terrors, 
alternately despondent and furious, Nero rapidly reviews what 
possibilities of safety may yet remain to him. At one moment 
he nurses the hope that Vinicius may have succeeded in 
quelling the insurrection, and ' chasing back the populace to 

* their lairs ; ' at another, he thinks of throwing himself at the 
feet of his enemies and imploring mercy : — 

* Mi lascin la vita, 
La prefettura d' Egitto, o d' altra 
Provincia, ed io saluto il fortunate 
Mio successore Galba . . , Galba ! E ad esso 
Vilmente cedero ? Non mi rimane 
Salvezza alcana ? — Se con un mio cenno 
Io potessi di furto per le vie 
Sparger tutte le feroci belve 
Che Stan cliiiise nei circhi . . . qual paura 
Nella cittii ! ' 

The effect on the audience of this hideous suggestion, lurid 
with maniacal ferocity, is indescribably terrible. And, indeed, 
the whole scene is a masterpiece of stage effect. The act 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 39 

iermmates witli Nero's flight from Rome, accompanied bj 
Phaon and Epaphroditus. two freedmen who have remained 
fiiithful to him, and by Acte, who returns in the hour of peril 
to exhort him to die as becomes a Roman. But he has not 
yet abandoned all hope, and he chooses flight. As he is about 
to quit the banquet hall, urged by his attendants to hasten, he 
exclaims, ^ E che mi resta piu ? ' but his eye lighting on the 
lute which had fallen from his hand after Ecloge's death, he 
adds, ' Che resta ? . . . Faonte, la mia cetra ! ' and signs to 
the freedman to carry it with him. 

The last act, in Phaon's farmhouse outside Rome, is almost 
wholly occupied with the single figure of Nero. Weary, 
terrified, and parched with thirst, he enters this last refuge 
with a word of profound egotism and ingratitude : — 
' Ed e questa il ricovero che m' offri ? 

Faonte, la tua casa suburbana 

E molto brutta ! ' 

They bring him water, which he refuses to drink, despite his 
thirst : — ' Quest' acqua e fango, io non la bevo.' He then asks 
if his attendants are armed, and Phaon and Epaphroditus, the 
two faithful freedmen, hand him their daggers. Nero tries 
them by lightly touching his throat ; but almost instantly 
desisting, cries out that they are sharper than is needful. 
Phaon is sent back to Rome to gather news of the insurrec- 
tion, and Epaphroditus is bidden to keep watch at the door of 
the cottage, and give warning if he hear any sound of horses 
on the road. Then Nero, overcome by fatigue and excitement, 
throws himself to rest on a miserable pallet, over which Acte 
has previously spread the mantle from her own shoulders. 
Before lying down he places the two daggers beneath his head ; 
and as he stretches himself to rest, he begins to declaim frag- 
ments of Horace's Ode, ' Justum et tenacem propositi virum.' 
Then with a bitter smile : — 

' Un gran bufFone c quel poeta Orazio ! 
Vorrei vederlo qui, lui che a Filippi 
Per fuggir ineglio butto via lo scudo ! 
E poi quel versi son proprio noiosi ... 
E la noia ... da sonno . . .' 

[Falls asleejy. 

From a feverish slumber, disturbed by frightful dreams,* he 

* All the historians agree that Nero was tormented by frightful 
visions, among which the image of his mother frequently pursued him. 
The resemblance between the dreams conjured up by Nero's guilty 
conscience and those which Shakespeare attributes to Kichard III. will 
strike the English reader. 

40 Modern Italiun Puets : Jan. 

wakes delirious, crying, ' Galba c qui ! ' Then lie fancies him- 
self In the theatre, and calls for his cithern: ' lo vo cantare, 
. . . io poeta maggior di quanti illustrl ehbe 11 mondo Latino I ' 
The next moment he orders the llctors to make way for hira 
through a crowd of phantoms that press around him : — 

' E vano ; i morti 
Uccider non si ponno un' altni volta . . . 
Sei til mia viadre / . . . E tu, Cassio Longina, 
Ua me che chiedi ? E come puoi guardaruii ? 
Nella villi erl cicco ! ' 

This last touch is magnificent. Gradually he recovers his 
senses, but falls into a new paroxysm of rage and terror at the 
tidings brought back by Phaon from the city. Rome has con- 
firmed the election of Galba, and the deposed Emperor, de- 
clared an enemy to the State, is condemned to be scourged to 
death Avith rods. Urged by Acte to die as becomes a Roman, 
x^ero passionately exclaims with the colossal egotism of 
cowardice : — 

'Maori ! Ecco un consiglio 

Che si d;i facilmente, ma 1' esempio 

Avrebbe pin efficacia ! E alcun di voi, 

O vigliacclii, per darmi un po' di core 

Non sa f erire il suo ? ' 

On this Acte seizes a dagger and stabs herself, murmuring as 
she dies (in a phrase borrowed, of course, from the story of 
Arria, wdfe of Ctecina Pretus), ' Posso dirti per prova, o mio 
' Ncrone, che non duole.' Nero is bending anxiously over her 
corpse, actuated neither by pity nor regret, but solely by his 
desire to verify her assurance that dying is not painful, wdien 
the gallop of horses is heard without. He tries to plunge the 
dagger into his throat, but his coward hand fails, and he cries 
to Phaon to aid him. Tlie soldiers are rapidly approaching ; 
in a moment he avIU be in the hands of his enemies ; Phaon 
clutches the dagger which Nero still holds, and presses it into 
his throat. As he falls the Emperor exclaims, ' Che grande 
' artefice perisce I . . . Ahi I ' At this moment a centurion 
rushes in, and, seeing Nero^ wounded, tries to staunch the 
blood. Rut Nero, endeavourino; to raise himself and glarinrr 

1*11 • . oo 

Jiorribly upon the centurion, stammers, ' Tardi, soldato I . . . 
E questa la tua fede ? ' and falls dead. 

One weak point of the play is its lack of female interest. 
Ecloge is delicately drawn, but she fails to enlist our sym- 
l)athies ; and Acte, as has been said, is occasionally a bore. 
Another defect Avith which it has been charged — and Avhich 
has been more or less charged on all Cossa's plays — is the 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 41 

want of dramatic construction ; and in truth ' Nero ' is the 
development of a character, not of a plot. But the most 
effective answer to this objection is that in performance the 
play captivates the attention of the spectators, and excites 
them to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. Even when repre- 
sented by mediocre performers, it is always a theatrical success. 
And, indeed, if Ave will consider it, our chief pleasure in the 
great dramatic masterpieces is not derived from the gratifica- 
tion of childish curiosity as to how it will all end, and what 
is to happen next, but from the play of human character 
in certain given situations, of which the issue may be already 
well known to us. Now, Cossa is a great master of situation. 
The crowd of imitators whom his example induced to flood 
the Italian theatre with ' historical dramas ' which, for the 
most part, died in the first glare of the footlights, must have 
convinced themselves by this time that to write a classical 
play Avhich shall please in the closet, and triumph on the stage, 
is not quite ' as easy as lying ; ' and that some stock-in-trade 
beyond a translation of Plutarch's ' Lives ' and a copy of the 
' Biographic Universelle ' is necessary for the achievement. 

The next, in order of their production, of the plays on 
classical subjects, is the ' Plautus ; ' Cossa himself considered 
this play his most perfect work of art. Viewed as a recon- 
struction of ancient manners, customs, and tones of thought, it 
is undoubtedly a marvel of accuracy and completeness, and is 
at the same time written with great ease and vivacity. But it 
has never produced the same degree of enthusiasm in the 
theatre as ' Nero,' ' Messalina,' or ' Cleopatra : ' nor was it 
possible that it should do so. The great tragic passions deal 
with the perennial springs of human nature, and appeal to all 
mankind. Transform Cossa's ' Nero ' into a mediasval tyrant, 
or his ' Messalina ' into the heroine of a modern cause celebre, 
and they would still be personages of intense dramatic interest. 
But in witnessing ' Plauto e il suo secolo,' one main source of 
enjoyment is cut off from those spectators who have no tincture 
of classical culture. Here there is scarcely one figure which 
could be removed from its social surroundings and atmosphere, 
without growing comparatively dull and dry. Like seaweed, 
they lose colour when seen through any other than their 
natural medium. Among the dramatis persuncB are many of 
the familiar types of ancient comedy : we have Ballio, an 
avaricious usurer; Grumio, a braggart Campanian soldier; 
Davus, a roguish slave ; a group of Greek courtesans, slaves of 
Ballio ; &c. There are also Lucilla, a wealthy matron who 
tyrannises over her husband Cajcilius — ' dotata regit viruni 

42 Modern Italian Poets : Jan. 

' conjux,' as Horace has it — and the husband hhnself", a spend- 
thrift dissipated knight. The historical personages are Plautus, 
Cato the Elder, Sempronius Gracchus and Petilius, Tribunes 
of the People, and Scipio Africanus with his Avife and daughter. 
Of all these Cato the Censor is on the Avhole the most lifelike 
creation, and the most thoroughly imbued with the genuine 
spirit of comedy. Cato's iraperviousness to ridicule, his rough, 
narrow-minded energy, the slight strain of puritanical self- 
delusion which persuades him that his personal hostility to 
Scipio is pure, unmingled patriotism, and the solemn per- 
sistency Avith which he bores all and sundry, in season and out 
of season, with the proverbial ' Delenda est Carthago,' are 
inimitably depicted. It need scarcely be said that Plutarch has 
been largely put under contribution for this delineation of 
Cato: but a distinguishing mark of a great artist is the use 
he makes of his materials. The main outline of the plot may 
be given in a few words : Plautus, who is introduced as a poor 
player, manager, and author, just arrived from Umbria with 
a strolling company to seek his fortune in Rome, rapidly 
acquires the favour of the Quirites, gains money, and gives 
banquets, which are frequented by such fine gentlemen as the 
knight Caicilius. But falling violently in love with Imnidis, 
a Greek slave belonging to Ballio the usurer, in order to obtain 
the sum necessary to buy the girl from her avaricious master 
Plautus entei's into trade speculations with Ballio, Avhereby he 
is utterly ruined. Cossa adopts the somcAvhat apocryphal 
legend of Plautus being sold to a miller by his creditors. And 
the play ends Avith Cato's coming to the mill to announce to 
the slave Plautus that the -^diles have need of him. They Avill 
obtain his liberty on condition that he Avrite some comedies to 
combat the immoral influence of the ' Atellana3 Fabulaj,' Avhich, 
says Cato, have resumed their ancient empire on the Roman 
scene, * Scandalo dei buoni, e insegnamento ai tristi.' There is 
an underplot concerning the banishment of Scipio Africanus ; 
and a comic imbroglio arising from a pearl necklace Avhich 
Cascilius has, in plain Avords, stolen from his rich Avife to give to 
Imnidis, Avhoin he is assiduously courting. The play is very 
long. It consists of five acts, and an introduction as long as 
any of them. But thanks to the variety of the characters, the 
curious traits of manners, and the general excellence of the 
writing, it is amusing throughout. Grumio, the braggart 
soldier, with his monstrous boasts, his cowardice, and his 
gluttony, never fails to excite the mirth of the ' groundlings.' 
And in fact he is entertaining enough. But if Ave except — 
truly a considerable exception, however — the minute know- 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 43 

ledo-e of ancient Roman manners evidenced by tins Cam- 
panian's utterances and allusions, there is nothing in Grumio 
Avhich a score of contemporary Italian playwrights might not 
have written. We cannot name one who could have given us 
Cato the Elder. Scipio's description of the rigid censor is 
admirable ; though we doubt if it be not an anachronism to attri- 
bute to him so much of the tolerant fairness of a gentleman : — 

' In lui rispetto 
11 cittadino sobrio, severo : 
La sua virtu mi piace, ma ... 

Gracco. Comprendo. 

Invido e troppo. 

Scipione. No ; e troppo antico. 

Ei tiene del macigno della rocca 
Gapitolina ; e immoto, guarda indietro 
Senza curar 1' eta che si rinnova 
E va inanzi. Eomano intiero, ed uomo 
A meta ! . . .' 

In the best spirit of comedy is the declaration of the hen- 
pecked, dissolute knight Cascilius, that, although he detests 
Cato's old-fashioned rigour in general, he is yet bound in can- 
dour to praise the Censor's just strictures ' on the idleness and 

* luxury of our matrons.' So also is Ballio's advice to Plautus 
as to the subjects of his plays : let Plautus choose his argu- 
ments from among the j)l^bs, who ' will forgive being lashed, if 

* you can make them laugh,' but avoid touching the patricians, 
who, according to the laws of the TavcIvc Tables, have, and 
can have, no vices. So are innumerable other passages. It 
is, indeed, difficult to resist the temptation of quoting some of 
them. But the exigencies of our space compel us to be spar- 
ing of extracts. 

' Julian the Apostate,' the next in order, is the work wliich 
more than any other of Cossa's has been appealed to by Chris- 
tians and anti- Christians to prove that the author held this or 
that vicAV. In our opinion it is impossible to read the play in 
a fair spirit without perceiving that Julian is a favourite with 
the author. And assuredly that does not indicate any ardour 
of Christian belief. But what Cossa combats in ' Julian the 
' Apostate ' is the Papacy in Rome. Rome to him is something 
more and greater than any dogma. A striking passage, put 
into the mouth of Julian, powerfully expresses this feehng. 
Bishop Eusebius is represented as a model of Christian virtue, 
yet it is to him that the following reproaches are addressed : — 
* Eh via ! la vostra umile faccia 
E maschera a superbi intendimenti. 

44 Modern Italian Poets : Jan. 

Voi detestate i Cesari, ma in core 
Anelate a coprirvi della loi'o 
Porpora. Avete in odio Koma, e il suono 
Delia sua gloria ; e la cattedra vostra 
Alzate all' ombra dei colli immorbili. 
E vi guido sottile astuzia : il mondo 
Udito 71011 y' avrehhe se jjai'lato 
Nan aveste da Roma .' ' 

Here it is clearly a political and not a spiritual system that is 
attacked. The scene of the play during the first four acts is 
in Antioch, just previous to the exj)edition to Persia in which 
Julian lost his life. The Emperor's rectitude, intelligence, 
and moderation shine conspicuously amongst the motley crew 
of corrupt Orientals by whom he is surrounded. AVhen a 
fanatical partisan of Arius boldly attacks him in argument^ 
and speaks of Truth, Julian ironically demands what truth ? 
The Christians are divided into a hundred discordant sects. 
The Arians sacked Alexandria, destroyed her monuments, and 
slaughtered her citizens, ' enemies equally to Jove and Christ.'' 

' E adulterando la dolce parola 
Del Galileo, cite rinnegate sempre, 
Di micidiali dispute maestri 
Nel foro, e delle inutili nel tempio, 
Accendeste la fiaccola di guerre 
Religiose, ignote ai nostri antichi ! ' 

But he is not more tender to the priest of Apollo, whose glut- 
tony and selfishness disgust him. And to the terrible High 
Priest of Mithra, who urges him to appease the angry gods by a 
human sacrifice, he nobly answers that the priest must moderate 
his cruel zeal, nor think with the fool that ideas can be drowned 
in blood. And again to the same ferocious fanatic he declares 
that the best sacrifice is the incense of good deeds, offered up 
to Him who is the centre of the harmonious universe : — 

' Sia Giove, Jeova, o IMitra, importa poco ; 
Inanzi alV Injinito il nome e nulla.'' 

The singular verbal resemblance between these lines and the 
opening of ' Pope's Universal Prayer ' will not have escaped 
the reader ; but we believe it to be purely fortuitous. In his 
next speech, however, Julian descends from this lofty strain, 
to declare that notwithstanding all this he shall not rest happy 
until he has restored the ancient worship, ' in which is com- 
' prised all the greatness of Kome, and of the Empire ; ' and 
announces that he shall shortly with his own hands immolate 
a victim to Apollo. In Julian and Eusebius are incarnated 
two mighty forces. The one defends decaying Rome; the 

1882. Cossa and Carilucci. 45 

other pleads for advancing Christianity. Some of Cossa's most 
powerful writing is contained in tliis play, which, however, is 
deficient in interest. The theme is too vast a one to be treated 
in five acts, and renders a complete drama impossible. The 
play ends with the death of Julian in Persia, and the conse- 
quent suicide of a Jewish girl whom he has benevolently 
protected, and who adores him as the future rebuilder of the 
Temple and the restorer of her nation. 

Next to 'Nero,' * Messalina ' has hitherto been the most 
completely and universally successful on the stage of Cossa's 
dramas. It may be considered a literaiy tour cle force to 
present Claudius's wicked wife upon the scene at all without 
violating public decency. Certainly there are passages in the 
' Messalina ' which would not be tolerated on our stage. But 
there is no indication throughout the work that the author 
takes a morbid pleasure in depicting vice. Nor is there the 
least tendency to make what is morally loathsome appear 
sensuously alluring. Messalina is not of the type to be found 
between the yellow covers of a Parisian novel. She is terribly 
in earnest, and, Avh ether clawing or caressing, has no more 
afiectation or self-consciousness than a tigress. It is very 
interesting to observe the national differences which distinguish 
Cossa's presentment of Messalina from those which might be 
expected from writers of other countries. A Frenchman 
would perhaps be led away by one aspect of the subject into 
extravagances of vicious detail ; an Englishman, moved by the 
predominance of another set of ideas, might be apt to insist on 
the moral turpitude of a state of society in which a Messalina 
was possible ; Cossa cares neither to be seductive nor didactic. 
With artistic singleness of purpose, he simply carves out of the 
material before him his concrete figure — which, in our judg- 
ment, comes nearer to being an image of the true Messalina 
than anything which contemporary literature has yet to show. 

The play consists of five acts and a prologue. The latter 
deals mainly Avith the assassination of Caligula and the pro- 
clamation of Claudius. The first act displays the dissensions 
between Julia Agrippina and Messalina, the intrigues of the 
freedmen within the palace, and the easy indifference of 
Claudius, absorbed in writing a history of his own times, and 
ignoring the materials for that chronicle furnished by his august 
consort. Caius Silius is also introduced, the object of Messa- 
lina's last and most violent passion. The second act, like the 
second act of ' Nero,' passes in the Suburra, whither Messalina 
secretly follows Silius, surprises him in an orgy, and is herself 
recognised by a gladiator, one of her former lovers. In the 

40 Modern Italian Poets : Jan. 

third act, by a conspiracy of Narcissus and some other freed- 
raen, a number of slave girls from the Suburra are brought 
before Caesar to bear testimony to the presence in their liouse, 
on the preceding night, of the Empress. This stroke is intended 
to bring about Messalina's ruin. But she, boldly advancing 
into the midst of her enemies, commands them all to withdraw, 
and, being left alone with her husband, so makes out her own 
case, and so terrifies him by hints of rebellion and treason, that 
she persuades him to condemn Valerius Asiaticus, whom she 
hates ; and remains triumphant mistress of the situation. The 
fourth act is occupied with the insane marriage ceremony be- 
tween Messalina and Silius in the magnificent gardens (formerly 
of Lucullus) which had belonged to Valerius Asiaticus ; and 
it terminates with the unexpected return of Claudius from 
Ostia, and the dastard flight of Silius, who leaves Messalina 
to confront her angry husband alone. In the fifth act, she once 
more tries her power over Claudius. Despite the opposition 
of Narcissus, she gains admission to Cassar's presence, confesses 
her crime, and implores pardon. She was mad, delirious, 
guilty, but she repents. For their son's sake, for Britanuicus, 
Claudius must forgive her. She weeps, she caresses, she per- 
suades, she triumphs. Claudius leaves her with a promise of 
reconciliation, and she exultingly exclaims that iier enemies 
are vanquished. But in the next moment she is stabbed by a 
centurion, whom Narcissus empowers to do the deed by show- 
ing a signet ring of the Emperor. Her assassination does not 
take place in sight of the audience, but she staggers on the 
stage to fall dead. The freedmen are only just in time to 
cover her body with a cloak before Claudius passes on his way 
to the triclinium. He asks for Messalina, but is easily diverted 
from his enquiries by the sight of Agrippina ' fair, smiling, and 
' perfumed.' And so they go in to supper, and the curtain falls. 
One gleam of womanhood flashes out in the last words 
uttered by Messalina as she dies : ' lo muoio . . . Claudio ! 
' . . . Mueri niieiJigU! ' There is a whole chapter of guilty 
fears, and vain regrets, and fierce maternal fondness in those 
last despairing words. Another wonderful touch of psycho- 
logical intuition is when, after listening to the pathetic appeal 
of Valerius Asiaticus (by her accused and destroyed) for leave 
to die, not by the hand of the f xccutioner, but in his own home 
amidst the memories of his mother, Messalina suddenly bursts 
into tears, and intercedes with Claudius — to let Valerius die 
after his own fashion. ' Ch' ei mora a suo talento . . . purche 
' mora ! ' This mingling of tearful emotion with pitiless fero- 
city is worthy of a Megrera of the French Revolution. 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 47 

The character of Claudius is as admirable a study in its way 
as that of Messalina. From his first appearance on the stage, 
dragged out from his hiding-place by the Praetorian Guard 
after the assassination of Caligula, to the conclusion of the 
drama, where he coolly goes in to supper without troubling 
himself about Messalina's fate — in each and every situation, 
Claudius is a living creation. A grotesque mixture of imbe- 
cility, learning, phlegmatic indolence, and cowardice, he becomes 
terrible by the imperial power which he wields. And here 
we have the explanation of some of Cossa's finest effects, and 
the justification of his realistic method. Traits which would 
be merely comic or contemptible in private men, assume a 
dread significance in mighty Cresar, dispenser of fortune, dis- 
grace, or death to his subjects. There is no more tremendous 
tragedy than this irony of Fate flinging millions of human 
beings into the power of a Nero or a Claudius. And in 
perceiving and boldly representing this truth, instead of fabri- 
cating artificial figures to suit the * dignity of history,' Cossa 
has given evidence of original power. 

' Cleopatra ' is the last of the series of Cossa's classical dramas 
given to the world. The author was engaged just before his 
death on a play, entitled ' Silla,' which remains unfinished. 
' Cleopatra ' has a richness of life and colour which captivates 
the imagination. A glow of Eastern sunshine seems to have 
penetrated some of its pages. But to an English reader it 
suggests a fatal comparison with one of the most subtle and 
splendid of the creations of Shakespeare. The author entitles 
it ' a dramatic poem,' and, although it has been entirely suc- 
cessful on the Italian stage, it is, in our judgment, more calcu- 
lated to delight the reader than to enthral the spectator. It con- 
sists of six acts, and follows pretty closely the historical order 
of events, beginning in Alexandria, where Antony proclaims 
Cleopatra Queen of Cyprus and Libya, and publicly repudiates 
Octavia. Then follows the battle of Actium; the attack of 
Octavius against Alexandria ; Cleopatra's treason to Antony, 
and the death of the latter. Cossa leaves Cleopatra still living 
at the end of the play, but in possession of the asp that is to 
save her from the ignominy of being led captive in a Roman 
triumph. A crowd of varied figures passes over the stage. 
Egyptians and Romans, the serpent-charmer, the embalmer of 
mummies, the flower-seller, slaves, mountebanks, priests, war- 
riors, kings, throng the streets of Alexandria and the sumptu- 
ous halls of Cleopatra's palace. These figures are woven, as 
it were, into a background rich as a piece of Oriental tapestry, 
on which the principal personages of the drama stand out in 

48 JModcrn ItitUan Poets: Jan. 

strong relief. In liis ilellneatlon of Antony's character, Cossa, 
like Shakespeare, has closely followed Plutarch. It is interest- 
ing to compare Antony's death in Cossa's play -with the parallel 
passages in the great I'^nglish tragedy. But the third act of the 
' Cleopatra,' which takes place on board the qneen's galley, 
during the battle of Actimn, is, in our opinion, Cossa's greatest 
poetical effort ; and here the author is not weighted in the 
reader's mind by any overwhelming comparisons. The con- 
ception and conduct of the scene are all his OAvn ; and would, 
even had he written nothing else, entitle him to an honourable 
place in the Pantheon of poets. It has not the vivid dramatic 
contrasts of some parts of the ' Nero ' and ' Messalina,' bnt the 
reader is carried away by the beauty and vigour of the descrip- 
tions, and the really magnificent working up of the final 
catastrophe. From the first subdued note of the opening — in 
the clear serenity of a sunrise at sea — through the crescendo 
of the battle to the passionate pathos of Antony's despair, this 
act is a masterpiece of sustained imagination. In the remainder 
of the play there are many fine passages, and the versification 
is throughout maintained at a high level of excellence. But it , 
cannot be denied that the last three acts show a falling off in 
dramatic interest. The real climax is at Actium. After 
Antony's death, Cleopatra is led off by the envoys of Octavius, 
promising herself either to subdue Ctesar or to perish. But 
this is a tame and flat disappearance from the scene for such a 
figure as Cleopatra. 

Of the earlier published plays of Cossa, ' Sordello,' ' Monal- 
* deschi,' ' Pouschkin,' ' Beethoven,' and ' Mario e i Cimbri,' 
it is not necessary to say much. The first three are immature 
efforts of a genius which has not yet recognised its true voca- 
tion. ' Beethoven ' and * Mario ' are not Avithout merit. The 
former is, so far as we know, Cossa's only prose composition. 
It was successful on its first production, but does not keep the 
stage. ' Cola di Rienzi ' and ' I Borgia,' belong to Cossa's 
noonday period ; and ' Cola ' especially is written with great 
fire and force. But we omit a more particular examination 
of them here, because in these two dramas Cossa has done 
better than many what some others have done as Avell : whereas 
in the classical plays, although he has had many imitators 
among his countrymen, he has as yet found no rival. The 
collection of his Lyi-ic Poems comprises twenty-seven pieces 
on a great variety of subjects. Some of them contain strong 
thoughts, strongly expressed. But Cossa's gift was not lyrical. 
Moreover, Avhen these pieces Avere Avritten he had not yet 
emancipated himself from the trammels of academic style. The 

1882. Cossa and CarduccL 49 

use of a language which to him was artificial — not his true 
note — had the inevitable result of maiming his ideas. Enouf^-h 
has been said to show what are Cossa's claims to be considered 
a true and original dramatic poet ; and lovers of Italian 
literature will be glad to welcome a modern Roman who not 
unworthily sustains some of the glorious — and onerous — tradi- 
tions of his illustrious predecessors. 

Contemporary Italian literature is comparatively so little 
known in England that many readers may possibly see in 
these pages the name of Giosue Carducci for the first time. 
Yet it can be said without exaggeration that in the general 
estimation of his countrymen he holds the first place amono- 
living Italian poets. Different from Cossa in many qualities 
of mind and temperament, he differs from him also in the pre- 
cocious manifestation of his genius. Cossa, as Ave have seen, 
was forty years old before he produced his best work ; and 
even his earlier poems were not written in boyhood. Car- 
ducci, on the contrary, like many another poet, scribbled 
verses Avhen a mere child ; and of his published poems several 
date from his seventeenth year. He was born in 1836, in an 
obscure horghetto, called Val di Castello, in the province of 
Pisa, and passed his first years in Tuscany — partly in the 
Maremma, partly at Montamiata in the province of Siena, and 
partly in Pisa and Florence. It was not an indifferent cir- 
cumstance for his future fame that the first accents which his 
ear caught and his tongue repeated were from the ' Avell of Tuscan 
' undefiled.' Carducci's father was an honourable, industrious^ 
and unlucky person, who migrated from one poor commune 
to another, filling the hard-worked and ill-paid functions of 
medico di condotta — as Ave should say, parish doctor. He had 
a very fair knowledge of the classics, and his contribution to 
young Giosue's education consisted in teaching him Latin. 
They translated together Pha^drus, Sallust, Ovid, Virgil, and 
Cicero ' De Officiis ; ' but the lesson Avas always Latin, and 
nothing but Latin. For his OAvn pleasure the boy devoured 
Avhatsoever other books came in his Avay. He read Monti's 
version of the ' Iliad,' Tasso's ' Gerusalemme Liberata,' one or 
tAvo French histories translated into Italian, a great number 
of the ' Novellieri,' something of Macchiavelli, something of 
Guicciardini, and the ' Promessi Sposi ' of Manzoni. He him- 
self states that his mother (who seems to have been a Avoman 
of unusual intelligence and liberality of mind) taught him to 
read Alfieri. He had a voracious appetite for books ; and^ 
Avhich is not ahvays the case, his digestion Avas as good as his 


50 JModcrn Italian Poets : Jan. 

appetite. Carclucci's republican tendencies manifested them- 
selves very early. There are amusing records of how his 
juvenile oratory delighted the inhabitants of a village in the 
Tuscan Maremma, and how he expounded to them some of 
the satirical poems of Giusti, at that time prohibited in Tus- 
cany and circulated surreptitiously. The young democrat, Avho 
was about ten years old, made great friends Avith a little lame 
village tailor, of the most flaming republican principles. And 
in the tailor's shop, the lectures on Giusti, with critical exegesis, 
were held amidst universal applause. Dr. Carducci Avas poli- 
tically Liberal, but he halted far behind his son. He admired 
Manzoni above all writers, inclined to the Koraantic school, 
objected to classicism as being * no longer suited to the times,' 
and seems to have held by some shreds of Catholic belief. He 
felt no sympathy Avith the fiery diatribes of the lame tailor ; 
and unceremoniously put an end to Master Giosue's political 
propaganda by shutting him up in his room, and giving him 
only three books to read : Manzoni's ' Catholic Morality,' 
Silvio Pellico's ' Duties of Man,' and the ' Life of San Giuseppe 
' Calasanzio,' by a certain Father Tosetti. 

Carducci was for some time at the University of Pisa, and 
there devoted himself chiefly to classical studies. Afterwards 
in Florence he acquired a profound knowledge of the trecentisti 
and quattrocentisti, and an enthusiastic admiration for Dante. 
He continued to study indefatigably, and from time to time 
published various critical essays, besides sundry poems, and an 
edition of Politian's works in the vulgar tongue. In Sep- 
tember 1860, being then a month or two past twenty-four years 
of age, Carducci was appointed by Terenzio Mamiani, at that 
time Minister of Public Instruction, to a professorial chair 
at the University of Bologna. The appointment Avas pecu- 
liarly honourable to both, for Mamiani Avas an uncompromising 
political opponent of the young professor. But he made his 
selection purely in the interests of literature, and with a 
superiority to party rancour unfortunately too rare among his 

No more significant illustration could be found of the statements 
made at the beginning of this article respecting the tendency 
of literary thought in Italy toAvards classic paganism than the 
history of Carducci's mental groAvth and progress. We will 
give his own A\^ords on this subject taken from the preface to 
the third edition of his poems. After speaking of his studies 
in Florence, when, as he says, he ' coasted the Dead Sea of the 
' Middle Ages,' he thus proceeds : — 

* At the same time I studied the converse of all this — the revolu- 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 51 

•tionary movement in history and literature. Gradually there maui- 
-fested itself in my mind, not an innovation, but an explanation, Avhich 
surprised and comforted me. How content was I with myself (forgive 
the word !) when I perceived that my obstinate classicism had been a 
just aversion to the literary and philosophic reaction of 1815 ; when I 
was able to justify it by the doctrines and the example of so many 
illustrious artists and thinkers ; when I found that my sins of paganism 
had been already committed — but in how far more splendid a guise ! 
— by many of the noblest minds and souls in Europe; and that this 
paganism, this worship of form, was in fact nothing else than the love 
of glorious nature, from which the solitary Semitic abstraction had so 
3ong and so ferociously divorced the spirit of man ! ' 

These Avords give the key to much of that active hostility 
towards Christianity which marks modern Italian thought. 
The elevation of asceticism into a virtue, and the segregation 
of the religious world from the joys, toils, and sorrows of their 
fellow-men, are peculiarly repugnant to the gregarious and 
practical Italian temperament. And when, moreover, we 
consider that certain theories which with us remain in the 
region of theological or philosoj)hical speculation are in Italy 
■recognised as the watchwords of a political party, the hatred 
aroused by them becomes more comprehensible. 

Carducci's genius is as distinctively lyric as Cossa's is 
•dramatic. He asserts his own personality, and his mind is 
naturally protestant, and intolerant of traditional authority. 
Republican and democratic in politics, as an artist he has the 
most sovereign disdain for the opinion of the majorit}'. And 
lie vehemently stigmatises that tone of mind which leads a 
writer to follow the caprices of fashion, or the vagaries of 
public opinion, in his search after popularity. ' Let the poet,' 
lie writes, ' express himself, and his own moral and artistic 
' convictions, as clearly, sincerely and resolutely as he can. 
' The rest does not concern him.' He is here, of course, 
alluding to lyric poetry, Avhich, as being individual, Avill, he 
thinks, resist longer than any other form of poetry the 
' invasion of historic realism which now pervades all depart- 
' ments of human thought.' But it will survive only on con- 
dition that it continue to be Art. ' If it be reduced to be a 
' mere secretion of the sensibility or sensuality of this person 

* or that ; if it give way to all the laxity and license which 

* sensibility and sensuality permit themselves — then farewell 

* lyric poetry.' And he quotes Theophile Gautier : — 

' Point de contraintes fausses ! 
Mais que pour marcher droit 

Tu chausses. 
Muse, un cothurne etroit.' 

52 Modern Italian Poets: Jan. 

It may bo observed in passing that CarduccI writes admirable 
prose. He is the author of a variety of critical essays and 
studies, which, besides giving evidence of extensive and solid 
erudition, have the charm of an elegant, clear, and vigorous 

The collection entitled ' Poesie ' is divided into three })ortions, 
which the author calls respectively ' Juvenilia,' ' Levia Gravia,^ 
and * Decennalia.' The first extends from 1850 to 1858; 
the second from 1857 to 1870; the third from 1860 to 1870. 
It will be seen that the three periods overlaj) each other. But 
the author has made the division Avith regard not only to 
chronology, but to the growth and development of his artistic 
convictions. He says : ' In the " Juvenilia " I am the humble 
' shield-bearer of classicism ; in the " Levia Gravia," I keep 
' my first vigil of arms ; in the " Decennalia " — after a few 

* somewhat uncertain lance-strokes — I enter on the career of 

* knight-errant at my own sole risk and peril.' It is interesting 
to observe how the future author of the ' Odi Barbare ' is 
foreshadowed even in the earliest of the ' Juvenilia.' - One 
piece, addressed to the ' Blessed Diana Giuntiui,' venerated in 
Santa Maria a Monte,' is absolutely a sapphicode in theHoratian 
manner. And in connexion with this poem the following 
story is narrated by its author : He Avas passing the year 1857 
between Santa Maria a Monte and San Miniato, in Tuscany, 
and, being already recognised as a poet, was importuned by 
the inhabitants to Avrite something for the festa of the Blessed 
Diana, celebrated at Santa Maria a Monte. This Blessed 
Diana Giuntini is a holy patroness of her native place — * as 

* who should say,' remarks Carducci with his calm paganism, 
' a dea indiges'' — was born in 1187, and died in the odour of 
sanctity in 1231. The young poet accepted the invitation and 
produced the ode, which appears to have delighted all the pious 
folks of Santa IMaria a Monte. It also — Avhich is far more 
remarkable — imposed on the acuteness of a writer in the ' Unita 

* Cattolica,' Avho, years afterwards, republished it to prove how 
Carducci had fallen away from his early faith : adding a 
characteristic insinuation that the poet was pious when piety 
Avas profitable and the Grand Duke reigned over Tuscany, 
and became impious only Avhen the Revolution was triumphant. 
The fact is that Carducci, Avho Avas at the time deep in the 
study of Horace and the trecentisti {Frigida 2Jugnahant 
calidis, hnmentia siccis), composed the piece to proA^e that it 
Avas possible to Avrite religious poetry in classic forms. But 
in truth it is not merely the form Avhich is classical here ; it is 
also the thought. As a specimen of versification it strikes us 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 53 

as being remarkable for ease and strength. Take the following 
strophe, which is imitated from Horace's ' Ludit herboso 
* pecus omne campo : ' — 

' Disciolto il bove mormora un muggito, 
Esulta il gregge nell' erboso piano, 
E su r aratro ancor dal solco attrito 
Canta il villano.' 

Strongly contrasted with this is the ' Ode to Phoebus Apollo,' 
also in the ' Juvenilia.' It is a lover's address to the sun to 
hasten his declining course, and bring the evening, when he is 
to meet his mistress. And so far the matter is trite enough. 
But very far from trite is the turn the poem takes towards the 
end. After a fervid apostrophe to the god, full of enthusi- 
astic Hellenism, a sense of the actual — of that ' historic 
' realism ' elsewhere alluded to — of the triumphant advance of 
scientific thought — comes over the poet's mood like a chill wind, 
and is expressed in these admirable verses : — 
' II vevo inesorabile 

Di fredda ombra covrio 

Te, larva d' altri secoli, 

Nume de' Greci, e raio. 

Or dove il cocchio, e 1' aurea 

Giovanil chioina, e' rai? 

Tu^ bruta moU, cfohjori 

Di muto faoco, e stai. 

Vale, o Titano Apolline, 
Ke del volubil anno ! 
Or solitario avanzami 
Amore, ultimo inganno. 

* Andiam ; della mia Delia 
Negli atti e nel sorriso 
Le Grazie a me si mostrino 
Quai le miro Cefiso ; 
E pera il grave secolo 
Che vita mi spegnea 
Che agghiaccia il canto ellenico 
Nell' anima febea ! ' 

In the * Levia Gravia ' are comprised several sonnets of 
very great beauty and merit. There are three to Homer, of 
whicli the last is the best. After saying that the author 
returns with the return of each spring to delight in the songs 
of the divine old man whose temples are crowned with a 
halo of eternal youth, and invoking him to tell once more of 
the fair Calypso, of the Daughter of the Sun, of Nausicaa, it 
thus concludes : — 

54 Modern Italian Poets: Jan. 

* Dimmi. . . . Ah non dir ! Di giudici cumei * 
Fatta c la terra un tribunale inimondo, 
E vili i regi, e brutti son gli dei. 
E se til ritornassi al iio.stro mondo, 
Novo Glauco per te non troverei : 
Niun ti darebbe un soldo, o vagabondo ! ' 

Very fine are the last lines of the sonnet to Dante :- — 

' Son chiesa e impero una ruina mesta 
Cui sorvola il tuo canto e a '1 ciel risona : 
Muor Giove, e F inno del poeta resta.' 

Full of delicate freshness is the sonnet to Petrarch, where the 
writer says he Avould fain erect an altar to the sweet singer of 
Laura, ' Nella verde caligine de' boschi ; ' but some of the 
finest lines of all occur in the sonnet ' To the Sonnet ' (written, 
as the writer states, before he had seen Wordsworth's on the 
same subject), wherein he enumerates some of the great poets 
who have delighted in that form, which he felicitously styles 
* Breve ed amplissimo carme.' Aligliieri, Petrarch, CamoenSj, 
and * that new ^schylus born on Avon's shore,' loved it : — 

' Te pur vestia degli epici splendor! 
Prigion Torquato ; e in aspre note e lente 
Ti scolpia quella man die s\ potente 
Pugno cd' marmi a trarne vita fuori.'' 

These lines not only marvellously describe Michelangelo's 
Bonnets, they epitomise Michelangelo's genius. 

But of the Avhole collection of poems, the one which is 
there placed in the division entitled ' Decennalia,' and whicli 
bears the startling inscription, ' A Satana,' is undoubtedly 
that which first filled Italy with its author's name — or rather 
with the pseudonym Enotrio Bomano, then assumed by him. 
It first saw the light in 1865, and Avas then reviewed at length, 
in a number of the ' Ateneo Italiano.' But on December 8, 
1869, the day of the opening of the Oecumenical Council, a 
Bolognese editor had the courage to reprint it in his news- 
paper, the ' Popolo,' and then it raised a storm of contro- 
versy and discussion. There is something inexpressibly comic, 
from one point of view, in selecting that particular epoch to 

* The allusion is to a story told in a Life of Homer attributed to 
Herodotus, that the poet offered to the inhabitants of Cumje to cele- 
brate their city in his songs, on condition of being maintained at the 
expense of the commune ; to whom a grave magistrate gravely 
answered that the Senate would have enough to do should it undertake 
to feed every blind singer who wandered about the world. Having 
landed at Chios, the poet was succoured by Glaucus, a goatherd. 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 55 

reproduce an Ode to Satan. And none who are not acquainted 
with the Italy of to-day can fully comprehend how such a 
flout at religion and decorum was made and accepted as being 
a not altogether outrageous and intolerable method of warfare. 
Of course the humorous side of the matter was not savoured 
by the champions of the Church. Nor, indeed, we incline to 
think, was it greatly tasted by their opponents. Both sides 
set to Avork with much vehemence to abuse or to eulogise the 
poem ; and one natural result of this was, that everybody read 
it. For our part we agree, on the whole, with the author, who 
himself declares that, despite the benevolent judgments of some 
of his critics, it is 'no great thing.' But neither is it a poor 
thing. Poverty is not a characteristic of Carducci under any 
circumstances. A good deal of ink, and some ingenuity, have 
been expended on the well-meant endeavour to explain, and 
excuse, this address to Satan. The truth is that the greater 
part of the quarrels arising out of it are founded — as how many 
other literary quarrels have been ! — on a logomachy. When 
Carducci thus apostrophises Satan : — 

' A te, dell' essere 
Principio immenso, 
Materia e spirito, 
Eagione e sen so ; ' 

he is naturally not thinking of Martin Luther's devil with 
horns and hoofs, nor even of Goethe's ' Geist der stets 
' verneint.' "What he has in his mind is resumed in the con- 
cluding stanzas : — 

' Salute, o Satana, 
O ribellione, 
O forza vindice 
Delia ragione ! 

' Sacri a te salgano 
Gl' incensi e i voti ! 
Hal vinto il Geova 
De' sacerdoti.' 

Here is the word of the enigma, ' II Geova de' Sacerdoti : ' 
the Jehovah of the priests ! ' And for ' the Jehovah of the 
' priests ' as understood by an Italian, neither deism nor Chris- 
tianity is responsible. Still it must be distinctly admitted 
that Carducci is neither a Christian nor, in the ordinary 
acceptation of the word, a deist. His creed is a sort of philo- 
sophic pantheism, plus an artistic worship of Hellenism, which, 
fortunately for ourselves and our readers, we are not here 
called upon to discuss. Of the other poems in the ' Decen- 

66 Modern Italian Foets : Jan. 

' nalia,' several are on political subjects, such as ' Dopo 
' Aspromonte,' ' Per la Rivoluzione di Grecia,' * Sicilia e la 
' Rivoluzionc,' ' To Odoardo Corazzini, killed by the French 
' in the Campaign of Rome, 1867 ' (in -which occurs the tre- 
mendous stanza addressed to the Pope : — 

' China sul pio mister che si consuma, 
China il tuo viso tristo : 
Di sangue, mira, il tuo calice fuma ; 
E non c quel di Cristo '), 

* Le Nozze del Mare,' ' Allora e Ora,' and others. Three or four 
drinking-songs are scattered through the collection, Avhich, in 
their form an i spirit, are unique in modern Italian literature. 
They have tie spontaneous grace, the naive gaiety, the plastic 
perfection of a Greek bas-relief around some altar to Bacchus. 
And the piece entitled ' Carnival,' supposed to be uttered by 
' A Voice from the Palaces,' ' A Voice from the Hovels,' ' A 
' Voice from the Garrets,' and ' A Voice from Underground,' 
is a powerful piece of rhetoric on the well-worn theme of the 
joys of the rich and the sorrows of the poor. The two last 
lines seem to us Avorth quoting, for the sake of the terrible 
figure which the poet sketches in with a word, and gives as a 
companion to the ' pallida Mors ' of Horace. ' Rejoice,' he 
says to the great and wealthy, ' triumph and enjoy, ye powerful, 

* ye happy ! ' 

* E non sognate il di ch' a 1' auree porte 
Battel la fame, in compagnia di morte.' 

A composition of Carducci's, comparatively little known, is 
a poem consisting of thirty stanzas, which was written in 1877 
and published separately in 1878, entitled ' 11 Canto dell' 
' Amore.' It is, however, no erotic production, but a lyric 
manifestation of genial, human kindness and good-will towards 
men, which, pace Giosue Carducci, we are accustomed to call 
Christian charity. It was suggested by the sight of the space 
in Perugia once occupied by the Papal fortress known as 
Rocca Paolina, and now planted as a garden for the towns- 
people. The citizens of Perugia razed the fortress to the 
ground in the September of 1860. There, where the huge 
mass darkened the earth with its shadow, ' Or ride amore, ride 
' primavera, Ciancian le donne ed i fanciulli al sol ; ' and, look- 
ing across the Umbrian plain, girdled with aerial outlines of 
lilac mountains, illumined by the warm rays of an Italian sun, 
green with a promise of harvest, and dappled with human 
habitations, the poet feels his soul expand, his heart melt. 
From every village, and spire, and turret : from hamlets nest- 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 57 

ling in the dai'k gorges of the Appenine ; from the Tyrrhene 
acropolis on its fertile hill ; from city piazzas glorious with 
storied art ; from vineyard, and lake, and stream, and wood, 
one canticle arises in a tliousand songs, one hymn is sounded 
in a thousand prayers. And here we shall venture to depart 
from the original text and offer our readers a translation of the 
following stanzas : — 

' Hail, human creatures, weary and oppressed ! 
Nothing is lost, nothing can perish wholly. 
Too long we've hated. Love alone is blessed. 
Love ; for the world is fair, the future holy. 

^ Who shines upon the summits with a face 
Bright as Aurora's, in the morning ray ? 
Once more along these mountains' rosy trace 
Do naeek Madonnas' footsteps deign to stray ? 

*• Madonnas such as Perugino saw 

In the pure sunset of an April sky 
Stretch Avide above the Babe, in gentle awe, 
Adoring arms, with sweet divinity ? 

* No ; 'tis another goddess ! From her brow 

Justice and mercy shed effulgent splendour. 
Blessings on him who lives to serve her now ! 
Blessings on him who perished to defend her ! 

*■ What need I care for priest, or tyrant prince ? 
Sure their old gods are not more old than they. 
I cursed the Pope, 'tis now some ten years since ; i 

I almost would make friends with him to-day. 

* Poor aged man, perhaps his heart assailing 

A lonely lack of love torments him sore ! 
Perhaps he dreams, with fondness unavailing. 
Of his sea-mirrored city by the shore. 

*■ Let me, from out the Vatican's closed portal, 

That ancient self-made captive lead ; and cry 
" I drink a toast to Liberty immortal, 

Fill up a bumper, Citizen Mastai ! " ' 

There is a certain genial pathos in these last stanzas which 
is delightful ; and the whole poem abounds in exquisite de- 
scriptive touches, unsurpassed even among Carducci's many, 
and singularly vivid, descriptions of nature. 

The ' Odi Barbare ' are an attempt to introduce into modern 
lyrical poetry several of the ancient metres — ' to adapt to the 
* divine foot of the Italian Muse the Alcaic, Sapphic, and Ascle- 

58 'Modern Italian Poets: Jan. 

* piadean cothurnus,' as the author says, following Theophile 
Gautier's metaphor. Carducci calls them ' barbarous,' * because 
such they would seem to the ears and the judgment of a 

* Greek or a Roman, although comjiosed in the metrical forms 

* of their lyric poetry ; and such, alas ! they will sound to 

* only too many Italians, although composed with the har- 
' monies and accents of their own language.' He justifies his 
attempt by an ap])eal to the examples of Catullus and Horace, 
who introduced xEolian metres into the Roman literature ; 
to Dante, who enriched Tuscan poetry with Proven9al cMve 
rime; to Chiabrera and Rinuccini, who contributed to it 
several French strophes ; and he begs that that which in those 
great poets and those skilled versifiers was warmly praised, to 
him may be at least forgiven ; and finally, with a haughty 
humility, he asks pardon for not having despaired of the 
grand Italian lano-uao-e, and for havino^ believed himself 
capable of doing in his mother tongue that which so many 
German poets, from Klopstock downwards, have done in 
theirs. The Germans, it must be said, have been among the 
first and most appreciative critics of the ' Odi Barbare.' Some 
of these have had no less distinguished a translator than 
Mommsen, who has somewhere pronounced the judgment that 
the Italian poet and the Italian language have succeeded in 
the arduous eflfort to reproduce the ancient metres attempted, 
except in the Sapphic measiire. In this exception, however, 
we cannot coincide. Other German critics have written at 
length about Giosue Carducci, of whom none have displayed 
more sympathetic appreciation, more soundness of culture, 
and above all, more intimate knowledge of the spirit of Italian 
literature, than Carl Hildebrand. The ' Odi Barbare ' also 
have given occasion to more than one important article from, 
the pens of Italian critics. One of these, by Giuseppe 
Chiarini, entitled * I Critici e la Metrica delle Odi Barbare,' 
has been considered one of the most brilliant and erudite 
treatises of contemporary literature. 

But it is not necessary to possess an intimate knowledge of 
that very intricate subject, ancient lyrical metres, in order to 
read the ' Odi Barbare,' any more than a profound study of 
anatomy is requisite to appreciate a figure by Raphael. Of 
the thirteen odes, we prefer those entitled respectively, * Nella 

* Piazza di San Petronio in una Sera d'Inverno,' ' Mors,' 

* Alia Stazione in una Mattina d'Autunno,' and ' Alle Fonti 
' del Clitumno.' Perhaps the poem called ' Alia Stazione ' 
displays in a more remarkable degree than any of the others 
the potency of Carducci's imagination and his absolute 

1882. Cossa and Carducci. 59 

mastery of his materials. To write a description of a railway- 
station in the dim dawn of a wet autumn morning, with all 
the incidents belonging to the departure of a train ; to write 
it in a classic metre, and Avith classic sobriety of epithet ; and 
so to write it as to produce an impression of the most vivid 
and uncompromising reality in the mind of the reader, is, it 
must be admitted, an achievement of no trifling difficulty ; yet 
we believe that few readers will be disposed, after perusing 
this poem, to deny that Carducci has done this. The impres- 
sion of reality is obtained, not by heaping one upon another a 
tedious catalogue of objects or epithets, but by the unerring 
instinct (let the Avord pass !) of selection, which belongs to- 
great artists — and to great artists only. For example, this 
strophe, descriptive of the last moment when the lover, who 
has come to bid his mistress farewell, standing on the chill 
dreary platform of the station, all unutterably chill and dreary 
at that hour and season, hears and sees the final preparation 
for the departure of the train, is a marvel of concentrated de- 
scriptive poAver : 

' E gli sportelli, sbattiiti al chiudere, 
Paiono oltraggi : scherno par I'ultimo 
Appello die rapido suona ; 
Grossa scroscia su' vetri la pioggia.' 

And again, what modern poet has surpassed the following 
transfiguration of a railway engine ? To parallel it we must 
go to Turner's picture of the ' Fighting Temeraire : ' — 

' Gia il mostro conscio di sua metallica 
Anima, sbuffa, crolla, ansa ; i fiaiDmci 
Occhi sbarra ; iminane pel buio 
Gitta il fischio clie sfida lo spazio.' 

The same marvellous gift of seizins: on what is essential and 
distinctive in his picture, and rendering it Avith that force Avhich 
gives to words the gloAv of colour and the relief of sculpture, 
is displayed in the Ode to the Clitnmnus. Who that has ever 
beheld an Umbrian landscape will not have it conjured up 
once more in his mind's eye on reading the folloAving verses ? 

' Pensoso il padre, di caprine pelli 
Ravvolto 1' anche come i fauni antichi, 
Eegge il dipinto plaiistro, e la forza 
De' bei giovenchi, 

* De' bei giovenchi dal quadrate petto, 
Erti sul capo le lunate corna, 
Dolci ne gli occhi, rftivei, die il mite 
Vir";ilio amava. 

60 The Life of Mr. Cohden. Jan. 

' Oscure intanto fumano le nubi 
Su r apennino : grande, austera, verde 
Da le montagne digradanti in cerchio 
L' Umbria giiarda.' 

As if to shoAv how many and how varied chords there are to 
his lyre, the author adds to this collection of ' Odi Barbare ' 
a brief poem of extreme delicacy, which he calls ' Farewell,' 
and which he addresses ' To Rhyme ' — Rhyme, ' which glitters, 
' and sparkles, and bubbles up from the very heart of the 
* people ! ' — Rhyme, which sounds the great name of Roland 
at Roncesvalles, which rides Avith the Cid, and soars with 
Dante to the stars I 

' Cara e onor de' padri miei, 
Tu mi sei 

Come lor sacra e diletta. 
Ave, o rima ! e dammi un fiore 
Per 1' amore, 
E per V odio una saetta ! ' 

Hitherto neither the flower nor the dart has been denied to 

Art. III. — 1. The Life of Richard Cohden. By JoHN 
MoRLEY. In 2 vols. London: 1881. 

2. The Life and Speeches of the Right Hon. John Bright, M.P, 
By George Barnett Smith. In 2 vols. London: 1881. 

3. Free Trade loith France. Letters to the ' Times,' with 
an Introduction by Earl Grey, K.G. London: 1881. 

XT 1 STORY, as it is related by the best modern historians, 
concerns itself with facts rather than with men ; and 
busies itself in tracing the causes of events, instead of analysing 
the characters of the actors. Yet, in modern as in ancient 
history, attention will always be arrested by the simultaneous 
appearance of two great men on the political stage, whose lives 
are passed in constant rivalry. Such instances are familiar 
enough in the history of republics. In the present century, 
and in our own country, they have been furnished on three 
separate occasions. The rivalry of Fox and Pitt was suc- 
ceeded by the rivalry of Canning and Castlercagh ; after a long 
interval the rivalry of Canning and Castlercagh was succeeded 
by the rivalry of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Beaconsfield. 

A lifelong struggle between rival statesmen is thus a com- 
mon circumstance. A lifelong friendship among statesmen is 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 61 

a much rarer spectacle. With the solitary exception of Lord 
Russell, every minister Avho has filled the first place in the 
Cabinet for the last forty-seven years, on one occasion or 
another, broke from his old friends, and was forced into fresh 
alliances. An uninterrupted friendship among statesmen 
seems, therefore, almost as rare as an unbroken alliance among 
nations ; and the rarest spectacle which parliamentary govern- 
ment affords is that of two prominent politicians in constant 

Such a spectacle was afforded tAventy years ago by the two 
men whose biographies are novv before us. Mr. Morley tells 
us that, ' as Homer says of Nestor and Ulysses, so of these 

* two it may be said that they never spoke diversely either in 

* the assembly or in the council, but were always of one mind, 

* and together advised the English Avith understanding and 

* with counsel how all might be for the best.' He might have 
added that the friendship of Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden was 
more enduring than that of the Homei'ic heroes. When Troy 
fell, Nestor parted from Ulysses. No such result ensued when 
the citadel of Protection was taken. Only on two occasions 
of minor importance Avere the leaders of the Anti-Corn LaAv 
League found in opposite lobbies ; and, though they occa- 
sionally differed on the means by Avhich their political vicAvs 
could be best enforced, they continued to live, in ]\Ir. Cobden^s 
language, ' in the most transparent intimacy of mind that tAvo 

/ human beings ever enjoyed together.' 

It may be thought that there is something peculiarly appro- 
priate in the simultaneous appearance of the lives of tAVO 
men AA'ho enjoyed so close a friendship. But there is a 
broad distinction betAveen the circumstances under Avhich the 
two books before us haA'e been written. More than sixteen 
years have passed since Mr. Cobden died. Mr. Bright, we 
may hope, has still years of useful Avork before him. It is 
doubtful whether the life of a man Avho is still alive can be 
either fairly or fully Avritten. The most conscientious bio- 
grapher must be hampered by the reflection that his pages Avill 
be read by his hero. Praise under such circumstances degene- 
rates into flattery, and censure is too often degraded into 
abuse. Mr. Morley, even, Avriting of a period which has 
become historical, finds it frequently necessary to suppress a 
name. His conduct in doing so ought to Avarn less accom- 
plished authors of the difficulties of dealing Avith recent history. 
In making these observations, hoAvever. Ave are not ignorant 
that recent practice is opposed to us. In literature, as in every 
other article, the supply is created by \}iiQ demand; and any 

62 The Life of Mr. Cohdni. Jan. 

bookseller's catalogue may show how great is the demand Avhich 
writers like ISIr. Barnctt Smitli are anxious to satisfy. Histo- 
rians of our own times bring down their narratives to the day 
before yesterday. Prominent personages have their biographies 
told at unprecedented length, while the statesmen with whom 
they were in communication are still alive ; and Mr. Smiles 
ransacks the Highlands for living victims. In the presence of 
such facts as these we may be sure that the public appetite 
demands this kind of literature. We ought in justice to 
blame the public which makes the demand, and not the writers 
who supply it. We may even be thankful that the task should 
fall to one so industrious and careful as Mr. Barnett Smith. 
Having written so much, however, we must excuse ourselves 
from following his example. We have too much respect for 
Mr. Bright to speak of him, as we should wish to speak of him, 
in his presence ; and we shall use Mr. Barnett Smith's book, 
therefore, to illustrate the career of Mr. Cobden instead of 
availing ourselves of it to describe the character of Mr. Bright. 

Mr. Morley's Avork must be placed in another category. Its 
• author set out with many advantages. Mr. Cobden's corre- 
spondence was freely placed at his disposal. Mr. Cobden's 
closest friends, ]Mr. Bright and Sir Louis Mallet, rendered 
a hearty help. Mr. Morley himself is above the need of a 
compliment ; it is sufficient to say that he is perhaps the most 
capable exponent alive of the principles Avhich Mr. Cobden 
spent his life in enforcing. Under these circumstances, we 
opened his book with high expectations ; we closed it Avith the 
conviction that these expectations had been fulfilled. There 
are, of course, passages in it from which we differ ; there are 
one or two errors which we may indicate afterwards. But the 
■work is an admirable account of Mr. Cobden's career and 
opinions. Mr. Morley has been fortunate in his subject, and 
Mr. Cobden has been fortunate in his biographer. 

Kichard Cobden was born on June 3, 1804, at Dunford, 
within the boundaries of the little borough of Midhurst. There 
is reason to believe that his ancestors had lived in the neighbour- 
hood for generations. One Adamdc Coppedone (or Coppdene, 
as iSIr. Morley spells it) was returned to Parliament for the 
neighbouring borough of Chichester inA.D. 1313 (not 1314, as 
Mr. Morley Avrites), and traces of the Coppedone or Cobden 
family are found again in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, 
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. These traces apparently 
imply that its members had been once men of substance. In 
recent times — as Lord Beaconsfield made Job Thornberry say 
of them in ' Endymion ' — ' They had done about as well as 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cobden. - 63 

* their stock; they had existed, nothing more.' On the death 
of Mr. Cobden's grandfather, in 1809, tlic little estate of 
Dunford was sold, and Mi\ Cobden's father removed to a 
small farm in the neighbourhood. For a short period the 
high prices which war produced enabled him to support his 
family. The fall of prices which ensued on a prospect of peace 
involved hun in ruin. Mr. Cobden removed to Westmeon, 
near Alton. His relations had the generosity to provide for 
his large family of eleven or twelve children. 

Young Cobden, the future statesman, was then a boy of 
ten. He was sent by an uncle to a Yorkshire school. He 
' remained for five years, a grim and desolate time,' in this 
establishment, where he was ^ ill-fed, ill-taught, ill-used.' 
During the whole of this period he never saw parent or friend, 
while, once a quarter, he was required to thank his parents 
for placing him in so advantageous an institution. Happily 
for the boy, his poverty brought ' this cruel and disgusting 
' mockery of an education ' to an early end. In 1819, when 
he was fifteen years old, he was admitted into his uncle's ware- 
house in London. Even here things did not run smoothly. 
His uncle and aunt '^inflicted rather than bestowed their 
^ bounties;' and they objected to the studies which the boy 
pursued in his leisure hours. Fortunately their censure did 
not divert him from his books. He found means of access, as 
we learn from a short biography of him by Mr. Henry Richard, 
to the well-filled shelves of the London Institution, while his 
assiduity in the counting-house gradually reconciled his em- 
ployers to the literary pursuits Avhich occupied his leisure. 

Thus employed, the boy grew into the man. When he was 
twenty-one years of age his mother died. Mr. Cobden had been 
a good son. He had spent every holiday at Westmeon ; he had 
devoted his little earnings to relieve the shabby poverty of the 
Westmeon home. But he could hardly be expected to feel 
acutely his mother's death. He had been separated from her 
ever since he was ten years of age, and the chief link between 
them was only held by memory. The livelier occupation, too, 
which he obtained at the time would perhaps have distracted his 
thoughts from a graver sorrow. He became a traveller for his 
uncle's firm, and "in the next few months visited Scotland and 
Ireland. Travel increases the knowledge and enlightens the 
mind. Mr. Cobden, imbued with ' an insatiable desire to know 

* the affairs of the world,' found amidst his ordinary avocations 
opportunities of increasing his information. What is more to 
our present purpose, he proved himself acute in his observa- 
tions and graphic in his descriptions. His account of the Irish 

64 The Life of Mr. Cohdcn. Jan. 

people might have been incorporated with advantage in a 
political pamphlet ; his description of the captain of the steamer 
in which he crossed from Donaghadee to Port Patrick is as 
humorous as a page of Dickens. 

The freer life which Mr. Cobden thus enjoyed was soon 
interrupted. His uncle's house fell in the storm which swept 
over the financial world in 1825-6, and Mr. Cobden for more 
than half a year lived a life of enforced idleness. In Septem- 
ber 1826 one of his former employers resumed business, and 
at once re-engaged his old traveller. Two years afterwards, 
in partnership with two friends, he commenced business on his 
own account, selling goods on commission. The new venture 
was singularly successful. In three years' time Mr, Cobden 
was enjoying an income of 800/. a year. He was on the eve, 
however, of a more important success. In 1831 Lord Althorp 
repealed the heavy excise duty which a former generation had 
imposed, to encourage the Avoollen trade, on printed calicoes. 
Mr. Cobden and his partners foresaw the stimulus which 
would be given to the trade by the repeal of the duty, and 
decided, instead of selling other people's goods, to print their 
own calicoes in future.* They acquired for the purpose a fac- 
tory at Sabden, in that beautiful district of Lancashire where 
the Calder rolls its tributary waters — black now with a hundred 
pollutions — into the Kibble. Prosperity attended the fresh 
venture ; and, success stimulating development, the firm opened 
a branch at Manchester. Two of the partners conducted the 
London business ; one superintended the Sabden works. Mr. 
Cobden himself resided at Manchester. 

In the midst of his business he found time for other work. 
As a boy in his uncle's office he had mastered French in his 
leisure hours ; in Manchester he studied mathematics and 
Latin. He was as zealous for the education of his neighbours 
as for his own. He commenced his career as an agitator by 
advocating the formation of a school at Sabden ; he commenced 
his career as a politician by contributing some articles to the 
' Manchester Times.' In search of designs for his business he 
visited Paris in 1833; he extended a similar journey, under- 
taken in 1834, to Switzerland. With a mind enlarged by 
travel and study, he addressed himself, in 1835, to the compo- 
sition of his first important pamphlet, ' England, Ireland, and 

* This is Mr. Morley's account (i. 18), but it is not quite consistent 
with a letter (ii. 363) in -which Mr. Cobden says that he was one of a 
deputation of calico printers whicli urged on the Government the 
repeal of the excise dut}' on prints. 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 65 

* America.' Mr. Morley traces the publication of tliis pamphlet 
to the profound views of government which, he thinks, Mr. 
Cobden had at that time formed. We, on the contrary, arc 
inclined to regai'd it as a protest against Lord Palmerston's 
foreign policy. Lord Pahnerston, it must be recollected, com- 
menced, in the summer of 1834, the career of active interven- 
tion which distinguished his subsequent administration of the 
Foreign Office. Long afterwards Mr. Cobden himself wrote 
that the pamphlet contained many crude details which he would 
not have printed at a later time, but that it laid down three 
broad propositions on Avhich he had never changed his opinion. 
' They were, first, that the great curse of our policy has been 
' our love of intervention in foreign politics ; secondly, that our 
' greatest home difficulty is Ireland ; and, thirdly, that the 
' United States is the great economical rival which Avill rule 
' the destiny of England.' It would be impossible to give a 
more accurate idea than this sentence affords of Mr. Cobden's 
general conceptions of policy. 

Mr. Cobden's pamphlet passed through several editions, and 
the author, stimulated by his success, longed to visit the Trans- 
atlantic Republic which he foresaw was to become the rival 
of his own country. He persuaded his partners to consent to 
his absence, and he left England for the purpose on May 1, 
returning in the middle of August 1835. Mr. Morley might 
have pointed out, as a striking example of the benefits which 
steam has conferred upon mankind, that, though Mr. Cobden 
was absent for more than a hundred days, only thirty-seven 
of them were passed in America. Nearly two days out of every 
three were occupied with the voyages. Mr. Cobden found time 
in his rapid tour to visit all the Eastern States, to penetrate to 
the Mis'sissippi Valley, and to see Niagara. The fertility and 
extent of the great Mississippi Valley made the same profound 
impression upon him as on M. de Tocqueville, and Mr. Cob- 
den's account of it reads like an extract from one of the earlier 
chapters of the ' Democratic en Amerique.' But * the great 
* glory of the American continent ' was Niagara, and Mr. Cob- 
den afterwards alluded to the Falls in a really fine sentence : 
' Nature has the sublimity of rest, and the sublimity of motion. 
' The sublimity of rest is in the great snow mountains ; the 
' sublimity of motion is in Niagara.' 

After his return to England, in August 1835, Mr. Cobden 
remained at home for fourteen months. He found time, amidst 
his ordinary duties, to follow up his first political pamphlet 
with a second on Russia. The new pamphlet, like the former 
one, was suggested by the state of affairs at the time of its 


66 The Life oj Mr. Cohdni. Jan. 

publication. Mr. Urquliart -was stimulating public feeling 
ao-ainst Russia ; Lord Palnierston was supporting him in Con- 
stantinople ; Tories and Kadicals in Parliament -were indignant 
at the advance of Kussia in Asia, and on the shores of Cir- 
cassia ; and at the meetings of the Russian, Prussian, and 
Austrian sovereigns, and the occupation of Cracow ; and 
England seemed on the eve of embarking on a crusade to 
support Poland and Turkey against Russia. It was amidst 
this clamour that Mr. Cobden undertook to prove that Eng- 
land had only a remote interest in Eastern Europe, and that 
she could not possibly be served by maintaining a power which 
had not constructed ' one furlong of canal or navigable stream 
* in three hundred years.' The true danger to English supre- 
macy, he repeated, did not lie in the advance of Russia, but in 
the progress of America. The true method by Avhich England 
could maintain her position was by refraining from costly 
interventions, and developing her own trade. In his first 
pamphlet he had proposed the repeal of the Corn Laws, and 
advocated the imposition of a moderate fixed duty — probably 
2.?. a quarter — on corn. In his second pamphlet he held up 
Pitt's commercial treaty Avith France as an example to diplo- 
macy. In the one he thus sounded the first note of the struggle 
which he was almost immediately to commence ; in the other he 
defended by anticipation the chief labour of his closing years. 

In the autumn of 1836 Mr. Cobden's health o-ave Avav, and 
his medical advisers recommended him to pass the winter in a 
warmer climate. In accordance with their recommendations, he 
visited Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt — where he had 
an interview with Mehemet Ali — Scio, Constantinople, Smyrna, 
and Athens. Mr. Morley publishes a few extracts from Mr. 
Cobden's letters and his diary during this tour ; but these 
extracts give us a keen desire for more. Whatever opinion 
may be formed of Mr. Cobden's political views, there can be 
only one judgment on the purity of his style and the vigour 
and humour of his descriptions. We advise all our readers to 
read for themselves his account of his voyage up the Nile and 
of his interview with Mehemet Ali. 

We have dwelt at considerable length on these passages in 
Mr. Cobden's earlier life, because they in some measure explain 
his later career. The education which most public men receive 
at school or at college iSIr. Cobden acquired in the countino-- 
housc, in travel, or in his own study. Soon after his return 
from the East, William IV. died; Parliament was dissolved ; 
and jNIr. Cobden was proposed as member for Stockport. He 

i882. The Life of Mr. Cohdau 67 

was beaten at the poll, and obtained in consequence a little 
leisure for attending to his OAvn business. Everything was 
o'oing well Avitli him. The capital of tlie firm had grown to 
80,000/. ; the net jn'ofits had in one year exceeded 20,000/. ; 
and Mr. Cobden could fairly look forward to devoting an 
increasing portion of his time to the political questions in 
which his interest was constantly increasing. In 1838 he 
threw himself into the struggle for obtaining a charter of incor- 
poration for Manchester; in 1839 he separated from his old 
partners, and embarked with his elder brother, Frederick, in a 
separate business; and in 1840 'he took another momentous 

* step in marrying Miss Catherine Anne Williams, a young 

* Welsh lady, whose acquaintance he had made as a school 

* friend of one of his sisters.' At the general election in the 
following year he retrieved his former failure, and was returned 
for Stockport. His career had up to this point been one of almost 
continuous prosperity. If he had achieved no great political 
distinction, he had fortune, happiness, and friends. He was 
on the eve of the greatest political struggle and of the greatest 
political victory of the century ; but it may be doubted whether 
be ever afterwards knew happiness without an alloy. 

x7o complete picture has yet been painted of the unhappy 
period which commenced soon after the commencement of the 
present reign, and terminated with the repeal of the Corn 
Laws in 1846. The reader Avho desires to understand it, and 
who has not patience to wade through a mass of Blue Book 
literature, should compare the accounts of it by Mr. Carlyle 
in ' Chartism,' by Lord Beaconsfield in ' Sybil,' and by Mrs. 
Gaskell in ' Mary Barton.' It is sufficient here to say that in 
the middle of this period the condition of the people of England 
was probably more deplorable than it had ever been before, or 
than it has ever been since. Kelatively to the population, 
there were more paupers and more criminals than at any other 
period of our history. The working classes, maddened by 
distress, were organised as Chartists or as Socialists. In the 
course of three years the expenditure exceeded the revenue by 
about 5,000,000/. ; trade was everywhere stagnant ; agricul- 
ture was evei'ywhere suffering, and a nation of workmen was 
idle because no man had hired them. The central fact which 
engaged the attention of every thoughtful man was the condition 
of the people. Humane persons, like the present Lord Shaftes- 
bury, desired to amend it by regulating factory labour ; free- 
traders, like Mr. Cobden, desired to amend it by giving the 
people cheap bread. Mr. Trevelyan's readers vrill recollect 

68 The Life of Mr. Cohden. Jn 


tlie vigorous argument Avith which Macaulay met the objectors 
to a Ten Hours' Bill: — 

' You try to frighten us by telling us that, in some German fac- 
tories, the young work seventeen hours in the twenty-four ; that they 
•work so hard tliat among thousands tliere is not one who groAvs to such 
a stature that he can be admitted into the army ; and you ask whether, 
if we pass this Bill, w^e can possibly hold our own against such compe- 
tition as this. Sir, I laugh at the thought of such competition. If ever 
we are forced to yield the foremost place among commercial nations, we 
shall yield it, not to a race of degenerate dwarfs, but to some people 
pre-eminently vigorous in body and mind.' 

But ]\Ir. Cobdcn used exactly the same argument for urging 
Corn Law repeal : — 

' I will tell the House that, by deteriorating the population, they will 
run the risk of spoiling not merely the animal but the intellectual 
creature. It is not a potato-fed race that will ever lead the way iu 
arts, arms, or commerce.' 

A small group of politicians had already advocated the 
repeal of the Corn Laws. ' In 183G an Anti-Corn Law 
' association had been formed In London : ' but the cause made 
no progress. ' The free-traders,' Lord Sydenham said with a 
pang, ' have never been orators since Pitt's early da vs. We 
' hammered away with facts and figures and some arguments,. 
' but we could not elevate the subject.' At the end of ISSS' 
seven men met at an hotel in Manchester, and formed a ncAv 
Anti-Corn LaAV Association. They were speedily joined by 
Cobden, who soon infused his OAvn energy into their delibera- 
tions. ' Let us,' he said at one of their earliest meetings, 
* Invest part of our property, in order to save the rest from con- 
' fiscation.' AVitliin a month 6,000/. avus subscribed in response 
to his rtppeal, and the Association avowed its determination, 
' by all legal and constitutional means,' to obtain the total and 
immediate repeal of the Corn Laws. Its members were san- 
guine enough to imagine that tlieir jictltions, jn-esented by the 
hundred at a time, would exert, a powerful influence on the 
House of Commons. They soon discovered their error. One 
noble lord told them that they could overturn the monarchy 
as easily as they could upset the C(u-n Laws. The Prime 
Minister made the memorable declaration that the states- 
man Avho repealed them Avould be ' woi-se than mad,' Sir 
•Taiues Graham declared that, if the Corn Laws were rejicaled, 
JCngland Avould be the last country wiiicli he should wish to 
inhabit; and jMr, Villiers, who, on two separate occasions, 
raised great debates on the subject, was beaten by large 

18S2. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 69 

This preliminary struggle convinced Mr. Cobden that 
strenuous efforts were necessary to ensure success. He had 
familiarised himself with the organisation of associations ; he 
had described the machinery of agitation in his earliest 
])amphlet ; he had subscribed to O'Counell's ' Rent,' and he 
now threw all his energies into the task of dispelling what he 
once called the 'opaque ignorance' of the English people. 
The Anti-Corn Law Association became the Anti-Corn Law 
League; the Anti-Corn Law League published the ' Anti- 
' Corn Law Circular ; ' and lecturers, often the objects of abuse 
nnd violence, were sent round the country to educate the 
people. But organisation, in the first instance, produced no 
appreciable effect. The majority against Mr. Villiers's motion 
in 1840 was almost as large as the majority in 1839. In 
1841, indeed, the Whig Government made the memorable 
proposal for a fixed duty on corn. But this, the last resource 
of a falling Ministry, did not encourage the free-traders. It 
was universally felt that the new policy was dictated by the 
necessities of the Cabinet. The general election, which imme- 
diately succeeded, placed the Whigs in a helpless minority, 
and the Conservatives, supported by protectionists, entered 

At that time corn was admissible under a duty which rose 
nnd fell with every variation in the price. When the price of 
^vheat was 735. a quarter, foreign wheat was admissible on a 1^. 
duty ; but, as the price fell, the duty rose. When the price was 
at 60.<?., the duty rose to 275. %d. ; when the price fell to 50.9., 
the duty rose to 36^. 8^/. Sir Robert Peel retained a sliding 
scale varying with the price of corn ; but he threw away half 
the protection which the agriculturists had previously enjoyed. 
When the price of wheat was 73^., he retained the \s. duty ; 
but the duty rose only to 125. when the price fell to 6O5. ; it 
Tose to only 20^. when the price fell to 505. This measure 
was the first of the great proposals which Sir Robert Peel 
brought forward in 1842. In the same session he remodelled 
the import duties. Mr. Morley says, in an obscure sentence, 
that he reduced the duties on raw materials to ' an almost 
* nominal amount,' and on half-manufactured articles ' to a 
^ nominal amount.' What Sir Robert Peel really did was to 
provide that the duties on raw materials should not as a general 
rule exceed 5 per cent, of their value ; that the duties on partly 
manufactured articles should not exceed 12 per cent. ; and that 
the duties on manufactured articles should not exceed 20 per 
cent. To provide for the loss from these alterations and from 
concurrent changes in the timber and sugar duties, as Avell as 

70 The Life of Mr. Cohdcn. Jan. 

to terminate the embarrassing deficits of the previous years, he 
im]iosed an income tax of 7f/. in the pound. 

These measures constituted the greatest advance towards 
Tree Trade that had been made in England for two liundred 
years. They ought — so it seems to us— to have received Mr. 
Cobden's support. He was under no obligations to the 
Whigs ; he proved himself afterwards a warm advocate of 
direct taxation, and he had every right to be satisfied Avith a 
concession Avhich gave up to him more than one half of the 
cause for which he was struggling. But the measures, on the 
contrary, encovuitered his strenuous opposition. He resisted 
the income tax, he denounced the new Corn Law as * an 

* insult to a suffering people ; ' he had persuaded himself that 
the w^alls of Protection Avould fall down before the first blast 
of his trumpet in Parliament, and he complained that the 
iSIinistry had not surrendered the citadel, instead of rejoicing 
over its abandonment of the approaches. 

Thus thinking, he stimulated the League to new agitation. 
It had already expended 25,000/. ; it decided on spending 
oO,OOOZ. in the next twelve months. ' The staff of lecturers 

* was again despatched on its missionary errand. To each 

* elector in the kingdom was sent a little library of tracts." 
In the autumn of 1842 Mr. Cobden converted Scotland to 
free-trade principles ; in the spring of 1843 London was 
startled by the first of the many meetings held at Drury Lane 
Theatre ; Tories and country gentlemen were astounded and 
alarmed at the organisation of" the League ; the ' Quarterly 

* Review ' denounced it as ' the foulest, the most selfisli, and 

* altogether perhaps the most dangerous combination of recent 

* times ; ' ^ and the Ministry was invited in Parliament ^ 
promise that it would suppress assemblages * collected together 
' and addressed by demagogues in inflammatory language.' 

The Minister Avas not moved by the clamour around him. 
He had taken his stand on the great measures of 1842, and he 
calmly aAvaited the result of his policy. He declined, on the 
one hand, to suppress the League; he refused, on the other, 
to adopt the League's programme. One thing, moreover, 
gave him confidence in his j)osition. Trade, Avhich had stag- 
nated for seven years, showed symptoms of healthier activity 
in the spring of 1843. As the summer advanced the demand 
for labour increased, and the jNlinister had a right to hope that 
agitation would expire as prosperity returned. In this expec- 
tation, however, he overlooked one factor. The speakers of 

* The passage is in the ' Quarterly Review,' vol. Ixxi. p. 244. 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cobden. 71 

the League had hitherto fought the battle of the consumer ; 
the consumer, under the combined influences of higher wages 
and cheaper corn, Avas becoming a more languid agitator. 
But the prosperity which the community Avas enjoying had 
not reached the agricultural classes ; farmers and labourers 
were still suffering from a prolonged agricultural depression : 
their discontent made them fit objects for a zealous missionary 
effort, and the managers of the League accordingly decided to 
penetrate the stronghold of Toryism, and attempt the con- 
version of the agricultural classes. In the new campaign 
Mr. Cobden was still the chief apostle of Free Trade ; but he 
received effectual assistance from the co-operation of Mr. 

Mr. Bright, like Mr. Cobden, was sprung from the people. 
In one of his earlier speeches he said of himself, ' I am a 
' working man as much as you. My father was as poor as 
* any man in this crowd. He boasts not — nor do I — of birth, 
' nor of great family distinctions. What he has made, he has 
' made by his own industry.' Sprung from the people, Mr. 
Bright had reflected deeply on the causes of the people's 
suffering. He had denounced -'the odious Corn Law,' and 
he was one of the first members of the Anti-Corn Law Asso- 
ciation. He has himself told the story of his own summons 
to be the Apostle of Free Trade ; often as it has been told, it 
will bear the retelling : — 

' On the day when Mr. Cobden called on me (in the autumn of 
1841) I was in the depth o£ grief. All that was left on earth of my 
young wife, except the memory of a sainted life and a too brief happi- 
ness, Avas lying stiff and cold in the chamber above us. Mr. Cobden 
called on me as my friend, and addressed me, as you might suppose, 
with words of condolence. After a time he looked up and said, 
<' There are thousands of houses in England where Avives, mothers, and 
children are dying of hunger. Noav, Avlien the first paroxysm of your 
grief is past, I advise you to come Avith me, and Ave Avill never rest 
till the Corn LaAV is repealed." ' 

Mr. Bright had already stood at Mr. Cobden's right hand 
during the agitation of 1842. He had been elected for Durham 
in the summer of 1843. He threw himself into the agricul- 
tural campaign Avhich Mr. Cobden initiated. The two friends, 
with other zealous emissaries, attended meetings in agricul- 
tural districts, explained the principles of Free Trade, and 
beat the landlords, in Mr. Cobden's phrase, ' on their OAvn 
' dunghill' Country gentlemen, like the late Sir John 
Tyrrell, A^d^o had the hardihood to meet the agitators, fled 
discomfited from the encounter. It was obvious that it Avas 

72 The Life of Mr. C oh den. Jan. 

no longer possible to ignore the League. The ' Times ' de- 
clared that ' it Avas a great fact ; ' Mr. Carlyle declared in 
' Past and Present ' that ' if he were the Conservative party, 

* he -would not for a hundred thousand pounds an hour .allow 

* the Corn LaAVS to continue ; ' while Mr. Cobden himself, fol- 
lowing up the victory Avhich he had achieved in rural England, 
asked the House in 1844, and again in 1845, to appoint 
Committees to enquire into the effect of the Corn Laws on 

The speech Avhicli jNIr. Cobden delivered on the last of 
these two occasions Avas the most successful he ever made. 
Sir Robert Peel himself felt its poAver. ' His face grew more 
' and more solemn as the argument proceeded. At length ' — 
so Avrites Mr. Morley — 'he crumpled up the notes AAdiich he 
' had been taking, and Avas heard by an onlooker, Avho Avas 

* close by, to say to Mr. Sidney Herbert, Avho sat next liim 

* on the i3ench, " You must answer this, for /cannot." ' The 
story receives some confirmation from the circumstance that 
Mr. Sidney Herbert did rise to answer the speech. But Ave 
do not think that Mr. Morley's version of it is correct. Sir 
Robert Peel Avas the last Minister Avho Avould have delegated 
to a subordinate a task for A\'hich he felt himself unequal. 
We believe that AA'hat did occur is stated more accurately by 
the late Mr. W. R. Greg.* The Tories, while Mr. Cobden 
Avas speaking, asked, ' Why does not Peel ansAver this ? ' and 
Peel murmured audibly, ' Those may ansAver him aa^io can.' 

In truth, the success of his OAvn measures had con\^erted Sir 
Robert Peel to a policy of Free Trade. Tlie country had 
prospered under the freer system which he had himself insti- 
tuted ; good Aveathcr had accelerated the improA'ement, and 
abundant harvests had reduced the price of wheat from 65.?. 
to 45^. a quarter. In 1842 Sir Robert Peel had thought that 
the rate of Avages Avould fall Avith the price of food. In the 
next three years the price of food fell and the rate of Avages 
rose. A Avorking man of Oldham, Avhom Mr. Cobden once 
quoted, explained the matter clearly enough : — ' When pro- 
' visions are high the people have so much to pay for them 

* that they have little or nothing left to buy clothes AA'ith ; 

* and Avhen they have little to buy clothes AA'ith, few clothes 
' are sold ; and Avhen there are fcAv clothes sold, there are 

* too many to sell ; and Avhen there are too many to sell, 
' they are very cheap ; and Avhen they are very cheap, there 
' cannot be much paid for making them.' But, Avhen pro- 

* Essnys on Political and Social Science, ii. 356. 

1882. The Life of 31r. Cohden. 73 

visions are cheap, the working man buys more clothes, ' and 

* that increases the demand for them, and the greater demand 

* makes them rise in price, and the rising in price enables the 

* working man to get higher wages.' In 1845 Sir liobert 
Peel had adopted the view of the Oldham working man. 
Staunch Tories saw that they could not trust their leader to 
fight the battle of Protection ; the late Sir E. KnatchbuU 
retired from the Cabinet ; and Mr. Disraeli redoubled (not 
opened, as Mr. Morley writes) ' the raking fire ' with which he 
had assailed the Minister in 1843 and 1844. 

Though, however, the experience of three years had altered 
Sir Kobert Peel's opinions, the change would not, under 
ordinary circumstances, have induced him to modify his policy. 
If the country had continued to prosper, free trade in corn 
would not have been carried in 1846. It was the failure of 
the potato crop, and not the conversion of Sir Robert Peel, 
which was the immediate cause of Free Trade. The Minister 
saw that the failure of a crop, which was the sole food of six 
millions of people, must produce famine ; that famine must 
necessitate the opening of the ports ; and he felt that, if the 
ports were once opened, he had no arguments to justify 
reclosing them. The old arguments for Protection, which had 
apparently rung truly enough in 1842, sounded dull, like false 
metal, in 1845. He summoned the Cabinet, and stated his 
difficulties in November. A council of Avar never fights : the 
Cabinet adjourned for a month. The crisis, which had looked 
ffrave enouo-h at the besrinnino;, looked much more grave at 
the close of the month. Lord John Russell, adoptmg Mr. 
Cobden's principles, declared the Corn Laws ' the blight of 

* commerce and the bane of agriculture.' Sir Robert Peel 
formally insisted on the modification of the whole policy of 
Protection ; and, as he failed to secure the support of a united 
Cabinet, resigned his office. 

According to Sir Theodore Martin, Lord Grey desired that 
Mr. Cobden should fill a place in the Cabinet which Lord John 
Russell then attempted to form. Mr. Morley merely records 
that Mr. Cobden was oflTered the Vice-Presidency of the 
Board of Trade. On the day, however, on which the offer 
was made, the attempt of Lord John Russell to form a 
Ministry failed ; Sir Robert Peel almost immediately returned 
to office ; Parliament was assembled, and the protracted debates 
commenced which ultimately resulted in the triumph of Free 
Trade, and in the defeat and fall of the Minister Avho 
carried it. 

In the long struggle which thus took place, the Protection- 

74 The Life of Mr. Cohdcn. Jan. 

ists used the arguments of the seventeenth and the tactics of 
the nineteentli century. Tliey resorted to the old fallacies 
Avhichhad passed current in the days of Davenant; they orga- 
nised obstruction with a success which Mr. Parnell might 
envy.* The best help which a free-trader could give to the 
Ministr}'' was, to remain silent and save time ; and Mr. 
Cobdcn, on the whole, preserved silence throughout the debates 
of 1846. When, however, the fall of Sir Kobert Peel Avas 
imminent, Mr. Cobden preserved his silence no longer. He 
wrote to Sir Robert Peel, urged him to dissolve the Parlia- 
ment, and, placing himself at the head of a progressive party, 
appeal to the country, Avhich approved his ])olicy. Sir Kobert 
Peel rejected Mr. Cobden's advice in a letter which will 
perhaps be read with more interest than any other document 
which Mr. Morley has published. He took the opportunity 
five days afterwards of publicly attributing the victory of Free 
Trade to ' the pure and disinterested motives, the untiring 
* energy of Richard Cobden ; ' and so, giving the credit to 
another, the great Minister descended from office, while the 
great agitator found himself, for the first time for seven years, 
free to devote his whole energy to his own aifairs. 

It was high time for Mr. Cobden to examine the state of his 
own business. Since his partnership with his brother Frederick 
everything had gone wrong in it. In 1845, he was obliged to 
obtain the temporary assistance of a small loan to stave ofl* his 
immediate embarrassments. He made up his mind to leave 
Parliament and abandon public business, as the only possible 
method of avoiding ruin. Nothing but the generous assistance 
which he obtained from Mr. Bright and some other friends 
diverted him from his intention. But the help Avhich thus 
enabled him to continue at his post only postponed the crisis 
which Avas constantly imminent. The anxiety which per- 
petually harassed him told on his health : a cold caught in 
the winter of 1845-6 attacked both throat and ear. The 
prostration from which he subsequently suffered convinced 
him hoAv much his constitution had ' been impaired by the 
' excitement and wear and tear of the last few years.' He had 
the satisfaction in June of witnessing the completion of his 
own political triumph, but he retired from the contest an 
enfeebled and a ruined man. 

* Mr. Disraeli, in his 'Life of Lord G. Bentinck,' writes that 
Lord George ' devoted all his energies to the maintenance of the dead- 
* lock,' i.e. the paralysis o£ Parliamentary business from obstruction. 
(P. 202.) 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 75 

Mr. Cobden's friends, however, had no intention to desert 
their leader in the hour of his victory. A sum of money was 
at once subscribed in testimony of the exertions of the League. 
A small portion of it was invested in the purchase of a library 
and a bookcase, which were presented to Mr. Bright. A much 
larger sum of 75,OOOZ. or 80,000/. was given to Mr. Cobden. 
No fair critic will complain that Mr. Cobden should liave 
allowed a generous public to repair his wasted fortune by a 
national subscription. Mr. Cobden's own outspoken defence 
of himself at Aylesbury, in 1850 — ' I say that no warrior 

* duke, who owns a vast domain by the vote of the Imperial 
' Parliament, holds his property by a more honourable title 

* than that by which I possess mine ' — disposes once for all of 
the matter. But there is no arguing Avith a sentiment, and 
the sentiment of the British people is opposed to subscriptions 
of this character. Mr. Cobden suffered in the public estimation, 
as Burke and Pitt had suffered before him, from his embarrass- 
ments ; he suffered, as Grattan had suffered before him, from 
the munificence of the reward which he received. 

The subscription, however, made Mr. Cobden a free man ; 
and, in company Avith his wife, he left England, and sought in 
more genial climates to repair his broken health. His progress 
Avas one continuous triumph, and the greatest men in Europe 
courted the agitator Avho had forced the British Parliament to 
repeal the Corn LaAVS. He returned to England, after fourteen 
months' absence, in October 1847 ; he took his seat in the 
beginning of 1848 as member for the West Riding of York- 
shire. For the next three years he busily advocated retrench- 
ment. He Avas the teller of ' a miserable minority ' of 38 
(not 328, as Mr. Morley Avrites), on a motion for the reduction 
of the Navy Estimates. He published a ' National Budget for 
' Financial Reformers to Avork up to,' which reduced the Army 
and Navy estimates from 18,500,000/. to 10,000,000/. But 
he failed to make any impression on public opinion. He even 
differed from Mr. Bright on the course which should be pur- 
sued. Mr. Cobden Avished to form a ncAv ' League for promoting 
' financial reform. Mr. Bright insisted that no object was worth 
' a real and great effort, short of a thorough reform in Parlia- 
' ment.' Mr!! Bright believed in large additions to the electors. 
Mr. Cobden, misled by the success of an experiment in 1845, 
suggested the Avholesale manufacture of 40^. freeholders. The 
spectacle of a great agitator creating faggot votes is not exhi- 
larating, and no surprise need be felt that the new movement 
excited little enthusiasm. There Avas no breeze from without to 
swell the sails ; the pilots in charge suggested contrary courses. 

76 The Life of Mr. Cuhdcn. Jan. 

and the vessel of lieform drifted no one knew -whither on a 
trackless ocean. 

INIovenients, however, were already in force Avhich were to 
give Mr. Cobden the impvdse which he required. In the 
summer of 1849, the friends of j)eace met in congress in Paris, 
and jNIr. Cobden joined them. In the next few months, Lord 
Palmerston jnished his system of intervention to an extreme 
by despatching a fleet to Athens for the sake of obtaining 
compensation ibr Don Pacifico. Mr. Cobden, who had begun 
the year by declaring that he could die happy if he * could feel 

* the satisfaction of having in some degree contributed to the 
"' partial disarmament of the world,' was convinced before the 
close of it that disarmament could only be secured by a radical 
alteration of foreign policy. The force of cii'cumstances drove 
him back into the position which he had commenced his career 
by supporting ; and the rest of his life Avas mainly devoted to 
a vigorous assault upon the system of foreign policy whicii is 
identified with the name of Lord Palmerston. 

A rapid succession of events in France, which commenced 
with the publication of a pamphlet on the French Navy by 
the Prince de Joinville, and which culminated in the election 
of Napoleon as Emperor, had convinced many people that war 
must ultimately ensue between France and England. This 
country in 1852-3 was flooded with panic literature ; to quote 
Mr. Cobden's own words, * the militia Avas preparing for duty ; 
' the coasts and dockyards were being fortified ; the navy, 

* army, and artillery were all in course of augmentation ; and 

* the latest paragraph of news from the Continent was that 

* our neiglibours on the other side of the Channel were prac- 

* tising the embarkation and disembarkation of troops by night.'* 
This panic, Mr. Cobden set himself to stem by voice and pen. 
The chief speech which he made for the purpose may be 
read in the second volume of his collected Speeches. But the 
pamphlet which he published with the same view Avill repay 
perusal better than the S])eech. In this pamphlet, ' 1793 ' (not 
1792, as Mr. INIorley writes), ' and 1853,' Mr. Cobden ex- 
amined the causes of the great war, and contrasted the circum- 
stances of 1793 with tliose of his own time. France, he 
argued, was not responsible for the old Avar, Avhich Avas forced 
on her by the conduct of the English nation and of the English 
people. France, lie contended, no more desired Avar in 1853 
than she had wished for it in 1793 ; and the panic Avhich 

* Tills extract is from Sir. Cobden's last pamphlet, * The Three 
•* Panics,' Political Writings, vol. ii. p. 209. 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 77 

Agitated England was due to ignorance of what was passino' 
in France. The success of the pamphlet was extraordinary. 
The ' Times ' reprinted it in extenso ; * the Peace Society 
circulated 50,000 copies ; and it was translated into many 
languages, and was read by hundreds of thousands of people. 
By one of those singular revolutions, however, Avhich occasion- 
ally happen, the cause Avhich had inspired it was removed soon 
after its publication. French and English, instead of pre- 
jiaring for conflict with each other, entered a new war as close 
allies ; and the panic Avhicli Englishmen had endui'ed waa 
forgotten under the excitement of a new campaign. 

We have no intention of attempting in this article to unravel 
the causes of the Crimean War. Whether Lord Aberdeen 
was right in telling Mr. Cobden that the press forced the 
Government into war ; whether Mr. Cobden was right in 
assuming that Lord Aberdeen was forced into the war against 
his own conviction, and at the dictation of others ; whether Mr. 
Gladstone lent himself to the delusion that people could be 
indulged with a cheap war — these are questions that we can 
no more determine here than we can attempt to consider 
whether the Peace Society, by propagating the opinion that 
England would not fight, encouraged the Emperor Nicholas to 
push matters to an extreme. Here we must be content to 
notice the effect of the war on Mr. Cobden's own position. 
He and Mr. Bright ' had lived on opinion, they had placed 
' their Avhole heart in it, they had won their great victory by 
' it. This divinity now proved as false an idol as the rest. . . . 
' Mr. Bright was burnt in effigy. Mr. Cobden, at a meeting 
' of his own constituency . . . saw resolutions carried against 
' him.' The country refused to listen to their arguments 
against the Crimean War, because, as Mr. Kinglake pointed 
out, they were known to be against almost all war. Yet the 
two friends, though they had become the most unpopular men 
in England, maintained their own principles with a firmness 
and ability which ought to have commanded the approbation 
even of their opponents. The greatest oratorical efforts w^hicli 
Mr. Bright ever made were made in the cause of peace. His first 
serious illness was due to these exertions. Mr. Cobden was 
almost equally energetic. He was ready with a protest when 
Lord Palmerston thought proper to describe Mr. Bright as the 
Honourable and Peverend Gentleman. In the summer of 
1855 he made one of his most forcible speeches on the failure 

* The pamphlet would occupy from ninety to one hundred pages 
of this Keview. 

78 The Life of Mr. Cohden. Jan. 

of the Vienna negotiation ; in the winter of 1856 he published 
a pamphlet ' What Next — and Next ? ' as a protest against the 
further prosecution of the war. Pamphlet and speech made 
no impression ; and Mr. Cobdeu became so convinced of the 
futility of argument during war that he determined^ should 
war again break out, never to open his ' mouth upon the sub- 

* ject from the time when the first gun Avas fired until the peace 

* was made.' 

In the midst of this period — when his popularity had for 
the first time waned — Mr. Cobden sustained a blow Avhich 
drove him temporarily from public life. His only son, ' a boy 

* of singular energy and promise,' fifteen years old, was seized 
with fever, and died at a German school before his parents 
knew that he was ill. ' Mr. Cobden felt as men of his open 

* and simple nature are wont to feel, when one of the great 

* cruelties of life comes home to their own bosoms.' ' Mrs. 

* Cobden sat for many days like a statue of marble . . . her 

* hair blanching with the hours." We have no desire, however, 
to dwell on the details of Mr. and Mrs. Cobden's sorrow. We 
are only concerned with it so far as it illustrates INIr. Cobden's 
character. During the seventeen years of his wedded life he 
had been a faithful and indulgent husband ; but his heart, 
through the whole time, had been in the work of his life, and 
not in his home. No doubt there are some women w^ho, like 
the child wafe in ' David Copperfield,' are content to sit hold- 
ing their husband's pens ; or who, when their husband is 
absent on a Avar Avhich has cost them a brother's life, can sit 
down, like Henry Lawrence's wife, and compose the touching 
poem * The Soldier's Bride.' Such women as Lady Lawrence, 
however, need not excite the envy of their sisterhood, and 
Mrs. Cobden was not of the stuff of which such women are 
made. ' I sometimes think,' she said to her husband, ' that, 

* after all the good Avork that you have done, and in spite 

* of fame and great position, it Avould have been better for 
' us both if, after you and I married, Ave had gone to settle 

* in the backAvoods of Canada.' And Cobden could only say, 
after a moment or two, that he Avas not sure that Avhat she 
said was not too true. After his son's death, Mr. Cobden 
did something to atone for the long absences Avhich must 
occasionally have made his young Avife's life very dreary. ' I 
' have not been out of her sight for an hour at a time 

* (except at the funeral) since Ave learned our bereavement: 
' and I do not believe she Avould have been alive and in 
' her senses now if I had not been able to lessen her grief 
' by sharing it.' * She is as helpless as one of her young 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cobden. 79 

* children/ he wrote a little afterwards. ' No other human 

* being but myself can afford her the slightest relief. I some- 
' times doubt whether for the next six months I shall be able 
' to leave her for twenty-four hours together.' 

Throughout the remainder of 1856, Mr. Cobden entirely with- 
drew from affairs. In the beginning of 1857 he was drawn back 
into public life by the attraction of a great cause. In the 
course of the previous year the Chinese authorities at Canton 
had boarded the ' Arrow/ lying in the Canton River, and taken 
fi-ora her twelve pirates. The British Plenipotentiary at 
Hongkong had demanded the immediate release of the men, 
and a full apology. The Chinese Governor released the men, 
but refused to apologise, as the ' Arrow " Avas not a British 
ship. As a matter of fact the Chinese Governor was rio-ht. 
The license which the British authorities had granted to the 

* Arrow ' had expired some ten days before the alleged outrao-e 
had been committed. But the British Plenipotentiary did not 
wait to examine the facts. He insisted on the apology ; bom- 
barded Canton ; and commenced the Chinese War. It Avas, 
of course, open to the Ministry to disown the conduct of its 
Plenipotentiary. With, perhaps, more generosity than prudence, 
it decided on supporting him. No other course could have 
been expected from Lord Palraerston, Avhose politics, Mr. 
Morley declares, ' never got beyond Civis Romanus, especially 

* Avhen he was dealing Avith a very Aveak poAver.' 

The British Plenipotentiary at Hongkong Avas the late 
Sir John BoAvring, a Liberal, the friend of Mr. Cobden, once 
a member of the Corn Law League and of the Peace Society. 
Mr. Cobden, hoAvever, Avas not deterred by this circumstance 
from attacking his policy. He emerged irom his retirement 
to propose the famous Resolution AAdiich dealt a deathbloAv to 
the Parliament of 1852. By a majority of 16 the House 
declared that the violent measures resorted to at Canton were 
not justified : and Lord Palmerston appealed to the country. 
The Civis Romanus policy, hoAvever, Avas popular Avith the 
electors. Lord Palmerston secured a large majority. ' The 

* Manchester School Avas routed.' Mr. Cobden, who gave up 
his seat for the West Riding, Avas defeated at Huddersfield. 
Mr. Bright and Mr. Milner Gibson Avere at the bottom of the 
poll at Manchester. Nothing like the election had been ' seen 

* since the disappearance of the Peace Whigs in 1812, Avhe'n 

* Brougham, Romilly, Tierney, Lamb, and Horner all lost their 

* seats.' 

For more than two years after the election of 1857 Mr. 
Cobden remained out of Parliament. In a public sense these 

80 The Life of Mr. Cohdci. Jan. 

two years were the least eventful of his career. lie made no 
speech in them Avhich Mr. Bright and Mr. Tliorold Kogers 
have thought it Avorth while to preserve ; he wrote no pamphlets. 
His private embarrassments partly accounted for his public 
silence. The testimonial, which had been presented to him in 
1846, had not permanently relieved him from difficulty. ^\^ith 
part of the money he had extricated himself from his liabilities ; 
with another part he had purchased the little estate at Dun- 
ford, on Avhich he had been born, and on which he thence- 
forward resided. The residue he had invested in the shares of 
the Illinois Central Railway. Mr. Cobden imagined that the 
resources of the great valley through which the line ran would 
make it a valuable property ; he failed to see that time was 
necessary to develop even such resources as those of the 
Mississippi Valley. He had expected dividends, and, instead 
of dividends, calls were made on his shares. J\Ir. Cobden, 
reluctant to sell at a loss, Avas forced to borrow money to pay 
the calls. Instead of getting rid of a liability, he had, of 
course, only changed his creditor : and the old embarrassments 
soon returned iu a new form. Mr. Thomasson of Bolton, 
hearing that ]\[r Cobden was ' embarrassed by one of these 
' outstanding loans, released the shares and sent them to him 

* with a request that he would do him the favour to accept 
' their freedom at his hands, " in acknowledgment of his vast 

* " services to his country and mankind." ' On a later 
occasion Mr. Thomasson repeated his noble conduct ; and, as 
jNIr. Cobden's embarrassments continued to increase, a group 
of his most intimate friends met together, and subscribed 
40,000/. to relieve him from them. 

It is painful to dwell on the embarrassments of a distin- 
guished man. It is much more painful to do so when there is 
nothing connected with them which it is easy to excuse. We 
pity a man Avho speculates with his own money, and loses it ; 
but we apply a harsher term than pity to him who speculates 
with the money of other people. It is perhaps hardly fair to 
say that Mr. Cobden speculated with other people's money ; 
but he speculated with money liberally subscribed for him by 
his friends Avith the express object of permanently relieving 
him from pressing embarrassments. We cannot help thinking 
that a sensitive man would have regarded money so received 
as a trust, and would have invested it in securities which were 
beyond suspicion. 

In connexion with this unfortunate railway, Mr. Cobden, 
in the spring of 1859, made his second journey to America. 
Many things happened during his three months' absence from 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohdeii. 81 

Englantl. The Parliament of 1857 was dissolved; the second 
Derby Ministry broken up ; and he himself was elected for 
Rochdale. He arrived in the Mersey on June 29, and found 
a letter from Lord Palmerston offering him office in the 
Cabinet, and a letter from Lord John Russell telling him that 
it was a duty to accept it. Such an offer certainly proved 
that the ideas of government Avhicli the ruling classes had 
formed had been widely altered in the fourteen years which 
had passed since Lord John Russell had thought proper to 
offer Mr. Cobden the Vice-Presidency of the Board of Trade. 
It was evident that the middle classes, who had been made a 
power in the State by the Reform Act of 1832, and who had 
been taught by Mr. Cobden in the Corn Law agitation to use 
the power Avhich they had acquired, could be no longer ex- 
eluded from the Cabinet, if they chose to insist on admission 
to it. In 1859, indeed, Mr. Cobden refused Lord Palmerston's 
offer ; and we think that he was unquestionably right in doing 
so. On all the great questions of public and domestic policy. 
Lord Palmerston and he held opinions which were not merely 
opposite but irreconcilable. No advantage could have ensued 
from their meeting in the same council chamber. 

Though, however, Mr. Cobden declined to accept Lord 
Palmei'ston's offer, he was destined to perform an important 
service for the Administration. In the summer of 1859 a 
casual expression of Mr. Bright's, suggesting a commercial 
treaty with France, attracted the attention of a distinguished 
French economist, M. Chevalier. It so happened that M. 
'Chevalier shortly afterwards paid a visit to Mr. Cobden, 
v/ith whom he Avas on terms of close intimacy.* M. Chevalier 
urged Mr. Cobden to follow up the hint which Mr. Bright 
liad given, and to seize the opportunity of converting no less a 
personage than the Emperor himself to the policy of Free Trade. 
^Ir. Cobden, in his turn, paying a visit to Hawarden, talked 
the matter over with Mr. Gladstone. Neither he nor Mr. 
Gladstone overlooked the obvious economical objections to any 
■commercial treaty. But neither Mr. Gladstone nor he ^ could 
* resist the force of jM. Chevalier's emphatic assurance ' that 
the French Tariff could only be altered ' through a diplomatic 
^' act.' Free Trade could oialy be secured by bargaining ; and 
Mr. Cobden and Mr. Gladstone were accordingly willing to 
bargain for the purpose. 

We have no space to detail the arguments by which I\Ir. 

Mr. Cobden published his translation of M. Chevalier's ' Essay on 

Gold ' in 185'J 

82 The Life of Mr. Cohden. Jan. 

Cobden converted the French Government, or rather the 
French Emperor, to Free Trade.* M. Magne, the Finance 
Minister, frightened the Emperor by declaring that every piece 
of foreign manufacture admitted into France would displace a 
piece of domestic fabrication. Mr. Cobden reassured him by 
telling him that ' nearly a fourth of his subjects did not Avear 

* stockings, and that, if a few thousand dozen of hose were 
' admitted into France, they might be consumed by these bare- 

* legged people without interfering with the demand for the 

* native manufacture.' By such arguments Mr. Cobden made 
his way ; and, before the end of January 1860, Avas enabled to 
attach his signature to a commercial treaty. But the treaty 
only settled principles : the details of the tariff were a matter 
of subsequent negotiation. Mr. Cobden undertook the duties 
of the chief place on the Commission appointed to settle these 
details. The Avoi'k proved difficult and tedious. Many persons 
in France, and some persons in England, disliked the negotiation. 
On its conclusion, ' The Foreign Office hesitated to accept the 

* figures without reference in detail to the Treasury, the 

* Customs, and the Board of Trade. . . . The President of the 

* Board of Trade was aAvay in his yacht, and no one knew 
' Avhere to find him.' Mr. Cobden had reason to be annoyed 
with these vexatious delays, which wasted two months of the 
autumn of 1860. 

The conclusion of the negotiation was immediately succeeded 
by another arrangement. Under the influence of Mr. Cobden, 
the French Government agree to abolish passports, though 
we believe that the attention of the Emperor was first 
directed to this matter by Mr. John AValter; and the English 
Avere for the first time permitted to enter France AA-ithout 
the permission of the French authorities. Mr. Cobden had a 
right to expect that the freer intercourse to AA'hich these 
reforms would lead AA^ould have the effect of promoting peaceful 
relations betAveen France and England. But the hopes Avhich 
he formed Avere apparently doomed to disappointment. While 
he Avas converting Xapoleon to Free Trade, the Emperor's 
plenipotentiaries Avere closing the Italian Avar by the peace 
of Zurich ; Avhen the treaty itself Avas ripe for confirmation 
by Parliament, the annexation of Savoy irritated and 
alarmed the English people ; instead of producing peace and 

* There is but one man in the Government, M. Rouher had said 
— the Emperor; and but one Avill — that of the Emperor (ii. 254). 
Mr. Cobden's negotiation Avas even concealed from M. Walewski, the 
Foreign Minister (ib. 252). 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 83 

disarmament, the French treaty was accompanied by the fortifi- 
cation of our ports, and the formation of our Volunteer Force. 
Lord Palmerston thought that Xapolcon had ' a deep and 
' inextinguishable desire to humble and punish Eno-land ; ' 
the English people shared the alarms which the Prime 
Minister hardly affected to conceal ; and Mr. Cobden Avas 
mortified at perceiving that the labours, which he had trusted 
would produce peace and disarmament, were followed by 
increased distrust and additional military expenditure. It 
never seems to have occurred to him that the Commercial 
Treaty might have been a blind to mask the designs of the 
Ruler of France. 

Mr. Cobden Avas convinced that no real grounds existed for 
the panic with which England was agitated. He protested 
against it in 1862 in the longest and last of his pamphlets: 
' The Three Panics : an Historical Episode.' It was the purpose 
of this publication to show that the alarm of French invasion, 
which had originated in 1847, which had been renewed in 1853, 
and Avhich had recurred in 1860, was groundless ; that the naval 
strength of France was habitually exaggerated by English news- 
papers and English statesmen ; and that France had neither 
the intention nor the means of entering into a great naval 
struggle with this country. It Avas time — so Mr. Cobden 
concluded — that this rivalry of arms should be succeeded by 
some proposal for mutual disarmament. * It must be re- 

* membered that such is the immense superiority of our navy 
' at the present time — so greatly does it surpass that relative 
' strength Avhich it was formerly accustomed to have in com- 
' parison with the navy of France — that it devolves on us, as 
' a point of honour, to make the first proposal for an attempt 
' to put a limit to this most irrational and costly rivalry of 
' armaments.' In this, as in many other things, Mr. Cobden 
Avas entirely mistaken: the French navy Avas at that time 
equal to our OAvn in the number of efficient ships of Avar. Yet 
Mr. Cobden actually told the Emperor in 1859 that England 
AA^ould soon ha\'e sixty ships of the line in commission ! 

Mr. Cobden liA^ed for nearly three years after the publica- 
tion of this pamphlet. But he did nothing during these years 
Avhich requires any pi'otracted notice in these j)ages. He Avas 
groAving old, and the infirmities of old age Avere Aveakening his 
poAvers. ' My AA^ork,' so he Avrote in 1861, 'is nearly done. I 
' am nearly fifty-scA^en, and not of a long-lived family. Since 
' I passed my meridian a fcAV years ago, I have found my powers 

* sensibly waning, and particularly those organs of the voice 

* Avhich I exercised so unduly whilst in their prime.' His 

84 The Life of Mr. Cohdcn. Jan. 

throat lirid, in fact, never recovered tlie strain to -wliicli he had 
exposed it during the Corn Law agitation. At the end of 
1864 he made one of his longest speeches to one of the 
largest aiuliences Avliich he ever addressed. He confessed, in 
his concluding words, that he rose daunted by the fear that 
he would not be heard ; he sat down physically exhausted by 
the effort which he had made. He came home ' out of order 

* from top to toe.' A cold winter retarded his recovery. He 
Avas attacked by his old foe (nervous asthma) ; he was pro- 
strated by bronchitis ; and at the end of January, though he 
had shaken off his active disease, he was weak, and pining for 
the sunshine that Avould not come. So little was his real con- 
dition known, however, that on the 10th of February Mr. 
Gladstone wrote to him offering him an important situation in 
the Civil Service — the chairmanship of the Board of Audit. 
On the 13th of February Mr. Cobden declined the offer on 
the double ground that his health disqualified him for the 
post, and that its duties, connected as they were with an ex- 
penditure which he disapproved, would be distasteful to him. 
A little more than a month afterwards he left home for London, 
to take part in a debate on the fortifications of Canada. The 
day Avas cold, and on his arrival at his lodgings in Suffolk 
Street he Avas seized Avith a fresh attack of asthma. ' He 

* lay through the bleak days Avatching the smoke blown from 

* the chimneys of the houses opposite, and A'ainly hoping that 

* the Avind Avould change its quarter from the merciless east.' 
But the Avind did not change ; the asthma grew Avorse ; bron- 
chitis supervened ; and on the morning of Sunday, April 2, 
Mr. Cobden passed aAvay. 

Having thus sketched Mr. Cobden's career, Ave must attempt 
in the little space that is left to us to pass judgment on his 
character and policy. And, in doing so, no fair critic aa'IU 
overlook the many amiable qualities Avhich he displayed as 
son, brother, husband, father, and friend. INIr. Bright spoke 
of him in the House of C'ommons as ' the manliest and gentlest 

* spirit that ever tenanted a human form ; ' and there are many 
passages in Mr. Morley's book Avhich illustrate Mr. Bright's 
Avarm panegyric. It is, hoAvever, Avith Mr. Cobden's public 
character — not his private virtues — that Ave are at present 
concerned. And, in dealing Avith his public career, tAvo qualities 
especially arrest our attention. The first is the amazing 
industry Avith Avhich he acquired information ; the second, the 
extraordinary clearness Avith Avhich he made a difficult subject 
]dain. The extent of his information Avas always remarkable. 
It perhaps attracted most notice in his agricultural speeches. 


1882. The Life of Mr. Cobden. 85 

Confident ccuntiy gentlemen imagined that they could 
easily expose the ignorance of the Manchester Cotton Spinner 
— as they inaccurately called him — who had the presumption 
to come and talk about farming to their tenants. They soon 
found that Mr. Cobden knew much more about agriculture 
than they did themselves. In every instance they were fairly 
beaten by him on their own ground. 

It is one thing to possess information ; it is another to use it. 
Mr. Cobden had a greater capacity of using his facts than any 
man of his time. It is a commonplace to say that his speeches 
were perspicuous ; but they were perspicuous because they 
teemed with the right facts in the right places. Mr. Morley 
tells lis, on the authority of ' many scores of Conservatives and 
' Liberals,' that persuasiveness was the secret of Mr. Cobden's 
oratorical success. It is Avith some hesitation that we dissent 
from the conclusion of many scores of authorities, but we think 
that persuasion is a Avrong epithet to apply to Mr. Cobden's 
power. Persuasion (says Johnson) seems rather applicable 
to the passions, and argument to the reason. It was the 
striking characteristic of Mr. Cobden that he almost uniformly 
appealed to the reason and not to the passions. He did not 
persuade men ; he convinced them. 

It Avas Mr. Cobden's lot to do the chief work of his life by 
speech and not by pen ; and his speeches Avill perhaps be read 
Avhen his writings arc forgotten. Yet it may be doubted 
whether nature intended him for a speaker. He was de- 
ficient in the imagination which is essential in the orator. 
Almost the last Avords Avhich he uttered in public Avere, * I 
' never perorate ; ' and he not only abstained from perora- 
tion, he never indulged in the higher flights of eloquence. It 
Avould be untrue of him to say, as Macaulay said of Sir James 
Mackintosh, that he spoke essays : but it is true that his 
speeches are deficient in some of the qualities Avhich Ave have 
been taught to expect in oratory. No such defect can be 
found in his best Avritings. They have all the vigour, the 
clearness, and the fulness of his speeches, and a purity of 
style which is their OAvn, And so, though his chief Avork was 
done by his tongue, Ave are inclined to conclude that his pen 
Avas his more poAverful instrument. 

Extent of information, clearness of intellect, and facility of 
expression are gifts Avhich are enjoyed by comparatively few 
persons, Mr. Cobden did not unite to them the still rarer capacity 
of forecasting the political future. Like most men Avho pursue 
a great object with entire singleness of purpose, he saAv that 
object and that only ; he exaggerated its importance ; and he 

86 The Life of Mr. Cohden. Jan. 

Avas incapable of taking that broad view of the policy, the 
ambitions, the passions, and the deceptions of the various races 
and governments of the Avorld which make up the tangled 
skein of politics. He was a great popular leader, but he v/ould 
probably have been a dangerous and incompetent Minister. He 
was almost always misled by his sanguine temperament. He 
declared in 1832 'that if he were stripped naked and turned 

* into Lancashire with only his experience for a capital, he 

* Avould still make a large fortune.' It is a melancholy com- 
mentary on this confident estimate of his own powers that 
his failure in business and subsequent investments cost him 
three fortunes. He Avas incapable of belie\'ing that any ' SAvan ' 
of his conception could turn into a ' goose.' The same fatal 
self-confidence Avhich induced him to buy building land at 
Manchester, on AA^hich for years no one Avished to build, or to 
jjurchase Illinois RailAvay shares, followed him into public life. 
He was never tired of predicting hoAv the repeal of Protection 
in this country would be folloAved by the adoption of Free 
Trade in all countries. His sanguine anticipations AA^ere a 
source of strength to him at the time. His audiences belicAed 
him. But they haA'e seriously, though unjustly, hampered the 
cause of Free Trade since. Protectionists have been able 
to shoAv that Mr. Cobden's predictions have not been fulfilled, 
and they invite us to reject him as a false prophet. They fail 
to see that his incapacity to forecast the future does not affect 
the A'alidity of his reasoning. 

It Avas a graver defect in Mr. Cobden's character that he 
was almost uniformly unjust to the men Avith Avhom he happened 
to disagree. Special causes, for Avhich the Minister was 
himself responsible, ])artly accounted for the antipathy Avhich 
he felt toAvards Sir Robert Peel up to 1846. Even at the 
close of 1845 he exulted in the fall of the Minister, and 
declared that he shoukl forfeit his self-respect if he ever 
exchanged a Avord Avith that man in private. The provocation 
Avhich Sir Robert Peel had given to Mr. Cobden in 1843, 
grave as it Avas, hardly justified such continuous rancour. The 
same thing may be said of Mr. Cobden's continuous opposition 
to Lord Palmcrston, We agree Avith Mr. Cobden in thinking 

IT . . . 

that Lord Palraerston carried the principles of iuterA^ention to 
a mischievous extreme ; but Avhen Ave find Mr. Cobden Avriting 
of the Minister as 'a venerable political sinner' and a ' vene- 
' rable ])olitical impostor,' Ave instinctively recollect the many 
great services Avhich Lord Palmerston performed, and recoil 
against the expressions. In his earlier years Mr. Cobden had 
never mixed in any society but that in which he was born. 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohdcn. 87 

and he retained through life a morbid dread of the upper 
classes. He mentions that when he put on a Avhite cravat to 
dine with a Minister, it cost him a pang ; and when his ac- 
quaintance wath the aristocracy somewhat increased, he fears 
lest his democratic principles should be impaired by the pleasing 
manners of his new friends, for, he says, ' they are so easy.' 
Such illiberality was quite unworthy of so eminent a man, who 
was everywhere received with the respect and cordiality due 
to his own merits and simplicity of character. 

The same disposition to misjudge men is evident in Mr. 
Cobden's estimates of foreign statesmen. Prince Metternich is 

* more subtle than profound ; ' Count Xesselrode, like Prince 
Metternich, is ' an adept at finesse,' not * a man of genius ; ' 
M. Guizot, * an intellectual pedant and a moral prude ; ' 
Louis Philippe, ' a clever actor ; ' M. Thiers, ' a lively little 

* man without dignity and with nothing to impress you 
^ with a sense of power.' In 1846, 'the young Napoleon is 
' evidently a weak fellow, but mild and amiable.' We wonder 
whether Mr. Cobden, when he was negotiating with Napo- 
leon III. in 1859, recalled the judgment which he had hastily 
formed thirteen years before. 

The work of Mr. Cobden's life, however, was not aifected 
by these drawbacks in his character, and he will be chiefly 
recollected hereafter for what he did and not for what he 
thought. The work which he either attempted or accomplished 
is divisible into two jDortions : First, he sought to alter, and 
partly succeeded in modifying, the foreign jiolicy of England; 
and, secondly, he popularised and extended Free Trade. He 
ftimed, in foreign policy, to keep his country from intervention, 
and to supersede war by arbitration. But Mr. Morley justly 
says that ' it is impossible to state tlie princijDle of non-inter- 

* vention in rational and statesmanlike terms, if it is, under 
" all circumstances and without any qualification or limit, to 
' preclude an armed protest against intervention by other 

* foreign powers,' Even Mr. Cobden himself, it may be sus- 
pected, doubted the universal applicability of the creed which 
he was continually preaching. He actually complained that 
Lord Palmerston had not protested against Kussian interven- 
tion in Hungary in 1850. AVhen he read JNIr. Motley's 

* Dutch Republic,' he said he felt ' almost ashamed of old 

* Queen Bess,' and the ' unvarnished selfishness ' of her policy. 

* So far am I from wishing we should be unarmed,' he wrote 
in 1860, * I would, if necessary, spend one hundred millions 

* sterling to maintain an irresistible superiority over France at 

* sea.' Only one legitimate inference can be drawn from such. 

88 The lAfe of Mr. CiMen, Jan. 

language as this. Armament and intei'ventlon arc at once 
reduced by it from questions oi' ])rinciple to questions o-f 
expediency and degree. It" JNlr. Cobden would have lielped 
the Dutch in the sixteenth century, and have raised a protest 
in the cause of" Hungary in the nineteenth century, he Avas 
quite right in desiring to maintain British superiority at sea, 
but quite wrong in regarding intervention as a wicked and 
detestable policy. No doubt, he could show that in particular 
instances, in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy, and in Greece, Lord 
Palmerston had intervened without any sufficient justification. 
But this does not shoAv that intervention is Avrong ; it only 
])roves that Lord Palmerston Avas meddlesome ; and, Avith this 
limitation, Ave find ourselves agreeing Avith Mr. Cobden and 
not Avith Lord Palmerston. 

A proposal, Avhich Mr. Cobden made originally in 1849, for 
the reference of international disputes to arbitration, Avill sug- 
gest to most people very similar reflections. Arbitration, as a 
matter of fact, Avas no new expedient. It had been adopted, 
before Mr. Cobden i-eached his teens, to settle a disputed 
frontier Avith the United States. It Avas again adopted, after 
IMr. Cobden's death, to settle another dispute Avitli America. 
Arbitration failed in the first of these instances, because the 
arbitrator exceeded his literal instructions, and, in consequence, 
the Americans refused to accept his award. It succeeded in 
the ' Alabama ' question, because the English Government Avas 
resolved loyally to carry out the arrangement to Avhich it had 
agreed, though at a great sacrifice, not only of money, but 
of sound principles of international laAV. Most people Avill, 
hoAvever, conclude, from a careful review of the two transac- 
tions, and of the other rare cases in Avhich a similar course has 
been taken, that arbitration, hoAvever a])j)licable it may be to 
certain dis])utes, can never ])rove an effectual remedy in all 
international controversies. In the vast mnjority of cases there 
Avould be exceeding difficulty in selecting an impartial arbi- 
trator: in almost every case there Avould be no means whatever 
of enforcing the arbitrator's aAvard. While human nature re- 
mains unchanged, Ave fear that any court Avhich has no power 
to enforce its decisions is unlikely to prove an efficient tribunal. 
Thus arbitration, though it may be useful enough in some did- 
putes, Avill never prove universally applicable. It is an expe- 
dient for occasional adoption, not a s|)eci(ic for universal use. 

It is, however, Avith Free Trade, and not Avith foreign 
policy, that Mr. Cobden's name Avill be permanently identified. 
In this cause he rendered two very signal services to his 
country. AVc, indeed, arc not prepared to regard the French 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cobdcn. 89 

Treaty of 1860 as an achievement properly comparable with 
the repeal of the Corn Laws. Lord Grey, it seems to us, i& 
perfectly right in contending that free traders ought to busy 
themselves with amending their own tariffs, Avithout concerning 
themselves with the affairs of other nations. Such Avas un- 
doubtedly the view of Mr. Cobden himself up to 1846 ; and 
the suggestion of commercial treaties Avas, at that time, left to 
men like Mr. Disraeli, the uncompromising advocate of Pro- 
tection. It Avas the failure of Mr. Gobden's predictions Avhich, 
in reality, led to the Treaty of 1860; and, as Free Trade in 
France could not be secured by a ' logical, orderly, methodical 
' process,' Louis Napoleon had a right — avc are expressing 
Mr. Cobden's opinion — to cheat the majorities of his Senate 
into an honest policy. We are not now concerned Avith dis- 
cussing Avhether Mr. Cobden Avas Avrong in this conclusion. 
Most statesmen are agreed in thinking him right. But Ave 
decline to place the French Treaty in the same category as 
the repeal of the Corn LaAvs, or even to believe that its 
signature Avas attended Avith all the advantages Avhich most 
people imagine. It might be shoAvn that Sir Robert Peel, 
Lord Aberdeen, and M. Guizot Avere all of opinion that it is 
Aviser to reduce import duties by internal legislation than by 
foreign treaties, Avhich are always regarded Avith more or less 

In fact, the great principle on AAdiich Free Trade proceeds is 
opposed to arrangements of this character. The free trader 
makes it his object to remove every import duty Avhich has 
been directly imposed, or Avhich indirectly serA^es as a protec- 
tion to any industry. He affords the consumer the opportunity 
of purchasing the commodities Avhich he requires in the 
cheapest market. Pie alleges that the consumer can only pay 
for these commodities either by exporting other produce, or by 
doing Avork, such as carrying goods at sea for foreign cus- 
tomers, or out of the interest due to him on capital Avhich be 
has lent to the foreigner. The increase of a nation's imports 
must, therefore, be attended by an increase of its exports, 
an increase of its carrying trade, or an increased em])loyment 
of its capital abroad, or by some or all of these conditions : and 
it is a much Aviser thing for the nation to leave each capitalist 
to determine Avhether he Avill invest his money abroad, or in 
ships, or in factories at home, than to persuade him to iuA^est 
it in factories by negotiating treaties for securing a market for 
their produce. 

If, hoAvever, it is desirable that the consumer should have 
the opportunity of purchasing every commodity in the cheapest 

90 The Life of Mr. CoJxlm. Jan. 

market, it is essential that he should be able to obtain his food 
as cheaply as possible. The vice of the old system was that, 
in good years, the farmers produced more corn than they could 
sell, while in bad years they produced too little for the people. 
In consequence, the food of the poor fell and rose in price 
almost with every rise and fall of the barometer ; in the four 
years ending 1842, wheat stood at an average price of 3Z. 4s. Id. 
a quarter; in the four years ending 1846, it fell to an average 
price of 2/. \\s. 6d. a quarter. AVith one solitary exception, 
when the outbreak of tiie Crimean AVar in reality gave an 
indirect protection to agriculture, wheat has in no one year 
reached the average price at which it stood from 1838 to 1842 ; 
the f)eople of this country have never since experienced the 
suffering which they passed through in those four years. 

It is the ordinary custom of free traders to point to the vast 
increase both of our export and import trade as the strongest 
proof of the Avisdom of the policy which Mr. Cobden advocated, 
and which Sir Robert Peel adopted. We refrain from adopt- 
ing this course in this article for two reasons. In the first 
place, all that it can be necessary to say on such a subject was 
said in the last number of this Journal; and, in the next 
place, the politician Avho denies that the expansion of trade is, 
in the main, due to Free Trade, must be wilfully blind to the 
teachings of statistics. We prefer, therefore, to dwell on the 
improvement Avhich free trade in coni has eifected in the con- 
dition of the people ; and we do so, first, because this part of 
the subject has attracted less notice ,; and, second, because 
Mr. Cobden, free trader as he was, chiefly aimed at free trade 
in food. Perhaps many persons have not reflected on the 
exact effect of a tax on bread on the people. Assuming that 
every member of a working man's family eats one quarter of 
wheat a year, and that each working man's family consists of 
five members, every addition of a shilling to the price of wheat 
imposes a taxation of five shillings a year on the working man ; 
a rise of five shillings in the price of Avheat is eqiuvalent to a 
tax of twenty-five shillings; or, if the working man's Avages be 
one pound a week, to a tax of about two and a half per cent, on 
his wages, or an income tax of six[)ence in the pound. To the 
agricultural labourer, Avhose wages do not amount to a pound 
a week, the rise in price constitutes a still heavier tax. We 
commend these figures to the Conservative statesmen who 
are dallying with Fair Trade, and to our Conservative con- 
temporary, Avho desires to reconstruct the Conservative party 
by giving representation to the colonies, and by imposing a 
duty on corn. Hopeless indeed must be the state of British 

1882. The Life of Mr. Cohden. 91 

agriculture, if it cannot be renovated without practically im- 
posing an income tax of more than sixpence in the pound on 
the unfortunate agricultural labourer. 

We do not, of course, pretend that the terrible distress of 
1838 to 1842 was occasioned by dear corn. But it was un- 
doubtedly aggravated by the high j^rice of food. We have 
lately been experiencing a long depression of trade, Avhich has 
been accompanied with bad weather and agricultural depres- 
sion. The condition of the last few years has been in many 
respects similar to that of 1838 to 1842. The one striking 
dissimilarity between the two epochs is the existence of a Corn 
Law in the former period and the absence of a Corn Law now. 
It is worth while noticing the different effects on the people. 
In 1842, out of a population of about 16,000,000, there Avere 
1,429,000 paupers in England and Wales. In 1881 the people 
had grown to 26,000,000, but there were only 803,000 paupers. 
In 1842 one person in every eleven, in 1881 only one person 
out of every thirty-tAvo, was a pauper. We are far from con- 
tending that this vast improvement in the condition of the 
people is solely due to cheap food. But, just as Ave think that 
Free Trade has been the chief cause of our expanded com- 
merce, so Ave believe that cheap food has been the main cause 
of the greater prosperity of the people. 

This great boon — cheap food — a grateful people will always 
associate Avith Mr. Cobden's name. He AA^as not the first 
■worker in the field. He Avas not the only orator Avho con- 
verted a people. Mr. Villiers, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Bright, Mr. 
Fox, and a host of others took their part in the fray, and it 
would be ungrateful to forget the services which they rendered. 
But it was Mr. Cobden Avho made the chief impression on the 
nation, because he succeeded in placing his arguments before 
the people in a manner Avhich they could understand. As Sir 
Eobert Peel said, ' The name Avhich ought to be associated 
' Avith ' free trade in corn ' is the name of one Avho, acting from 

* pure and disinterested motives, has, Avith untiring energy, 
' made appeals to our reason, and has enforced those appeals 
' Avith an eloquence the more to be admired because it Avas 

* unaffected and unadorned : the name Avhich ought to be 
" chiefly associated Avith the success of those measures is the 
' name of Richard Cobden.' 

92 • E cctro-Mtice Puirer, Jan. 

Art. IV. — 1. Electric Transmission of Power: its Present. 
Position and Advantages. By Paget Higgs, LL.D., D.Sc. 
London : 1879. 

2. Elect/ ic Railicays, and Transmission of Poicer bij Electricifi;, 
By Alexander Siemens. Journal of the Society of 
Arts, vol. xxix. London: 188L 

3. The Future Development of Electrical Appliances. By 
Prof. John Perry, B.E. Assoc, M.LC.E. Journal of 
the Society of Arts, vol. xxix. London: 1881. 

4. Some of the Developments of Mechanical Engineering during 
the last Half-Century. By Sir Frederick Bramwell, 
V.P. Inst. C.E., F.R.S. Report of the British Association 
for the Advancement of Science. London: 188L 

5. Utilisation des Forces na.turelles par CElectricite. Par 
Dr. A. d'Arsonval, Preparateur au College de France. 
' Revue Scientifique de la France et de I'Etranger,' vol. 
xxvlii. Paris: 1881. 

/"^ reat progjress has recently been made in that branch of 
^-^ the mechanician's art which aims at the production of 
a mechanical effect by means of the electric current. It 
must not, however, be conceived that the capacity of elec- 
tricity to be applied in this manner is by any means a newly 
discovered faculty of this versatile agent. The Avord ' electri- 
' city,' as is well knoAvn, has come to us from the ' elektron,' 
or amber, which was found to exert a motor influence upon light 
bodies by Thales and his contemporaries. Dr. Gilbert, the 
physician of Queen Elizabeth, was still speculating about 
these mysterious movements some twenty-one centuries after 
Thales had completed his work. Robert Boyle, one of the 
first council of the Royal Society, supposed that an invisible 
glutinous substance came out of resins and glass when they 
were rubbed, seized hold of any light bodies which chanced 
to be within its reach, and then carried them with it back 
mto the natural lurking-place or lair from Avhich it had issued. 
In all these early experiments, as well as in the similar more 
recent ones in which pith-balls Averc made to dance under a 
tumbler, paper figures to leap uj) and down between flat plates 
of brass, and bent wires to whirl round and round upon a 
balancing point, the bodies acted upon were very light, and no 
important attempt was at any time made to turn the move- 
ment to practical account. The self-same power was, never- 

1882. Elcch'o-Mutlve Power. 93 

theless, operative in those pigmy effects, which is now 
beoinning to strike with the arm of the giant. 

It is generally held that the first practical step made 
towards the application of electrical force to useful mechanical 
purposes was the memorable experiment of Faraday in 1830, 
by which he showed how a magnet could be caused to produce 
an electrical current in a contiguous strand of copper wire. In 
regard to this interesting experiment, however, the same state- 
ment may be made. The movement Avhich Avas jiroduced was 
of the slightest character— a very light needle of steel, deli- 
cately suspended by means of a thread, was set swinginjr. 
The experiment was substantially of this nature : A copper 
wire, six or seven hundred feet long, was coiled round a 
hollow bobbin of wood, and then fixed upright upon a beard 
so that a bar-magnet could be dropped from above into the 
hollow of the coil, or be raised out of it at will, and the two 
free ends of the wire were arranged a little distance off upon 
the table into a smaller horizontal coil, which had a balanced 
compass-needle, suspended by a silk filament immediately 
above it. The suspended needle, as a matter of course, 
assumed to itself the ordinary functions of a compass, and 
directed itself so that one pole pointed towards the north 
part of the horizon, and then remained quietly at rest under 
the steadying action of the earth's magnetism; that is, so long 
as the large bar-magnet was not brought into play. When, 
however, one end of the bar-magnet was dropped into the 
coil, the suspended magnet, hung up above the small horizontal 
coil, was jerked round upon its centre of support ; and when 
the bar-magnet was drawn out of the large vertical coil it Avas 
jerked round again in the opposite direction. In order to 
acquire a clear idea of the great fundamental principle that is 
involved in the production of mechanical movement by the 
agency of electricity, no better illustration could be selected 
than this primary, and now Avorld-famous, experiment of 
Faraday's. It is, therefore, desirable to examine it more 

If any enquirer will be at the trouble to repeat this beauti- 
ful and all-important experiment, or Avill go and look on Avhere 
he dan see it performed, he will be struck by the cii'cumstance 
that not only does the small suspended magnet remain at rest 
in the direction of north and south Avhen there is no large bar- 
magnet in the vertical coil, but it is also immovably at rest 
when the bar-magnet is left standing quietly within the coil. 
It is not the vertical magnet jier se, therefore, that produces 
the disturbance or oscillation in the small suspended needle. 

94 FAcctro- Motive Poiccr. Jan. 

It is the mcvcnicnt of the vertical bar-magnet wlilch produces 
the movement of the suspended needle. The suspended 
needle swings only when the bar-magnet is dropped into the 
coil, or when it is lifted out. This, then, brings into con- 
spicuous prominence a great scientific fact which Avill be found, 
indeed, to be really at the bottom of the so-called production 
of movement by electrical means. The electrical current, in 
whatever way it is evolved, does not cause the movement 
which is observed as the final effect of the operation ; it is not 
the primary source of that movement; it is only the means of 
its transmission from the place Avhere it originates to the place 
where it takes effect ; and the essential peculiarity wdiich dis- 
tinguishes the case from the more simple processes of the 
mechanical transmission of an impulse is that it is a conversion 
as well as a transmission of force. The mechanical impulse 
is first transmuted into an electrical current, and the electrical 
current is then ultimately, and with more or less completeness, 
as M'ill presently have to be observed, turned back into me- 
chanical effort when the produced movement is set up. The 
muscular effort of the operator's arm by Avhich the bar-magnet 
is lifted or dropped is absolutely and essentially transfor)ned 
into the propagation of an electrical effort, or, in other words, 
into an electrical current alon^ the wire, and is then chanii-ed 
back into a mechanical swing where the suspended needle 
hangs. It is the movement of the arm Avhich, as a matter of 
fact, ultimately pushes round the traversing needle ; the in- 
tervening wire merely serves as the channel through which 
the effective push is conveyed. If the experiment were so 
arranged as that the suspended needle Avere too ponderous and 
massive to be moved by the strength of a human arm, it Avould 
certainly be found that the disturbance, or change of position, 
could not be set up by any current that the human arm could 
start. In reference to Faraday's experiment it will, therefore, 
be understood that it Avas really a part of the movement of his 
arm used in lifting or dropping the bar-magnet Avhich Avas re- 
produced in the swinging of the small horizontal needle. His 
arm drove round the small needle, although it used the instru- 
mentality of an intervening electrical current in doing so, just 
as it might have used the instrumentality of a coherent strino- 
for the purpose. It Avill presently appear hoAV important it is 
to a thorough comprehension of the matter under revicAv that 
this bearing of the case shall be mentally grasped. It is ob- 
viously the one Avhich has influenced Dr. Paget Higgs in 
selecting the title Avhich he has adopted for his l)ook, namely, 
the * Electrical Transmission of PoAver.' In this Dr. Hiiro's 

1882. Electro-Motive Poiver. 95 

recognises the fact that in the application of electricity to 
pnrposes of mechanical work the cnrrent transmits an impulse 
■which it has itself received. It does not in strict accuracy 
produce the movement, it only passes on the primary impulse. 

Since it is the movement of the bar-magnet which, in Fara- 
day's experiment, produces the electric current in the associated 
coil of copper wire, it is manifest that if any continuous or 
quickly repeated current is to be established, the bar-magnet 
must be as continuously or as frequently thrust to and fro. It 
must be incessantly jerked up and down, out from and into 
the coil ; or, what will come to the same thing, one of its ends 
or poles must be jerked back^vards and forwards across the to]> 
of the coil. The actual thrust of the bar into the hollow centre 
of the coil only increases the intensity of each single movement. 
Indeed, within two years of the time of Faraday's discovery 
of the induction of an electric current by the movement of a 
magnet, an instrument-maker of Paris, M. Pixii, had adopted 
this very plan for the construction of a magneto-electrical 
machine of considerable power. He used a horseshoe-magnet 
mounted vertically upon its loop or curve in such a way that 
it could be caused to revolve, in an upright position, round 
and round ; and he placed two copper coils, each embracing 
a bar of soft iron standing vertically above the horseshoe- 
magnet, Avith the lower end of each iixed just above where the 
poles of the horseshoe would pass. The horseshoe-magnet Avas 
driven rapidly round by a pair of bevelled toothed wheels worked 
by a handle, and, as it turned, each pole in succession swept 
past the bottom end of the wire coil, which was practically 
very much the same as waving it to and fro in the manner just 
now suggested. With each passage of the magnet immediately 
under the coil, a current in it was produced ; and as with the 
passage in rapid succession of the opposite poles of the horse- 
shoe, north and south, reversed currents were produced in the 
coil, a contrivance termed a commutator was devised, which 
enabled the traversing currents to be alternately shunted, so 
that each followed each in the same direction through that 
portion of the wire which lay beyond the commutating appa- 
ratus. A very serviceable current was procui-ed from this 
most ingenious instrument, which was employed for various 
experimental purposes. The Pixii machine Avas thus virtually 
the prime ancestor of the large generation of machines for the 
so-called conversion of electrical currents into mechanical 
poAver which have since been brought into existence. 

The most important steps in the subsequent improvement of 
the apparatus were, first, that a pair of electro-magnets Avith 

96 Electro- Mot ice Power. Jan. 

their engirdling coils were }nade to revolve in close appositi(Mi 
to a suitably-fixed permanent magnet ; and then that a consider- 
able number of electro-magnets, fixed upon the circumference 
of two circular bronze plates, were driven, the one following 
the other, in rapid succession between the poles of two larg(' 
permanent magnets. Saxton and Clarke introduced the first 
of these modifications, and M. Alfred Niaiidet the second. In 
Niaudet's machine tAvelvc coils, the wires in which were all 
•continuous, travelled between the poles of horseshoe-magnets. 
The Alliance machine constructed by M. Nollet at Brussels, 
and memorable as being the first magneto-electric machine 
that was used to produce illumination in a lighthouse, was an 
■extension of the Niaudet plan. In it six bronze discs, each 
■carrying sixteen coils or bobbins upon its circumference, Averc 
driven round by steam-power in front of the poles of fifty-six 
horseshoe-magnets set radially outside of the discs. 

This machine of M. Xollet suggests that, as soon as powerful 
gteam-eno-ines are used to o-ive movement to the sreneratino; 
-coils, it becomes obvious at a glance that the whole affair is one 
•of the transmission, and not of the production, of power. The; 
real source of the power is then manifestl}^ the combustion of 
-coal in the furnace of the steam-engine ; and in every case the 
mechanical work done by the electric current issuing from the 
<:oils must of necessity be less than that which the steam- 
engine could have more directly accomplished without the in- 
tervention of the current. There is, unavoidably, absorption 
and loss of power in the setting up of the current. The trans- 
mission of power is accomplished at the cost of a certain 
amount of dissipation and waste of the primary energy. The 
case is then quite analogous to the one furnished in another 
■field of operation when a lump of cold iron is hammered upon 
"the anvil by the steam-hammer until it is raised to a white 
heat. A part of the force Avhich came out of the heat of the 
feirnace goes back into heat in the hammered metal, but it is 
only a fractional part of the original energy. Another part 
manifests itself as scintillating light, and another part is dis- 
sipated and lost altogether to observation. Exactly in the 
•same way, when a part of the heat extracted out of burning 
•coal is converted into a brilliant light between the points of 
•carbon in the most ordinary process of electrical illumination, 
another very considerable part is dissipated in transmuting 
^keat-vibrations into electrical commotion and in getting that 
electrical commotion transmitted along the conducting wire. 
• In the year 1854 Messrs. Siemens and Halske, of Berlin, 
datroducctl an important revolution in the construction of mag- 

1882. Electro-Motive Power. 97 

neto-electric machines, which carried with it material advan- 
tages in the particulars both of compactness and power. They 
found that even augmented currents could be produced when 
the coils of copper wire were turned lengthwise over and under 
the revolving axis, instead of being bound spirally across iso- 
lated bobbins or cores, and so arranged as to be transported 
bodily past the stationary magnets. This was managed by 
the simple device of grooving a channel throughout the entire 
length of the iron axis, into Avhich the wire could be led from 
end to end, and round and round ; the coil, Avith its iron core, 
was then a kind of long spindle, which could be twirled upon 
its ends as a pencil may be rolled lengthwise between the 
fingers. This modification of construction involves, however, 
the consideration of what is termed the ' magnetic field ' — a con- 
ception Avhich really means that electric currents are set up in 
coils of copper wire, not only when these are carried bodily 
past magnets, but also Avhenever they are moved, even in the 
slightest degree, within the range of the magnet's influence. 
The magnetic power extends some little distance away from the 
poles of a magnet, becoming rapidly less and less with the 
augmentation of distance. The sphere to which this emitted 
influence extends is the space which is spoken of as the ' mag- 
^ netic field.' When coils of copper wire are merely moved in 
the close neighbourhood of a magnet, an electric current is 
produced with each movement of the magnet, running in one 
direction when the movement is towards the centre of magnetic 
force, and in the opposite direction when the movement is the 
other way. When the elongated coil of the Siemens instru- 
ment is made to twirl upon its ends bet^veen the poles of a 
horseshoe-magnet, this augmentation and diminution of mao;- 
netic effect are brought into play as each half of the coil goes 
round, first approaching towards, and then receding from, 
either pole. The whirling of the elongated wire coil between 
the poles of the magnet keeps up a constant vibi'atory disturb- 
ance in the wire, Avhich issues in currents setting alternately 
in opposite directions in the coil ; but which can be switched 
by the usual operation of the commutator, so that they reinforce 
instead of neutralising each other, and so become a continuous 
stream of electrical influence. 

The Hanoverian fraternity of engineers which bears the 
well-known name of Siemens has, however, been fortunate 
enough to add to this happy piece of instrumental contrivance 
a yet more impox'tant device, which has now to be spoken of 
in some little detail, because it has already become what may 
perhaps be not unfairly termed the chief hope in the applica- 


98 Electro- Motive Poioer. Jan. 

tion of electricity to motor purposes. Several brothers of this 
distinguished and gifted family are known as inventors or as 
skilful engineers, and are connected with one or other of three 
crreat telegraph engineering Avoi'ks situated respectively at 
Berlin, St. Petersburg, and London. The most famous in 
this fraternity are Werner Siemens, of Berlin, and William 
Siemens, of London, whose face is so constantly seen at the 
evening meetings of the scientific societies during their winter 
o-atherings in the metropolis. It would require more time and 
opportunity than we have at our command to relate all that 
these remarkable men have accomplished in connexion with 
scientific discovery, such as the galvanic process for silver- 
ing and gilding, anastatic printing, the insulation of telegraph 
wires by gutta-percha, the construction of submarine mines 
for purposes of warfare, the laying of underground telegraph 
cables, the block-system of signalling upon railways, the 
adoption of porcelain insulators for telegraph wires, the re- 
generative gas-furnace used for the manufacture of steel and 
glass, the regenerative gas-burner, the construction of the 
telegraph-cable ship ' Faraday,' and, finally, the erection of 
the first electric raihvay. Dr. William Siemens is also, it wnll 
be remembered, at this time the President elect for the next 
meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of 
Science. It was in his address as President of the Iron and 
Steel Institute, in 1877, that he availed himself of the oppor- 
tunity to speak confidently of the near approach of the time 
when motor power would be transmitted by means of the 
electric current, and to express his conviction that a three- 
inch rod of copper might be made to carry the energy of one 
thousand horse-power to a distance of thirty miles from any 
large waterfall or other natural source of moving impulse. 

The particular discovery to which this incidental digression 
is intended to lead was announced by Werner Siemens in the 
proceedings of the Royal Society in 1867. It is the all-im- 
portant fact that in the construction of current-generating 
electro-magnetic machines the employment of permanent 
magnets may be altogether dispensed with. Sir Charles 
AVheatstone and Mr. Varley appear to have shared to some 
extent in the honour of this discovery, but to Werner Siemens 
the merit of its large application in the construction of 
generating instruments undoubtedly belongs. The plan 
adopted in the first instance in carrying out this improvement 
consisted in using bars of soft iron in the ]ilace of the external 
steel magnets, and enclosing these within the folds of the 
same copper wire that Avas used in the longitudinal revolving 

1882. Electro- Motive Power. 99 

coil, so that the instant any current began to move in the wire 
the soft iron bars became magnets. Theoretically it requires 
that there shall be some lurking taint of magnetism in the 
iron to start the action ; and this there always is after it has 
once been magnetised, because a residual trace of the mag- 
netic condition is then very obstinately retained. But, prac- 
tically, even this is not indispensable, because, as the earth 
itself, upon whose surface the operation is conducted, is a vast 
magnet, all bai'S of soft iron are sympathetically turned into 
magnets by the inductive influence of the terrestrial mass. 
The portion of the soft iron which is accidentally most directed 
towards the north becomes the south pole of an induced 
magnet, and that which is directed most tOAvards the south is 
turned into a north pole ; and this occurs with sufficient in- 
tensity, slight as the action virtually is, for all practical 
purposes connected with the operation of the machine. 

The peculiar circumstance which renders this plan of pro- 
cedure a more advantageous one than the earlier method in 
which permanent magnets were used, is the singularly sur- 
prising and interesting fact that the currents and the magnets 
continually rouse and reinforce each other, and that this 
accumulative influence goes on until a very high degree of 
energy has been developed. As soon as the revolutions of the 
machine are commenced, the slight lurking trace of magnetism 
that hangs in the iron bars starts a faint electrical current in 
the moving coils. But the current thus started in its turn 
increases the strength of the magnet. The stronger magnet 
then plays its part in producing more current, and the aug- 
mented current yet again sets up more magnetism ; and this 
goes on, as the speed of the machine is raised, until a certain 
maximum of power is produced, which is only reached Avhen the 
full capacity of the iron to be magnetically disturbed has been 
attained. The earlier form of the machine in which permanent 
magnets were used, it will be observed, does not admit of very 
high exaltation in this way. The magnetism in it is a fixed 
quantity not augmented by any increase in the speed of the 
machine. It is, in some measure, a drawback to the operation 
of the electro-magnetic machine that it has to expend a certain 
portion of its available current force in converting the soft 
iron into the magnetic state, and that the current itself is 
therefore not started in the coils with so low a rate of revolu- 
tion as it is when the permanent magnets are adopted ; but 
this, on the other hand, is very much more than compensated 
for by the mutual action and reaction of the current and the 
magnetism. Up to a certain point, with the electro-magnetic 

100 Electro- Motive Power. Jan. 

machine, increase of velocity from this cause gives increase of 
power in proportion to tlie square of the speed, whereas, in 
the machines Avith permanent magnets, the increase of power 
is very nearly in the direct ratio of the speed. When once 
the full saturation of the soft iron with the magnetic state has 
been brought about with an electro-magnetic machine, increase 
of power under further augmentation of velocity of revolution 
only takes place in the same ratio as the quickening of the 
speed, and exactly as would occur if the soft iron were a per- 
manent steel magnet. 

When a steam-driven electro-magnetic, or, as it is now, 
for distinction's sake, more generally termed, a dynamo- 
electric, machine is used for the generation of the electric 
light, it is essentially and properly an apparatus for the pro- 
duction of movement electrically. The light, where it is 
manifested, is due to vibratory perturbation set up in the 
molecules of ponderable substance. A gap, or a narrowing of 
the channel of electrical transmission, is arranged where the 
illumination appears ; increased resistance is offered to the 
passage of the current in that narrowed or severed part, and 
molecules are thrown into such violent commotion, as the 
opposed current overleaps the obstacle, and makes its way 
past, that they emit luminous vibrations, and shine under the 
intensity of the turmoil. The whirling force derived from the 
burning coal and steam, and put primarily into the revolving 
coils as movement of masses of ponderable matter, flows 
quietly off through the channel of the wire until it comes to 
the rapids and rock-encumbered narrows of the course, and it 
is then constrained once again to undergo transmutation of 
form, and to burst into light. The circumstance which has 
enabled power enough to be accumulated for this marvellous 
transmutation of mechanical impulse into molecular movement, 
or luminous vibration, upon a scale adequate to serviceable 
application. Is the 'extension of Faraday's discovery of the 
generation of electrical currents by the movements of magnets, 
through Siemens' deduction that the intensity of the electrical 
effect increases with the square of the velocity when moving 
electro-macrnets and coils are so arranged as to act and react 
upon each other. It is thus that the development and perfec- 
tion of the Siemens dynamo-electric machine, and of the 
other steam-driven instruments of the same type, have rendered 
practicable the employment of electric power for useful motor 
purposes. The progress from the production of molecular 
movement, or, in other words, of luminous vibration by trans- 
mitted currents of electrical force, to the driving of work- 

1882. Electro-Motive Poiver. 101 

performing machines by the same agency, is a very simple and 
natural step. All that is necessary for the accomplishment of 
this purpose is the filling up or bridging over of the chasm in 
the conducting wires where the electrical stream Avould be 
impeded and vexed into light, and the continuance on of the 
quiet and even flow to the place Avhere any desired work has 
to be performed, and of the adjustment there of an arrange- 
ment of mechanical impedimenta which can be driven by the 
stream. The way in which this has been practically carried 
out, once again by the ingenuity and skill of Werner Siemens 
of Berlin, is nevertheless as remarkable for tlie completeness 
of its success as for the simplicity of its method. 

When a dynamo-electrical machine is set whirling by steam, 
the electrical current flows out from the revolving coils into 
the arranged channel for the transmission — the continuous 
copper wire, or strand — in the way which has been described. 
Now let it be conceived that after this copper wire, or channel 
of outflow, has been carried along to some distance, whether of 
yards or miles, a second dynamo- electric machine, Avith its 
electi'o-magnets and coils, and in all particulars resembling 
that which is used for the generation of the current, is intro- 
duced into circuit by merely continuing the conducting wire 
on into the coils which encircle the electro-magnets, so that 
any current which is developed in the first machine may 
simultaneously pass on, without any break, through the coils 
of a second one. What then must of necessity happen ? The 
second instrument will immediately, and as if it were of its 
own head, begin to revolve in direct sympathy with the first. 
This, it will be understood, is a result that is ascei'tained by 
actual experiment. Whenever a second dynamo-electrical 
machine is brought into continuous circuit with the first, it 
revolves with the first when the coils of that first are set in 
motion by steam. The effect, however, is not at all difficult 
to be understood, or to be explained : as the current flows 
through the coils of the second, or distant, machine, its soft- 
iron included bars become magnets, and these magnets react, 
as it ■\v«re retroflectively, upon the coils, setting them 
whirling round and round. The magnets are made and un- 
made by the successive breaks and re-establishments of the 
current. But, with each break and re-establishment, their 
polarities are reversed, and with each reversal of the polarity 
they act in a different way upon the contiguous coil. So that, 
under the double action, first of the push and then of the pull, 
the coil is urged continuously on in its forward roll. This all 
takes place under the influence of a well-known physical law 

102 Electro-Mutive Power. Jan. 

which is found in operation in various forms, and which is not 
unfrcqueutly spoken of as the reversibility of action.* It is a 
similar effect to that which is seen in the store battery of 
M. Faure,t in which lead is fii-st converted to the state of 
a red oxide by the absorption of an electric current from an 
outside source, and in which the red oxide is then reduced 
back into lead with a return of the current in the opposite 
direction. In the case of the dynamo-electric machines, the 
revolution of a machine, in a quite analogous way, first sets up 
a current, and the current then flows out, and, under the 
reversal of the action, establishes revolving movement in a 
second machine. J In this very simple way, then, the current 
which has issued from the primary machine is once again 
brought back into the original state of mechanical impulse, or 
machine-actuating force, and the movement set up in the 
revolviug coils can be forthwith, and as a matter of course, 
communicated in any of the ordinary and well-known mechani- 
cal ways, to saw-mills, or scAving-machines, or any other kind 
of mechanical contrivance, that it may be desired to set in 
operation. In the first instance, the connexion of the coils 
with the work Avas simply made by a belt and drum. But 
more recently other expedients, such as bevelled and toothed 
wheels, and spiral springs, have been employed. 

There is one very complete and interesting way in which 
it may be at once demonstrated that, in these applications of 
the electrical force to motor purposes, the case is actually a 
conversion of current into movement. It is quite easy, by 
means of the suitable arrangement of a galvanometer placed 
near the transmitting wire, to ascertain the amount of electrical 
current that is passing through the wire at any instant. ]S"ow 
if, while a dynamo-electric machine is in fulf work communi- 
cating movement to attached pieces of apparatus, that move- 
ment is suddenly stopped by the application of some suflficiently 

* Or 'action and reaction.' 

t See Edinburgh Keview, No. cccxv. p. 2G7. 

t It must be here borne in mind that the second machine is in all 
particulars an exact repetition of the first. It has its commutator for 
collecting the current, and Avhich, in the case of its being used to 
receive, instead of to generate, so operates, under the circumstance of 
reversal of action, as to break up a continuous current, if it be such 
that it receives, into an intermitting and alternating one. A continuous 
ciu-rent from a generating machine produces an interrupted current in 
a receiymg one, in every sense adapted for establishing the alternating 
magnetic polarities Avhich have been alluded to in the text as the 
source of its acquired driving power. 

1882. Electro-Motive Poiver. 103 

powerful bar, or check, it will be found that the amount of 
<5urreut passing through the wire is increased, because that 
portion of it which was before expended as work is, under the 
mew condition, retained circling as electric force. But the 
instant the apparatus is again allowed to run on, the current 
ialls once more to the lower amount, because a considerable 
portion of it is then again transformed from the state of electric 
current into movement, and is in that way absorbed. Pre- 
•cisely the same thing occurs with the current used for purposes 
of telegraphy, as it produces the movements of the magnetic 
needle. A part of the energy of the current is expended in 
overcoming the resistance which the wire affords to its passage, 
and another part is spent in moving the needle ; that is, in 
•doing the work for which the apparatus is designed. The 
portion of the energy which is used in the work of driving the 
needle leaves less energy available for the production of the 
•current, and consequently there is less current flowing along 
the wire when the needle is moving, than there is when it is at 
Test. If a telegraph needle is held firmly at rest when the 
-current of the battery is on, there is immediately more current 
flowino; through the wire. 

The conversion of the current into useful work is not, how- 
ever, the only way in which it is expended. There is always 
some absorption in waste as well as in work. The friction of 
the machinery has to be overcome, since it is made of inert and 
ponderable material, and at the same time the electrical dis- 
turbance, or state, has to be got through the wire. The 
temperature of the transmitting wire is invariably raised to 
some extent during the passage of the current. The heat is 
_generated out of the current, and is therefore waste, or loss. 
It is a portion of the original force put into the primary 
anachine by the steam, converted back into heat by the way, 
and therefore no longer available at the end of the course for 
motor application. It is a necessary consequence of this 
waste by the way that it is altogether impossible for the same 
amount of force to be given out to machinery moved after the 
transmission of the current, as that which is developed in the 
primary, or transmitting, machine. The transmission is paid 
for, as it were, by a deduction, or transport rate, levied upon 
the current. 

But in the case of the transmission of power to a secondary 
machine, in the way which has been just described, there 
is another source of loss that has also to be taken into con- 
sideration and allowed for. When the coils in the second 
machine are thrown sympathetically into simultaneous revolu- 

104 Electro- Motive Power. Jan. 

tion Avith those of the primary one, they produce magnetism in 
the soft iron bars, and these, reacting by their magnetism* 
upon the coils, set up on their own account a current in them. 
This current, however, is in the reverse, or retrograde^ direc- 
tion, and if it were of the same strength as the primary current, 
or forward one, the two W'Ould neutralise each other, and there 
would be no current at all available for external work. In the 
actual arrangements of the apparatus, the revolution of the 
receiving machine is always so regulated as to be less rapid 
than that of the issuing one. There is, then, an available 
balance, or excess, of the primary current to be used at the 
distant end, and after transmission, for work. Some consider- 
able part has been neutralised by the weaker return current 
thrown back from the receiving machine ; but, over and above 
that, there is still a fair amount that can be used for driving 
purposes. It has been theoretically assumed, from a considera- 
tion of this reflex action, that the machinery is being turned 
to the best practical account when the movement of the driving 
apparatus is exactly half that of the generating coils, and when 
the work done by it is half that which is developed in the 
primary machine. If 5-horse power is put into the primary 
machine by the immediate application of the expansive energy 
of steam, 2i-horse power may be reckoned upon as available 
at the driving end. This answers very Avell as an approximate 
statement of the case. It is generally held that 45 per cent, 
of the original power should be available for work after trans- 
mission. Dr. Siemens, however, finds that in favourable cir- 
cumstances this is an under-statement of the truth. In alluding 
to this point upon a recent public occasion he expressed himself 
in the following words : — 

' The view that the power to be obtained from a motor machine 
cannot exceed one-half that which is communicated to, or developed 
in, the generator, is one which is yet much discussed amongst elec- 
tricians, and Mr. Alexander Siemens in his paper has consequently 
adopted the safer course of rather under than over stating the results 
which might be and had been obtained. There is by no means such a 
limit as 50 per cent. Experiments of undoubted accuracy have shown 
that GO, and even 70, per cent, may in some instances be obtained, and 
that the point of maximum effect is not limited to half the volocity,. 
although unquestionably there is a limit. If the velocities were equal, 
theoretically, the maximum result should be obtained; but the 
counter-current produced in that case would be also at a maximum, so 
that practically the niaxinnim lies between the two results of half 
velocity and equal velocity.' 

In the actual use of powerful dynamo-electric machines there 

1882. Electro-Motive Power. 105 

is one circumstance which is a frequent source of vexatious 
loss. When their strength is strained to the utmost by high 
velocities, their efficacy in overcoming resistance is apt to be 
diminished just at the time when it is most required. The 
current has to excite the magnetic power within the coils of 
the primary machine before it passes on to drive the machinery 
attached at the remote end of the wire. But whenever any 
chance increase of resistance is experienced in the external 
work, the energy of the current is at once concentrated in 
overcoming that difficulty. But this can only be accomplished 
by the withdrawal of a corresponding amount of energy from 
the task of exciting the magnets, and by a consequent weaken- 
ing of the primary power. This practically leads to irregular 
work and halting movements. The notorious unsteadiness of 
the electric light generated by dynamo-electric machines is due 
to this cause. Dr. W. Siemens has found that this source of 
iri'egularity may be to a large extent obviated by using two 
dynamo-electric machines — one to excite the magnets, and the 
other for generating the current ; or, what comes to pretty 
much the same thing, by dividing the original current of the 
primary machine into two distinct parts, and reserving one of 
these parts for the excitation of the magnets, whilst the other 
part is transmitted for work. Dr. Siemens drew attention to 
this plan of removing the difficulty in a paper which he com- 
municated to the Royal Society a few months since ; and, in the 
face of what has alread}^ been accomplished, it is scarcely pos- 
sible to doubt that this cause of fitful irregularity will ulti- 
mately be removed. 

Dr. Werner Siemens has undoubtedly been one of the 
earliest as well as one of the most sanguine and persistent of 
the advocates for the employment of the electric current in 
mechanical work. At the Paris International Exhibition of 
1867 he spoke of electrical railways as an application of the 
power that was certain to be realised, and it is one of the 
memorable events of this fruitful age that he has lived to 
assist very materially in the fulfilment of his own prophecy. 
The application of the powerful currents of the dynamo-electric 
machine to railway transport has, indeed, been one of the first 
fruits of the improvements so recently effected in instrumental 
construction. In the summer of 1879 a working model of an 
electric railway was exhibited at Berlin by Messrs. Siemens- 
and Halske, and the same model has since been shown at 
Dtisseldorf, at Brussels, and in the grounds of the "Crystal 
Palace at Sydenham. Short railways upon the same principle 
have also been brouo-ht into actual use in Paris and in the 

106 Electro-Motive Power. Jan. 

neighbourhood of Berlin. In the latter instance the line 
which is "worked is a little more than a mile and a half long, 
and connects the Lichterfelde station of the Berlin-Anhalt 
railway with the Military Academy. 

After the remarks which have been made in the preceding 
pages, it yviW not be at all difficult to iinderstand how this 
notable feat of engineering ingenuity has been accomplished. 
A very slight amount of consideration, indeed, in the light of 
those remarks, will make it manifest how readily the electro- 
motor method of driving machinery adapts itself to railway 
transport. It has been seen that a second dynamo-electric 
machine, connected with the primary steam-driven one, is 
thrown into sympathetic revolution when its coils are placed 
in continuous electrical communication Avith the transmitting 
wire issuing from the primary coils. Now it has only to be 
conceived that the secondary revolving machine is mounted 
upon a platform, and furnished with wheels, and that these 
wheels are connected by a belt with the axis of the whirling 
coils ; and the great principle which underlies this form of the 
application of the power will be at once grasped by the mind. 
It must also, of course, be implied that rails have been laid 
down to carry the wheels. No difficulty whatever is entailed 
in the circumstance that the platform carrying the driving 
apparatus is itself capable of motion from place to place, be- 
cause the effective continuity of the electric current can always 
be established and maintained by the contact of the wheels 
with the rails. The smooth surface of the external circum- 
ference of the Avheels under the pressure of the superimposed 
weight makes a close running connexion with the surface of 
the rail. The current is sent out from a stationary engine 
planted at some convenient spot on the line, and it is dis- 
charged to the earth through the wheels of the carriage as these 
run along the permanent way, and is so automatically length- 
ened or shortened as the carriage runs out from or in towards 
the station holding the fixed machine. This is essentially the 
plan which has been followed with the experimental circular 
railway exhibited at Paris and Sydenham, and also with the 
Lichterfelde Kailway, which is in more permanent operation. 
The circular railway has a circumferential extent of about 436 
yards, and the dynamo-electric driving apparatus is mounted 
upon a small car, which acts like the locomotive of an ordinary 
railway train, and draws three carriages after it carrying six- 
teen persons in each. The current is delivered to the driving 
car by a third intermediate I'ail, from which it is taken off for 
conveyance to driving coils by means of brushes. It is re- 

1882. FAectro- Motive Porver. lO:* 

turned to the statlonaiy machine bj the outer rails. The 
driving coils exert a pull of about four hundredweights, which 
is diminished to from a hundredweight and a half to a himdred- 
weight and three-quarters when the carriages are running 
along the line, and then amounts to an available power of 
three horses. The speed attained under this power is ten 
feet per second, or nearly seven miles an hour. In the Lich- 
terfelde railway the steam-engine and stationary machine are 
placed about a third of a mile from the terminal station, and 
the current is conveyed to that station by underground cables. 
It is delivered to a passenger car constructed to accommodate 
twenty-one persons, and Avhich carries its driving coils beneath 
the floor. The current flows into the car by one of the 
ordinary rails of the permanent way, is collected from it by 
brushes pressing upon a brass ring attached to one of the axles, 
and is carried back to the primary machine by the opposite line 
of rails. The speed actually attained in this railway is from 
nine to twelve and a half miles an hour, the distance of a mile 
and a half being run usually in ten minutes. The speed can, 
however, be raised at will to twenty-five miles an hour. 

Messrs. Siemens consider that the electric form of pro- 
pulsion may be advantageously adopted for railways of short 
length, and more especially for street traflfic in towns. One 
of its great recommendations is that it entirely obviates the 
necessity for the employment of heavy locomotives, so that 
the permanent way may be of a comparatively light and cheap 
character. Suflficient adhesion to the rail for traction under 
light weights can be most easily managed by the simple ex- 
pedient of causing all the wheels to drive. Another most 
important circumstance, which is strongly insisted upon, is the 
readiness with which a powerful and efficacious break can be 
instantaneously brought into play by merely short circuiting 
the driving current upon the wheels of the carriages, and so 
transferring its energy from driving to braking purposes. A 
very complete and interesting account of the views and aims 
of the originators of this electrical railway, prepared by Alex- 
ander Siemens, a son of Werner Siemens of Berlin, is given 
in one of the papers named at the head of the article. These 
gentlemen, after a careful consideration of their various expe- 
riments, have come to the conclusion that efficient elevated 
railways in the streets of towns, worked by electric power, 
and maintaining a speed of eighteen miles an hour, may 
be provided at a cost of a trifle less than 12,000Z. a mile, and 
that such railways may be calculated to run 200 trains in the 
day, with ten carriages in use, accommodating fifteen persons 

108 Electro- Motive Puicer. Jan. 

in each, at. a cost of eighty-six shillings per mile per day. Dr. 
William Siemens himself, upon a recent occasion, urged his 
own conviction of the fitness of the electric railway for long 
tunnels, and for underground traffic in general, in the following 
words : — 

' The electric transmission of power would be efficacious, no doubt, 
for loc.ll traffic, such as tramways, and also ibr lines conveying 
minerals from the interior of a mine to the bank, and in exceptional 
cases for the transmission of heavy trains along rails. One of these 
cases was presented by the St. Gothard tunnel. The company to 
Avhich that belonged were fully alive to all modern improvements, and 
liad requested Messrs. Siemens to work out a plan for utilising the 
hydraulic power which could be had in great abundance near the mouth 
of the tunnel. By the accomplishment of that object very great advan- 
tages would be gained ; for, as those who had travelled through the Mont 
Cenis tunnel, or through the one on the line between Alessandria and 
Genoa, were aware, great inconvenience resulted from the emission of the 
products of combustion from the engines daring the transit. If a train 
could be sent through this long Alpine tunnel by electric force a great 
inconvenience would be saved to the passenger, and at the same time 
a great saving would be effected by the company. Nearer home there 
v/aa a case which would lend itself admirably to electric transmission — 
the Underground District Eailway. All those who were in the habit 
of using that railway appreciated the facilities it offered in going to 
the City or from it ; but they also felt the inconveniences of the pro- 
ducts of combustion choking the atmosphere. Plans had been pro- 
posed for more thoroughly ventilating the tunnel, but they were only 
palliatives ; the cure would consist in finding a source of power 
without the inconvenience of combustion being carried on in the 
tunnel. A jilan had been proposed for working the engines by com- 
pressed air, and nothing could be said against that, but that it did not 
do away with the necessity of having an engine nearly as heavy as 
the present locomotive. If electric transmission were tried on that 
railway in such a way as to make the rails act as the return con- 
ductor, making them all " earth," and fixing guide rails under the roof 
for the conveyance of the current, to be taken into each carriage by 
means of a metallic rope, great certainty of action would be obtained, 
and the trains would be propelled through the tunnel without fear of 
their being stopped midway, and at a very economical rate. These 
were the features of this innovation : that it lent itself to the convey- 
ance of power to any reasonable distance, and that it could be applied 
without any of those inconveniencies which now beset oiu* locomotive 

In a small volume on the ' Electric Transmission of Power,' 
recently published, Dr. Paget Higgs has bi-ought together the 
chief practical deductions that have been formed by mechanical 
engineers in reference to this branch of their work. The subject 
is treated in a form that is, perhaps, too technical for the needs 

1882. Ekctro-Motice Power. 109 

of the general reader. The conclusions at which he has arrived 
are, however, not materially different from those which have 
been more familiarly expressed in the preceding paragraphs. 
He states that 48 per cent, of the power expended in the pro- 
duction of the electric current by means of dynamo-electrical 
machines may, at the present time, be reclaimed from the 
current in the form of useful work, and that this amount of 
reclaimed and utilised power is unquestionably more than the 
proportion which can be obtained by means of compressed air 
or hydraulic pressure. He dwells especially upon the advan- 
tageous circumstance that the electric force is more easily^ 
transmitted to a distance than any other kind of energy, 
and that it is so tolerant of change both of direction and 
intensity. The conductor employed for the transmission of 
the current is also inert, and may be shifted about, and bent 
into a new course, even at the very time that it is conveying the 
power of a considerable number of horses, without the freedom 
of the propagation being in any way interfered with. In a 
final summary of what he conceives to be the advantages that 
may be looked for from the electrical transmission of power, 
the author says : — 

' The source of power and the point of reclamation may be relatively 
situated most awkwardly, but the electric conductor can be brought 
round the sharpest corner, or carried through the most private room, 
without inconvenience. There is nothing to burst or give way. The 
same circuit which may be tapped to provide the hieans of working 
power machinery can be as conveniently tapped to work a sewing- 
machine. In mining operations electric transmission Avill doubtless 
become of the highest value, since it involves no danger. Machines 
for this purpose could be easily constructed without a commutator, so 
that sparks would be avoided with only a small loss of power. The 
ready portability offers great inducements to the mining engineer. For 
ploughing by power, trials made in France shoAv that electricity can 
replace steam with advantage and economy, and in Scotland power 
obtained from a waterfall has been transmitted one mile and a half. 
Dredges could be reduced in size, and worked from a central motor, so 
that smaller channels than are now subject to this method could be 
cleansed mechanically. In mills and factories, rooms (otherwise) 
inaccessible can be utilised for power-worked machinery. These are 
but a few of the (possible) advantages. A millennium may be antici- 
pated when the water-power of a country shall be available at every 
door, for electric-power conductors can be laid in the streets more 
easily than gas or water pipes.' 

There are few readers at the present day who have not heard 
of the waterfall near Sir William Armstrong's residence at 
Craigside, incidentally glanced at in this extract, which works 

110 Electro-Motive Pomer. Jan. 

the sawmill and lights the house three-quarters of a mile 
away, or who have not caught some rumour of the future 
destiny that is presumed by sanguine enthusiasts to be in 
reserve for the now wasted energies of Niagara. The first 
idea of the utilisation of water-power upon a large scale by 
means of electrical transmission appears to have been suggested 
to William Siemens by Niagara itself upon the occasion of his 
visit to the mighty cataract a few years since. The notion had 
obviously taken definite form in his mind when, in his presi- 
dential address to the Iron and Steel Institute in London in 
1877, he stated that a copper rod three inches in diameter 
could be made to convey one thousand horse-power thirty miles 
from a Avaterfall, or other adequate natural source of energy. 
This estimate was based upon the assumption, up to that time 
generally received, that the resistance of a wire employed in 
the transmission of a current of electricity increases in the 
same proportion as the length of the conductor, and that, in 
order to get the same amount of motor force out of the end of 
a conducting wire when its length has been doubled, its 
sectional area, or, in other words, its capacity for the transmission 
of the current, must be doubled also. But, if this be the case, 
the doubling^ of the dimensions of the wire, and the doublino- 
of its length at the same time, manifestly imply a fourfold 
increase of its weight, and therefore of its cost. The increase 
in the cost of an electrical conductor of power is consequently 
not in the simple ratio of the addition to its length, but in the 
ratio of the square of that addition. This is the chief difficulty 
which the advocates of the electrical transmission of motor 
power for useful mechanical purposes have had to face. It is 
this dread of the vast accumulation of cost with increasing 
distance Avhich has given them pause, and it is this difficulty 
that at the present time they are straining their ingenuity and 
enterprise to the utmost to circumvent. The principal cause of 
the loss of power with augmented length is that in transmitting 
the current the wire retains a certain, and quite considerable, 
amount in its own substance, converting it into heat. This 
heat, again, is not only loss, but it is also a further positive 
cause of accession of resistance, because hot wires convey the 
electric force with less facility than cold ones. Sir William 
Thomson has proposed to meet this additional cause of obstruc- 
tion by constructing the conductor in the form of a hollow 
cylinder, or thin pipe, of copper, which may be kept at a com- 
paratively low temperature by injecting a stream of water 
through it, and he conceives that Avith this expedient a com- 
paratively light tube of metal may be caused to transmit a 

1882. Electro-Motive Potcer. Ill 

considerably large cliarge of electrical energy for several 
hundred miles. There is, however, a yet more radical and 
exhaustive mode that has been proposed for dealing witli this 
difficulty, which, although trenching somewhat upon the pro- 
vince that is generally conceived to concern itself only 
with tlie more recondite and technical subtleties of electric 
science, may, nevertheless, by a little careful management, be 
brought well within the reach of all readers of average intel- 

The capacity of a wire for the transmission of a current of 
electricity depends to a considerable extent, as has been already 
said, upon the amount, or quantity, of the current which has to 
be conveyed. It is also, however, affected by another condition. 
It is influenced by the tension, or intensity, of the current as 
well as by its quantity. This difference between the quantity 
and intensity of a current appears at first glance to be a some- 
what subtle distinction. But it is a distinction which fortu- 
nately can, nevertheless, be made plain by an illustration drawn 
from another more familiar and more generally understood 
branch of mechanics. 

The power which can be derived from running water de- 
pends, as almost everyone knows, upon two circumstances — 
the quantity of the water which flows, and the height from 
■ which this runs. The first of these circumstances is aptly 
spoken of as the quantity of the water, the second as the 
amount of its running force. These two quite distinct elements — 
the quantity of a stream, and the amount of its fall — have both 
to be taken into consideration in estimating its mechanical 
effect, and they are related to each other under the provisions 
of a very simple law. The possible work, or, in other words, 
potential energy, of one thousand pounds of water falling 
through one inch is precisely the same as that of one pound of 
water falling through one thousand inches. It consequently 
results that if there be head, or fall, enough, a very small 
quantity of water may be made to produce a very considerable 
mechanical effect ; and if this effect has to be transmitted from 
the place where the water is dammed up into a head, to some 
more or less distant station where work is to be done, the 
transmission may, in such case, be made through a long and 
narrow channel without much loss of effect. The capacity 
for accomplishing work is, in the circumstance, quite as large 
as it would have been if relatively more water had fallen froin 
a less height. A very small quantity of water, if it descend 
from a sufficiently high level, or head, may thus possess a very 
considerable amount of potential energy. 

112 Electro- Motive Power. Jan. 

Precisely the same condition of affairs presents itself when 
streams of electricity are transmitted through conductors. 
Those streams may consist of a large quantity of current 
flowing, as it were, from a low head, or they may consist of a 
small quantity of current running from a high head, and 
therefore possessing a high potential force, notwithstanding 
the smallness of the quantity. The electrical current is con- 
tinually observed" in both these extremes of possible operation. 
It is manifested in the low form of intensity and flowing in 
large quantity when it is generated in voltaic batteries witli 
large plates and few cells ; and it is seen in the condition of 
small quantity and high intensity when the bright incandes- 
cent spark strikes from the prime conductor of the frictional 
electrical machine, and, indeed, also in the flashing of light- 
ning, in Avhicli almost incredibly small quantities possess poten- 
tial energy enough to burst through an extent of two or three 
miles of resisting air. The voltaic current issuing from a 
voltaic battery of a small number of cells is like a large stream 
of water flowing along a very gentle incline. The electric 
spark is like a small quantity of water precipitated suddenly 
from a great height. 

But in the case of electrical transmission there is yet 
another circumstance to be taken into account — the relation, 
namely, which the current holds to the great subjacent 
reservoir of all electrical action, the earth. It may be so 
arranged that there is great tension, or effort to escape into 
the earth, even at the time when its transmission as a current 
is almost arrested. Thus in the case of an insulated telegraph 
wire, some twenty miles long, which is connected at one end 
with a signalling battery, the instant the connexion is made 
the wire is brought through its whole length into a state of 
high electrical tension in comparison with the earth, but there 
is no currcTit until it is put to earth at the far end. The 
moment this is done, the tension at that end is lowered to the 
standard of the earth, and there is accordingly great difference 
of tension at the two opposite ends of the wire — a high tension 
at the battery end, and a low tension where the contact Avith 
earth is made. A current through the wire is therefore imme- 
-diately set up, and the case is for the time analogous to that of 
a stream of water flowing from a high level to a low one. The 
current runs into the wire from the battery, and flows along it 
to escape to the earth at the far end. But if at that end the 
outlet to the earth is suddenly stopped, the current is arrested, 
and the whole wire becomes again filled with a high electrical 
tension. In this condition of aff'airs there is comparatively 

1882. Electro-Motive Poioer. 113 

little difference of tension at the opposite ends of the wire ; but 
there is great difference of tension between all parts of the 
wire and the earth, or, in other words, a high potential of 
energy in the Avire, because wherever it may be tapped it will 
be found capable of exerting a great instantaneous force, or 
capacity for work, quite analogous to that which is found when 
a tap is suddenly opened at the lower end of a pipe which 
descends from a high head of water. Whenever the difference 
of electrical tension or strain existing in an insulated wire and 
the contiguous earth is very great, there will of necessity be 
in that wire a high potential or capacity for Avork, and a large 
amount of effective force, or work, may be put into it at one 
end by a generator, and be taken out of it at the other end by 
driving machinery, althovigh the actual transmission of a cur- 
rent along the wire is small. When this condition is established, 
there is consequently a relatively slight absorption or waste of 
energy in the form of heat generated in the wire, even whilst 
work is in progress. This, consequently, is the aim which is 
kept steadily in view by those bold innovators, the electrical 
mechanicians ; namely, to find the means of keeping up a high 
potential of energy in a transmitting wire, and to work it with 
a relatively small current. 

One method by which this object may most reasonably be 
pursued immediately suggests itself to the mind of any one 
who is at all familiar with the leading principles of electrical 
science ; namely, the improving the insulation of the wire so as 
to enable a higher potential energy to be generated in it and 
retained. The most experienced and competent authorities 
who have made a special study of this subject pretty generally 
admit that at the present time the waste unavoidably incident 
to the transmission of electrical energy is very large. When> 
dynamo-electrical machines revolving at high rates of speed 
pour the currents which they have generated into copper wires,, 
these not only run through those wires, but at the same time 
leak out and run to waste at every weak point of the channel 
that they can find. But the most sanguine and hopeful of the- 
experimenters contend that this imperfection in the conducting 
apparatus will assuredly be obviated by improved methods of 
procedure. Professor Perry, in alluding to some experiments 
of Professor Joule's in his paper ' On the Future Development 
' of Electrical Appliances,' says, in reference to this : — 

' The facts tell us that in the electrical maciiiaes of the future, and 
in their connecting Avires, there will be little heating, and therefore 
little loss. We shall, I believe, at no distant date have great central 
stations — possibly situated at the bottom of coal-pits-^ where enormous 


114 Electro-Motive Power. Jan. 

steam-engines will drive enormous electrical machines. We shall have 
wires laid along every street, tapped into every house, as gas-pipes are 
at present, and the current will be passed through little electric 
machines to drive machinery, to produce ventilation, to replace stoves 
and fires, to work apple-parers and mangles and barbers' brushes 
among other things, as well as to give light.' 

It is the same authority who also remarks, in speaking of 
dynamo-electric machines, driven at very high rates of speed : — 
' With such machines it Avould be possible to heat, light, and ven- 
tilate all the houses in New York, and to give to large and small Avork- 
shops the power required to drive their machinery, by means of an 
ordinary telegraph wire (but with some exceptionally good method of 
insulation), transmitting energy from as great a distance as the Falls 
of Niagara.' 

These extracts very fairly express and bring into prominent 
notice the tAvo expedients which are looked to as the great 
hope of the electrical engineers in their present aspirations ; 
namely, increased speed in the revolutions of the dynamo- 
electric machines, and improved insulation in the conducting 
wires through which the resulting currents of electric force are 
to be distributed to work. The sul)division of the electric 
currents for purposes of mechanical work will no doubt be 
found an easier and more practicable task than their sub- 
division for purposes of illumination. Still it is by no means 
to be overlooked that every step in the subdivision and distri- 
bution of the power involves some increase of resistance and 
some economical loss. All telegraph engineers are well aware 
how disadvantageously the working of a telegraph is affected by 
the introduction of additional instruments into the circuit. A 
transmission of 250 or 300 words per minute may in this way 
be at once rendered impracticable in an entire line which was 
just before working easily at this rate at all its stations. The 
distribution for mechanical work may nevertheless be econo- 
mically effected Avithin a certain limit and range. There seems 
to be a general concurrence of opinion amongst electricians 
that a single-horse jiower for work may be generated at a 
central station where large operations are in progress by an 
expenditure of two and a half pounds of coal per hour ; and 
that the same amount of power may be developed at a distant 
station through the intervention of electrical transmission by 
the expenditure of five pounds of coal an hour at the central 
station. If this be the case, the method of transmitting poAver 
electrically to various secondary and subordinate machines 
from one great centre of origin may be admitted to be an eco- 
nomical one, as most engineers are aAvare that small steam- 

1882. Electro-Motive Poiver. 115 

engines can hardly be made to produce a horse-power of motor 
energy at so small a consumption of coal as five pounds in the 
hour. Mr. Alexander Siemens attaches considerable wel^-ht 
to this consideration, and he also thinks tliat this advantage 
may be materially increased by setting the primary generator 
to charge the secondary batteries of M. Faure at the distant 
stations, allowing the final distribution of the power to local 
machines to be carried out from those temporary reservoirs, 
just as gas is held stored in separate gasometers, and turned 
on from them when it is required for detail use. Sir William 
Thomson is obviously pursuing the same line of thought when 
he suggests that windmills may be used for storing Faure 
accumulators. The store battery unmistakeably supplies ex- 
actly Avhat the fitful and uncertain character of the wind 
requires as the proper compensation for its unreliability. The 
chief disadvantage of wind as a source of motor power is that 
it blows, and often too violently, when it is not wanted, and 
^vhen it is most needed it quite as frequently fails. But this 
will not be of any material consequence if the wind can be 
bottled up as potential electrical energy when it does blow, 
and this energy be then let off in detail, and in regulated 
quantities, as it can be turned to account in useful work. The 
American form of windmill, with its compact revolving disc in 
the place of sails, very cleverly adapts itself to the task of 
charging Faure store batteries by means of light dynamo- 
electrical machines. With such a system of electrical genera- 
tion, it is obvious the need for the transmission of the current 
through long, leaking, and therefore wasteful, channels is at 
once got rid of. 

Whilst alluding to this phase of the subject it is scarcely 
possible to omit to remark how singularly the two great dis- 
<;overies in the domain of the reversibility of force — the action 
and reaction of chemical and electrical energy in the store 
battery of M. Faure, and the action and reaction of mechanical 
movement and electrical currents in coupled-uj:) dynamo-elec- 
trical machines — have conspired together to advance the cause 
of the electrical transmission of motor power, and to favour 
the utilisation of the vast natural sources of motor energy that 
are at all times present in blowing winds and inflowing water.* 

* Professor Sylvanus Thompson has recently stated at a meeting of 
the Society of Arts that Professor Clerk Maxwell having been asked 
shortly before his death what he considered the greatest scientific 
discovery of the last twenty-five years, replied : ' The discovery that 
' the Gramme (dynamo-electrical) machine is reversible.' Professor 

116 Elertro-Motice Poicer. Jan, 

Precisely as the store-battery is necessary to render the fitful 
impulses of the capricious wind available for steady and reliable 
work, so also is it essential for the practical utilisation of such 
periodic recurrences as the flowing and ebbing of the tidal 
currents of the sea. Sir William Thomson appears to have 
been led to cast a longing and loving eve upon windmills 
on account of the suspicion that it would not answer to con- 
struct basins along the coast for ffeneratino; currents of electri- 
city out of the influx and efflux of the tide, because the land, 
which might by the same amount of labour be reclaimed from 
the dominion of the sea, would have a higher money value for 
agricultural purposes than the water-reservoir would have as a 
source of motor power. It must be remembered, hoAvevery 
that this argument does not at all apply to the various well- 
known instances in which vast irreclaimable basins are already 
within the dominion of the tide. Thus Professor Sylvanus 
Thompson has pointed out that this is essentially the case in 
the neighbourhood of Bristol, where he resides. Xature seems 
there almost to have taken it in hand to provide beforehand 
for the working out of the j^roblem. Professor Thompson 
states that the construction of only a few yards of embank- 
ment would in that instance provide a tidal basiu with a rise 
and fall of twenty-three feet ; and where at the present time 
power runs to Avaste every year which would amply suffice, if 
converted to mechanical account, to charge ten millions of Faure 
batteries, and to raise twenty billions of pounds one foot high. 
He calculates that one-tenth part of this power would be quite 
enough for the permanent lighting of the city of Bristol. He 
further estimates that a fifth part of the tidal flow which 
now runs to waste in the channel of the Severn, where the 
rise and fall are of a still larger amount, would suffice to light 
every city and to turn every loom, spindle, and axle in Great 
Britain.* It will be thus seen how even the boldness of the 

Thompson adds, oa his own part, that he has no doubt if Professor 
Maxwell could be asked at the present time what scientific discoveiy 
now stands next in importanco, he would answer, ' Tlie discovery that 
the Voltaic battery is reversible.' ' The reversibiHty of the Voltaic 
cell instanced in the Faure store-battery is the counterpart and com- 
plement of the reversibility of the Gramme machine ; for while tlie 
one hag solved for us the problem of the electric transmission of power, 
the other has solved for us the problem of tlie electric storage of 

* Professor Thompson himself suggestively remarks, in reference to 
this: ' Accumulators are a necessary feature in any scheme to utilise 
'the intermittent force of the tides. Whether the present form will 

1882. Electro-Motive Power. 117 

idea of utilising the Falls of Niagara is already on the point 
of being surpassed hy the aspirations of scientific men. If 
this dream of the application of the tidal pulsations of the sea 
to the production of mechanical movement through the instru- 
mentality of store-batteries and transmitted electrical cur- 
rents is ever realised, this indeed Avould be a case of the 
conservation of energy upon the most stupendous scale ; 
for under such circumstances it Avould be the majestic roll of 
the terrestrial globe itself, in its inexorable Avhirl in space, 
which would have been harnessed to work the machinery of 
man. AVith such a prime dynamo-electrical generator there 
would assuredly be no limit to the work which might be per- 

It will be almost unnecessary to draw attention to Mr. 
Siemens' remark, that the electrical transmission of power has 
no sphere of useful application at sea. The machine-driven 
ship of necessity has to carry the whole of its origination of 
power within itself. There is no means by which it could be 
made to draw its moving force from a remote fixed station 
whilst it is ploughing its devious track over the unstable and 
wave-encumbered surface of the ocean. Since, then, the prime 
generator of its moving power must be carried on board, it is 
manifest that it must be more advantageous to apply that 
power direct to the paddles or screw, than to transmit it 
through the intervention of any secondary contrivance. 

At the conclusion of his paper ' On the Transmission of Power 
' by Electricity,' Mr. Alexander Siemens, by way of summary, 
remarks : — 

' From all that has been done during the last few years it is quite 
evident that the art of transmitting power by electricity has advanced 
rapidly, and that its practical application is continually gaining ground. 
This, however, should not be regarded as a sign that the electric trans- 
mission of power to a distance will supersede every other system, but 
2-ather that there is a sphere for it where it meets existing demands 
better than our present means ; and it should, therefore, not be treated 
iis an enemy of existing systems, but as a supplement to them, by the 
aid of which problems can be solved that could not otherwise be 

-' prove adequate for the piu-pose the future must decide. Probably the 
•' present accumulator bears as much resemblance to the future accumu- 
' lator as a glass bell-jar used in chemical experiments does to the 
' gasometer of a City gas-works, or as James Watt's first model steam- 
' engine does to the Atlantic steamer. When the practical accumulator 
' of the future has been built, it will be piore easy to say what will be 
•^ the limit of its applications.' 

118 Elcctro-Motivr Pou-cr. Jan. 

This, we concelvo, goes to the point which is tlic real prac- 
tical bearing of the matter. It is certainly a fact that tliis 
new method of applying mechanical power has already shown 
itself capable of taking \\\) sundry serviceable tasks in this 
supplementary way. Mr. Siemens records how it has beer, 
advantageously adopted at the telegraph works at Charlton t< 
drive the machinery by which submarine cables are tested, tt 
maintain the circulation of water in the core tanks, and t( 
haul cables on board the steam-ships prepared to carry them 
out to where they are to be finally submerged in the depths ot 
the ocean. When set to show experimentally at these work- 
what it could do in hoisting dead Aveights, it lifted, by means oi 
a crane, one ton twelve feet per minute. At Sermaize-les- 
Bains, in the department of Marne, under the directing eye of 
M. Felix, it has ploughed land with a double furrow, and 
thrashed wheat. In the recent exhibition of electro-motor 
a|)pliauces at Paris, it was very conveniently used to work a 
lift. Its fitness for driving sawmills, turning lathes, and 
working sewing-machines, is now thoroughly established. For 
efforts of this character it possesses, indeed, very strongly- 
marked capacities. The comparatively small size and light 
weight of the apparatus, which alone is required where the 
power is put to its work, are strong recommendations to its 
adoption. It is really an astonishing spectacle when the 
observer looks for the first time at a sawing-machine in vigo- 
rous operation Avith no other visible means for the communica- 
tion of its moving power than a small bell-wire running down 
from the ceiling of the workshop. As Professor Ayrton has 
somewhere said, the electrical agent has no weight of its own to 
be moved, and no inertia to be overcome. It is an imponderable 
sprite. It Avill go round corners without entailing loss or 
waste on that account, and it pursues the most tortuous, or 
the most direct, paths with utter indifference. Its conducting 
and distributing Avires are absolutely free from all risks of 
explosion and the concomitant dangers. For these several 
reasons, and for the relative simplicity and cheapness of the 
mechanism by Avhich it acts, it stands quite Avithout a rival for 
the transmission of spontaneous natural force, such as that AA^hich 
resides in the bloAving of .the Avind and in the falling of Avater, 
to centres of dense social population Avhere it can be con- 
veniently and advantageously turned to economical account. 
Dr. A. d'Arsonval's paper in the ' Revue Scientifique de la 

* France et de I'Etranger,' ' On the Utilisation of Natural Forces 

* by Electricity,' is mainly addressed to enforcing the doctrine 
that the electric current can be transmitted considerable dis- 

1882. Electro-Motive Power. 119 

tances for the production of mecliamcal effect without the 
necessity of employing large and costly conductors. He sets 
himself to prove three all-important propositions. 1st. That 
electro-motor power is virtually independent of distance ; 
2nd. That the waste due to the heating of a wire in the pro- 
cess of transmission can be reduced to any extent that may be 
desired ; and 3rd. That conductors of large sectional area are 
not necessary. The argument upon which he relies for the 
establishing of these propositions is substantially the same as 
the one which we have been already examining critically in 
these pages. The expedient upon which he relies is the 
attempt to raise the potential energy of the force accumulated 
within the conducting wire by means of more perfect insula- 
tion, so that work can be got out of its distant extremity 
without the transmission of any inconveniently large current. 
Having been at some pains to demonstrate that the method 
(modalite) of electrical induction of power includes within 
itself all other methods, whether mechanical, chemical, calorific, 
or luminous, he says: — 

' In contemplating the matter from this philosophic point of view, 
one may say that the laws of evolution govern inorganic matter as 
well as living beings. The perpetual effort of nature towards the 
best waij is universal, and this applies as much to the forces of nature 
as it does to living beings. The thermal form of energy which until 
now has ruled over industry as a sovereign mistress is about to dis- 
appear, and to yield its place to a more perfect form — electricity.' 

In order to show that this is by no means an opinion restricted 
to the temperament which is sometimes ascribed to scientific 
men on the opposite side of the English Channel, it will be 
sufficient to quote one remarkable piece of vaticination which 
has recently been used nearer home. Sir Frederick Bramwell, 
a Vice-President of the Institute of Civil Engineers in London, 
and an authority on engineering prospects, who is by no means 
open to the imputation of being prone to a too facile credulity, 
in a paper communicated to the Mechanical Section of the 
British Association for the Advancement of Science at its 
recent session at York, addressed himself to the meeting, in 
one memorable passage, in the following words : — 

' However much the mechanical section of the British Association 
may contemplate with regret even the mere distant prospect of the 
steam-engine being a thing of the past, I very much doubt whether 
those who meet here fifty years hence will then speak of it as anything 
more than a curiosity to be found in a museum.' 

But Dr. d'Arsonval does not seem to be inclined altogether 
to limit himself within the bounds of even this bold forecast. 

120 Electro-Motive Power. Jan. 

for, in other scarcely less prominent passages of his paper, he 
add5 : — 

' But docs nature not hold in reserve yet other forms of energy 
more perfect than electricity ? One can scarcely doubt that it does. 
My eminent friend Marcel Deprez firmly believes that it is so, and 
bases his belief upon reasons of a purely mathematical order. ... It 
is but for a very short time that we have known anything of this elec- 
trical form of energy, ■which is in act even now of revolutionising the 
world. How many other forms, consequently, may there not be actually 
in existence, although the imperfection of our senses, or of our means 
of observation, renders us unable to make any acquaintance witli 
them. . . . However this may be, I have myself that strong faith in 
the future that science prepares for us, of wliich Claude Bernard and 
Faraday have spoken, and I firmly believe that our ])roper evolution, 
like that of ihe entire universe, can only be, as Michelet has said, a 
continuous r.scent towards light. ... In conclusion, I will here repeat 
that we may now \vith perfect safety burn our last himp of coal, or if 
any unfoieseen difficulty rises up in the way, as Ave have yet two 
centuries' store of coa!, since our electricians have accomplished what 
they have done in less than ten years, we may be quite satisfied with 
conceiving what more they will accomplish in two centuries. I am 
persuaded that we may remain quite easy as to the destiny that is 
reserved for our successors, and that our only regret should be that we 
shall not be able to see what they will see.' 

We decline to undertake the unpromising task of considering 
with Dr. d'Arsonval the forces of nature, which we are ' pre- 
* vented from knowing anything about by the imperfection of 
' our senses and of our means of observation.' We nevertheless go 
with him so far as to share his belief that the ' proper evolution,' 
or, in other words, the ordered progress, of human intelligence is 
a continuous ascent towards light, and that, in the face of recent 
advances that have been made, it may fairly be assumed man 
is standing, even now, upon the brink of discoveries in physical 
science w^hich will be no whit less marvellous than those Avhich 
have already been grasped. It would be presumptuous and 
rash, even from the present vantage-ground, to venture any 
pi'ognostication as to the exact form those discoveries are likely 
to assume, but the direction in wdiich they will lie is obvious 
at a glance. It is by means of his deeper insight into the 
great fundamental law of the conservation, or indestructibility, 
of energy, and of its almost unlimited convertibility to new 
modes of operation and to new modifications of form, that man 
will continue to advance in his ever-extending dominion over 
the forces of nature. The electrical transmission of motor power 
under the arrangements and conditions which have been 
treated of in this article, will stand in the future clu'onicles of 
science as a memorable step in that forward movement. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 121 

Akt. V. — 1. Carthage and the Carthaginians. By R. Bos- 
WORTH Smith, M.A. Second edition. London: 1879. 

"2. Geschichte der Karthager. Yon Otto Meltzer. Vol. I. 
Berlin: 1879. 

3. Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce in Algeria and Tunis. By 
Lieut.-Colonel R. L. Playfair. London: 1877. 

4. The Country of the Moors. A Journey from Tripoli in 
Barbary to the City of Kairwau. By Edavard E,ae, 
F.R.G.S. London: 1877. 

5. En Tunisie. Par Albert de la Berge. Paris: 1881. 

6. Algeria, Tunisia e Trlpolitania. Di Attilio Brunialti. 
Mi'lano: 1881. 

TX/'"hen Cato the Censor flung from the folds of his robe on 
the floor of the Roman senate-house figs luscious with 
African sunshine, freshly gathered in Zeugitanian gardens, he 
■offered, together with an argument for the destruction of Car- 
thage, an explanation of her greatness. Her vicinity to 
Europe rendered her the rival of Rome, and Rome could not 
tolerate a rival within three days' sail of the mouth of the Tiber. 
Although geography does not teach us past, any more than it 
enables us to predict future history, we cannot fail to perceive 
that the configuration of land and water plays an important 
part in the development of nations ; and the configuration of 
land and water is a patent, and, in the main, unalterable fact, 
subject to none of the vicissitudes which beset other sources of 
information. Written records are fragile, and subject to per- 
version; architectural monuments have perished, or survive 
only to perplex ; the savage or ignorant heedlessness of a con- 
queror has more than once obliterated from memory the efforts 
and the culture of generations ; but the roads and rivers that 
traverse seas and oceans are the same now that they were four 
thousand years ago ; — -the same currents flow past the same 
coasts ; the same winds impede or assist navigation ; the same 
islands break the monotony of the waters ; the same rivers 
bring down the tribute of the hills to the shore. It is true that 
mutual encroachments, slight, yet by no means unimportant, 
have locally altered the relations between land and sea ; but 
such changes are due to causes easily recognised, or still in 
actual operation, and are thus inadequate to efface, while they 
help to account for the swerving track pursued from shore to 
shore by commerce and empire. 

The Mediterranean has an inner as well as an outer thres- 

122 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

hold,"^ Across the narrow ocean door of the Straits of 
Gibraltar lies a bar rising to Avitliin twenty fathoms of 
the surface of the water ; and eight or nine hundred miles 
farther to the east, the gap of ninety miles between Europe 
and Africa is bridged to the sounding-line by a series of rela- 
tively shallow banks, stretching irregularly from the south- 
western angle of Sicily to Cape Bon. The great inland sea 
is thus seen to consist of two very distinctly separated portions, 
of which the inner, or eastern, is both more extensive, more 
variously articulated, and the recipient of more considerable 
river reinforcements than the outer, or western basin. It was 
here, in the farthest corner of the Levant, that a tribe speak- 
ing a Semitic tongue closely allied to the Hebrew abandoned 
the nomad habits of their ancestors, and, building some huts 
beside a creek sheltered by an island breakwater, took to the 
sea, and called themselves Sidonians, or ' Fishermen.' This 
in all likelihood occurred not far from four thousand years 
ago ; but a date, whose probable error is counted by hundreds 
of years, must be given and taken with extreme reserve. It 
was at any rate a memorable day for humanity when the first 
colonising and commercial power Avhich the world had seen 
launched its rude craft tentatively on the Mediterranean.! 
On that day the arts and culture of the East may be said to 
have set out on their journey to the West, and the long pro- 
cess to have begun by which the sceptre was transferred from 
the primeval ' river kingdoms ' to the republics of the Inland 
Sea, and from them passed to the ' ocean empires ' of modern 
times 4 

The era of exclusive Phoenician sway in the 2Egean began 
and ended during the mythical period known in Greek chro- 
nology as ' before the Trojan War.' Amongst the exploits 
recorded of Minos, the legendary King of Crete, was that of 
having cleared the seas of Phoenician and Carian pirates, and a 
groundwork of historical truth doubtless underlay the tradition. 
A hardy race, settled in a land specially organised, it might 
be said, as a nursery of mariners, was not likely to allow the 
profits and adventures of seafaring enterprise to remain long- 
in the hands of strangers. Pupils became rivals, by an example 
frequently repeated, and tolerably certain to recur; and thus 
began the long competition between Greek and Phoenician, 

* 'Litnen maris interni,' Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.' iii. 1, quoted by Bottger, 
*Das Mittelmeer,' p. 116. 

t Keniick, 'Phoenicia,' p. 18G. 
\ Bottger, ' Das IMittekaeor,' p. 1. 

1882. CartluKje and lunis. 123 

which, rightly regarded, gives the clue to the memoral)le his- 
tory of the greatest of Phoenician colonies. Bloody deeds were 
done, we may be sure, upon the high seas, while the issue was 
still doubtful, and treacherous reprisals taken ; but the struggle 
was conducted by individual initiative, not by national effort. 
For the policy of the Phoenicians was essentially of an unheroic 
or arithmetical character. They did not fear danger, but they 
balanced advantages. They were not cowards, but they were 
calculators. When the perils began to outweigh the profits, 
they looked elsewhere for a field of commercial activity, where 
life premiums, so to speak, were less high. The world was 
wide, and for the most part still unexplored; distance Avas 
pregnant Avith possibility ; and they knew how to steer their 
course across untried waters with the help of the steady pole- 
star, long before the Greeks had ceased to look for guidance 
to the seven circling lights of the Great Bear. So they quietly 
withdrew their settlements from the islands of the Archipelago 
before the advancing flood of Doric and Ionic immigratioa, 
and turned the goblin figure-heads^ of their penteconters in 
quest of a new world of traffic towards the setting sun. 

While the Israelites were as yet in the bondage of Egypt, 
the Phoenicians had already passed the Straits, and attempted 
the navigation of the ocean beyond. This is rendered all but 
certain by the mention in the earliest of the Books of Scrip- 
ture t of the country known to the Hebrews as ' Tarshish.' 
For modern critics are agreed that Tarshish (the Greek ' Tar- 
* tessus ') indicates the region of the Guadalquivir, embracing, 
in its widest signification, the whole of the modern provinces 
of Andalusia and Murcia. It was hence that were derived 
the metallic treasures which rendered the Phoenicians the most 
opulent amongst the nations of antiquity. The first traders 
to these fortunate shores were said to have replaced their 
leaden anchors with masses of silver, rather than abandon any 
of the precious substance lavishly flung at their feet in ex- 
change for cargoes of slight intrinsic value. The valleys of 
the Guadiana and Guadalquivir were strewn with nuggets 
of silver. The mountains from which these rivers flowed 
yielded iron, copper, and lead. Gold, derived from the \yash- 
ings of the Tagus, and tin, extracted from the granite of 

* Called by the Greeks Patalci (Herodotus, iii. 37), probably from 
the name of the Egyptian god Ptah, witli whom the Cabiri, represented 
in the grotesque figure-heads of the Phoenician ships, were intimately 

t Gen. X. 4. 

124 Cartliuf/e and Tunis. Jan. 

Galicia, were brought, by long lines of inland traffic, to the 
general mart. The waters Avere hardly less productive than 
the land. The purple murex was found on the coast. Fish 
of rare quality and extraordinary size were taken outside 
the opening of the Sti-aits. Down to the time of Aristophnaes, 
' Tartessian eels ' were esteemed a delicacy at Athens, and 
the well-known ' Tyrian tunny' had one of the sources of 
its supply at Gades. 

The Spanish trade thus became the main object of Phoeni- 
cian enterprise, and the main source of Phoenician wealth. But 
Tartessus Avas not only a goal, but a starting-point. From 
Tartessus these hardy navigators reached the shores of Britain 
in search of tin, and penetrated the Baltic in search of amber. 
From Tartessus they colonised — to the number, as traditionally 
reported, of three hundred — the peninsulas and islands in 
which Atlas sinks beneath the Atlantic. From Tartessus 
they founded Carthage. 

The waste by evaporation of the waters of the Mediter- 
ranean largely exceeds the supplies brought doAvn by its river- 
affluents. Hence, if it were a sea without an outlet, its blue 
surface would sink until aqueous expenditure and income were 
brought to balance at a considerably lower level. But, since 
Calpe and Abyla were set apart by the wrench of the demigod, 
the vast stores of the Western Ocean constitute a sum placed, 
as it Avere, to its credit, Avhich no extravagance avails to ex- 
haust, or even sensibly diminish. The Atlantic is thus a 
gigantic tributary of the Mediterranean. A current, setting 
steadily through the Straits Avith a velocity of from two to 
four, or even five knots an hour, repairs the perpetual ravages 
committed by the sun on the great sheet of Avater which forms 
the common circulating system of three continents. Noav 
the course taken by that current has largely affected the early 
history, directly of navigation, and indirectly of colonisation. 
Its main branch hugs the North African coast, rushes round 
Cape Bon, sweeps across the shallows of the Lesser Syrtis, 
pursues Avith slackening speed its Avay toAvards Egypt, spends 
its failing poAvers in carrying Nile mud to silt ujj the once 
renoAvned harbours of Tyre and Sidon ; then turning Avest- 
Avard betAveen Cyprus and the Cilician shore, combines Avith a 
minor current setting in from the Black Sea through the 
Hellespont and ^Egcan, to form a slight, but sensible drift 
back to the point from Avhich it started. This rotatory move- 
ment of the INIediterranean Avaters tended, from the earliest 
times, to establish, so to speak, a double roadway — a doAvn- as 
Avell as an up-line of traffic — betAveen east and Avest. Ships 

1882. Carthac/e and Tunis. 125 

outward bound from Syria, and even from Egypt, invariably 
chose tlie more northerly route ; ships homeward bound from 
the Straits, on the contrary, took advantage of the ocean 
stream, and skirted the southern edge of the basin. Along 
each track communications were maintained, and navigation 
px'otected by a chain of Phoenician settlements. By far the 
most important of the stations on the down-line was a factory 
planted on a hill overlooking a spacious bay, just where the 
two great sea-routes most closely approached each other in the 
channel dividing the eastern from the western Mediterranean. 
It is best to confess at once our total want of absolute 
knowledge regarding the time or manner of the foundation of 
Carthage. To the task of demonstrating the completeness of 
our ignorance on the subject, M. Meltzer has brought learning 
and industry uncommon, or common only among German men 
of letters ; and although trouble spent on the demolition of the 
tales of Carthaginian origin transmitted, and probably in- 
vented by the Greeks of Sicily, may savour of ' wasteful and 
' ridiculous excess,' the labour was in some sort necessitated 
by the grave adoption into history of the Dido legend by an 
authority so eminent as M. Movers. All then that modern 
criticism allows us to accept as historically certain amounts to 
this. When the Greeks, towards the end of the eighth century, 
began their eager course of exploration and colonisation in the 
West, they found, seated in one of the most commanding posi- 
tions in the world, a great commercial emporium, owning 
Tyre as its mother city. This much, and no more, we can be 
said to knoio ; but something we may be permitted to conjec- 
ture. It is tolerably certain, from what is ascertained of their 
usual mode of procedure, that the Phoenicians did not allow a 
point so vital to their communications as the site of Carthage 
to rem^ain unoccupied long after the regular opening of the 
Tartessian trade. But this cannot well be placed much lower 
than 1500 B.C. Now, at this period, Sidon, called in Scrip- 
ture the ' first born ' of Canaan, was the leading city of 
Phoenicia. Headers of Homer will remember that her proud 
rival Tyre is not so much as mentioned either in the Iliad or 
Odyssey, while the riches of Sidon, and the skill of her 
metal-workers and embroiderers, are frequently noticed. In- 
deed, Mr. Gladstone * has founded on this circumstance a 
plausible argument for the high antiquity of the Homeric 
poems. For in the course of the thirteenth century B.C. 
the conditions of prosperous existence in Sidon were so 

* ' Juventus Mimdi,' p. 144. 

126 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

seriously com])romised by movements of the Canaanlte popu- 
lations, that the pnncij)al Sidonian families migrated to the 
' Rock '-city,^ twenty miles farther south, and the ' hegemony ' 
of the Phoenician state was soon after transferred to Tyre. 

Now it seems to us that, notwithstanding its rejection by 
M. Meltzer, tAvo circumstances, both of them intrinsic and 
undeniable, tell strongly in favour of Movers' theory of a 

* double settlement ' at Carthage. The first of these is the 
w^orld-famous name by which we recall its former existence. 
The Punic form of ' Carthage ' is Karthada, which signifies 

* New City ' (Ka7't chaddscht). The appellation is an ordinary 
one, and admits, so far as we are aware, but of one inter- 
pretation. It implies the revival or extension of an ancient 
foundation in a manner so marked and momentous as to 
justify its formal commemoration by a change of name. The 
second is the order of pi'iority observed at Carthage among the 
divinities common to the entire Phoinician race, but pre- 
dominantly worshipped severally in the various Phoenician cities. 
In Carthage, then, the first place was nominally reserved for the 
Sidonian goddess Tanith or Astarte, while the most con- 
spicuous honour was paid to Melkarth ('king of the city'), 
the hero-god of Tyre. The natural inference seems to be 
that a previously established cult was overshadowed, though 
not superseded, by the introduction, Avith new colonists, of 
new rites. And this ws take to be about as much as can be 
known, or rationally surmised, regarding the origin of Rome's 
great rival. That, from the earliest times of Phoenician com- 
merce with the West, a factory or fort on the site of 
Carthage helped to secure the homeward route -along the 
Libyan shore, analogy and the nature of the position lead us 
to infer ; that the settlers Avho came, in the height of Tyre's 
prosperity, to establish a second Tyre in Africa, found in 
possession a kindred settlement with which they amalgamated, 
and a kindred worship which they adopted, the very name 
and form of religion of the ' New City ' itself testify. 

For a couple of centuries after her foundation Carthage 
led a purely commercial existence, without a history, and 
almost without a tradition. Like other Phoenician towns, she 
traded, throve, and duly discharged her religious obligations, 
offering the first-fruits of her children to the fiery embrace of her 
brazen Moloch, and the tithes of her gains at the shrine of the 
Tyrian Melkarth. Her merchants had no ambition beyond 

* The native name Tsoi' (whence the old Roman Sarra, the Greek 
Ti/rus, and the modern So7-) signified a ' rock.' 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 127 

that of securing, on the best possible terms, from the tribes of 
the interioi', the largest possible supplies of ivory, ostrich 
feathers, and leopard or lion skins ; her counsellors had no 
cares more weighty than were occasioned to them by some 
turmoil of the populace, or some dispute Avith the Maxitanian 
chief to whom Carthage humbly paid rent for the ground she 
stood upon. But while they chaffered and grew rich without 
a thought of, or, as it might have seemed, a concern in, the 
shiftings of the great world's politics, events were silently 
preparing for them a destiny equally beyond their desires and 
beyond their deserts. The causes which conspired to ' thrust 
' greatness ' upon Carthage were, in the main, two. The 
first Avas the decline of Tyre under the baleful shadow of the 
later Assyrian monarchy ; the second was the rise of Greek 
power in the western Mediterranean. 

The settlement of the earliest Greek colony in Sicily pre- 
ceded by only fourteen years the siege of Tyre by Shalnia- 
neser. King of Assyria, in 721 B.C. ; and while the first event 
marked the dawning of an epoch of growth, the second marked 
the opening of a period of decay. Sicily held at that time 
with regard to Tyre the same position that Egypt now holds 
with regard to England ; it was the half-way house on the 
road to her most prized possession, to permit a hostile occu- 
pation of which implied the abdication of imperial existence. 
Nevertheless, Tyre stood by, inert or helpless, while Sicily 
became rapidly Hellenised. After the Phoenician manner, 
which was to retire until compelled to stand at bay, the out- 
lying and undefended settlements were quietly abandoned, 
and the Phoenician forces concentrated in three towns situated 
in the western extremity of the island. On the fate of those 
three towns hung the fortunes of the entire Phoenician race 
in the Mediterranean. By themselves they were helpless to 
withstand the ardour of the Greek advance ; Tyre was distant, 
and, as it seemed, indifferent ; but close at hand, across a neck 
of the sea which only Phoenician triremes and penteconters had 
hitherto ventured to traverse, lay Carthage, already the first 
of Libyan cities, powerful by her riches, still more powerful 
by her unmatched position. '^On the protection of Carthage, 
accordingly, the towns of Panormus (Palermo), Soloeis, and 
Motye threw themselves. 

From this event M. Meltzer dates the beginning of Car- 
thaginian history. All previous to it is local and obscure, if 
not pitch-dark. In the crepuscular period which follows, 
larger interests are seen to be at Avork, and larger struggles 
are discerned to be in progress. A momentous historical mis- 

128 Cartkofje and Tunis. Jan. 

sion had, in fact, been tacitly assumed by Carthage, and in the 
assumption of that mission lay the secret of her greatness and 
the root of her misfortunes. The danger was pressing. The 
alternative offered to the Phoenicians of the West was annihi- 
lation or union. They were menaced equally by land and sea. 
The barbarian natives of the countries in Avhich their colonies 
formed so many foci of culture and commerce were, in the 
best of times, with difficulty held at bay : left to their own 
resources by the paralysis of the mother city, they must with- 
out fail have been successively effaced from existence, should 
the element of their mutual communication and separate 
activity fall under hostile control. This fate actually befell 
a multitude of Phoenician settlements on the Atlantic, and 
most probably also on the Celto-Iberian shores. But for the 
attitude assumed by Carthage, it must have become the 
general lot. 

The fundamental problem presented to us by Carthaginian 
history consists in the striking difference between her pur- 
poses and modes of action, and those of other communities of 
the same stock. Carthage alone pursued an imperial policy — 
a policy selfish, cruel, and exclusive, but one in its main lines 
inspired by public spirit, and directed toAvards public utility. 
In no other kindred city did the instinct of political life mani- 
fest itself Dependence was to the Phoenicians an evil only in 
so far as it involved the payment of tribute or the restriction of 
trade. Possessions were valued by them only because they 
ensured custom and enhanced profits. Even Tyre, although 
holding a great colonial empire, held it for purely mercantile 
purposes, and with purely mercantile results. By Carthage 
these were indeed pursued Avith no less keenness and unscru- 
pulousness, but they were also transcended by a certain im- 
perial instinct, Avhich lent an ideal value to national sway. 
Thus, Avhen Carthage succeeded to Tyre as metropolis of the 
western Phoenicians, she did far more than fill the vacant 
place. She initiated a national organisation, infused into it 
the energy of a new spirit, and stood out as leader of a truly 
national movement. 

The first step in what we may call the public life of Car- 
thage was the seizure of the little island of Ebusus (Ivi9a), 
whose noble harboiu' formed the indispensable resort of ad- 
venturers in Iberian Avaters. This was in or about 654 B.C., 
and Ave can scarcelj' err in sui)posing that from this time Car- 
thaginian trade besan to find access to the rich Tartessian 
regions from which it had been heretofore excluded by the 
jealousy of the mother city. But the struggle for naval su- 

1882. Carthar/e and Tunis. 129 

premacy developed its full fury only in the ensiiiug century. 
It opened formally Avith the foundation of Marseilles, which, 
it is significantly related, was not effected without a prelimi- 
nary encounter between the strongly armed Phocrean pente- 
conters and the Carthaginian fleet. Only the salient points 
in the contest are now discernible to us, and those dimly ; 
but we are Avell assured that wild work went on during those 
long decades, of which the only authentic records lie buried 
beneath the sunny Mediterranean waves. War, piracy, and 
commerce formed a triple alliance, and made common cause 
in violence and rapine. The Avestern Phoenicians once more 
justified the interpretation of * men of blood,' put upon their 
name by one of the naive etymologies current in early times. 
But the Carthaginians did not fight alone. They were as 
skilful in securing confederates as apt in turning their ser- 
vices to account, and Etruria bore the brunt of more than one 
naval engagement, of which the ultimate advantage accrued 
exclusively to Carthage. 

From the confusion of the first half of the century emerged 
an ordered system of treaty engagements, remarkable not only 
for the sagacity by which they were dictated, but for the 
fidelity with which they were observed. With the Greeks 
of Cyrene on the one side, and of Massilia on the other, 
boundary lines Avere agreed upon, Avithin Avhich rights Avere 
alloAved and incursions prohibited. Care, then the chiet 
commercial tOAvn of Etruria, granted facilities for trade as 
liberally as she did assistance in Avar, and the stipulations of 
the treaty contracted in 508 B.C. Avith Rome, as head of the 
Latin league, afford singular proofs of the Avatchfulness with 
AA'hich traffic Avas guarded, and the violence by Avhich it Avas 
accompanied at that period. The results of the long struggle 
in AA'hich Carthage had been engaged are legibly written in 
these documents. They shoAV her in a condition, not indeed 
of unabated triumph, but of large and increasing prosperity. 
Something of Avhat she aimed at she had been obliged to 
forego, but the vital points had been secured, and a poAverfuI 
organisation completed. The Avestern Mediterranean had not 
become a Carthaginian lake ; Massilians, Tyrrhenians, and 
Latins had all their appointed districts or prescribed rights ; 
but the great reo-ion leading to the Straits Avas reserved exclu- 
sively for Carthage. Beyond the Fair Promontory (Cape 
Farina) on the coast of Africa, and the promontory of Diana 
(C. de la Nao) on the coast of Spain, no foreign craft Avas, 
under any pretence, alloAved to sail. The penalty for infringe- 
ments of this laAv of navigation was well knoAvn and ruthlessly 

130 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

exacted. No demand for adjudication Avas made in Admiralty 
or other courts ; no appeal was permitted ; the ship's cre^v 
was straightway flung into the sea, and the ship's cargo landed 
in the most convenient Carthaginian port. A typical case is 
that of the Phoiuician captain, who, finding his track from 
Gades towards the Tin Islands dogged by a Roman trader, 
deliberately steered for some dangerous shallows, where he 
had the satisfaction of seeing the spy-ship perish^ while his 
own lighter vessel escaped in safety. For tliis effort of patrio- 
tism he claimed and received a recompense from the state. 

The last qnarter of the seventh century B.C. was mai'ked l)y the 
activity of one of the great men whom it is the sole survivino- 
glory of the Carthaginian aristocracy to have produced. 
Mago has been termed the * founder of the Carthaginian 
* Empire,' but his work was in truth of a more arduous, if less 
brilliant kind. He Avas a statesman, not a hero or a conqueror. 
His task was to organise victory, not to snatch it. Resources 
accumulated by past efforts were, by his ordering genius, 
made available for future triumphs, and fresh sources of 
power developed, effective, indeed, for immediate action, though 
pregnant with ultimate ruin. To Carthage under the guidance 
of Mago might be applied the apophthegm used to describe 
the state of affairs in France at a not remote conjuncture by 
her present First Minister : ' The period of danger has passed ; 
' that of difficulty has begun.' But difficulties lead back to 
dangers, as Avell as are developed out of them, and the dangers 
which lend fortitude to youth prove fatal in decrepitude. The 
use of mercenary troops introduced (as it would seem) by Mao-o 
enormously increased the extent, but undermined the stability, 
of the Carthaginian power. Armies which could be mul- 
tiplied indefinitely, by raising the tribute of subject towns or 
doubling the rents of Libyan cultivators, were likely to be led 
recklessly or even sacrificed treacherously. Accordingly Car- 
thage found, to her cost, that in no market open to her could 
fidelity be purchased or patriotism hired. 

The actual territory of the Carthaginian state never ex- 
tended beyond the limits of the present Regency of Tunis ; 
but this represented a very small fraction of the Carthaginian 
empire. The African dependencies of the great Phoenician 
colony reached, at the opening of the First Punic AVar, from 
the Altars of the Philmni, on the Greater Syrtis, to Soloeis 
(nowMogador),on the Atlantic ; that is to say, the Liby-Phoeni- 
cian towns subject to her covered the shores of the modern 
Tunis and Algeria, with by far the larger part of Morocco and 
Tripoli. In Sardinia and Corsica Carthage had troublesome 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 131 

neighbours in the unsubdued tribes of the interior of those 
islands, but no rivals for the command of their ports and fish- 
ing-stations. In Sicily the Greeks maintained themselves 
with waning vigour along a belt of territory lying far within 
their former frontier. In Spain Carthaginian sway stretched 
from the sacred headland (Cape St. Vincent) to the Promon- 
tory of Diana, and was later, by the great Hamilcar Barca 
and Hasdrubalj his son-in-laW;, extended and compacted so as 
to include the whole of the vast district lying south of the 
Tagus on the one side, and of the Ebro on the other. In 
population and wealth Carthage far surpassed her formidable 
antagonist of the Seven Hills. Scarcely less than a million * 
of inhabitants dwelt within the strongly fortified peninsula, 
twenty-three miles in circumference, which was covered by 
the gorgeous public buildings, the lofty dwellings, the sub- 
urban villas, gardens, pleasure-grounds, and sepulchres of 
ancient Carthage. Her command of money was practically 
unlimited. Carthaginian citizens paid no direct taxes, but 
heavy customs and tolls were levied on their extensive com- 
merce ; the riches of the Spanish mines belonged by right 
exclusively to the state ; the agricultural population within 
the immediate dominion of Carthage contributed a quarter, or 
even one-half, the produce of a soil at that time in high culti- 
vation and of unsurpassed fertility ; and the prodigious amount 
of the gross tribute wrung from dependent towns may be 
remotely estimated from the fact that Lesser Leptis alone was 
mulcted in a sum of a talent a day, or, in round numbers, 
90,000Z. a year of our present money.f Now, of these depen- 
dent towns (which were kept purposely defenceless), no less 
than two hundred in the neighbourhood of Carthage are re- 
ported to have submitted to the Sicilian tyrant Agathocles 
during his adventurous raid into Africa (310-306 B.C.). We 
hardly dare guess at the total number included in the Liby- 
Phoenician fringe to the ' dark continent,' from beyond the 
Pillars of Hercules to the borders of Cyrenaica. Moreover, 
the wealth of Carthage was rendered available by its skilful 
distribution. Alone among the states of antiquity she pos- 
sessed some acquaintance with economic jorinciples, and, in her 
system of nominal currency (literally leather-monej) and 
foreign loans, anticipated the financial expedients of later times. 

* The population, at the time of the final siege, when presumably 
much reduced by precedent calamities, amoimted to 700,000, 

t Mommsen's ' History of Eome,' vol. ii. p. 10 (Dickson's trans- 

132 Carthage and Tunis. Jau. 

For an account of the struggle in which this great, and in 
some respects unique, ])olitical organisation was annihilated, 
we refer our readers to Mr. Bosworth Smith's agreeable narra- 
tive in the work cited at the head of this article. We have 
preferred to dwell upon its growth rather than exhibit its 
action, because in the former direction the book just mentioned 
strikes us as deficient in fulness and precision. Mr. Bos- 
worth Smith evidently rejoices more in navigating the 
broad streams of history than in tracing the obscure springs 
which contribute to swell its current, forming, in this respect, 
a curious and instructive contrast to his German fellow-labourer 
in the same field. Mr. Bosworth Smith has written a book 
to be read rather than referred to ; M. Meltzer has written a 
book to be referred to rather than read. Each class of work 
has its place and its purpose. It is for the advantage alike of 
history and literature that both should exist. 

After all, the moral of the tale of Carthage's desolation 
appears to be that she fell because she deserved her fall. She 
fell because she refused to recognise the fundamental claims of 
humanity — because she exacted rights, and repudiated duties 
which are the complement of rights. She fell because she 
oppressed her subjects, ground down or enslaved the peaceful 
cultivators of her soil, cheated and betrayed her armies, dis- 
trusted and abandoned her champions. Her religion was cruel 
and degrading, her institutions aimed at the extinction alike 
of public virtue and individual freedom, her internal govern- 
ment was narrow and malignant, her external policy time- 
serving and arrogant. Confronted ^^dth Rome, she fell because 
she anticipated Rome in tyranny and corruption. She had, more- 
over, committed the inexpiable crime of having inspired her 
haughty rival with fears for her own safety. Had Hannibal 
never crossed the Alps, her humiliation might have sufficed ; her 
annihilation was the penalty exacted for Cannas and Thrasy- 

Carthage presents the solitary example known to history of 
a great city raised from total destruction to a splendour com- 
parable with that of its previous condition. Tliree times the 
Romans, in defiance of the maledictions pronounced by Scipio, 
attempted to colonise the spot. A settlement of 6,000 poor 
citizens, planted there by Caius Gracchus, twenty-four years 
after the catastrophe of 146 B.C., left behind, in the name 
' Junonia,' only a shadowy title of abortive gi'catness. The 
project Avas revived by Ca3sar, but interrupted, with others 
beyond recall, by the sword of Brutus. An effort to carry it 
thought, made by Augustus in 44 B.C., proved futile; but a 

1882, Carthage and Tunis. 133 

second experienced more fiivourable conditions, and in 29 B.C. 
Roman Carthage was definitively founded. 

Its existence was a prolonged and brilliant one. For seven 
centuries and a quarter it continued to be the capital, and 
lisually the seat of government, of Roman Africa. Hardly 
venturing to aspire to the second place, it yet disdained to be 
counted as third among the cities of the empire. Its famous 
ports were re-excavated, and were thronged wdth a numerous 
shipping. Temples, the relics of whose magnificence still 
adorn the churches and palaces of Spain and Italy, rose on the 
old sites. Its halls and porticoes were decorated with mosaics 
of graceful design and brilliant colouring. Crowds of eager 
learners filled its schools of rhetoric and philosophy. The 

* bread and games' of the rulers of the world were alike 
supplied by the territory of which it was the centre ; for the 
granaries of Ostia w^ere stocked with grain grown on the 
fertile plains of the Bagradas, and the savage spectacles of 
the Colosseum Avere furnished by bears and lions snared in the 
deserts of Numidia. 

The name of Genseric, according to Gibbon, has deserved, 
in the fall of the Roman Empire, ' an equal rank with the 

* names of Alaric and Attila.' And his destructive agency 
was, by a vicissitude of fortune as singular as it seemed im- 
probable, exercised from Carthage. It was not till ten years 
after the Vandal king had transferred, on the invitation of the 
unstable Boniface, his fifty thousand yellow-haired warriors 
from Spain to Africa, that he gained possession of that great 
capital. This was effected by a treacherous surprise, October 
19, 439, and was followed by the systematic plunder, enforced 
by torture, and aggravated by enslavement or exile, of the 
Roman inhabitants both of the city and its surrounding pro- 
vince. Religious persecution added to the devastating effects 
of barbarian pillage. The churches were forcibly transferred 
from the Catholic to the Arian worship, and the passions of 
the tyrant did not always suffer him to adhere to the policy of 
abstention from the 'making of martyrs,' which his cold- 
blooded prudence dictated. The command of the ports of 
Carthage and Bizerta opened to his maleficent ambition a new 
field of activity and destruction. His adventurous followers 
soon acquired all the accomplishments of practised corsairs, and 
his pirate fleets swept the Mediterranean amid the unresisting 
terror of the dwellers on its shores. The Vandal pilots had 
orders to steer for ' the land that lay under the wrath of God,' 
leaving it to the winds to shape the corresponding course ; and 
the Vandal crews never failed to justify the ominous direction. 

134 Cartha(je and Tunis. Jan. 

At length the turn of Rome herself came. On one of the 
longest clays of the year 455, the dreaded Vandal ships entered 
the Tiber, summoned to avenge, by a public catastrophe, the 
private griefs of the unwilling wife of Maximus. The ensuing 
sack was reckoned by the poets of the time as a Fourth Punic 
War, in which Genseric redressed the wrongs, six centuries 
old, inflicted by Africanus.* But the parallel was, in truth, 
more rhetorical than instructive. The events compared had 
no fundamental resemblance. One was a thieving raid, the 
other was a national assassination. One was a casual, though 
poignant insult, the other was the closing scene of a duel u 

It was reserved for Belisarius to stamp out the Vandal 
plague by the dethronement of Gelimer and the capture of 
Carthage in 533, when the whole of Roman Africa was nomi- 
nally incorporated with the Eastern Empire. Svibstantially, 
however, Byzantine authority scarcely extended beyond the 
regions near the coast ; farther inland, it had power to devas- 
tate, but not to govern. Those of the Vandals who escaped 
the sword fled to the mountains, where the blue eyes and 
fair hair sporadically appearing amongst the natives still 
perhaps testify to descent from the northern adventurers. 

Three times the skirts of the Saracen storm-cloud swept 
across Africa before it finally enveloped it. The first to con- 
ceive the bold idea of extending the boundaries of Islam to 
the Atlantic Avas a man of genius, but of genius tainted -with 
the blind fury of his country and his sect. In the design of 
the foundation of Kairewan, Okba ibn-Nafi showed himself a 
statesman ; in the mode of its execution, a fanatic. He 
saw that a permanent conquest must be based on some form 
of compact with the indigenous populations, whose numbers, 
inflammable passions, and command of an inaccessible country 
rendered tliem antagonists difficult to meet, and impossible to 
subdue. He saw, moreover, that the new province must have 
a fixed point by Avhich to hold and from which to advance, and 
it suited his genius and his means better to build a new city 
than to capture an old one. Kairewan was accordingly founded 
(as its name imports) to be a central ' encampment ' or ' settle- 
* ment ' of the conquerors in the West — an encampment situ- 
ated at a safe distance from the sea, Avhere the Byzantines 
were still formidable, and in the midst of the restless tribes, 
whom it was desired to conciliate or overawe. But the Berbers 
proved equally inaccessible to friendship and fear. After 

* Hodgkin, 'Italy and her Invaders/ vol. ii. p. 255. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 135 

having triumphantly penetrated to the Atlantic, where, in an 
outburst of probably genuine, but dramatically displayed 
enthusiasm, he urged his horse breast-high into the waves, 
declaring, with uplifted hands, that their irresistible flow alone 
set limits to his zeal for the propagation of the faith of Islam, 
Okba fell in battle with the natives, leaving his infant capital 
to become the prey of the victors. 

This Avas in 683 ; ten years later, Hassan ibn-Noman 
marched, with 40,000 men, direct from Egypt upon Carthage. 
The Greek garrison was defeated ; the Greek notables fled ; a 
scarcely resisted assault admitted the invaders from the desert 
to the city, whose long history they were about to terminate. 
A respite was, however, effected, but a brief one. The Patri- 
cian John raised an army and equipped a fleet at Constan- 
tinople ; a Berber heroine, called the ' Kahina ' or sorceress, 
headed a fierce and destructive insurrection in the mountainous 
province of Constantine. Both enterprises were, for the 
moment, successful. The Arabs were overthrown and driven 
back to Barca ; the Byzantines took triumphant possession of 
Carthage. Four years elapsed before Hassan had gathered 
forces sufficient for another advance ; and doubly defeated 
before, he was doubly victorious now. The Berber chief- 
tainess was slain in a pitched battle ; the Greek patrician 
decamped with his armament by night, having vainly tried his 
fortune in the field. This time Hassan deliberately perfected 
the work which he had before hastily attempted. The second 
destruction of Carthage (698 A.D.), if not so theatrically 
executed, proved more lasting than the first. Time, which 
had brilliantly repaired the one catastrophe, served but to 
aggravate and complete the other. When Edrisi, the Arab 
geographer, wrote in the middle of the twelfth century, the 
only remains of habitation on the once populous site were 
found in the paltry village of Moalka, where the gigantic 
range of cisterns which formerly held the main water supply 
of the city still afford shelter for their families, and stabling 
for their beasts, to a sordid crowd of Arab squatters. At that 
time, however, the arcades of a magnificent amphitheatre rose 
in six tiers amidst fields now covered with barley, vetches, 
and lentils ; and an ample harvest rewarded yet for many cen- 
turies the labours of excavators eager for booty and reckless of 
havoc. The many-coloured marbles which formed the splendour 
of Koman Carthage may now be seen decorating buildings so 
various in plan and purpose as the Mezquita of Cordoba, the 
Palazzo Doria at Genoa, the Cathedral of Pisa, and the 
mosques and dwelling-houses of Tunis. Carthage has, in fact. 

136 CartJuifje and Tunis. Jan. 

served, during eleven Inmdred years, as a vast quarry, in wliich 
builders — Frank, Arab, and Turk — bave found materials of 
rare quality ready to tbeir band. Tbe celebrated traveller, 
James Bruce of Kinnaird, sums up in tbe following brief 
note the relics still visible in 1765 : — 

' "\Ye passed ancient Carthage, of ■\vliicli little remains but tbe cisterns, 
the aqueduct, and a magnificent iliglit of steps ' (now disappeared) 
'■ up to the Temple of ^sculapius, and arrived at Tunis. In rowing 
over the bay you see a great number of pillars and buildings yet on 
foot, so that the sea has been concerned in the destruction of Carthage.' 

Tbe above extract is taken from a book of singular interest, 
tbougb necessarily limited circulation, tbe title of wbicb we 
bave placed in tbe heading of this article. Its author. Colonel 
Playfair, found himself, after tbe lapse of a century, the suc- 
cessor of Bruce in tbe office of British Consul-General in 
Algeria. Long familiar Avith the countries explored by the 
' great father of African travel,' he sought for some account 
of bis voj^ages in the Barbary States less unsatisfactory than 
that prefixed to the first volume of bis travels, "with a zeal 
which deserved and eventually obtained success. After many 
fruitless searches, be applied to Lady Tlmrlow, great-great- 
granddaughter of the traveller, and heiress of Kinnaird, and 
was overjoyed at tbe amount and value of the materials placed 
in his bands and at his discretion. Of these tbe most impor- 
tant consisted in a vast mass of drawings, amongst which were 
' more than a hundred sheets, some bavino: desio-ns on both 

* sides, completely illustrating all the principal subjects of 
' arcbjeological interest in North Africa from Algiers to the 
' Pentapolis, and executed in a style which an architectural 

* artist of the present day could hardly excel.' * Colonel Play- 
fair immediately appreciated the excellence of all, and per- 
ceived the accuracy of many, of these productions. Some, 
however, be was unable to identify, because the structures 
represented by them no longer existed ; others, because they 
Avere unknown to him, especially such as Avere situated in the 
Regency of Tunis ; and it Avas to remedy this latter deficiency 
that he undertook his * Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce.' 
The result is before us in a splendid volume, enriched Avitb 
facsimiles of many of the draAvings in question (whose detailed 
fidelity Avas photographically tested and proved by Lord 
Kingston, Colonel Playfair's sole travelling companion), and 
containing tbe original rough notes of Bruce's daily progress 

* * Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce,' p. 2. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis, 137 

and adventures. Its main contents, however, and those which 
at present chiefly concern us, are composed of Colonel 
Playfair's personal observations in a country which, after cen- 
turies of submersion in the muddy waters of barbarism, has 
once more unexpectedly risen to the surface of European 
politics. We revejt to the subject of Carthage's remains to 
extract from his pages a description of the noble monument 
which now forms the most prominent memorial of Carthage's 
ancient glory : — 

' Shortly after leaving the Mohammedia ' (a dismantled palace in the 
neighbourhood of Tunis) ' the ruins of the ancient aqueduct come in sight, 
and at a distance of about fourteen miles from Tunis the road crosses 
the Oued Melian, the Catada of Ptolemy. Here is seen, in all its sur- 
passing beauty, one of the greatest Avorks the Romans ever executed in 
North Africa, the aqueduct conveying the waters of Zaghouan and 
Djougar to Carthage. 

' During all the time that Carthage remained an independent state, 
the inhabitants seem to have contented themselves with rain water 
caught, and stored in reservoirs, both from the roofs of houses and from 
paved squares and streets. Thirty years after the destruction of this 
city by Scipio it was rebuilt by a colony under Caius Gracchus, but it 
was not till the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (a.d. 117 to 138) that 
the inhabitants, having recovered their ancient wealth, and having 
suffered fi-om several consecutive years of drought, represented their 
miserable condition to the Emperor, who himself visited the city and 
resolved to convey to it the magnificent springs of Zeugitanus Mons, 
the modern Zaghouan. This, however, was not sufficient for the 
supply of the city, and after the death of Hadrian another fine spring 
at Mons Zuccharus, the present Djebel Djougar, was led into the 
original aqueduct — probably in the reign of Septimius Severus, as a 
medal was found at Carthage with his figure on the reverse, and on the 
obverse Astarte seated on a lion beside a spring issuing from a rock. 

' It was certainly destroyed by Gilimer, the last of the Vandal kings, 
when endeavoiTring to reconquer Carthage, and again restored by 
Belisarius, the lieutenant of Justinian. On the expulsion of the 
Byzantines it was once more cut off, and restored by their Arab con- 
querors, and finally destroyed by the Spaniards during their siege of 
Tunis. It was reserved for the present Bey, Sidi Saduk, once more to 
restore this ancient Avork, and to bring the pure and abundant springs 
which formerly supplied Carthage into the modern city of Tunis. . . . 
' The original aqueduct started from two springs, those of Zaghouan 
and Djougar ; and to within sixteen miles of the present city of Tunis 
— namely, to the south side of the plain of the Catada — it simply fol- 
lowed the general slope of the ground without being raised on arches. 
From this point, right across that plain — a distance of three Roman, 
or two and a half English miles — with slight intermissions, owing to 
the rise in the ground, and so on to the terminal reservoir at the modern 
village of Maalika, it was carried over a superb series of arches — 
sometimes, indeed, over a double tier. The total length of the aque- 

138 Carthage and Timis. Jan. 

duct was sixty-one Roman miles, or 98,897 yards, including the branch 
from Mons Zuccharus, which measured twenty-two miles, or 38,803 
yards ; and it was estimated to have conveyed 32,000,000 litres (up- 
wards of 7,000,000 gallons) of water a day, or eighty-one gallons per 
second, for the supply of Carthage and the intermediate country. 

' The greatest difference is perceptible in the style of construction, 
owing to the frequent restorations whicli have taken place. The oldest 
and most beautiful portions are of finely cut stone, each course having 
a height of twenty inches ; . . . a great part of the aqueduct, how- 
ever, is built in a far less solid manner — of concrete blocks, or of small 
irregular stones. . . . The mere fact of masonry of this character 
being used, pise in fact, by no means proves it to be of modern origin, 
as Pliny informs xis that this description of masonry was much in use 
amongst the ancient Carthaginians. In some places a threatened 
danger had been guarded against by the erection of rough and massive 
counterforts. Along the plain of the Oued Melian, in a length of 
nearly two miles, we counted 344 arches still entire.' (Playfair's 
' Bruce,' p. 130.) 

The vexed question of the topography of Carthage may be 
regarded as in its main lines settled by M. Beule's explora- 
tions in 1859. Relying on the decisions of the great archaao- 
logical arbiter — the spade — we can afford to ignore the dis- 
crepancies of ancient authority and modern opinion. There 
can, in fact, be no reasonable doubt that the capacious double 
port, in the construction of which nearly a million cubic feet of 
sandstone must have been excavated,* is now represented by two 
shallow pools, situated near the south-western angle of the 
peninsula, on the fertile spot by the shore known locally as 
* The Fig-trees,' and it is almost equally certain that the Hill 
of St. Louis is the site of the ancient Byrsa,t or citadel, where 
the few desperate survivors of Scipio's siege perished in the 
blazing Temple of -3^sculapius. Here, too, was enacted the 
last scene of the last crusade, when the good King Louis, 
expiring on a bed of ashes, left to his son, with the kingdom 
of France, the Avise and pious exhortation preserved by Join- 
ville. The spot is now formally consecrated to his memory, 
Louis Philippe having caused a chapel to be erected there in 
1841 ; and it is recorded, in signal testimony to the cordiality 
of the relations then subsistiuo; between France and Tunis, 
that a battalion of native troops was told off to escort the 

''^ Beule, ' Fouilles et Decouvertes,' t. ii. p. 53. 

f Byrsa (signifying an ox-hide) is the form Avhich Greek pronun- 
ciation gave to the Phoenician Basra, a fortress. The story of Dido's 
crafty mode of measuring the land allotted to her new colony followed 
quite naturally from the meaning of the Greek word. As in so many 
other cases, a corruption was followed and justified by a legend. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 139 

statue of the saint to its destined place. Indeed, the duty- 
was probably by no means repugnant to them, since, by a fan- 
tastic caprice of tradition, St. Louis is numbered amongst the 
saints of Islam. The Arabs entirely believe that before his 
death he was converted to faith in the Prophet, and the holy 
village of Sidi-Bou-Saidon Cape Carthage, in which no Chris- 
tian is allowed to sleep, derives its peculiar aroma of sanctity 
from the commemoration of the virtues of the Christian king 
and crusader.* 

Tunis is the natural successor and lawful heir of Carthage. 
It had, however, to wait some time for its inheritance ; for, 
though it has survived its majestic neighbour now nearly 
twelve centuries, it probably existed before her. There is no 
record of its foundation ; it has communicated to history no 
autobiographical sketch, authentic or legendary ; it was simply 
seated immemorially at the gates of Carthage, expecting its 
turn. It has always borne the same name, whose meaning 
oblivion has long since covered, and was probably a Libyan, 
or, as we should now say, a Berber hamlet when the Phoeni- 
cians began to colonise Africa. The jealousy of Carthage 
kept it poor and defenceless; but Agathocles made it his 
head-quarters during his four years' adventure, and it became 
a centre of devastation when Regulus landed at Clypea (now 
Kelibia) the first Roman army which set foot on the southern 
shore of the Mediterranean. When Hassan removed, as he 
thought, an obstacle to the growth of Kairewan, he had no 
idea that he was destroying instead the rival of Tunis. ^ Only 
six years later it began to assume the importance which its 
position claimed ; but its first effective appearance in history 
was more clamorous than creditable. Musa, the conqueror of 
Spain, equipped a fleet and constructed a harbour there in 704, 
when it rapidly acquired a piratical reputation rivalling that 
of Carthage under Genseric. The extent of his ravages may 
be estimated from the fact that he is said, on good authority, 
to have captured in his freebooting excursions 300,000 persons 
of all sexes and ages. This need not appear incredible when 
it is remembered that human booty was, at that time of all 
others, the easiest to take, and the most profitable to sell.f 

Aghlabites, Fatimites, and Zirites, Almoravides, and Almo- 
hades had successively had their day, when Abou Zaccharia 
established, in 1206, the seat of an independent principality at 
Tunis. This ' Hafsite ' dynasty (as it was called from the 

* Bosworth Smith, ' Carthage and the Carthaginians,' p. 466. 
I Amari, ' Storia del Musulmani di Siciha,' i. p. 124. 

140 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

lather of tlie founder) was probably of Berber origin, and 
lasted until the turn of the Turks came. In 1535, Barba- 
rossa,* the ' friend of the sea, and the enemy of all those who 
' sailed upon it,' got possession of Tunis by a stroke of luck 
and treachery combined. He was already potent at Algiers, 
and threatened, by his depredations, to extirpate the commerce 
and depopulate the shores of the Mediterranean. Muley 
Hassan, the prince Avhom he expelled, Avas not more virtuous 
than the Mitylenian corsair, but he was less mischievous, and 
his ]n"ivate crimes Avere alloAved to be outweighed by the public 
good. The Emperor Charles V., accordingly, as the repre- 
sentative of the police of Christendom, collected an armament, 
and reinstated him in a throne Avhich he had reached by a 
hideous series of fratricides. The release of thirty thousand 
captives earned for the Emperor a reputation for humanity, 
v/hich the slaughter of an equal number of unoffending 
persons in the sack of the toAvn must be alloAved to have gravely 
compromised. The forts of Goletta were held by the Spaniards 
until 1574, Avhen they Avere disastrously lost; for in the pre- 
vious year, the chivalrous and unlucky Don John of Austria, 
still Avearing the sc^ircely faded laurels of Lepanto, undertook 
to drive the irrepressible Ottomans from Tunis, once more 
seized by them In 1570. This he accomplished almost Avith- 
out resistance : but instead of folloAvIng the sagacious adA'ice 
of his brother, Philip II., Avho desired him to raze the fortifi- 
cations and abandon the spot, he left behind a governor and 
garrisons, not only at Goletta, but in Tunis itself. The truth 
seems to be that one of the chimei'as Avhich beguiled the 
hopes of this unfortunate young man Avas that of founding an 
African empire — probably, even, of revmng, as ' King of Car- 
* thage,' the extinct glories of the Punic city. The bright 
bubble burst quickly. Sinan Pasha, an Italian renegade, Avas 
commissioned by Selim II. to annihilate the threatening nucleus 
of a possible Christian power In Africa. The Spanish garrisons 
offered a heroic resistance, holding out almost to the last man ; 
and Avith their extermination ceased the last attempt to keep 
the Turks out of Tunis. 

It was AA'ith no unreasonable dismay that Europe saw the 
coast of North Africa portioned out into principalities by the 
corsair admirals of the Sublime Porte. It is difficult at the 

* A corruption of Baba (Father) Haroudj, not an epithet descrip- 
tive of the colour of his beard. The name properly belonged to his 
elder brother, but Avas held in common, Avith many estimable qualities, 
by the pair. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 141 

present day to form an idea of the terror inspired and the 
damage inflicted by the Barbary pirates during three cen- 
turies — from the capture of Algiers by Barbarossa in 1516 to 
its bombardment by Lord Exmouth in 1816. No household 
in Spain or Italy within reach of the sea was safe from their 
depredations. The long black hulls of their ' raven '-prowed 
galleys lay invisibly in the offing, until night covered their 
approach, and revealed, in the light of blazing homesteads, 
the extent of the disaster they were the bearers of.* Even 
as far as the North Sea Turkish rovers ventured with im- 
punity and profit, and the number of Christians sold into 
slavery was so great that a religious order was instituted in 
Spain for the special purpose of their redemption. In the sum- 
mer of 1605, one of these pirate galleys fell in with a coasting 
vessel bound from Marseilles to Narbonne. One of the 
passengers on board was a young priest named Vincent de 
Paul, who, with all the rest of the ship's company, was taken 
to Tunis, and there sold as a slave. He passed from one 
master to another, and at length came into the hands of a rene- 
gade Christian, whose heart — singularly enough, through the 
pleadings of his Turkish wife — was touched by reminiscences of 
the religion he had forsaken. A plan of escape was accordingly 
concerted between master and servant, and after waiting many 
mouths for a favourable opportunity, they at length got safely 
off in a small boat to the coast of France, where the future 
saint initiated some years later his works of charity, while the 
converted apostate retired to a monastery in Rome. 

It is satisfactory to remember that a sturdy buffet was ad- 
ministered to the Barbary pirates, in the days of their power, 
by the hands of an English admiral. In 1655, Robert Blake, 
one of the boldest of British seamen, battered into ruins the 
walls of Porto Farina (then the arsenal of Tunis), burnt the 
Tunisian fleet, released slaves, and extorted a pledge of better 
behaviour for the future. A pledge probably ill kept. For, 
in a Mahometan state, amendment rarely sets in until deca- 
dence is imminent, and administrative reforms signify and 
precede political downfall. Nothing could well be more 
exemplary than the course of policy pursued, during the 
present century, at Tunis. Christian slavery ceased in 1816 ; 
slavery of all kinds Avas abolished in 1837 ; the Jews have been 
emancipated, and the black turban, or cap, distinctive of their 
race, continues to be worn only by some ancient conservatives 
in costume ; a constitution, modelled on the most approved 

* Creasy, ' History of the Ottoman Turks,' vol. i. p. 280^ note. 

142 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

liberal principles, was even promulj^ated by the present Bey 
in 1861, and Avithdrawn only when the ungrateful recipients 
threatened a revolution in favour of absolutism. It is hinted, 
indeed, that a doubling of the imposts had its share among the 
causes of the rising. And here we touch tlie flaw. 

A rotten system of finance is the inevitable concomitant of 
the oriental method of administration, and seems to be the 
destined inclined plane along which orientally administered 
states are gently conducted to their doom. A mode of taxation, 
which seems expressly designed to combine the maximum of 
oppression with the minimum of revenue, drains the life-blood 
of the country. Industry, hopeless of receiving its due reward, 
sinks into apathy ; land goes out of cultivation, irrigation is 
neglected, trees are cut down, manufactures perish. Mean- 
time, the level of modern civilisation must be maintained, and 
modern civilisation is expensive. Works of public utility* or 
private magnificence exhaust an exchequer whose outgoings 
increase as fast as its incomings diminish. Foreign loans afford 
temporary relief, and bring, with public insolvency, its penalty 
in the form of an international commission. The resources of 
the country are, however, developed, though not for the benefit 
of the people. Railways, telegraphs, canals, are constructed 
by means of foreign capital, and to the profit of foreign share- 
holders. Eventually, individual interests demand the prop of 
official protection, and armed occupation becomes the supple- 
ment and safeguard of financial possession. 

Such is the history which we see being enacted before our 
eyes in more than one Mahometan country. But in Tunis 
events have been precipitated by a complication of interests 
and rivalries. The ambition of Italy has long been turning 
in the direction of colonial expansion. The burden of her 
overgrown military establishment requires for its support a 
commercial development for which the crowded markets of 
Europe afford no facilities. She demands a new outlet, and 
believes that such an outlet is to be found in Africa. Its 
close vicinity to her shores, and the historical relations of Rome 
and Carthage, seemed to point out Tunis as the ' Italian 
' Algeria ' of the future. The importance of the Italian 
element in the population, the rapid expansion of trade, and 
the energy of the late M. Rubattino in establishing and 

* The difficulties of the present Bey began with the expenditure 
of thirteen million francs on the restoration of the ancient aqueduct 
His personal moderation contrasts favourably with the prodigality of 
some of his predecessors. 

1882. Carthage and Tunis, 143 

extending steam communication between the two countries, 
made it already a valuable field for Italian commercial ac- 
tivity. French influence, which, during the greater part 
of three reigns, had been supreme at the Bardo, began to 
decline, and French ' susceptibilities ' were in many tender 
points wounded. The spirited bidding of M. Rubattino se- 
cured the Tunis and Goletta railway as Italian property; 
the French counter-scheme of a line to Hammamet was 
quashed ; the Enfida affair had an issue adverse to French 
interests ; the French telegraph monopoly was contested. At 
last, a coup de main and a coui^ de tete in one cut short an 
intolerable rivalry ; the Kroumirs furnished a pretext by 
which Europe consented to be blinded until an accomplished 
fact could be brandished before her reopened eyes ; and the 
treaty of May 12 Avas signed at the Bardo amid the indignant 
but impotent ])rotestations of an outraged prince. 

It remains to be seen by what practical services to civilisa- 
tion an act as ill-considered as it was unjustifiable will be 
palliated in the judgment of history. The province which has 
fallen into French hands is, as regards variety of natural 
riches, the choicest in Africa. The climate is mild and equable ; 
mineral wealth is not lacking; mines of quicksilver, which 
have never been worked, exist near the mouth of the Med- 
jerda, and lead mines, known to the Romans, but now neg- 
lected, in the Djebel Resass (^ Mountain of Lead ') ; while, in 
the north-western district, a mountain, reported as composed 
wholly of iron oxide,* promises an unlimited supply of 
cutlery and rifled cannon. The vegetable kingdom is still 
more munificent. All the fruits and esculents of a temperate 
climate are exposed for sale in the bazaars of Tunis ; cereals 
yield to the most niggardly cultivation an abundant harvest ; 
the more special productions of the south — olives, oranges, 
figs, lemons, almonds, and pomegranates — thrive luxuriantly ; 
the Djerid, or ' Country of Dates,' is said to contain two 
million palm trees. Yet the entire country is, notwithstand- 
ing these advantages, in a state of abject decadence. Where 
no census has ever been attempted, estimates of population 
are not to be depended upon, but it seems certain that the 
number of the inhabitants, which now scarcely exceeds a 
million and a half, has enormously fallen off since the last 
century, to say nothing of the flourishing figures reported 
from earlier times. This depopulation, which appears to be 
rapidly progressive, is in a large degree the consequence, but 

* E. Pellissier, ' Description de la Eegence de Tunis,' p. 47. 

144 Carthar/e and Tunis. Jan. 

also to some extent the cause, of a conspicuous deterioration 
in the quality of the soil. A province which Constantine, 
when he appropriated to his new capital the corn of Egypt, 
assigned as the granary of Rome, is now frequently driven to 
import grain for the subsistence of its own dwindled population. 
Colonel Playfair reports that the whole region of the Sahel, 
or the coast-land of which Susa is the centre, once of unex- 
ampled fertility, now springs into verdure only in seasons of 
exceptionally abundant rainfall, but at other times presents 
the aspect of a stony and arid waste. The change is regarded 
by him as one of the disastrous effects of reckless dis- 
forestation : — 

' We know,' he says, * that at one time the country was covered with 
forests. I myself have travelled for days over plains Avhere not a tree 
exists, and yet where ruins of Eoman oil- mills Av^ere frequently met 
with. Ibn Khaldoun, in his history of the Berbers, says : " El Kahina 
" caused all the villages and farms throughout the country to be 
" destroyed, so that the vast region between Tripoli and Tangier?, 
" which had the appearance of an immense thicket, under the shade of 
" which rose a multitude of villages toi;ching each other, now offered 
*' no other aspect than that of ruins." Even in modern days the same 
destruction of forests has been continued, if not wantonly or for pur- 
poses of defence, as in the time of the early Arab conquerors, still as 
surely by the carelessness of their descendants, who never hesitate to 
set fire to a wood to improve the pasturage, or to cut down a tree when 
timber is required, but who never dream of planting another, or even 
of protecting those which spring up spontaneously from being destroyed 
by their flocks and herds. 

' In Bruce's notes, written 110 years ago, frequent allusion is made 
to forests through which he passed, where not a tree is now to be seen, 
and this is a work of destruction which must go on with ever-accelerat- 
ing rapidity year after year.' 

The consequence is that hills are denuded of their soil, the 
rich mould deposited in the valleys becomes covered with 
sand blown from the desert in summer, and gravel and stones 
brought down by rains in winter, until the life of the land is, 
as it were, locked up in an inexorable imprisonment, where it 
remains inaccessible and sterile. 

The activity of nature has co-operated with the negligence 
of man to place obstacles in the way of the restoration to 
Tunis of its ancient prosperity. The current Avhicli once 
formed the water-way of the Phoenicians from the Straits to 
Syria has helped to throw down the mud of the Medjerda 
(the ancient Bagradas, whose name is doubtfully derived 
from the Tyrian god Melkarth), thus hopelessly silting up 
harbours once populous with shipping. Tlie ruins of IJtica 

1882. Carthage a7id Tunis. 145 

now lie many miles inland, round the miserable village of 
Bou-Shater; the course of the river has shifted far to the 
north of its ancient bed ; the curve of the coast between Cape 
Farina and the peninsula of Carthage is almost obliterated ; 
and the ports still existing are continually encroached upon by 
fresh deposits of alluvium. For one of these, however, a 
great future, so far as it Is in the power of the new masters 
of the country to confer it, is reserved. 

Bizerta, the * Venice of Africa ' (s« parva licet componere 
magnis), boasts an antiquity perhaps double that of the city of 
the Lagoons. It was a Tyrian colony, designated Ippo achcret"^ 
(the * other Hippo ') to distinguish it from an elder town of 
the same name, Hippo Regius (so called by the Romans, as 
being the residence of the Numidian kings), now Bone. Tppo 
acheret was transformed by the Greeks into Hippo Diarrhytus 
(an epithet obviously descriptive of the situation of the town) ; 
Diarrhytus was gradually softened into Zarytus ; thence came 
the Arab corruption Bcnzerte, from which to Bizerta is an 
easy transition. Agathocles gave the place importance by 
providing it with fortifications and a new hai'bour ; a Roman 
colony was planted there ; and the inhabitants, though only 
four thousand in number, distinguished themselves during the 
middle ages by frequent revolts against whatever power hap- 
pened temporarily to have the upper hand. 

' The situation of the town,' Colonel Playfair writes, ' is extremely 
picturesque, being built on each side of the canal which connects the 
lake with the sea, and on an island in the middle of it, principally occupied 
by Europeans, and joined to the mainland on either side by substantial 
bridges. The town is entirely surrounded by walls, the entrance to 
the canal being protected by what in former times would have been 
considered formidable defences. That on the west is the Ivasbah or 
citadel, and contains a number of residences both of private individuals 
and of public functionaries ; on the opposite side is the fort of Sidi el- 
Houni, containing the shrine of that holy man. Between these the 
canal is embanked. The foundations are, no doubt, ancient, though 
the superstructure is modern. The west wall is produced as a break- 
water, but it is very ruinous, and has evidently projected much further 
into the sea than it does at present. Its length is not sufficient to 
prevent the sand being drifted in by the north-west winds, whereby 
the canal has been so much filled up as to render it practicable only for 
light fishing-boats. Near the gate of the Kasbah may be seen the 
chain formerly used to protect the entrance. ... 

' The important feature of Bizerta, however, is its lake, now called 
Tinja, formerly Hipponitis Palus, which in the hands of a European 

* Movers, 'Die Phonizier/ ii. 2, p. 510. 

146 Carthofjc and Tunis. Jan. 

power might become one o£ the finest harbours and one of the most 
important strategical positions in the Mediterranean, Its length from 
east to Avest is aliout eight geographical miles, and its width five and a 
half; the channel, which connects it with the sea, is at its north-east 
angle, and is about four miles long and half a mile broad ; but the 
shallow portion which passes through the town is less than a mile in 
length, with a depth of from two to ten feet. Beyond, it widens out, 
and has a depth equal to that of the lake, from five to seven fathoms. 
A comparatively slight expenditure would be required to convert this 
lake into a perlectly landlocked harbour, containing fifty square miles 
of anchorage for the largest vessels afloat. At present the anchorage 
off the entrance is very insecure ; vessels are compelled to remain in 
the open roadstead, and at a considerable distance from the town ; 
there is no shelter from the prevailing bad weather, and if ship- 
wrecks are rare, it is simply because the place is avoided by large 

' The lake teems with fish, Avhich produce a yearly revenue of 
180,000 piastres, or 4,500/., to the State. They are caught both by 
nets and in weirs of reeds erected at the narrowest portion of the straits, 
and are then carried on donkeys to Tunis for sale. They are not only 
most abundant, of excellent quality, very difEerent firom the mud- 
tainted produce of the Tunis lake, but of ^reat variety. The inhabi- 
tants of Bizerta say that there are twelve principal kinds, one of which 
comes into season each month. This is by no means a modern idea ; 
it is mentioned by El-Edrisi, Avho says : " When the month has ex- 
" pired, the species which corresponds to it disappears, and is re- 
" placed by a new one, and so on till the end of the year and every 
» year. ..." 

' A favourite means of catching the larger kind is for a man to 
station himself at the prow of a boat under one of the arches of the 
bridge, with a ten-pronged grane in his hand and a vessel of oil beside 
him. From time to time he sprinkles a few drops of oil on the surface 
to calm its ripples and enable him to see the larger fish passing, and 
these he spears with great dexterity. Wild fowls of all kinds are 
numerous on the lake, and ibr quails and snipe its banks are a sports- 
man's paradise. 

' To the south-west of this lake is another, nearly as large, but with a 
depth of from two to eight feet only. . . . The water is almost sweet 
in winter, Avhen a considerable body is poured into it by the Oued 
Djoumin, or river of ^dater; but in summer, when the level sinks, the 
overflow from the salt lake pours into it by the Oued Tinga, a tortuous 
canal which connects the two, and then its waters are not potable. , . . 
This lake also abounds in fish, principally barbel and alose (clupea 
Jinta), which are held in no esteem by the natives.' (Playiliir's ' Bruce,' 
p. 143.) 

The alternatln2: flow between the two lakes above described 
is mentioned by Edrisi, with the additional circumstance that 
the waters in no degree change their quality by the inter- 
chanirc — the salt lake losing none of its saltness, and the fresh 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 147 

lake none of its freshness, in whichever direction the current 
sets. ' Ceci est encore,' he remarks quaintly, ^ Tune des 
' particularites de ce pays.' 

It is curious to find Bizerta figuring in the old romances as 
the capital and representative town of Africa. It was here 
that the English paladin Astolfo besieged the Saracen kino- 
Branzardo after the destruction of the fleet of Ao-ramante • it 
was here that took ship the formidable host 

' Whom Biserta sent from Afric shore, 
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 
By Fontarabia.' 

Our readers may compare Ariosto's account of the defences 
of the old town with the description just quoted from Colonel 
Playfair. Here is the stanza : — 

' Bizerta on two faces had the sea, 

The two remaining rested on dry land ; 

Of structure excellent in their degree. 

Its walls in times of old were built and planned ; 

Its sole defence and help in these must be. 
For after King Branzardo and his band 

Took shelter there, nor time nor building-masters 

Were found to mend or better Time's disasters.' 

The remarkable advantages presented by the position of 
this town have not escaped notice from the French authorities. 
They have recognised * that Bizerta is the key to the valley of 
the Medjerda, and that the valley of the Medjerda commands the 
Regency. Accordingly, whatever should be the policy even- 
tually adopted elsewhere, the purpose inflexibly held with 
regard to the designated maritime capital of North Africa 
might be expressed in the phrase, J'y suis^ ^^fy reste. The 
unfurling of the tricolour above the rusty and dismounted 
guns of the Kasbah on May 1, 1881, may thus be expected 
to mark a singular change in the condition and prospects of 
this degenerate colony of Tyre and Home. The operations 
of dredging and embankment necessary to convert a mud- 
choked estuary into a profound and capacious harbour may 
indeed prove far more costly than was anticipated in the vague 
and sanguine estimate of ' a few hundreds of thousands of 
' francs ; ' but financial difficulties will not be allowed to stand 
in the way of an enterprise assuming the seductive aspects of 

* See M. de la Berge's volume cf occasion, cited at the head of this 
article, pp. 76, 178. 

148 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

national aggrandisement, and physical obstacles will doubtless 
be successfully disposed of by the skill and perseverance of 
French engineers. 

The design of deepening the lake of Tunis so as to render 
the city accessible to ships of heavy draught has, it may be 
presumed, been abandoned* in favour of the newer schemes of 
improvement at Bizerta. The two places are distant from each 
other only thirty-six miles, and a railway is already projected 
to unite them, which can hardly fail, when constructed, to 
divert to the rising emporium much of the traffic which now 
animates the port of Goletta. The present capital will tlius 
in all probability receive no increment of prosperity from the 
French ' protectorate.' The flood- tide of European improvement 
will sweep in another direction. Tunis will remain very much 
what it is, dirty, oriental, and picturesque. The 'Rose of 
' Africa ' (hyberbolically so called) is not always the most 
fragrant of flowers. But the Tunisian contempt for hyo-ienic 
laws has not entailed the evil consequences M'hich sanitary 
congresses teach us that it ought. On the contrary, Tunis is 
an exceptionally healthy city, and has since 1819 remained 
unvisited by the plague. It lies spread out — to use the Arab 
comparison— in the shape of a burnous, of which the Kasbah 
or citadel represents the hood, on some rising ground formino- 
an isthmus between two salt lakes. The creamy radiance of 
its buildings still deserves the epithet ' White ' bestowed upon it 
by Diodorus nineteen centuries ago ; but the verdure of its 
background is probably less conspicuous now than when it 
earned for it the appellation of the ' Green ' city. The popula- 
tion of Tunis may be, with much uncertainty, estimated at 
100,000; and it is said, with still greater uncertainty, to have 
doubled that number in the last century. Couting^ents from 
many races and countries go to make up the motley crowd. 
There is a Turkish aristocracy, an Arab petite noblesse, and a 
Moorish bourgeoisie. The designation ' Moorish ' is a very 
Avide one, including, like the convenient phiiological term 
' Allophylian,' a multitude of races having no quality in 
common except their refusal to fit into any of the established 
categories of classification. All possible remnants and survivals 

of ancient settlements — Phoenician, lloman, Byzantine are 

covered by it; but it chiefly indicates the descendants of 
Arabs fugitive from their attempted conquest of Europe; 
above all, of Moors expelled from Spain in the beginnino' 

* A project is, however, on foot for the construction of a port at 
Rades, on the southern shore of the lake of Tunis. 

1882. Cartilage and Tunis. 149 

of the seventeenth century. As late as 1864 a lineal descen- 
dant of Boabdil, King of Granada, exercised the trade of a 
])erfumer in one of the bazaars of Tunis;* close to the gate of 
Carthage may be seen the tomb of the last of the Abencer- 
rages ; and many families transmit sacredly from generation 
to generation the house-keys — some of delicately chiselled 
steel, some of rudely perforated box-wood — brought with them 
in their exodus, firmly believing that when the Prophet shall 
raise up to them a champion to redress all the wrongs of their 
race, they Avill by their means find admission to the Anda- 
lusian homes, of which they still, after two hundred and 
seventy-two years of exile, cherish the memory. 

A large element in the population of Tunis is formed of 
Jews. Their first coming dates from the great calamity of 
their race under Titus ; but European persecutions added 
largely to their numbers. Here, as elsewhere, they have 
thriven in spite of the restrictions with which they were handi- 
capped. The most lucrative share in the traffic of Tunis is 
theirs. The booths in tlie silk bazaar are held exclusively by 
Jews. The trade in gems, which has a peculiar importance in 
a country where other modes of investment can scarcely be 
found, is entirely in their hands. Communication between 
foreigners and natives is carried on in Italian, which is also the 
language of the club and of diplomacy. This is doubtless due 
to the fact that two-thirds of the Christian inhabitants of this 
city are Maltese artisans, who, according to Colonel Playfair, 
constitute here, as elsewhere in the Eegency, an industrious 
and vv ell-conducted section of the community. In the country 
they have obtained, with their karatonis, or light two- 
wheeled carts, a monopoly of the carrying trade ; but in Tunis 
all merchandise is conveyed on the backs of camels, asses, or 
mules, whose long files of a hundred or more wind endlessly 
through the tortuous and unpaved streets, deep with mud and 
ruts in the rainy season, and scarcely less intolerable from dust 
in the dry. 

Regarding the primitive inhabitants of North Africa, our 
knowledge has advanced very little beyond the point where 
Sallust left it. He tells us that, on the death of Hercules in 
Spain, the heterogeneous army which had accompanied his 
conquering expedition lost its cohesion and separated into 
innumerable fragments. Of these the Persian, Mede, and 
Armenian divisions crossed into Africa, allied themselves with 
the aboriginal Libyans and Gastulians, and gained possession 

* De Flaux, * La Kegence de Tunis,' p. 50. 

150 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

of the country. The Persians, adopting, in signification of 
their roving habits, the name of Nomads or Numidians, settled 
in the district round Carthage, where the majyalia, or long 
keel-shaped huts of the natives, still recall the ships which 
transported their ancestors across the Straits, and, reversed, 
formed their first shelter on African soil. 

It was to the people thus formed, according to a tradition 
beyond the reach of criticism, that the Arabs gave the name 
of Berber * — a term implying, like harharian in its original 
sense, the use of a rude and unintelligible mode of speech. 
The ' Berber ' tongue can, in fact, be assigned to no knoAvn 
family of language ; but the features and manners of the 
tribes employing it are believed to indicate Semitic affinities, 
while the fair complexions occasionally fovmd amongst them 
are accounted for by a supposed admixture of Aryan blood. 
In the Regency of Tunis, Berber and Bedouin have become 
so completely fused as to defy separation or analysis ; but it 
may be said generally that the race of the invaders prevails in 
the north and east, that of the primitive inhabitants in the 
districts vero;ino; toAvards the desert. The Arabs who now 
rear their camels and pitch their black tents on the plams of 
Tunis, are not the descendants of the followers of Okba and 
Hassan. They are the product of a later and more destructive 
invasion. In 1051, the Emir of Kairewan having thrown off 
his allegiance to the Fatimite Khalif, it was resolved at Cairo 
to desolate a jn'ovince which it was hopeless to attempt to 
resume. The Bedouin tribes Hilal and Soleim were accord- 
ingly summoned from Upper Egypt ; each man of them 
received a cloak and a dintir, and so equipped they were let 
loose west of the Nile. In six years the work of ruin was 
accomplished. Kairewan was sacked (1057), its inhabitants 
driven for refuge to Sicily or Spain, and Northern Africa 
made desolate.f The effects of the devastation are thus de- 
scribed by Edrisi ifter the lapse of a century : — 

' Al-Cairawan, la metropole du payg, etait la ville la plus importante 
du Maghribjj: soit a cause de son etendue, soit a raison de sa population 
et de ses richesses, de la solidite de ses edifices, des avantages que 

* It was probably suggested by tte Eoman * Mauri Barbari,' 
modified so as to convey a meaning in Arabic. 

f * Storia dci Musiilmani,' ii. pp. 51:7-8. 

X Marjlir'tb or Macjlireh signifies in Arabic ' "West,' and is used to 
designate that very distinct region of Africa cut ofT from the rest of the 
continent by the desert and the Lesser Syrtis (Gulf of Gabes), which 
comprises the coimtries of Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco. 

1882. Cartilage and Tunis. 151 

presentait son commerce, de I'abondance de ses ressources et de ses 
revenus, tandis que ses habitants se distinguaient par leur esprit 
d'independance, par leur fierte et par leur audace. Les hommes pieux 
de cette villo etaient remarquables par leur perseverance dans le bien 
et leur fidelite aux engagements, par I'abandon des choses vicieuses et 
reloignement des peches, par I'etude assidue de diverses sciences 
estimees, enfin par la tendance a la droiture ; mais Dieu, en faisant 
tomber cette ville au pouvoir des Arabes, a repandu sur elle toutes 
sortes de calamites. Actuellement il ne subsiste de son ancienne 
grandeur que des mines ; une partie de la ville est entouree d'uu mur 
en terre ; les Arabes y dominent, et mettent le pays a contribution ; 
les habitants y sont peu nombreux, et leur commerce ainsi que leur 
Industrie sont miscrables. Cependant, d'apres I'opinion des astrologues, 
cette ville ne doit pas tarder a recouvror son ancienne prosperite.' 

The stars, however, were mendacious, or their interpreters 
unskilful ; for Kairewan had already passed her meridian, and 
was tending towards a still remote horizon of helplessness and 
humiliation. The days were gone beyond recall when Charle- 
magne sent an embassy to the court of Ibrahim ibn-Aghlab 
to sue for the relics of St. Cyprian ; when caravans from the 
Soudan poured riches and splendour in at the gates, and the 
fantastic magnificence of Zirite festivities animated the solemn 
streets of the Holy City. Its sanctity alone survived. It 
was, until the 26th of last October, the virgin sanctuary of 
Islam in Africa. Its gates had opened, during twelve centu- 
ries, to no infidel invader. Its shrines had been profaned by 
no infidel footsteps. It was founded by one companion of the 
Prophet, it possessed the tomb of another. Hundreds of holy 
men had come to lay their bones in the sacred vicinity. It 
shared with Mecca the privilege of conferring the coveted 
title of ' hadji,' seven pilgrimages thither earning for their 
performer the dignity of the green turban. It was even j)ro- 
phetically affirmed that it would one day possess the venerated 
remains of Mahomet himself. 

Mr. Rae, whose book, entitled ' The Country of the Moors,' 
stands amongst others at the head of this article, is one 
of the first Christians who have been allowed to enter 
the walls of Kairewan for many centuries. His account of 
his reception there is one of the most curious and amusing 
parts of his delightful work, to Avhich we must refer our readers 
for a more complete account of these regions. We have sel- 
dom read a narrative of ti'avels undertaken or related with 
greater spirit. Colonel Playfair obtained leave from the Bey 
of Tunis to visit the sealed city a short time after Mr. Kae 
had visited it, and, as his Avork is less generally known, we 
shall borrow his account of its legendary story. It would seem 

152 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

that, as the Moors anticipated, these visits Avei*e ominous of 
coming evil, and laid their holy places open to the invader. 

' Next to Mecca and Medina, no city is so sacred in the eyes of 
Western INIohammedans as Kerouan. The history of its foundation is 
given by Ibu Khaldoun. In the fiftieth year of the liedjira (a.u. 
G70) Moaouia ihn-Abi-Sofian sent Okba ibn-Nafa to conquer Africa. 
Tlie latter proposed to his troops to found a city v/hich might serve 
liim as a camp, and be a rallying- point for Tslamism till the end of time. 
He conducted them to where Kerouan now is, and which was then 
covered with thick and impenetrable forest, the habitation of wild 
beasts and noxious reptiles. Having collected round him the eighteen 
companions of the Prophet who v/ere in his army, he called out in a 
loud voice, " Serpents and savage beasts, we are the companions o£ the 
" blessed Prophet. Retire ! for we intend to establish ourselves here." 
Whereupon they all retired peaceably, and at the sight of this miracle 
many of the Berbers Avere converted to Islamism ; during forty years 
from that date not a serpent was seen in Ifrikia. No wonder that Okba 
is as much venerated here as St. Patrick is in Ireland. 

' Okba then planted his lance in the ground, and called out " Here 
" is your Kerouan " (caravan, or resting-place), thus giving the name 
to the new city. He himself traced out the foundation of the governor's 
palace, and of the great mosque, the true position of the kibla, or 
direction of Mecca, Avhich was miraculously communicated to him by 
God. In most mosques the Imam, when leading the public prayers, 
turns ostentatiously a little on one side or the other, as if facing J\Iecca 
with even greater exactitude than the building itself ; but here he 
invariably stands exactly in front of the people, thus recognising the 
miraculous correctness of the sacred niclie or apse which indicates the 
direction of the great sanctuary. 

' The sacred character,' he continues, ' of this city has not exempted 
it from its full share of war and violence. Even the great mosipie has 
more than once been almost totally destroyed by the IMohammedans 
themselves, but it has never actually been polluted by a Christian 
invader. . . . Until quite lately, the city was entirely sealed against 
all who did not profess the faith of El-Islam, and even now it is only 
by a special order of the Bey that a Christian is admitted within its 
walls. A Jew dare not even approach it, and it is said that when on 
one occasion the Heir- presumptive paid a visit to it with a Jewish 
retainer in his suite, he was compelled to leave the latter at a day's 
journey oulside. 

* The great mosque was fonnded by Sidi Okba; but EI-Bekri states 
that a century later Yezid Ibn-IIatem, governor of Africa, demolished 
it all, with the exception of the Mihrub, and rebuilt it. Ziadat-Ullah, 
the first emir of the Aghlabite dynasty bearing that name, demolished 
it a second time, and once more reconstructed it. 

' Exteriorly it has no architectural pretensions, but in the interior 
there are nearly 500 marble columns, all derived from Koman build- 
ings in various parts of the country. Of these 25G are in the internal 
sanctuary itself; the remainder are in the courts of the building, dis- 

1882. Carthage and Tunis. 153 

posed ill fifteen naves. On each side of the Mihrab aie two cohmins 
of greater beauty than the rest, and in tlie central aisle in front of it 
are three more on each side, Avith smaller ones between, regarding 
■vvhich the Arabs have a superstition that only those -whose salvation 
is assured are able to pass between them. Any person in mortal f-in, 
Avhatever be his stature, however stout or however thin, would certainly 
find himself unable to squeeze through.' 

The wall of the great mosque is said to bear the inscription, 
' Cursed be he who shall count these columns, for lie shall, lose 
' liis sight.' It is characteristic of our time that the first to 
brave the malediction and dissipate the mystery was the corre- 
spondent of an English newspaper. Two highly interesting 
letters in the ' Times ' (November 15 and 18, 1881) let in the 
unpitying light of the nineteenth century upon the long-hidden 
sanctuaries of ]\Ioslera superstition. The stones which, at the 
worvl of Okba, moved of themselves into their destined places, 
have been numbered and measured, and one of the few hiding- 
places left to the Unknown has been thrown open to modern 
curiosity. The great mosque measures in its widest extent 
142 yards by 85 ; the prayer-chamber, or Mihrab, exactly 40 
yards by 80. The vaulted roof of the great central nave is 
supported by a double row of enormous black marble columns 
with white Corinthian capitals ; these are flanked on either 
side by nine ranges of pillars of inferior size, and vai'ious form 
and colour, on which rest the semicircular arches of eighteen 
lesser aisles. In the apse of the Mihrab, which is richly 
decorated with mosaics, is seen, on the left, a large slab 
of white marble, covered Avith emblems and surrounded by 
broad bands of verd antique. The hand of Okba himself is 
said to have placed it there twelve hundred years ago. The 
number of columns in the nave alone is 40 ; the prayer-chamber 
(with facade) contains no less than 206,a,nd the sum-total of those 
in the interior of the edifice amounts to 412. The multitude 
of these relics of ancient splendour collected for the embellish- 
ment of a single building suggests, and the exploi'ations of 
travellers certify, the strength and extent of Koman domina- 
tion in regions now inaccessible to civilisation, and scarcely 
available for habitation.* 

Next in sanctity to the Great Mosque of Okba comes the 
' Mosque of the Companion.' Syed Abdullah was, if tradition 

* Mr. Eae was not allowed to enter the mosque, but his calculation 
of the number of columns from the outside, and from the information 
he collected, tallies very nearly with subsequent observation. He 
estimated the total number of columns in the prayer-chamber at 171 
(perhaps omitting the facade), and the whole number at 415. 

154 Carthage and Tunis. Jan. 

says truly, one of the most devoted disciples and Intimate 
friends of Mahomet. After his death, he came to Africa, and 
died at Kairewan, old and reverenced. The three hairs of the 
Prophet's beard which, during his lifetime, he w^ore constantly 
on his breast, were buried with him — one under the tongue, 
one on his right arm, and the third next his heart. Hence 
arose amongst Exu-opeans the grotesque idea that he was one 
of the Prophet's barbers ! The cluster of buildings, containing 
the tomb of' My Lord, the Companion,' which lies outside the 
city walls, and affords several examples of elaborate and beau- 
tiful decoration, was also visited and described by the Avriter 
above alluded to. 

The inhabitants of Kairewan often suffer severely from 
drought, their sole water supply being contained in cisterns 
under their houses. A striking illustration of the apathy into 
which they have fallen is afforded by the ruined or damaged 
condition of the three great reservoirs constructed for their 
use by Saracen princes. 

' The only Avell in the city ' (we recur, for the last time, to Colonel 
Playfair's observations) ' is one of very brackish water, called El-Barota. 
Tradition says that on the foundation of the city it Avas discovered by 
a slonghi, or Arab greyhound, scratching up the ground. The pious 
believe that there is a communication between this and the holy well 
of Zemzem at Mecca. A pilgrim once let his drinking-vessel fall into 
the latter, and on his return to Kerouan he found it in El-Barota ! . . . 

' It is extremely difficult to form anything like an accurate estimate 
of the population of such a city as this. . . . Comparing it with 
Mohammedan cities in Algeria, the population of which is known, I 
should be inclined to put it down at considerably less than 10,000. 
It formerly possessed a very considerable trade, and was famous for the 
manufacture of carpets and woollen fabrics ; now its industry is almost 
confined to the manufacture of copper vessels, saddlery, and Arab 
boots and shoes. As a rule, the physique of the people is poor, and 
the children are imusually rude and ill-bred towards strangers. There 
is very little intermarriage between the inhabitants of Kerouan and 
the people of other towns ; the result in so small a community is an 
inevitable tendency to degenerate. Cancer, sore eyes, and maladies 
depending on dirt and poverty of blood are very common. 

'A short distance to the south of the city is Sabra, the site of Vicus 
Augusfi, mentioned in the Itinerary of Antonine, from Avhicli has 
been derived a great part of the ancient materials employed in the 
construction of Kerouan, and of the royal residences in the neighbour- 
hood, Avhich in their turn have disappeared.' 

One of the sententious sayings which Sallust puts into the 
mouth of the conqueror of .liigurtha is that ' AVars are easy 
* to begin, but most difHcult to finish.' The French are 
learning, not for the first time, the truth of this aphorism. The 

1882. Irish Discontent. 155 

enterprise on which they are noAv engaged is a very different 
one from the * promenade militaire et campagne diplomatique ' 
(to use a phrase of M. de la Berge's) which was in contem- 
plation when the ' Galissonniere ' disembarked, on the first 
day of last May, her cargo of fusiliers at Bizerta. We seem 
to be witnessing a repetition of the operations conducted by 
Marius in the kingdom of Jugurtha. The same plan of cam- 
paign appears to have been adopted ; the same line of march 
has been followed. The ' oppidura magnum atquc valens, inter 
■^ ingentes solitudines nomine Capsa,' surprised and burnt by 
the Boman Consul in the year 106 B.C., gave its name 
and yielded its site to the town, situated in an oasis of won- 
derful beauty and fertility surrounded by vast desert tracts, 
which General Saussier's column entered on November 20. 
But to the difficulties encountered by Marius two fresh ones are 
added. The French are opposed by no conspicuous chief, 
whose capture or death would at once terminate the war ; and 
they have to contend with the unmeasured forces of religious 
hatred and fanatical zeal. We do not doubt that they will 
eventually triumph, and that their triumph will be for the 
profit of civilisation in ways and by means perhaps different 
from what they expect ; but we believe that an expedition 
undertaken in defiance of public faith, and at the instigation of 
national jealousy, would never have left French shores, could 
the cost have been counted or the consequences foreseen. 

AiiT. VI. — 1. The Irish Problem, and hoio to solve it. 
London: 1881. 

2. Catechism of the History of Ireland^ Ancient and Modern. 
A new and revised Edition, with an Account of the Land 
Agitation. By W. J. O'Neill Daunt. Forty-sixth Thou- 
sand. Dublin: 1874. 

T^HE present temper of the Irish people is a difficult problem 
for those Englishmen who think that because disaffection 
has ceased to be reasonable, it has therefore ceased to be pos- 
sible. The legislation of fifty years has just been crowned by 
an effort of a very unusual kind to settle the question of land, 
which Mr. Lecky has shown to be the chief disturbing influ- 
ence in all Irish history. It was an effort involving the sacri- 
fice of prepossession and tradition on our part, tasking alike 
the coui'age and the skill of statesmen, for the Avhole tangled 
web of laws and precedents with which the native tenure had 
been overlaid by centuries of alien legislation has been rent 

156 Irisli Discontent. Jan. 

asunder, and tlie new law oives to the tenant more tlian he 
ever enjoyed under his old Celtic chiefs. It was not unreason- 
able, therefore, to expect that we were at last on the point of 
reaping an ample harvest of gratitude and confidence for our 
past legislation, and for tlie still increasing evidence of English 
anxiety to do justice. The recent history of Ireland, however, 
seems to indicate that no repentance or reparation on our j)art 
will ever win back her people. They become more difficult to 
govern exactly in proportion to the liberality of their treat- 
ment, and we become less successful in governing exactly in 
proportion to our more conciliatory attitude. AVe may make 
every allowance for the traces left by centui'ies of oppression 
on the character of its victims as Avell as of its authors, but 
it is an altogether remarkable fact that the animosities which 
once desolated Ireland should have survived all the ameliora- 
tions wrought by fifty years of the n:iost beneficent legislation, 
and should have turned the very benefits and blessings of our 
government into the materials of insult and defiance. An atti- 
tude of this sort might have been appropriate to a time when 
the Irish people were almost outside the pale of constitutional 
government and sacrificed to the supremacy of an intolerant 
faction. But it seems strangely unreasonable and inconsistent 
at the present hour. Yet the Irish now demand, as the price 
of their allegiance or their tranquillity, concessions clearly in- 
consistent with the safety of the Empire, and tending only to 
aggravate all the evils from which they have suffered. It is 
no wonder that many Englishmen are becoming sceptical as to 
whether any concession would remove a discontent which every- 
thing fails to satisfy and which reasoning only irritates ; and 
therefore hold that our duty is henceforth simply to maintain 
the connexion of the kingdoms at all hazards, not merely 
because separation would be more dangerous than union, but 
because it would ruin Ireland to leave her to the bitter passions 
and foolish dreams of the present leaders of her people. 

The question has been often asked by thoughtful men, Avhy 
the Irish should continue to hate England and to cherish the 
sour and morbid discontent which now so greatly enhances all 
the difficulties of government. It seems a difficult question to 
answer, and deserves s])ecial consideration at the most critical 
of all periods in the relation^> of the two countries. But this 
discontent is by no means universal. It has no existence what- 
ever among any class of the Protestants of Ireland. The 
Episcopalians and the Presbyterians are more sternly and im- 
placably hostile than Englishmen themselves to any project of 
separation from Great Britain. Yet there was a time when 

1882. Irish Discontent. I57 

the Protestant nobility and gentry were found in the ranks of 
rebellion, and large masses of Ulster men were as hostile to 
England as the Catholics of the other provinces. Belfast, now 
the loyal capital of the North, and the most Conservative of 
Irish towns, Avas once the focus of rebellion — 'the heated 
' centre of philosophical republicanism.' But no class of Pro- 
testants has since been identified Avith any insurrectionary 
movement in the island. It is true that the Home Rule 
movement had its origin in the wounded pride and bitter dis- 
content of a knot of Tories, who resented the disestablishment 
of the Irish Church ; and that even Orangemen, from the 
prompting of * wounded loyalty and ill-requited allegiance,' 
threatened for a time to join the irreconcilable enemies of the 
British connexion in a crusade against foreign government. 
But the aberration was only for a moment. The Protestants 
went back quietly to their old historic position ; and Home 
Rule, though its present leader is a Protestant, is now an 
exclusively Catholic movement. The disaffection, however, 
does not exist universally even among the Irish Catholics 
themselves. Since justice has been done to the nobility and 
gentry, and since the prizes of political and professional life 
have been open to Catholic and Protestant alike, the discon- 
tent has no ])lace among the higher classes of Catholic society. 
It is manifest only among the masses of the Catholic people, 
the peasantry of the country districts, and the small traders of 
the towns, who, by virtue of the political power in their 
hands, are able to influence the policy of the whole country. 

Many different explanations have been given of ' this 
' intangible feeling of dislike, not to say hatred, of England, 
' which most Irishmen inherit as their birthright,' as it has 
been expressively described by one of themselves. Mr. Matthew 
Arnold seems to think that oppression has nothing to do with 
it, nor misgovernment, nor bad tenure, but that English civi- 
lisation is hopelessly disagreeable to the Irish people from its 
want of sweetness and light, of joyousness and charm. This 
solution is hardly consistent with the fact that the Irish come in 
great numbers to England, struggle side by side with us for 
the prizes of public life, and enter with us into every relation 
of business and friendship. Another explanation finds the 
incompatibility of the two peoples, like that of the Magyars 
and Slavs, in one of those fundamental differences which are 
covered by the word ' race ; ' but, as Mr. Froude remarks, the 
modern Irishman is of no race, so blended now is the blood of 
Celt and Dane, Saxon and Norman, Scot and Frenchman. 
The hostile feeling is strongest in Tipperary, where the race 

158 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

is most mixed. Another more plausible explanation is the 
retrospective habit of a ])eople with too slight a hold upon the 
present, and therefore disposed to brood morbidly over past 
■wrongs. The injustice of centuries cannot be forgotten in two 
or three generations. It is only fifty years since the great 
mass of the people were allowed any voice in making the laws 
they were bound to obey, while no legislation can possibly 
undo the injury that still flows from the operation of some of 
the old penal laws. The industries of Ireland were destroyed 
many generations ago, one by one, except the fabric of linen, 
by tiie cruel jealousy of English landlords, English manufac- 
turers, and English tradesmen. They have never revived, 
though the Imperial Parliament has abolished all the old im- 
politic restrictions on manufacture and trade ; for it is not in 
the power of England to revive them. Likewise, the penal 
laws, which were designed to exclude the whole Catholic 
people from public life, have been repealed, but the spirit 
Avhich they exasperated and embittered has continued to act 
because their repeal has left the administrative ascendency of 
Protestantism in a Catholic country practically untouched. 
But the most plausible explanation is that which traces this 
discontent to a vague passion for a country no longer absorbed 
in the undivided greatness of the United Kingdom, but an 
independent self-sufficing member of the Empire. There is a 
desire for a more distinctive position, in which Ireland will no 
longer be obscured by the greatness of England, and perhaps 
an unexpressed wish for an opportunity of developing an inde- 
pendent policy of her own in domestic and foreign affairs. 

These are the principal solutions offered in explanation 
of one of the most painful problems of our time. It is easy 
to see that there may be an element of truth in most of them, 
but we propose to test the matter decisively by a reference 
to the literature of Ireland. We want to know what the 
Irish people have been reading for the past generation. We 
have taught them to read. The question is, what are they 
readino- ? No one can deny that a test of this sort is of the 
fairest description. The literature of a nation, being at once 
the exponent of its intellect and the utterance of its passions, 
must exercise a po"j\'erful influence upon its political action. 
It includes intellectual ])roducts of all sorts — essays, histories, 
biographies, poems, ballads, squibs, romances, tales, orations, 
almanacs, and newspapers — many of them trivial and ephe- 
meral productions, but their wide and rapid circulation may 
cause them to act more powerfully in society than woi'ks of 
greater literary pretension. It has been a question with some 

1882. Irish Discontent. 159 

historians whether the press as worked by Marat, or the 
guillotine as worked bv Robespierre, was for the time the 
more destructive agency; for, if the one was red with its heca- 
tombs of blood, the other ran with a more deadly venom that 
corroded the hearts of the living. It is certainly possible to 
neutralise by the direct agency of the press much of the ad- 
vantage conferred by wholesome laws, constitutional govern- 
ment, and equal justice. The press may become the facile 
instrument of keeping an impulsive people in a chronic state 
of malignity against their rulers, and in a chronic state of dis- 
content with all the existing relations of society. It can impart 
an education to the masses which will only develope the bad 
passions and nurture hatreds that too often, like curses, come 
home to roost. 

Nearly sixty years ago this Journal complained of the 
wretched provision made for the literary wants of the youth 
of Ireland. Captain Hock was then the leading national in- 
structor. The school and cottage classics consisted of the lives 
of rapparees, witches, smugglers, outlaws, and prostitutes, or 
of wild and extravagant tales, or of books which tended rather 
to inflame and strengthen the worst passions, or to fill the mind 
with extravagant and absurd notions of real life. And if the 
two generations of Irishmen Avho have since entered the world 
seem to have made but little advance in culture, in common 
sense, or in loyalty, it is owing, not to the want of a due and even 
generous provision for national education, but to the substance 
and spirit of the literature which has been created for their 
guidance by their political or religious leaders. There was 
no I]"ish press in existence forty years ago of sufficient influ- 
ence or circulation to reach the masses of the people. It was 
only during the later years of the O'Connell agitation that it 
began to come into real contact with them, and as it was 
strongly imbued with Nationalist or Repeal princij)les, tbe 
political education of Ireland advanced rapidly in the direc- 
tion represented by the racy journaHsm of Charles Gavau 
Duffy. This gentleman infused a new spirit into the Catholic 
press through the ' Nation,' and was still powerful, after the 
fiasco of 1848, in directing the youthful mind of the country 
in regai'd to current politics and general literary and social 
philosophy. He gathered round him a band of aspiring men, 
of whom Thomas Davis was the chief, the author of some fresh 
and original ballad poetry ; and he projected for an extensive 
series of national works on Irish history and biography. Let 
us say, then, in a single word, that it is the literature of this 
Young Ireland school, in its various forms, that is now the sole 

160 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

political reatlinp; of the Catholic masses. Its almost incredible 
cheapness is the best evidence of its -wide diffusion and its 
abiding popularity. 

We shall be.oin with a notice of the biographies most popu- 
lar in Ireland, such as those of Theobald Wolfe Tone, Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald, and Robert Emmet. They are threepenny 
productions, and are therefore within the reach of the poorest 
peasant in the country. They record in a brief space all that 
is -worth knowing concerning the three darling heroes of the 
Irisli heart. It is only just to say, however, that there is no 
Englishman -whose heart will not be touched by the story of 
their passionate devotion to their country and their truly tragi- 
cal end. The one matchless gem of national poetry, * Who 
' fears to speak of '98 ? ' which must be anonymous while its 
Protestant author lives, describes as impressively the feelings of 
loyal Ulster men whose grandfathers fought at Ballinahinch 
or Antrim as it does those of the more impulsive Catholic of 
the South who has never laid down his arms. But the effect, 
as well as the design, of these biographies is to keep alive the 
national feeling, and to point to insurrection as the only hope 
of Ireland. Tone was ' the godfather at least, if not the actual 
' parent, of the Society of United Irishmen.' Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald was a military leader of experience. Emmet was 
the promoter of an abortive insurrection. In the light of these 
facts we can understand the significance of the opening words 
of Tone's biography : — 

'After seven centuries of foreign invasion and occupation our people 
are even less inclined to accept the position of the conquered and to 
efface their distinct nationality than their ancestors were in the days of 
St. Lorcan O'Toole ; and they cling with a tenacity which nothing can 
shake to the great project of making their isle once more *' free and 
" grand." ' 

The biography ends with the words : * Ireland is not yet 
' a nation. To make her so is what her sons, especially her 
* youthful sons, have yet to strive for.' The tendency of 
such writing is to incite to insurrection, as the only means of 
achieving Irish independence ; though the facts of the three 
biographies, justly considered, demonstrate the utter folly as 
well as wickedness of such an enterprise. 

The Young Irelanders likewise expended great strength 
on history as the best means of fostering a national spirit. 
But they had been already anticipated by O'Connell himself 
in an historic memoir of Ireland, which is still circulated 
among the masses at the low price of sixpence. It was first 
published in 1843, and consists of 256 pages. Its title is 

1882. Irish Discontent. 161 

* A Memoir on Ireland, Native and Saxon,' and it is dedicated 
to the Queen. Its author tells her Majesty that she ought 
' to comprehend the secret springs of Irish discontent,' and, 
above all, ' should be intimately acquainted with the confis- 
' cations, the plunder, the robbery, the domestic treachery, the 
^violation of all public faith and of the sanctity of treaties, 
' the ordinary wholesale slaughters, the planned murders, the 
' concerted massacres which have been inflicted upon the Irish 
' people by the English Governments.' He assures the Queen 
that ' the Irish people would forgive these crimes if it were not 
' that much of the worst spirit of the worst days still sur- 
vives.' The great enemy in 1843 was Hhe Tory landlord 
' class,' but it would be difficult to discover from the memoir 
that there was then, or ever had been, a powerful political 
party in England that had laboured with great zeal and had 
made great sacrifices to place the Catholics on a platform of 
equal privilege with the Protestants. The book is constructed 
with great simplicity. It occupies forty-two pages with a con- 
densed memoir of Ireland from 1172 till 1843, and then de- 
votes the remaining two hundred pages to ' observations, 
' proofs, and illustrations,' taken, as its author informs us, 
' almost exclusively from English and Protestant historians.' 
It is indeed a terrible record, and is still read by the Irish 
masses with effects in no way conducive either to their 
comfort or their tranquillity. It is eminently calculated to 
foster the deepest hatreds, not of race only, but of religion. 
Let us supj)ly a few extracts taken from different parts of the 
memoir : — 

* No people on the face of the earth were ever treated with such 
cruelty as the Irish.' (P, 14.) 

' It has been often said that it was not the people, but the Govern- 
ment of England, who were guilty of the attempts to exterminate the 
Irish nation. The observation is absurd. The Government had at all 
times, in their slaughter of the Irish, the approbation of the English 
people. Even the present administration is popular in England in the 
precise proportion of the hate they exhibit to the Irish people ; and 
this is a proposition of historic and perpetual truth. But to the 
Cromwellian wars the distinction between the people and the Govern- 
ment could never apply. These were the wars emphatically of the 
English people. They were emphatically the most cruel and murderous 
wars the Irish ever sustained.' (P. 210.) 

' These pages contain a faint outline of the sad story of the woes 
and miseries of Ireland. The features of that story are characterised 
by the most odious crimes committed by the English rulers on the 
Irish people — rapine, confiscation, murder, massacre, treachery, 
sacrilege, wholesale devastation, and injustice of every kind, continued 

162 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

in many of its odious forms to the present hour. Tlie form of perse- 
cution is altered; the spirit remains tlie same.' (P. 38.) 

' It has been often remarked that in all the countries into which 
Protestantism entered, it OAved its introduction to men remarkable for 
the badness of their character and the greatness of tlieir vices. Pro- 
testantism was not more fortunate in Ireland than it was elsewhere. 
It owed its introduction into Ireland, as it did into England, to the 
foul passions of Henry VIII.' (P. 101.) 

' I cannot help remarking that nothing was ever more unfounded 
than the notion that Protestantism was favourable to freedom of 
conscience, or that Protestants were not persecutors. The contrary is 
directly the fact. Protestants not only persecuted Catholics, but they 
persecuted each other to the death.' (P. 115.) 

' There never Avas a people on the face of the earth so cruelly, so 
basely, so unjustly treated as the people of Ireland have been by the 
English Government.' (P. 33.) 

' Ireland lost all and gained nothing by the Union. Every promise 
was broken, every pledge Avas violated. Ireland struggled and prayed 
and cried out to friends for aid and to Parliament for relief.' (P. 31.) 

These are but a few extracts from a sixpenny book of 
history which is still circulated widely among the peasantry 
of Ireland. The exact mischief it is calculated to work will 
be still more manifest on a consideration of its value as a 
fragment of Irish history. If the author had contented him- 
self with an honest and truthful story of cruelties and oppres- 
sions Avhich it is impossible to deny, it is still questionable 
whether he was justified in publishing it. But the mischief of 
this work is its essential unfairness as estimated by the very 
meanest standard of historic workmanship. There are writers 
whose judgment on the actions of men proceeds on the tacit 
assumption that those they condemn and those they approve 
are morally separated by that broad line which marks off" ab- 
stract right from abstract wrong. Their view of history is ex- 
ceedingly simple, and it is, with important qualifications, the 
view of O'Connell and of nearly all Catholic historians Avho 
write about Ireland. There was no difficulty in O'Connell 
writing a book that would be a grave indictment against 
England ; ample materials for such a work are to be found in 
the Protestant and English histories which he so ostentatiously 
quotes among his authorities. The peculiarity of the case is 
that the authors in question actually tell the truth, leaving it 
to produce its OAvn impression, often adverse to their country 
and their faith, while the English Government itself is now 
publishing to the world ancient records that throw still further 
light upon many of the worst atrocities of the past. But 
the Catholic writers of Ireland, Avith fcAv exceptions, Avithliold 

1SS2. Irish Discontent. 163 

all notice of the guilt of their countrymen, in the attempt to 
enhance the guilt of their adversaries ; they either omit or 
deny the best established facts of history. They misrepresent 
or excuse what they cannot deny, and thus help to perpetuate 
party rancour or religious animosity. O'Connell quotes all 
the atrocities he can pick out of Protestant writers, but he 
does not quote any passages from the same writers reflecting 
on the atrocities or cruelties of the Catholics. His treatment 
of the 1641 Rebellion is the most characteristic part of his 
work. He follows, like other Catholic writers, the exact line 
-of Dr. Curry, whose treatise Hallam has denounced as a 
' tissue of misrepresentation and disingenuousness.' He de- 
nies that there was any massacre of Protestants in the rising 
of that eventful year, and does not even hint that religious 
fanaticism was responsible for some of its worst excesses ; for 
he is careful to assert again and again that the Catholics of 
Ireland never persecuted their enemies. He never mentions 
the repeal of the Act of Settlement by the Irish Parliament 
called by James II. in 1689, nor the infamous Act of Attainder, 
condemning nearly three thousand Protestants for high treason 
without a hearing — ' a law,' says Macaulay, ' without a paral- 

* lei in the history of civilised countries ' — adding that ' the 

* colonists never came up to the atrocious example set by their 

* vanquished enemy during his short tenure of power.' 

It may be reasonably urged, however, that it is hardly fair 
to judge of the attitude of the Irish people by the spirit of a 
work written nearly forty years ago, when the country was 
still suffering from the denial of so many just and necessary 
reforms. But the book is still widely read over the length 
and breadth of Ireland. More recent productions, however, 
are neither better in spirit nor more just in their mode of 
handling facts than the memoir of O'Connell. The war of 
opinion is still potent in the region of history. We have 
Thomas D'Arcy M' Gee's ' History of Ireland ; ' John 
Mitchei's ' History of Ireland,' together with a volume with the 
significant title, * The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps); ' 
A. M. Sullivan's 'History of Ireland for Young People;' and 
Miss Cusack's ' History of Ireland.' The literary merit of 
these works is exceedingly slight. They make no pretensions 
to original research ; they have no breadth of view, making no 
attempt even to consider the English point of view, and they 
manifest the usual disposition to exaggerate all the cruelties and 
crimes of the English, and either to deny, ignore, or palliate 
the cruelties and crimes of the Irish. They are all thoroughly 
national in spirit. Mitchei's History has had a very large 

164 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

circulation, and has been issued even at the low price of three- 
pence. We do not propose to quote passages from any of 
these Avorks, because it might be said that the price of most of 
them would ])lacc them beyond the reach of the masses of the 
people. We prefer to notice a single production, just a 
shilling in price, which embodies in the form of question and 
answer the substance and spirit of all these histories. It is a 
modern work wdth the title,. ' Catechism of the History of 

* Ireland, Ancient and Modern. A new and revised Edition, 
' with Continuation to the Present Time. By W. J. O'Neill 

* Daunt, Esq. Fortieth thousand: 1874.' This is a book for 
the masses. It is strictly Catholic as well as national, and 
its object is to prove the justice and necessity of establishing 
a native Parliament in Ireland. 

The author unconsciously supplies one of the strongest 
arguments against his own main design by his record of the 
divisions and dissensions of his countrymen during all past 
ages. He asks : — 

' Q. Why do we record these shameful squabbles ? A. Because 
they show us the true cause of Ireland's subjection to a foreign Power. 
The Irish had numberless opportunities of establishing their own inde- 
pendence, and lost every one of them by their absurd and mischievous 

This is exactly what Mr. Froude has been telling Irishmen. 
But the author fails to draw the moral of the English his- 
torian : — 

' Q. What do modern Irishmen learn from these facts ? A. They 
learn that in order to regain their native Parliament it is absolutely 
necessary to forget all past dissensions and to work together as one 
man, cordially, heartily, and perseveringly.' 

Irishmen have surely more to forget than their past dissen- 
sions, but it is the design of the historians of this school to 
perpetuate the recollection of all past cruelties and tyrannies, 
so that the hatred of England may never die out of the hearts 
of Irishmen. Mr. Daunt publishes all English cruelties, though 
they were seldom worse than those intlicted by the Irish upon 
one another, but he omits all notice of, or actually denies, 
the cruelties of the Irish inflicted upon their Protestant 
enemies. He constructs his catechism exactly like the memoir 
of O'Connell, with as profoundly Catholic a bias. If he 
admits the Bidl of Pope Adrian, he attributes it to the English 
extraction of the Pope ; if he describes the horrors of the 
Elizabeth period, he makes no mention of the Pope's excom- 
munication of the Queen, and his absolving Irishmen from 

1882. [risk Discontent. J65 

their allegiance, or of three Spanish descents on Ireland in a 
single reign ; if he charges the death of Oliver Plunket, the 
Catholic Primate, on English zealots, he does not inform his 
readers that it was three umvorthy priests of his own Church 
who supplied the evidence that sent him to the scaffold ; and 
so all through the catechism his omissions have a most sio-nifi- 
cant character. Of course, like all Catholic historians since 
Dr. Curry, he denies the massacre of 1641. He likewise 
makes no allusion to the Act of Attainder passed on nearly 
three thousand Protestants by the Irish Parliament of 1689. 
Mr. A. M. Sullivan's history for young people makes no men- 
tion of it ; Mr. T. D. M'Gee in his larger history refers to 
the atrocious transaction, but without one word either of 
censure or excuse. Mr. Daunt, however, praises the Parlia- 
ment for its noble decree establishing liberty of worship in 
Ireland. Mr. Froude says very justly that ' liberty of cou- 
^ science might be safely conceded in a country where, if the 

* present measures could be maintained, no Protestant was 

* likely to remain.' * Mr. Daunt's catechism has not a word of 
censure for the repeal of the Act of Settlement : — 

' Q. Was the Act o£ Settlement repealed this session? A. Yes; 
the forfeited estates which the CromweHian adventurers had obtained 
were thereby restored to their former owners who had lost them 
through their loyalty to the House of Stuart.' 

He never mentions the anxiety of the Irish in 1704 to have 
a union with England. Mr. Daunt naturally makes much of 
the penal laws, and leaves upon the minds of his readers the 
imin'ession that they were cruelly and effectively enforced. 
The fact is far otherwise, for we may fairly say with Mr. 
Eecky — ' The best that can be said of them is, that that portion 

* which related to the Catholic worship soon became a dead 
■* letter, wliile a crowd of legal evasions and a great and credit- 
^ able laxness of local tribunals in a great measure defeated 

* the provisions about property.' Yet they debased the whole 
Catholic population. Mr. Daunt's narrative of the 1798 Kebel- 
lion and of the events connected with the Union is a tissue of 
misrepresentations. The two events, as described by any truthful 
historian, throw no credit either upon England or Ireland ; but 
it is the eager desire of Mr. Daunt to prove that the English 
are always wrong and the Irish always right, except when 
they quarrel with one another. He says the Kebellion of 1798 
was the work of Lord Castlereagh, expressly provoked in 
'Order to carry the Union : — 

* English in Ireland, vol. i. p. 191. 

166 Irislt Discontent. Jan. 

* Q. Why did not the Government quietly crush the rebellion in its 
infancy, or rather prevent its explosion and thus avert the horrible 
destruction of human life ? A. Because its object Avas to carry the 
legislative union ; and tliat could not be done unless the country was 
first thoroughly exhausted by the paralysing influence of terror and 
mutual distrust among its inhabitants, and therel)y rendered incapable 
of resisting the destruction of its Parliament.' 

He furtlier alleges that the Government miglit have arrestefl 
the leaders, and thus have prevented the rebellion from break- 
ing out. He forgets that the Government made two successive 
arrests of the leaders, one of them more than a year before the 
outbreak, and that General Lake tried to disarm the whole popu- 
lation. Witli his usual desire to palliate all the excesses of the 
Catholics, lie treats the Scullaboguc massacre as an untoward 
incident having nothing to do with religion, and makes no 
allusion Avhatever to the piking of Protestants on Vinegar 
Hill and AYexford Bridge, under circumstances that vividly 
recall the bloody orgies of 1641. The Protestant rebels of 
the North had a very different view of the motive of these 
massacres, for they dropped their weapons on the instant, and 
their timely surrender saved Ireland to the English Government. 
The story of the efforts made by the Government to carry the 
Union is disgraceful enough in itself, but Mr. Daunt cannot 
tell it fairly. He represents the gentry and people of Ireland 
as striving to preserve their Parliament, though we did not 
need his authority for believing that the Irish oligarchy and 
borough-mongers were opposed to a change that would take 
the country effectively out of their hands; and much as he 
makes of the 707,000 petitioners against Union, he cannot 
destroy the authority of honest Catholic Plowden, that ' a very 
* great preponderancy In favour of the Union existed in the 
' Catholic body, particularly in their nobility, gentry, and 
' clergy.'* Mr. Daunt devotes a large portion of his cate- 
chism to a chronicle of the evils inflicted upon Ireland by her 
union Avith England, but makes no references to its undeniable 
advantages, to the legislative remedies provided for ancient 
evils, and to the progress of Ulster both in agriculture and 
in manufactures. He enters at o;reat lensi;th into what he 
calls 'the financial grievance,' and attempts to show that 
England impoverishes Ireland by including her in the system 
of taxation now established for all parts of the kingdom, con- 
trary to the express engagements of the Act of Union. Those 
who desire an effective answer to Mr. Daunt's accusations may 

* Vol. ii. part ii. 079. 

1882. L'ish Discontent. 167 

refer to an article in this Journal, entitled ' The Financial 
* Grievance of Ireland.'* 

Another popular specimen of Irish literature is ' Speeches 
' from the Dock, or Protests of Irish Patriotism,' a shillino- 
volume of 415 pages, at present in its twenty-third edition. 
It contains biographic sketches of about thirty patriotic leaders, 
representing the men of 1798, of 1848, and of 1867, and gives 
portraits of the more celebrated characters. The preface 
says :— 

' There is not a country in Europe, there is not a nationality in the 
world, can produce such another collection as that which we to-day lay 
before the people of Ireland. We live under a government which 
claims to be just, liberal, and constitutional, yet against no other 
government in Christendom have the same number of protests been 
made within the same space of time. Not Poland, not Hungary, not 
Venetia, can point to such an unbroken succession of political martyrs. 
... It is idle to think of subduing a people who make so many sacrifices 
and who are undaunted still ; it is vain to think of crushing a spirit 
which survives so much persecution.' 

Hardly any book in the English language is so well calculated 
to keep alive a feeling of disaffection among the Irish peasantry. 
One extract from John Mitchel seems to embody the spirit 
and design of the Avhole publication : — 

' In plain English, my Lord Earl, the deep and irreconcilable dis- 
affection of this people to all British laws, lawgivers, and law admi- 
nistrators shall find a voice. That holy Hatred of foreign dominion 
which nerved our noble predecessors fifty years ago for the dungeon, 
the field, or the gallows (though of late years it has worn a vile nisi 
prius gown and snivelled somewhat in courts of law and on .spouting 
platforms), still lives, thank God ! and glows as fierce and hot as ever. 
To educate that holy Hatred, to make it knoAv itself, and avow itself, 
and at last fill itself full, I hereby devote the columns of the " United 
" Irishman." ' 

We admit that many of those who suffered death or banish- 
ment for sedition were actuated by a patriotic spirit, but 
history shows that they were utterly incapable of estimating 
the magnitude of the enterprise for which they imperilled 
their lives. They were not the men to overthrow kingdoms 
or to build up nations. The Fenian leaders, including such 
men as O'Donovan Rossa, are hardly worthy of a place in 
these ' protests of Irish patriotism.' If we can believe Mr. 
Rutherford, they were more corrupt than the men of 1848, 
many of them being merely dull roues, and some sharpers, who 

* 'Edinburgh Eeview,' No. ccxc, October, 1875. 

168 Irish Discontent. Jan 

were ready to sell the secret minutes of the society for a 
consideration.* Others were remarkable for nothing but a 
turn for incendiary rhetoric. Yet they are all alike honoured 
by a place in this collection of State prosecutions. 

We now come to ' The Irish Penny Readings,' neat shilling 
volumes, in green paper covers, which have already reached a 
tenth edition. The preface tells us that ' the national litera- 
' ture of the Irish people is of recent growth,' and then pro- 
ceeds to remark : — 

' The literature of Ireland, especially in recent times, is identified 
with the struggles and aspirations of the Irish people for freedom. Its 
noblest passages are either protests against oppression or appeals to the 
love of liberty, justice, and honour that glows in the Irish heart. 
Swift gave it that direction at the outset, and in our time it received 
extension and impulse from the warm Celtic genius of Thomas Davis. 
Our national literature is now essentially patriotic, and nearly all the 
additions that are being made to it are in the same character. In that 
fact, and the fact that it is loved and cherished by the whole Irish race, 
we see one of the surest pledges for the future independence and great- 
ness of our country.' 

The selections in ])rose and poetry are generally of a high 
literary class — the prose, perhaps, too rhetorical for a severe 
English taste ; but they are mostly national alike in subject 
and in tone. There are many pieces on the Union, but not 
the slightest recognition is there anywhere of the efforts made 
by English Liberals to legislate for the benefit of Ireland. 
The reader is under the constant impression that the relation 
between England and Ireland is still exactly what it was fifty 
years ago, when the masses of the Irish people had nothing to 
do with the laws but obey them. Here is an extract from a 
speech made in 1869 which is deemed worthy of a place in 

^*' ';.-.4-'JS^^H Rule in Ireland Described. — Generous conciliation and 

^ '^facftojijis^ercy have always been foreign to the policy of our rulers. 

^ -.Tyji-apis l^lrey were from the beginning, and tyrants they seem to be 

** i^plwd to be to the end of their baleful domination. England's 

.. :BpeptT4'^3.s been the sword, her diadem has been the black cap, and 

her throiie has been the gallows for the last seven hundred years. She 

is steeped in the blood of India ; red-handed from the massacre of the 

women of Jamaica ; she exists with the blood of twenty generations 

of dead Irishmen standing between her and God on high ; and with 

brave Irishmen still suffering in her dungeons, she calls on us to 

applaud the proud policy of her government.' 

Another popidar reading-book, specially for the use of the 

* Fenianism. By John Rutherford. London • 1877. 

1882. Irish Discontent. 169 

young, is ' The Sunburst of Ireland Reciter,' a sixpenny col- 
lection, with a green-paper cover, containing a hundred and 
fifty-nine pieces of prose and poetry, all intensely national. 
A picture on the title-page represents Robert Emmet in the dock 
addressing his judges. The contents are described as ' a selection 
' of the most celebrated addresses delivered by Irish orators 
' and patriots at the bar, from the dock, in the senate, and on 
* the battle-field, with a variety of national pieces in poetry and 
' prose suitable for recitation.' 

Poetry has had a chief place in promoting the growth of 
Irish nationalism. The Young Irelanders pondered, as they 
tell us, Fletcher of Saltoun's well-known saying, ' Give me the 
' ballads, let Avho will make the laws,' and they resolved to 
have poetry ' as a fosterer of national feeling and an excite- 
*ment of national hope.' Thomas Davis was the chief poet 
of the party. The collection of his poems and ballads, which 
his editor justly describes as the' psalter of nationality,' is sold 
at sixpence, and has gone through a great number of editions. 
Another sixpenny collection is ' The Spirit of the Nation,' in 
its fiftieth edition, now succeeding an older edition, of Avhich a 
hundred thousand copies were given to the world. The Fenian 
period produced little of worth except ' Where glory's beams 
' are seen, boys,' and ' The Wearing of the Green.' All this 
poetry that is not merely romantic or sentimental is, as a 
nationalist proudly observes, ' bright with the spirit of battle.' 
We cannot make room for more than one or two extracts : — 

^ A Song for the Irish Militia. 
Yet, 'tis not strength and 'tis not steel 
Alone can make the English reel ; 
But wisdom, working day by day ; 
Till comes the time for passions' sway — 
The patient dint, the powder shock. 
A soldier's life's the life for me — ®^ 

A soldier's death, so Ireland's free ! ' *•» 

' The Gathering of the Nation. 
Denial met our first demands, 

And hatred met our love ; 
Till now, by Heaven ! for grasp of hands 
We'll give them clash of battle-brands 

And gauntlet 'stead of love. 
And may the Saxon stamp his heel 

Upon the coward's front 
Who sheathes his own unbroken steel 
Until for mercy tyrants kneel 

Who forced us to the brunt ! ' 

ted! '3 


170 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

* " Stamping Out." 

(Addressed to England.) 

Our liate, though hot, is a patient hate, 

Deadly and patient to catch you tripping. 
And your years are many, your crimes are great, 

And the sceptre is from you slipping. 
But stamp away with your brutal hoof 

While the fires to scorch you are upward cleaving, 
For, with bloody shuttles, the warp and w'oof 

Of your shroud the Fates are weaving.' 

The following extracts are from an Almanac of 1882 : — 

Time conquers all things here below, 

Though tyranny still struggles on, 
Diifusing misery and woe, 

But Erin soon shall see it gone. 
The star of Retribution now 

Its blissful radiance seems to shed 
On every vale and mountain brow 

From Antrim's shore to Mizen Head.' 
Again : — 

' Would to God we'd another such hero 

As Hugh of the mighty Red Hand ! 
How we'd teach these iisurpers a lesson, 

And show them who owns the old land ! ' 

The following piece by Miss Fanny Parnell is from 
* United Ireland,' the lately suppressed organ of the Land 
League, which displaced the seditious ' Flag of Ireland.' It 
is addressed to England. We insert only two stanzas : — 

' The Land Bill of \^%\. 

Call off your quacks of State ! 
Your mimes, prinked out in Brummagem reform ! 
Fought Ave, a landlord's greed by newer plans to sate ? 
To gorge the suckers of a lawyer swarm ? 
Was it for this we chose to suffer, starve, and wait ? 
For this we fliced the nakedness and storm ? 
For this the dogs have licked cur sores outside your gate ? 

Call off your imps of State ! 

We cannot love — but we can hate. 

Tear up that parchment Lie ! 
You, Gladstone, sunk supine to quivering slush — - 
You, Forster, with the sign of Cain on breast and eye — 
You, Bright, whose slopping tongue can gloze and gush — 
You, pu])pet-brood, the lesser legislative fry — 
A people's might your bungled work shall crush, 

]882. Irish Discontent. 171 

A people's wi-atli your grinning cozenage defy ; 
We -will not lose the land, we will not starve or fly ; 

Tear up your chartered Lie ! 

This time we'll neither crouch nor die ! ' 

And all this raving is about a Land Act which, as Mr. John 
Dillon admits, ' confers immense benefits on the Irish people ' ! 
We have now to notice another sort of production, which 
has a considerable circulation amonp; the Catholic peasantry of 
Ireland. It is the well-known ' Nugent's Almanac,' one of 
those popular prophetic almanacs which are sold at all the 
fairs and read in all the hovels. It is, no doubt, a good 
authority on fairs and markets, but it supplies its readers 
likewise with weather prophecies a year in advance and 
predictions of political, religious, and social events generally 
interesting to Irishmen. Old Moore still amuses the people 
of England Avith his astrological nonsense, but in Ireland the 
planets assume a far more malignant aspect. 

' Oh, John Bull, a terrible retribution awaits thee. Nineveh, Baby- 
lon, and ancient Ro7iie record a fearful lesson to the robbers of their 
kind in all ages.' ' Oh, John Bull, thy robberies and crimes have 
overtaken thee.' ' Poor John Bull is shivering in the gale. This 
month is particularly aspected. Aries in trine to Cancer, Mars in 
opposition to IMercury, all of which are indicative of coming ill to 
poor John.' ' Irish-America looks on watching her opportunity, the 
exiles particularly anxious to revenge their treatment and long im- 
prisonment in the gaols.' ' Oh, John Bull, your race is nearly run.' 
' Murders, robberies, and other outrageous breaches of our pure and 
divine law, are daily committed in virtuous and religious England.' 
' Some conversions to the Catholic faith of much importance will occur 
this month.' 

The predictions for 1882 are not very hopeful for Ireland : — 

' It is most extraordinary that Venus and the Sun are not more than 
fifteen degrees from each other almost the whole year : an indication 
of the union of all sexes in the great struggle for freedom. The Avorld 
over, England still rules, regardless of everything but laAV and order 
and the preservation of property, and thus rules by force a people who 
are already overruled, overtaxed, despised, and trampled on, then re- 
proached by calling us disloyal subjects.' '■ Irish- America still looks on 
with clenched teeth and vengeance in her eyes. We confidently hope 
all may end Avell.' 

But it is the newspaper press which supplies the Irish 
people with much the largest portion of their education in 
politics. Of the hundred and fifty-three newspapers pub- 
lished in Ireland, we estimate that no less than fifty-nine are 
devoted to the advocacy of nationalism. To these must be 
added the Fenian papers of New York, such as the ' Irish 

172 Irisli Discontent. Jan. 

* World,' which have a wide circulation in the country. The 
object of this press is to minister to the seditious spirit that 
prevails amonnj an ignorant population by a studious misrepre- 
sentation of English politics, English society, and English 
character. Nothing is ever allowed to appear in its pages 
calculated to exhibit the Government in a favourable light. 
The people are told, week after week, that their rulers are 
oppressors ; that the most honourable and philanthropic states- 
men are bloodthirsty tyrants, or cowards, or hypocrites ; that 
they are incapable of doing an act of justice through any 
noble motive, for each Irish reform has been extorted by the 
influence of fear. The weekly papers of Dublin also issue 
cartoons which always represent England as the tyrant and 
Ireland as the victim, Avith Mr. Gladstone occasionally stand- 
ing by, surveying Avith complacency scaffold or triangle, drum 
or cannon. 

The papers of this class copy the abuse of England collected 
from all quarters of the globe ; they take special delight in ex- 
posing the moral scandals of English society, like the Ultra- 
montane journals of the Continent, as if to demonstrate the 
morally debasing effect of Protestantism ; they depreciate all 
our triumphs in Avar ; they magnify all our disasters, and 
eagerly exaggerate all our misfortunes. NeAvspapers in Eng- 
land think it necessary to give their readers the news of the 
world ; but four-fifths of the space in Irish national papers are 
devoted to the AATongs of Ireland, the tyranny of England, and 
the glorious prospect of Irish self-government. They express 
no gratitude for any great effort of English legislation, simply 
because they are Avritten, as Avell as read, on the assumption 
that England is still tyrannical as Avell as anti-national, and to 
acknoAvledge that any act of the Imperial Parliament deserved 
gratitude Avould be to conA'ict themseh^es of injustice, and to 
undermine their trade in sedition. 

The great Avant of the South of Ireland is an independent, 
honest, impartial press, capable of stating the simple and direct 
truth, or capable of giving the tAvo sides of any question. The 
national ncAvspapers flagrantly disregard the political obliga- 
tion of honestly facing facts, and thus the people are demo- 
ralised by rhetoric, by appeals to their vanity, by false history, 
by CA'ery artifice of misrepresentation. They are never 
alloAved to hear from such guides the Avords of political truth 
and soberness. If the ' Flag of Ireland ' drops to the ground, 

* United Ireland' lifts it in the name of the Land League, 
and tells the Irish farmers — ' The people of this country 

* can keep their own money in their OAvn pockets. They 

1882. Irish Discontent. 173 

* can refuse to pay rents, and they will not pay one shilling 
' rent if they are not irredeemable slaves.' * Another weekly 
organ issues a catechism, with question and answer, adapted 
to the times. ' What is Irish landlordism ? A system of 
' legalised plunder, by means of which a small number of idle 
' and wicked men are enabled to rob the industrial classes of 
' society of nearly all the fruits of their labours.' A cartoon of 
one of these papers, published in December last, represented 
Pat with the ' fee simple ' of his farm coming to him as a 

It is impossible, in estimating the influence of Catholic 
journalism, to overlook the immense influence exercised by the 
' Freeman's Journal,' which not only directs the whole course 
of nationalism through the country, but has been foremost in 
promoting the organisation of the Land League. It has the 
unique fairness to publish the comments of English journals 
and the speeches of English statesmen, but its example is 
seldom followed by the newspapers of the same school. It 
has three distinct political characters, which rather puzzle a 
constant reader. It is a sound Liberal journal, in thorough 
sympathy with the fortunes of the great Liberal party of 
the United Kingdom ; it is a passionate national journal, 
reflecting with more or less clearness the varied shapes of a 
movement singularly unstable in character ; it is a trenchant 
Ultramontane journal, raving like Veuillot against the re- 
ligious policy of Continental powers, and supporting the 
schemes of Irish Catholicism with all the zeal of a seminarist. 
We see, not in the ' Freeman's Journal ' only, but in nearly 
all Irish journals of the class, a union of Ultramontanism 
and Nationalism, of which there is no example on the Con- 
tinent. The home policy of most of these journals may 
be Radical or revolutionary, but their foreign policy has 
always been reactionary and Ultramontane. They favour 
nationalism in Ireland and in Poland, but not in Italy, or 
Germany, or Hungary. They sent a Papal brigade to crush 
the patriots of the^Eoman States, and the very journals which 
are never silent in the narration of Irish wrongs had the 
audacity to defend the royal tyrants of Italy. They have 
never shown sympathy for any class of patriots but those con- 
tending against non-Catholic sovereigns. These facts must be 
recalled that we may be in a position to understand the in- 
fluences at work in Ireland that affect her relations with the 
English Government. The influence of this press is, in a 

* Number for October 22, 1881. 

174 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

word, illiberal, narrow, and degrading, to a proverb. We may 
pity an impulsive people their deplorable ignoi'ance, their 
misguided enthusiasm, their pertinacity in the pursuit of vision- 
ary ends, but we can employ no language of reprobation too 
strong to describe the conduct of writers who pursue a most 
unworthy vocatiovi, either from an instinct of national hatred 
or from a sordid calculation of the profits to be derived from so 
base a trade. 

We have thus given some extracts from the literature most 
widely read by the Irish people, that our readers may be better 
able to judge of the true causes of their disaffection. At first 
view, this literature seems to suggest that the discontent which 
it is so well fitted to excite has its roots in the past, because the 
spirit which oppression or injustice once exasperated often con- 
tinues long after the original provocation has been withdrawn. 
Perhaps nine people out of ten imagine that it springs entirely 
from the recollection of past wrongs. But there is a fragment 
of Irish history which throws much light on the question. The 
Catholics Avere not the only people who suifered wrongs in Ire- 
land. Take the case of the Presbyterians. Though they mainly 
contributed to the victory of William III. and the successful com- 
pletion of the Revolution, they were the first to be excluded from 
its benefits. They Avere persecuted by the Anglican bishops 
both before the Revolution and after it. Their assemblies for 
worship were Avithout the protection of the law ; their church- 
courts AA^ere prosecuted as seditious meetings ; their ministers 
were throAvn into gaol. Any Presbyterian attempting to teach 
a school, unless it Avas of the very humblest description, was 
liable to three months' imprisonment. The Presbyterians 
could hold no commission of the peace nor fill any municipal 
office in any corporate town any more than the Catholics. 
Their disabilities, like those of the Catholics, extended to all 
civil and military appointments under the Crown. No Presby- 
terian could hold any office in the army or navy, in the 
customs, in the excise, in the post-office, or in any of the 
courts of laAv in Dublin or the provinces, AA'ithout first taking 
the sacrament after the form of the Church of England. 
Presbyterians, moreover, Avere forbidden to be married by their 
OAvn ministers, and the laity were prosecuted in the eccle- 
siastical courts as guilty of fornication because they had so 

* The authorities for all the statements in this part of the article 
are Keid's 'History of the Presbyterian Churcli of Ireland,' vol. ii. 
pp. 340-42, 421, 483; vol. iii. p. 54; and Killen's 'Ecclesiastical 
' History of Ireland,' vol. ii. pp. 191-241. 

1882. Irish Discontent. 175 

The time came at last when, in the midst of the revokitionaiy 
excitement of 1798, the men whose original motto was 'Keform 

* to prevent revolution ' found themselves driven into rebellion. 
But the Scullabogue massacre drove them back into the main 
body of the Protestant host. They have never since been con- 
nected with any national movement in Ireland, and are at this 
moment the most resolute supporters of the union with Great 
Britain. The question then arises, Why is it that the Presby- 
terians, who suffered side by side with the Catholics for nearly 
two centuries, now cherish no resentment against England and 
have no share in the national aspirations of their Catholic 
countrymen ? The answer is that they have shared in the 
benefits of all the great reforms wrought by the splendid 
statesmanship of the last fifty years. The Catholics have been 
even more successful than the Presbyterians in getting access 
to positions of honour and profit in their own coimtry, though 
they have both still just reason for complaint that those who 
were the instruments of their oppression for centuries still hold 
an administrative ascendency in the country. It is perfectly 
clear, then, that the disaffection of the Catholic peasantry 
is not to be accounted for by the mere recollection of past 

The true cause of the disaffection so manifest in the litera- 
ture of Ireland is Nationalism. It is the one constant aspiration 
of the Irish people, which the mere redress of grievances may 
weaken, but cannot wholly destroy. Its historic continuity is 
undeniable. It has its roots far back in history, though it 
never came clearly into view till the time of the Young Ireland 
movement thirty-five years ago. The original idea of Duffy did 
not greatly differ from that of O'Connell, for he tells us himself 
that he was ' a nationalist of the school of Roger O'Moore, 

* who burned with desire to set up again the old Celtic race 

* and the Catholic Church.' Thomas Davis, however, over- 
ruled him, and declared for a nationalism that would include 
all Irish creeds. We shall see how far the course of events 
caused it to swerve back to the old ideal of Duffy. The 
Young Ireland movement was thwarted by many difficulties, 
the hostility of O'Connell, the impatience of Mitchel,^ the 
intrigues of Sadleir, the secret conspiracies of the Fenians, 
and now it claims to stand behind the Home Rule movement 
of to-day. Now, there are characteristics in this national move- 
ment which require due consideration if we would understand 
the hostility which it directs against the English Government. 
It has both a political and a religious side. It is the union of 
the two that makes the principal difficulty, not only in achieving 

176 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

a union of Irish parties, but in promoting; a conciliatory or 
kindly understanding with England. We do not say that the 
political or the religious element may not for a time become 
quiescent — the religious is almost entirely quiescent at the 
present hour — but they are both essential features of Irish 
nationalism. The political element has always found its chief 
justification in the land question. Therefore the national cry 
has always been ' The soil of Ireland for the people of Ireland.' 
The political element is further manifest in the desire of the 
people to have a larger share in the government of their own 
country. They have a potent voice in Parliamentary affairs, 
but it is the landlords who still govern the country. There is 
also a deep-seated conviction, especially among the traders in 
small towns, that a native Parliament is needed to establish a 
variety of industries by means of bounties, and to protect Irish 
products against English competition. The existence of the 
Union is believed to be the great obstacle to the restoration of 
native manufactures. There may be also an idea that if 
Ireland were mistress of her own destinies she would hold 
a more visible place, and ])erhaps be able to pursue an inde- 
pendent policy, in the affairs of the world. 

But it is the religious side of nationalism which increases 
the difficulty of uprooting the discontent of the people, while 
it accounts for some singular incidents in recent Irish history. 
It is quite true that the Young Irelanders in 1842 re- 
solved to found a party that was to include Irishmen of all 
creeds. They found fault with O'Connell because he made 
too much of religious questions. But the Irish people are the 
most passionately religious peasantry in Europe. This fact 
has a significant bearing upon the question under considera- 
tion. The very year that witnessed the failure of Mitchel's 
impatient attempt to throw off' the British yoke was the 
beginning of a long series of disasters to the Papacy. The 
' Revolution ' was beginning to lay the whole Papal Avorld in 
ruins and to reconstitute society everywhere on the Continent 
on lay principles. Politics and statesmanshiji fell away from 
the Church; while France, Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, 
once so subservient to the Papacy, were compelled to abandon 
their obedience, and the Papacy itself was ultimately bereft of 
its temporal possessions. All these changes, giving liberty 
and happiness to Catholic nations, were supported by the 
moral sympathy of the Protestant nations, and especially by 
England. Nationalism was a great factor in the mighty 
struggles that brought about these changes, and was therefore 
hated by the Ultramontanes for the ruin it had brought upon 

1882. Irish Discontent. 177 

the Church. A crisis of this sort was a trying test for the 
newly constituted nationalism of the Young Ireland party. It 
soon became evident that it was a purely selfish idea, without 
sympathy for the struggling nations of the Continent. The 
Papal brigade, as we have seen, was sent out to assist the 
Pope in crushing the rising liberties of his subjects. The 
nationalists, who threatened to rebel against English rule, saw 
nothing inconsistent in a foreign crusade against the liberties 
of other nations. They showed that they execrated freedom 
except where the oppressed had the misfortune to suffer under 
heretical sovereigns. There was a time, during the discussions 
on Catholic emancipation, and long afterwards, Avhen there Avas 
no public dinner at which the Irish Catholics did not give the 
toast of ' Civil and religious liberty ; ' but no such toast has 
been heard of since O'Connell's death. This, then, is the 
characteristic of nationalism on its religious side. It is this 
which accounts for the fact that Protestants decline to join in 
a movement controlled by Catholic ideas. It also accounts in 
part for the dislike of England, which is opposed at heart to 
the whole policy of Ultramontanism. 

It will, no doubt, be urged in reply to this view of matters, 
that the leaders of the Catholic people are not inspired by such 
ideas, that some of them are Protestants chosen in preference 
to Catholics by Catholic constituencies, that others of them are 
indifferent or hostile to religion of any sort, and that religion 
is no more potent in the movement for national independence 
than in the operations of the Irish Land League itself. It 
must be remembered, however, that the nationalists have 
always displayed an anxiety to secure Protestant co-operation 
in a movement which can only succeed by a union of Irish 
parties and Irish creeds. But when Catholic constituencies 
find Protestants like Mr. Parnell ready to do all purely 
Catholic work better even than Catholic members whom he 
could venture to denounce as ' Papist rats,' because they de- 
clined to fight for still greater advantages in University legis- 
lation, exactly in the same manner as the reckless Irish 
politicians of New York, who never enter a chapel, are the 
men who plunder the treasury of the city for the support of 
Catholic schools and orphanages and reformatories, it is useless 
to say that the nationalism of the masses is without its dis- 
tinctively religious side. It may be said, however, that re- 
ligion counts for far less than it did in Irish agitation, as is 
manifest by the action of the Land League. There has un- 
doubtedly been a remarkable subsidence of sectarian feeling 
during the last two years, which some have attributed to 


178 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

disestablishment, as if religion were never again to be a cause 
of division in the country. The fact is, however, that Ire- 
land has not room for more than one strong passion at a time, 
and that the whole people. Catholic and Protestant, have, 
for two or three years, thought of nothing but the failure of 
successive harvests and the prospects of protective legislation 
ao-ainst their landlords. The Catholics have given their whole 
heart to the Land League, and the Orangemen have been 
less identified wath sectarian displays, because they w^ere as 
deeply interested as their Catholic neighbours in obtaining a 
reduction of rent. The question of religion could not possibly 
enter into the agitation about land. Besides, Ultramontanism 
has become a less aggressive factor in Ireland, as well as 
elsewhere, since the accession of the present Pope, a man as 
unlike Pius IX. as possible, -with a clear conception of the 
several spheres of temporal and spiritual authority, and 
striving earnestly to establish more easy relations Avith all 
the great powers of Europe in the face of the greatest diffi- 

We cannot suppose, hoAvever, that Ultramontanism will 
always be so quiescent. And so long as the Irish people read 
their present literature, so long as they are made to look with 
dislike upon England as the head of the Protestant world and 
as their 0"\vn ancient persecutor, so long as their leaders are 
prepared to support every feature of Catholic policy, as they 
have always consistently done from the single standpoint of 
creed, it is folly to suppose that political causes alone operate 
as factors in the deep and sullen discontent of the nation. It 
is this nationalism, then, in its double aspect, that will be likely, 
if nothing can be done to counteract it, to perpetuate the dis- 
content. This view of the matter does, we admit, lay open 
a rather discouraging future. But let us remember the words 
of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy in the statesmanlike letter in 
which he asks his countrymen to accept the Land Act : ' The 
' Irish race will never make peace with England till their rights 
* as a nation, shamefully snatched away, shall be frankly 
' restored.' 

The very important question now arises. Is there a remedy 
for this discontent ? It is hoped that there are several 
remedies, some of which can be brought into immediate opera- 
tion, but others can only be reached after a considerable pro- 
cess of time. These remedies are not to be summed up in the 
single demand for self-government, though it comes recom- 
mended by the mature wdsdom of Sir Charles G. Duffy. With 
this hostile literature in the hands of the people, which no 

1882. Irish Discontent. 179 

political change can annihilate in a clay, it would be madness 
to cut Ireland adrift. Whether we consider the interests of 
Ireland itself or the larger interests of the Empire, the restora- 
tion of an independent legislature would be most disastrous 
'to Ireland. There is nothing in the past history or present 
attitude of her people to justify the confidence that they would 
•co-operate harmoniously for any considerable period in the just 
■ends of government. What would be the probable career of a 
■country governed by a party representing the opinions of Mr. 
Parnell? Judging by past experience, moderate politicians 
would be pushed aside by men of a more revolutionary stamp. 
The Celtic preference of a Parnell to a Shaw is the best evi- 
dence of the utter unfitness of Irishmen for self-government. 
The Catholics could command a numerical majority of the 
whole population, and would, on any possible theory of re- 
presentation, return to a native Parliament a corresponding 
imajority of deputies. What security have the Home Rulers 
^contrived for the safety of property or of the Protestant 
population ? Judging by the conduct of the masses under 
the guidance of the Land League during the last two years, 
property of every sort Avould be at the mercy of the most 
unreflecting but the most powerful class in the whole com- 
munity. The avowed purpose of Mr. Parnell and the League 
is to ' abolish landlordism,' but they have not waited for th5" 
forms of Irish legislation to decree this abolition in the interest 
of the tenants. Then it is all too certain that there would 
be a movement on the part of the South to crush the North, 
just as Mr. Parnell has been trying to obliterate the Presby- 
terian influence of Ulster by a disgraceful alliance with the 
Tories. He will not tolerate independent opinion anywhere in 
Ireland. The events of the hour are full of Avarning to states- 
men. Ulster, with its strong English sympathies, its expand- 
ing industries, its enterprising population, cannot be left to its 
fate. We must remember that we never had a firm foothold 
in Ireland till Ave planted Ulster with Scotch and English 
settlers; that it Avas the descendants of these settlers who 
held Derry and Enniskillen, and sealed the fate of the Stuarts 
in Ireland ; that it Avas the yeomen of Ulster Avho, as Mr. 
Froude reminds us, stemmed the first rush of the last great 
rebellion, and doomed it to failure. The advocates of inde- 
pendence could scarcely say that Protestants should rely on 
the tolerance of Catholics or on the moderation of some middle 
party in Irish politics, for not only is there no such party in 
existence, but there is nothing in the past history of the 
country to justify such a confidence. There is, in fact, no 

180 Irish Discontent. Jan. 

unity ill Irish society to make such an experiment safe. It 
does not exist even among the Catholic masses themselves, 
except for purposes of hostility or destruction. But Ave should 
like to know what prospect there could be of unity or tole- 
rance in Ireland with Ultramontanism as a leading factor in 
its politics. 

But, disastrous as a separate government would be to 
Ireland, there is too much reason to apprehend that the change 
would be gladly hailed by the masses of its people as a means 
of enabling Ireland to turn back effectively the course of 
British progress. As we have already remarked, the temper 
of the people, as reflected in their literature, would not be 
changed in a day. Independence would only give a better 
opportunity of making the hostility effectual. 

With two independent Parliaments in these islands, differ- 
ing so widely in their view of home affairs, there could be no- 
common policy in foreign affairs ; yet a confederacy is an 
agreement to have the same friends and the same enemies. 
The Irish Catholic members in the Imperial Parliament have 
always supported Catholicism on the Continent of Europe. 
We have no desire to interfere with the action of foreign 
powers in such matters. Indeed, our position of neutrality is 
a necessity imposed upon us by geographical conditions. But 
if circumstances should ever arise to justify a departure from 
our rule of non-intervention, it might be difficult, if not im- 
possible, for the British Government to command the resources 
of Ireland in a great war with a Catholic power. 

It is satisfactory to know that all political parties in Great 
Britain are unanimous in refusing the Irish demand for inde- 
pendence. AVhig, Tory, and Radical are of one mind on this 
point. It is necessary to have no misunderstanding upon 
it, because the Irish people at present believe that the tempo- 
rary success of the Land League in paralysing the authority 
of Government encourages the hope of success in still larger 
designs, and that the time is near at hand when, either with 
or without the help of English Radicals, Mr. Parneirs myste- 
rious threat, that ' Ireland will be worse before she is better/ 
may be verified by startling events. Dismissing, then, the 
idea of Home Rule as a remedy for the discontent of the 
Catholic masses, we must now consider whether it is possible 
to diminish or uproot it in some other way. 

The deepest root of discontent has always been the land. 
The land question was prominent in O'Connell's agitation ; 
it was the first question with the Young Ireland party ; and 
Sir Charles Gavan Duffy only took his natural place in recom- 

1882. Irish Discontent. 181 

mending his countrymen to accept the Act of last year as a 
grand measure of" Imperial justice. Nationalism was never so 
quiescent as in the period of the highest prosperity of the Irish 
agricultural class. The year 1876 was the central point of this 
period. The country was then wonderfully prosperous. The 
uniform testimony of priests, attorneys, bankers, and men of 
business, about that time, was that the people thought of 
nothing but making money, and the complaint of the national 
journals was that they had lost all interest in politics. This 
is a significant fact. The new Laud Act has not yet had time 
enough to affect the temper of the people, but they already see 
that it embodies an attempt to conciliate the conflicting inte- 
rests that attach to the possession of the land. The very 
efforts made by the Land League, reinforced undoubtedly by 
the hitherto dormant Fenianism of the small towns, to prevent 
the people from using it, imply a conviction that it will gradu- 
ally work the pacification of the country. 

Tmie, however, is the one thing essential to the full success 
of this experiment in legislation ; and that is the very element 
which, judging by the obstructive zeal which supports national 
agitation, will not be allowed to it. It is therefore most neces- 
sary that the Government shovild repress with the utmost 
severity the intimidation that is applied to prevent the practi- 
cal settlement of the land difiiculty. It is important also to 
remember that if any considerable number of the tenants 
should be in a position to become owners of their farms by the 
assistance of Government loans, there will be a gradual growth 
in the community of a class with a real stake in the soil, and 
with the deepest repugnance to anything like revolutionary 
changes. It was the remark of M. de Tocqueville, that a 
good system of land tenure promotes conservatism in the best 
sense — a love of settled order and a dislike of restless change ; 
and we may look to it as one of the main factors in diminish- 
ing the discontent which has been so great an obstacle to the 
political fusion of the peoples of these kingdoms. 

But something more is needed. The discontent may be 
lessened still further by giving all classes of the people a larger 
share in the government of the country. We have detached 
the Catholics of the higher classes from agitation because we 
have done them justice and given them a career. J3ut very 
little has been done for the body of the people. Enghshmen 
do not understand the nature or extent of the grievance of 
which the Catholics so justly complain. They are not now 
-debarred from the exercise of any political privilege ; they are 
not now prevented from acquiring land, or lending money on 

182 Irish Discontrnf. Jan, 

mortgages, or tcacliiug schools, or even from acting a& 
guardians of their own children. But there is a practical ex- 
clusion still remaining to destroy the good effect of the con- 
cessions ali'cady made, for they are excluded from nearly all 
official positions of emolument even in the most Catholic 
counties, and from situations and offices of trust, which 
are held by Conservative Episcopalians, who are only one- 
eiglith of the whole people of Ireland. The Presbyterians,. 
Avho are almost as numerous as the Episcopalians, have 
even still more reason to complain of the practical in- 
equality that exists in the distribution of public honours 
and offices of trust. Not only in counties appointments, 
Avhich include offices connected with the grand jury, lunatic 
asylums, infirmai'ies, and, till lately, the prisons, but in the 
magistracy, in the constabulary, in the militia, the central 
Poor Law Board in Dublin, and in all sorts of educational 
boards, the Episcopalians have au immense preponder- 
ance.* The Catholics are nowhere well represented but on 
the bench of judges. But there is no part of Irish ad- 
ministration more indefensible than its county governments 
Indeed, in most parts of Ireland, it supplies a strong and in- 
expensive electioneering agency for the return of Conservative 
candidates, while uineteen-twentieths of the cess distributed by 
the grand jurors is paid out of Catholic and Presbyterian 
pockets. It is understood that the Government will in due 
time introduce a Bill to establish county boards, which will 
help to develope rural opinion, and give the people a deeper 
stake in the government of the country, while it will also help to 
diminish the administrative ascendency of Toryism, Avhicli is now 
so warmly resented not only by Home Rulers, but by Liberals 
of all shades. It is not strano-e that Irish Liberals, whether 

* Take one or two examples respecting the magistracy. The County 
Tipperary contains 203,227 Catholics and 13,480 Protestants of all 
sects. Yet of its 227 magistrates, 173 are Protestants, 50 are Catholics, 
and 4 are Quakers. Nearly all the officials of tins Catholic county 
are Protestants. The County Tyrone contains (1871) 215,706 of 
a population of whom 119,937 are Catholics, 49,201 are Episcopalians, 
and 42,156 are Presbyterians. There are 129 magistrates in all; of 
whom 113 are Episcopalians, and only one of these is a Liberal ; 10 are 
Presbyterians, of whom 4 are Tories and 6 Liberals ; and 2 are Catho- 
lics, both Liberals. County Dcrry, which is predominantly Presby- 
terian and Liberal, has 110 magistrates, of Avhom 100 are Episcopalians 
and almost all are Tories. It is computed, indeed, that over all Ireland, 
eight-ninths of the magistrates arc Episcopalians, and the great 
majority of these are Conservatives. It is only fair to state that the 
present Liberal Government is trying to rectify this inequality. 

1882. Irish Discontent. 183 

Presbyterian or Catholic, should either keep aloof from public 
life, or cast themselves on the people and take up extreme 
views which will open their way into Parliament through the 
suffrages of the more perverse elements of Irish society. 

The remedies we have already suggested are happily within 
the power of Parliament to carry out. They will weaken, 
if not destroy, the political side of nationalism. They may be 
all brought into operation within a reasonable space of time. 
But there is another remedy of slower operation, never yet 
fully tried, upon which we depend still more for uprooting 
the discontent of the Catholic people, because it will act upon 
the religious side of nationalism and destroy the taste for the 
wretched literature now current in the country. That remedy 
is the thorough education of the people. Though the national 
system of education has been almost fifty years in existence, 
it has done little more than teach the people to read and Avrite, 
enlarging the circle of readers without greatly increasing their 
intelligence. It has had many difficulties to contend with in 
the poverty of the people and in the quarrels of the sects, and, 
above all, in the want of an interm2diate system of education 
to connect it with the university system of the country. What 
the people learned under it was calculated rather to increase 
than to diminish their discontent by opening their eyes to the 
fact that they had fallen behind in the race of life, and that in 
all the elements of national strength, intelligence and enter- 
prise, they were far inferior to the English and the Scotch, 
and even to their own countrymen in Ulster. Happily, how- 
ever, we are just now at the beginning of a new era in Irish 
education. The Intermediate system has been three years in 
existence, and is already doing wonders. The Royal Irish 
University has just come into being, and has begun its work 
with every prospect of developing the original talent of the 
country. They have both still to surmount the lesser obstacles 
which impede the full operation of all new mechanism. 

We believe that the thorough education of Ireland will tell 
with a powerful effect upon both sides of nationalism. It is 
obvious to anyone studying Irish character that the worst 
faults of the people, and especially what the English call their 
intractableness, are due to the want of education quite as 
much as to the miseries of a hard lot or the vices of bad 
government. They are the defects of an uneducated people who 
have long struggled with untoward circumstances. They have 
had no firm possession of the present, and therefore they have 
thought too much of a splendid past or of a hopeless future. 
They want the capacity to look realities in the face, while they 

184 JrisU Discontent. Jan. 

have a narrowness of mind that shuts their eyes to all interests 
but their own. They are singularly wanting in moral initia- 
tive ; they have no courage to denounce what is popular, though 
they neither like it nor believe in it ; and their theatrical wrath 
and their habits of wild exaggeration suggest any idea but 
that of conscious strength. Education will do more than cor- 
rect these defects of character. It Avill open their eyes to 
larger interests than their own, and enable them to bring 
to the consideration of political and social questions a judg- 
ment not to be misled by plausible fallacies or fervid rhe- 
toric. John Stuart Mill said that half of our difficulty lay 
in our not understanding the Irish people ; but that was due 
to the virtual absence of any powerful and intelligent middle 
class among the Catholics competent to act as natural expo- 
nents of the w'ishes of the peasantry. Education \y\\\ not only 
effect a shading off of one class into another, but Avill organise 
Irish society under men of a better intellect, capable of judg- 
ing statesmen sincerely and supporting them sincerely in all 
methods of wise legislation. It will also help Protestants and 
Catholics to understand each other better and to discern the 
common ground on which, wdiether political, or social, or moral, 
ithey can meet with public advantage. 

We admit that nationalism may still survive, Aveakened or 
almost destroyed on its political side by the redress of griev- 
ances, but possibly strengthened on its religious side by com- 
plications of Ultramontane policy working from outside these 
islands. The great error of the old penal policy was the dis- 
placement of the educated lay element and the relative aug- 
mentation of ecclesiastical power in the social system of Ireland, 
and our present desire is to create an educated Catholic laity 
in the country that will view even religious questions in a spirit 
different from that familiar to an ignorant but devout peasantry. 
We do not say that University education will loosen the hold 
of Catholicism on the Irish people, but that Catholicism will 
always be held very differently by an educated and by an un- 
educated laity. Educated Catholics will have most influence 
with educated Protestants, just because, while they are con- 
sistently Catholic, their minds are open to larger considerations 
that enable them to allow for, if they cannot sympathise with, 
the Protestant inability to bow to a religious authority that is 
final Avith themselves. We may hope that education will do for 
the loAver classes of Irishmen Avhat it has already done for the 
highest, without weakening their attachment to their faith. 
Protestants and Catholics of the better classes manage to live 
beside each other on terms of mutual tolerance and respect. 

1882. Irish Discontent. 185 

f ■ 

The education iioav so vigorously prosecuted will in due time 
deposit facts and reasonings in the minds of young Irishmen 
which must tell their own story in the generation to come. Na- 
tionalism may no doubt still exist, but it will be more literary 
than political in its interest, and Avill help to unite Irishmen of 
all creeds in their love of a common country. 

Meanwhile, till a better temper prevails in Ireland, our duty 
will be to administer its affairs with justice, firmness, and 
wisdom. We must strive to give to just and liberal laws the 
same vigour of execution that was once reserved for the 
decrees of tyranny. If we are always careful to give no 
reality to Irish grievances, we may afford to ignore the mut- 
terings of temporary discontent. There will still for a time 
be spirits in Ireland whose element is turbulence and sedition, 
and who would lament a more blameless administration of 
affairs as taking aAvay the pretext and materials of complaint 
— men who do not even distantly approach in capacity, or even 
in breadth or moderation of view, the great man who disturbed 
Ireland for so many years with his passionate but sterile agita- 
tion for Repeal. The Government must meanwhile remember 
the observation of Mr. Parnell, that ' the Irish are not a 
' people to run away from ' — a saying which Mr. Froude inter- 
prets, in his rather severe manner, to mean that no people are 
ever so easily checked by the prompt, steady, and vigorous 
execution of the law. History teaches us how the conflict 
which always raged in Ireland between the native principles 
and those of a more advanced civilisation— a conflict in which 
the smaller island was often too successful in asserting its own 
individuality — only prolonged the degradation and misery of 
the country. Imperial legislation has now established one 
rule for both countries as to law, commerce, and education, 
while it has taken just account of original peculiarities in the 
constitution of Irish society. The union, so amply justified 
on national, geographical, and political grounds, is now 
cemented by a million social ties. There must be, in spite of 
national movements, no inconsiderable number of Irishmen 
capable of apprehending and acknowledging the benefits of 
the union wdth this country. But when we remember that 
our history, our institutions, our blood, are now essential and 
indestructible elements of Irish life, it would be madness to 
arrest the civilising influences that are now at work in the 
sister country by an attempt to restore a native Parliament. 

186 Ancient Animals in Sontli America. Jan. 

Art. VII. — 1. Buenos Ai/res and the Provinces of Rio Plata. 
By Sir Woodbine Parish, K.C.H. 8vo. London: 1839; 
Second Edition, 1851. 

2. Blih j)aa Brasiliens Di/recerdenfiJr sidste Jordom-vceltning. 
Af Dr. Lund. 4to. Kjobenhavn: 1838. 

3. Anales del Museo Publico de Bnenos Ayres. Por el Dr. 
BuRMEiSTEK. 4to. Entrega primera, 1864 ; Entrega duo- 
decima, 1871. 

4. Zoology of the Beagle, Fossil Mammalia. By RlCHARD 
Owen. 4to. London : 1839. 

5. Descrijjtion of the iSheleton of an Extinct Gigantic Sloth 
(Mylodon robnstus). By Richard Owen. 4to. London : 

6. Memoir on the Megatherium. By Richard Owen. 4to. 
London: 1860. 

Tn a recent historical sketch of the ' Origin and Progress of 
-■- ' the Present State of British Geology,' William Smith's 

* Geological Map of the Strata of England and Wales,' 1815, 
followed, in 1816, by his '■ Strata identified by Organised 

* Fossils,' is defined as a ' great discovery,' which threw a new 
light on the history of the earth, and as * providing a law 
' for the identification of formations Avhich, geographically, 

* are often widely separated from each other, not only in Eng- 

* land, but also easily applicable to great areas on the neigh- 

* bouring continent of Europe.'* In reference to this extension 
of the above-cited author's laAV of the determination of strata 
by their fossil remains, a passing tribute might have been paid 
to a geologist and palaeontologist of a ' neighbouring continent,' 
to whom William Smith loyally acknowledges his indebtedness. 

In the * Stratigraphical System of Organised Fossils, with 

* reference to the Specimens of the Original Geological Col- 

* lection in the British Museum, explaining their use in 
^ identifying the British Strata,' by William Smith, the author 
cites among the Avorks consulted, Cuvier's Geographic Mine- 
' ralogique des Environs de Paris,' and ' Les Annales du 
' Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.' In the first of these works 
the name of the elder Brongniart should be associated with 
that cited by William Smitli ; the geologist doubtless depended 
in an all-important degree upon the anatomist for the progress 

* British Association for the Advancement of Science, Section C, 
Geology, ' Opening Address/ by A. C. Eamsay, LL.D., F.R.S., &c. 1881. 

1882. Ancient Animals in Soutli America. 187 

they conjointly made in the knowledge of the structnrc of the 
earth, actual and historical, both as it is and as it had been. 
These researches were recorded in the volumes of the ' An- 
* nales du Museum,' from their issue in 1795 to the year 1811. 
The majority were contributed by Cuvier alone, and it would 
be a mistake to suppose that he did not take a full share in the 
appreciation of the geological evidences from phenomena apart 
from the fossil remains. Cuvier not only indicated the relations 
of particular extinct species to particular strata, but discerned 
the different dynamics to which such strata owed their for- 
mation ; as, for example, when from the summit of Mount 
Pierreux, at Fontainebleau, he called the attention of his 
companion to the evidences of those strata Avhich owed their 
existence to the action of fresh Avaters, and to those that were due 
to marine deposits — a recognition of geological dynamics which 
Brongniart defined as an inspiration, and accepted as one of 
the strongest proofs of the periodicity of the demonstrated 
elevations and subsidences of the earth's surface. 

The volumes from which William Smith derived his know- 
ledge of the fruitful principle of associating the characters of 
the fossil remains with geological evidences of strata are those 
he cites. They are the volumes Cuvier enriched by the series 
of memoirs which, year by year, appeared on the fossil 
remains of the tertiary deposits in the Paris basin. By 
these, through application of his law of the correlation 
of structures in an animal body, and of the subordina- 
tion of a given modification of tooth or bone to those of 
other parts of the frame, Cuvier not only proved the former 
existence of species Avhich had become extinct, but also 
the relations of such species as, e.g., the Teleosaurs, the 
Palffiotheres, the Mastodons, to diff'erent and definite suc- 
cessive strata or formations of the earth's crust, to strata 
not only difi^ering in mineral constitution, but as to the period 
of their formation and the order of their relative dates.* 

* ' Comme on ne peut avoir des notions un pen claires sur I'origine 
des OS fossiles qu'autant que Ton connoit bien les couches qui les 
recelent, celles qui les couvrent, celles sur lesquelles ils reposent, et 
surtout les autres depouilles animales et vegetales dont ces trois ordres 
de couches peu.vent etre remplis, il ' (I'Auteur) 'a annexe a son 
" Discours preliminaire " tin travail qui lui semble pouvoir servir 
d'exemple pour la methode a suivre dans I'etude des couches ; c'est 
celui qu'il a fait, avec M. Brongniart, sin- les environs de Paris.' 
' Eecherches sur les Ossements Fossiles,' &c., 4to, Paris, 1812, 
tome premier ; ' Avertissement ' aii ' Discours Preliminaire sur la 
Geographic mineralogique,' p. iii. 

188 Ancient Anhnnls in Sontli America. Jan. 

These original and remarkable ' Memoirs,' demonstrative of 
the fertile principles on which the science of geology is based, 
were given to the world in four quarto volumes (Paris, 1812) 
five years before the ' Stratigraphical System of Organised 
' Fossils, with their Use in identifying the British Strata,' saw 
the light. In the year 1811 Cuvier had determined and charac- 
terised 158 species, distributed into 50 genera, of which genera 
15 were new; and the present activity of what our German 
friends have called the ' gattungs-macherei ' would, through 
Cuvier's materials alone, considerably add to the number of 
such extinct genera, which the more sober estimate of generic 
values permitted the great originator of paleontology to 
claim as ' new to science.' The influence of this work, with 
its notable Preliminary Discourse on the science of geo- 
logy, may be estimated by its happy application to that of 
the United States of America by Dr. Mitchell. And we may 
likewise add the instructive geological Notes appended by 
Professor Jameson, of the Edinburgh University, to his trans- 
lation of the ' Discours Preliminaire ' for testimony of the status 
of Cuvier in the history of geology prior to the publication of 
the works of William Smith. 

The novelty and unexpected results of these researches and 
discoveries of ancient forms of animal life, and their bearing 
upon worlds of like antiquity, revived and augmented the 
interest in the geographical distribution of animals to which 
the eloquent pages of Buffon had called the attention of 
naturalists. The predecessor of Cuvier in the Jardin des 
Plantes and the Academic des Sciences had shown that 
the quadrupeds of South America were distinct from those of 
other quarters of the globe, some generically, others speci- 
fically. No soliped, or single-hoofed quadruped, horse, ass, 
or zebra, was found in America at the period of its discovery ; 
no sheep or goat, gazelle, or musk-deer existed there : the 
so-called 'Rocky Mountain sheep' of North America is 
distinct in kind from that of our pastures. The ox is re- 
presented by the bison ; the camel and dromedary of the Old 
World are remotely indicated in the New by the llama and 
vicugna ; the hog by the peccari; the feline quadrupeds of Asia 
and Africa by jaguars, pumas, and ocelots ; the pangolins and 
orycteropes by . the hairy toothless anteaters. The very 
monkeys of South America are generically distinct from 
those of the Asiatic and African forests, and show a lower 
step in the scale of life ; the slow lemurs of Madagascar are 
still more remotely represented by the sloths ; even the tapir 
of South America is a distinct species from that of Sumatra, 

1882. Ancient Animals in Soiitk America. 189 

and is the largest of the living original South American qua- 
drupeds. Some inferiority in either stature or structure 
characterises all the indigenous mammals existing in that 
continent. Not one of these American species to be found at 
the present day is comparable in size to the giraffes, hippopo- 
tamuses, rhinoceroses, and elephants of Asia or Africa. And 
of the American species referable to the same genera as those 
of the Old World, all of the so-called New World are smaller — 
the jaguar than the lion or tiger, the peccarl than the wild 
boar, the llama than the camel, the howlers and coaitis than 
the baboons, orangs, and gorillas.* 

Thus the general result of additions to knowledge of the 
kinds of animals native to the several larger divisions of the 
dry land of the globe is that, in the main, different species 
have been allotted, if the expression be permitted by our 
evolutionists, to different continents ; and that, as regards 
South America, the quadrupeds are not only distinct — some 
as to genus, all as to species — from those of Europe, Asia, 
and Africa, but are inferior in organisation as well as size 
and power. The monkeys that enjoy their existence in the 
vast and varied forests of the tropical and warmer parts of 
the continent are of lower grade in a dental character than 
the Old World Simiadce. Instead of agreeing, as these do, 
with the Bimana in the important taxonomic character of 
the dental formula, they show a nearer affinity to the lower 
quadrupeds, both as to kinds and number of teeth.f 

A chief peculiarity of South American mammalian life was, 

* Buffon, ' Histoire Naturelle des Animaux,'^4to, tome xiv., 1766. 

* Degeneration des Animaux,' p. 361. 

f The accomplished author of ' The Natural History of Monkeys,' 
&c., in the ' Library of Entertaining Knowledge,' was not aware of the 
fact that the genera which he groups under the term ' Simiadoe with 

* anthropoid teeth ' differ from the genera grouped under the term 
' Simise with anthropoid teeth ' in the following formulse. That of 
the latter group is expressed by — 

•2.2 1.1 2.2 3.3 oo 

that of the SimiadxB of Ogilby is characterised by the formula : — 

.2.2 „1. 1^3.3 3.3 Q/. 

' 272' ^ iTI' P 373' '« 3—3 = 36. 

If the number of teeth becomes, exceptionally in this group, the same 
as in mankind, viz., thirty-two, the marmosets show the deficiency by 
the loss of a * true molar,' m, on each side of both jaws, but retain the 
differential number of the ' false molars,' or premolars, j?, I^^, and so 
exemplify their nearer affinity to the Lemuridce. 

190 Ancient AnimnU in South America, .Jan. 

however, brought before the time of BufFon to zoological 
knowledge by Marcgraf * and other contemporary contribu- 
tors.f It was strikhigly shown by examples, brought oi- 
transmitted to Europe by those early explorers of the Ncav 
World, of the singular creatures now known as sloths and 
armadillos. No quadrupeds submitted to the philosophic gaze 
of Buftbn and the keen scalpel of Daubenton presented more 
extraordinary and unexpected organic characters than those 
transmitted from South America. 

The cold-blooded crocodile and sluggish tortoise might well 
be indebted to a kind Nature for defensive armour ; and she 
had given to the skin of one rows of bony scutes, and had 
invested the other with a coat of mail. But that active, Avarm- 
blooded, comparatively intelligent viviparous quadrupeds should 
need such armour, and possess it superadded to the special 
clothing of their class, the hairs growing freely from every un- 
defended portion of the skin, could not have been foreseen or 
conceived as among the many modifications of mammalian 
structure. Yet such was the spectacle presented by the little 
active armadillos which attracted crowds of the gay population 
of Paris to witness at the Jardin du Roi their gambols and 
their instantaneous enclosure of head and limbs within their 
jointed coat of mail when assaulted, presenting an impene- 
trable ball of bone to the yelping assailant, and recalling the 
defensive manoeuvre and attitude of the spiny hedgehog. More 
extraordinary still was the quadruped that could not walk, but 
crawled on the ground with outstretched long-clawed hands 
and feet, in a much slower and slothful fashion than the grub 
or beetle. 

Waterton, in his ' Wanderinsjs ' — a work o;lvIno- a livelv 
picture of what he noted of the natural histor}^ of the Avoods 
and Avilds of South America — first taught us the adaptation of 
the structure of the misnamed ' sloth ' to its allotted theatre 
of life. This Avas not the earth's surface, nor the AA^aters under 
the earth, nor the aerial ocean aloft ; the creature could neither 
run nor SAvim nor fly ; but it could climb, and it Avas indeed 
the climber pai- excellence. Each limb being terminated by 
two or three long and strong hooks, Avith these it could securely 
cling to the branches ; along these it moved, often rapidly ; 
there Avas nothing slothful in its arboreal mode of progression. 
Suspended always Avith its head and trunk dowuAvards, it so 

* Hist, rcrum Naturalium Brasilia?, libri 8, fol., 1G48. 
t Pisonis ' Hist. NaturtiUs et Medica Indise occidentalis,' libri v., 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 191 

traversed every branch and part of the tree yielding food by 
leaf or fruit. In that clinging attitude it rested, suspending 
itself to sleep. Amid the boughs it so lived and bred, the 
mother carrying her suckling young securely clinging to her 

Perhaps no part of the earth's surface naturally presents 
forests so extensive, so thickly massed, as the warmer latitudes 
of South America, well watered by many and broad rivers, 
mainly bounded by natural walls of greenery. The sloth, 
having exhausted the supply afforded by one tree, and oc- 
casionally not helped by parasitic ropes to another, takes ad- 
vantage of the storm. When the tropical gale is roaring, 
and the branches are wildly Avaviug and crashing against each 
other, then is seen the activity it can put forth. The naturalist, 
as fearless of falling timber and acutely observant as Water- 
ton, then appreciated how libellous was the common name 
applied to the quadruped which vindicated its agility by seizing 
the branch of the still unplucked tree brought within its 
reach, and transferring itself to a new and well-stored habitat. 

At the geographical phase of mammalogical lore, so attrac- 
tively pictured by the classical pen of Buffon, Cuvier in 
1795 commenced the task of interpreting the bony evidences 
of o-iants of some kind, the fossil remains of which had at- 
tracted the astonished attention of the Spanish colonists of 
M(mtc Video and Buenos Ayres. Such evidences had been 
revealed in the beds of rivers left dry at their seasons of lowest 
level, or accidentally struck upon in occasional excavations of 
the soil at greater depth than the needs of the settlers' simple 
ao-riculture called for. Some of these fossils coming to the 
knowledge and possession of the Viceroy, the Marquis of 
Loreto, he transmitted them in 1789 to Madrid, and being 
there sorted by an anatomical prosector, sufficient were found 
to enable Sr. Jean-Baptiste Bru to build up, or ' articulate,' a 
nearly entire skeleton, which is still preserved, and is the most 
striking specimen to this day in the Royal Cabinet of Natural 
History of that capital. Drawings of this skeleton were en- 
o-raved and formed the subject of five plates, which illustrated 
a brief 'Descrippion de un Quadrupedo muy corpulento y 
' raro,' by Senores Bru and Garriga (foHo, 1796). Prior to 
the appearance of this work, impressions of the plates had been 
transmitted to the Academie des Sciences, Paris ; they were 
submitted to M. Cuvier for a Report thereon, and he felt 
himself enabled to determine, notwithstanding its superior size, 
the affinities of the huge beast to the diminutive sloths still ex- 
isting in, and peculiar to. South America. Cuvier gave to the 

192 Ancient Animals in South America. Jan. 

extinct animal the name of Meffatherium, but, though it sur- 
passed the hippopotamus and rhinoceros in bulk, it did not 
attain the dimensions of the elephant. A more perfect skeleton 
of the megatherium than that at Madrid is now articulated and 
exhibited in the noble gallery appropriated to the Fossil Re- 
mains in the Museum of Natural History, Cromwell Gardens. 
Great was the surprise, and not small the scepticism, with 
which this conclusion of the young founder of palaeontology 
was received. The bulk of his megatherium forbade the 
notion that it could climb trees, like the living sloths, to feed 
on the foliage ; and Cuvier expressed an opinion, since the 
teeth of the extinct giant plainly pointed to a vegetable diet, 
that it had probably applied its robust fore-feet and huge 
tearing claws to dig up roots."^ M. Faujas railed at this con- 
clusion of the junior member of the Academy as ' an abuse of 

* an artificial method — as one compelling Nature to bow to 

* factitious classifications which she never recognised.' The 
elder geologist averred also that ' so huge and powerfully 

* clawed a beast could not have existed without destroying 

* many others, and that it was ridiculous to associate it with 

* the sloths — ces etres mallieureux, faibles, indolens^ &c.f In 
Germany, Professor Lichtenstein, giving a contemporary 
summary of the state of science in France, urged that ' this 

* skeleton at Madrid evidently included limb-bones of such 

* diversity of size as must have come from different animals, 

* and hence that all M. Cuvier's reasonings fell to the ground.' 
Now, Cuvier in summing up his observations had alluded 
to analogies in the fossil bones which he studied to those of 
different genera of the order or group of existing quadrupeds, 
which he had called ^ Edentes ' — a group equivalent in the 
main to the order Bruta of the system of Linna3us. * Although,' 
lie remarked, ' the skull and shoulder-blade of the megatherium 

* were those of a sloth, the legs and feet offered the curious 
' combination (??ie/fl'?z/7^) of characters peculiar to the ant-eatei*s 
' and armadillos.' Whereupon a third critic indulged in the 
pleasant remark, that ' all the known edentates of M. Cuvier's 

* system might dance at ease within the carcase of his me- 
' gathere.' 

* * Ses dents prouvent qu'il vivait de veg^taux, et ses pieds de devant, 
' robustes et armes d'ongles tranchans, nous font croire que c'etaient 

* principalement leurs racines qu'il attaquait.' — Annales du Museum 
d'Histoire NaturcUe, torn. v. p. 377 ; and Memoires de TAcademie des 
Sciences (Seance d'Avril, 1795). 

t Faujas-Saint-Fond, ' Essai de Geologic,' t. i. p. 310, 1795. 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 193 

It is well, perhaps, to recall these conditions of contemporary- 
thought amid which the young comparative anatomist was 
labouring to throw light upon phenomena of Nature which, 
prior to his way of interrogation, had suggested little else save 
startling announcements of the finding of the bones of some 
giant of romance, or one of those that might be posed as a 
'homo diluvii testis.' Few, very few, of Cuvier's fellow 
Academicians coidd discern in his early ' Memoirs ' the indica- 
tions of a new science, most fertile in teaching mankind the 
age of their planet, with the ways, the forces, and successive 
epochs in and through which the surface now trodden by man 
had become such as it is seen to be. 

It happened that shortly after the subject of Cuvier's early 
Memoir reached Europe, other fossils were found in South 
America under circumstances similar to those which had 
bi'ousht to lia;ht the bones of the megatherium, but which 
consisted of portions, more or less complete, of a bony cuirass, 
big enough to have fitted the back of the extinct ' gigantic 

* sloth.' Cuvier, accordingly, in the second edition (1822) of 
his great work, composed mainly of his previous successive Me- 
moirs in the Annales du Museum, appends a Note on these 
discoveries, which had been communicated to him by M. Au- 
guste St. Hilaire, and which announced, he writes, ' that the 

* megatherium had pushed its affinities to the armadillos so 

* far as to be covered, like them, with a scaly cuirass,' * This 
opinion was adopted by Professor Desmarests in the article ' Me- 

* gathere ' of the Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles, 1823. 
It seemed also to derive confirmation from a description by 
Professor Weiss, of Berlin, of portions of an osseous tesselated 
armour of some gigantic quadruped, discovered (1826) in the 

* Banda Oriental,' South America, by the traveller Sellow, 
transmitted by him to Berlin, f and referred to the mega- 

About this period Great Britain was fortunately represented 
at Buenos Ayres by a gentleman as accomplished in diplo- 
macy as he was distinguished by his enlightened interest in 
taking advantage of every opportunity of his position to 
promote natural knowledge. With his original observations 
on the geological features of the Para})a formation, given in 
his work ' On Buenos Ayres,' Sir Woodbine Parish adds an 

* ' Recherches sur lea Ossements Fossiles,' 4to, ed. 1822-3, tome v., 
pt. 1, p. 285. 

\ Weiss, Abhandlungen der Konigl. Akaderaie der Wissenschaften 
zu Berlin, ' Megatherium,' p. 6, 4to, 1827. 


194 Ancient Animals in South America. Jan. 

Appendix by Professor Owen, containing the description of a 
drawing; transmitted to him by Sir Woodbine of a ' monster 
' found on the bank of a rivulet near the Rio Matanza, about 

* twenty miles to the south of the city of Buenos Ayres, 

* about five feet below the surface.' With this drawing a 
tooth of the same animal was fortunately transmitted to our 
then young professor. He instituted a comparison of this 
tooth with those of the megatherium, of Avhlch fossil animal 
Sir Woodbine Parish had also sent an instructive collection 
of bones to the Royal College of Surgeons m London, sup- 
plying important parts and facts, completing and, in some 
particulars, correcting the original Cuvierian Memoir.* Mr. 
Owen demonstrated the generic distinction indicated by the 
comparison of these teeth, and pointed out the nearer resem- 
blance of the tooth he had received to those of the armadillos. 
The bony dermal covering agreed also in its composition of a 
mosaic of ossicles Avith that of the small existing mailed qua- 
drupeds, but the drawing of the cuirass transmitted showed no 
division into rings allowing of any flexure of the coat of mail. 
The result was the announcement that there had existed in 
South America a giant of the armadillo family, as well as one 
of the sloth tribe ; and for the former the name of Glyptodon, 
or sculptured-tooth, was proposed. The author remarks that 
' the form and structure of the tooth indicate its adaptation to 
' masticate vegetable substances, and that it is more corapli- 
' cated in shape than those of any recent or extinct species of 
' the order Bruta hitherto discovered.' Two views of the 
fossil tooth and a reduced copy of the drawing are given in 
the work by Sir Woodbine Parish which stands at the head of 
this article. 

Nevertheless, it continued to be believed that later additions 
to the evidences of the extinct quadruped received in 1795 
tended mainly to add a bony armour to Cuvier's gigantic 
sloth. The pala^ontological naturalist, or student of the 
evidences of extinct species, has a harder task than the 
zoological one, who deals with specimens of existing kinds. 
The late learned Professor of Natural History in the Uni- 
versity College, London, in the lecture reported in the 
Lancet, March 22, 1834, describes the megatherium as 
' allied in structure to the bradypus, and shielded with 

* cutaneous plates like the dasypus.' And thus it seemed to 

* These fossils formed the subject of the excellent paper by Wm. 
Cliit, F.R.S., in the ' Transactions of the Geological Society,' vol. iii., 
Bccond series, 4to, 1835. 


1882. Ancient Animals in ISouth, America. 195 

offer to the evolutionists the example of ' a more generalised 

* structure.' Professor de Blainville, moreover, who succeeded 
Cuvier in the chair of Comparative Anatomy in the Jardin 
des Plantes, and who omitted no opportunity to prove his prede- 
cessor in the wrong, rejecting the inference of any resemblance 
or affinity to the sloths, affirmed that the ' so-called mega- 

* therium is proved to have been certainly covered by an 

* osteo-dermai carapace, by the disposition of the spinous 

* processes of the vertebrae, by the angles of the ribs, and by 

* the articulation of the pelvis with the vertebral column ; ' 
and he concludes by the dictum ex cathedra., ' that the mega- 

* therium was a gigantic species of armadillo, most nearly 

* allied to the diminutive chlamyphorus.* 

It is true that this existing species of armadillo, as Mr. 
Yarrell had pointed out, wore a coat of mail without the joints 
which had earned for its congeners the specific names of tri- 
cinctus, septem-cinctus, novem-cinctus, &c., according as the 
coat of mail was provided with and interrupted by moveable 
cross-bands of bony pieces three, seven, or nine in number. 
No wonder, therefore, that under this weight of evidence the 
brief notice of an actual gigantic extinct armadillo in the 
appendix to an octavo volume on a more general topic was 
overlooked, and that the megatherium was introduced to the 
readers of an attractive and popular ' Bridiiewater Treatise ' 
as having been defended by a bony tessellated armour, and 
that they were assured that ' a covering of such enormous 

* weight would have been consistent with the general structure 

* of the megatherium ; its columnar hind legs and colossal 
' tail were calculated to give it due support ; and the strength 

* of the loins and ribs, being very much greater than in the 
' elephant, seems to have been necessary for carrying so 
' ponderous a cuirass as that which we suppose to have 

* covered the body.'* We may remark that Cuvier drew no 
such inferences from the parts of the skeleton above referred 
to, and those of Dr. Buckland are here quoted because, as we 
shall presently see, they were well worthy of the consideration 
of the physiologist, and indeed a different interpretation has been 
given of them which seems to have commanded general assent. 

The comparative anatomist who had concluded from the 
characters of a tooth that the armour of which a drawing had 
been transmitted to him had not covered a gigantic sloth, but 
an armadillo of nearly equal bulk, now felt it incumbent 

* * Geology and Mineralogy considered in reference to Natural 

* Theology.' By the Rev. Dr. Buckland, F.E.S., F.R.S., &c. 

196 Ancient Animals in South America. Jan. 

upon him to study afresh the parts of the megatherian 
framework on which Buckland and De Blainviile had based 
their conclusions ; the more so as he had been enabled to 
compare those parts with corresponding fossils discovered, in 
association with portions of bony armour, in the bed of a 
rivulet at Villanueva, Monte Video, which Sir Woodbine 
Parish had subsequently transmitted to the Royal College of 
Surgeons in London. The results of the comparisons of 
these remains with the skeletons of existing sloths and arma- 
dillos w^ere communicated in a notable Memoir, read and 
discussed at the meeting of the Geological Society of London, 
March 23, 1839.^ 

Taking the dorsal vertebras of the recent armadillo, the 
author pointed out their peculiar structure, and the relation of 
the bony pillars diverging obliquely from the median upright 
spine, and of equal length therewith, to the support of the 
superincumbent cuirass ; the oblique processes Avere shown to 
correspond in form and use Avith the ' tie-bearers ' in the 
architecture of a roof; and, besides that office, another pur- 
pose Avas obtained by extension of their base. *' The ordinary 
' spinous process transmits the superincumbent Aveight simply 

* to the vertebra from Avhich it springs ; but the oblique pro- 
' cesses transmit the Aveight ])artly to the vertebra to which 

* they belong, and partly to the vertebra next in front, be- 
' cause one half of their base is extended over the hinder 
' oblique processes of the adjoining vertebra.'! The corre- 
sponding bones of the megatherium showed no such structure ; 
they resembled in this relation the vertebrae of the sloths. 
So, likewise, as to the bearing on the armour question of 
the bones of the limbs : the differences of structure Avere 
pointed out between the megathere and the sloth on the one 
hand, and the glyptodon and the armadillo on the other. 

The ' Paper,' in fact, Avas decisive. Dr. Buckland, who 
Avas present, accepted both facts and conclusions Avith charac- 
teristic candour, nor has the question of the coexistence of 
both gigantic sloths and gigantic armadilloes in ancient periods 
in the South American continent been since contested. On 
the contrary, it has received unexpected corroboration from 
subsequent discoveries of other extinct species of both genera. 

* ' Description of a Tooth and Part of the Skeleton of the Glyptodon 
' clavipes, &c., Avith a Consideration of the Question Avhether the 
' ]\Iegatlierin!n possessed an analogous Dermal Armour.' By R. Owen, 
1' .R.S., F.G.S. 

•j" Trans. Geological Society, second series, vol. vi. p. 100. 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 197 

well described and figured in the work of Burmeister. The 
entire skeleton — e?ido and exo — representing a gigantic ' hog 
* in armour,' now attracts the wondering gaze of the visitors 
to the instructive museum in Cromwell Road, and we are 
tempted to condense the explanations which are afforded by 
the officer to whom mainly the public are indebted to this 
storehouse of the national treasures of natural history. 

The framework of the head of the glyptodon is, rela- 
tively to the size of the animal, the most massive — taking 
the casque, with the endoskeletal part — of any known mammal. 
So far as relates to the joint between the occiput and foremost 
neck-bone, and to that between the ' atlas ' and ' axis,' or 
second neck-bone, the head must have been limited to some 
minor movements, with a slight amount of rotation. The 
main movements were in one plane, up and down, like those 
of the fore-limb of a horse, and the framework of these move- 
ments consists of two long bones and one short bone, connect- 
ing the head with the trunk. What may be termed, in rela- 
tion to the latter, the ' proximal ' of these ' long ' bones con- 
sists of the last (seventh) neck bone, or vertebra, and the first 
and second dorsal vertebras, welded together with the ribs of 
the latter into a single mass. It answers teleologically to the 
' humerus ' in a horse. The second bone, like the equine ulna, 
is of greater length, and consists of five coalesced vertebrae, 
viz., the second to sixth cervical ones inclusive ; it is a * five- 
* vertebral bone.' The distal segment (from the trunk) is the 
shortest, and consists of the foremost vertebra of the neck. 
Now, the singularly developed dermal armour of the glypto- 
donts — for they are grown to a numerous family since 1838 — 
was defensive against other than passive assaults, such as the 
fall of timber. Palaeontology has shown that a carnivorous 
quadruped as big as a lion and called ' sabre-toothed ' {mackai- 
rodus) because of its proportionally longer and sharper laniary 
or ' canine ' teeth, forming part of a typical feline dentition, 
was a contemporary of the glyptodonts, and with them has 
happily become extinct. We shall see in the above-noted 
mechanism of the movements of a helmeted head the relation 
of the defensive armour of the weaponless vegetarian to the 
deadly assaults of such a carnivore. The trunk of the glyp- 
todon was amply provided with an arched bony covering of 
coi-responding size, slightly convex lengthwise, sufficiently 
convex transversely to form both roof and side-walls. It 
needed only for the assaulted animal to bend its short equal 
fore and hind limbs within the carapace, and sink the latter 
over them, to have both body and feet protected. But how 

198 Aiicieiit Animals m South America. Jan. 

about the tail ? The tortoise can twist its short caudal 
appendagce within the hind slit of its bony box ; not so the 
glvptodon. Its tail is relatively longer and larger, and it 
has its own special armour of defence ; a series, namely, of 
thick bony rhigs, jjresenting to the teeth of an assailant an 
impenetrable crust, and, in some species, a further defence of 
stout horn-like spines. And now for the head, the part con- 
taining the most precious vital organs of ihe beast. That 
also is provided with a bony covering, superadded to the skull, 
applied like a casque to the upper surface, not extending so 
far forward as to interfere with the movements of a flexible 
snout, nor so far down each side as to act as ' blinders.' The 
front aperture of the body-dome is shaped and proportioned 
so as to alloAv the casque to fit it close, like a lid. The joint 
between the short and thick ' proximal,' quasi ' humeral,' por- 
tion of the head-limb and the trunk is what the anatomist 
calls a ' trochlear ' one ; so likewise are the joints between 
the * humeral ' and quasi ' ulnar ' segments and also that ' short- 
* est segment articulated with the skull.' These joints limit 
the movements of the skull they support to one plane, upward 
and downward. By the downward movement the head of the 
glyptodon was brought within the front entry of the body 
armour, which entry became closed by the casque as by a 
door. The hind aperture of the body-dome fits just so much of 
the circumference of the fore ring of the tail-sheath as to equally 
baffle an assailant of the great crouching armadillo. 

The megatherium being finally despoiled of its armour, what, 
it might be asked, would be the nature of its defence against 
such a fierce and predacious assailant as that to which its 
contemporary offered a passive resistance ? Whoever gazes at 
the three long, large, curved, sharp-pointed claws, though 
represented only by the ' fossilisable cores ' which sustained 
and wielded those horny weapons, will admit that the great 
Unguiculate must have been more than a match for the sabre- 
toothed ticcer. 

The largest of the existing ant-eaters of South America has 
no better defensive covering than the megathere possessed ; 
yet the jaguar and the puma find in the clavfs of 7ni/?-mecophaga 
juhata the weapons of an opponent with which they do not 
willingly engage in fair combat. The ant-eater may be 
Avounded, even severely ; yet such is its tenacity of life and 
muscular grip that the strongest of its carnivorous assailants, 
once seized, is only released when death has relaxed the forces 
wielding its offensive weapons. 

No subjects in existing nature could have afforded Paley 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 199 

such striking instances of adaptation to needs as the fossil 
framework of the great extinct armadillos has revealed to its 
physiological reconstructors ; for not only has the restoration 
of whatever could be conserved of these huo;c and strange 
creatures been complete, but many species with more than 
mere specific modifications have beeu brought to light chiefly 
by the co-operation of the Danish and German palaeontologists — 
Lund and Burmeister — with Parish and the English compara- 
tive anatomists, to whom our former Minister at Buenos Ayres 
had transmitted his acquisitions. 

Similar progress has been made in a knowledge of both the 
nature and number of the great extinct sloths of South 
America. It was evident, at first view of the skull and teeth, 
that the megatherium had been a vegetarian. Cuvier, as we 
have seen, concluded from the structure of the limbs that this 
diet was supplied by roots ; his ' racines ' not meaning, it may be 
supposed, the innutritions dense and woody ramifications of 
the imbedded foundations of forest-trees, but those succulent 
kinds afforded by the bulbous families of plants. Destruction 
of the bulb, however, implies that of the plant, and the number 
requisite for the sustentation of the frame of so enormous an 
uprooter must soon have become a condition of the starving 
out of the species. Subsequent palaeontologists, therefore, sug- 
gested other hypotheses. 

Dr. Lund, whose work is cited at the head of this article, 
a Danish liaturalist long resident in the Brazils, and engaged 
in the exploration of the caves of that country, collected a 
rich series of the remains of its extinct beasts, now in the 
Museum at Copenhagen. In regard to the megatherium, 
adopting the Cuvierian view of its affinities, Lund conceived 
that it must have fed on fruits and foliage ; that it climbed 
trees like the small sloths of the present day ; and that so huge 
and heavy a beast was, therefore, provided with a supplemen- 
tary climbing organ, not possessed by its diminutive con- 
geners, viz., a long and powerful prehensile tail. To the ob- 
jection of the inadequacy of most of the branches of the exist- 
ing; forest-trees to sustain the enormous wei2;ht of the 
hypothetical despoiler of the foliage, Lund replied, that it 
would be consistent with analogy to assume that the trees of 
the antediluvian New World might have borne a proportional 
size to the huge sloths which, with them, had become extinct. 
And this conjecture proves not to be so far-fetched by the 
subsequently discovered sequoian giants of Californian forests, 
some of which could doubtless have carried more than one 

200 Ancient Animals in South America. Jan, 

megathere if the resinous hard-scaled cones and filaraentary 
foliage had been any temptation to such supposed climber. 

De Blainville, however, rejected the scansorial hypothesis 
together with the leafy food; and, with consistent antagonism 
to his predecessor, denied the inference from the jaws and teeth 
as to a vegetable diet of any kind. Confounding the megathe- 
rium with the glyptodon as one and the same species of animal, 
he writes : ' D'apres cela il est plus que probable que ces 

* animaux ne grimpent pas aux arbres, qu'ils n'avaient pas de 

* trompe, mais qu'ils avaient les mcEurs et les habitudes des 
' tatous ' (armadillos), ' et par consequent ils se nourrissaient 
' de chair, et peut-etre aussi de raciues.' * 

These divers and conflicting hypotheses led our own palae- 
ontologist, after determining the distinction between gigantic 
sloths and armadillos, to a repeated and close study of the 
complete series of the megatherian remains with which 
the British Museum and the Royal College of Surgeons had 
become enriched. And we know not how better or more briefly 
to place his conclusions before our readers than by giving a con- 
densed recollection of the demonstration, to which we were 
favoured to listen, of the adaptation of the perfect skeleton to 
the mode of life of the megatherium, noAv exhibited in the 
new Museum in Cromwell Gardens. Pointing to the hind 
foot, the Professor remarked that though it had, like the 
existing sloths, but three toes, two of these — the outer ones — 
were deprived of claws and terminated in rough stumpy ends, 
indicating that they had been imbedded in a sort of hoof, which, 
through the partial inversion of the foot, would be applied to the 
ground in the progressive movements of a terrestrial quadruped. 
The innermost of the three toes, saved by this inversion from 
the wear of walking, was developed for carrying and using an 
enormous subcompressed but deep and sharp-pointed claw. 
Why should the strong and massive hind-limb have but one 
claw to wield ? Because it was used as a pickaxe. No one 
applying such tool to dig away the earth from the interstices 
of a tree's root would have it with two or more blades. Roots 
being exposed and detached from the soil were not disturbed 
by the megatherium for the purjiose of being eaten, but as a 
preliminary for prostrating the tree, the foliage of which was 
coveted by the uprooter. What then was the mechanism for 
hauling down a giant of the forest ? A firm basis for the appli- 

* ' Recherches sur I'anciennetc des Edentes terrestres ii la surface de 

* la terre,' Comptes Rendus de TAcademie des Sciences, Paris, 1839, 
p. 05. 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 201 

cation of the grasping organs was essential- The Archimedean 
irov cTTco of the raegathere was a tripod formed of a pair of the 
most massive hind-limbs in nature, which, though shorter than 
those of the elephant, were of more than twice the circumference, 
with a tail to match. This appendage, not present in existing 
sloths, was added to their type of limb-structure, of length and 
massiveness on a par with the hind legs, and with fii-m joints 
not susceptible of inflection for grasping, but able to bear the 
strain of pressure. Upon this tripod the huge pelvis, also far 
surpassing in size that of the elephant, was firmly sustained 
when the giant sloth raised himself to grapple with the trunk 
of the tree whose roots he had exposed. What relation had the 
size of the pelvis to this work ? It gave origin to a pair of 
immense muscular analogues of what is called in other beasts 


the ' latissimus dorsi.' The thick rugged border of the arched 
iliac bones bespeaks the unusual development of those muscles j 
and their attachments to the fore-limbs on which they had to 
operate were of a kind to match the bony developments for 
their origins. The grasped tree had to be pulled backward, 
and, for due attachment of the insertional tendons of the 
hauling muscles, not one, but two, crests of the blade-bones were 
developed, besides proportional ridges on the arm-bones. The 
provision for the grasping-machinery is as follows : the hoof at 
the outer border of the fore-foot was limited to one roughened 
digit, the weight of the fore-part of the body being less than that 
of the hind-part ; three other digits are developed and armed 
like the single unguiculate one of the hind-foot. Their work 
was of another kind — to secure a firm grasp of the trunk of the 
tree whose roots had previously been exposed and more or less 
loosened from the soil. The varied movements in swaying to 
and fro the tree thus grasTDcd called for an ora;anisation of the 
fore-limb more complex than that in existing elephants and 
rhinoceroses, and it combines all the modifications save one 
which make the arm and hand of man so fitted for their mani- 
fold applications. The megatherium had no opposable thumb, 
the uses of its hand were mainly in grasping ; but the varied 
directions in which the hauling power had to be applied called 
for all the other bimanous perfections of the limbs immediately 
exerted by the grappler. 

Prior to the discovery of the megathere, man was the largest 
of mammals possessing the collar-bones. Had the clavicle only 
of the great sloth been found, it would have been a better 
foundation for the inference of the giants of old than any of 
those on which the early investigators of fossil remains based 
their evidence of these subjects of fable. The megathere's 

202 Ancient Animals in South America. Jan, 

collar-bone has tlie same slight ' sigmoid ' bends, the same per- 
lect articulation with the breast-bone at one end and the blade- 
bone at the other. Many of the smaller quadrupeds have 
clavicles as complete ; they are those in which, as in monkeys, 
the fore -limbs are applied to many other uses than support 
and j)rogression. The clavicles act as buttresses to the joints 
of the arm-bones with the blade -bones ; they give the needed 
stability and resistance to the cup in which the ball at the top 
of the humerus rotates. True it is that the use of the 
tridactyle paw in the present hypothesis is reduced to that 
of grasping. But its application for that purpose needed 
to be varied according to the directions of swaying, of re- 
sistance, of yielding of the tree to prostrate which the four- 
footed giant was putting forth all his mighty strength. Ac- 
cordingly the elbow-joint of the megatherium shows all the 
complex and beautiful adaptation of ' radius ' to ' ulna,' and of 
both bones to ' humerus,' which the corresponding parts of the 
human skeleton exhibit. The fore-limb had not only the 
movement to and fro in one plane, as in the existing hoofed 
quadrupeds, but the fore-foot, paw, or hand, could be rotated 
— turned in those directions which the physiologist terms 
' pronation ' and ' supination.' 

It is a grand picture to present to the mind this old-world 
wood-beast tugging, riving, and swaying the root-loosened 
tree until the crash of prostration echoed through the primeval 
forest. The characteristic of tropical and sub-tropical South 
America is still its vast and almost interminable woods. The 
soil and climate favour the rapid germination and groAvth of 
whatever seeds find space for development. One is naturally 
curious to discover indications in its fossil remains of the Avays 
in which the great ground-sloth set to work to enjoy the leaves 
now brought more or less within its reach. Branches could 
be readily torn off by the instrument that brought down the 
tree. But if the paw could only roughly grasp the trunk and 
larger branches, how did the animal strip the smaller ones, and 
bring to mouth the coveted foliage ? 

Here the demonstration grew in interest. Our Professor 
explained that the lingual nerve of motion and that of sensa- 
tion, arising from different parts of the brain of the sloth, 
as in other mammals, have each its distinct and peculiar exit 
from the skull. The hole transmitting the ' motor ' nerve 
to the tongue (then moving for our instruction) escaped, 
we were told, by what in human anatomy is called the 
* anterior condyloid foramen.' Our comparative osteologist 
had observed that it was of unusual size in beasts such as the 

1882. Ancient Animals in South America. 203 

ant-eater and giraffe, which have tongues of unusual length, 
muscularity, and mobility. The corresponding foramen Avas 
considerably larger in the megatherium. So complete is the 
skeleton, the subject of the demonstration, that the bones of 
the tongue — ' hyoidean ''■ — are also preserved, and show a cor- 
responding proportional relation to a powerful muscular tongue. 
But of what shape might have been the perishable part of the 
organ ? Our attention was directed to the curious forward 
production of the lower jaw in front of the part supporting the 
teeth. It is like a long spout, and is hollowed out above into 
a smooth semi-cylindrical canal. Along this canal a rope-like 
tongue, of size to match, could be protruded and retracted, 
gliding ' to and fro.' The indicated shape is that of the pre- 
hensile tongue of the giraffe. The moving fibres, according 
to their nerve supply, must have formed a mass of at least 
twice the size of that in the tongue of the great browsing 
ruminant. The giraffe obtains its coveted foliage by its length 
of limbs, of neck, and the build of the trunk from which the 
long neck springs. The megatherium, with broad, robust 
proportions, and raised rump, contrasting with the light and 
slender frame of the large existing leaf-eater, applied a similar 
prehensile organ to the foliage brought in another way within 
the reach of its mobile, flexible tongue. Of the adaptation of 
its teeth to mastication of its food nothing need be said ; their 
cross-ridges remind one of the elephant's grinders. 

When this novel explanation of the megatherian fossils 
was submitted to the judgment of fellow-interpreters of organic 
remains, it was subjected to the usual healthy truth-testing 
questions and objections, one only of which, however, was 
deemed to have a claim to some measure of validity. ' How,' 
asked Dr. Buckland, ' could the beast avoid having its head 
' broken if it were condemned to get its living by pulling 
' down trees ? ' To this the propounder of the theory could 
only reply that he supposed, by instinct and practice, the 
megatherium had learned to dodge a dangerous bough of the 
falling timber. 

A year had not elapsed when the bones of another megathe- 
rioid of somewhat smaller species than Cuvier's reached Eng- 
land; they had been discovered in fluviatile deposits of the 
Rio Plata, seven leagues north of the city of Buenos Ayres, 
when Sir Woodbine Parish was H.M.'s Charge d' Affaires. 
With his wonted zeal and tact Sir Woodbine induced the 
finder to sell the specimens, and they were purchased, at 
the recommendation of the Curator and Hunterian Professor, 
by the Council of the Eoyal College of Surgeons, in whose 

204 Ancient Animal h in South America. Jan. 

instructive museum they are now exhibited, articulated, as an 
almost perfect skeleton. Conceive our Professor's surprise and 
})leasure when he discovered evidences of two distinct frac- 
tures of the skull, neither of them due to injury in the exhu- 
mation or package of the fossils, but both plainly inflicted 
during the lifetime of the animal. One of the fractures, at the 
fore and upper part of the cranium, four inches in length, had 
completely healed — a luiique pathological specimen in the 
Surgeons' collection ; the other, over the hind part of the 
skull, was a more extensive smash, yet attempts at healing 
had followed, and new bone had been partially formed ; evi- 
dence of inflammation and suppuration in the cellular subjacent 
structures was detected, and the Professor's opinion is that 
the animal had finally succumbed to this injury. 

But might not these fractures of the skull have been made 
by blows of an enemy — by the club of an Indian, for 
example, if such prehistoric hunter had coexisted with the 
great sloths, or by a blow inflicted by the fore-paw of the 
great extinct feline, certainly a contemporary ? The response 
of our physiologist was as follows :• — Either of these fractures 
is of an extent and kind indicative that the blow inflicting 
it must have stunned the beast ; it would have fallen in a state 
as helpless as the ox prostrated by the butcher, and death- 
wounds would have ensued, placing the carcase at the disposal 
of the hypothetical flesh-eating assailant had such a one dealt 
the primary blow. And if the fossil skull had presented evi- 
dence of recent fracture the inference would have been that it 
had not survived the injury. The existing sloth is remarkable 
for its tenacity of life : the extinct one, after lying stunned 
for some time, recovered, shook its head, and returned to its 
usual way of daily life. It survived long enough after the 
first accident for com])lete healing to ensue, nor did it imme- 
diately perish after receiving the second stunner. Therefore 
the inference is that both blows were inflicted by a passive or 
inanimate force, and most probably by that which the inge- 
nuity of Buckland conceived to be a proper consequence of the 
way of work by which it was suggested that the megatherioids 
got their living. 

1882. Parliamentarij Procedure. 205 

Art. VIII. — 1. Reports from the Select Committees of the 
House of Commons on Public Business in the years 1837, 
1848, 1854, 1857, 1861, 1869, 1871, and 1878. 

2. Reform of Procedure in Parliament to clear the Block of 
House of Commons Business. By W. M. Torrens, M.P. 
London: 12mo. 1881. 

3. Parliamentary Procedure. A Paper read at the Annual 
Provincial Meeting of the Incorporated Law Society of 
the United Kingdom, on October 11, 1881, by W. T. 


'TIhe House of Commons was startled last session by the 
Speaker suddenly rising in the course of a debate and 
putting the question before the House for its decision, that 
the debate be at once terminated without further discussion. 
The House was fairly taken by surprise. A faint attempt to 
challenge the Speaker's proceeding was ineffectually made, 
and the incident ended. One or two members had during 
the Recess been exercising their ingenuity in the endea- 
vour to discover precedents for the exercise of such a power, 
and they averred that they had disinterred certain ancient 
rules of the House, which had been lying buried for centuries 
past, conferring such a power on the Speaker. It was affirmed, 
however, that they were viewed with disfavour by the Speaker 
himself, who did not interpret them in the sense which the 
discoverers sought to place upon them. The question was, 
therefore, relegated to its original position, and the House 
relapsed into that state of suffering endurance from which 
there appeared to be no deliverance. Here was a Nasmyth- 
hammer power which, whilst it could crack the nut of indi- 
vidual transgression of the rules of Parliament, could equally, 
with one blow, smash the Parliamentary machine itself by 
putting an end to the debate at the will and pleasure of the 

This occurrence proved, however, that the Speaker of the 
House of Commons has powers larger than those which Sir 
Henry Brand and his immediate predecessors have cared to 
exercise, and if the question could be settled by precedents 
from the reigns of the Tudors and the Stuarts, it might be 
more easily dealt with. But these historical investigations 
are of little real assistance. We want to know, not what was 
done two or three centuries ago, but what should be done now 
to restore to the House of Commons its full efficiency and 
power, and to deliver it from an incubus more formidable 

206 Parliamentary Procedure. Jan. 

than the ancient prerogatives of the Crown. We therefore 
hail ^vith the utmost satisfaction the declaration already made 
by Ministers, that the reform of procedure in Parliament will 
bo the first subject to which the attention of the House of 
Commons will be directed in the ensuing Session. This Journal 
may claim a long priority in dealing with these questions. 
An article on ' The Machinery of Public Legislation ' ap- 
peared in our pages in January, 1854,* and another article on 
' Private Bill Legislation ' in January, ISoo.f We venture 
to say that these articles, proceeding, as they did, from writers 
of the highest authority, and perfectly conversant with the 
subject, are exhaustive ; and it is mortifying to reflect that 
seven or eight and twenty years have elapsed without any 
serious effort to remedy evils which have in the meantime 
grown to an intolei'able excess. From the year 1837 to the 
year 1878, Committees have sat upon the business of the 
House, with the result that infinitesimal reforms have been 
adopted. The irregularity of Parliamentary proceedings has 
increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. The 
House of Commons has set itself to the task of investigating 
and prescribing remedies for the evils Avhich have gradually 
developed themselves — with the imperfect success, however, 
which the existing condition of the House, and the paralysis 
of business, abundantly testify. 

We propose to lay before our readers some of the acknow- 
ledged results of these enquiries, and we shall avail ourselves 
also of the spirited and able volume which Mr. Torrens has 
just published, for it is one of the best of his literary produc- 
tions, full of Irish vivacity and English experience, and likewise 
of an address delivered by Mr. W. Manning to the Incor- 
porated Law Society of the United Kingdom. The sug- 
gestions of these gentlemen are valuable, and concur in many 
respects with those originated long ago by ourselves. But the 
main source of information is to be found in the evidence 
taken on several occasions by committees of the House itself. 
Yet although, at the expiration of nearly forty-five years, the 
evil, so far from diminishing, has gone on increasing, no 
sooner is a remedy proposed than a hundred voices are raised 
against it, and the sacred rights of minorities to overbear 
majorities and obstruct the business of the House by mter- 
rainable talk are invoked in support of rules devised for a far 

* Edinburgh Review, vol. xcix. p. 243. This article has recently 
been reprinted by Mr. Rathbone. 

I Edinburgh Review, vol. ci. p. 151. 

1882. Parliamentary Procedure. 207 

different body of men from the present obstructionists of the 
House of Commons. 

In 1837 the same despairing cry went up from the House of 
Commons demanding a remedy for the evils which still exist. 
The Committee appointed in that year to consider the best 
means of conducting the public business with improved regu- 
larity and despatch, reported that they were of opinion that 
they should best discharge the duty assigned to them by an 
attempt to trace the causes to which the unsatisfactory con- 
dition in which the public business avowedly was might be 
attributed ; that it was almost unnecessary for them to show by 
any reference to the state of the business that the evil existed ; 
that the appointment of the Committee was sufficient evidence 
that in the opinion of the House this was the case, and the 
daily experience of every member or the most cursory glance 
at the order book established the fact. The Committee pro- 
ceeded to point out that it was the undoubted privilege of 
every member to interpose any amendment that he might think 
fit, even without notice, upon any occasion whatever; but this 
privilege, conferred for purposes of public utility, was clearly 
only intended to be practically taken advantage of in cases 
of extreme importance. It was obvious that it would be better to 
dismiss from the standing orders the rule giving orders of the 
day precedence to notices on certain days, than to go through 
the mockery of first enacting and then upon every trifling 
question violating it, and the Committee recommended the 
House to interfere to compel a rigorous observance of the rule 
laid down. 

The Committee of 1861, in their Report, referring to the 
Reports of the Committees of 1837, 1848, and 1854, state 
that on all these occasions the House and its Committees have 
proceeded with the utmost caution. They have treated with 
respect the written and the unwritten law of Parliament, 
which for ages has secured a good system of legislation, 
perfect freedom of debate, and a due regard for the rights 
of minorities. This respect for tradition, and this caution 
in making changes, have proceeded on the principle that no 
change is justifiable which experience has not proved to be 
necessary ; and that the maintenance of the old rules is pre- 
ferable to new and speculative amendments. 

The Speaker, Mr. Charles Shaw Lefevre, in his evidence 
before the Committee of 1848, said: — 

' The attention of the Committee should be specially directed to mo- 
tions to adjourn the House and to adjourn the debate. These motions 
he considered as the great interruptions to the course of business ; and 

208 .Parliamentary Procedure. Jan. 

he suggested that all (juestions of adjournment of the House and ad- 
iournment of debate should be decided without debate. Under this 
rule a member would no longer have any inducement to move the ad- 
journment for the purpose of making a speech or some extraneous 
matter (as is now so often the case), as the questions must be decided 
without debate. Great advantage would result from this change ; it 
would in truth only carry into effect the intentions of the House. The 
rules of the House provide that on days called order days, certain orders 
shall be considered ; and on days called notice days, notices of motions 
shall be considered. If members can move the adjournment of the 
House without any notice of any sort, and upon that question may de- 
hate any other question, it is evident that all the regulations adopted 
for the conduct of the business of the House may be rendered quite 

He proposed that the following rules should be adopted : — 

' 1. That every motion for the adjournment of the House which shall 
be made before the business of the day has been disposed of, and every 
motion for the adjournment of a debate, shall be proposed and seconded 
and the question thereupon decided by the House without debate. 
2. That no such motion shall be repeated within one hour after either of 
such motions shall have been withdrawn, or a question thereupon shall 
have been resolved in the negative. 3. That no division shall be per- 
mitted upon any such question unless twenty-one members by standing 
up in their places shall declare themselves with the ayes. 4. That in 
Committee of the whole House every motion that the Chairman do re- 
port progress, or that the Chairman do now leave the chair, be made, 
and every question thereupon decided by the Committee without de- 
bate ; and that no division shall be permitted upon any such question, 
unless twenty-one members, by standing up in their places, shall de- 
clare themselves with the ayes. And 5, that before the order of the 
day for resuming an adjourned debate is read, it shall be competent 
for any member who shall have given due notice of his intention to 
move, " That svich debate shall not be fui-ther adjourned," and such 
question shall be decided by the House without debate, and no amend- 
ment shall be made thereto ; and if the same shall have been resolved 
in the affirmative, and the debate shall not have closed before two 
o'clock in the morning, no member shall rise to speak after that hour, 
but Mr. Speaker shall put the question.' 

The Committee reported that it was not so much on any 
new rules, especially restrictive rules, that the Committee 
desired to rely for the prompt and efficient despatch of business 
by the House. The increasing business called for increased 
consideration on the part of members in the exercise of their 
individual privileges. The Committee desired to rely on the 
good feeling of the House, on the forbearance of its members, 
and on a general acquiescence in the enforcement by the 
Speaker of that established rule of the House which required 

1882. Parliamentary Procedure. 209 

that members should strictly confine themselves to matters 
immediately pertinent to the subject of debate. The experi- 
ence of recent Sessions has unfortunately shown the futility 
of the hope thus expressed, and has sufficiently demonstrated 
that there is a class of members who are restrained by no 
considerations of decorum or even decencies of debate, and 
whom it is therefore necessary to restrain by putting them to 
silence, unless the House is to lapse into chaos. 

Lord Eversley, in hiy evidence before the Committee of 1854, 
said — 

■ In all the improvements we have made in the conduct of public 
business, we have endeavoured as much as possible to let the House 
understand exactly what questions they will have to discuss, and to 
prevent surprises, and also to give some certainty to our proceedings.' 

Mr. Speaker Denison said 

' that the most important thini^ to which the attention of this Com- 
mittee can be directed is cerfainty, day by day, so far as it is possible, 
as to the biisiness to be transacted ; and that for the despatch, for the 
convenience of members, and for decorum of things, certainty is to be 
regarded as the primary object.' 

How, it may be asked, can these objects be secured under 
the present practice, when, by an abuse of the forms of the 
House, debates on the most important subjects are initiated 
without notice on motions for adjournment, frequently made 
at the time of questions to Ministers ? 

Repeated motions for adjournments which have been pre- 
viously rejected by overwhelming majorities are a scandal to 
the House, and an intolerable oppression on the part of mino- 
rities, against which, more than against majorities, a remedy 
has to be applied if the House is to remain master of its own 
proceedings. Mr. Speaker Denison, in his evidence before 
the Committee of 1871, stated that in the previous Session 
no fewer than five working days \vere occupied in taking 
divisions. In the last Session seventeen working days were 
engrossed in this process alone. This evil is aggravated by 
the slow and tedious process by which all divisions are now 
taken, each of them occupying from twenty to thirty minutei^. 
If divisions on a motion for adjournment were taken, as a 
rule, by simply counting the members who support the motion 
in their places, and without debate, they would cease to be 
made as an instrument of obstruction. 

Another great cause of delay is, the numerous stages through 
which every public Bill has to pass. There are still fourteen 
questions necessarily put upon every public Bill, exclusive of 


210 Parliamentary Procedure. Jan, 

the proceedings in Committee, and of amendments, and also 
exclusive of proceedings in the preliminary Committee, in 
the case of Bills relating to religion, trade, and taxes. From 
this fertile source any number of speeches may be elaborated, 
independently of motions for adjournment. 

The then Speaker, Mr. Lefevre, in his evidence before the 
Committee of .848, said: 'I consider the most obvious way 
' of saving the public time will be to limit the opportunity of 
* debate, by reducing the number of questions.' The debates 
on these questions must be limited if the loquacity of honour- 
able members is to be checked. They should be confined 
to the introduction of the Bill, the second reading, and the 
Report from the Panel or Committee, to which it is suggested 
every opposed public Bill should, after the second reading, 
be referred ; limited however to any clauses not touching the 
principle of the measure, Avliich might be singled out for 
discussion on special grounds. It should nevertheless be 
competent for any member to divide the House on every stage 
of the Bill, but without debate. xVmple opportunity would 
thus be afforded of stopping any obnoxious measure, and the 
House would have a full locu^ pcenitentlcB both on the Report 
and subsequent stages, if the Bill were so altered in Committee 
as to render it unacceptable to the House. 

But it is in Committee of the whole House that the resources 
of the obstructionist develope themselves in their full intensity. 
There is here no limit to the speeches which every member 
may make upon each clause and line of a Bill, interspersed 
Avith reading of extracts from Blue Books, and illustra- 
tions drawn from every conceivable topic. What wonder is it 
that the legislative Avheels move slowly, and eventually become 
clogged altogether ? — and they will continue to do so until Par- 
liament consents to work with a less force than a 650 member 
power in passing every Bill through Parliament. It is need- 
less to point out that almost every other representative as- 
sembly has altered its procedure from that of the English 
Parliament ; no other legislative body, nor any municipal cor- 
poration, attempts to discuss the details of its proceedings 
in the presence and through the medium of the whole body. 
All work by means of committees, the result being reported 
to the general body ; and their proceedings are adopted, altered, 
or rejected, as the case may be. 

Mr. Torrens draws an amusing picture of what is called a 
Committee of the whole House. He affirms that, except in 
extraordinary cases, the number of members who form the 
' whole House ' in Committee rarely exceeds 200, seldom 

1882. Parliamentary Procedure. 211 

reaches half that number. What is called a Committee of the 
whole House generally consists of a few score members who take 
an interest in the particular subject. But what is really con- 
sumed is the time of the whole House, since, while the House 
is in Committee, no other business can be proceeded with. He 
therefore concludes ' that all the pedantic talk about its cou- 
* stitutional indispensability is simply fanfaronade.' 

Mr. Torreus i)roposes to meet this and other causes of delay 
by the following remedies, for he is opposed to the introduction 
of the cloture : — 

' 1. Distribution of the House into three panel committees, to one 
of w hich each Bill should be referred after second reading instead of a 
committee of the whole House. 

'2. The reference of every private and local Bill to a joint committee 
of three peers and three commoners, with a judge for president, ap- 
pointed alternately by the Chancellor and the Speaker, instead of the 
present system of double trial. 

' 3. A standing order enabling seven members to call in writing on 
the Speaker to count out the debate instead of counting out the 

' 4. A statute authorising the House of Lords to defer after second 
reading the further stages of any Bill sent up after June 1 by the 
Commons until the ensuing Session. 

'5. A motion for adjournment of the House to be put without 
debate when made without notice ; and no member to be allowed to 
move the adjournment a second time during the sitting.' (Torrens, 
p. 21.) 

Mr. Manning, in the address which we have placed at the 
head of this article, offers the foUowina; sug-o-estions : — 

' Lord Eversley, the then Speaker, in his evidence before the Com- 
mittee of 1854, stated "it would be desirable that a Bill which had 
" been committed to a Select Committee should not in all cases pass 
" through a Committee of the Avhole House, and that the present 
" might be modified in this particular." Mr. 
Evelyn Denison, the then Speaker, in his evidence before the Com- 
mittee of 1861, said that he decidedly concurred in this opinion, and 
that " Avhile other recommendations would perhaps tend more to cer- 
" tainty in the conduct of business, some alteration with regard to the 
" proceedings in Committee would perhaps tend to expedite public 
" business more than anything which had yet been considered." The 
Committee, in their Report, stated that they trusted this opinion would 
receive the careful consideration of the House. Sir Erskine May, in 
his evidence before the Commitcee of 18G9, said that the reference of 
public Bills to a Select Committee was an advantageous practice, and 
one which might be usefully extended ; that generally it obviated ob- 
jections — the members most actively concerned in opposing the Bill 
having had an opportunity of proposing amendments in the Committee. 

212 Parliamentary Procedure. J ai . 

Notwithstanding the foregoing opinions, expressed by authorities best 
competent to form them, no .step whatever has been taken to carry out 
their recommendation. Under the existing system private members 
find it ahnost impossible to pass an opposed Bill through Parliament, 
the result being that the entire legislation of the country is practically 
thrown into the hands of the Ministry of the daj^, who, nevertheless, 
have for many years been unable to pass more than one first-class 
measure in a single Session. The spectacle of members, in the early 
days of the Session, putting down Bills for second reading for the month 
of July, which have therefore not the "' ghost of a chance " of becoming 
law, is calculated to lower Parliament in public estimation. Many 
useful measiu'es are consequently lost each Session. Every private 
member, therefore, should be an advocate for the proposed change, 
which, while reserving to the House the decision on the principle of 
every Bill, would leave the details to be worked out in Committee, 
and thus enable private members to forward the measures with 
which their names have become identified. If the precedent of private 
Bill legislation is considered, it will be seen that formerly it was held 
that it would be quite impossible to concede such enormous interests 
as railway intere.sts to a Committee of five members ; but they are now 
referred to even a smaller Committee. The rules applicable to Com- 
mittees of the whole House should be observed by the Committee 
with this important alteration, that no member should be permitted 
to speak more than once on each clause or amendment, and that no de- 
bate or amendment attacking the principle of the Bill should be allowed. 
The Committee should be attended by experienced draftsmen, who 
should be responsible to the House that the Bill, as passed, was in con- 
formity with the general law, and that the various clauses were con- 
sistent with each other. The avoidance of litigation, the saving of the 
time of the judges in the interpretation of Acts infringing these prin- 
ciples, and of costs, which such an officer Avould effect, can be best 
appreciated by the legal profession. Equal publicity would be aflforded 
to the proceedings of the Select Committee, as to the deliates in 
Committee of the whole House, by admitting the public and allow- 
ing reporters to be present. These Committees would also be the 
means of developing the capacity of the younger members, who are 
debarred by the present system from assisting in the legislation of the 
country. It should be borne in mind that the proposed reform 
would not involve any alteration in the Kules of the House, which 
already provide for all Bills being referred to a Select Committee. 
A great objection to the proceedings of Select Committees is the 
power to take evidence, for which they are not properly constituted, 
and which occupies so considerable a portion of their time. Members 
ought not to be compelled to undergo this drudgery. If the subject 
is of sufficient importance to warrant legislation, the necessary evidence 
should be provided for the Committee by means of a Eoyal Commis- 
sion, where evidence can be taken by those best qualified for the pur- 

He therefore contends that the House of Commons, if it is 

1882. Pavliameiitanj Procedure. 213 

ever to escape from the Slough of Despond, must adopt the 
proposed reform, referring all opposed public Bills to Select 
Committees; but the very grave question i^emains unsolved, 
how such Select Committees should or could be appointed, and 
whether their recommendations would carry sufficient weight 
to be accepted by the House. 

The question of summarily closing the debate is one of the 
most difficult with which Parliament has to deal, opposed as it 
is to all the best traditions of that most ancient and honourable 
assembly. The rights of minorities are sacred ; and, as Mr. 
Torrens well points out, it is by the persevering exertions of 
minoi-ities in Parliament that all the great reforms of the 
present century have been carried. No one seriously desires 
to invade or impair them. Nevertheless, there is high authp- 
ritv for some limitation of the right of speech in debate, even 
amongst the ranks of the most Conservative and Liberal states- 
men. Frankly we may admit it is a choice of evils to which 
we are driven, and on this basis it must be confessed that the 
balance of testimony is infinitely in favour of the change. 
What is the evil to be dealt with ? Speech, indefinite, uncon- 
trolled speech. What is the remedy ? Ciit off the endless 
facilities for speaking in season and out of season, and the 
difficulty will vanish, or might at least be abated. 

It has been objected that the best debaters will be silenced 
by the adoption of the rule. But to this it may be replied 
that the Speaker rules the order of debate, and he may be 
trusted to take care that the leaders on both sides of the House 
shall not be excluded. But it is said that one man will occupy 
the attention of the House to the exclusion of all others. It 
should be borne in mind, however, that members do not stand 
alone ; they are associated and act mth others, who would 
resent their exclusion from the debate, and soon bring the 
recalcitrant member to reason. The House may be trusted to 
hear the men whom it desires to hear because they are worth 
hearing. It would never suffer them to be excluded. 

The late Speaker, Mr. Denison, in his evidence before the 
Committee of 1848, was asked the following question: — 

' Looking to the opinion that you have expressed, that the good sense 
of the House may be trusted where there is a large number of mem- 
bers present, do you think it is possible that the introduction of 
the cloture, to be demanded by not less than a certain number of 
persons, would be attended with advantage ? ' 

To which he replied — 

' I am aware that in most public assemblies it has been found necessary 
to have recourse to some such expedient; but I should be disposed 

214 Parliamentary Procedure. Jan. 

myself to try \vliat could be clone liy other means rather than proceed 
at once to that extremity.' 

Ou this important point it may be well to consider the evi- 
dence which has been taken with reference to the practice of 
the French and American Chambers for limiting the length of 

M. Guizot, who gave evidence before the Committee as to 
the conduct of business in the Chamber of Deputies, in answer 
to a question whether the rules and orders of the French 
Chamber were not originally nearly the same as those of the 
House of Commons, said : — 

" In the beginning of our Constituent Assembly, at the Revolution, 
JNIirabeau asked Etienne Dumout to give him a sketch of the proceed- 
ings of the English House of Commons, and Etienne Dumont gave to 
Mirabeau such a sketch. It became the model of the first rules of our 
National Assembly. So that in the beginning of our revolution the 
proceeding?< of your House of Commons became the source of ours. In 
1814, when the Charter was granted by the King, the same rules were 
adopted with some changes. I think it was at that time the cloture as 
a means of closing the debate was introduced. Before it was intro- 
duced the debites were protracted indefinitely, and not only were the 
debates protracted, but at the end, when the majority wished to put an 
end to the debate, and the minority would not, the debate became very 
violent ; and out of the House among the public it became the source 
of ridicule, and then a measure for demanding the closing of the debate 
was introduced. The proceeding is this : a member, or two members, 
call la cloture, the President puts it to the vote ; if any member ob- 
jects, he can speak against the cloture ; one only can speak, and no 
reply is allowed, and then the President puts the question : Must the 
debate be closed ? 

' Q. When there have been very great party conflicts in the Chamber, 
has this power of cloture been used in a Avay that has been oppressive 
to the minority ? 

' A. I think not. Upon some special occasions the minority have 
complained that the debate was closed ; but generally when the ques- 
tion has been decided in the affirmative, the minority have submitted 
without difficulty. I think the majority never abused that power. 
The debates lasted very long ; even with the power ol' cloture we have 
had a debate of more than a fortnight. 

' Q. When the cloture is demanded, if a member rises to speak against 
it, is he allowed to speak on the main question ? 

' A. No ; he speaks only on the question. Is the clotwe proper and 
just? If he speaks upon the main question, the President tells him, 
" Sir, you cannot speak upon the main question ; speak upon the ques- 
tion of clulure." 

' Q. With the existence of the power of cloture, is it your opinion 
that all subjects have been amply and lairly debated? 

' A. Yes, it is quite my opinion ; I never knew in the Chamber of 
Deputies a debate which did not last sufficiently long. 

1882. Parliamentary Procedure. 215 

' Q. Do you think that without Some power of closing debates, the 
public business in your Chamber could have been conducted satis- 
factorily ? 

' A. I think not. I think the cloture in our Chamber was an indis- 
pensable power. Calling to mind what has passed of late years, I do 
not recollect any seriotis and honest complaint against the cloture. 

' Q. Have you any limit put to the length of speeches by any order 
of the House ? 

'■A. None at all. There is no limit to the length of speeches, either 
on the main question or on amendments.' 

Mr. E. Curtis, of New York, a Member of Congress, gave 
evidence as to the conduct of business in the House of Re- 
presentatives of the United States of America. He was 
asked — 

* Q. Can you state to the Committee whether the Rules and Orders 
of the House of Representatives in Congress were the same as those of 
the English House of Commons ? 

'■A. The Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives at the 
establishment of the Government in 1789 were nearly the same as those 
of the House of Commons. 

' Q. Have the rules in process of time been varied, and what are the 
wain causes which have led to these changes ? 

'■A. The Rules have been considerably varied, chiefly from the ne- 
cessity of facilitating the despatch of business. 

' Q. Were the debates protracted to an inconvenient length ? 

' A. They were protracted, as was thought, to an unreasonable length. 
There was felt to be a necessity of finding some mode of closing the 
debate. The difficulty was not being able to close a debate.' 

Mr. Curtis proceeds to state that as early as the year 1794 
it had been settled that the question of adjournment was not 
debateable, and the practice has from that time continued, and 
now exists, that a motion to adjourn shall be decided without 

' Q. Will you be so good as to describe in what way a debate is 
brought to a close ? 

^ A. It is by the operation of what we call the previous question. The 
previous question with us is not the same as that known in the British 
Parliament. By Rule 50 of the House of Representatives, the previous 
question shall be in this form : Shall the main question be now put ? 
It appears that on the previous question being demanded it must be 
supported, or, as the phrase is, seconded by a majority, and on this 
being ascertained, the Speaker announces : The previous question is de- 
manded by the House. If it should pass in the negative, the subject 
Tinder debate is resumed ; if in the affirmative, the debate ceases, and 
the amendments having been considered, the main question is put to 
the vote without debate. 

The number of the House of Representatives is 229 ; they 

216 Parliamentary Procedure. Jan. 

sit round t\\p. Speaker in a half-circle, the seats rising as in an 
amphitheatre. The vote is taken by each party rising in 
turn ; but, in case of its being demanded, the ayes and noes 
may be called. The Speaker attains to great accuracy in 
estimating the respective numbers, and to great quickness in 
counting them. Members of the Executive Government have 
no seats in the House. Twenty-eight standing Committees 
are appointed at the commencement of a Session, and all Bills 
originate in these Committees. No question of order is 
debated; all such questions are decided by the Speaker, and 
if his decision is appealed from to the House, it is decided by 
vote, without debate. In this way questions of order, questions 
of adjournment, and the previous question to bring a debate to 
a close are decided by vote without debate. Besides this, a 
rule has been adopted to limit speeches to one hour ; this rule, 
called the one-hour rule, was adopted in the year 1841. 

Mr. Curtis, speaking of this one-hour rule, says it has 
greatly facilitated business. It has impi'oved the quality of 
the speeches ; public opinion is decidedly in its favour. The 
best proof of this is that as these rules are adopted only from 
session to session^ and there have been changes of parties 
since they were adopted, both parties have in curn adopted 
these rules and acted upon them. The most intelligent and 
experienced gentlemen of the country approve of them, both 
the previous question and the one-hour rule. The present 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Winthrop, 
has lately in a letter expressed his opinion in favour of the 
one-hour rule. Mr. J. Randall, an advocate practising in the 
Federal Courts of the United States, in the city of Phila- 
delphia, confirmed Mr. Curtis's statements, and expressed an 
opinion that ' the previous question ' and ' the one-hour rule ' 
have -worked well. At first the one-hour rule was much op- 
posed, but it has worked well; it has fought its way into 
public favour, and has the support not only of the members 
of the House, but of the ]3eople at large. 

A considerable portion of the evidence taken before the 
various Committees has been witli reference to the appointment 
of standing or, as they were formerly termed, Grand Com- 
mittees, into which it has been proposed to divide the whole 
Plouse for the purpose of legislating in different sections. This 
was the suggestion made by this Journal in 1854. We pro- 
posed that the House should be divided into six Grand Com- 
mittees of 100 each the Ministers and Privy Councillors having 
access to them all, and each Committee having a department 
of its own, as law, finance, trade, &c. Mr. Torrens's three 

1882. Parliamentarii Procedure, 217 

panels are a larger division of the same kind. Select Com- 
mittees, as they are now constituted, of about fifteen or twenty 
members, would, in our opinion, be deficient in numbers and 
in weight. The chief objection to this scheme appears to be 
that it would not be easy, consistently with our Parliamentary 
habits, to name the time of day at which these Grand Com- 
mittees or Panels could sit, without interfering with the occu- 
pations of the morning or the business of the evening. 

The system pursued in the French Chambers is well de- 
serving of consideration. Those bodies are subdivided by lot 
into a certain number of bureaux, or grand Committees of 
about fifty members each. Every member of the Chambers 
belongs to some one of these bureaux, unless specially exempted ; 
some members, we think, to more than one. A Bill is re- 
ferred to one of these bureaux for critical examination before 
what we should call the second reading, and is brought up 
by a reporter, named on the Committee, who explains all its 
provisions. The Budget of the year is referred to one of these 
Committees, who examine every detail of it with the greatest 
precision. This ensures practically a far stricter control of 
the financial proposals of the Government than can be ob- 
tained by a desultory discussion on a supply night in the House 
of Commons. 

In the Session of 1880 the block of business had reached 
such a state that the Government of Lord Beaconsfield felt 
constrained to endeavour to cope Avith it. In Committee on 
the South African Bill the House had been debating and 
dividing for twenty-six hours, led by the hon. member for 
Liskeard, and supported by five or six other members. These 
tactics being repeated by the Irish members on numerous 
occasions led to the adoption by the House of the rules to 
prevent obstruction, under which a member may be suspended 
for the sitting, or, after three suspensions, ibr the remainder ot 
the Session. In the last Session these rules of discipline were 
enlarged by others, providing for urgency being voted on the 
demand of a Minister of the Crown. The oppressive character 
of this rule was shown by the fact that the leader of the Oppo- 
sition was driven to address his constituents and the public 
through the press as the only means of obtaining a hearing. 

The insufficiency of these rules to prevent organised obstruc- 
tion was amply demonstrated by the proceedings of the obstruc- 
tionists on the earliest opportunity, which presented itself in the 
debate on the Address at the commencement of the Session, 
which, instead of being concluded, according to precedent, in a 
single sitting, extended over no less than eleven sittings. This 

218 Parliamentary Procedure. 


debate was an entire waste of the time of" the House, the whole 
subject havmg to be again discussed on the passage through 
Parliament of" the various Bills to which it related. The 
necessity for a controlling power being placed in the hands of 
either the House or the Speaker was rendered obvious by this 
proceeding, even if the action of the malcontents on a sub- 
sequent occasion, culminating in the temporary expulsion of 
thirty-five of their number from the House, did not afford 
ample testimony to the necessity for a change in rules per- 
mitting liberty of debate to degenerate into license. 

It has been contended that if the power be given to a 
majority to close a debate, the rights of members will be 
abrogated, and the House placed at the mercy of the Ministry 
of the day, and this would no doubt be the case if the power 
were vested in a bare majority. The happy medium has to be 
struck, unless Parliameut is to be controlled by a clique bent 
on its destruction, or unless, like Pharaoh with the Israelites, 
it will let them go. This number must exceed that of the 
obstructionists, and not exceed the usual numbers of the 
Opposition voting in a division. A three-fourths majority 
would meet these requirements, and, whilst checking the 
tyranny of a bare majority, Avould effectually protect the rights 
of a bond Jide minority. It may be safely affirmed that in no 
other representative assembly in the world would the spectacle 
of recent Sessions be tolerated, in which a handful of members 
(avowing as their object the degradation and dismemberment 
of the Legislature of w^hicli they formed a part, and of the 
empire of which they were fellow- citizens) was permitted 
night after night to stop the Parliamentary machine and block 
the progress of every measure, and even the necessary votes in 
Supply to carry on the service of the country. 

Mow soon this odious system of obstruction is to be applied 
to our foreign and colonial policy time will show. Hitherto 
the course of debates on these subjects has been so arranged 
that no obstacle has arisen to their being concluded within a 
reasonable time, and complaints have never been heard of 
their being insufficiently discussed or arbitrarily closed. The 
most important subjects to be brought before Parliament are 
precisely those on which rapid action may, on some sudden 
emergency, be required ; and it is on these questions that 
systematic obstruction might be applied with the most fatal 
and disastrous effect. 

Having dealt with the salient points of public legislation, 
we have to consider the mode of regulating the private business 
of Parliament so as to make it consonant with the sugs^sted 

1882, Parliamentary Procedure. 219 

alterations in public business. The reference of opposed private 
Bills to various tribunals, such as the Board of Trade, local 
governing bodies, and roving commissioners, has been proposed. 
The existing tribunal of a Select Committee is an excellent 
one in many respects ; for instance, in breadth of view, inde- 
pendence, and the high character of its members, it is second 
to none which can be devised, although Lord Brougham 
in his celebrated Resolutions expressed a contrary opinion. 
Against these qualities, however, is to be placed the consump- 
tion of the valuable time of members which is required for 
other and greater objects. We think, however, that this in- 
convenience has been somewhat exaggerated. The business of 
Select Committees on private Bills is entirely conducted in 
the daytime, between the hours of twelve and four in the 
afternoon. The public business of the House begins at the 
latter hour, and if all the private business of Parliament were 
transacted elsewhere, it would add Httle or nothing to the time 
available for the debate of public measures. This we believe 
to be the opinion of the experienced and able officer of the 
House, Sir T. Erskine May. 

On this question of the private Bills Mr. Manning has the 
following remarks : — 

' Under the present practice, about a hundred membei's of the House 
of Commons, independently of the House of Lords, are occupied every 
Session on committees on opposed private Bills. Many of them are 
the most experienced members of Parliament, and, in order that their 
services may be available on public Bill committees, they must first be 
set free from attendance on committees on private Bills. This diffi- 
culty has no doubt been one of the obstacles to carrying out the 
reform so long since recommended on such high authority. 

'■ Under the existing system the attention of Parliament is occupied 
with the vast and heterogeneous mass of work which is thrust upon it 
hy the various counties, cities, and boroughs, by the railway com- 
panies, water and gas companies, and other corporations and interests 
all over the country, with the result of impeding the entire public 
legislation of the Empire. 

' Five members of the Lords and four of the Commons now sit on 
opposed private Bills in their respective Houses to hear evidence and 
decide on passing or rejecting them. The members of this dual 
tribunal may, and sometimes do, differ on the conclusions at which 
they arrive, and it thus happens that a Bill passed by five members of 
the Lords' Committee may be rejected by two members of the Com- 
mons' Committee on the casting vote of the chairman. 

' It is needless to enlarge on the additional cost to the promoters and 
opponents of this double enquiry. Sir Erskine May, in his evidence 
before the Joint Committee of 1869, stated that he was persuaded that, 
if one tribunal only had been introduced fifteen years previously, it 

220 Parliamentary Procedure. Jan. 

would have saved the promoters and opponents of private Bills many 
millions in costs. The Committee reported Uiat it was expedient that 
opposed private Bills should be referred to a Joint Committee composed 
of members of both Houses. 

' It should also be borne in inind that the uncertainty attending the 
present system, where promoters have incurred enormous costs in one 
House, which are thrown away by the rejection u£ their Bill in the 
other House, operates to prevent the introduction of many useful 
measures to the public detriment. 

' Various reforms have alread}' taken place in private Bill legislation 
and the trial of election petitions, by which the attendance of members 
on Committees has been dispensed with, and other tribunals have taken 
their place, of which the following are instances : — 

(1) The abolition of Committees on Standing Orders, ami the ap- 

pointment by both Houses of examiners in their stead, who 
enquire into the compliance with the Standing Orders of both 
Houses at the same time. 

(2) The appointment of referees. 

(3) The appointment of election judges for the trial of election 


Mr. Manning then goes on to recommend that every private 
Bill should be referred after the second reading to one of the 
election judges. The proposal to create new and untried tri- 
bunals for the purpose of informing the mind of Parliament on 
the weighty matters which are the subject of the majority of 
private Bills is not one which commends itself to us. The 
experience of those which have been set up by the side of the 
existing legal tribunals has not been satisfactory, and a further 
increase of them is to be deprecated. The instance of the 
Railway Commission, which has failed to secure the confidence 
of the railway companies, which are nevertheless compelled to 
appear before it, is a case in point. Other instances to the 
same effect might be adduced. But still less can we accede to 
Mr. Manning's suggestion that the investigation of private 
Bills should be transferred to the judicial body. The judges 
of the High Court of Judicature have quite as much to do as 
they can satisfactorily accomplish. To deal with these private 
Bills would demand a considerable increase of the judicial staff, 
which we think undesirable. Moreover, these investigations 
turn chiefly on ciuestions of fact, having very little connexion 
with the law. To apply the fii'st legal intellects of the country, 
which are never too abundant, to adjudicate on competing 
railways, canals, or street improvements, would be to cut stone 
blocks with razors, and the work would probably be much 
better done by men having more practical knowledge of these 
subjects than of the principles of law and equity. But we 

1882. The Bonapartes. 221 

agree with Mr. Torrens that it is highly desirable that the 
mixed Committees of the two Houses appointed to report on 
private bills should be presided over by a judicial functionary, 
who need not be a member of either House of Parliament, or 
a judge of the land. Some such judicial officer is much needed 
to give greater regularity and uniformity to the proceedings 
of these Committees. The question of private Bills is, how- 
ever, a secondary part of the matter. No great difficulty or 
obstruction has arisen in the present mode of dealing with 
them, and a little simplification of the procedure by abolishing 
the double enquiry would probably meet the exigencies of the 

It has been intimated with authority that the first business 
to be brought before Parliament in the ensuing Session is this 
all-important subject of Parliamentary procedure. Mr. Glad- 
stone will apply to it all his wonted energy and his vast Par- 
liamentary experience. We trust that his proposals will be 
met by the leaders of the Opposition in a candid spirit, for this 
is no question of party. Neither party seeks to take an un- 
fair advantage of the other. Both are equally concerned in 
restoring and maintaining the dignity and efficiency of the 
House of Commons. 

Art. IX. — 1. The Life of Napoleon III. Derived from 
State Records, from unpublished Family Correspondence, 
and from Personal Testimony. By Blanchard Jerrold. 
4 vols. 8vo. London: 1874-82. 

2. The Marriages of the Bonapartes. By the Hon. D. A. 
Bingham. 2 vols. London: 1881. 

3. Recollections of the Last Half-Century. By Count Orsi. 
London: 1881. 

A consideration of the weakness and inherent childish- 
■^ ness of human nature permits us to understand how it 
is that in France a large party should even now ignore the 
crimes of the First Napoleon ; should forget the evil fate which 
his tyranny, covetousness, and ambition drew down on the 
country of his adoption; should remember only his military 
glory and the grandeur of his genius, and should thus base 
their political principles on the worship of his name and on 
devotion to his family ; but we confess to finding it impossible 
to understand how any Englishman of ordinary, and still naore 
of cultivated, intelligence can be subject to the same hallucina- 
tion. Mr. Blanchard Jerrold has been known for many years 

222 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

as a pleasant writer, and by hereditary claim as a politician 
of Liberal or even of advanced views; but in undertaking 
this present work he would seem to have pledged himself 
to a blind admiratio)i of anything and everything that any 
member of the Bonaparte family has ever done, to an approval 
of everything that his hero has ever said, or, by anticipation, of 
everything that he ever thought. He appears before us not so 
much as a biographer or an advocate as a devotee, more Bona- 
partist than the Bonapartes, more imperialist than the Em- 
peror, with the necessary result that his book as panegyric is 
exaggerated and fulsome, as history is worthless, and as art is 
detestable. Even his language is at fault ; although a prac- 
tised writer, he is frequently ungrammatical, he falls into 
French idioms, or makes use of French Avords which have very 
exact English ec^uivalents. A school examination, for in- 
stance, is a pro loco ; to have come to grief in it is to have 
degringoU; and a police-van is a panier a sulade. On the 
other hand, he is careless in translating, so much so that we 
might miss the meaning, and still more the point, were it not 
that the Fi'ench originals are commonly inserted as footnotes 
or appendix. 

It is impossible for us to sav how far all this has been recog- 
nised by the Empress Eugenie or other representatives of the 
late Emperor of the French ; but notwithstanding the con- 
tinued announcement on the title-page, we notice that whilst 
in the first two volumes there are frequent references to private 
papers and letters, these are altogether wanting in the later 
volumes, in writing which Mr. Jerrold would appear to have 
been thrown on his own resources, and to have been compelled 
to patch up his eulogium as he best could, out of such materials 
as the newspapers and pamphlets of the day have left at his 

For history, properly so called, the reign of Napoleon III. 
is still too recent. The storm and revolution in which it 
began have left their mark on the whole period ; and the 
angry strife of parties has rendered it impossible for a French- 
man to speak or write except as a partisan. We may some- 
times think that, even amongst ourselves, party warfare and 
constitutional opposition are apt to degenerate into rancour 
and violence: but for any political parallel in oiu' own history 
with that of modern France, wo must go back to the end of the 
seventeenth century, to the reign of James II. or of William and 
Mary, and to the conditions of public feeling which culminated 
in the Bloody Assi/e or the Massacre of Glencoe. We must 
consider that the differences betw^een parties are not, as with 

1882. The Bonapartes^. 223 

us now, mere graduated shades of opinion, seeking to naodify 
the details of government in accordance with changing con- 
ditions ; but are rather a number of absolute discrepancies, in 
which Socialists, Republicans, Bonapartists, Absolutists, Or- 
leanists, Legitimists, all mingle, to render confusion more 
confounded. It would be temerity rather than judgment 
which would venture to say that the future of the Republic 
now is more assured than that of the Empire was twenty years 
ago. In face of the possibilities which may become realities 
before the French government is established on a firm basis, 
even speculation is silent : Ave can only argue, from the 
analooy of our own history, that some one of the contending 
divisions must establish a firm supremacy ; faction must tone 
dov/n into party, and the spirit of revolt fall as dead as the 
day-dreams of the Jacobites : but how this is to come about, 
or what, in twenty years' time, will be supremacy, what will 
be revolt, we neither know nor prophesy. But we trust it 
will not be the supremacy of the Bonapartes. 

Of the public history of the First Napoleon we have nothing 
now to say. The mist with which his military genius long 
surrounded his name, has, little by little, given way before the 
sun of truth ; and the work of Lanfrey ]iut his character 
soberly and honestly before the world. Lanfrey does not 
appear as a partial critic ; but the publication of further 
material, and, more distinctly, of the Memoirs and Letters of 
Madame de Remusat, shows that even Lanfrey's estimate is 
too favourable. Mr. Bingham's ' Marriages of the Bonapartes ' 
has few pretensions to originality or deep research, and would 
seem to have sprung out of the author's love of gossip, scandal, 
and naughty stories, which, as often as not, he spoils in the 
telling ; but he has brought together a great deal of the 
evidence on which we base our estimate of the private cha- 
racter of Napoleon, his brothers, his sisters, his kinsfolk and 
acquaintance, the examination of which forces on us the con- 
clusion that Lewis Goldsmith spoke within the most rigid 
truth in saying 'that had the French nation searched their 
' galleys, their bridewell, or a common brothel, they could not 
' have selected a more infamous family to govern them.' 

When Goldsmith published his ' Secret History of the 
' Cabinet of Bonaparte,' in which he enlarged on this text in 
exceedingly plain language, the world was still under the fas- 
cination of the Emperor's genius : it recognised him as _ an 
enemy, as cruel, ambitious, and unscrupulous ; but was wilHng 
to believe that his crimes and vices must be heroic ; that petty 
fraud, mean falsehood, cheating, and spite were incompatible 

224 The Bonupartefi. Jan» 

with the assumed 2^rancleiir of his character ; and that the 
fouler vices of Avhicli he Avas accused were simple impossi- 
bilities. Lewis Goldsmith was therefore pronounced to be not 
only a liar, but a filthy liar ; and, from that time to, his 
book has been held to be a model of all that is worthless and 
scurrilous. But the whirligig of time brings its revenges : 
revelation after revelation has confirmed Goldsmith's allega- 
tions, however foul, however coarse ; and he must now take 
rank not as the ill-tongued, low-minded slanderer of brave men 
and honest women, but as a writer curiously Avell-informed in 
the secret history Avhich he professed to set forth, and to have 
had reasonable grounds for his statements, even where the 
secret history Avas fiction, as secret history often is. 

More than once the persons av1i(^ crossed the path of the 
First Napoleon disappeared in a mysterious manner, and those 
who kncAv him best believed him to be capable of any enormity. 
There is, on the other hand, no direct proof that their death 
was caused by Bonaparte ; nothing but concurrent suspicion. 
The Empress Josephine herself Avas convinced that if she 
thAvarted his Avishes, she too would be found to have com- 
mitted suicide. ' Who knoAvs,' she said to her confidante, 
Madame de Remusat, ' if he Avill be able to resist the necessity 
' of getting rid of me if I stand in his Avay ? ' Madame de 
Remusat, in relating this, adds : — 

* WhateA^er I might think of the facility Avith Avhich Bonaparre 
yieldfd to political necessity, I did not believe for a moment tliat he 
Avould l)p capable of conceiving and executing the black .designs of 
Avhich she then suspected him. But he had acted in such a Avay on 
several occasions, and he had used such language, that it Avas not sur- 
prising her misery should inspire her with suspicions of this terrible 
kind ; and I avus imable to make any other reply than " Madame, be 
" quite sure that he is not capable of going so far."' 

But the Emperor's brother, Joseph, felt no such assurance,, 
and, Avhen urging him to the divorce, said to him plainly : — 

' If a natural cause should bring about the death of this Avoman, 
then, lor all France, for Europe, and for myself who knoAA' you Avell,. 
you Avill be a poisoner. Who Avill believe that you did not do Avhat 
it was in your interest to do ? Better be beforehand Avith such shame- 
ful suspicions. You are not married. You have never consented to 
have your union Avith this woman consecrated. Leave her for political 
reasons, and do not alloAv it to be believed that you have got rid of her 
by a crime.' 

Some criminal lawyers are said to have laid down the axiom 
that, as between man and wife, no further grounds for murder 
need be looked for : the relationship is one in Avhich long 

1882. The Bonapartcs. 225 

experience has shown that extremes meet ; and Josephine was 
very far indeed from being perfect in her conduct. Had the 
fear of her husband hung over her by reason of any one of her 
numerous frailties, the suspicion Avould have been at least 
human ; but not for such reasons was Napoleon murderously 
inclined. He had no reason to suppose the cast-off mistress of 
Barras to be a model of virtue ; and although he was well aware 
of her frequent lapses, he had never shown any disposition to 
judge them harshly. ' During the first campaigns in Italy,' 
wrote his aide-de-camp, Count de Lavalette, ' he sent aAvay 

* several of Josephine's lovers from headquarters, and others 

* on his return from Egypt ; but he deprived none of them of 
' either life or liberty.' In fact, although he Avould seem to 
have had, at first, a certain coarse animal passion for his bride, 
it soon expended itself; and the two may be said to have 
thenceforward acted on the familiar precept, slightly modified — 
love and let love. 

Earlier writers have dwelt principally on the romance of 
Josef)hine's career, the circumstances of which have been much 
obscured and even falsified. Napoleon was not fond of having 
the antecedents of either himself or his wife too closely 
enquired into; although of a family that fairly ranked as 
gentle, he was wont to say that his patent of nobility dated 
from Montenotte ; and of his wife all that was officially sup- 
posed to be known Avas that she Avas a Creole, the Avidow of the 
Viscount de Beauharnais aa^io had perished on the scaffold. 
Napoleon himself related the story of his first introduction to 
her. An order had been given to disarm Paris : every person 
having arms Avas ordered, under scA^ere penalties, to give them 
up. Eugene de Beauharnais, a bright intelligent boy of ten 
or eleven, waited on General Bonaparte to beg leave for his 
mother to retain his father's SAVord. Bonaparte, pleased Avith 
the child's manner and appearance, gaA^e up the SAvord ; and 
the next day Madame de Beauharnais called to thank him for 
his goodness. He saAv, loved, wooed, and married. The story 
AA'as, of itself, enough to captivate all lovers of the romantic, 
and, told in verse, Avas popular as an English song for at least 
fifty years afterwards. Unfortunately, there is no more truth 
in it than in any other story A-ouched for by Napoleon. The 
order to disarm referred explicitly to fire-arms : the possession 
of the SAvord was never questioned ; Eugene de Beauharnais, 
Avho Avas then not ten or eleven, but nearly fifteen, preferred 
no request for it ; and General Bonaparte first made the ac- 
quaintance of Madame de Beauharnais under very different 


226 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

It appears that, by the date of her birth, Josephine was born 
au Euglish subject ; Mai*tinique being at the time, by the good 
service of Sir George Rodney, an English possession, thougli 
given back to the French when Lord Bute patched up the 
hasty and undignified peace of 1763. An alliance between her 
family and that of Beauharnais had long been contemplated, 
and was arranged to be carried out in the persons of the 
young Viscount and Josephine's younger sister Desiree. 
Desiree, however, died ; and after some negotiation it was 
decided that Josephine, then of the mature age of sixteen, 
should take her place ; the principal objection made on behalf 
of the bridegroom being that she was too old ; for he himself 
was, at the time, only nineteen. The objection was waived ; 
she was sent home to France and married to M. de Beau- 
harnais on December 13, 1779 ; but, as Mr. Bingham puts it, 

* there is only too much reason to suppose that Josephine's 

* conduct was of a character to give rise to jealousy.' A 
separation was threatened, and in the course of 1783 Avas 
actually decreed. Eight years later they Avere reunited ; but 
Beauharnais, although he had taken service in the Rejjublicau 
army, did not escape suspicion as a ci-devant, and as such wus 
duly guillotined. 

Josephine, though she narrowly escaped the same fate, was 
far from being an inconsolable widow. In prison, she had 
contracted an intimacy with Madame de Fontenay, the 
mistress and afterwards the Avife of Tallien, as well as the not 
too Platonic friend of Barras. Even in love, Madame de Fon- 
tenay was not selfish : she introduced Josephine to Barras, 
and betAveen these two a relationship of a by no means doubt- 
ful character almost immediately sprang up. It was in this 
libertine set, to Avhich his position as military governor of 
Paris introduced him, that Bonaparte first saw Josephine, a 
woman, as Ave may readily believe, infinitely superior in oracp, 
in elegance, in refinement, to anything a young fello^\', 
whose only idea of society had hitherto been the barrack-room, 
had ever seen ; and Barras, finding the young soldier in a con- 
venient frame of mind, easily persuaded him to marry tlie 
charming AvidoAv, salving his scruples, if he had any, Avith the 
command of the army of Italy. This view of the situation is 
neither heroic nor romantic, but it is true. Josephine herscli' 
Avas not especially eager for the match, but it Avas pressed \\\)o\\ 
her. 'Will you believe it? ' she Avrote to one of her friends, 
' they want me to marry Vendemiaire ; ' and to another: — 

' Barras assures me that if I marry the General, he Avill obtain the 
command-in-chief of the army of Italy for him. Yesterday Bonaparte, 

1882. The Bonapartes. 227 

in speaking to m-e about this flivour, which ah-eady makes his comrades 
murmur, although it is not yet accorded, said : " They think then that 
■" I need protection in order to succeed. They will be too happy some 
" day if I only condescend to accord them mine. My sword is at my 
'* side, and I shall make my way with it." ' 

This sounds well, and better in the French than in the 
English, which is Mr. Bingham's : but the fact remains that 
T3arras promised the appointment on certain conditions ; that 
the conditions were fulfilled ; and that Barras himself attested 
the marriage, which took place on March 9, 1796. With a fib 
peculiarly feminine, Josephine stated her age to be four years 
less than it really was. ISTapoleon has been supposed, on the 
other hand, to have antedated his own birth by eighteen 
months. M. Lanfrey, in 1869, thought that he did so to 
gratify a Avhim of Josephine, and accepts the usually re- 
ceived date, August 15, 1769, as correct; but more recently. 
Colonel Jung, after examination of papers in the French War 
Office, is of opinion that Napoleon was born at Corte on 
January 7, 1768, and that it was Joseph who Avas born at 
Ajaccio on August 15, 1769. There seems, in fact, to be a 
r,n-eat deal of evidence all tending to the same conclusion ; in 
iddition to which, it appears well established that in the home 
circle, and long before he had achieved greatness, Napoleon 
was always recognised as the head of the family : and Mr. 
Bingham, convinced that Napoleon's age has been deliberately 
raisstated, suggests that the falsification took place in De- 
•ember 1778, when Count Marboeuf, the governor of Corsica, 
uave Madame Bonaparte a nomination to Brienne for one of 
her sons. The nominee was limited to ten years of age, and 
fhe choice would thus necessarily have fallen on Joseph, who, 
i>eing of a gentler disposition, gladly gave place to his tur- 
bulent elder brother. The point of principal interest about it 
is that if the earlier is the correct date, Napoleon was not only 
aot a French subject by birth, but his father, at the time, was 
actually in arms against the French usurpation: the settle- 

aent of Corsica was in June, 1769. 

The passionate love which Bonaparte bore to Josephine has 
been dwelt on by all writers, down to the latest. His early 
letters to her seem indeed to have been dictated by passion, 
iiut a passion very different from pure love. They might, Mr. 
Bingham thinks, have offended Josephine's modesty, had she 
not been ' a woman of the Avorld, who had already been married 

and repudiated, and who had been met by her second husband 
• in the midst of a dissolute society of a dissolute epoch.' What- 
ever the passion, it did not last long. Within the vear his 

228 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

relations to his wife had become cool and business-like ; and 
in the following May we find him writing that Eugene * is 
* the son of that General de Beauharnais, whose death everyone 
' regrets.' 

From the first, Josepliine had shown little love for her 
husband. She had indeed only accepted him under a pressure 
which, to her gentle, indolent nature, amounted to compulsion; 
nor did she pretend to any grief on his having to leave her for 
the army. Her amours were, all along, sufficiently notorious : 
and those of Napoleon, after a year of abeyance, were a 
scandal, more or less public, wherever he went. Of the in- 
cestuous attachments attributed to him there is perhaps no 
proof, and humanity would fain discredit them ; but leaving 
these out of the question, there is no doubt that Napoleon and 
his sisters led lives of the grossest immorality, for the most 
part without even a tinge of romance. His first acquaintance 
— it can scarcely be called his intrigue — with the Countess 
Walewska has indeed a certain comic strain which takes off 
some of its grossness. 

On the occasion of the Emperor's first entry into Warsaw, 
Murat had persuaded the Countess to attend him in the neigh- 
bouring castle appointed for his residence. He was busy 
writing Avhen her arrival Avas announced, and, without disturb- 
ing himself, ordered her to be shown to her apartment, to be 
offered supper, a bath — whatever she wanted — and to be told 
she might go to bed if she chose, and went on writing until a 
late hour. 

' At last' — it is Madame de Reinusat who tells the story — ' his business 
being finished, he proceeded to the apartment where he had been so 
long waited for, and presented himself with all the manner of a master 
who disdains useless preliminaries. Without losing a moment, he 
began a singular conversation on the political situation of Poland', 
questioning the young lady as if she had been a police agent, and' 
demanding some very circumstantial information respecting the great 
Polish nobles who were then in Warsaw. He inquired particularly 
into their opinions and their present interests, and prolonged this ex- 
traordinary interrogatory for a long time. The astonishment of a 
woman twenty year.s of age, who was not prepared for such a cross- 
examination, may be imagined. She answered him as well as she 
could, and only when she could till him no more did he seem to- 
remember that Murat had promised, in his name, an interview of a 
more tender nature.' 

The liaison so entered on proved more lasting than might 
have been expected, and was not dissolved till the final over- 
throw of Napoleon and his being shipped off to St. Helena. 
One result of it was the birth, in 1810, of that Count Walewski 

1882. The Bonapartes. 229 

who afterwards filled several high posts under the Second 
Empire, and was so Avell known in this country. 

Count Leon, another son of Napoleon, born in 1805, died 
only last April. His mothei-, Madame Revel, the Emperor 
took possession of by the simple process of putting her husband. 
Captain Revel, in prison. According to Mr. Bingham, ' he was 

* accused of having been engaged in a fraudulent transaction ; 

* but the charge was evidently trumped up, his only crime beino- 
' diat, like Uriah, he was the husband of a pretty woman.' 
This Leon is described as singularly like his father, both 
morally and physically ; the moral resemblance seems to have 
shown itself principally in cheating at cards and fighting duels; 
on the strength of the physical resemblance, he appealed to 
the people both in 1830 and in 1848 ; his known and worthless 
character, however, rendered his appeals ineflfectual, and he 
Jiever emerged from obscurity. 

Whether amongst Napoleon's many passing amours must 
be numbered one Avith his step-daughter, Hortense Beauhar- 
nais, has long been a burning question. True or false, the 
scandal is a very old one ; and adds that when Hortense proved 
likely to become a mother, she was, sorely against her will, 
married to Louis Bonaparte, in order that her son, if she 
should bear one, might, by reason of the apparent consan- 
guinity, be recognised as the presumptive heir to the throne. 
It is, at any rate, quite certain that at an early date, and 
whilst the idea of empire was not fully developed, the son of 
Hortense was spoken of as the heir of Napoleon, in preference 
to his acknowledged father, Louis, or his elder uncle, Joseph. 
JToseph was loudly indignant, and expressed his indignation in 
no measured terms ; his sister Caroline, married to Murat, was 
no less vehement. Such scenes were pleasing to Napoleon ; 
they gave zest to his sense of mastery, and he sought rather 
than avoided them. Thus, in the presence of the family he 
said one day to the ' little Napoleon,' a still unconscious infant, 
^ Do you know, my little fellow, that you run the risk of 
'being a king some day ? And mind, my poor child,' he added 
for the express benefit of Madame Murat, 'I advise you, if you 

* value your life, not to accept invitations to dine with your 

Louis Bonapai'te was more indignant than either Joseph 
or Caroline, for the scandal which explained the proposed suc- 
cession was to him a more direct injury; and as the boy's 
reputed father he could take a more determined tone. 

' Why,' he said, ' should I yield my share of inheritance to my son ? 
How have I deserved to be cut off? "What will my position be when 

230 The Bonajyartes. Jan.. 

my child, taking that of yours, finds liimself very mucli higher phiccd 
than I, and quite independent of me, standing next to yourself, and 
regarding me with suspicion, if not with contempt ? No ; I will never 
consent to this ; and rather than renounce the proper course of suc- 
cession to the royalty which is to ])e yours, rather than consent tO' 
humble myself before my own son, I will leave France, taking Napoleon 
with me, and we shall see whether you will venture openly to take a 
child from his father.' 

That Louis believed the story of the boy's parentage is 
probable ; it is certain that the indifference he had felt for his 
wife turned to bitter hatred. According to Madame de Kemusat, 
Hortense Avas a most virtuous and deeply injured woman — an 
opinion which many well-established facts discredit, and that 
so positively that even Mr. Jerrold can only say, ' She Avas 
*not Avithout error. They who loved her best were constrained 
* to admit her follies, to boAv their heads when it Avas asserted 
*that she Avronged her husband' — which is as delicate a Avay of 
expressing disapproval of adultery as has come under our 
notice. The 'little Napoleon,' however, died of croup in 
May, 1807 ; and though Hortense had by that time a second 
son. Napoleon Louis, and'Avithin the year a third, Louis 
Napoleon, the Emperor never transferred to either of these 
the very marked affection Avhich he had shoAvn towards their 
elder brother. The project of divorce, Avhich had meauAvhile 
been in abeyance, Avas again brought to the front, and was 
finally carried into execution in December, 1809 ; in the 
following spring Napoleon Avas married to the Archduchess 
Marie Louise ; and the King of Rome, afterAvards better 
knoAvn as the Duke of Reich.stadt, Avas born on March 20^ 
1811. For years afterwards, nothing Avas heard of the children 
of I-Iortense as representing the Bonaparte family. 

Louis Napoleon, the third son of Hortense, and, by legal 
presumption, of her husband, Louis Bonaparte, Avas born in 
Paris on April 20, 1808 The character of his mother is no 
guarantee for his legitimacy ; according to the popular scandal, 
his real father Avas a Dutch naval officer. Admiral Verhuell.. 
Victor Hugo, Avhose republican exaggeration is as Avell knoAvn 
as his poetical genius, has Avritten of him : * He belonged to no 
' family, as he could hesitate betAveen Bonaparte and Verhuell ;. 
' he had no country, as he could hesitate betAveen France and 
' Holland ; ' and again : ' He Avho Avrites these lines, talking one 
*day about Louis Bonaparte Avith the ex- King of Westphalia, 
' remarked, " In him the Dutchman tones doAvn the Corsican." 
*"If there be any Corsican," ansAvered Jerome.' In this, 
Victor Hugo but repeated the belief of a very large section. 

1882. The Bonapartes. 231 

of the French people, which, however, seems to us ill-founded. 
It is admitted that in the summer of 1807, consequent, as we 
may suppose, on the death of the ' little Napoleon,' the 
object of Louis' jealous suspicions, the King and Queen of 
Holland, who had long lived apart, were, for a time, reconciled ; 
and Mr. Jerrold, though feigning ignorance of the whole 
question, has quoted a letter from Louis to his wife, dated 
April 24, 1808, in Avhich he clearly enough recognises the 
new-born babe. It runs thus : — 

' M. de Bylandt lias arrived in less than fifty hours, and he brings 
me the news of your deliverance. I have begged mamma and I have 
requested Madame de Boubers to give exact accounts of your health. 
I hope they will soon acquaint me with your complete convalescence. 
When M. de Villeneuve returns, I will beg you to let me know Avhat 
the Emperor has written to you. I should like the little one to be only 
christened, so that he may be solemnly baptised here : but I subor- 
dinate my wishes to yours and to that of the Emperor.' 

If we may accept the genuineness of this letter, to the 
origin of which Mr. Jerrold gives no reference, it may be 
considered as fairly setting the doubt at rest ; for Louis was 
neither unsuspicious nor forgiving. His reconciliation with 
his wife was of no long continuance ; even before the birth of 
this cliild, they had found it better to be separate ; and when 
Holland was in name as well as in fact absorbed into the 
Empire, Louis went off by himself into Styria, whilst Hor- 
tense remained in Paris ; it was many years before they met 
again. At some late period, Louis Napoleon seems to have 
entertained a fleeting purpose of writing an autobiography, 
but not to have gone further than noting down some of his 
childish recollections. 

' I often went,' he says in this fragment, ' with my brother, who was 
three years my senior, to breakfast Avith the Emperor. They used to 
conduct us to a room the Avindows of which open on the Tuileries 
gardens. When the Emperor entered, he came up to us, took us by 
the head between his hands, and in this way stood us upon the table. 
This exceptional way of carrying us frightened my mother very much, 
Corvisart having told her that it was very dangerous to children. In 
1815 my mother had obtained permission to remain in Paris. When the 
first news of the landing of the Emperor came, there was great irrita- 
tion among the Royalists and the Gardes du Corps against my mother 
and her children. The rumour ran that we were to be assassinated. 
One night our governess came with a valet de chambre and took us 
across the garden of my mother's house to a little room on the boule- 
vards, where we Avere to remain hidden. It Avas the first sign of a 
reverse of fortune.' 

This ' little room ' Avas the home of Mimi, an old black- 

232 The Bonapartcs. Jan. 

Avomun Avho liad come from jNIartinique with Josephine, and 
had been the nnrse of Eugene and Hortense ; and Mr. Jerrokl 
tells us : — 

' It was from IMimi's garret that Queen Hortense heard the difFerent 
notes that sounded the approach of the Emperor : from those of vitu- 
peration when he was distant to the sweet accents of praise when he 
■was at hand and his legions were niarcliing to and fro in the streets of 
Paris. The poet said that he had come back Avith the violets ; and 
when it was safe for the loyal and devoted Hortense to go forth from 
her hiding-place with her boys, she made her Avay through happy 
crowds to the Tuileries, np the staircase of Avhich the victor of Auster- 
litz had been carried in the arms of his soldiers.' 

The ' loyalty ' and ' devotion ' of Hortense were family 
affairs ; to whom should the woman be ' loyal and devoted ' 
if not to her step-father, her brother-in-law, and her bene- 
factor ? and in referring to the happy crowds and the exulta- 
tion of the soldiers, Mr. Jerrold is but accepting the idea 
which has been very commonly accepted by others. The 
truth, as it appears to us, is that Napoleon, on his return from 
Elba, was Avelcomed and borne to powder by a very small 
minority of the French soldiers and the French peopde. That 
Napoleon Avas the darling of the French soldiers has been so 
constantly said and rej^eated, that the changes coinciding with 
the different stao-es of his career have been lost sio-ht of. The 
Napoleon of Lodi, of Austerlitz, or of Jena, was adored ; the 
feeling towards the Napoleon of Moscow or Leipzig was 
•rather terror, which the rigorous enforcement of the conscrip- 
tion had strengthened and enhanced. The effect of this was 
really very marked. Of the thousands that escaped from the 
horrors of the Russian campaign, very few rejoined the colours; 
and of the hundreds of thousands who were returned to 
France, in 1814, from the prisons of Russia, Germany, and 
England, the number that supported Napoleon on his return 
was trifling. The royal army, of about 150,000 men, accepted 
him readily enough; but his utmost exertions could not increase 
that number by more than 100,000; and he hurried on the 
Belgian campaign and the battle of Waterloo, distinctly and 
avowedly because delay Avould give the allies time to con- 
centrate their forces, but could bring him no accessions. 
When we consider that at that time there must have been in 
France, at the lowest estimate, more than 500,000 soldiers, 
exclusive of those serving ; that the number of officers returned 
from Russia alone w'as over 3,000 ; that for a period of twenty 
years the whole intellect of France had been turned to the 
army ; that all ambition, aspiration, energy, centred in it. 

1882. The Bonapartes. 233 

all education was directed to it ; and that of the men so 
brought up, the career was at once cut short by the downfall 
of Napoleon ; but that most of them preferred, in the life of 
a citizen, the death of all the ambitions, hopes, and dreams 
of their youth — we are forced to conclude that the Napoleon 
of 1815 was not quite so much the idol of the soldiers as he 
has been represented ; that their worship of him, based on his 
success, died out Avith his failure ; and that the military spirit 
was insufficient to lead even these old soldiers to resume, in 
the dark hour of adversity, such habits of order and discipline 
as they had once had. 

After the final overthrow of Napoleon, the ex-Queen of 
Holland, now Duchess of St. Leu, was ordered to leave Paris. 
With her two boys, she went, in the first place, to Geneva, 
where, however, the people did not receive her with gushing 
affection. Mr. Jerrold thinks this strange, and is shocked at 
the conduct of some officers who ' actually held a banquet in 
' her hotel— that is, the hotel in which she happened to be 
'staying — to celebrate the fall of the Emperor.' It does not 
appear that they went out of their way to do this, or that they 
were able to make other arrangements ; and we are not pre- 
pared to admit that the Swiss owed any especial respect to a 
woman whose only claim to consideration was that she had 
married a Bonaparte. However, as Geneva was not likely to 
prove a pleasant resting-place, the Duchess passed on to Aix 
in Savoy. Even here, we are told, 

* her ease was ever and anon broken by the cruel scraps of news that 
readied her retreat. The assassination of Marshal Brune at Avignon, 
the fate of Ney and Labedoyere, the hard destiny allotted to Napoleon 
— in short, all the brutalities that followed fast upon the second restora- 
tion — came as so many stabs to the overwrought mind of the Queen. 
Her dwelling, too, was surrounded by Koyalist spies. Fellows of evil 
aspect were continually seen skulking in her vicinity. The Eoyalist 
terrorism was intense.' 

A more real trouble was the loss of her elder son. Napoleon 
Louis, who was claimed by his father, then residing in Rome. 
She was permitted to keep the younger, Louis Napoleon. 
But in October she received an intimation that she could not 
be permitted to remain so near the French border. She went 
to Constance ; but the Grand-Duke of Baden ^ sent word 
that she must not stay either there, or within his territory. 
Eventually, however, and after some changes, the prohibition 
was withdrawn; on February 10, 1817, she purchased the 
chateau of Arenenberg; and there for the future she made 
her home, although much of her time was passed at Augsburg, 

234 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

■where her son Louis studied for the next eight years, and 
' although she made frequent visits to Eome, where ' she spent 
' many agreeable winters in the midst of her family, and helped 
* to form Louis' tastes and character by giving him the society 

of the great and gifted.' As she was virtually separated from 
her husband, as her elder boy stuck to his father, and as she 
had no other relations in Italy, Mr. Jerrold's reference to the 
family circle is somewhat out of place, and, if it means any- 
thing at all, can only mean that she and Louis Avere a good 
deal together. This undoubtedly was so. The boy's training 
and education were indeed carried on almost entirely under 
his mother's eye ; and though he acquired a respectable 
amount of scholarship, and even of excellence in physical 
exercises, the development of his character was in many 
respects feminine. The cat-like secrecy, the cunning, the 
fixedness of purpose, and the patience Avhich marked his later 
years, appear to us as so many imprints of this early influence. 
And through life the relations between Hortense and her son 
continued to savour of the nursery. 

In December 1830, Prince Louis Xapoleon was prepar- 
ing to take part in the Italian uprising, which ended as an 
uprising so ill-considered might have been expected to end. 
Mr. Jerrold's account of this is vague and imsatisfactory ; we 
are happily able to compare it with that given by Count Orsi, 
who at this time first made the acquaintance of Prince Louis, 
and entered into close relations with him, some recollections of 
which he has, during the last few years, given to the world in 
occasional articles, and has now collected into an interesting 
little volume. We may add that though written by a foreigner, 
the English is excellent ; where the author goes astray it is 
not in introducing foreign idioms or foreign words, but rather 
in the use of half vulgar or American colloquialisms, which 
here and there read strangely. But, mere style apart. Count 
Orsi is happy in conveying to us an impression of his perfect 
honesty and trustworthiness ; his notes, he tells us, were taken 
at the time ; and his partialities and prejudices are natural 
and alloAvable : he makes no attempt to conceal them. He 
writes, indeed, subject to a certain, we may suppose, necessary 
reticence ; but Avhat he has to tell, what he considers himself 
permitted to tell, he tells, and in a pleasant, manly, straight- 
forward manner, which carries with it a full belief in the 
accuracy of the record, so far as it goes. 

^ The French Revolution of July 1830, like all the other 
French Revolutions, sent a tremor through every country in 
Europe. Even in England it was not without result in 

1882. Tlie Bonapartes. 235 

quickening the progress of the Reform Bill ; bnt on the Con- 
tinent its effects were more marked and more violent. Bel- 
gium proclaimed and asserted her independence ; Poland was 
crushed in attempting to do the same ; and in Italy the desire 
for independence and political liberty called numbers of the 
noble and high-minded to arms. Into this attempt the two 
sons of Louis, now known as the Count of St. Leu, eagerly 
threw themselves. Mr. Jerrold considers that their doing so 
was the simple outcome of their love of liberal institutions ; 
that they had no personal aim, but ' helped the cause as lovers 

* of freedom.' It is therefore interesting to compare with this 
assertion Prince Napoleon's own statement, as now repeated 
by Count Orsi, which runs : — 

' In the midst of the turmoil which seems to set Europe topsy-turvy, 
it is hateful to my brother and myself to remain idle spectators of 
current events, and to shut ourselves out from the rest of the world. 
The name we bear, the spirit that enlivens us, coupled with a great 
desire of being useful to this country that gave our family the most 
heartfelt hospitality, inspire us not to resist the opportunity of joining 
the insurgents in the Eomagna. . . . No other field seems open to us 
for the exercise of mental and bodily exuberant activity.' 

With the sentiments thus manifested we find no fault, but 
they do not show that godlike pui'ity of motive which, accord- 
ing to Mr. Jerrold, directed every action of either of the two 
brothers. Napoleon Louis had been from early youth the 
pupil and companion of his father, a man of austere character 
and studious habits, the only one of the Bonapartes of Avhom 
even scandal has no ill to tell. * A good, honest, Avell-meaning 
' young man,' wrote Lewis Goldsmith, adding withal, ' No one 

* will accuse me of partiality for the Bonapartean race.' The 
young Napoleon thus comes before us as a man of distinctly 
more masculine tone than his brother : remarkably handsome^ 
writes Count Orsi, above the middle size ; in shape and gait 
perfection : — 

' An expression of great intelligence and sweetness, a keen look in 
his eyes mingled with simi^licitj- and kindness that was most lascinat- 
ing, had made him the idol of Florentine society, and the pet son of 
the Comte de St. Leu. His education had been carefully attended to,, 
and his stock of knowledge and proficiency in classics, foreign languages,, 
and in sciences particularly, had brought the most eminent men in 
Florence to court his acquaintance and friendship.' 

This is the verdict of a friendly judge, but there is no reason 
to doubt its substantial accuracy. Prince Napoleon Louis 
died too soon fully to confirm the good opinion of the friends 
of his youth, but he is everywhere spoken of as a young man 

256 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

of very remarkable promise. It was at his special invitation 
and in his company that Orsi attended a meeting of the 
patriots. Orsi was heart and soul in the cause of independ- 
ence, but did not believe in the prudence of revolt without 
support. The Prince, on the other hand, maintained that, 
with the French pledged to the doctrine of non-intervention, 
circumstances had never been so favourable for Italy ; but 
Orsi would put no faith in the French pi'omises. 

' Louis Philippe,' he said, ' is not the man to risk his long-coveted 
throne in a war with Austria. He will give in at the first summons 
of the Austrian premier. He will become cowed. Austria will sweep 
us away before Ave are in the battle-field, and the French king will be 
the better for his treacherous policv.' 

That this was fully understood by the statesmen of Europe 
would appear from the letter of Lord Palmerston, then Foreign 
Secretary, to Lord Granville at Paris : — 

* I have not yet taken the opinion of the Cabinet; but I should 
myself say to Fi-ance that it would not be worth her while to risk in- 
volving all Europe in Avar for the sake of protecting the revolutionists 
in Romagna. If we could by negotiation obtain for chem a little share 
of constitutional liberty, so much the better ; but we are all interested 
in maintaining peace, and no one more than Louis Philippe.' 

It was, hoAvever, entirely on the understanding that France 
Avould forbid the intervention of Austria, that the meeting was 
held. The younger Menotti explained the details of tlie 
proposed rising under the leadership of the Duke of Modena. 

' He alone,' he said, ' can make us an independent nation. . . . The 
understanding betAvcen the Duke of Modena and my brother is com- 
plete, and the King of the French is secretly abetting all that is con- 
cocted for a Avar against Austria, under protection of the principle of 
non-intervention solemnly proclaimed by him. . . . The whole plan 
rests on a fact Avhich cannot be questioned noAv — the principle of 
non-intervention, Austria is shut up in her fortresses ; she is for- 
bidden to move. She is doomed to be the simple spectator of Avhat Ave 
do. Such an event could never have been hoped for, or even dreamed 
of, by the most sanguine on earth. If Ave let this opportunity escitpe 
Avithout making a desperate attempt to free our country, posterity Avill 
be right in its judgment to stamp the Italians Avith the stigma of 
cowards and slaves.' 

Against all this, Orsi protested at great length. He did not 
believe in Louis Philippe ; he did not believe in the Duke of 
Modena, who Avas, he said, the most conspicuous champion of 
absolutism, cruelty, and lust for money, notorious for his sub- 
serviency to the Avill of Austria, and to the bigotry of Rome. 

' One of the most remarkable features or this meeting,' Count Orsi 

1882. The Botiapartes. 237 

tells us, ' was the complete silence of Prince Louis Napoleon. He had 
just arrived from Rome, and the information he was to give us con- 
cerning the real position and plan of the insurrectionary forces already 
in the tield waa the very tiling I had been anxiously awaiting. Not a 
Avord was uttered by him. I could not account for it, nor did I deem 
it advisable to appear to notice it.' 

Afterwards, when the meeting had broken up, and Orsi was 
again urging on the Prince the ill-advised nature of the insur- 
rection, and the evil consequences which it would entail, an 
him most of all, since, as a Frenchman, he ought to reserve 
himself for French affairs, Prince Louis said : ' You lose sight 

* of the engagements we have entered into, which we swore to 

* perform.' ' Engagements ! with whom? ' said Orsi. ' With 

* the secret society of Carbonari, of Avhich we are members,' 
answered the Prince. ' I was not aware of it,' rejoined Orsi ; 

* such being the case, I cannot help feeling even more anxious 
' than I did before.' Prince Louis' connexion vfith the secret 
societies has been often discussed, very positively asserted, and 
very stoutly denied. Mi-. Jerrold quotes a letter from Count 
Arese which says, ' It cannot be said that he was a Carbonaro, 

* for the Prince always appeared strongly opposed to sects of 
' all descriptions, even Avhen their object was a generous one.'^ 
It would seem, therefore, that he told Count Orsi that he was, 
and Arese that he was not ; the presumption is, that his storv 
to Count Orsi was the true one. 

It was only two days after the meeting that news came of 
the Austrian army, 20,000 strong, having crossed the Po. 
The Duke of Modena notified to Menotti that this interventio-n 
of the Austrians changed the face of affairs, and he would have 
nothing more to do Avith the projected insurrection. On this, 
Menotti called his people to arms and rose against the Duke ; 
but was overpowered, taken prisoner, and executed on a 
scaffold set up in front of his own house. Those who took up 
arms in the Komagna Avere equally overpoAvcred by the Aus- 
trian troops ; many Avere shot, many more Avere throAvn into 
the dark noisome dungeons that have played so prominent a part 
in Italian politics. The tAvo Bonaparte Princes Avere obliged, 
like the rest, to look out for their own safety ; had they been 
arrested, their shrift Avould probably haA^e been excessively 
short. Hortense Avas, at the time, at Florence. An English 
friend obtained for her a passport as, 'for an English lady 

* travellino; Avith her tAvo sons throuoh Paris to Eno-Jand ; ' 
and so armed, she set out to look for them. The elder was 
meanwhile taken ill of -measles, and died after a few days' ill- 
ness ; Louis also Avas presently taken ill, but, beiug joined by 

238 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

his mother, ^vas nursed through his sickness, and eventually, 
after many adventures, smuggled out of the country. They 
were prohibited from entering France upon pain of death ; 
but, with the English passport, they made for Paris, and threw 
themselves on the forbearance of the King, to whom Prince 
Louis wrote: — 

*. . . I pray you, Sire, to open the gates of France to mo, and to 
allow me to serve as a simple soldier. I could console myself for 
absence from my country when, in an luifortunate land, liberty called 
me under her standards ; but now that courage lias been compelled to 
yield to numbers, I have found myself obliged to fly from Italy. 
Nearly all the states of Europe are closed upon me. France is tlie 
only one where it would not be reproached to me as a crime that I had 
embraced the sacred cause of a people's independence ; but a cruel 
law banishes me. Separated from my family, inconsolable for the loss 
of my brother . . . life Avould be insupportable to me if I did not con- 
tinue to hope that your Majesty will permit me to return as simple 
citizen to the French ranks, happy if one day I may die fighting for my 

It has been said that Louis Philippe was not averse to per- 
mitting him to remain in France ; but his miuisters pronounced 
it impossible. The Prince and his mother were ordered to 
leave Paris. They replied, that the Prince was confined to 
bed with a severe relapse. But his presence in Paris began 
to be talked of. On May 5 there was rioting round the column 
in the Place Vendome ; cries of'' Vive V Empereur ! ' were heard. 
It was reported that Prince Louis had been seen in the crowd ; 
and a peremptory order was sent, that ' unless the Prince's life 

* was absolutely in danger, they must leave instantly.' They 
accordingly passed over to England. 

Mr. Jerrold, who takes his account entirely from the state- 
ments of the Duchess of St. Leu, says that *not a single 

* friend kncAV that they had been twelve days in Paris ; the 

* Prince had been a prisoner in his room nearly all the time.' 
If this was true, if the Prince was in bed in a high fever, and 
with leeches on his throat, the story of his having been seen 
amongst the rioters on the Place Vendome might be put on 
one skIc, although M. Guizot, in his ' Memoires,' seems to 
attach some weight to it. Unfortunately, however, for his 
argument, Mr. Jerrold I'elies exclusively on Queen Hortense's 
statement, and supports the story of Prince Louis' illness by 
no corroborative evidence. But clearly if the illness was a 
pretence, and Louis, instead of being in bed, was actively 
engaged in fomenting disturbance, the Queen was a party to 
the plot, and her evidence is worthless. And, on the other 
hand, M. Claude, the Chief of the Police, whose ' Memoirs ' 

1882. The Bonapartes. 239 

are now in course of publication, says positively that at this 
time, while Prince Louis was supposed to be sick in bed, he 
himself met him, in disguise, in one of the worst haunts of 
thieves and murderers, over whom he had some mysterious 
influence, and whom, in fact, he was preparing to take part 
in a violent outbreak. He says also that, by a curious acci- 
dent, the Prince, on leaving this den, was arrested by a party 
of police, imprisoned in Sainte-Pelagie, and from there hurried 
out of the country to join his mother in England ; that but for 
this the riot of May 5 would have been merely the prologue 
to a serious insurrection. He further adds his conviction that 
some of these midnight adventures of Prince Louis were known 
to Eugene Sue, and that they suggested to him the character 
of Prince Rodolphe, and some of the incidents of the ' Mysteres 
' de Paris.' We are not prepared to say that Claude's ' Me- 
* moirs ' are to be accepted as rigidly historical ; we think 
that much of the colouring may be romance, and that the 
writer is often biassed by his political prejudices ; but we 
believe that the principal facts are correctly stated, and that, 
so far as relates to the visit of Prince Louis to Paris in 1831, 
M. Claude's evidence is at least as good as that of Queen 

The death of iS^apoleon Louis had opened a new vista to 
Louis Napoleon. Next to the Duke of Reichstadt, he Avas 
now the recognised head of the Bonapartes, for the older 
generation had retired from the field. Lucien indeed was not 
consulted ; it was admitted by the Bonapartists that he and 
his family were barred from the succession. But an attempt 
was made to rouse Joseph to action. Joseph, as Count de 
Survilliers, was in America, and refused point-blank to put 
himself forward in any way. Count Orsi gives an interesting- 
account of a journey he made across the Atlantic, in order to 
try and rouse him. Joseph was only anxious to be allowed 
to spend his days in peace. 

' Bear well in mind,' he said to Orsi, ' tliat if the French people 
want any of our family to establish a provisional government in the 
name of the son of Napoleon I., they know where we are ; but as to 
our agitating the country by underhand proceedings or conspiracies, 
or l:iy abetting military revolutions likely to create civil war, never 
shall we lend ourselves to anything of the kind. United Europe has 
vanquished my brother, the Emperor. His downfall has brought our 
own. He gave up the throne rather than foster civil war, which he 
bad a horror of. We must not act at variance with his principles. 
We do not think much of power acquired by illegal means.' 

Louis, Count de St. Leu, was morosely of the same opinion. 

240 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

He dreaded any act wliicli might give umbrage to the great 
Powers, and had already expressed his displeasure at the part 
his sons had taken in the Italian insurrection. And though 
in name the undoubted head of the family, and the centre of 
the hopes of the Bonapartists, the Duke of Reichstadt was 
virtually a prisoner of state in Vienna. He was, too, in deli- 
cate health, and he does not seem to have had either the tem- 
per or the genius of a conspirator. Had he lived, he would 
have acted rather as a drag on Bonapartist aspirations ; but 
he died^ young, on July 22, 1832, and the day-dreams of 
Louis Napoleon began to assume a more visible form. The 
intimate friend of his youth, Madame Cornu, has said that 

* from the day of his brother's death he Avas a different man. 

* I can compare his feelings as to his mission only to those 

* which urged our first apostles and martyrs ; ' and that by his 
mission he understood ' a devotion, first to the Napoleonic 

* dynasty, then to France ; ' 'his duty to his dynasty Avas to 
'perpetuate it ; his duty to France was to give her influence 
'abroad and prosperity at home.' His actual mission, mean- 
time, was to write pamphlets and to bring his name continu- 
ally before the public. For the next few years, during which 
he resided with his mother at Arenenberg, he Avas occupied 
principally with such work, setting forth under different pretexts 
the merits of the Napoleonic government. Here is a sample as 
rendered by Mr. Jerrold : — 

' Let us be just, Frenchmen, and let us render thanks to the man 
who, sprung Irora the ranks of the people, did everything for their 
prosperity, who enlightened them, and secured the independence of 
their country. If, some day, the people \_les j^euples] are free, they 
will owe it to Napoleon. He accustomed the people [le pevple'] to 
virtue, which is the only basis of a republic. His dictatorship should 
not be cited against him ; it led us towards liberty, as the iron bar {Je 
soc defer] which turns up the earth creates the fertility of the fields. 
He spread [c'est lui qui iiorta'] civilisation from the Tagus to the 
Vistula; he rooted \_qui envaciaa'] in France the principles of the 

Or again : — 

' It was not for the sake merely of giving crowns to his family that 
he made his brothers kings, but that each might be, in his country', 
the pillar of a new edifice. He made them kings that people should 
believe in his security and not in his ambition. He put his brothers in 
power because they alone could conciliate the idea of change with the 
appearance of immutability, because they alone could, in spite of their 
royalty, submit to his wishes, because they alone could be recompensed 

for the loss of a kingdom by becoming once again French princes ' 

in fact, because they alone could or Avould be puppets in the 

1882. The Bonapartes. 241 

hands of Napoleon. And, strange as it may seem, Mr. Jer- 
rold has not the faintest idea that Prince Louis was writing 
nonsense ; his only comment on it all is : — * In these and other 

* passages we perceive how thoroughly Prince Louis' mind 
^ was saturated with the Napoleonic idea, and how he per- 
' sisted in interpreting it as that which was to free and reo-ene- 
^rate the nations of the earth.' 

His first step towards freeing and regenerating them was 
the attempt at Strasburg on October 30, 183G. The de- 
tails of this are familiar enough. Dressed up to resemble 
the First Napoleon, and introduced to the artillery of the 
garrison by their commanding officer, he was recognised by 
them as Napoleon II. ; but, passing on from the artillery to 
the parade-ground of the infantry, he was there arrested, and 
together with his immediate following was, ignominiously 
enough, shoved into prison. Mr. Jerrold denies the dressing 
up ; he says the Prince wore his Swiss military coat, but adds 
that he wore also the star and riband of the Legion of Honour, 
a cocked hat, and the epaulettes of a colonel. But in the Swiss 
army he was a captain. * The colonel's epaulettes,' he says, ' were 

* put on in obedience to the Napoleonic tradition. Napoleon I. 

* was always dressed as a colonel of the chasseurs or grenadiers 
^ of his guard.' We think, then, that we might almost leave 
Mr. Jerrold to confute himself; but regardless of this, and 
quite irrespective of the accounts published at the time, it was 
sworn on the trial, by an old officer who knew Napoleon I. 
well, that the Prince ' was dressed in a costume similar to 

* that which the Emperor used to wear.' 

But it is not only in such matter of detail that we differ 
from Mr. Jerrold. We are distinctly at variance with him in 
our estimate of the whole affair. His position is : — 

' That the motives of the chief actor were neither base nor selfish ; that 
lie had been a close student of the living history of his time, and had 
formed a theory of government based on that of his imcle, in which he 
believed with his Avhole heart and soul ; that he never intended to 
seize upon the crown of France, but to submit her destinies to an 
orderly expression of the national will ; and in fine, that the means to 
the end had been prepared and adjusted with the greatest patience and 
skill. The failure was an accident ; and after the failure the means 
were hidden in order to screen scores of officers who had held them- 
selves ready to support the Prince.' 

There is scarcely one clause of this that we can accept. We 
believe indeed in the patience, but not in the skill ; and we 
know of no accident to cause the failure, unless the presence 
or the loyalty of the infantry colonel is to be so considered. 


242 The Bonapartes. Jan, 

We have already seen that the Prince considered the re-esta- 
blishment of the dynasty as the first object of his mission, the 
advantage of France as but secondary ; and we are convinced 
that the mark at which he aimed then and afterwards was the 
crown of France. Base he may not have been ; selfish, as 
preferring his dynastic claims to the welfare of tlie country, 
he assuredly was. 

Prince Louis being a prisoner, caught in the very act of 
sedition, his guilt required no proof, and the Government, un- 
willing, probably enough afraid, to make his name a centre of 
excitement, determined simply to send him out of the country. 
He Avas accordingly shipped off to America on board a man- 
of-war, going in the first instance to Rio. It was thus not 
till nearly five months after his departure that he landed at 
Norfolk, in Virginia, and was able to communicate with his 
friends in France. His accomplices had meantime been 
brought to trial ; the main facts charged against them had 
been proved or indeed admitted — for the defence found little 
to urge beyond idle rhapsody and appeals to the magic of 
Napoleon's name, Napoleon, the conqueror of Austerlitz ; and 
the jury, almost without deliberation, had pronounced through 
their foreman, ' Before God and before men, on my soul and 
' on my conscience, on all the questions. No, the accused are 
' not guilty.' We have had too often, even among ourselves, 
proof that in political cases a jury will vote for popular ap- 
plause rather than for truth; and in this case the jury would 
seem to have been carried away by the claptrap appeals, the 
impassioned oratory of the counsel for the defence. 

But though deported to America, Prince Louis was not 
under any obhgation to stay there ; and on receiving news 
of his mother's ill-health, he determined at once to return 
to Europe. He sailed from Ncav York on June 12, and 
arrived in London on July 10, 1837. A good deal has 
been said at different times of the intimate knowledge he had 
of American character, acquired during his stay in America. 
It is well, therefore, specially to notice that he was in the 
States for exactly two months, neither more nor less ; and 
though during that time he led a social and festive, not to 
say dissipated life, frequented the public billiard rooms, and 
was enrolled as a member of tlie ' Grand Order of Owls ' — 
a convivial club ' Avhose esoteric sittings in select council Avere 
' held in the spacious cupola of Holt's Hotel ' — the citizens of 
Ncav York must be not only more representative of the 
American people than they are commonly supposed to be, but 
must Avear their hearts curiously on their sleeves, if two 

1882. , The Bonapartes. 243 

months thus spent among them permitted the Prince, with but 
an imperfect knowledge of the language, to learn very much 
of the peculiarities of American character. 

Once in London, he was anxious to go on to join his mother 
at Arenenberg; but the Continental Powers were by no 
means anxious to have him wandering about in their terri- 
tories. He affected to think it strange that he should be re- 
fused passports. ' What have I done,' he wrote, ' to be the 
' pariah of Europe ? I have raised for a moment in a French 

* town the flag of Austerlitz, and 'I have offered myself as a 

* holocaust to the memory of the prisoner of St. Helena.' He 
did, however, get to Arenenberg with a false passport, and 
for the last two months of her life was present by the bed- 
side of his mother. She died on October 5, a Avoman of 
whom much ill has been spoken, and not undeservedly, hut 
who, with many faults, was an affectionate, perhaps too affec- 
tionate mother, concentrating on her one remaining son that 
wealth of love which, in youth, she had dispensed freely to all 
comers. She left six or seven volumes of memoirs, which, we 
are told, are never to be published in their entirety. Mr. 
Jerrold, who has had access to them, says : — 

' They are full of exaggerations and indiscretions, of high-flown sen- 
timents and hasty verdicts on men and women. Throughout there is 
evidence of a generous spirit, a warm heart, and of a penetrating mind. 
The intimate descriptions of Napoleon are in many passages admirable, 
and would be valuable to history as showing the warmer side of his 
character. . . . She represents her husband as a domestic tyrant, with 
whom it Avas impossible to live ; but it is easy to see by the context 
that what she called tyranny was the endeavour of a serious man to 
curb the wild exuberance of a frivolous woman, who found most of 
her pleasure away from the fireside, and who had been spoiled by the 
adoration of a brilliant court. . . . She knew that she had not been a 
good wife to him, and in her will she acknowledged it. Her frailties 
were beyond question, nor does she deny them in the final record of 
her life. She explains, idealises, and moralises, seeking to bewitch 
rather than to satisfy the judgment of the reader.' 

As character sketches they may be interesting ; but as his- 
tory there is no reason to suppose them other than utterly 

For some months after his mother's death, Prince Louis 
remained in Switzerland, his presence known indeed, but con- 
temptuously ignored, by the French Government. He deter- 
mined to provoke recognition of some sort, and, in the summer 
of 1838, published a violent pamphlet containing his account of 
the attempt at Strasburg. This, though virtually by himself, 
was nominally by one of his accomplices. Lieutenant Laity, 

244 The Bunnpai-tea. Jan. 

Avhom the jury had tleclared not guilty of what he gloried in. 
He was now tried for the pamphlet before the Court of Peers, 
who, being less emotional, more honest, or more loyal to the 
existing Government, than the Strasburg jury, found him 
guilty, condemned him to five years' imprisonment, to pay a 
fine of 10,000 francs, and to be subject to police surveillance 
for the remainder of his life. Mr. Jerrold is indignant at ' the 

* shameless severity of the sentence.' We do not agree with 
him. The trial may have been impolitic ; it might^ — accord- 
ing to English ideas, it woidd — have been better to have merely 
suppressed the pamphlet, or to have left it unnoticed; but 
when a prosecution was resolved on, the Government Avas 
bound to press for a sentence as severe as the law would give. 
For it was known that the Bonapartists looked on the case as 
a test of the public pulse, and that the condemnation of 
M. Laity was virtually the condemnation of the Bonapartist 
cause. The Government was quick to follow up the sentence 
by a formal and peremptory demand that Louis Napoleon 
should be compelled to quit the Swiss territory. He had, 
they pointed out, made Arenenberg openly the centre of 
intrigues ; and they were bound by duty to require the Diet 
not to tolerate such within its borders, nor to permit Louis 
Napoleon to call himself, at the same time, a citizen of Switzer- 
land and a pretender to the throne of France. The Swiss 
Diet thought it right, for the dignity of the country, to refuse, 
although the French Government was prepared to use force, if 
necessary ; but the Prince ended the matter by voluntarily 
departing. He came over to England, where, mostly in 
London, he resided for the next two years. 

It was during that time that he wrote and published his 

* Idces Napoleoniennes,' intended, no doubt, as a spirit-stirring 
appeal to the French nation, but which, in fact, only showed 
that he had brooded over the memory of his uncle, with, it 
would really seem, a very imperfect or incorrect knowledge of 
his history, until he had lost himself in a species of monomania. 
How else can we explain, how else can Ave pardon, such a 
paragraph as ' Great men have this in common with the 

* Divinity, that they do not wholly die. Their spirit survives 

* them ; and the Napoleonic idea has sprung from the tomb of 
' St. Helena, as the moral of the Evangelist rose triumphant 

* from the agony of Calvary.' If this is not madness, it is 

In England he would seem to have passed his time in gay 
ahd dissipated society ; he hunted, he shot, he gambled, he 
masqueraded at the Eglinton tournament ; he fought, or. 

1882, The Bonapartes. 245 

more strictly, did not fight, a duel with his illegitimate cousin, 
Count Leon ; and with what seemed a natural talent for get- 
ting into ridiculous situations, was, together with the Count, 
taken before a Bow Street magistrate and bound over, in 
500/., to keep the peace. Finally, as the summer of 1840 
passed on, he planned and attempted a landing at Boulogne, 
which resulted in a failure as complete and ridiculous as that 
at Strasburg. On this expedition Count Orsi accompanied 
him, or, to speak more strictly, managed the whole as the 
Prince's man of business. He it was who chartered the 
steamer as for a pleasure party, and carried out all the ar- 
rangements ; and he it is Avho now exj)lains to us the details, 
and shows that, had everything gone exactly as it was in- 
tended, the result might have been different. 

It appeared in all the papers of the day, and has often been 
told since, how, early in the morning of August 6, Prince 
Louis, with a small body of friends, landed near Boulogne, 
disguised in the uniform of the 42nd Regiment of the line, 
then in garrison there ; how he marched on Boulogne, ad- 
dressed the soldiers, was turned out of the barracks by the com- 
mandant, and endeavoured to get back on board the steamer ; 
how the boat was upset; how the Prince, half-drowned, was 
fished out of the water, taken on shore, and, together with 
his companions, sent up to Paris, covered with ridicule, and 
popularly described as les homines not du six aout, but de six 
sous, or, as we might freely translate it, ' a twopenny-half- 
* penny lot.' On all this there is nothing further to say ; but 
it appears from Count Orsi's narrative that the landing was 
planned not for the 6th, but for the 5th ; that for that day 
the redoubted Commandant, Captain Col-Puygellier, had been 
invited to a shooti,ng party, and would therefore be out of 
the way ; and that the whole thing turned, or was believed 
to turn, on that expected absence ; for it was well known that 
the Commandant, besides being a man who could do his duty 
unflinchingly, Avas also a staunch Kepublican, and that, as 
such, nothing would induce him to join the Imperial pretender. 
Without him, they might hope, they conceived they had 
reason to hope, that the battalion would hail the Prince. But 
there was little margin for delay ; and on the 4th, when the 
Prince was preparing to leave London, he found himself 
closely followed by spies of the French police. In endeavour- 
ing to shake them off, time slipped away, so that it was night 
before he could get on board the steamer at Gravesend. The 
tide was then adverse ; it was impossible to get oiF Boulogne 
in time, and the attempt Avas necessarily postponed till the 

246 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

6th ; the only question was whether it should not be put ofl 
altogether. Orsi, the business man of the party, pointed out 
that to return to London would be difficult, on account of the 
' contraband " they had on board, in the shape of arms, uniforms, 
and proclamations. It did not occur to them that these things 
might be got rid of by the simple process of throwing them 
overboard ; and the problem, ais Orsi stated it to the Prince, 
took this form : — 

' By going back to London we become the laughing-stock of every- 
body — ridicule will kill us. If we cross the Channel, we run the risk 
of being shot, or imprisoned, for a more or less length of time. Of 
the two, I prefer the latter. As regards yourself, nothing v.'ould be 
more disastrous to your future prospects than being shown up to the 
public as a man who, at the eleventh hour, has been acted upon by 
considerations of a purely personal character. Let us save at least our 
honour, if we are doomed to lose everything else.' 

On this it was unanimously agreed to make the attempt. It 
was therefore made; but, as had been feared. Captain Col- 
Puygellier came on the scene just as the soldiers Avere perhaps 
wavering. The men who had begun to cry ' Vive le Prince ! ' 
now cried ^ Vive uotre Capitaine ! ' General Montholon, an 
old Imperialist, said, ' Here is Prince Louis Napoleon I Follow 
' us. Captain, and yoii will get anything you like.' To which, 
the Captain made answer, ' Prince Louis or not, I do not 
' know you. Napoleon, your predecessor, has overthrown 
' legitimacy, and it is not the right thing for you to attempt 
* vindicating it in this place. Evacuate the barracks at once.' 
Count Orsi thinks now, as he thought then, that but for this 
provoking delay, but for this appearance of Captain Col- 
Puygellier, all would have been right ; that the battalion would 
have declared for Louis Napoleon ; that they would have 
marched on Paris, the army everywhere joining them, would 
have at once turned out the King and the Government, and 
taken possession. All this must be matter of opinion. It is 
impossible in history to speculate on what might have hap- 
pened had circumstances been different ; but, in any case, w^e 
cannot ignore the statement of M. Guizot, then Ambassador 
in London, that the French Government was quite Avell aware 
of the intrigues that were going on, and that the garrisons in 
the several towns had been tampered Avitli ; and also that due 
precautions had been taken at all points of the coast and the 
frontier. Louis Napoleon and his associates were tried before 
the Court of Peers, and were sentenced to different terms of 
imprisonment, the Prince himself for life. He was accord- 
ingly shut up in the fortress of Ham, near St. Quentin, and 

1882. The Bonapartes, 247 

there he was kept for more than five years, closely guarded 
indeed, in a room which Mr. Jerrold, guided by the prisoner's 
pretensions rather than by his real position, considers dis- 
graceful, but otherwise treated with much consideration, 
allowed as many books or philosophical instruments as he 
■chose to purchase, a rubber of -whist in the evening with his 
two companions and his governor, and, by special permission, 
to receive his friends. 

The most serious part of the Boulogne affair threatened, 
indeed, to be its effect on the relations between France and 
England, already strained almost to breaking by the Treaty 
■of July and the intervention of the Four Powers in Syria. 
An English steamer had brought over the conspirators, 
had served them as head-quarters and base of operations. 
Undoubtedly, it Avas argued, this steamer was put at their 
disposal, if not directly by the English Government, at 
any rate by its connivance. The French Government was 
at once undeceived, and expressed itself perfectly satisfied ; 
but the popular excitement continued for some time to be very 
great, and gave rise to much ill-feeling, which, by a curious 
contrariness of disposition, the arrival at Brest of the remains of 
Napoleon I. seemed rather to increase. These had been asked 
for by M. Thiers, apparently with the intention of making 
capital out of the anticipated refusal. They had been given by 
the English Government in the hope of conciliating the French 
people, not perhaps without a certain flavour of malice on the 
part of Lord Palmerston, who might suspect they would prove 
a, source of embarrassment to the French monarchy by rekind- 
ling the Napoleonic tradition. At any rate they had been freely 
given up as soon as asked for ; and now the French people were 
indignant, having possibly a secret feeling that in the surrender 
there was just a grain of contempt, but, to listen to the decla- 
mations, it might have been supposed that they had been won 
back by force or extorted by threats. M. Thiers, addressing 
the Assembly on the subject of the Eastern treaty and the 
•capture of Acre, said : — 

'France has been grossly duped; a pretext has been sought and 
found to break off her alliance ; a treaty was made without her know- 
ledge and consent. I do not accuse the EngHsh people, I do not accuse 
the English Cabinet, but I do accuse one man, and that man is Lord 
Palmerston. Whenever Europe, the whole of Europe, should say to 
US " If you do not choose such and such a thing, we will do it without 
■"■ you and in spite of you," I would cry " War ! let us be what our 
" fathers were, and let us never descend from the rank to which they 
•^* raised us." ' 

248 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

And M. Berryer followed in the same vein : — 

* I hear the cannon of St. Jean d'Acre, T hear the cannon, the Englisli 
cannon, beating down the walls of that town before which Napoleon 
was checked ; but I also hear the cannon which announces the arrival 
of the mortal remains which have so long been held captive by the 
English. Will you allow these remains to descend into the tomb 
without making a protest which shall fill with joy the manes of that 
enemy of England ? ' 

Common sense, however, ultimately prevailed. M. Thiers 
resigned, and a more pacific administration was formed under 
the presidency of M. Guizot. 

In his prison at Ham, Louis Napoleon devoted hiraself^ 
steadily to study. History, politics, mechanics, physics, che- 
mistry, all had their turn. For a prisoner he was comfortable 
enough, and in after years used to speak of having studied at 
the University of Ham. It was a university that he, not un- 
naturally, longed to quit ; and in May, 1846^ he took the 
opportunity, when a number of workmen were busy about some 
repairs, to dress himself up like a joiner, shave off his mous- 
tache, shoulder a plank, and walk past the sentry out through 
the gate. At a little distance a carriage was waiting for 
him ; he flung the plank into a ditch, and was driven off 
through St. Quentin to Cambrai, where he took the train, and 
so got into Belgium, and thence to England. There he stayed, 
and there he still was when the Revolution of 1848 broke out. 
He immediately hastened over to Paris, where the Bonapartist 
faction was secretly at work. The disturbed state of the 
country, even if they had not contribvited to it, was their 
opportunity. Within a few hours after the Prince's arrival 
his portraits appeared in every shop-window on the Boulevards ;. 
they bore no name, but the word Lui ! And though, in nar- 
rating this incident. Count Orsi implies that it marked the 
yearning of the people and the nation for the exiled family, 
Ave may fairly believe that it shows rather the activity and 
diligence of the family's agents. The Provisional Govern- 
ment was not, however, in the mood to submit to the dictation- 
of the Bonapartists, and desired ' Lui ' to leave Paris. His 
friend and indefatigable agent, Fialin, Avho had some few year^ 
before created himself Viscount de Persigny, urged him to 
refuse ; others recommended the same. He, however, judged 
that his time was not yet come. He returned to England, and 
served in the streets of London, actually as a special constable,, 
on the occasion of the memorable Chartist gathering of April 
10. But meantime his agents, Persigny, Laity, and others, 
were untirintr. The decrees of the banishment of the Bona- 

1882. The Bonapartes. 249 

partes were annulled, and iu the April elections Louis 
Napoleon was elected four times over. The agitation was 
kept up. 

' On June 10, two Bonapartist papers appeared — " L'Aigle repu- 
" blicaine" and "La Constitution ; " on the following day the " Na- 
" poleon republicain ; " on the 12th the " Napoleonien ; " and before 
the 18th the " Petit Caporal" and the " Eedingote grise" had followed. 
These journals were spread broadcast over the country, and created in 
a few Aveeks a formidable Bonapartist party, with ramifications in every 
class of society. The train of powder was laid upon dry ground.' 

Mr. Jerrold acknowledges that all this was the work of 
Persigny and his fellows, but appears to think that the cries 
of ' Vive Louis Napoleon ! ' ' Vive I'Empereur ! ' heard every 
now and again, Avere purely spontaneous ; there is, we be- 
lieve, no real doubt about their being the voice of a gigantic 
claque — a body of hired agents, known afterwards as allumeurs 
— of which Persigny was the fugleman. The Prince's election 
was, however, so violently opposed by the Assembly itself, that 
he shrank from taking his seat, and placed his resignation in 
the hands of the President. In September, when tranquillity 
was restored, he again came forward, was elected for five dif- 
ferent departments, and on the 25th made his first appearance 
in the Assembly. It was somewhat of a failure, for he had 
no oratorical skill, and neither in voice nor in mien was he formed 
by nature as a leader of men. But he was astute, secret, 
impressed with the grandeur of his destiny, and utterly un- 
scrupulous. His very failures Avere now serviceable to him, 
for in the eyes of many he was too ridiculous to be dangerous. 
And he knew, his party kncAv all along exactly what they 
wanted ; no one else did. A letter of Proudhon's, Avritten at 
this time, may be accepted as a fair description of the confu- 
sion. He says : — 

' What causes all our political miscalculations and this year's mysti- 
fications is that a lot of idiots who have been talking of the Kepublic 
for eighteen years, Avithout ever for a minute having tried to form an 
idea of what that Eepubhc ought to be, found themselves, in February, 
masters of the government. There is a story of a ship engaged in the 
slave trade, on board Avhich the negroes rose up and massacred the 
crew, but then found themselves in a dilemma as to the conduct of the 
vessel. This is the position of our seh-styled revolutionary statesmen,. 
Avho are mere pothouse politicians.' 

And thus, Avhen, in December, the nation Avas called on to 
elect a President, Louis Napoleon's name came out with an 
overwhelming majority; it had five and a half millions of 
votes out of a total of seven and a half millions. Cavaignac, 

250 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

the second on the list, had barely fifteen hnndred thousand. 
Everything had worked together to produce this result ; the 
confusion of faction, the want of purpose so plainly spoken of 
by Proudhon, the belief that Prince Louis was a safe man of 
no ability — such considerations went far with many Avho were 
by no means Bonapartists, but in addition to this, and to the 
really large party who meant Bonapartism, the Bonapartist 
missionaries were busy throughout the country. They secured 
tlie clerical vote ; everywhere the clergy instructed their flock 
to vote for Louis Napoleon ; in some parishes the cure mus- 
tered his people and marched them to the poll, himself at their 
head. In many places the ignorant peasants were led to be- 
lieve that the Bonaparte, for whom their votes were asked, 
was the great Emperor himself, escaped from the cruel hands 
of the English. Of course : had they not heard only a few 
years before of his return to France ? Dead or alive, what 
difference to them ? The very name of Napoleon or of Bona- 
parte had magic in the sound. Every vote they had should be 
his. According to the method prescribed, if not practised, in 
America, they would vote early ; if possible, they Avould vote 

It was on December 20, 1848, that the President of 
the Assembly proclaimed the result of the elections, and that 
Louis Napoleon, stepping forward and raising his hand, swore, 

* in the presence of God and before the French people, to 
^ remain faithful to the democratic Republic, and to defend the 

* Constitution.' Political oaths are as cobwebs ; they catch 
flies, but wasps go through them. In the present instance the 
new President added to the oath a formal declaration prepared 
beforehand, which he now drew from his pocket, unfolded, and 
read : ' I shall regard as enemies to the country all who may 
' endeavour by illegal means to change the form of government 

* which you have established.' Are we to suppose that in 
making this solemn declaration Louis Napoleon was wilfully 
perjuringhimself, having already determined to seize on absolute 
power ? We think not. We believe rather that he trusted 
to the chapter of events, and hoped to be able to modify the 
Constitution by constitutional means. We are quite Avilling 
to accept Mr. Jerrold's view, that when he assumed power ' he 
' was thoroughly sincere in his efforts to form a national party 

* that would put an end to the republican and monarchic fac- 

* tions, and establish a free government based on the popular 

* will ; ' but we think that his idea of ' free government ' 
and * popular will ' included a considerable amount of de- 
pendence on and deference to the Napoleonic tradition, and 

1882. The Bonapartea. 251 

that be thus endeavoured to subdue the several factions of 
which the Assembly was made up, on the great principle of 

* Divide and rule.' The moderate Republicans had already 
crushed the Socialists, Terrorists, and Reds. He now used 
the Monarchists to break the power of the Republicans, the 
Legitimists to control the Orleanists, the Orleanists, again, to 
curb the Legitimists ; with the general result, as stated by Mr. 
Senior at the time in this Journal, that in October, 1849, 

* the French are, at this instant, more the subjects of a single 
" Avill than they have been under any king since the death of 
' Louis XIY.' 

'It is,' he wrote in his private journal, 'a marvellous instance of 
the folly with Avhich great affairs are generally conducted that a people 
which assumes to be the first, and certainly is among the first nations 
in the most civilised period of the world's existence, should have turned 
out the family under which it has been growing great for centuries, 
and the king who has given to it prosperity such as it never enjoyed 
in any previous period of its brilliant history, and thrown its fate 
into the hands of an adventurer, unacquainted with the country, 
inexperienced in politics, and even in ordinary business, whose only 
achievements have been the two most unprincipled and senseless 
enterprises of modern times.'* 

But by degrees the several parties discovered the cause, 
not so much of their own weakness as of the President's 
strength. They prepared to use against him the tactics of 
which they had been the victims, and during the course of 1851 
it became sufficiently evident that a combination of parties 
might attempt to overthrow the President, or that the Presi- 
dent might violently break up the combination. How^ this 
was finally done is, after thirty years, a still fresh and living 

f Admitting that in the relative position of the President and 
the coalition, one or other was forced to resign or to strike, we 
are compelled to accept the couj) d'etat as a political necessity ; 
illegal, unconstitutional, but in a revolutionary time neither 
criminal nor dishonourable ; and we therefore find no fault 
witb the force and vigour of the blow. The secret and simul- 
taneous arrest of all leaders of the opposition, the suppression 
of all newspapers, the seizure of all printing presses, the dis- 
solution of the Assembly, the dispersion of the Representatives 
— all these measures, arbitrary of course, were, under the cir- 
cumstances and from the Bonapartist point of view, just and 

* Edinburgh Review, vol. xci. p. 271 ; Journals in France and 
Italy, vol. i. p. 51. 

252 The Bonapartes. Jan. 

prudent : nor -vrere they more illegal than the converse measures 
would have been ; such, for instance, as the driving the Prince 
President and his partisans to Vincenncs in the police-van, as 
Changarnier had, somewhat prematurely, expressed his readi- 
ness to do. And thus, though we do not endorse the Napo- 
leonic idea, though we think Bonapartism the worst possible 
form of government, the most demoralising form of tyranny, 
we do not agree with those enemies of Louis Napoleon wha 
have said, as Victor Hugo has said, that the precautions taken 
to forestall opposition, to prevent a conflict, to ensure success, 
were so many marks of cowardice. On the contrary, we can- 
not but approve of the care, the forethought, and the courage 
which arranged and dictated the Avhole, without knowing and 
without seeking to know whether the author of each detail 
was Louis Napoleon himself, or was rather some one of his chosen 
friends and, for the time being, fellow-conspirators. That 
Morny, that Fleury, that St. Arnaud, that Maupas, each had 
his share, and a very important share, in the design, as in the 
execution, may be accepted ; but we see no reason to doubt 
that the Prince President was himself the soul and origin of 
the whole. The study of his character shows him to us as a 
man in whom the forethought, the precision, the arrangement 
of detail was almost constitutional, and by intellectual training, 
by solitude, by brooding over the ' idea,' had become almost 
instinctive. His companions, on the other hand, were men of 
action, keen and ready wit, large and varied experience, ad- 
venturers certainly, and not perhaps in the best sense of the 
word, but devoted to the cause of the President, which they 
had seen reason to believe was their own. 

Of these, Morny was the undoubted chief. Mr. Jerrold, 
who cannot recognise any scandal reflecting on the Bonapartes, 
knows nothing of Count de Morny's parentage. It was, 
however, a very open secret : in fact Morny rather prided 
himself on his birth ; so much so, that, according to M. 
Granier de Cassagnac, Avhen, in 1856, he went to Russia to 
represent the French Emperor at the coronation of the Czar, 
he took for armes parlantes a hortensia in flower, with the 
device Tace, sed memento. But it was not merely his tacitly 
admitted relationship that constituted him the Prince's chief 
adviser. A man of wit, tact, quickness, courage, well ac- 
quainted Avith Parisian society, experienced in business, and 
entirely free from troublesome scruples, he was, alike by nature 
and education, the complement of his half-brother, and entered 
at once into his fullest confidence. We see no reason to 
question the generally received fact that M. de Morny's share 

1882. The Bonapartes. 253 

in the coup cVetat was almost that of a principal. The story- 
is told that on the evening of December 1 he ^yas at the 
opera, when a lady said to hhn, ' M. de Morny, is it true that 
they are going to make a clean sweep of the Chamber?' 
' Madame,' replied Morny, ' I know nothing of it ; but if the 
broom is to be used in that way, I'll try to be on the side of 
the handle.' On the side of the handle he certainly was the 
next morning, and continued so till his death in 1865. 

All this, however, does not in the least remove the entire 
responsibility of the coup d'etat from Louis Napoleon ; and 
had it been a coup d'etat simply, we should have considered 
that responsibility no greater than must be borne by any man 
who, in troubled times, is called to a foremost position. But 
the events which followed fall into a totally different category : 
and we have no hesitation in saying that on the head of Louis 
Napoleon rests the guilt of the murder of hundreds of unoffend- 
ing citizens on December 4. We at once admit that the 
number of the killed has been absurdly exaggerated ; but we 
hold that, beyond any doubt whatever, it was extremely large. 
In the absence of all exact data, it is impossible to form any 
satisfactory estimate ; but the concurrence of reports leads us 
to suppose that it might be reckoned by thousands rather than 
by hundreds ; and certainly that the official return of 380 in 
all is a downright misstatement of a fact that must have been 
approximately known to the Prefect of Police. But Mr. Jer- 
rold is easy of belief when the honour of a Bonaparte has to 
be defended ; and he frankly accepts every contradiction or 
allegation made by the murderer's chief agents. There was no 
such slaughter, he says, for M. de Maupas says there was 
not : there is not a word of truth in the story, for Colonel 
rieury says it is altogether a lie. If Mr. Jerrold had not been 
blinded by prejudice, he could not have attributed to the state- 
ments of these men the weight that he has done ; nor could he 
have penned such pages as those in which he comments on the 
story of this blood-red 4th of December. 

During the following year the will of the people, as expressed 
in popular shouts, appeared to call on Louis Napoleon to re- 
establish the Empire. Shouts of * Vive TEmpereur ! ' ' Vive Na- 
poleon III! ' greeted him everywhere ; and at a public dinner 
at Bordeaux on October 9 he announced his intention of 

' Never,' he said, ' did a people express in a more direct, spontaneous, 
and unanimous manner their desire to be freed from anxiety in the 
future, by consolidating in the same hands a power which has their 
sympathies. . . , There exists, however, a fear which I should dissi- 

254 The Bonajiartes. Jan. 

pate. Mistrusting j^ersons say to themselves, the Empire means war. 
I say the Empire means peace. It means peace, because France 
desires it; and Avhen France is satisfied, the world is tranquil . . . 
and woe to him who shall be the first to give to Europe the sif^nal 
of a collision, the consequences of which are incalculable.' 

Hence, i\\Qn, i\\Q plebiscite on November 21 and 22,1852. 
The people as a body had been won, possibly cajoled : un- 
doubtedly every effort was made to ensure success, to brino- 
every possible supporter to the poll. Mr. Jcrrold has no 
intention of magnifying these efforts ; indeed he ignores them ; 
but his description of some incidents of the voting may speak 
for itself. 

' The weather on the two election days was bad tliroughout France. 
In many parts so violent a storm raged that it was impossible for 
voters to reach their polling places. In the country, hosts of pea- 
sants, some headed by their cures, braved swollen torrents and floods 
of rain, swept by the hurricane, in order to record their vote. ... In 
Paris, the aged and the sick were carried to the polling places. A 
general, ninety-one years of age, presented himself, but "had not the 
strength to ascend the staircase, and the urn was borne to his carriao-e. 
The chocolate manufacturer, M. Menier, suffering from an attack of 
apoplexy, caused himself to be carried in an armchair to the poll. An 
old soldier of ninety presented himself, with his voting paper, in the 
arms of his son.' 

About the result there was no doubt. The number of noes 
was absolutely small ; the number of ayes swelled to close on 
eight millions, and amounted to practical unanimity. The 
leaders of opposing factions felt their impending defeat most 
bitterly. The vote of the nation would seem to all Europe 
to condemn them, to approve their enemy. And the means 
by which they endeavoured to s^vay it were neither manly, 
honest, nor patriotic. They took refuge in London or the 
Channel Isles, and issued violent manifestoes ; they bespat- 
tered Louis Xapoleon with foul epithets. Ledru Rollin 
preached assassination ; Louis Blanc preached civil Avar; and 
Victor Hugo, ' from his _ place of safety, told the people to 
' load their guns and wait for the hour when the raalefectors 
' would be in the hands of the executioner.' In this matter 
Louis Napoleon acted admirably ; for violent measures he was, 
in their case, powerless ; so he printed their manifestoes in 
the ' Moniteur,' And on the evening of December 1 he pub- 
licly assumed the crown, with the title of Napoleon III., not, 
he said, as an effete dynastic pretension, an insult to reason 
and to truth, but because he could not pass over the regular 
though ephemeral title of Napoleon's son, which the Cham- 

1882. The Bonapartes. 255 

bers proclaimed in the last burst of vanquished patriotism. 
Beyond contradiction, the Duke of Reichstadt, down to the 
day of his death, was commonly referred to by the Bona- 
partists as Napoleon II. ; and years before the Second Empire 
Prince Louis had been, in the same way, spoken of as Napo- 
leon III. There was thus no mistake, no accident about the 
matter ; and any instructions sent into the provinces by the 
Bonapartist wire-pullers would, as a thing of course, o-ive 
their man the title. 

Scarcely was the Emperor seated on his throne before he 
announced his intended marriage. It is said that he made 
up his mind as he did only after he had been coldly refused 
by half the reigning houses in Europe, If there is any truth 
in this, the proposals and refusals took an uncommonly short 
time, or were made by and to the Prince President, not the 
Emperor. During the Presidency, he had, as Mr. Jerrold 
delicately puts it, ' lived conjugally with a lady who after- 
' wards became Countess of Beauregard.' ' He had,' it seems, 
' yearned for domestic affections.' We are no severe censor of 
the private morality of men in the position of the Prince 
President ; but it is impossible to see how this liaiso7i ' brings 
' out t!ie chivalrous character and the sympathetic heart of the 
' Prince.' His subsequent marriage to the daughter of Ma- 
dame de Montijo was certainly one of the most fortunate cir- 
cumstances of the Emperor's life. 

We think that the story, which Mr. Bingham repeats, of 
the Empress's birth and parentage is incorrect ; that it is, in 
fact, one of the many spiteful stories that were circulated by 
those who hated the Emperor or were jealous of her. And, 
in any case, her conduct as Empress was above reproach. Of 
the hundreds of personages who come under our notice in the 
study of these volumes, the Empress Eugenie is the only one 
on whose name there is no serious stain ; if we cannot speak 
still more strongly, it is that she was too closely connected 
with Louis Napoleon and Louis Napoleon's court altogether 
to avoid scandal. Even she could not touch pitch without 
being defiled ; and the numerous memoirs of society under 
the Second Empire all describe it as rotten to the core, the 
Emperor himself as the chief cause of the most debased im- 

Here Ave must stop. We have already said that it is yet 
too soon to write the history of the Second Empire, much of 
which is veiled in mystery or clouded with passion. It would, 
indeed, be easy to fill volumes of mere chronicle with the open 
record of public events ; but to examine into their real mean- 

256 TIic TAHid of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

ing, and, in the lifetime of most of the actors, to discuss their 
origin and purport, Avould be a task of very great difficulty, 
and, for an Englishman, of extreme delicacy. And so with 
the wars which occupied so large a portion of the time, in spite 
of the magniloquent phrase, ' The Empire means Peace,' which 
heralded it. For naval, and still more for military officers, the 
strategical or tactical results of these have already afforded, 
and will long continue to'afFord, matter for earnest professional 
study ; but to discuss the political causes and personal en- 
tanglements which led to them is, as yet, impossible. We 
believe, for instance, that the Italian war of 1859 sprang, 
directly or indirectly, out of the Orsini conspiracy in 1858, 
and the early connexion of the Emperor with the Carbonari; 
but exact evidence is wanting ; even if such could be pub- 
lished, it would, in the present turmoil of faction and party, be 
properly looked on with suspicion and doubt. The financial 
history of the period is subject to the same difficulty. Con- 
cerning it, indeed, rumour has said much, and scandal a great 
deal ; but proof, one way or the other, is entirely wanting, 
and to weigh the rumour or the scandal in the balance of 
truth is, to a Frenchman, an impossible task, to an English- 
man it Avould be an invidious one. We would therefore leave 
the whole, social economy and foreign policy alike, until, in the 
fulness of time, a French writer may be found, who may 
possess, at once, enlarged opportunities of information and the 
capability of exercising a fair judgment. We may then pos- 
sess something like a true history of the Second Empire. 

Art. X. — The Land of the Midnight Sun. Summer and 
Winter Journeys through Sweden, Norway, Lapland, and 
Northern Finland. By Paul B. du Chaillu. 2 vols. 
London: 1881. 

Tn these bulky and beautifully illustrated volumes, which the 
-^ publisher has put forth to the world in a most attractive 
form, M. Paul du Chaillu, the discoverer, if not the inventor, 
of the gorilla, has related his travels through the Scandi- 
navian Peninsula and his experiences of Northern life. He 
tells us that this series of journeys was made at different times 
fi-om 1871 to 1878, embracing ' a sojourn in the country of 
' nearly five years,' and we take him at his word, though he 
skips about so, something after his fashion in his African 
explorations, that it is very difficult to track him year by year 
for that period of time. In fact, when we first glanced at 

1882. Tlie Land of the Midnujht Sun. 257 

these volumes, we laid them down in despair of ever beino- 
able to iind our way in any satisfactory manner through the 
900 and odd pages which they contain. One peculiarity it 
had, an excellence beyond any work, whether of fiction or 
reality, that we ever perused : each chapter seemed a begin- 
ning, and yet the book seemed likely to go on for ever. It 
was a colossal ' story without an end.' It was not until we 
peeped at the very end, and saw that M. du Chaillu had 
actually crossed the Sound and bid adieu to the ' Land of the 
' Midnight Sun,' that Ave were convinced that he was not still 
in Scandinavia evolving interminable chapters out of his inner 

When we were assured that he was really gone, and that 
there was nothing more to tell, we took heart again, and, 
plunging manfully into this great wilderness of print, refusing 
to be diverted either to the right or left by its numberless 
illustrations and lengthy social, geological, ethnological, and 
geographical disquisitions, at last discovered the plan and 
purpose of the book. Of course with the inherent modesty 
of all discoverers, in the possession of which virtue M. du 
Chaillu himself is first and foremost, we advance our theory 
with diffidence, and if he ventures to contradict us we shall 
not follow the example set years ago by himself, when, un- 
accustomed to the ferocity of the gorilla, some unhappy man, 
to the cost of his countenance, doubted if there Avere any such 
thing as a gorilla at all. But, AA'hatever may befall us, Ave pro- 
pound our theory, and all at once the reader Avill see that 
AAdiile ' the midnio;ht sun ' illumines the first volume throughout 
its Avhole course, the second is almost entirely devoted to 
Avinter travel. In fact Volume II. ought to have been called 
* The Midnight Moon,' or ' The Aurora at Yule,' so full is it 
of snow and stars and northern lights and Yule feasts, while 
its elder brother, Volume I., blazes Avith sunbeams and suffo- 
cating; heat and, though last not least, Avith the hum and sting 
of the irrepressible mosquito. 

Having thus bisected the work, let us folloAv M. du Chaillu 
a little on his summer journeys, and, as Captain Cuttle ad- 
vised his friends to make a note of every fact, so Ave advise 
our readers Avhen they see a date in these volumes to take a 
note of it, for dates are the dead reckoning Avhich will enable 
them to sail merrily through this sea of knoAvledge ; otherAvise 
they aa411 be lost and perhaps founder in a trackless ocean. 
Chapter I. vol. i. This the reader need not read. It is poetry, 
and like the American Avho, in reporting one of the lamented 
Dean Stanley's lectures, threw doAvn his pencil AA'hen he quoted 


258 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

poetry with the remark that poetry was never admitted into 
the journal which he represented except in obituar}- notices, 
we venture to say tliat, Avhatever opinion we may have of M. du 
Chailhi's prose, we think nothing at all of his ])oetry, and when 
we come to any of it we throw down the volume in disa;ust. 
But to proceed. In the latter part of May 1871 America 
saw, no doubt with feelings of despair, her i^reat traveller 
and gorilla-hunter depart from her shores. Early in June 
England Avas similarly afflicted, in all probability, to hear 
that he had slipped through the fingers of the lion-huntino- 
world, and had embarked for ' Goteborg,' which Englislv 
men, though not, it appears^ Americans, call Gothenburo;. 
There he arrived on the 12th of that month, and was re- 
ceived in ' a quiet and unpretending w^ay ' by the members 
of a leading firm, so that M. du Chaillu Avas struck by their 
amiability and refinement, while ' the softness of their pro- 
' nunciation modified the excellent English they spoke.' 
We pass over the other excellences of this amiable firm, who 
were a kind of Swedish Cheeryble Brothers, and follow our 
traveller into the * cars ' of the Stockholm and Goteborg Rail- 
way, ' built,' it appears, by the Government, where the train will 
stop for a moment while we observe the peculiarly English use 
of ' car ' and ' build,' the latter word being used by our author 
for all kinds of construction, from a line of railway to the 
laying of a fire. 

But noAv Ave really must be off, for Ave have fsir to go. At 
6 A.]M. on tlie morning of the 13th Mi du Chaillu started for 
Stockholm, at Avhich capital he arriA^ed at 6 On the Avay, 
in tAventy minutes, true American time, he did ample justice 
to a most excellent dinner, at Avhich he noticed particularly 
the moderation of the people; 'the portion of food eacli 
' one took Avas not in excess of that Avhich Avould have been 
* served at a private table.' The meal, including bottled beer, 
cost about 1.9. 8f/., Avhich makes one Avish that Ave could dine 
anyAvhere in these isles at the same rate ; hut then Sweden is 
a;nd always has been the cheapest country in the AA^orld to 
dAvell in. As soon as our traveller had taken up his abode in 
Stockholm at the Hotel liydbcrg on the Gustaf Adolfs 
Square, overlooking the lloyal Palace and the SAvift Miliar, 
that delightful combination of lake and river, rushino- under 
the Nordbro or North Bridge, he began to look about him, 
and the result is a statistical chapter on that charming city 
and its population, Avhich, Avith the leave of our readers, Ave 
Avill take as read. All tliat avc say is that it is very like some 
leaves out of INIr. Murray's invaluable series of Handbooks. 

1882. The Land of the Midnight Sun. 259 

Of course M. du Chaillu wished to see the King, Charles XV. 
What American, and, for that matter, what Enghshman, does 
not share that wish? On enquiry he found it was no easy- 
task ; the Queen Consort had lately died, the King himself 
was *just recovering from a serious illness,' and, besides, 'was 
' not living at that time in Stockholm.' ' Nevertheless,' says 
M. du Chaillu, ' I made a formal application for an audience,' 
and the very next day he was informed that the King would 
receive him in a private audience at the palace. He was 
surprised at this, and so are we, for putting aside the Queen's 
death and the King's illness, how were time and space at once 
annihilated and the King brought back to Stockholm in the 
twinkling of an eye, when we had just been told that he was 
not living there at all ? However, there the King was, and 
M. du Chaillu saw that genial, but strangely self-willed 
monarch, avIio would have been Charles XII. had he lived a 
century and a half sooner, who was ever burning to do great 
things, and yet never did them, who wore himself down by 
extravagances and wild freaks, and who yet died the darling 
of his people. So pleased w^as the King with our traveller, 
though astonished that such a traveller did not smoke, that he 
asked him the next day to visit him at Ulriksdal — not tlte 
Ulriksdal, as M. du Chaillu persists in calling it — a palace 
delightfully situated on one of the many arms of the Malar, 
about two hours' sail from the capital. There the King again 
fascinated the traveller by Avhat he calls ' the magnetism of 
' his bearing.' He was ' a child of nature,' and, we might add, 
' a child of freedom,' and thought the next best thing to seeing 
a gorilla was to see the man who had seen and killed that 
other child of nature in African forests. So after a pleasant 
day the King and the traveller parted, and M. du Chaillu wails 
over his death in another piece of poetry, at the end of which 
he adroitly brings in some praise for Oscar II., now King of 
Sweden, to whom he heartily wishes long life and prosperity, 
and • as great popularity as was enjoyed by his father, Oscar L, 

* and by his brother Charles XV.' Let us add, not from M. 
du Chaillu, what their own mother said of her two sons : 

* My eldest son was self--willed and did everything to alienate 
' the affections of his people, yet was so genial that he died 

* universally beloved. My second son has done everything to 

* win the affections of his people, but he has not succeeded in 

* gaining them.' From what cause ? Is it from a want of that 

* magnetic bearing' which so distinguished Charles XV., or is it 
that the Swedish people are so dull as not to know when they 
have been blessed Avith a really good king ? 

260 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

But it was not to adore kin^s or princes that M. du 
Chaillu visited Scandinavia. He is, if Ave may jvidge from the 
title of his book, a modern fire-worshipper, and he was deter- 
mined to prostrate himself before that great luminary at mid- 
night, and so accomplish a feat which no Persian or Parsee 
had ever dreamt of doing. For this purpose he embarked in 
a steamer for Haparanda at the top of the Gulf of Bothnia, 
a town Avhich the readers of our weather forecasts know well, 
and at the mere sight of which in a geographical paper of 
questions unhappy army candidates shiver and shake even in 
the month of June. At the end of that month M. du Chaillu 
reached Haparanda, though, Avith that innate modesty AA^hicli 
refuses to let the vulgar pry into his private dcA'otions, he 
does not tell us Avhether he did succeed in Avorshipping the sun 
at midnight on midsummer night in 1871. Perhaps he did, 
perhaps he did not : Avho can tell ? On his arrival at 
Haparanda he found himself famous, and pei'haps this incense 
of notoriety diverted him from his purpose. ' The ncAA'S 
' of my arrival,' he says, ' soon spread over the toAvn. The 

* judge, clergyman, custom-house officers, schoolmaster, post- 
' master, banker, and others came to the hotel to see me, and 
' they all Avelcomed me to Haparanda.' From Avhich Ave may 
infer that business Avas as completely suspended on that festive 
day at Haparanda as it was on the plains of Shinar Avhen 
Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image for the adoration of 
all nations and languages. No doubt those innocent Hapa- 
randers thought that the object of the great gorilla-hunter 
and abolisher of the slave trade in Equatorial Africa Avas to 
lecture them on the blessings of freedom and the ferocity of 
the great Quadrumana, and that he meant to stay many 
happy days Avith them. They Avere ' astonished,' therefore, 
AA'hen he informed them that he Avas only passing through their 
interesting toAvn, and that his desire Avas ' to cross to the 
'Polar Sea.' M. du Chaillu does not tell us so, but it is clear 
betAveen the lines of his narrative that all tliose trades and pro- 
fessions thought him mad or a fool for wishing to leave them for 
the Polar Sea. But they were polite, and only raised ' diffi- 
' culties.' ' There are no roads and no people, and Avliere there 
' are any they Avill not understand you. You Avill be starved,' 
Avhich remark was very natural, for Avhere there is no food 
there can be no people. Even a cannibal Fan must starve AA'here 
he could not find a fellow-man to eat. But M. du Chailhi 
Avas resolute. He Avould go on ; he would not stay among these 
lotus-eaters of the North. He put doAvn his foot at once. 

* The food,' he said, ' does not trouble me in the least. I can 

1882. The Laud of the Midnight Sun. 261 

' eat anything-,' including, of course, worms. So they let him 
go to his diet, and sent him off with an excellent guide, a tall 
Finlander, one Andreas Jacob Josefsson, Avho had lived in 
California for a while, and therefore might have been as guile- 
ful as that ' Heathen Chinee,' but Avho really was a thoroughly 
honest fellow. Here we skip some very useful information 
as to travelling in Sweden, Avhich we purposely omit, lest any 
of our male readers should be tempted by the cheapness of 
those postal arrangements to leave their wives and families 
this winter, and, falling into the arms of some Finnish or 
Lapp Dalilah, never, alas ! return to the domestic hearth. 
And now they started, ' the judge, the custom-house officers, 
' the banker,' and no doubt the clergyman, drinking Du 
Chaillu's health, and, as we are privately informed, pointing, as 
soon as he Avas out of sight, Avith the finger of scorn in the 
direction of the nearest lunatic asylum. Then they all re- 
turned to their business, and order once more ruled in 

Under the guidance of the excellent Josefsson, Du Chaillu 
proceeded in a kdrra, or open cart without springs, in which 
the bones even of a gorilla would have been dislocated unless 
he had wit enough to provide himself with a spring seat. So 
they went on northwards from post-house to post-house, some- 
times severely tormented by fleas in beds, and sometimes stung 
almost to death by gnats and midges out of doors, and now, 
well within the Arctic circle, had ample opportunity for 
adoring the midnight sun. In this way of travelling a driver 
is necessary to take back the car and horse at the end of each 
stage, and often in Scandinavia this driver is a ' driveress,' 
sometimes an old woman, and sometimes a little girl. Now, 
all through this book, besides the worship of the sun, the 
worship of another luminary, Avhich may be called the sun of 
the domestic system, is most apparent. M. du Chaillu has a 
keen eye for female beauty, and it is wonderful how he dis- 
covers pretty girls at every turn. Their light hair, deep blue 
eyes, rosy complexions, and pearly skins constantly make deep 
impressions on his heart, and we are convinced, had he de- 
voted himself entirely to society, he would have been a lady- 
instead of a gorilla-killer. Sometimes, however, this mutual 
magnetic attraction, for it was ahvays reciprocated, nearly en- 
tailed awkward consequences. Thus, when, at the very outset 
of his transit to the Polar Sea, he asked the fair Kristina 
of Sattajarvi, about sixteen years of age, ' who seemed to be 

* attracted ' to him, * often holding my hand, and entering into 

* animated conversation ' — we wonder in what language except 

262 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

that of love — * Would you like to be my driver, and come 
Avith me to America ? ' * Yes/ said the girl, and, what was 
still worse, ' Yes,' said her mother, her father, her brothers, 
her cousins, and her aunts. Before you could say ' Jack 

* Robinson ' in Finnish, Kristina had packed up her clothes in 
a modest parcel, and was ready to follow Du Chaillu to the 
ends of the earth. * Good-bye, Kristina ! Write to us,' 
cried the crowd of relations. Here, however, the honest 
Josefsson, the Leporello of this new Don Juan, interfered. 

* Are you goinii- to take that girl to America ? The road is 
too hard for her.' ' Certainly not ; she is to drive us to 
Pajala,' the next stage. ' No,' said he, ' they expect you to 
' take her with you to America.' Then of coui'se came a scene. 
Kristina cried, and her mother cried and abused Josefsson. 
As for Du Chaillu, she said in a withering way, ' Man ! are you 
going to listen to your guide ? I am sorry for you, that 
had no will of your own. I pity you.' As for the father and 
brothers, they swore as terribly as * our army ever did in 
' Flanders,' and under that volley of execration the travellers 
escaped. M. du Chaillu tells us that the people called out to 
him to ' come back,' which Ave can Avell believe, though not in 
the sense in AA'hich he means it. Had he been in Greece, or 
in ' Ould Ireland,' the fathers and brothers Avould have pro- 
duced all the cutlery or pistols of their race, and compelled 
him to marry Kristina, or, Avorse still, her epileptic sister, as 
happened in the case of M. About's friend, the Frenchman. 

After this inflammatory episode Ave are glad to find our 
traveller moralising, in a churchyard at Pajala, over the body 
of La3Stadius, the Lapp missionary, Avho, years and years ago, 
did so much good Avork, and Avhose most interesting travels 
lie before us, together with those of Frjis, the Christiania 
professor, Avho has more knowledge of the Lapps and their Avays 
m his little finger than any other man in the Avorld in his 
Avhole body. We read both of these to gain information as to 
the Lapps, of Avhom M. du Chaillu tells us \'ery little. At 
Pajala the perils of the hurra and its attendant young 
Avomen Avere removed, for Du Chaillu and his companion now 
ascended the Muonio liiver by boat for neai'ly three hundred 
miles. It must have been hard Avork though, for avc are 
told that 'the rush of Avater Avas very fierce, the angry 
' billows filling the forest with their roar ' — where Ave are 
tempted again to throw down our pen and call out ' poetry.' 
It Avas on the last day of June that he stepped into the boat, 
after having had an encounter Avith another lovely maiden, Avho 
babbled to him in her native tongue, Avhich he could not 

1882. Tlie Land of the Midnigltt Sun. 263 

understand except by intuition, about ' the midnight sun,' 
and then Avas eclipsed and lost to his sight. Fearing tlie 
consequences, we are glad to get him out of the reach of 
these sympathetic maidens, and safely launched in his boat, 
where he stays sorely stung by mosquitoes till he comes to a 
place called Aitijarvi, which is on the watershed of those 
wild parts, for after it the waters flow south towards the 
Alten and the Polar Sea. Fortunately at this farm or refuge 
there were no maidens. It was kept by the old Adam, whom 
we believe to be the original man of Lapland, and Kristina, 
bis wife, who had lived there twenty-six years. They had 
twelve children, but the girls had all died or been married, 
so there was no temptation. Kristina was laconic, but 
practical : she cooked fish, and poured out milk. ' Stranger, 
' eat,' she said : ' eat as much as you can. You have a long 
'journey before you.' For which good advice, including the 
food, Du Chaillu slipped two dollars, about two shillings, into 
her hand at parting. 

Then they made their way by boat and portages to a place 
called Autzi, where there was a police magistrate and a gaol, 
at the sight of whom and of the lock-up they blessed them- 
selves, for they knew they were now returning to civilisation. 
Shortly afterwards they struck the Alten, and at Kaukoteino 
on July 7, Da Chaillu sent the trusty Josefsson back, no 
doubt slipping many dollars into his hand for his services. 
Down the Alten our hero Avent Avith two Lapp boatmen, 
suffering much from want of sleep, haA'ing had only seven hours 
of that ' sweet balm' between 9 a.m. on Wednesday and 4 p.m. 
on Saturday, Avhich is about the alloAvance that fashionable 
young men and Avomen take in three nights during the 
height of the London season. At last they came, roAving 
and walking, to Bosekop, at the head of the Alten Fjord, and 
then Du Chaillu discovered to his dismay that he had lost his 
satchel, or bag, or Avallet, or scrip, AAdiich contained, as far as 
AA^e can make out, not only all his money, but all his Avearing 
apparel. But Avhat of that ? Was he not again in the region 
of young women, Avho presently came to his rescue ? While 
passing a farmhouse he Avas gesticulating to his Lapps in the 
vain attempt to make them understand his loss, AAdien out came 
three young ladies. ' My father Avill send a man on horse- 
' back to fetch your satchel,' said one of them in very good 
English. Covered Avith mud, he tried to excuse himself from 
entering the house. ' JSTever mind, come in,' AA^as the instant 
reply ; so he entered and found that the OAvner of the house 
Avas a member of the Storthing, or NorAvegian Parliament, 

264 Tlie Land of the Miduhjld San. Jan, 

and that Bosekop thought quite as much of itself as Ilapa- 
randa, and was the centre of civilisation for West Finmark. 
Here Du Chaillu was fortunate enougli to meet the great 
Norwegian geologist, Professor Kjerulf, or ' Wolf of the Wold,' 
who 'was somewhat astonished at the " paucity" of his luggage, 
' which consisted, he said, mostly of writing-paper and maps.' 
Du Chaillu's thin shoes also surprised him ; but here we quite 
a2:ree with our traveller, for of all curses in forced marches 
on foot none are greater than heavy lumbering shoes. 

AVe need not say that Du Chaillu was soon entirely master of 
the position ; ' dozens of blooming girls ' and a few elderly 
ladies and gentlemen gathered round him, and vied in showing 
him every attention, and at last, having played till he Avas tired 
at forfeits and blindman's buff with the girls, and drunk eo-o-nofc 
and other temperance beverages with the elders, he felt bound 
' to give an entertainment to the young ladies in the parlour 
' of the hotel.' But here truth compels us to add that he 
had reckoned without his hosts — that is, without the heads of 
families. Suddenly there was a pause, the guests looked at 
one another, and whispered, and some of the ladies, elderly of 
course, headed by the crafty Professor Kjerulf, came up and 
asked in the name of the company that our traveller would 
tell them something ' about my travels in Africa and the 
' gorillas.' * I felt sorry to have been recognised ; I had never 
' uttered a Avord about my explorations. This is one of 
' the disadvantages of bearing an unusual name.' It was, 
however, impossible to refuse. No more forfeits or blind- 
man's buff; it was now serious business, and our traveller in 
their stead delivered a lecture on Equatorial Africa and the 
gorilla before that select assembly, no doubt Avitli as much 
satisfaction as when poor dear Sir Roderick explained the 
Silurian system on a wet Sunday to the fashionable society 
gathered in a great country house. But such is fame, and 
who can escape its consequences and its disappointments? 
Unfortunately, however, M. du Chaillu did not have all 
Bosekop to himself. There w^re lions there besides gorillas. 
' Even here,' he exclaims, ' Englishmen had come to fish.* 
This lion was the Duke of Roxburgh, whom our traveller 
pities for ' leaving his estates every year to enjoy the pleasure 
' of sleeping in a log house, catching salmon, and being eaten 

* up by mosquitos ; ' but he is good enough to add ' that the 
people spoke of him with respect and love, and praised his 
kind heart and genial manners. ' I know,' he kindly adds, ' of 

* no other Englishman more esteemed in Norway,' though 
this does not go for much, for Ave do not observe throughout 

1882. The Land of the Midnight Sun. 265 

these volumes that he is particularly willino; to praise our 
countrymen, as we shall see when we come toDrontheim. 

Down the Alten Fjord M. du Chaillu next sailed in a 
steamer for the fishy town of Hammerfest, that little Bero-en 
which, our traveller tells us, is said to be the most northern 
town in the world. Here he was in his glory. ' There wa& 
' an American vice-consul resident at the port.' ' Immedi- 
' ately after my visit to him the stars and stripes were hoisted 
* over his residence, and I found to my astonishment ' — (oh ! 
M. du Chaillu!) — 'that my name was known in this remote 
' part of the world.' His ' Equatorial Africa ' had been trans- 
lated into Norwegian, and, as a proof that his name was known, 
a copy was shown to him, as also ' the original in Eno-lish.^ 
But does it follow if a book is translated that it will be read? 
You may bring a horse to the water, but who can make him 
drink ? However, let us not dash M. du Chaillu's self-satis- 
faction by any such carping. No doubt this book is read, and 
it may be believed, in Norway just as it is in England and 
in every part of the lion-hunting Avorld. Fame, however, was 
not enough for him ; an irresistible impulse drove him on to 
adore the midnight sun from the top of the North Cape, on an 
islet oiF the Island of Magero, which, we believe, means the 
Isle of Gulls, and to the Isle of Gulls our traveller accord- 
ingly steamed, and most appropriately landed at its capital, 
which rejoices in the name of Gjoesver, or Goosenest (where 
we stop to remark that in this part of the narrative the names 
of places are thoroughly Rabelaisian). This was on July 21, 
and there he saw five cows, which were fed twice a day on fish. 
Yes ! there were five cows and as many goats and sheep 
flocking round a tub and devouring boiled and raw fish ' in a 
' most voracious manner.' Need we add that the butter made 
from their milk is salt, and that it is largely exported because, 
being a genuine article, it will keep salt for ever ? It is very 
odd, but though he only sailed from Hammerfest on July 21, 
it was on the 20th of that month that he ascended the North 
Cape. This is a confusion of dates which reminds us of an 
old book of travels in which there were two Junes in one 
year; but that at the time was called a trifle, and so we sup- 
pose is this inaccuracy. Partly by boat and partly on hi& 
feet Du Chaillu at last, after trudging several miles, stood 
upon the extreme point of the North Cape, 980 feet above 
the sea-level. Here follows more poetry, which it took our 
traveller ten hours to compose while he was waiting on the 
top of that awful headland for the midnight sun. It was at 
one of those sad intervals, when even Homer nods, that with. 

266 Tlie Land of the MidniijJit San. Jan. 

a spasmodic effort Du Chaillii 2:i'aspcd his mineralogist's 
hammer, went to the extreme edge of the Cape, thrcAv himself 
on his face, and Avhile one of his guides, who had ascended 
with him to that holy mount, held him by the legs, actually 
succeeded in breaking off a fragment of the solid mica-schist 
rock, ' to be pi-eserved,' as he solemnly says, ' to be a memento 
' of my journey.' Part, we are glad to learn, of this precious 
relic, the reward of so much, audacity, rests Avith M. du 
Chaillu's other treasures at New York, it may be in Barnum's 
]\iuseum ; the other part Avas presented to Professor Kjerulf, 
and is deposited in the Museum at Christiania. 

After this feat our traveller walked a while and saAv a 
spider, a humble-bee, and a small bird. All these he might 
have caught and killed, but he spai-ed the spider, no doubt 
because it reminded him of Kobert Bruce and his perseverance ; 
the humble-bee was also granted its life, probably because it 
is Charles Darwin's pet ; but as for the little bird, he brought 
his gun to his shoulder intending to shoot it and carry it, too, 
off as a memento of the North Cape, but as it flitted about, 
evidently not at home, he said to himself, ' I will not kill thee, 
' for thou, like me, art a wanderer in these fiir-off northern 
' climes,' whei'eas we venture to assert, on the authority of that 
little bird itself, not only that it Avas at home, but that its mate 
Avas not far off. HoAve\'er that may be, it escaped, and is not now 
in the Museum. But now the Aveird hour approached. LoAver 
and lower sank the sun as the hour of midnight approached, and 
our traveller Avas distracted Avith the thought that, after all, 
clouds might arise and obscure it. But the midnight sun Avas 
faithful to his votary ; at midnight it shone beautifully over 
that lonely sea and dreary land. ' As it disappeared behind 
* the clouds, I exclaimed from the A^ery brink of the precipice, 
' " FarcAvell to thee, midnight sun I '" But Ave must extract 
some lines of M. du Chaillu's poetry : — 

* I liad now seen the midniglit sun from mountain tops and Aveird 
plateai^x shining over a barren, desolate, and snow-clad country ; I had 
Avutched it Avhen ascending or descending picturesque rivers or crossing 
lonely lakes ; I liad beheld many a land^^cape — luxuriant fields, verdant 
meadows, grand old forests — dyed by its drowsy light. I had fol- 
loAved it from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Polar Sea as a boy would 
chase a Avill-o'-the-wisp, and I could go no further.' 

If the reader does not like this bit of tall Avriting, Ave can- 
not help it ; Ave think it very fine, and have therefore, if he 
will pardon the expression, given it to him ' in its entirety.' 
What remains to be said but that our traveller returned to 
Goosenest Avet and chilly, after twenty-tAvo hours' sleepless- 

1882. The Land of the Midnifjht Sun. 267 

ness, still hearing the ' sad murmur of the waves beating upon 
* the lonely North Cape ' ? As the reader already knows, we 
much prefer M. du Chaillu's prose to his poetry ; but the ques- 
tion remains Avhether it was worth while to Avaste so much 
prose in describing a journey from the Gulf of Bothnia to 
the North Cape along a route traversed by many tourists every 

M. du Chaillu's second summer flight begins thus : — ' In 
' the latter part of July ' — we conclude the July of 1871 — ' I 
' found myself sailing along the wild and superb coast south 
' of Tromso,' where the reader must look to the excellent 
map which the publisher has provided, and then they will see 
not only Tromso, but Bodo, a spot at the mouth of the Salt 
Fjord, considerably below the Lofoden Islands, but still within 
the Arctic Circle. Not content with his exploits on the Alten 
and at the North Cape, M. du Chaillu was now bent on re- 
crossing the Scandinavian Peninsula lower down, from Bodo 
on the North Sea to LuleS on the Gulf of Bothnia, thus tra- 
versing one of ' the wildest and most uninhabitable districts of 
' Swed'en and Norway,' and skirting in his way the grand glacier 
of Sulitelma, the Swedish Ben Nevis, which is between six 
and seven thousand feet above the level of the sea. Our tra- 
veller tells us that he Avas the first to attempt this journey, 
' Avith the exception ' — and it is a very great one — of a com- 
mission of Swedish and Norwegian officials who settled the 
boundaries between the tAvo countries. All Ave can say at the 
outset is that besides the commission others than M. du 
Chaillu have crossed by this route, and that the glaciers of 
Sulitelma, of which Ave shall see that he says very little, Avere 
not reserved for him as virgin snoAV and ice. HoAvever, to 
please him, Ave Avill let him have his Avay, and for this once 
he first of men, except a royal commission, shall have tra- 
velled betAveen Sulitelma, Qvickjock, and LuleS. His Avay 
lay up the Saltdal to a place called Fagerli, at tlie top of ^ the 
A^alley beloAV the Fjeld, and Avas only enlivened by the sight 
of a family at dinner, Avhere the father Avas sharing out a large 
piece of raAV salt fish, Avhich they all ate Avith a relish. When 
asked Avhy the fish had not been cooked, the head of the 
family ansAvered ' that then they Avould eat too much of it.' 
It Avas noAv August 3, and Ave feel relieved Avhen Ave are 
told that for that year at least we shall hear no more of that 
midnight sun Avhich has got at last to be monotonous and a 
bore. While he stayed a ie\Y days at Fagerli till the Lapps 
Avho were to guide him came, Du Chaillu observed the country 
and the character of the inhabitants. The last, he tells us, are 

268 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

very primitive, but. this trait did not prevent the children from 
running after him, shoutiiii^ out ' penc/ar,^ pence or money,- 
just as our dear, unsophisticated little TafFys shout out 

* halfpenny ' and ' waterfall ' to the enchanted tourist who 
visits their most uncommonly cleanly and unmercenary 
country. Grown-up girls, too, Avith the consent of their primi- 
tive mothers, kissed our traveller with or Avithout provocation. 

* I may add,' says our Lothario, ' that I Avas quite Avilling.' 
But life, even in Norway, is not all kissing and coppers. On 
August 9 two Lajjlanders and a Lapp Avoman arrived, 
and on the 10th the four started for Sulitelma and Qvick- 
jock. * The less a man carries on such a journey the better,' 
says Du Chaillu. ' My baggage consisted only of an extra 
' flannel shirt, pair of pantaloons and shoes, and a light over- 
' coat. My provisions Avere hard flat bread ' (literal English 
for ftadbrod), 'butter and cheese, a flask of brandy to be 

* used only in case of need, a strong coffee-kettle, a pound of 
' roasted and ground coffee, and some tea.' Besides, he had a 
gun and tAVO revolvers for ' difficulties,' of Avhich he Avas quite 
ashamed, and resolved to get rid of them at the first oppor- 
tunity. Altogether an equipment of Avhich General Sir Charles 
Napier Avould have approved, as it Avas quite in keeping Avith 
his instructions to his officers campaigning in Scinde ; but for 
our OAvn part Ave should have liked to have tAvo or three pairs 
of socks and a pocket-handkerchief or two, though Ave knoAv 
that the last article is looked on Avitli contempt by real hard 
traA^ellers, Avho never have colds, and, if they sneeze at all, only 
do so once in their lives, like the patriarchs before the Flood, 
and then die, after the fashion of Baron Munchausen's bear, 
' Avith a terrible explosion.' 

After a fcAv hours' trudging they got Avell up on to the 
Fjeld, and were in the midst of very Avild scenery, Avith Suli- 
telma, 6,326 feet high, in the distance, a lake at its foot, 
and its great glacier streaming down its sides. They Avere 
Avet and cold, and anything but in a condition to enjoy the 
vieAv. Avhen the Lapp Avoman, who Avas as ' wiry ' as any of 
them, called out ' Same^ Lapps,' and lo ! there was an encamp- 
ment (^katd) in the distance, in this very country which at the 
outset Ave Avere told Avas ' uninhabitable.' It noAV came out 
that these Avere some relations of their Lapp woman, but Du 
Chaillu, disgusted, as no doubt he Avas, to find them in his 
Avay, Avas still more so when he saw them all huddled, men, 
women, children, and dogs, into a tent eight feet in diameter, 
evidently uuAvashed, and continually, as he delicately puts it, 

* putting their hands through the openings in their garments 

1882. The Land of the Midahjht Sun. 269 

* near the neck,' or, in other words, ' God-blessing the Duke 

* of Argyll ' at a fearful rate. But these Lapps were very kind ; 
they did their best to entertain them with meat and drink, and 
even wanted them to sleep in their tent. This, though he 
knew the penalty, unwilling to hurt their feelings, though at 
the expense of his own, Du Chaillu did for one hour, and then 
rose at four A.j>r., while creeping things crawled over him till 
he was aAvakened by a Lapp Avho had come home in the night 
M'ith a herd of 250 reindeer. 

That was the first day, and the second was like unto it 
— constant walking and Avading, more Lapp katas, and that 
everlasting Sulitelma for ever looking down on them. But 
these Lapps were of a better sort ; they were either aristocrats 
of the Fjeld, or the day before had been their half-yearly 
washing day. There they were, three young women and one 
man, just the i^roportion between the sexes to please a gay 
old gorilla-hunter. Our traveller, beholding their faces washed 
and their hair combed, was surprised, on further inspection, at 
the good looks of two of the girls. ' They had blue eyes, 

* very small hands, and fair hair, of a somewhat reddish hue ; 

* their complexions were rosy, and their skin remarkably white 

* where it had been protected from the Avind.' As for the man 
or men, they were as red as Red Indians, ' having been tanned 
' by exposure.' There Avas no sort of shyness in those people, 
and when Du Chaillu wanted a spoon Avashed he Avas much 
' amused ' at the Avay in Avhich one of the girls did it= ' As 

* there Avas no Avater at hand, she passed her little red tongue 

* over it several times till it Avas quite clean and smooth, and 
' then, as if it had been a matter of course, filled it Avith milk 

* from a boAA'l, stirred up the coffee, and handed me the cup.' 
' I did not,' he says, ' altogether admire this Avay of cleaning 

* spoons. Happily her teeth Avere exquisitely Avhite, and her 
' lips as red as a cherry.' We knoAV the colour of her tongue 
already, and Ave are sure that M. du Chaillu, with his keen 
eye for female beauty, is quite truthful Avhen he says, ' Though 
' I have seen many Laplanders since, I think she Avas the 

* prettiest one I ever saAv.' So it is, and so it AA'ill be : first love 
is first love, even in an uninhabited AAdlderness. We have no 
time to linger in the tents of these four Turanians ; the reader 
must discover for himself hoAV they milk their reindeer and 
make more cheese than butter. We must hasten on. On the 
third day they plodded on in Avet and cold, now the victims of 
mosquitos, Avhich up to that time had sj^ared them. This day, 
however, Sulitelma showed its peak for fifteen minutes, and M. 
du Chaillu AA-as comforted. On the fourth day, as far as Ave 

270 The Land of the Midniglit Sun. Jan. 

can make out, they caught sight of Qvickjock in the distance, 
and on the fifth day they reached that famous i)lace, and were 
again in the midst of civiHsation, having tramped about sixty 
miles from Sulitelma. The perils of this terrible journey 
of five days being over, it is all plain sailing or rowing down 
the string of lakes which form the LuleS river. At that 
still more famous to^^m Du Chaillu arrived on August 20, was 
at once presented to the governor, and instantly invited two 
young ladies and an old one to go out Avith him atid see the 
lions." Of course they willingly accepted the invitation, only 
remarking that they knew ' in America gentlemen invite 
' young ladies to drive,' though we always thought it was the 
other way, and that in that great country young ladies invited 
gentlemen to drive. 

That was the end of his second summer tour, and now come 
several hasty statistical chapters on the climate and products 
of the northern provinces of Sweden ; but when we get as far 
down as Jemtland — dear reader, do look at a good map of 
Sweden — our intrepid traveller rushes back towards IS^orway 
by Ostersund on the Storsjon, and crossing the frontier dashes 
down on Trondhjera, which we stupid English will call Di*ont- 
heim, and so finds himself in the old capital of the country. If 
we might hazard the remark, M. du Chaillu is like those ancient 
freemen who loved more to hear the lark sing than the mouse 
squeak. If he stays in a city, it is only to call on a king or a 
governor, or to have his shoes mended, or for some vulgar pur- 
pose. Drontheim he seems to loathe particularly. In summer 
the town is filled with tourists, principally English. As they 
are in the habit of putting on airs of superiority, the inhabitants 
do not seem to care for foreigners who — of course the English 
— have demoralised the lower classes, who have learned to be 
exorbitant. For instance, one day M. du Chaillu crossed tlie 
river Nid by the ferry with two Englishmen, and the partv 
were charged the enormous sum of two marks. M. du Chaillu 
thereupon refused to pay anything at all, but the Englishmen 
yielded and paid. ' There is a regular tariff of only a few 
' cents,' he adds, ' and the fellow would have been heavily fined 
* had I made a complaint,' though we do not see how he could 
have complained, seeing he was ferried over for nothing. Our 
countrymen were wise men : they paid rather than take pro- 
ceedings which would have detained them in Drontheim 
several days while they waited the result of the enquiry and 
the proverbial delays of the law. 

It was now September, Ave take it of 1871, though we are 
not sure, for this part of the book is rather hazy, as the weather 

1882. The Land of the Midnif/ht Sun. 271 

is apt to be iu Norway in that month. M. du Chaillu was 
waiting for fine weather at one of the post stations on the post 
road between Drontheim and Christiania, when, looking out 
of the window, he saw a young lady alight from a carriole and 
ask for a horse. She lived on the banks of the Mjosen Lake, 
and was hastening home to one of her friends, who was ill. 
Her boldness made our traveller ashamed of himself, and 
he enquired within ' what had become of the blood that once 
' made me encounter dangers ?' He offered at once to accom- 
pany that young lady, and her answer was, as the young ladies 
ahvays answer our traveller, ' I am very glad ; it will be 
' much more pleasant for me, for I am all alone.' Now, if 
any Aunt Tabitha or Mrs. Trimmer should screech out 
against the impropriety of accompanying a young lady in a 
carriage for two hundred miles or so, we declare that of all 
carriages in the world a carriole is the last in which aiiy man 
would attempt to make love. Love, like a quarrel, takes two 
to make it, and as a carriole can only contain one person, and 
perhaps a boy or girl hanging on behind, love-making is out 
of the question. If Ursula and feer eleven thousand virgins 
had set off on a tour round the world in as many carrioles, 
she would have brought all her pet lambs safe home, if they 
had only driven on steadily, and never once got out to go to 
bed. Moreover, as this young lady was going post haste 
day and night, there could be no impropriety in M. du Chaillu's 
escorting her ; and we are still more convinced of this by the 
fact that we never hear of her on the journey after her fellow- 
tx'aveller lent her his coat, so that we are left in doubt 
whether she ever reached the shores of Lake Mjosen, while 
we hear of him at Molde and Bergen, quite out of the way to 
the Mjosen, of both of which cities or towns we again advise 
the reader to consult M. du Chaillu's valuable statistical 
details for himself. Nor should he omit the geological, glacial, 
and ethnological and other chapters which, for the most part, 
make up the rest of this summer volume, which is like the Pars 
JEstivalis of the Roman Breviary, and deals only with that 
portion of the year. Of the Pars Hyemalis or winter history, 
which fills this second volume, we have still to speak. 

It was in December, 1872, as we gather, that M. du Chaillu 
began his winter experiences in the North. He was then 
slowly steaming for Christiania, bent on paying a visit to 
some ' bonder ' (farmer) friends in Gudbrandsdal before making 
his way via Stockholm to Haparanda, that he might see Lap- 
land in winter, and enjoy the delights of sledging with rein- 
deer. Chi'istmas Day was spent at the Norwegian capital 

272 The Land of the Mldnujht Sun. Jan. 

with his friend, Consul H., whose little tl.iiincliter Kristine 
had worked her friend ' Paul ' a pair of slippers, and sent 
them all the way to New York, Avhence, as we also gather, 
he had just returned. There were Christmas trees and Christ- 
mas gifts for youno- and old, but IM. du Chaillu iswrono; Avhen 
he calls ' Claus ' or Nicholas, the Avell-known saint, ' Santa; ' 
for the patron saint of thieves was a man, if ever a saint Avas. 
But we hasten on with our traveller to Gudbrandsdal, 
for which he started on December 26 in that most un- 
comfortable of all vehicles, a carriole. After three days he 
reached the Dovrefjeld, and in due time Tofte, a farm well 
known in Norwegian history, and now the abode of Du 
Chaillu's friend Thord, who claims to be the lineal descendant 
of Harold Fairhalr, on whom our traveller dilates with more or 
less accuracy, as when he tells us that one of Harold's many 
wives was ' Snefrid Snow-peace,' where the last syllable has 
nothing to do with peace, but means ' fair ' in the sense of 
beautiful, as in the old alliterative English bahad phrase, 
' fair and free.' These, however, are small matters, like putting 
St. Canute's Day on the twentieth daj- after Christmas, 
whereas it falls on January 7, or the thirteenth day after 

As for Du Chailhi's friend Thord, he lived in a very 
patriarchal way at Tofte, with seven maids and five men. 
We need hardly say that these maids were very independent ; 
they all had light blue eyes and fair hair, and three were 
really beautiful, though it was rather puzzling that four out 
of the seven rejoiced in the name of Ragnhild. The girls 
sang and played blindman's buff with Du Chaillu, or plain 
' Paul ' as they called him, and ' many of the maidens had to 
' redeem their forfeits by kissing me.' Some were bashful and 
objected at first, but ' they had to do it.' So our traveller Avent 
up and down the dale, from farm to farm, welcomed ever}-- 
where, drinking the foaming ale from liorns of fabulous age. 
All good things and times have an end, however, and at the 
very end, on the thirteenth day of Yule, Du Chaillu was 
surprised in a farmhouse by a crowd of maskers, the female 
part of which was instantly attracted to him as flies to honey. 

* Paul, I love you,' said one fair mask. ' Take me with you 

* to America when you go back,' cned another. ' Paul,' 
■cried a third, ' I want to marry you ; say yes or no without 
' seeing my face.' Then one of the young ladies took Paul 
by the arm and hurried him off on a round of dancing and 
sinfjinfic from house to house, like Herodias and her ' Mcnve ' 
in the IMiddle xVges. At last the girls and their brothers un- 

1882, The Land of the Midnight Sun. 273 

masked themselves, and said, ' Paul, come to our farm and 
' sleep.' ' 1 accepted the invitation,' says Da Chaillu, ' and 
' was warmly welcomed. We were all weary, and a crowd 
' slept in the same room, the best way we could, in the old- 
' fashioned style still practised in Wales, and among the Dutch 
' of Long Island and New Jersey some thirty years ago, or 
' in Pennsylvania and at Cape Cod, and in many primitive 
* parts of Europe to this day.' Yes, very primitive, and the 
name they give to this custom in Wales is ' bundling.' 

This warm Christmas required to be cooled in snow, 
and though there was little that year in the south of Scan- 
dinavia, our traveller found more than enough of it on his 
journey from Stockholm and Upsala to Haparanda. Nature 
is good to all of us, but to M. du Chaillu her bounties are 
excessive. Her manifestations to him are always superlative. 
If the wind howls to him, no mortal ever heard it howl so 
loud ; if the sea roars, not all the sea-lions in the world, 
roaring at once, could roar so terribly ; and this very snow, it 
vras ' the grandest and most continuous snoAvstorm that had 
' fallen in Sweden for a hundred years.' In fact, the old 
woman who plucks geese up aloft had kept all her feathers 
back for a century, and then discharged them on his devoted 
head. It was comforting by the way to fall in with a jovial 
company of Swedes, one of whom propounded this thesis : 
' Have you ever heard of any great man, either as a master 
' intellect, a great writer, or a great soldier, Avho has drunk 
' only water all his life ? ' In such weather Du Chaillu forgot 
Gough and Matthew and a host of teetotal witnesses, and, 
instead of renewing the pledge, accepted the bottle proffered 
by these jolly companions. 

At last, seeing by the way one or two beautiful maidens, 
Du Chaillu reached Haparanda on February 17, 1873, having 
been five weeks in compassing the 740 miles from Stockholm. 
Now it is provoking that he does not say one word of his old 
friends the banker, the custom-house officers, the sheriff, the 
clergyman, and the rest of the Haparanders. Perhaps they go 
to sleep in the winter like their own bears, perhaps our tra- 
veller was so anxious to get still more frozen that he could not 
stop. All he says is that he left Haparanda in a storm so 
severe that the hoi'se could scarcely ' proceed.' Still they 
plodded on, one of his drivers being ' a stout girl of twenty, 
' strong enough to wrestle any man, but shy, modest, and 
' gentle. I could not tell how she looked, for her face, like 
' mine, was entirely wrapped up.' Just then Dame Nature 
favoured our traveller with such awful exhibitions of her 


274 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

mio-ht in the way of wind and snow that he Avas forced to halt 
for'some days at the house of his old friend Grape, where he 
learned something of Finnish, and a little how to go on snow- 
shoes, though he confesses that he was never quite at his ease 
in * coasting,' i.e. gliding down the hills, on those delight- 
ful implements. This Grape, who lived at Ruskola, was, 
as might be supposed from his name, no teetotaller. His 
family was as old as Noah or the hills, and when Du Chaillu 
left he opened a bottle of old wine and drank to the parting 

On he went to Sattajarvi, where the news of his arrival had 
preceded him. ' Here is Paulus again,' they said, ' all the Avay 
' from Stockholm.' When they heard he was going on the North 
Caue to live with the Laplanders, they exclaimed, ' Did you 
' ever see such a man ? ' and would not believe it. With 
a:reat effrontery Paulus asked ^ Where is my friend Kristina ? ' 
The reader of course remembers the young woman who 
thought he had asked her to go with him to America, and 
whose mother had reproached him. ' " She lives in Pirtiniemi," 
' they replied, two stations back on the way to Haparanda. 
' "Why, have you not seen her ?" " No ! " said I, "it is too bad.' " 
They tried to keep him with them, but it was all no good. 
When they talked to him of the troubles that would beset him 
on the journey, he answered ' Yes, I shall have trouble. It is 
' hard to travel in a country if one cannot talk with the people,' 
so that in February, 1873, he was still unable to converse in 
that very difficult language, Finnish. Next morning, the 
Sattajarvians brought him a guide : ' Paulus, we have brought 
* you a girl to go to Norway Avith you ; she will be able to 
'interpret for you.' This was Elsa Karolina, a young and 
pretty girl of seventeen ; she lived in Norway with a married 
sister, but had come back to be confirmed at Pajala. She 
too would gladly have gone with Paul to America, Avhich 
these simple people look upon as an Eldorado, but Paul 
was faithful to his trust, and when he got to NorAvay handed 
Elsa Karolina safely over to her sisters. But they had a 
rough time of it. The}' sledged up the bank of the Muonio 
river to the lake which feeds it, and then over the mountains till 
they reached Lyngen Fjord, almost opposite to the Lofoden 
Islands. At Muonionalusta, a little short of Muoniovara^ 
they slept in a house where Du Chaillu declares that ' the 
' residents were not bashful ' — no, we should think not. When 
bedtime came they all took off their shoes and stockings, and 
hung them up on a cross pole near the ceiling. Elsa Karolina 
and one of the daughters slept together, ' while the eldest 

1882. The Land of the Midniyht Sun. 275 

* daughter slept near me, bundling with her sweetheart, this 

* being the lovers' day^ 

We cannot help thinking that this must have been very- 
bad for Elsa Karolina, if not for such a hardened traveller 
as Paul, and we are glad to hear that at Muoniovara they 
were both consigned to the tender care of the Lapps, and 
had to learn how to drive reindeer in boat-shaped Lapp 
sledges. This mode of travelling, except for the honour of it, 
is scarcely so pleasant as the vulgar vehicle called ' shanks's 
mare,' for it consists in rushing down hills behind reindeer 
more or less broken, with one's legs dangling out on either 
side to steer by, in which process it occasionally happens 
that one's legs are broken. It would be wrong to call 
reindeer hard-mouthed, because they are not driven by bit, 
the reins being attached to the base of their horns, but they 
are very self-willed, and evidently hate being driven. We 
have no time to dwell on the falls and rolls the pair had 
bead over heels in the snow, and the charming way in which 
they both showed their agility, but Elsa Karolina especially, 
by jumping on her feet, and into the sledge again in a second. 
In the course of these adventures M. du Chaillu had ample 
opportunity for observing the Lapp women, and he came to 
the conclusion that their skin is very white, and that those who 
have described them as a dark-skinned race have made a 
mistake, probably from not having had the opportunity, as our 
traveller had, of seeing them Avhen they take their baths. 
Ax last, after fearful tempests and dangerous descents, they 
crossed the mountains, and came down on Skibotten at the 
top of the Lyngfjord, just in time for the March fair. Elsa 
Karolina was now near her friends, and was despatched to them 
' with a little money,' and a gold ring on her finger. Pehr or 
Peter, whose pardon we beg for not having mentioned him 
before, the Lapp Avho had been his guide, was also sent home 
well pleased, and Du Chaillu's journey across the mountains 
beyond the Arctic circle was over. 

Next he went to the Lofoden Islands, and saw the Avay 
of catching cod and the manners and customs of the fishermen, 
Avhom he describes as a pious God-fearing race, who would not 
swear like the Swedes or some other Norwegians, not for any- 
thing. There he stayed till after Easter, when he determined 
to pay his old friend the North Cape a visit by sea in the 
spring or late winter, and then doubling round across the 
Tana Fjord, and into the Varanger Fjord, he found himself 
at the very extremity of the Norwegian kingdom. Tie reached 
Vadso, the last town on the Norwegian shore, on April 25, 

276 The Land of the Midnight Sun. Jan. 

and found Ins old friend the sun making such rapid strides 
towards his monotonous midnight appearance as to enable Paul 
even then to read a newspaper at midnight. His object in 
going to the Varanger was to make his way up the Tana 
river, just along the Russian and Norwegian border, and to 
see what the La])ps in those parts were like. But he was 
almost too late ; the Lapps had most of them left the seashore 
for the Fjeld, there were no guides and no reindeer to be had, 
and if any reindeer were found they were weak and out of 
condition. At last two Lapps with three reindeer were found, 
who agreed at a high price to carry him to Karasjok, a place 
not far from Kaukoteino, on one of his former routes. Thence 
another Lapp took him to Kaukoteino. 

It is in this part of his book that Du Chaillu describes what 
ma}' be called the installation of the Northern Order of the 
Bath, in which it will be seen that, though there are many 
Companions, there cannot be said to be any ' investiture,' as the 
ceremony is conducted in puris naturalihiis. He draws a veil 
over the exact locality, but it is to be inferred that the order 
is Avidespread over all the northern provinces of the peninsula, 
though we must confess that we never heard of its existence 
before, and even now, 'like another Paul,' only partly believe it. 
The way he became affiliated to the order was in this wise. 
He expressed his wish to have a hot bath. Well, a large 
cauldron is prepared, and he has just stepped into it when ' a 

* stout girl of twenty summei'S jumps in, dress and all, and 

* says " Paulus, I have come to help you." ' Then she 
rubs the undraped Paul with soap and switches him Avith 
birch twigs. This was when he was only a neophyte. Then 
he had his bath alone or in company with a dressed young 
woman ; but when the people began to regard him as one of 
themselves, he was advanced in dignity and invited to bathe 
enfamille, and the neighbours, or, as he Avill write it, ' neigh- 
' bors,' would often come to bathe with Paul. On the first of 
these occasions, Saturday being the day on which these rites take 
place, the girls, who Avere just cleaning the bath-house, which 
is a separate building, called out, ' Paulus, take a bath with 

* us to-day,' as one would say, ' take a cup of tea.' The weather 
was piercing cold, and the ground covered with snow. ' From 
' my Avindow I saw several maidens Avending their Avay Avith 
' rapid steps, in a costume that reminded me of Africa, minus 
' the colour.' In a Avord, these young ladies had nothing on 
but a necklace or a ring or so. Then came tAvo or three old 
Avomen, who very properly had old skirts round their scraggy 
Avaists. When the Avhole levee had assembled, Du Chaillu 

1882. The Land of the Midn'ujht Sun. 277 

followed tlieui in the same scantj costume, Avhich allowed the 
manly proportions of the great gorilla-hunter to be plainly 
visible to the undraped eye. A Swedish bath is own sister or 
brother to a Turkish or a Russian one, plus the promiscuous 
mingling of the sexes. They poured hot and cold water over 
one another, and the young women switched Du Chaillu, and 
he switched them again with birch rods, all to promote a healthy 
circulation. After a final flagellation, the companions of the 
bath ran out and rolled themselves in the snow, and then made for 
the house, where we need only add that they wiped and dressed 
themselves in the same intersexual manner, and then shook 
hands, and no doubt kissed and parted in a state of great ex- 
hilaration, promising to meet the next Saturday for further 
bathing and birching. On June 16 Du Chaillu was once 
anore in Haparanda, and his winter journey was over. ' We 

* have wandered together, dear reader,' he says, ' in summer 

* and winter in these high latitudes, and I have gained my 

* object if I have been able to give you a correct idea of the 
' land of the midnight sun.' If Mrs. Grundy should call the 
description of Saturday bathing ' correct,' we shall be very 
much surprised. 

Out of these two journeys, one in the summer of 1871 and 
the other in the winter and spring of 1872 and 1873, the 
backbone of these volumes is formed. Besides, there is a mass 
of statistical information, compiled out of books and aided by 
observation, but which might almost as easily have been 
w^ritten in New York as in Sweden. Interspersed among 
these somewhat dry details, which are much enlivened by 
beautiful illustrations, are Avhat Ave may call 'bouts ' of travel, 
forming the most amusing portions of the book, in AA^hich M. 
du Chaillu describes his A^sits to farmers both in NorAvay and 
Sweden, and gives a lively picture of their hearty and homely 
AA'ay of life and of their free and curious customs. Before 
taking leave of M. du Chaillu aa'c must favour our readers 
AA'ith a few AA^ild snatches from his account of a visit Avhich he 
paid to Dalecarlia, Avhere, in the district Avatered by the tAA^o 
Dalelfs or Dale rivers and round the lovely Lake Siljan, there 
dAvell on their farms the most primitive race of yeomen in the 
world. Our traveller had been invited to a Avedding on a 
midsummer's day at Leksand, in this district, and did not fail 
to put in an appearance. The night before the Avedding he 
was just tucked up in a bedroom in a little house all to himself, 
Avhen the bride and the bridegroom's sister came in and said, 
^ Paul, are you asleep ? ' He answered no, and then, taking off 
their shoes and partly dressed, they lay doAvn to rest on a bed 

278 Tke Land of the Midnight Sun. Jau. 

opposite to his. ' We come here to keep you company,' they 
said ; ' we do not wish you to feel lonely.' Bub there was still, it 
seems, a third bed in the room, and soon after a young farmer 
and a handsome girl, to whom he was engaged, came in, and 
both lay, fully dressed Ave are glad to hear, on the third couch 
and *fell asleep in each other's arms.' 

On this occasion, to do honour to the natives, Du Chaillu 
had prepared a surprise. He had made, and wore, the costume 
worn by the men of Leksand, and when he looked at himself 
in the glass ' a glow of satisfaction overspread ' his face, ' and 

* with a feeling of vanity, natural to men on such an occasion, 

* I really thought I was not ill-looking.' How charming 
a thing is conceit! Like sleep, as Cervantes says, it covers 
some men all over as it were with a cloak. We need hardly say 
that when our traveller appeared in Dalkarl garb, the popular 
excitement was intense. ' Look at Paul ! He is not proud. 
' He is now like one of us.' All through that wedding-day the 
crowd exclaimed, ' Look at Paul, do look at Paul I ' After tlie 
Avedding came the wedding feast, and our traveller soon learned 
that popularity has its penalties as well as its pleasures. 
He Avas made to eat and drink four times as much as Avas 
good for him, and Avhen he left the table and Avent out into the 
yard to take a little breath, he was seized by the bride's father 
and dragged into his house to eat another meal. More than 
this, the feast lasted seven days, and on the third day most of 
the guests Avere groaning Avith pain, and the peculiar disease 
known in England as ' hot coppers 'in a very aggraA'^ated form. 
Du Chaillu resisted as long as he could, but he too fell a 
victim to this malady, and sought relief by retiring to a 
farm AAdiere he found a father and mother asleep in one bed, 
and threAV himself on another Avhere the daughter of the 
house was fast asleep. We only hope that he rose up early 
in the morning and made his escape before the young lady and 
her parents Averc aAvare of his presence. 

On these occasions many presents are made, and amongst others 
rings. Of the last Du Chaillu Avas very liberal, and once nearly 
got into trouble. He had placed a gold ring on the engagement 
finger of a young AA'oman, and Avent his Avay AA'ithout knowing 
the significance of his act. But others knew it, for soon after 
the father of tlie girl knocked him up early in the morning, to 
know Avhat he meant by it. ' Paul,' said he, ' there is much 

* talk in our villafije in regard to the rincr you Q;ave to niA' 
' daughter. I come to ask Avhat is your meaning? Do you 
' really think of marrying her ? ' To this plain question our 
traveller ansAvered like a man and an American : ' We do not 

1882. A Whig Retort. 279 

' marry so hastily in America, and do not bind ourselves in 
' such a way. Your daughter is a very fine girl, and I gave 
' her that ring simply as a token of friendship.' ' Afterwards,' 
he says, ' I was very particular when I gave a gold ring,' and 
this particularity consisted ' in giving several in the same 
' hamlet, to prevent gossiping,' which shows that with gold 
rings in Sweden there is safety in cheerful giving. 

And now we take leave of M. du Chaillu and his book, 
which will well repay perusal. We have expressed our 
opinion freely as we went along. He is a hard traveller and 
a keen observer, though we do not think travelling in 
Lapland is so hard as he represents it. The farming class, 
the hempen homespuns of the peninsula, are by his own 
account very fond of him, and we have no doubt it is the truth, 
for in their eyes America, whither so many of their friends 
and kinsmen have migrated, is a free land flowing with milk 
and honey. In one city on the Great Salt Lake some of the 
free and easy Scandinavian customs would not fall to receive 
a ready welcome. As ' bundling ' seems to be common both 
to Lapps and Welshmen, that perhaps is the reason why 
Mormonism is so largely recruited from both those countries. 
Be that as it may, we now shake hands with Paul, hoping 
that he will visit many other lands, and leave them as 
amusing and self-complacent as he has shown himself in the 
Land of the Midnio-ht Sun. 

Art. XL— 1 . The Position of the JVhigs. By Charles Milnes 

GrASKELL. (' Nineteenth Century ' for December, 188 L) 
2. Burke. By John Morlet. London: 1880. 

Tt is a fashion of the day to treat the Whigs as an extinct 
-*- political party, Avhose very existence can only be traced 
in the remote annals of past history, as Professor Owen 
brings to lio;ht the dragons and tortoises of the primaeval ages 
from an ingenious analysis of their fossil remains. VV e are so 
used to this language that we are tempted at times to doubt 
our own existence. Mr. Milnes Gaskell, in the article we 
have placed at the head of these pages, states as an ascertained 
fact that ' the Whigs occupy the place of a blank leaf between 
' the Old and New Testaments, to use Sheridan's simile, and 
' would find it very hard to formulate their wishes, or to give 
' honest expression to their opinions ; ' and he winds up his 
indictment by affirming that ' the time will come when the 
' student of politics will search in vain for " plain Whig prin- 

280 A lVlu<j Retort Jan. 

' " ciples " except hi tlie pages of the " Edinbiirgli Review." ' 
That is a conipliineiit to oiusclves Avhicli we should be proud to 
accept, if it did not involve the extinction of an entire species 
of most estimable human beings. It is true that we shall en- 
deavour, as long as we exist at all, to keep the blue and yellow 
flag flying on this old Tower of the INIarches, whatever hordes 
and caterans may invade and harry the land, [)ecause we be- 
lieve it to be an asylum of justice, freedom, and truth. IMuch 
has happened, much may happen, in the course of events to 
perplex and distract the staunchest members of the Liberal 
party and of all political parties. But in the long run men 
look to consistency of political principles for the guidance and 
government of states. It is no part of a public journal to 
direct or control the functions of executive or parliamentary 
government on particular questions and occasions. It would 
be presumptuous to attempt it. We are content to play a 
much humbler part, which is simply to remind the country of 
principles, Avhether of constitutional law or of public economy, 
which are sometimes sacrificed to expediency, but are never 
sacrificed with impunity. Still less do we presume to reflect 
upon the conduct of those who, from far-sighted and patri- 
otic motives which are partly known to us, have acquiesced in 
a policy which would not have originated with themselves: 
but if there be any members of the Administration who have 
allowed their better judgment on great questions of social 
order and the rights of property to yield to the exigencies of 
party interest, we can only say that we should have pursued 
a different course. 

Mr. Milnes Gaskell himself bears, if we are not mistaken, a 
good Whig name. Indeed, he bears the names of two highly 
respectablc Presbyterian families, well known in Yorkshire 
and Lancashire. We strongly suspect that he is a Whig 
without knowing it ; he may even be a Whig who has not the 
courage to avoAv that he inherits so unfashionable a creed ; lui- 
less, indeed, he is himself a blank leaf between the past and the 
future. But for ourselves, who are AVhigs and nothing else, 
we claim the right to raise from the depths of oblivion a modest 
plea for existence ; and we shall even venture to contend tliat 
the great bulk of liberal intelligence in the country still holds 
to our own principles and o[)inions. We shall say nothing of 
the past. The testimony of great statesmen, from Burke to 
Bismarck, is not needed to assure us that gratitude for past 
services counts for nothing in politics. 

' The evil that men do lives after tliem, 
The u'ood is oft interred Avitli their bones.' 

1882. A Whig Retort. 281 

But as long as the pages of Burke, to which even Mr. Morley, 
one of the chief scorners of the Wliig party, pays no unwilling 
homage, Jiold their place in English literature, it cannot be 
said that Whig principles are without a voice or influence in 
the Avorld. We have placed the name of Burke at the head 
of this article, because he is, and will ever remain, the most 
eloquent and illustrious expositor of these principles ; and if 
they have lost anything of their lustre in another age, it is 
because the traditions of the party have devolved upon less 
powerful men. But the question remains, and we propose 
briefly to discuss it : Is it true or false that Whig principles 
are alive or dead ? Are they still an active power in the 
State ? or are they as defunct as those of the Jacobites, their 
opponents in the last century ? They are called Whig prin- 
ciples ; the name is of no importance ; we are attached to them, 
not because they are Whig, but because they are the principles 
of the British Constitution — nay, more, because they are the 
everlasting principles of freedom, justice, and humanity. 

It is another fashion of the present day to deal with political 
subjects as if they were governed by no principles at all, but 
must obey every gust of the popular will, impelled by the 
passions or interests of the hour. Indeed the late Mr. Buckle, 
though much given to historical generalisation, maintained 
that no general principles existed in politics ; that the art of 
government Avas purely empirical, and ruled by the circum- 
stances of each case, which amounts to saying that there is no 
scientific government at all, and no obligation on the guides 
and rulers of mankind but to drift with the tide. That Avas 
not the language or the spirit of the orators and statesmen of 
the last century. It was their constant aim and endeavour to 
shoAv that the measures they proposed and the course they 
adopted in particular cases were in strict conformity with the 
rules of conduct which wisdom, experience, and morality pre- 
scribed. They reverenced that restraint of equal laws which 
they regarded as the essential condition of true liberty ; and 
as Mr. Morley says of Burke, in a very noble passage, ' They 

* valued the deep-seated order of systems that worked by the 
' accepted uses, opinions, beliefs, and prejudices of a com- 

* munity.' * If there are those who hold that such restraints 
can be thrown aside for the attainment of momentary power, we 
are not of that opinion. The government of States cannot be 
carried on by rash experiments, such as are tried in the 
paroxysms of revolution, when the convictions of men are 

* Morley's Burke, p. 150. 

282 A Wld(j Retort. Jan. 

shaken, and tliey snatch up the first weapon that comes to 
hand, but by settled rules and traditions of policy, which are 
gradually improved by a more profound and accurate know- 
ledge of the laws of public economy. These are what we call 
princi[)les — it matters not by what party nickname they are 
called — and we say it is impossible they should perish, because 
they are founded on generous and liberal views of the duty of 
government, on a manly confidence in the progress of tolerance 
and freedom, and on strict and sound theorems of political 
economy, some of w^hich are capable of mathematical demon- 
stration. It is by the truth and stability of such jn'inciples 
that a political party can alone be judged ; and the clami of 
the Whigs to the confidence of the nation is in exact propor- 
tion to the fidelity with which that party has adhered to such 
principles, and defended them against the encroachments of 
arbitrary power springing either from above or fronr below. 
And the defence of these principles rests not mth a small band 
of intelligent politicians, but with the great mass of the free, 
law-abiding, and enlightened people of this country. 

What is the position falsely assigned to us? AVe are told 
that the nation is divided into two great parties — Tories and 
Democrats, Conservatives and Revolutionists — and that between 
these two all-devouring forces there is no escape and no alter- 
native. He who is not with us is against us ; and the leading 
organ of the Tory party assures us that the friends of law, 
order, and national liberty, must fall into the Tory ranks or 
perish miserably. We deny the fact. The Whigs are sepa- 
rated from the Tories by the great gulf of tradition and by 
the fact that the Tories have been the steady opponents of 
every measure of toleration, reform, and free trade, ultimately 
carried by Whig influence. The Tories have no rational 
remedy to offer for the difficulties and discontents which now 
afflict a portion of the United Kingdom. Their sole reliance 
is on resistance, and on a resistance Avliich they are not strong 
enough to maintain, and which woiild cause incalculable evils 
if it could be maintained and enforced. They know themselves 
that they would break down in the effort, and that the reaction 
Avould be more formidable than the disorder they seek to re]n-ess. 
Indeed we niight go much furtlier and draw a darker line of 
distinction if it Avere worth while to discuss the doctrines of 
Toryism as they have recently been propounded to the world 
by high a,uthority speaking in the name of the Conservative 
party. For these high prerogative doctrines, Avitii their ex- 
travagant assumptions and preposterous consequences, are 
more Avorthy of 8ir Kobert Filmer, Dr. Sacheverell, and Lord 

1882. A Whig Retort 283 

Bolingbroke, than of the Conservatives of the present day. 
It is the fate of that party at this time to be led in one House 
of Parliament by a statesman more remarkable for courage 
than for prudence, and in the other House by a statesman 
more remarkable i'or prudence than for courage ; but neither 
courage nor prudence would induce or allow them to adopt 
and avow principles which are far more obsolete than those of 
their Whig opponents. 

The Whigs are separated from the Radicals by the fact that 
the advanced sections of that party look to large organic 
changes in the political and social institutions of Great Britain, 
They would disestablish the Church ; they Avould. destroy the 
power of the House of Lords as an estate of the realm; they 
are but feebly attached to the monarchy itself — some of them 
prefer a republican form of government. The Birmingham 
patriots demand a large increase of executive power — a strange 
l^erversion of Liberal principles — in order to enable them to 
enforce with unlimited authority what they call the ' will of 
' the people.' Writers like Mr. Frederic Harrison and Mr. 
Goldwin Smith are good enough to propose an entirely new 
form of government to the EngHsh people, the old one being 
entirely Avorn out. The Whigs are not in favour of any of 
these changes. They stand by the Constitution. 

The present state of Ireland is an apt and striking illustra- 
tion of the distinction which may be drawn between Whig 
principles and Radical practice. We do not remember in our 
history so complete an example of the application of Radical 
principles, originating with the Land League and sanctioned 
by the Legislature, but wholly opposed to Whig traditions. 
No other part of Europe has witnessed so correct an example 
of Radical legislation, applied by Radical agents. The ex- 
periment is interesting, and we hope to learn something from 
it. We have no intention to offer any critical remarks 
on the cause of these disturbances, for which all parties are 
somewhat to blame, since all parties have, consciously or un- 
consciously, contributed to them : the Tories from their Aveak- 
ness at the outset of the agitation ; the Whigs from a too 
generous confidence in the effects of Liberal government Avhich 
led them to relax the grasp of authority ; the Radicals because 
they have applied remedies Avhich have aggravated the evils 
they hoped to cure, and are even supposed to be leading to the 
ruin and spoliation of the classes possessing property, and to 
the utter demoralisation of the classes j^ossessing none. All 
we are here concerned to say is, that these results are not to be 
laid to the charge of Whig principles ; they are the consequence 

284 A ff'.hir/ Retort. Jan. 

of a denial and abandonment of tliose principles which Wliio; 
statesmen profess, and have till now invariably practised.* 
Whig statesmen carried the Westmeath Act, when Lord 
Hartington was Chief Secretary for Ireland ; and framed the 
late Lord Grey's powerful Act of 18.38. Both these mensures 
were effectual, and Lord Grey broke up the Ministry that 
had carried the Reform Bill, and retired from office, rather 
tlian surrender even a portion of the law which he considered 
to be necessary to preserve the peace of Ireland. That Act 
crushed the Repeal movement begun by O'Connell, and sa^ed 
the Empire. Lord Clarendon, as Lord-Lieutenant of Ire- 
laiid, succeeded in 1848 in quelling a far more formidable 
agitation, backed by the revolutions of continental Europe, 
and he could boast that, in Dublin at least, not a head nor a 
pane of glass had been broken. Lord Kimberley, in the same 
position, subdued a violent party conflict in Belfast by a firm 
and timely exercise of power. These were the acts of emineut 
Whig statesmen, and though they were denounced by O'Con- 
Dell and his successors, they were acts of mercy to the many, 
acts of severity to the few. The Duke of Argyll, the Marquis 
of Lansdowne, and Earl Grey, all staunch Liberals, stated in 
their speeches last Session what Whig principles applicable 
to Ireland really are, based on the truths of political economy 
and the rules of law. We recognise in those measures and 
those speeches, Avhether they are popular or not, the tra- 
ditions of the great party to which those statesmen belong. 
A different policy has been followed. We wish that it had 
been more successful in checking the destruction of property 
and the effusion of blood by crime. A Radical politician and 
minister has said in public that 'there way he times when it 
' is the highest duty of a Liberal Government to support and 
' to assert the law.' Those words disclose the whole difference 
between us. We maintain that the support of law and order, 
the protection of life and property, and the maintenance of the 
integrity of the United Kingdom, are now and ulicays the first 

* It is scarcely necessary to point out that by far the most searching 
criticisms of the economical and Ifigal effects of the Irish Land Act 
have proceeded from Liberal statesmen and writerf>, animated hy no 
party hostihty to the present Administration. The most thorough" and 
effective of these criticisms, which we have met with, is the xVddress on 
the Irish Land Act delivered in the Hall of ]\Ierton College, Oxford, on 
the 5th December last, by the Honourable Gecrge Brodrick, Warden of 
that college, and published in 'Eraser's IMagazine ' for January 1882. 
Mr. Brodrick's Liberal principles are beyond dispute, and we strongly 
recommend his paper to our readers. 

1882. A Whig Retort, 285 

and chief duty of Government, and that there is none beside 
it or like unto it. But these are Whig not Eadical opinions. 
Are we singular in entertaining them ? * 

We pass on, however, to the consideration of larger topics. 
The fundamental condition of the British Constitution, as we 
understand it, is simply this, that no uncontrolled, undivided, 
and immediate authority is entrusted to, or vested in, any man 
or any single body or class of men. The power of the 
Sovereign is exercised through others, under the system of 
ministerial responsibility established in 1688. The power of 
the First Minister of the Crown is shared and limited by his 
colleagues, by his supporters in Parliament, and by various 
departments of State. The House of Lords has but little in- 
itiative, and is powerless to raise or expend the public money. 
Its chief function is to review the measures of the other House 
of Parliament. Priests and synods are controlled by the tem- 
poral power, because the Sovereign is the head of the Church, 
and the Church is established by statute and governed by the 
law. The House of Commons enjoys all the powers that can be 
conferred by the electoral body, but it has to confront powers 
which are not elective, and it would be an evil day for the 
liberties of England if the House of Commons or any other 
institution in the State succeeded in establishing an authority 
paramount to all the rest. England abhors a dictatorial 
power, which is another word for tyranny ; and every power 
becomes tyrannical when it prevails without control over its 
co-ordinates. The success of free government depends on 
the harmonious working of this complicated machinery ; if it 
is out of gear, or if any part of it obtains an excessive pre- 
dominance, the consequence is that the machinery ceases to 

* In justice to Mr. Chamberlain it should be added that since these 
lines were written he has declared that 

' at this moment I am convinced that the great majority of the people 
would gladly settle down to the enjoyment of their new rights if they were 
relieved from the fear of secret violence, and it is the duty and will be the 
object of the Government to give them all the protection which the resources 
of the State can supply. In doing this I confidently rely on the support of 
every Liberal, as I know nothing which would be more fatal to democratic 
progress than an opinion, justified by facts, that Liberalism cannot defend 
the freedom which it is its object to establish, and is powerless to protect the 
majority against the anarchy and disorder which are fostered by an irrecon- 
cilable minority.' 

This declaration brings its author much nearer to our own view 
of sound Liberal principles, and we take it to represent the deUberate 
purpose of the Government, though it is not viewed with unmixed 
satisfaction by their Kadical supporters. 

286 A Whig Retort. Jan. 

work, legislation is temporarily suspended, the Executive is 
weakened. But these evils are incomparably less fatal than a 
violation of the freedom and of the rights of each member of 
the State. 

It is in the nature of man that different i)owers thus exer- 
cised should perpetually contend for more influence than they 
actually possess. At one time it has been the Crown, at an- 
other the aristocracy, at another the Church, and at the present 
time it is the popular element in the Constitution. This contest 
is the life of our political structure. It is this movement that 
adapts the machine to the exigencies of the times. We neither 
fear it nor deprecate it. On the contrary, we hope that the 
progress of education and experience will qualify the masses 
of the people to take a larger share of political power. But 
if the spirit and the frame of the Constitution is to be pre- 
served, no such share of power ought to be allowed to become 
exorbitant, in the literal sense of that word. The political 
views of those who aim at the establishment of an absolute 
ascendency in the popular branch of the Legislature, and even 
of popular clubs and caucuses supreme over the House of 
Commons itself, are simply subversive of the constitutional 
fabric, and, If they coidd be successful, they would establish a 
tyranny not widely differing from that of the Jacobin Club 
or the French Convention. 

In the memorable chapter on the tyranny of the majorltv 
which occurs In M. de Tocqueville's ' Democracy in America,' 
he exclaims, 'I hold it to be an Impious and execrable maxim 
' that, politically speaking, a people has a right to do whatso- 
* ever it pleases.' All political actions are subject to the eternal 
laws of justice. 

' It has been asserted,' he continues, 'that a people can never en- 
tirely outstep the boundaries of justice and of reason in those affairs 
Avhich are more peculiarly its own, and that consequently full power 
may be given to the majority by which it is represented. But this 
language is that of a slave. . . . Unlimited power is in itself a bad and 
dangerous thing. Human beings are not competent to exercise it with 
discretion, and God alone can be omnipotent, because His wisdom and 
His justice are equal to His power. But no power upon earth is so wortliy 
of honour for itself, or of reverential obedience to the rights it repre- 
sents, that I would consent to admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant 
authority. When I see that the right and the means of absolute com- 
mand are conferred upon a people or iipon a king, upon an aristocracy 
or a democracy, a monarchy or a republic, I recognise the germ of 
tyranny, and I journey onwards to a land of more hopeful institutions.' * 

* De Tocqueville, ' Democracy,' vol. i. p. 264. 

1882. A Whig Retort. 287 

If Mr. Milnes Gaskell is still in search of Wliig principles, 
these are of them. 

All publicists are agreed that the controlling influence of a 
second Chamber or Senate is an essential part of constitutional 
government. The founders of the American Union created it 
with great success, and made their Senate the most powerful 
and respected body in the Commonwealth. The French Re- 
public has adopted it, and possesses a Senate of far better 
composition than its Lower Chamber. England has her 
House of Lords, hereditary as the Crown is hereditary, but 
perpetually recruited by the promotion of the ablest men in 
the law, in the Church, in the army, and in civil affairs. It 
such a Senate is to exist, it is absurd to complain that it some- 
times exercises the very powers and functions that belong to 
it. If such powers are never to be exercised at all, no such 
body should remain ; it were better that its leading members 
should be merged in the sole Chamber, where their personal 
authority and talents would be more felt. Nothing can be 
more idle than to raise a cry against a check to an impulsive 
policy, which must be cautiously exercised, and which will 
ultimately yield, if it be fit, to the pressure of trutli and 
public opinion. 

The history of antiquity and modern experience alike prove 
that the tendency of democratic institutions is to place power 
in a single hand. That made Pericles the master of Athens. 
That was the origin of Roman Cajsarism. That is the theory 
on Avhich the Bonapartes established their supremacy. The 
French Republic drifts to a vulgar C^esarism without a 
Ca3sar. Even the Constitution of the United States places 
in the hands of the President a greater executive power than 
is possessed by any sovereign or minister in Europe, limited 
chiefly by the duration of his office. This one-man power, as 
it has been termed, is the result of the confidence which the 
multitude, unable to decide political questions for themselves, 
place in a demagogue, or a military chief, or a democratic 
leader. This is the chief danger of extreme popular institu- 
tions, and the most fatal to constitutional government, in which 
no authority is undivided and no portion of sovereignty uncon- 
trolled. To any such theory of popular absolutism true con- 
stitutional principles are radically opposed. The strength of 
an opposition is as essential to the preservation of liberty as 
the strength of the government is to the maintenance of order 
and authority. 

These are truths so elementary that it would not be worth 
while to submit them to the judgment of our readers, were it 

288 A nlivj Retort Jan. 

not that since Whig principles are sunk deeper than ever 
plummet sounded, it may be of use to the generation to which 
such writers as Mr. Mihies Gaskell belong to remind them 
of their existence. AVe may inform them that it is on this 
basis that the British Constitution, as it has existed for nearly 
two centuries, rests. It has procured for the people of this 
country during the whole of that period a degree of freedom, 
order, and security from revolution which no other nation 
has enjoyed. Imperfections there have been and still are, 
but the machinery of the Constitution contains witliin itself a 
power of self-adjustment by the wise process of Keform ; and 
although the country has passed through many contests and 
some perils, none of them have shaken the stability of the 

The Whig party has never been numerically strong. 
Throughout the reigns of George III. and George IV. its 
principles were defended by eloquent and intelligent minorities, 
excluded from office for about seventy years. The Whig 
members, who met at Lord Althorp's house in the autumn 
of 1830, are said to have numbered scarcely forty votes. Yet 
these men carried the Reform Bill of 1832, abolished slavery 
in the colonies, passed the New Poor Law, and, when the ne- 
cessity arose, put down by strong legislation disturbances in 
Ireland not less formidable than those of the present time. 
They originated these great measures ; they inaugurated the 
era of Reform ; but it Avill be said they had the ])eople of 
England behind them. No doubt, they Avere the leaders, and 
the wise leaders, of the popular cause, able to direct a great 
popular movement to wise ends, and to control it. How is it 
with them now ? 

HoAv stands the country between these two contending 
forces of Tories and Democrats, Conservatives and Revolu- 
tionists? Is there no medium between the two extremes? 
Is the future government of England to be arrested by the 
retrograde prejudices of one party, or imperilled by the rash 
innovations of the other ? We believe nothing of the kind. 
The political centre of gravity, as we have more than once 
said in this Journal, lies between the two. The great bulk of 
the intelligence of the nation and all its greatest interests ai'e 
neither Tory nor Radical. They occupy that central posi- 
tion Avhich is precisely the one which we have it at heart to 
defend. In France parties are conveniently described from 
the position they occupy in their semicircular hall of assembly : 
the extremes are called the Right and the Left, between them 
sit the Rii^ht Centre and the Left Centre. INI. Thiers used 

1882. A Whig Retort. 289 

to say in more tranquil times, ' La France est Centre Gauche,' 
the Left Centre represents the country. That is the inevi- 
table result when a nation is not torn by factions or wearied 
by revolutions. The people wish for progress, and they wish 
for security. They are jealous of their rights, utterly opposed 
to the slightest excess of authority, desirous of advance- 
ment and improvement ; but they do not desire and will not 
tolerate that the institutions of the realm should be attacked, 
that the guarantees of constitutional liberty should be over- 
thrown or undermined by factions, or that authority should 
fail to give an adequate support to law and order, and ade- 
quate protection to the rights and property of every citizen 
and the common interests of society. These are the prin- 
ciples of common sense and common justice. We shall not 
affect to restrict their influence by any party designation, for 
they are the principles Avhich patriotism and reason suggest 
to men of all parties, and we shall content ourselves with 
saying that they are held by none more firmly than by our- 

It is to be regretted that principles of such general appli- 
cation should be mixed up with personal considerations or even 
with party interests. The statesman who adheres to them 
most closely and applies them most firmly is, in our eyes, the 
best Minister of the Crown and Constitution of England. 
With them he is all-powerful ; without them no minister will 
retain the confidence and respect of the country. In the 
present state of political feeling in England, Avith large con- 
stituencies moved by continual agitation and a powerful press, 
and sheltered by the ballot from the charge of inconsistency, 
no permanent reliance can be placed on personal influence or 
even on party organisation. We saw Lord Beaconsfield carried 
in triumph in the autumn of 1878, and hurled from power in the 
spring of 1880. A similar fate had overtaken Mr. Gladstone 
in 1874, though he has since retrieved it by the astonishing 
resources of his energy and his eloquence. These fluctuations 
of public opinion had too much of a personal character. They 
Avere in fact the enthusiastic choice or rejection of a popular 
leader, the natural results of excitement and agitation. But 
Ave must be pardoned for saying that those Avho Avatch the 
course of public afl^airs with less of passion than of reason Avill 
judge of the conduct of their rulers, not by this or that speech 
or this or that measure, but by their steadfast adherence to the 
old rules of constitutional government. It is not enthusiasm 
but confidence Avhich is the true basis of a permanent adminis- 
tration ; and confidence will be yvon by a consistent application 


290 A Whig Retort. Jan. 1882. 

of those principles which the leaders of the Whig party profess 
in common with the most sober and enlightened classes of the 

We have no desire to prolong this discussion. Our inten- 
tion in these remarks, which we have purposely confined to a 
few pages, is not to reflect upon the opinions or the conduct of 
those who happen to differ from ourselves, but simply to assert 
the permanence and the force of the principles this Journal 
has invariably maintained. Administrations are not perma- 
nent; the persons who compose them change; the measures 
they pi'opose, whether for good or evil, pass away. Party 
combinations and organisation fluctuate and are exposed to all 
the vicissitudes of fortune. But, if there be any truth in poli- 
tical science, if there be any stability in law, if there be any 
security to the institutions of society, these essential conditions 
of civilisation and progress must be supported by principles 
above the reach of circumstances and the caprices and igno- 
rances of men. These are the traditions which it is the highest 
privilege of a writer on public affairs to defend, and he may 
perhaps defend them the better if he has no personal ambition 
to gratify, and no personal interest in the contest. If lie 
ceases to be an advocate, he may aspire in some degree to the 
impartial functions of a judge, which are simply to interpret 
and apply those rules of law and equity which are written in 
the Constitution of the country. 

No. CCCX VIII. will be published in Aj)ril. 



APRIL, 1882. 


Art. I. — 1. Lettres et Memoires de Marie (VAngleterre, epouae 
de Guillaume III. Collection de Documents Authentiques 
inedits. Par Mechteld, Comtesse Bentinck (nee 
Waldeck). La Haye, Paris, and London : 1880. 

2, Der Fall des Hauses Stuart. (1660-1714.) Von Onno 
Klopp. Wien: 1876. 

3. Les dernier s Stuarts a Saint- Germain-en-Laye. Par la 
Marquise Campana di Cavelli. Deux tomes folio. Paris, 
London, and Edinburgh : 1871. 

A hundred years have passed since Sir John Dalrymple 
finished his 'Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland.' In 
dedicating that work to Lord North, he said that his own 
recent discoveries among diplomatic papers, both at home and 
abroad, ' should lead men to reflect that the day of reckoning 
' will sooner or later come, when on the historic page their 
* true characters and motives of action will appear.' During 
the century that has elapsed since those words were written, 
the actions alike of the Stuart princes and of their opponents 
have not remained unchallenged. They have, on the contrary, 
been handled by the most distinguished of English statesmen 
and writers. The Revolution of 1688, being the most signal 
triumph of the cause to which the genius of Mr. Fox Avas devoted, 
could not fail to attract his attention. In the last years of his 
life he visited Paris, and examined the papers which were then 
known to exist in the collections of the State, as well as in the 
Scots College. He said that ' his studies there had been useful 
' beyond description,' but a history of James II., in one quarto 
volume, is the only record left of them. It is an incomplete 


292 Tlie Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

as it is also a posthumous work, and it goes no further than the 
collapse of Monmouth's rebellion. . r . 

To the sympathies of Sir James Mackintosh the same sub- 
ject warmly a]jpealed. It was his intention to write a con- 
tinuation of Hume's ' History of England,' and sorely is it to 
be regretted that this was never given to us to replace the 
dreary pages of Smollett. But Mackintosh was a desultory 
writer, and at his death all that was found ready for the press 
Avas that charming fragment which follows the fortunes, or 
misfortunes, of King James down to the fatal autumn of 1688. 
He left, however, an amazing collection of documents illustrative 
of a period of Avhich Lingard and Miss Strickland were pre- 
sently to treat in a spirit entirely opposite to that of the two 
liberal historians. To them William of Orange a])peared as 
monstrous as he had appeared heroic in the eyes of Fox and 
Mackintosh. Yet of the latter even Miss Strickland must 
have allowed that no author had ever better opportunities for 
studying his hero in all his most private relations. In Mackin- 
tosh's hands had been placed copies of the Welbeck papers, 
and from these private letters he would certainly, had he 
lived, have added to the portrait of William many touches of the 
most lifelike interest. The whole of the Mackintosh collections 
ultimately came under the eyes of Lord Macaulay, and upon 
him then devolved the task, say rather the joyful opportunity, 
of compiling a History of England from the accession of 
James II. In his hands this seemingly well-worn theme be- 
came a wondrous tale. Details were kneaded or welded by 
him into a whole, and the figures of men and women moved 
again, all palpitating, on the historic stage. He was ever able 
to extract from the rudest ore what was of value for his work ; 
but it must also be said that he knew how to drive at an in - 
petuous pace through the episodes and facts that either did 
not suit his artistic purpose, or that clashed with his settled 
prejudices. But he left English history very different from 
what he found it, and such as he has made it any future his- 
torian will find it very difficult to remake it. The dust has 
gathered now over his desk, and the grave Avith its silence has 
closed above the head in which that marvellous memory dwelt ; 
yet Englishmen still feel the influence of his work. The inte- 
rest it excited thirty years ago has never gone to sleep, and 
because men's minds were so stirred by his History of the 
Revolution of 1688, they welcome any additional information 
about tlie dramatis persona of that the eventful year which 
saw the fall of the House of Stuart. 

When it dawned the succession to the crown of England was 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 293 

still unsettled, but felt to be what Dr. Klopp calls it, a ' Schick- 
' sals Frage fiir Europa.' On the one side stood the King of 
France, the head of the monarchical party in Europe, unde- 
pressed by the blow which Nimeguen once gave to his pre- 
tensions, and master of the entrances into Germany, Italy, 
and Spain. On the other side was William, Prince of Orange, 
great, not by the servitude of his country, but through its 
service, and by a deliverance, in 1672, which can only be com- 
pared to that of Greece from the armies of Xerxes. Such 
was William in Holland : abroad he represented the Protestant 
cause, while for England he embodied the hope of release from 
systematic oppression. Between these two leaders the enmity 
was of long standing. The interest of both sides was evident, 
and victory, it Avas felt in 1688, must remain with the player 
who should make the best use of such opportunities as fate 
might place in his hands. The game of the Dutch prince 
promised fairly at one time. By his marriage with the English 
heiress he scored a point, and such an alliance added to his 
importance at home. But again in 1688, when Queen Mary 
Beatrice expected her confinement, the Catholic appeared to be 
the winning side, and every effort, loyal and. disloyal, had then 
to be made, lest the appearance of an heir male to the crown 
of England should ruin both the constitutional g-overnment 
and the Anglican Church, and along with them the balance of 
power in Europe. 

While the scenes of this drama evolved themselves in England 
all the Continental sovereigns had their agents there, and 
never pei'haps had ambassadors or envoys more weighty mat- 
ters to convey to their respective masters. Pens were kept 
busy in London, and the writers who wielded them had agents 
and correspondents abroad as clever and keen-sighted as them- 
selves. Thus the documents relating; to the English Eevolution 
which exist in Continental archives can be numbered by thou- 
sands. The letters of Barillon were the first to be generally 
quoted: and very condemnatory of his master they are. Sir 
James Mackintosh published in the appendix to his first edition 
many of the papers of D' Adda, that Papal nuncio who came to 
England in secular dress and guise, and who did not betray his 
true character till the king and queen had ceased to think so 
much discretion necessary. Lord Macaulay gained credit by his 
use of D'Avaux's despatches (printed by the Foreign Office), 
and Banke contributed those documents from the Brandenburg 
collection which Klopp, from some professional jealousy, makes 
a point of knowing nothing about. It is really no matter for 
jealousy, because, since Lord Macaulay and Ranke wrote their 

294 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

histories of the English troubles in the seventeenth century, 
Italian and Austrian archives have been made to give up their 
treasures, and the papers of Terriesi and of Hoffmann unavoid- 
ably render their readers wiser than their predecessors could 
have been. We use the word ' treasures ' advisedly, for the 
despatches of Terriesi and of Hoffmann are of extraordinary 
value. There is a homely, living charm about Terriesi's Tuscan 
idioms, and while he sent to Florence the most able accounts 
of the men and measures that must bring about a change of 
rulers in England, he let no trifle escape his notice. He reports 
intervicAvs with ' my lord privy Seale ' and ' my lord canceliere,^ 
but he does not omit to mention the thirty physic bottles that 
he saw in the nursery of the Prince of Wales, or his wonder 
at ' the quantity of stuffs that could be poured into one poor 
* bodikin ' (corpicciuolo). His name was well known in Eng- 
land as that ' Count Therese ' Avho lent his carriage to assist 
the royal fugitive, and to whom the king handed over his 
strong box and papers. His letters and despatches in the 
Medicean archives fill many large Jilze. The first letter is 
dated January 24, 1675, and the last, from London, is written 
on March 23, 1690, when the 'Giacomisti ' and the ' Guglie- 
misti,' as he terms them, were fighting in Ireland. This 
wonderful correspondence, with a minute account of the 
queen's flight, and Avith a vast number of proclamations, 
squibs, pamphlets, and reports of debates in both Houses, 
makes up a possession of great value. The Avhole has been 
copied at the expense of the trustees of the British Museum, 
and Avas by their order added to the collection of additional 
manuscripts, Avhere it now forms tAventy-four quarto volumes. 
Terriesi did not entirely trust to his own excellent ears and 
eyes ; he had correspondents Avho let him into some of the 
secrets at the Hague. For example, Lente, the Danish Mi- 
nister at the Court of William, Avas on intimate terms AAdth him. 
Thus the Tuscan agent had early information that Avhen D' Albe- 
ville gave a fete in honour of the ncAA^born Prince of Wales, 
every official person, from the Hanoverian Minister doAvn to the 
underlings of tlie establishment of Mary, absented himself or 
herself. A hint had been dropped at head-quarters that the 
birth of this child Avas to be discredited, and thus the envoy's 
fete Avas passed over in contemptuous neglect.* As Stefano 
Terriesi was the partisan of the Court and of the Romanising 
party in England, his e\ddence is of the greater value. He 
was clever and popular as Avell as vigilant, and he had some 

* Medici Archives, F, No. 4240. 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 295 

literary skill. His letters are, therefore, more skilfully written 
than those of Salvetti, whose papers are, however, deservino- of 
much attention. They form, when combined with the Ricasoli, 
Del Bene, and Melani collections, such a weight of documen- 
tary evidence that a very fair history of the fall of James II. 
might be compiled by an author who had not looked for his 
authorities beyond the libraries of Florence. 

When we begin to consider the private history of Queen 
Mary Beatrice, we find, as might have been expected, that 
Modena is richer than any other place in letters illustrative 
of her youth, her reign, and her family affections. Marie 
Beatrice of England, Archduchess of Innspruck, Duchess of 
Modena, the daughter of Laura Mancini, and therefore the 
grand-niece of Cardinal Mazarin, is the only Italian who ever 
sat on the throne of Great Britain. Of noble Guelphic ori- 
gin, of remarkable beauty, and of unassuming virtues, hers 
is one of the most touching figures in history. Her original 
vocation was for the cloister ; yet it must be said that she was 
very ignorant of the world which she wished to renounce, for she 
was then only fourteen years of age, and her geographical re- 
searches had not carried her so far as the isles of Britain. 
When her hand was first solicited for the Duke of York, some 
presentiment led her to request with tears that she might not 
be married to him. But Louis 2^IV., who had arranged this 
alliance, was not to be overruled by a few tears, and the bride 
had to leave Modena with her mother for Paris. She wrote to 
a friend, the abbess of a convent of Visitandines, a long and 
na'ive account of this journey, and of the splendours of Ver- 
sailles, where Louis himself did the honours to the bride elect. 
When she landed at Dover she was met by the Duke of York, 
and overcome by fears, fatigue, and girlish timidity, she burst 
into tears at the first sight of the middle-aged, dark-visaged 
husband to whom she was ultimately to give all the aflPection 
of a gentle and not unheroic spirit. She was very delicate, 
she had often to suffer a great deal from the Duke's infatua- 
tion for Catharine Sedley, and perhaps m those early days, when 
writhing under her coarse rival's power, she sighed for the 
gloomy palace courts of Modena, for Sassuolo's green retreat, 
or even for the cloisters of her friends, the Visitandines. Then 
she unfortunately bequeathed her delicacy of constitution to 
her offspring, and she had already buried four infants ere, in 
June 1688, she gave birth to the son who was fated to be at once 
the great sorrow and the great consolation of her life. The 
family archives of Modena contain her letters, and those of her 
relations and sympathisers, and from these ' Archivi Estensi ' 

296 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

the Marquise Campana di Cavelli has succeeded in putting to- 
gether a very complete biography of the queen. To begin 
with, Ave have the letters of Laura Mancini and of her son, the 
reigning duke ; and there is an amusing description of Marie's 
entrance into London from the pen of her brother, Rinaldo. 
He describes the river and the crowds, and he adds, not without 
a touch of humour, ' that it will be as well if none of them are 
' long seen about the place.' Then there come the Cattaneo, 
Nigretti, and Ricciardi papers, of which the first gives evidence 
as to Louis's constant interference at Modena, and these are 
followed by the very private letters of the Montecuccoli lady, 
who was with her royal mistress at St. James's during the 
alarming illness of the little Prince of Wales, and who shared 
her flight. Next come the Ronchi manuscripts, of which the 
value may be guessed when we say that Ronchi was chaplain 
to Mary Beatrice, both as Duchess of York and as queen. 
He knew of her visits to miraculous wells, and shared all her 
hopes that the birth of a royal prince ' would be the most 
' fitting antidote for extinguishing the heat which the Prince 
' of Orange doth foment in the country, and humbling the 
' pride of the many whom the hope of a Protestant succession 
' hath stirred up to oj^pose openly the royal transactions.' 
Interesting as are Ronchi's papers, they find an admirable 
continuation in those of the Abbe Rizzini. He was the 
resident in Paris for the house of Modena, and, as such, 
privy to the French plan by which the hand of the Duke of 
York was first offered to its young prinisess, and by which the 
marriage of the Duke of Modena was now assisted, now 
delayed, and a cardinal's hat procured for Rinaldo. After 
the arrival of the English king and queen at St. Germains, 
Rizzini, who had always urged them to flight, became their 
constant visitor ; and it is through him, as well as through the 
pathetic papers of the nuns of Chaillot, that we learn to 
know the daily lives of the exiles as well as the wild hopes of 
their followers. 

It is now time to speak of the archives of Spain and of 
Austria, two countries of divided symjiathies. Their Catho- 
licism ought naturally to have enlisted them on the side of 
James and of Father Petre ; but their fear of Versailles gave 
them a much stronger bias in favour of the Prince of Orange. 
Even in religious matters, by Spain, Portugal, part of Italy, 
and by Austria, the claim of Louis to head the Catholic party 
was denied, and they refused his lead ; while Spain, as his 
nearest neighbour, had the most to fear from the universal 
monarchy which he endeavoured to establish. How Ronquillo, 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 297 

the Spanish ambassador, took stock of the French sympathies 
of James and of the Jesuits, is evident from his despatches — 
papers from Avhich Lord Macaulay drew very largely. But 
another correspondence of Ronquillo's has appeared lately, far 
more interesting and more private in its nature — viz. that which 
passed between Ronquillo and Hoffmann, the Austrian agent 
in London.* These letters do justice to the moderate wishes 
of such respectable Catholics as PoAvis and Bellasis, while 
they specify the aims of the two great European powers who 
were then agreed to curb the influence of France. They tell 
a very plain tale, though, from their date, they cannot touch 
upon that later contradiction by which the Spanish king (in a 
complete change of policy) finally handed over his empire to 
Loviis. As for the emperor, fatigued and Aveakened by his 
wars with Turks and Hungarians, he looked upon the Prince 
of Orange with grateful admiration. He .remembered that 
Louis had once offered to rid the young ruler of Holland of all 
his enemies at home, and to make him a European sovereign, 
protected by France and England. William, who saw all the 
danger and all the indignity of such a position, one which 
would never have been offered to him had not all the ad- 
vantages been palpably on the side of France, replied that 
if foiled in Holland he could retire to his German estates and 
hunt, or, if need be, he could die in the last ditch in defence 
of his country's independence. The emperor recognised all 
the courage of this reply, but he perceived on the other hand 
in the King of England nothing but corrupt subservience to 
French dictation, and he never tired of pointing out to James 
the danger of such a thraldom. In 1685, he had so far suc- 
ceeded in impressing him, that Louis saw some symptoms of 
a defection. The lettei'S in which Louis informed his agent 
Barillon of this possible danger, and therefore desired him to 
work on the fanaticism of the king, Avould of themselves suffice 
to justify the Bevolution of 1688. 

Of Hoffmann's admirable letters to his emperor, the Mar- 
quise Campana di Cavelli has printed sixty, all absolutely new 
to English readers ; Avhile Dr. Klopp has largely illustrated 
his ' Fall of the House of Stuart ' by the papers of Thun and 
of Kaunitz. The latter of these ministers remained in London 
till the hour of the crisis, but Hoffmann continued there even 
after the arrival of WiUiam and Mary, and he gives a most 
detailed account of those events. His letters, which are Avritten 
with frankness, yet in the most impassioned style, remind 

* Now in the possession of the Duke of Medina-Coeli. 

298 Tlie Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

one of the utterances of the chorus in a Greek tragedy. We 
shall have occasion to quote from them presently — we will 
only say here that these Austrian state papers fully explain 
the complaints of King James as expressed in his Memoirs^ 
and his dying allusion to the Emperor Leopold. 

The whole evidence of the records, from Tuscan, Modenese, 
French, Spanish, and Austrian archives, to which may be 
added those of Dresden, Berlin, and even of Venice (since there 
is a curious correspondence between James and the Doges 
Giustiniani and INIorosini), is in the highest degree condem- 
natory of the king. They show his determination to carry 
out a high-handed policy to the bitter end, and we do not 
find, in them, what later sources afford, ])roofs of courage and 
of that single-minded tenacity of feeling which it is not too 
much to speak of as unworldly in a monarch who believed in 
the divine right of kings to govern by themselves and for them- 
selves alone. It is true that in the most faulty hours of his 
life James had a minister as base as Sunderland, and a queen 
who was, and remained, a foreigner to the English — a woman 
of infinite merits, but who Avas ignorance personified. And if 
the nation was jealous of her influence and advice, with what 
eyes must it have regarded Father Petre, the agent of a Com- 
pany which for every thousand of its members can always 
reckon on ten thousand enemies? It was by strangers that 
the Avires were really pulled ; and as Courtin, Barillon, Bon- 
repos, Pointis, D'Avaux, and Lauzun succeeded each other in 
London, so they vied with each other in bullying, bribing, 
and flattering the king they were deputed to mislead. The 
seed they sowed fell into good ground ; and though James had. 
begun his life in banishment, it is certain, as Beranger sings, 
that 'jamais I'exil n'a corrige les rois,' and having in three 
years and a half forfeited the love of his subjects, he was 
driven forth again, and to the fields of eternal exile. How 
his over-busy prompters, home and foreign, lay and spiritual, 
led him to his ruin, has long been Avell known ; but recent 
research has demonstrated that these advisers Avere all, to use 
a French phrase, ' more Catholic than the Pope.' King 
Charles, though he received the last sacraments from Father 
Huddlestone, warned his successor not ' to think of intro- 
' ducing Popery into England, it being a thing dangerous 
' and impracticable.' The best English Roman Catholics had 
little sympathy Avith the encroachments of the Crown, and felt 
that an excess of zeal might easily bring them again under 
those penal restrictions Avith which they had already made- 
a painful acquaintance. The Pope, who had his OAvn reasons 

1 882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 299 

for disliking the home policy of Versailles, was by no means 
very favourable to King James. He remarked that his 
Majesty was very unlikely to reconcile the kingdom of Great 
Britain with the Holy See, and he firmly refused to give a red 
hat to Father Petre. When James was in exile at St. 
Germain, and almost ready, after the collapse of his plans in 
Ireland, to retire into La Trappe, we notice in Mme. de 
Sevigne's letters that French society felt little or no enthu- 
siasm about him, and Bossuet, the most national of Gallican 
prelates, said, with a shrug, that a Catholic sovereign, blest 
with a little common sense, need not have clashed with his 
Protestant subjects. The zeal of James, so intemperate and 
so ruinous, was, had he but known it, the reflection both of 
Louis' lifelong hatred for William of Orange, and of the 
vaulting ambition of a priest, who saw in the strong will of 
the king the way to satisfy his own conceptions, and to take 
a splendid revenge for long years of repression in England. 
The ' Priest's Hole ' and the sliding panels of English country 
houses still bear witness to an era of persecution Avhen apothe- 
caries made the wafer in secret, and when the mass was only 
said in the chilliest hours of the early dawn, ere eavesdroppers 
were stirring who were likely to denounce at once the celebrant 
and the worshippers. In such thraldom Edward Petre had 
grown up, and he was determined that when the last should 
be first, his foot should be on the necks of his Church's enemies. 
But about Petre, Terriesi, who Avas himself a devout son of the 
Church, could write as follows : — 

* Never was the king in such a mess as at present. . . . The whole 
kingdom is alarmed by the strides he makes towards a spiritual and 
temporal despotism, and even the Dissenters, who should be their 
greatest enemies, are taking the side of the bishops. . . . The people 
are enraged (arrahbiato), as they believe the conduct of the king to be 
caused by the influence of the queen over his mind, and by the direc- 
tion of the Jesuits and friars. The Pope never Avould consent to 
clearing Father Petre of that characteristic, which is so odious in this 
countrj', of Jesuitnj. The king being obliged to use him for im- 
portant aiFairs, it follows from this, either that he must not so make 
use of him, or that, by employing him, he will make him the instrument 
of his own ruin.' 

There can be no question but that the king, Barillon, and 
Father Petre formed a triumvirate ; no question but that a 
Catholic conspiracy existed against English liberties, and against 
the Church of England; and nothing can justify James for his 
corrupt communications with the French king. The chain of 
evidence here is complete ; but Lord Macaulay was right 

300 The Fall of the House of Stuart April, 

when he complained that the Dutch archives have been too 
little explored. There arc the contemporary papers of Citters 
and Van Lewven, and in Wagenaar's History, as in Van 
Kampen's ' Karacterkunden,' Lord Macaulay found pictures 
of the events of 1688, and a likeness of its hero. Burnet, 
and his nephew Johnstone, saw a great deal of what ultimately 
passed at the Hague, and to the bishop's vivid memory we 
owe the transcript of those polemical letters which passed 
between Kiug James and a daughter whose Protestant prin- 
ciples he attacked. The bishop's own behaviour, and his share 
in the Revolution, are well known, and the letters of Dykevelt 
and of Zulestein were all accessible to Dalrymple ; but what 
we still Avant from Holland is a complete chain of the agents 
and agencies at work there. We need to be better acquainted 
with those home difficulties of William which made it so 
desirable for him to steady a Dutch crown by putting an 
English one on the top of it. The republican party there was 
by no means so averse to French influence as this far-sighted 
Dutch prince ; and his struggle for national independence, at 
a time when the calamitous situation of the United Provinces 
laid them open to all the blows of fortune, as well as his success 
in rescuing Protestantism in Europe from an apparently 
desperate situation, are truly heroic themes. They form, as 
Fox remarked, delightful reading. But for us it would be 
even more interesting to be able to trace in him the rising of 
that passion of personal ambition which, as Burnet warned his 
wife, would accept of no consort's crown, and which was only 
truly gratified when he took his seat on the throne of England. 
Above all, we should like to recover evidence of the first steps 
taken by what we must in their turn call the Protestant con- 
spirators against the reality of the birth of the Prince of 
Wales. A party did arise whose object was to discredit and, 
if possible, disown the birth of an heir male. To this con- 
spiracy were privy, earlier or later, the Princess Anne of 
Denmark, the Prince aad Princess of Orange, Bentinck and 
his wife Anne Villiers, Churchill and his wife Sarah Jennings, 
Burnet and his nephew. Sir Patrick Hume and his family (all 
refugees at the Hague), with Dykevelt, and Zulestein, an 
illegitimate offshoot of the house of Orange-Nassau. Gra- 
dually there were drawn into it all those English politicians, 
like Middleton, in Avhose breasts the love of hereditary 
monarchy and the love of the Established Church had suffered 
a divorce through the continued misrule of the king. The 
letters of Anne, who was the most outspoken enemy of the 
Prince of Wales, have been preserved ; the letters of Mary 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 301 

have, in many instances, and in tbeir autograph form, perished. 
Her husband destroyed them from a wish, on the part of the 
writer, that posterity should believe that Loudon, and not the 
Hague, had been the source of this feeling against the heir 

It is just because we know so little of Mary's personal 
feelings, and of her secret motives during the crisis, that we so 
greatly value Countess Bentinck's collection. Among the 
family papers at Middacliten she has found a series of letters and 
meditations by Queen Mary, the latter of which were penned 
when William had put to sea, prepared to dispossess her infant 
brother of an inheritance, and the king her father of his throne. 
Till their appearance no one suspected Mary of any of the 
literary talent of her father, grandfather, and great-grand- 
father; but we see no reason to doubt the authenticity of 
documents which came into the possession of a personal friend 
of their royal author — viz. of Sophia Aldenbourg, the heiress of 
Middacliten, and the Avife of a son of the Earl of Portland by his 
second marriage. Some of these pieces are identical with papers 
already cited by Burnet and Dalrymple, and this circumstance 
would seem to vouch for the authenticity of the rest of a 
collection which is, alike from the psychological and from the 
historical point of view, eminently valuable.f In his ' Curiosities 
* of Literature ' Isaac Disraeli devoted several pages to the 
personality of Mary. Her double nature and her circum- 
stances fascinated him, and we can only regret that a man so 
fitted to enjoy the niceties of historic research should not have 
lived to recognise this Janus-faced princess as painted by her- 
self — now smiling, and apparently at ease, now breathing out 
in her closet the uneasiness of a ' heart that is ready to break.' 
Countess Bentinck has edited on Grimblot's plan : she simply 

* ' I beg the king to burn this, and my other papers : ' Meditations 
of Queen Mary. Kensington : August 1691. 

t On November 4, 1687, just one year before the landing o£ 
"William at Torbay, James II. addressed to his daughter Mary a very 
curious paper containing his reasons for changing his religion. On 
December 26 the princess answered this communication by a fervent 
and well-reasoned statement of the reasons of her own adherence to 
the Protestant faith. She showed this letter to Burnet, who records 
it, as he alleges from memory, in his ' History of his own Times.' 
Countess Bentinck now publishes copies of both these letters. That 
of the princess is almost identical with the record of it in Burnet, 
which proves either that he had extraordinary powers of memory, or 
that he had made a note of its contents. But the fact is curious, 
because it attests the authenticity of the documents now published. 

302 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

copies the letters, and so leaves the reader to draw his own 
conclusions. There is an austere and yet passionate tone about 
these meditations which cannot fail to communicate itself to 
those who peruse them. We here gauge the depth of Mary's 
love for her husband, of her 2:rief at beino- a childless wife, and 
of her zeal for her Church and faith. She shows herself often as 
diffident and anxious, but no trace appears of any misgiving as 
to the rightfulness of her cause. AVe have no such coarse or 
cruel words from her as we possess from the Princess Anne's 
pen; yet she felt that the conjuncture Avas awful, and that 
if they failed now, her own and her adopted country must 
be alike obliterated from the map of European politics. With 
regard to the Church of England, she loved it, and the king, 
her father, had recently boasted to her husband that ' in two 
' years' time the body called the Church of England would not 
'have a being.' That the Prince and Princess of Orange had 
in their minds ' a mixed consideration for the public and for 
' themselves ' no one denies, but Mary certainly was ambitious 
rather for her husband than for herself. For him she hoped, 
for him she prayed, and through her assistance she did hope 
to buy an increased measure of his affection, of that love 
which was to be her recompense and crown. She was able 
to overlook all other considerations in the interests of her 
creed and her husband, and it only remains to be wished that 
those interests had been less glaringly and intimately her own. 
No event in human life, hoAvever, stands alone ; it is rather 
as the harvest of seeds long since planted, as the fruit of a tree 
long and carefully trained in a given direction. History is, 
when rightly read, the story of human passions, and this, which 
is especially the history of a woman's heart, becomes, when clearly 
understood, one of no common subtlety. When the crisis of 1688 
came upon Mary, it found her duly prepared to meet it, and 
to look at it only through the prince's eyes. 

The child of James, Duke of York, and of Anne Hyde, 
she was born in England, and before her parents had forgotten 
how, in spite of family remonstrances, they had met, loved, 
and wedded. She had a pleasing person, gentle manners, a 
tolerable education, and a docile if not a sensitive nature. 
Her sister Anne, her junior only by two years, was every way 
her inferior ; but the two girls grew up together at Richmond, 
where their playfellows were Anne Trelawney, Sarah Jen- 
nings, and those daughters of their governess. Lady Frances 
Villiers, of whom in later years Mary was fated to see so 
much. Anne Hyde died, and we have it on her husband's 
authority that she did so in the communion of the Church of 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 303 

Rome, but the childless King Charles II., who looked upon 
these girls as his heirs, did not remove them from, their father's 
care till a year later, when he had contracted a second mar- 
riage with a bride who was a Roman Catholic and an Italian, 
chosen by Louis XIV. from among the grand-nieces of Cardinal 
Mazarin. Princess Mary of England was confirmed at fifteen 
years of age, and then made her first appearance in public at 
a great dinner at the Guildhall, Avhen she sat beside the king, 
her uncle. She was now a toast and an heiress, and suitors 
began to appear. Her father, again acted upon by French 
prompters, wished to marry her to the dauphin, but here 
Charles was firm, and he betrothed her to her cousin, than 
which no match could well have been less acceptable at Ver- 

William of Orange-Nassau, the son of William the Second 
and of Mary Stuart, though not yet the hero of the Treaty 
of Nimeguen, was, however, no ordinary suitor. Born only 
a few hours after his father's murder, his hold of life had 
seemed to be then most precarious, and at the Palace in the 
Wood his mother reared with difficulty this delicate, asthmatic, 
and prematurely thouglitful child. When herself compara- 
tively a young woman, she was carried off by the smallpox : 
the same disease which some years later must have proved 
fatal to her son had he not had the devoted care of his friend 
and comrade, Hans Willem, Sieur de Bentinck. If the death 
of William had occurred then, it would have left the coast 
clear for the republican party ; but he recovered, and re- 
covered to realise how doubtful it was whether the son of Wil- 
liam the Second would ever be allowed to wear a European 
crown. The nobles of Holland were powerful; the memory 
of De Witt was fresh, and French intrigues were at work : but 
William had loyal supporters, and Charles II. was staunch to 
his nephew's interests. When Sir W. Temple first came to 
speak of a marriage with the king's eldest niece, Bentinck 
at once saw the value of such an alliance. William, though 
alive to its importance, was of an obstinate nature, a man 
to take no step that was pointed out to him unless he might 
at least appear to have chosen it for himself. He said that, 
though he had often thought of her, he must go to England, 
and both see and love his cousin before he affianced him- 
self to her. The cousins met, and Mary was married on her 
birthday, November 4, 1677. The English public was en- 
chanted, and it is certain that in the whole course of his reign 
Charles never did anything so thoroughly popular as his promo- 
tion of this marriage. 

304 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

That the French king should be furious at it surprised no 
one, least of all the bridegroom, with whom he had already, 
so to speak, measured swords. But the Duke of York was 
equally ill pleased. Princess Anne nicknamed her brother- 
in-law ' Caliban,' and only the Duchess of York was propi- 
tious, and called the newly married pair, ' Orange and Lemon.' 
Hardly had the ring been placed on Mary's finger when an 
event occurred which might account for all the gloom and 
taciturnity of her young husband. The Duchess of York was 
delivered of a son, and thus when the bride landed at the 
Hague she had virtually ceased to be the presumptive heiress 
to the English crown. Here was a lesson on the vanity of 
human Avishes. The little Duke of Cambridge only lived, it 
is true, for ten days, but still he breathed long enough to over- 
cloud the honeymoon, and to spoil the prestige of Mary's 
landing in Holland. Three of the Villiers young ladies ac- 
companied her : Mary, who was afterwards Lady Inchiquin ; 
Anne, who bestowed herself on Bentinck, but did not live to be 
Countess of Portland ; and Elizabeth, the one who, as their 
years of childless matrimony rolled on, contrived in some 
measure to separate the prince from her royal mistress. The 
spiritual guides of the princess's youth. Dr. Lake and Dr. 
Doughty, remained in England, but at the Hague Dr. Lloyd 
acted as her chaplain till he was replaced by Ken and Hooper, 
men well fitted to do honour to the Church of England in a 
foreign land, while they fostered a love for her in the breast of 
a princess who was born an Englishwoman. 

The death of King Charles did not occur till after Marv 
had received visits in her watery dominions from her sister, 
and from the Duke and Duchess of York. James did not 
at that time make any attempt to convert his daughter to the 
Romish faith, but as it was said in Holland that he had 
only been sent over there to keep him out of mischief in 
England, his accession to the throne in 1685 naturally ex- 
cited much attention at the Hague. There Monmouth was 
already popular among the Dutch. To the credit of William 
and Mary, it must be said that in thematter of Monmouth's re- 
bellion they were consistently loyal to King James. How far 
William was selfishly determined to acknowledge no marriage 
between Lucy Waters and the late king does not appear. 
This consideration may have weighed with him, but the Dutch 
as a nation knew and liked Monmouth, who had lived a o-ood 
deal among them, and who was at least a good Protestant, if 
but a weak and a foolhardy young man. It would, on the 
other hand, have been very awkward for King James if by 

1882. Tlie Fall of the House of Stuart. 305 

any misadventure these two Protestant aspirants to his throne 
had met to coalesce, and so when William offered to recon- 
duct in person the three Scottish regiments quartered at 
the Hague which the king had summoned home, James re- 
fused the polite offer. It was impossible for the sovereign not 
to connect it in his own mind with a recent visit of Ben- 
tinck's to this country, when the chief friends of the Pro- 
testant succession whom he consulted had ' hoped that the 

* Prince of Orange would come over and show himself.' 

At the close of Monmouth's rebellion James found himself 
restored to much of his original popularity. But he did not 
know how to keep the goodwill of his people, and daily ex- 
hibitions of his selfwill soon came to rouse the fears and 
irritations of the national party. Men began to draw off into 
two camps, according as they looked for preferment from the 
courts of Versailles and St. James, or as they deprecated for 
their country that policy of ' Popery and wooden shoes,' which 
has become a byword in England. Count Kaunitz reported 
to the emperor :— 

* The split grows wider and wider. The statutes really exclude 
Catholics from offices of State, and yet King James confers office by 
preference on Catholics. The king, who has not kept his word with 
his people, will not keep it. He chooses to act on the principle 
hceretico nan est habenda fides. His Majesty has great confidence in 
Father Petre of the Company of Jesus ; and both Catholics and Pro- 
testants complain of this man. The succession to the throne, like 
everything else here, remains in uncertainty. . . . There are troubles 
in' Ireland. ... In all these things the French King has plainly a 

The hand of Louis XIV. was at this moment, "so to speak, a 
red one. He had revoked the Edict of Nantes, and declared 
a determination to make an end of heresy within fair France. 
He told James that his new edicts * would meet with the less 
' opposition as conversions were general, and as few, in the 
' face of his royal proclamation, would be so stiff-necked as 

* to continue in error.' Those who did so had his dragoons 
quartered on them, and Louis took a vindictive pleasure 
in desiring that a special example should be made of the 
principality of Orange. The title of Prince of Orange came 
first into the family of Nassau by the marriage of one of the 
descendants of Adolf of Nassau with Claude of Orange- 
Chalons, the heiress of a family which, in the palmy days of 
the Princes of Baux and Orange, had been among the 
greatest of those who ruled in the valley of the Rhone. It 
was still a goodly heritage, and Mary wrote to her father to 

306 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

beg of him to intercede with the King of France in behalf of 
their sorely persecuted subjects in Orange. This was, she 
said, the only favour that she had ever asked from the king 
her father ; but James either would not adopt her cause, or else 
Louis tacitly disregarded a piece of feeble interference with 
his policy. In truth the King of England had matter enough 
to occupy him at home without making himself the champion 
of the woes of Orange. ' The king,' wrote Kaunitz, ' post- 
' pones the summoning together of his parliament.' What the 
king really meditated was the repeal of those penal statutes 
which kept Catholics at a disadvantage, and reserved office 
and its emoluments for members of the Church of England 
only. Before altering these laws, or tampering with their 
administration, arbitrary dealings with the judges would be 
necessary, and it is startling to remember that in three and a 
half years James made thirteen judges feel their dependence 
on ' the king's pleasure.' Then came the question of the Dis- 
senters. If the gate -was to be set wide enough to allow 
Catholics to enter, Quakers and Anabaptists could not be left 
outside ; thus James in coquetting with the Dissenters exhi- 
bited the curious spectacle of a ruler who had for his two 
advisers William Penn and Edward Petre. He even sent 
Penn to the Hague to coax Mary into taking a favourable 
view of his proposed measure of toleration ; but the embassy 
only bore this fruit, that the Quaker returned charged with 
a request from the Prince that his Majesty * would con- 

* sider the propriety of making a more suitable allowance to 

* his eldest daughter,' 5,000Z. a year being the sum which her 
husband named as not excessive for the heiress of England. To 
this James replied, that before making such an allowance he 
should require to be perfectly sure that the money w^ould not 
be used against himself — a reply which shows that confidence 
no longer marked the relations between these royal persons. A 
Dutch emissary was even now in London, and could James 
have glanced into Dykevelt's despatches, he would have been 
still more determined to keep his 45,000/. on his own side of 
the German Ocean. Dykevelt wrote to the prince that 

* the English were disaffected, but that though disaffected, it 

* did not follow that they were prepared to welcome a foreign 

* ruler.' A republic, such as Algernon Sidney and William 
Russell had dreamed of, was even now possible, and this was 
much to be deprecated, both for its effect on the prince's own 
position in Holland, where republican sympathies were by no 
means dead, and for its general effect in Europe. 

While Dykevelt's mission in England cheered the spirits of 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 307 

the national party, It also happened that some of the victims of 
their fanaticism had become as whips to scourge the two kings 
who tortured Covenanters in Scotland with boot and screws, 
or quartered upon the Huguenots of Languedoc De Baville's 
terrible dragoons. In 1684, Sir Patrick Hume and his family 
fled to Rotterdam, where the Prince of Orange welcomed them 
cordially, and gave the men of this persecuted house commissions 
in his guard. At the Hague too might be found the pasteurs 
Claude and Chambrun, along with Bayle, Jurien, Dubosc, and 
De Bostaquet, and many more who by their talents, their 
sufferings, and indeed by their very presence, inflamed the na- 
tional fear of France and of Popery. In England Huguenot 
refugees without number pointed the same moral, and adorned 
the same tale. Colonies of such exiles were already formed in 
Canterbury^ in Peterborough, in Axholme, and in Spitalfields. 
London Avas full of them. There were the Dupuis from Nor- 
mandy, the Venables from Dieppe, and the Portals from Tou- 
louse, all living exponents of the policy which King James 
supported, and under which, as Sarah Jennings bluntly re- 
marked, 'everybody would be ruined who was not a Papist.' 
But there was another adversary, of whose tactics James and 
Louis w^ere both cognisant, an enemy whom they had never been 
able to silence or cajole, and whose animosity they returned in 
full. This was Grilbert Burnet. Writing about him to 
Barillon the Grand Monarque did not hesitate to say : — 

* As to Dr. Burnet, I am already advised that lie has left nothing to 
add to the insolence with which he writes against the king his master, 
and I have ordered the Sieur de Corissy to assure Skelton from me 
that whoever shall undertake his abduction in Holland will find not 
only a safe retreat in my kingdom, but my entire protection, and also all 
the help he can desire for having the rascal safely conducted into Eng- 
land. — Versailles, January 1688.' 

In this way it will be seen that when the year 1688 opened, 
every national and every personal passion had been stirred. 
On New Year's Day, Queen Mary Beatrice announced a 
pregnancy. This was all that was required to set a light to 
the very combustible materials already collected in England 
and at the Hague. 

NoAv, in the nineteenth century, and when the lapse of two 
hundred years has calmed the tempers of men. Englishmen have 
no doubt whatever of the genuine birth of the Prince of Wales. 
It is necessary, however, as the late Mr, Hill Burton so judi- 
ciously remarked, 'for the right understanding of the spirit 

* of the Revolution, to realise that the bulk of the English 

* and Scots population, high and low, believed the child to be 


308 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

* spurious.' His birth was so conspicuously a boon to the 
Bomanising party that it instantly awoke the suspicion that it 
had not been honestly gained. The four children Avhom the 
queen had already brought into the world and buried, were by 
this time forgotten dust ; still, as she had not been a childless 
wife, there was no reason why after ten years she should not 
again become a mother. The whole history of her hopes, fears, 
dangers, and delivery is to be found in Terriesi's despatches. 
Had * the population high and low ' had access to those written 
in the summer and autumn of 1687, they would have been still 
more jealously persuaded that ' an unnatural conspiracy ' was 
on foot. The queen was advised not only to go to Bath for 
the waters, but the royal pair were to drink of St. Winifred's 
wonder-working Avell ; and a miracle was hinted at by their 
spiritual guides. They did carry out this programme, and then 
they returned ; the queen to hope and pray, the king to hunt 
and revicAv his troops. Inspired by dreams of a Catholic suc- 
cession he proceeded also to draw up that Act of Indulgence 
which should remove Catholic disabilities, and break down bar- 
riers which the foresight of our ancestors had erected against 
the influence in this realm of any foreign priest, prince, or 

Stefano Terriesi, more in the secret than anyone, wrote 
home that the king and queen were beseeching God ' to give 
' through the birth of a Prince of Waills a root to the Catholic 

* religion as planted in this realm ; without which the Catholic 

* religion remains exposed to being crushed by a Protestant 
' succession.' In November 1687, he was able to report that 
the health of the queen was vigorous, and that a pregnancy had 
really commenced. On New Year's Day we know that the fact 
was publicly announced; and by January 10th, Terriesi says 
that prayers were made in the London churches for the queen's 
safety : but he hints that ' tanta malizia vi si oppose.' Neither, 
he adds, can he ' express the passion into which the Princess 
' of Denmark has put herself, which she cannot hide ; while 

* seeing that the Catholic rehgion is by this advanced, she affects 
' more than ever, both in public and in private, to be the most 
' zealous of Protestants.' Anne's letters to her sister as re- 
corded by Dairy mple, and as copied from the MSS. in the Ben- 
tinck-Aldenbourg archives at Middachten, fully bear out Ter- 
riesi's description of her ' passion.' In fact, they are so coarse 
and so cruel that the Countess Bentinck has gracefully sup- 
pressed some of the most unwomanly of the expressions and 
innuendoes of a writer who was determined to calumniate 
(even before its appearance) any male heir to the crown. 

1882. The lb all of the House of Stuart. 309 

Anne frankly wrote to her sister that * no one will believe in 

* the queen's state, or in the birth being anythino; but a feint 

* unless it turns out to be a girl.' This remark was not 
logical ; all the less so as the last child born to Mary Beatrice 
had been a boy, that little Duke of Cambridge who lived for 
ten inopportune days. However, in Anne's case the wish was 
father to the thought, and therefore to the reasonino-, and it 
says something for the forbearance of her royal father that he 
did not, during all these months of suspense, show any dis- 
pleasure or disfavour to a daughter so intent on calumniatino- 
him. Anne was herself near the crisis of bearing that son who 
alone of her prodigious family lived beyond infancy. She 
had, therefore, cause for hope that after the lives of her elder 
sister and of herself the succession might devolve upon her 
offspring. But how to adjust this critical affair was the 
question ; and it is certain that but for the blind self-will of 
the king and of his fanatical advisers, his two daughters mio-ht 
have found the task of altering the succession a much more 
difficult one than it proved. Their antagonists scorned all 
those dictates of common prudence which might have been of 
use to their cause. By April the king, as Terriesi reports, 
complained of the pasquinades circulated at his expense, but 
all the arrangements were made by the queen for her lyino--ia 
at Windsor. 

If any evidence about her state were required, it might be 
found in Terriesi's letter of May 21, 1688 : — 

' Her Majesty the Queen had a great fright on Wednesday niglit. 
It was caused by that ill-bred or malicious waiting-woman {viaV accorta 
maliziosa) named Mistress Bromley, who, the day before, had been 
present when the courier from Italy arrived, and who gives her as a 
piece of news the death of her brother the Duke of Modena. . . . 
The complaint from which he suffered was well knoAvn to her Majesty, 
as the same from which their father had died at the age of twenty- 
eight, and therefore, though she had advices to the contrary, this could 
not but give her a great shock. It happened also that Konchi, the 
chaplain of her Majesty, sent for her perusal a letter Avhich described, 
it is true, the duke's recovery, yet did open by describing all the fear 
which the illness occasioned ; so much so that her Majesty, reading only 
its first lines, with a mind all preoccupied by the sad intelligence reported 
to her, let the letter fall out of her hand, and fainted away. The 
Nunzio was summoned, restoratives were applied, and the next day 
was got through pretty well ; but on the following there was every 
appearance of a premature delivery, "We dispatched a messenger to 
the king, who was at Chatham, and sent a carriage to Gravesend, so as 
to bring his Majesty with the utmost haste. About eleven at night 
the queen, by the help of remedies, was so much better that we dis- 
patched another messenger : but neither the one nor the other reached 

310 The Fall of the House of Stuart. Aprils, 

the king. The carriage, however, reached Gravesend, and there learn-t 
the whereabouts of the king. One of the coachmen unharnessed « 
horse, and rode off to give the tidings to liis Majesty. He then jumped 
into the carriage of a gentleman which was there, and so, with one 
footman, came up to town by nine o'clock of yesterday morning. He 
found the queen in fairly good case.' * 

Of this fright Princess Aune can hardly have been ignorant, 
yet she is not candid enough to note its details or to let then^ 
■weigh with her. They suffice, however, to explain Terriesi's 
next report about the invalid. The Court had fixed to go to the 
' soggiorno di Windsor ' on June 25, and the household for the- 
child had been gazetted. But on June 4 the queen got a chilly 
was feverish, and was bled, and having had already one serious- 
alarm, she now lost her courage about the journey down to^ 
Windsor, and hastily caused all needful preparations to be 
made at St. James's. The poor lady, so worried and so slan- 
dered, was now, Terriesi remarks, ' massimamente e estrema- 
' mente grossa,' and on June 10, and after a labour of two^ 
hours, she brought to light ' un vigoroso Principe di Wales.' 
The Tuscan envoy closes his despatch by sending to his master 
a copy of the royal proclamation, which, in announcing the 
birth of an heir to the throne, ordered a public thanksgiving 
to be made in all the churches. The appropriate form was to 
be drawn up by the Bishop of Rochester. 

Never was the bench of bishops less attuned to a strain of 
thanksgiving. Only two days before the prince was born did 
the gates of the To-wer close upon the seven bishops who had 
refused to read the Declaration of Indulgence. All the efforts 
of King James in that direction had long been distasteful to the 
clergy of the Established Church, and the great Nonconformists 
had nobly supported the Church in defending the fundamental 
laAvs of the realm. In Scotland the bait of indulgence was 
also refused. The Covenanters were too shrewd to believe in 
a permanent charter of liberty coming under the auspices of" 
the Jesuits, or as a mere act of despotic authority. Liberty 
so bestowed might vanish as it had come. By the whole 
Protestant body therefore was the conduct of those prelates 
who had declined to read the Declaration rapturously extolled, 
Baxter from his pulpit pronounced their eulogium, and Citter& 
wrote that day to the Prince and Princess of Orange that the 
Nonconformists preferred to live under the old persecuting 
statutes rather than play into the hands of Father Petre by 
separating their cause from the prelates. To Archbishop 

• Medici Archives, F, 4245. 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. . 311 

Sancroffc the princess wrote, saying that * she took a deeper 
■* interest in the Church of England than in herself.' Whether 
this was true or not, it is certain that the stupid tyranny of 
the king towards the Church could not but increase the value 
•of herself and her husband in the eyes of the English clergy 
and laity, just as it had newly brought about a good under- 
standing between the Church and the bodies of Dissenters, 
whom Terriesi classifies under one head as ' fanatici.' 

The crisis had now been reached; both north and south 
of the Tweed the government of the king was hated, and this 
outrage on a Church which had adhered to the monarchy 
■during the Rebellion, roused the nation so effectually that, as a 
vast and compact mass, it reared itself against James and 
liis advisers. At such a moment his extraordinary want of 
prudence was fatal to him. It was through his heir that he 
could be attacked, and yet this was the very point Avhich he 
left open to every hostile critic. Angry tongues made busy 
with the details of the little prince's birth, in the management 
of which more blunders were certainly made than are incident 
(and that is not admitting little) in all human affairs. The 
queen, it was averred by some, had never really been preg- 
nant; it was to serve her private ends that she had been 
-confined at St, James's, and not at Windsor ; she had, even 
at St. James's, occupied another bed than the one prepared 
for her ; the Princess Anne had not been present ; the Dutch 
ambassador was absent ; the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
the Hydes had not been summoned ; the child was really that 
of a Miss Grrey ; he was a bastard foisted upon the English 
by Louis XIV., whose own parentage was doubtful; the Pope 
was his godfather ; the king had recently been visiting his 
arsenals, with the intention of attacking the Dutch in the 
spring ; and Lord Thomas Howard was now to be sent on an 
extraordinary mission to Rome, to convey to his Holiness fresh 
assurances of devotion, and to thank him for those prayers 
which had helped to give a Catholic heir to the throne. 

The child in the meantime was healthy. The Venetian 
resident wrote home to the Doge Morosini that he had seen 
the little prince, * di colore vivo, voce gagliarda, ed occhio 
* allegro.' Barillon, of course, saw it frequently, and did not 
forget either to report to Louis the bonfires with which its 
birth had been celebrated in London. Such rejoicings must 
have been of a strictly official character, and were therefore 
about as sincere as those congratulations which Zulestein duly 
.arrived to deliver in the name of the Prince and Princess of 
Orange. The Austrian minister was in the meantime one of 

312 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

those outsiders who proverbially see so much of the game. 
The despatch of Hoffmann of July 9, 1688, deserves to be 
quoted : — 

' Most Gracious Emperor, King and Master, on Friday last, •when 
the Dutch araljassador remitted to his ]\Iajesty the answer of the States- 
General to tlie English note which relates to the birth of a royal prince, 
he, in his compliment, dwelt upon the difficulties actually existing be- 
tween England and Holland, and he said that although his Majesty had 
received some painful impressions from the acts attributed to his supe- 
riors, yet he covild assure him that they had never really given cause lor 
this, having at all times a particular respect for the person of his Majesty. 
That they could net prevent some brouillons having given to his 
Majesty an incorrect report of their conduct, and they were not 
ignorant that some one [meaning the Marquis d'Albeville] had assured 
his Majesty that they meant with their fleet to effect a descent upon 
England. But his Majesty might see for himself that this was false, and 
that it was much removed from probability that they should, with 
the insignificant number of equipped vessels which they had, attempt 
such a difficult enterprise.' 

This reasoning, though specious, was not exactly reassuring, 
and the Dutchman soon passed adroitly from self- vindication 
to accusation : — 

'His Majesty, it was said, had allowed himself to be persuaded, and 
had, so rumour ran, accepted French succours. , . . The king, in 
reply, among other things, said that it was true that France had offered 
him succour, but that he hoped not to be obliged to have recourse to 
it. On this the ambassador replied that an offer of help there was 
more ostentatious than friendly on the part of France, who did it 
to show how far they were at one, and so make his Majesty sus- 
pected by his own people. In this way it must do him more harm 
than good. The king answered that he could not say what might have 
been the motive of France, but he took the offer as one meant in good 
fellowship, and that, having no reason to act otherwise, he sought to 
live in good intelligence with France as with other countries. Here, 
Most Gracious Lord, is what the Dutch ambassador has communicated 
to me, and he thinks that the dark clouds of misunderstanding are 
beginning to clear away, and that there is nothing fco fear from the 
threatened junction of the French and English fleets. Last Sunday 
Milord Sunderland, President of the Council and Secretary of State, 
declared himself a Catholic before the whole Privy Council, admitting 
that he had been one for the last two years. This declaiation has, no 
doubt, been kept back on purpose till now, so as to be an example to 
others, and to show that as there is now a Catholic heir to the throne 
the time is come Avlien men may declare themselves without fear. . . . 
The day before yesterday the usual camp was formed between London 
and Windsor. It will be composed of from 7,000 to 8,000 men. . , . 
De Zulestein has arrived, sent by the Duke of Orange to offer his 
congratulations on the birth of the prince, and the Comte de Gram- 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 313 

mont is expected to arrive from France, on the same errand. . . , As 
to-day is the term assigned for the trial of the bishops, they appeared 
before the tribunaL The pleading lasted four hours ; but as the busi- 
ness could not be finished, it has been deferred till to-morro^v^.' * 

Terriesi's narrative, as he takes it up at this point, is posi- 
tively humorous. He did not Avrite till July 12. By that 
time the verdict was known. He says one of the spectators 
of the trial told the populace to be glad indeed, since here was 
a cordial against that great affliction which they lay under in 
the birth of a Prince of Wales. ' The noise of bells, the firing 
' of guns, and the like public demonstrations of pleasure have 
' for surpassed anything that was ever done for his birth ; 

* among other stravaganze one saAv soldiers throwing down 
' their arms, drinking to the health of the bishops, and con- 
' fusion to the Pope,' But he goes on slyly to hope ' that by 

* one means or another these bishops may not escape the 

* punishments of justice.' 

Punishment was indeed close at hand, but it was not for 
Sancroft and his fellow-sufferers. It was for a king beset 
with false counsellors and faithless friends, who ruled with an 
Ecclesiastical Commission and without a free and regular Par- 
liament, who removed the judges at his pleasure, and now 
threatened the very existence of an Established Church, * pure 
' in its doctrines, irreproachable in its order, and beautiful in 
' its forms ' f — a constituent and most wholesome part of that 
English Constitution which he was doing his utmost to sub- 
vert. While James thus prepared his own destruction, and 
his infant son struggled through a variety of infantile maladies, 
the shipwrights of Holland hurried to their tasks. There, under 
the anxious bidding of William, who, after years of feeling that 
the game of politics is a game of waiting, was now determined 
to strike, they added daily to that ' insignificant number of 
' vessels ' of which their ambassador had spoken so sooth- 
ingly, but Avhich was none the less able to convey a Protestant 
army to the English shore. Midsummer there was passed 
in parleys Avith Sancroft, and in appeals to a national party 
which long descried in Petre 'the evil spirit that walketh 
' between a good master and a loyal people.' % Petre was dis- 
missed, but it was too late. James, blind and deaf to advice 
or remonstrance while he was still powerful, was astonished 
when the natural results of his policy arrived in their due 
course, and when his promises failed to stir either belief or hope 

* K. K. Archives. f Southey's ' Book of the Church.' 

% Letter of the Duke of Buckingham. Sloane MSS. 

314 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

in the heart of the nation. The Church of Avhich James was 
the agent recedes, men averred, only in order to make a surer 
spring. She may appear to give way, but she never really yields 
(because she feels that she ought not to yield) anything of her 
pride or of her intolerance. The English clergy were equally 
prepared, on their part, not to surrender. It was a critical 
moment in the history of their Church, for they realised that 
to fall now was never to rise again, to forfeit the most dearly 
bought privileges, and to overthrow for ever the goodly fabric 
of Church government as established in England. At the same 
time nothing could be more steady, respectful, and peaceful 
than their opposition, and, firm as was their attitude, it is just 
possible that they might not have been able unassisted to stop 
the growth of encroachments on the part of the Crown. The axe 
that was to cut down that overgrown tree owed its sharp edge to 
the ambition of William, and to his fear of a possible co-opera- 
tion between the French and the English fleets. Louis had 
been made, in the League of Augsburg, to feel all the power 
and all the statecraft of William of Orange. He still smarted 
under the recollection of it, and as he was certain, sooner or 
later, to revenge himself, it was a question whether the Prince 
of Orange would not do Avell to anticipate a visit from such 
.combined fleets, and to make an immediate descent upon Eng- 
land. From Shrewsbury and from Churchill he learnt how 
ripe their country was for revolution, and how inconsistent was 
the Romanising element with the liberties of England. For 
many weeks William contrived to keep his own secret, but 
though Segnelay could write from Versailles ' that there was 
' no appearance that the Prince of Orange Avill attemyjt any- 
' thing against England this year,' others were better informed. 
Hoftmann Avrites from London, September 3, 1688 : — 

* Since my last letter the fears on account of a Dutch fleet not only 
<5ontinue but have augmented. It has got wind that nearly 1,000 
saddles have been embarked. The king is in council, so to speak, 
daily. . , . Yesterday the Marquis d'Albeville, who arrived here from 
Holland about ten days ago, was hastily dispatched to the Hague : no 
doubt to obtain an explanation. . . . What causes a certain surprise 
is that, when people here show so much alarm, nothing more is heard 
of those sixteen ships which France once offered to send as help, and 
upon which apparently such hopes were built.' 

LTp to October 1 1 HoiFmann was still in doujbt : — 

' Since my last letter there are no news from Holland. Persuaded, 
however, of the hostile invasion intended, all possible preparations for 
defence are made here. In a new proclamation to-day the king 
announced to his people a threatening invasion, and implored them 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 315 

to lay aside all jealousies and animosities in the face of a common 
danger, as he had refused all foreign succour, and leant solely on the 
courage and tried fidelity of his people. . . . The king has replaced the 
Bishop of London, till now suspended from his functions. While on 
the part of the Prince of Orange it is argued that the sole aim of this 
prince is the preservation of the Protestant religion, and the establish- 
ment of a free Parliament, people are none the less persuaded that his 
ambition Avill not stop there, but that he will seek to gratify his longing 
to reign by attacking the birth of the Prince of "Wales, or by having 
him educated in the Protestant religion. If this were to happen there 
can be no doubt but that in the face of his enemies a large part of the 
nation would side with the king, and it follows that a long and bloody 
war would be the result. . , . Within the last few days, Avhether the 
Prince of Orange comes or does not come, the whole constitution, from 
the religious alike as from the pohtical point of view, has been changed. 
One sees better e\ery day, and when it is too late, how France has 
deceived us, and how all her protestations of friendship were but a 

Pass we now to the Hague. The position of Mary there 
was hardly to be envied. Her sister, to work upon her most 
intimate feelings, wrote to her of plots against the life of the 
Prince of Orange, and plied her with reports against the heir, 
of whom she alternately wrote that * it may be that it is our 
*l3rother,' and that 'it is a comfort that all the people in 
' England asserted that it was an impostor.' Mary at first 
refused to act upon this idea, and prayers were duly made at 
the Hague for the son of the King of England. Presently, 
however, it became known at St. James's that these prayers had 
ceased, and then, as Hoffmann writes, ' great exasperation was 
' felt about this attempt to prove the birth doubtful, Avhich 
* must have the most pernicious consequences.' The king 
wrote to his eldest daughter and complained of the omission. 
Whatever at that moment may have been Mary's personal 
feelings, she had either not made up her mind, or she had not 
tTie courage of her opinions. Taking an evasive course, she 
weakly excused herself by saying that the prayers * had only 
'■ sometimes bin forgot ; ' but the mother of the little child was 
determined to clear up the situation. She wrote herself: — 

' September 28, 1688. 

' I am much troubled what to say at a time when nothing is talked about 
but the Prince of Orange coming over with an army. This has been 
said for a long time, and believed by a great many ; but I do protest to 
you that I never did believe it till now very lately, and that I have 
no more possibility left for doubting it. The second part of the news 
I never will believe — that you are to come over with him — for I know 
you to be too good. I do not believe you would have such a thought 
against the worst of fathers, much less to perform it against the best, 

316 The Fall of the House of Stuart. ' April, 

■who has always been good to you, and I believe has loved you the 
best of any of his children.' 

This must have been a painful letter to receive ; but 
even more cutting were the words of the king, Avhen he 
in his turn wrote to her about ' the concern she must have 

* for a husband and a father.' Concerned Mary truly was ; 
in fact, Burnet noticed ' that she had a great Aveight on her 

* spirits,' but he adds that she had * no scruple as to the 
' lawfulness of the design.' If she was ever visited by any 
misgivings, or dropped any natural tears for the father who so 
entreated her, Ave may be sure that Burnet Aviped them aAvay. 
He could at any time have made the worse appear the better 
cause, had that been necessary, and as for this cause he had it 
so entirely at heart that many filial tears Avould not have 
softened his heart tOAvards the bigoted king. He worked in- 
cessantly upon Mary's feelings, and not by mere threats of an 
assassination Avhich Avould repeat the fate of William the 
Silent, but by an argument AA'hich appealed to her more 
directly. He told, her that if, through her generosity, the 
prince acquired the croAvn of a reigning sovereign, he Avould 
certahily award to her in return a double share of the affec- 
tion for Avhich she yearned. Mary, in her private con- 
fessions, admits that she was in consequence ^ perplexed how 
' to Avrite to her father, or hoAv to allude to the Prince of 

* Yf ales.' Her nature had been rendered undemonstrative by 
the taciturn and unyielding nature of a husband Avhose domi- 
nant passion Avas ambition, and Avhose chilling gravity Burnet 
now assured her arose solely from his uncertainty as to his 
possible position in England. To gratify him then Avas really 
to gratify herself; but none the less she exclaims, ' What I 

* sutfer is not^o be expressed.' At length came the decisive 
hour. The late October days had settled doAvn in all their 
chilly gloom, and her hero, though suffering heavily from his 
asthma, must sail. William came to take leave of her. 

* He told me that in any difficulty I Avas to ask advice from the 
Prince of Waldeck, the Pensionary Fagel, and M. Dyckvelt, upon 
Avhom I might rely in everything. He further said to me that in case 
it pleased God that he should never see me again (a Avord that pierced 
my heart and gave me a shudder Avhich, at this hour of Avriting, has 
hardly passed off) — if, he said, that were to happen, it Avould be neces- 
sary for me to marry again. If the first Avord struck me cruelly, this one 
struck me more, and made me feel as if my heart Avere cleft in tAvain. 
** I do not require," he continued, " to tell you that it must not be 
*' with a Papist." He himself could not pronounce this Avord Avithout 
emotion, and shoAved me as much tenderness as I could desire : so that 
for my life long I shall not forget it. But I Avas so amazed at the 

1882. Tlte Fall of the House of Stuart. 317 

proposition that I remained long without being able to reply. He 
protested that only the concern he had for religion made him so 
speak. I cannot recall what I said. The grief in which I was made 
me answer confusedly, but I assured him that I had never loved and 
never could love any one but him ; furthermore, that having been 
married so many years without having been blest by God with a child, 
I considered that enough to prevent my ever thinking of what he pro- 
posed. I told him that I begged of God not to let me outlive him. . . . 
Oh, my God ! if in this passion I have sinned, as I dread to have done, 
pardon me, I pray. . . . We spoke of other matters ; I begged him to 
forgive all my faults, and he answered me with a tenderness which, if 
possible, must have made my love for him greater. On the 26th he 
took me to dine with him at Honslardyck. After dinner I went to 
the river with him. He had to cross it to go down to Briel. It was 
there that I saw him for the last time : and God knows if we shall 
ever meet. This thought is terrible. It deprived me for a time of my 
senses. I remained immovable in my coach, and had no power to 
tell them where to drive for as long as I could see the prince. I re- 
turned that evening to the Hague, troubled, and in a grief un- 
speakable, and without the support of God I should have been done 
for. But praised, oh, my God ! be Thy great name, that I have still 
not murmured against the economy of Thy providence, and I beg of 
Thee, for the time to come, to preserve me Irom this, as from all wilful 
sins. The day after the prince's departure (27th) a general fast was 
observed in the land, and this so zealously that the Jews observed 
it, and that the Spanish envoy had masses said for the happy 
issue of this enterprise. Only the ambassador of France and M. 
d'Albeville did not wish the same ! . . . Here in my house and family 
I observe every Wednesday as a festival, a sermon is given, and every 
morning suitable prayers are said. M. Chambrun says them in French 
in the family. . . . The 19th, I learnt by letters from London that the 
prince had landed in Torbay. . . . During the prince's absence every 
one showed me an extraordinary friendship, particularly the States- 
General, to whom the prince had recommended me. They begged me 
to take care of my person, for fear of the malice of the Romish party. 
Thank God I have got over the terror this awoke in me, and to which 
I am naturally only too prone. I pass my time in public and private 
devotions. Every morning I am present at the prayers (in French) 
which are said in the house. At midday there is Common Prayers, 
■ and at five I go to church for prayers, and to hear a sermon. At half- 
past seven there is Common Prayers again. . . . But my enemy the 
devil raises scruples and fears in my mind, apprehensions lest by all 
these public devotions I draw to myself the praise of men, and that 
this should raise my vanity. . . . For an entire month after the 
prince's departure I saw no one. . . . Though I was long without 
having letters from him, I had, however, God be praised, the consola- 
tion of hearing from all the world, friends and foes, the success of the 
enterprise ; and although I ought to have been terribly uneasy, 
according to all human reason, yet was I, by the help of God, kept in 
a sort of tranquillity that surprised myself, and made me fear it was a 

318 The lull of the House of Stuart. April, 

mark of stupidity. But the more I examine myself, the more reason 
i have to bless my Creator for His infinite goodness to me, that I was 
thus made to bear a burden far too heavy for Hesh and blood. ... I 
admit, Iiowever, that the prince's last words, touching my marriage 
and his death, had such a hold of my mind that I fancied they must 
be in some measure prophetic, and this made me suffer more than I 
can express. . . . On the 20th Madame Bentinck died, after a long 
illness, and though she suffered much pain of body, yet the Lord had 
great mercy on her soul, in that she had much time to prepare for 
another world. . . . For more than a week previous to her death I 
never came near her, but she told me how she felt, having offended 
God by lack of resignation, since she could not be so with regard to 
leaving so good a husband and five poor children, of whom the eldest 
was not more than nine years old. She recommended them to me the 
day before her death, and I promised all I could. I was with her 
when she expired, and though she suffered for some space, yet she died 
as softly as if she had only fallen on sleep. . . . When I heard that 
the king had first sent off the queen with his supposed son, and had 
then followed in person, I heard at the same time that an apothecary 
of Paris had formed a plot on the life of the prince. . . . On De- 
cember 30 came the news that the king's flight had been stopped. At 
the same time the prince let me know that I ought to prepare for 
going over to England. I cannot think without grief of leaving this 
dear country where I have had much spiritual, as well as earthly, 
happiness. I fear to sin in attaching my heart to it, and therefore 
pray to God to give me all the resignation of mind and will that I 
ought to possess. And thus, while waiting to learn what the king is 
doing, and fearing to be sent for ever out of this country (though I 
am languishing to meet the prince again), I close amid these diverse 
expectancies the year 1G88, which, for tliis Avorld, has been a year of 
•many strange events, and one also of special mercies and blessings from 
God to my soul,- for the which I will magnify His name as long as I 
have my being.' 

While Mary, wife of William of Orange, penned these 
grave lines, which strike us as not quite innocent of self- 
satisfaction, another Avoinan, newly landed at Calais, sat in the 
governor's house with her infant on her knee, and wrote this 
letter to Louis XIV. : — 

' Tuesday, December 11, 1689. 

' Sire, — A poor fugitive queen, bathed in tears, has exposed herself 
to the utmost perils of the sea in her distress, to seek for consolation 
and an asylum from the greatest monarch in the world. Her evil 
fortune procures her a happiness of which the greatest nations of the 
world are ambitious. Her need of it diminishes not that feeling, since 
she makes it her choice, and it is a mark of the greatness of her 
esteem that she wishes to confide to him that which is most precious to 
her in the person of the Prince of Wales, her son. He is as yet too 
joung to unite with her in the grateful acknowledgments that fill my 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 319 

heart, I feel with peculiar pleasure, in the midst of my griefs, that I 
am now under your protection. In great affliction, I am, Sire, 
* Your very obedient servant and sister, 

' The Queen of England.' 

The two lines of policy pursued by William and by James 
have here reached their logical goals. The obstinacy of the 
one has sent his Avife and child to seek the cover of a French 
monarch's robe ; the ambition and prudence of the other have 
placed in liis hand the sceptre of England. It is true that 
till the offer of immediate and unquestioned monarchy had 
been made to liim, the Dutch prince preserved a gloomy and 
guarded silence. * Access to him,' said Sheffield, Duke of 
Buckingham, ' was not very easy. He listened to all that 
* was said, but seldom answered.' Not till the national con- 
vention of Lords and Commons had settled the precedence 
to his satisfaction was the princess summoned, and she was 
then warned that as the Jacobite party represented her as 
dissatisfied with the arrangements made, it rested with her to 
give the lie to their Avords, and to prove her contentment of 
mind. This warning led her to adopt a cheerfulness which she- 
did not feel. The prince, she replied, must understand her 
very little if he supposed that her personal ambition was greater 
than her tenderness for him ; but, even Avith this key to her 
conduct, her warmest admirers must admit that she gi'ossly 
overdid her part. It is impossible to forget the account of her 
conduct by a woman who was a warm sympathiser in the 
Revolution, and a friend since childhood of the daughters of 
James II. The Duchess of Marlborough published this nar- 
rative : — 

* I was one of those who had the honour to wait on her in her own., 
apartment. She ran about it, looking into every closet, and turning, 
up the quilts upon the bed, as people do when they come to an inn, 
Avith no other sort of concern in her appearance but such as they ex- 
press; a behaviour Avhich, though at that time I was extremely 
caressed by her, I thought ^vas strange and unbecoming. For what- 
ever necessity there was for deposing King James, he Avas still her- 
father, who had been so lately driven from that chamber and bed ;; 
and if she felt no tenderness I thought she ought at least to have- 
looked grave, and even pensively sad, at so melancholy a reverse of his- 

In truth Mary did not dare to seem to play the critic on the 
actions of a man Avho told her he ' would not hold on to the 
' throne by her apron-strings ; ' but she Avas often sick at heart. 
Perplexed by the double dealing of political partisans, nervous 
for her husband's safety, and pardonably grieved at the un- 

320 The Fall of the House of Stuart. April, 

natural appearance of lier own conduct, she yet looked on 
herself as an elect instrument in the hand of Providence. She 
was also clever enough to understand, apart from all personal 
considerations of loss or gain, of praise or of blame, that an 
extraordinary event in the'history of Europe, of Protestantism, 
and we might say of mankind, had just taken place at White- 
hall. There was a conflict between absolute monarchy and the 
liberty of nations, between superstition and freedom of thought, 
between the bondage of the media; val system, and the manly, 
regulated freedom of modern society. The one side as repre- 
sented by Louis had just been defeated in the person of his too 
subservient ally, King James ; the other side was represented 
by the husband whom she admired as he deserved, and whom 
she loved Avith no common devotion. 

But if there ever was a picture of royal misery it is this : — 

' 1 must see company on set days ; I must play once a week, nay, 
I must laugh and talk, though never so much against my will. I be- 
lieve I dissemble very ill to those who know me; at least it is a great 
constraint to me, but I must endui'e it. All my motions are so 
watched, and all I do so observed, that if I eat less, or speak less, or 
look more grave, all is lost in the opinion o£ the world. ... I go to 
Kensington as often as I can for air ; but there I never can be quite 
alone : neither can I complain — that would be some ease ; but I have 
nobody whose humour and circumstances agree with mine enough to 
speak my mind freely to. . . . 

' Luke ii. 13, " Thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall 
"bear a son." Those Avere the Avords of the angel to Zacharias; 
Avords joyful in themselves, and of Avhich the fulfilment Avas still more 
glad. Why, then, art thou cast doAvn, oh, my soul? knoAvest thou not 
that the Lord doeth as He pleases in heaven and earth ? Not con- 
sidering that the Lord is just, and as it is not His Avill to bless thee 
Avith a child, thou must submit. He knoAvs Avhy He has so long Avith- 
held this blessing, and knoAvs Avhy He contimies to deny it ; and I have 
often thanked Him for this, that had the good Lord given me children, I 
never could have borne, as I have borne, all that the Lord laid upon 
me Avhen my husband crossed to England. ... I knoAV that the inten- 
tions of my husband are all for the glory of God. . . . Hear me, oh 
Lord ! hear Thy unAvorthy servant Avho prays for nothing but resigna- 
tion and patience, courage and strength to bear all Thou sendest Avith 
that submission Avhich is due to Thy Avill. ... I Avill never forego the 
hope that of Thee Thy Church Avill be governed and preserved 
(happen to me Avhat may), and I hope that my husband Avill continue 
to serve as an instrument for doing Avell to Thy people. . . . God has 
prepared me for Avhat I could not foresee, and by this means has 
strengthened me, and made me more able to behave myself than, Avith- 
out His grace preventing me, I could have been.' 

All other considerations apart, it must have required strong 

1882. The Fall of the House of Stuart. 321 

nerves in a princess of that house, bearing the name of Mary- 
Queen of Scots, to dare to occupy the throne of the Stuarts. 

* If ever,' cried Voltaire, ' anything could justify belief in a 

* fatality from which there is no escape, it ought to be that 
' continued series of misfortunes which pursued the House of 
' Stuart during three hundred years.' When James II. ab- 
dicated they had not even then completed, "it is true, the full 
tale of the reverses to which the French historian referred, but 
the period of eighty-five years, a period not longer than the 
lifetime of one aged Englishman, had already sufficed to show 
a wonderful succession of merited and unmerited misfortunes, 
during which they had shared a like succession of capable and 
watchful foes, of evil counsellors, and of devoted, self-forgetting 
friends. And if the critics of a later day pause ere they con- 
demn the kings of the House of Stuart, it is less because of the 
retributive punishments which overtook them in their head- 
strong career than because of the many generous men and women 
who feared not to prop a falling cause, and to follow a stricken 
family into the bitterness of exile. Did our space allow us to 
pursue, as Dr. Klopp has done, the whole story of their exclu- 
sion from the succession, or to recount the adventures of the 
two Pretenders, we should follow a long line of their parti- 
sans in England and in Scotland. That their attempts all 
failed, and that one by one both the princes and their followers 
dropped into ruin and extinction, does not detract from the 
interest of their lives or of their deaths. A strange fascination 
still belongs to them, and Burns, the most advanced of Scotch 
Liberals, in speaking of the Stuart kings, did not hesitate to 
say, ' that to love them was the mark of a true heart.' But it 
is deplorable that so much loyalty and so many sacrifices were 
lavished on the woi'st princes who ever sate upon the British 


Bosscttis Poems. April, 

Art. II.— 1. Poems. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 

London: 1870. 
2. Ballads and Sonnets. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 

London: 188L 

I DO not know what poetical is,' says Audrey^ to Touch- 
stone; 'is it honest in deed and word? is it a true 
' thino- ? ' and herein Audrey, like her fantastic lover in an- 
other^'scene of the play, spoke more wisely than she was aware 
of, for the question is significant in regard to the permanent 
interest and value of any contribution to the poetical literature 
of a nation. For all poetry which retains a permanent hold 
over succeeding generations of readers, and is by common con- 
sent enshrined among the precious possessions of a national 
Hterature, has been nourished upon the spontaneous feelings 
and aspirations of its own age, and speaks without affectation, 
though with more than common force and finish, the common 
speech of its own time. It is only in the free and bracing 
atmosphere of natural and healthy life that a strong and 
healthful poetry can grow and spread her wings. Under such 
conditions were the works of our great dramatist produced : 
under such conditions the poetry of Chaucer remains as full of 
life and interest at this moment as ever it was, in spite of the 
draAvback of obsolete spelling and etymology. Not under such 
conditions (if a negative example be wanted) was matured 
the poetry of Spenser, who, as far as poetry was concerned, 
shut up wathin an artificial world, has lost his hold on general 
readers and become the property of students alone ; his stately 
palace of verse being, like his own cave of Mammon, so clogged 
and cobwebbed with affected archaisms and artificial fancies, 
that it is only here and there that the gleam of the pure gold 
of poetry can be discerned beneath them. Perhaps an illus- 
tration more apposite to our present purpose may be found in 
Sidney's ' Arcadia,' a work of imagination,^ though not in 
verse, which appealed to the shortlived affectations and conceits 
of a coterie, and died a natural death with the decease of 
euphuism. An apposite illustration, because within the last 
few years we have been witnessing a somewhat similar 
development of artificial taste in art and in poetry alike — a 
kind of modern euphuism ; like the original one, the adopted 
fashion of a coterie. In picture galleries strange lank-haired 
women writhe and twine, who are neither of this nor of any 
world, but represent a nondescript ideal evolved from the inner 
consciousness of those who produce them, acted upon more or 

1882. Rossetti's Poems. 323 

less by an affectation of archaism. In poetry we meet with 
the counterpart of this affected art, displayed in the use of an 
artificial diction in which language is twisted into the expres- 
sion of far-fetched images and similes with a curiosa infelicitas 
which suggests a repetition of the caution given to Pistol : 
' If thou hast tidings, I pray thee deliver them like a man of 
' this world.' In both the poetry and the painting of these 
aesthetic separatists we trace some of the same mental 
tendencies and characteristics. In the figures drawn, whether 
with the pencil or the pen, we find a morbid preference for 
forms that ' err from honest nature's rule,' forms destitute of 
definite or typical human character, and which belong to a 
world of dream-shadows, existing only in the painter's or the 
poet's morbid imagination ; in both we find a languid sensuous 
beauty taking the place of intellectual force of expression or 
moral beauty of character. These visions belong to no world 
of which healthy human nature has any experience ; they 
are the artificial creations of an intellectual forcing-house, from 
which fresh air and daylight are carefully excluded. 

The causes which have produced this peculiar tendency in 
recent art and literature we cannot here pause to consider too 
curiously ; the consideration at least Avould lead us too far 
afield from the immediate purpose of this article ; some certain 
conclusions which are unavoidably suggested by the nature of 
the movement referred to, and in part illustrated by some of 
the poems immediately before us, may be touched upon as we 
proceed. But one feature in connexion with the subject, one 
of the secondary causes which have contributed to give to this 
morbid growth in artistic fancy and expression an apparent 
importance which it might not otherwise have attained, cannot 
be passed over here. It is impossible for those who from an 
independent station take note of the tone of contemporary 
literature not to perceive that, along with this artificial 
development in art and literature, there has sprung up an 
equally artificial development in what is called contemporary 
criticism. Like the manufacturer who boasted that he kept a 
poet, the poets and painters of this esoteric sect keep a ring of 
critics, the existence of a tacit understanding with whom has 
become too palpable to be ignored, and is, in fact, displayed at 
times with a frankness which it might have been supposed 
would have defeated its own end, did we not know how careless 
and ill-informed are the public of general readers in regard to 
what is behind the scenes in so-called criticism, how indolentl}'- 
prone to accept as truth what is repeatedly forced upon them 
in journals which are supposed to be the accredited organs 


324 RossettVs Poems, April, 

of icsthetic taste. Hence there has arisen a state of things 
in which a great proportion of the criticism of the clay has 
entirely ceased to be the thoughtful expression of independent 
opinion, and degenerated into the expression of the indis- 
criminate adulation of a clique ' which moveth altogether if it 
' move at all,' and which no more represents the balance of 
educated public opinion than the productions which it recom- 
mends represent the ideal of a genuine and healthful national 
art or literature. 

We may at once disclaim any intention to imply that the 
two volumes of poems, the titles of which stand at the head 
of this article, represent no higher element in poetry than the 
artificial sensuousness of which we have spoken, or that they 
would have failed to command attention apart from the rho- 
domontade of over-officious zealots of the press. "Were it so, 
serious consideration of their merits would be superfluous. It 
is because they do contain higher elements of poetic power, 
because, even when they are clogged with the morbid sensuous- 
ness against which we have protested, they at least show that 
their author is conspicuous among poets of this school for 
picturesque choice of language, that it is worth while to 
consider what matter of real value as poetic literature is to 
be extracted from the somewhat chequered contents of these 
two volumes ; and the unquestionable fact that the repute of 
the first volume was largely forced by the advocacy of the 
poet's too friendly critics seems to place us under a kind of 
moral obligation to deliver Mr. Kossetti, if possible, from his 

The publication of the first volume of poems in 1870 at 
once justified the conclusion that their author was at least «o 
mere versifier. To those who knew nothing of his other pro- 
ductions, the sense of having met with something new in style 
and expression was probably predominant on first reading 
them. To those who knew anything of the author's paintings 
(still carefully guarded from the public eye under the custody 
of sworn admirers), it was easy to recognise in the poems, 
under another form, some of the prominent intellectual and 
artistic characteristics of the paintings. The languid sensuous 
expression, the aifectation of archaism, the strong sense of 
beauty of colour, combined with the sometimes almost ludicrous 
stiffness and weakness of form and draughtsmanship, which cha- 
racterised many of the paintings, seemed to be all reflected in 
this collection of poems, with their singular mixture of rich 
imagery, flashes of brilliant word-painting suggesting no defi- 
nite logical connexion of ideas, weakness of construction, and 

1882. Rossettis Poems. 325 

often entire absence of the sense of literaiy proportion or of 
the subordination of details to the total impression. One or 
two other more direct analogies between the poems and the 
paintings may occur to us further on. The latter having 
been, as Ave have said, carefully hidden away, except from the 
elect, as things too precious to be submitted to the gross ordeal 
of public criticism, nothing is even known of them publicly, 
save when one of the painter's journalistic satellites indulges 
his readers Avith a glowing description of the last new work. 
What would be the actual position now held by Mr. Rossetti's 
paintings in general esthnation, had they been placed in the 
light of public criticism instead of being nursed in private all 
these years, we will not here undertake to say, but Ave shrcAvdly 
conjecture that it Avould not be that Avhich the painter and his 
friends appear to claim for them. Fortunately books cannot 
be nursed in this way ; an author must, nolens volens, come to 
the light of day, and be judged by ordinary standards. The 
recent publication of a second volume of poems (including, 
however, some Avhich had previously appeared), furnishes a 
better basis for coming to a conclusion as to the place Avhich 
these Avorks can take in recent poetical literature. 

We have referred to Avhat we termed the very chequered 
character of the contents of these volumes, Avhich, in fact, is so 
mai'ked as to suggest in the first instance the question AA'^hether 
a good deal of the poetry here included is not the result of 
self-conscious elaboration rather than of genuine poetic fervour. 
We can recognise three different styles in Mr. Rossetti's 
poetry : one of them deliberately archaic, in Avhich the style 
and turn of thought of the medijBval ballad is reproduced; a 
second style in which Avhat may be called erotic fancies 
(mainly) are expressed in fantastically elaborated and often 
very obscure metaphor, and in verse much of Avhich may be 
said to haA'c more sound than sense ; and we have a third group, 
unfortunately much the smallest portion of the poems, in Avhich 
the author shoAvs himself able to deal with subjects arising out 
of genuine human passion and human action, in natural and 
forcible language, differing from, that of ordinary speech only 
in so far as the language of elevated feeling in poetry differs 
from the language of ordinary idiomatic prose writing. In 
regard to the tAvo first-named groups it may be observed that 
the tendency to pose in an artificially induced phase of feeling 
and of language, so often met Avith at present, is in itself an 
indication of the existence of insincerity and affectation, of the 
absence of a spontaneous poetic impulse. The attempt to 
reproduce the effect of an archaic form of art or literature is 

326 Ilossetti\s Poems. April, 

not, however, -without its interest, if not carried too far, as it 
lias been, for example, in the fashionable reproduction in 
modern music of gavottes and other antique forms. Somewhat 
analogous to these experiments in music is the experiment in 
poetry of reproducing the directness, naivete, and simplicity 
of the old ballad form, sometimes accompanied by a feigned 
revival of the superstitious beliefs which furnished a lurid 
background to so many of the old ballads. In one experiment 
of this kind JNIr. llossetti has been signally successful — the 
ballad of ' Sister Helen,' in the first volume of poems, Avhere a 
betrayed and forsaken girl revenges herself on her now hated 
lover by the old witchcraft of melting away his vraxen effigy, 
at the cost of the perdition of her own soul as well as his. The 
poem has every quality that a ballad of this class should have — 
forcible and picturesque narration, and unaffected terseness 
and simplicity of language, in which not a superfluous word is 
admitted. Let the reader be in the mood to deliver himself 
over to the weird fancy of the poem, and its effectiveness is 
unquestionable. But it is very questionable whether such 
imitative experiments (there are others not equal to this) ever 
survive in literature. Even to the reader at the moment there 
may come the turn of mood in which the whole thing will seem 
too absurd to be read seriously. Supernatural terrors soon lose 
their hold in modern poetry. Even so tremendous a ' bogey ' 
ballad as ' Lenore ' is now only read with a smile ; the ' Erl- 
' kouig ' survives more for the sake of Schubert's music than 
of Goethe's words ; the ' Lyrical Ballads ' of Southey (good 
enough in their way) have gone into limbo ; and the ' Ancient 
' Mariner ' retains its hold on us in virtue of its human pathos 
and the exquisite touches of scenery in it, quite apart from its 
supernatural machinery. 

These considerations have some bearing on our estimate of 
one of the two much longer and more important poems in 
ballad form which occupy a large portion of the new volume. 
The first of these, ' Rose Mary,' is certainly the most com- 
plete and finished in form of the author's longer poems. The 
scene is laid in some vague ])eriod of medieval life. Rose 
Mary's lover, James of Heronhaye, is to ride on the morrow 
to a shrift at Holycleugh, to which he will needs go alone. 
Her mother has word of an ambush laid to take his "life, and 
calls on Rose Mary to look in the magic beryl stone, wherein 
to a pure maiden is shoAvn the vision of wdiatever she would 
know^ to see on which of two routes the ambush is laid, that 
the lover may be warned. The beryl stone, ' shaped like a 
* shadowy sphere,' was once the abode of accursed spirits, who 
Avere driven out by better angels- - 

1882. Rossefti's Paems. 327 

* Never again such home to win, 
Save only by a Christian's sin.' 

The girl kneels at her mother's knee to look in this tateful 
mirror, through which 

' As 'twere the turning leaves of a book 
The road runs past me as I look ; 
Or it is even as though mine eye 
Should watch calm waters filled with sky, 
While lights and clouds and wings went by ' — 

a touch of that picturesque vividness of description in which 
Mr. Rossetti excels — and we follow the incidents of the visionary- 
road till, with a suppressed shriek, the girl tells how she sees 
the spears by a ruined weir, and the blazon of the Warden of 
Holycleugh, her lover's mortal foe. But, alas ! poor Rose Mary 
has already been too kind to her lover, and her sin has given 
entrance to the former evil inhabitants of the beryl, to blind 
her with false shows. In the second part of the poem the 
mother has guessed the daughter's secret, and has to tell her 
that the lover has been murdered on the supposed safe road. 
But worse is behind, for in the dead man's bosom is found a 
letter and a lock of hair from the Warden's sister of Holy- 
cleugh, and it is but too apparent why he must needs go alone 
to his shrift. Rose Mary swoons away in agony, and on re- 
covering finds open the secret panel giving access to a stair- 
case, up which she blindly stumbles, to find herself in a kind 
of mystic chapel dedicated to the four elements, in the midst 
of which on an altar lies her enemy, the beryl stone, on 
which she revenges herself in a suflficiently materialistic manner 
by splitting it with her father's sword, thereby putting an end 
to the charm. But this supreme effort brings to her side the 
good angel whom her sin had driven out, and she dies with 
the assurance of forgiveness and admission ' to Blessed Mary's 
' rose-bower.' 

W^e have read this highly-wrought poem very carefully 
several times, in the endeavour to form a distinct conclusion 
as to the cause of its failure to impress us in any degree com- 
mensurate with the labour evidently bestowed on it, and the 
very fine and even grand character of some of the versification. 
We make no further quotations from it, for it is one merit of 
the poem that it must be judged as a whole, having more con- 
tinuity and process to a climax than any other of the author's 
longer poems. But the feeling ib gives us is precisely that 
which we have gathered from the contemplation of some of 
Mr. Rossetti's paintings. We seem to have been in a land 

328 Eossetti's Poems. April, 

of dreams, peopled by figures wliich have no more flesh-and- 
blood reality than the figures in a stained glass window ; and 
even such human pathos as there is, is overshadowed by the pre- 
dominance of the magic machinery, which constantly suggests 
to us the sense of an absurd disproportion between cause and 
effect, particularly when we find that all the devilry can be 
taken out of the beryl stone by the simple mechanical means 
of splitting it with a sword. Why not a mallet and ' cold ' 
chisel ? we are tempted to ask, which would have done the 
work still better. It is impossible to repress a smile, too, at 
the tremendous similes, drawn from all things in heaven and 
earth, which are crammed into four verses, to give an adequate 
notion of the stupendous results of the splitting of the stone. 
Just as Carlyle, in his trenchant way, said of Scott that he 
had spoiled the future of his novels by ' going in for the buff- 
' jerkin business,' so we may say that in a poem like this 
the poet has 'gone in for the conjuring business;' and con- 
juring tricks, however effectively displayed, are after all only 
an amusement for children. 

* The King's Tragedy,' a narrative told in the first person 
by that Catherine Douglass who earned the name of ' Kate 
' Barlass ' from having thrust her arm through the door-staples 
in an heroic effort to bar out the men who murdered James I. 
of Scotland, is a poem of very different stamp. Here the in- 
terest is real and human ; the language has for the most part 
the unaffected simplicity proper to a ballad narrative ; and the 
supernatural element, the vision of the king's ' wraith ' with 
a shroud clinging round it, is in a poetic sense more probable 
than in the other poem, and not disproportionately emphasised. 
The defect in the poem lies in its want of brevity and reti- 
cence in parts. Nearly one-third of it might be cut out with 
great benefit to the force and effect of the whole ; but the 
author seems to want the critical perception that whatever does 
not directly add to the force and effectiveness of a poem (a 
narrative poem especially) necessarily weakens it : parentheses 
and reflections are inserted Avhich interfere with the unity and 
movement of the poem, and the idea of tagging it with long 
extracts from King James's own poem, ' The King's Quhair ' 
(altered, moreover, to suit the author's own metre), Avas a sin- 
gularly imfortunate one. But in spite of these drawbacks 
there arc genuine force and pathos in the poem, and the story is 
told Avith constantly increasing vividness and reality. From 
the first description of the night Avhen the king and court Avere 
met in the Charterhouse of Perth, the ominous feeling of some 
impending calamity overshadoAvs the scene: — 

1882. RossettVs Poems. 329 

* 'Twas a wind-wild eve in February, 

And against the casement pane 
The branches smote like summoning hands, 
And muttered the driving rain. 

* And when the wind swooped over the lift 

And made the whole heaven frown, 
It seemed a grij) was laid on the walls 
To tug the housetop down.' 

The contrast between the storm outside and the loving scene 
between the king and queen within is finely imagined, but the 
latter portion would bear much compression. The climax of 
contrast arrives when the guests have departed, and the 
king and queen are in affectionate talk while ' he doffed his 
* goodly attire.' 

' And now that all was still through the hall, 

More clearly we heard the rain 
That clamoured ever against the glass, 

And the boughs that beat on the pane. 

' But the fire Avas bright in the ingle nook, 
And through empty space around 
The shadows cast on the arras'd wall 
'Mid the pictured kings stood sudden and tall. 
Like spectres sprung from the ground. 

' And now beneath the window arose 

A wild voice suddenly : 
And the king reared straight, but the queen fell back 

As for bitter dule to dree ; 
And all of us knew the woman's voice 

Who spoke by the Scottish sea. 

' " O king," she cried, *' in an evil hour 
They drove me from thy gate ; 
And yet my voice must rise to thine ears ; 
But, alas ! it comes too late ! 

' " Last night at mid-watch, by Aberdour, 
When the moon was dead in the skies, 
O king, in a death-light of thine own 
I saw thy shape arise. 

' " And in full season, as erst T said. 
The doom had gained its growth ; 
And the shroud had risen above thy neck, 
And covered thine ej'es and mouth. 

• " And no moon woke, but the pale dawn broke. 
And still thy soul stood there ; 
And I thought its silence cried to my soul 
As the first rays crowned its hair. 

330 Rossettis Poems. April, 

* " Since then have I journeyed fast and fain 

In very despite of Fate, 
Lest Hope might still be found in God's will: 
But they drove me from thy gate, 

* " For every man on God's ground, O king, 

His death grows up from his birth 
In a shadow-plant perpetually ; 

And thine towers high, a black yew-tree 
O'er the Charterhouse of Perth ! " ' 

Immediately on these last lines, wliich seem to rise in a 
shriek above the storm, comes the clano^ of armed men and 
' the tramp of the coming doom,' the confusion in the chamber 
of which the locks ' have all been riven and brast,' the despe- 
rate forcing up of a plank from the floor, through which the 
king escapes to the vault below : — 

' And louder ever the voices grew, 
And the tramp of men in mail ; 
Until to my brain it seemed to be 
As though I tossed on a ship at sea 
In the teeth of a crashing gale.' 

And the narrator thrusts her arm through the door staples, 
only to fall back maimed on the floor, and watch the crowd of 
wrathful men ' ramping' through the chamber for their victim, 
till they all rush forth again, and the night wind shakes the 
rushes on the empty floor, and the moon throws the image of 
Scotland's crown in the window over the fateful plank on the 
floor. But storm obscures the moonlight ; the fierce crowd 
surges in again, guided by one who ' found the thing he 
* sought,' and the unarmed king is butchered in his hiding- 
place : — 

' Oh God ! and now did a bell boom forth, 

And the murderers turned and fled ; — 
Too late, too late, oh God ! did it sound ! — 
And 1 heard the true men mustering round, 

And the cries and the coming tread. 

* But ere they came, to the black death-gap, 

Some-wise did I creep and steal ; 
And lo ! or ever I swooned away. 
Through the dusk I saw where the white face lay 

In the pit of Fortune's wheel.' * 

There the poem should have ended. Even in a narrative 
poem, poetic effect rather than historical completeness should 
be the aim, and the concluding portion is anticlimax. But 

* In allusion to an expression in King James's own poem. 

1882. Rossetti's Poems. 331 

the portion of the poem leading up to the catastrophe is a very- 
powerful piece of narrative poetry, bringing vividly before the 
mind's eye the scene it describes, and effecting this with a 
directness and simplicity of language which stands in favour- 
able contrast with the fantastic verbiage into which the author 
too often falls. 

Similar praise may be given to the shorter and slighter 
poem, ' The White Ship,' which has also the merit of much 
greater conciseness and concentration, and is, artistically speak- 
ing, the best poem in the volume, though slighter and less 
energetic in style than ' The King's Tragedy.' It would have 
been better, however, if the artificial ' burden ' verse which 
recurs several times had been omitted, and the story told in its 
naked simplicity. But we will turn from the ballads, which, 
after all, are all more or less archaisms, to the one poem of 
importance in the earlier volume which deals in modern phrase 
with a subject from modern life, and a ghastly subject it is, yet 
one the choice of which we cannot regret, in view of the 
temper and spirit in which it is here treated. "' Jenny,' which 
derives its title from Mrs. Quickly's grotesque misconstruction 
('Vengeance of Jenny's case,' &c.), stands quite alone among 
Mr. Rossetti's poems. Like most of his longer poems, it is 
unequal in construction and blemished by bad and awkward 
lines ; but it is almost entirely free from the affected elaboration 
of manner and overwrought metaphor to Avhich he is so prone. 
The contemplation of the most painful and bewildering of social 
problems seems to have raised the poet to a pitch of earnestness 
of feeling and unaffected eloquence, such as we find nowhere 
else in his pages. The poem is uttered in the person of one 
who has half accidentally dropped again into a momentary com- 
panionship, such as had once been too familiar to him (in the 
case supposed it is obviously no more than companionship), 
and soliloquises over the poor mercenary beauty who has fallen 
into the unexpected slumber of pure weariness. Though the 
poem is certainly not for boys and virgins, it is no small praise 
to say that the subject is treated without one touch of in- 
delicacy ; but it merits far more than this merely negative 
commendation. Even Wordsworth (if we could imagine him 
treating such a subject) could hardly have shown more forcibly 
the pathos that may lie in the simplest language than in the 
passage where the speaker imagines how in Jenny's mind 

* There may rise unsought 
Haply at times a passing thought 
Of the old days that seem to be 
Much older than any history 

332 JRossettPs Poems, April, 

That is 7v?'itten in an]f book, 
When she would lie in fields and look 
Along the ground through the blown grass, 
And wonder where the city was ; ' 

and where he recoils on himself at the thought of the utter 
futility of such reflections : — 

' Let the thoughts pass, an empty cloud ! 
Suppose I were to think aloud — 
What if to her all this were said ? 
Why, as a volume seldom read 
Being opened halfway shuts again, 
So might the pages of her brain 
Be parted at such words, and thence 
Close back upon the dusty sense. 
For is there hue or shape defined 
In Jenny's desecrated mind, 
AVhere all contagious currents meet, 
A Lethe of the middle street ? 
Nay, it reflects not any face. 
Nor sound is in its sluggish pace ; 
But as they coil those eddies clot, 
And night and day remember not.' 

We can call to mind few passages in recent poetry of more 
tragic pathos than this. Equally fine, perhaps, in its serious 
tone, is the passage where, after a cynical revulsion of feeling 
in which for a moment the speaker contemplates the girl as 
being, after all, but 

' A cipher o£ man's changeless sum 
Of lust, past,. present, and to come,' 

he proceeds : — 

' Like a toad shut in a stone, 
Seated while Time crumbles on ; 
Which sits there since the earth was cursed 
For man's transgression at the first ; 
Which, living through all centuries. 
Not once has seen the sun arise ; 
Whose life, to its cold circle charmed, 
The earth's whole summers have not warmed ; 
Which always — whitherso the stone 
Be flung — sits there, deaf, blind, alone;— 
Aye, and shall not be driven out, 
Till that which shuts him round about 
Break at the very Master's stroke, 
And the dust thereof vanish as smoke. 
And the seed of man vanish as dust: — 
Even 80 within this world is Lust.' 

1882. RossettVs Poems. 333 

But the night wears on, and the sights and sounds of honest 
life begin to struggle into the London streets, and the sparrows 
chirp — 

' And Jenny's cage-bird, grown awake, 

Here in their song his part must take, 

Because here too the day doth break.' 

Another very fine passage follows this, picturing the dreams 
and ambitions of the fallen woman ; but we must leave this, 
and only return in conclusion to one sentence, where, after a 
hopeless ejaculation — 

* What has man done here ? How atone, 
Great God, for this which man has done ? ' — 

he adds : — 

' If but a woman's heart might see 
Such erring heart unerringly 
For once ! But that can never be.' 

Yet perhaps the poet may have contributed to render such 
an impossibility less impossible ; for, say what we will of the 
painful nature of the subject, the poem is not one from which 
any truly womanly woman, who loves her sex, should turn 

It is with a sense of absolute bewilderment that we turn 
from this poem to the set of Sonnets entitled the ' House of 
' Life,' some of Avhich were published in the earlier volume, 
and which appear complete in the later one. We charitably 
hope that we may take it as one proof of the affected s^nd unreal 
character of much of Mr. Rossetti's poetry, that the same 
poet who could treat the subject of woman in her utmost 
degradation in so high a strain, should treat the subject of 
conjugal love so as to lower it more than we remember to have 
seen it lowered in any serious poetry before ; should substitute 
for true affection the languors of sickly and unwholesome 
passion, expressed in language which, however overlaid with 
farfetched and fantastic metaphor, comes at times little short of 
absolute pruriency. Let it be granted that the purest affec- 
tion is inextricably interblent Avith sexual passion, this is 
certainly not the phase of the matter which would be predomi- 
nant with high-minded men and women ; still less is it that 
which it is seemly or healthful to dwell upon in serious litera- 
ture, poetic or other. To quote Carlyle again : ' Thou shalt not 
* prate, even to thyself, about those " secrets known to all; ' " 
and though the author has had the sense to remove from the 
complete collection one exceedingly disagreeable sonnet, there 
is enough left to render the poems a much more unwelcome 

33 4 Jiossetti''s Foems. April, 

atldition to a domestic library than ' Don Juan,' in so far as this 
kind of brooding over the ideas suggested by sensuous passion 
is more enervating and unwholesome than that comic and half- 
contemptuous treatment of the subject which only raises a laugh. 
Recalling the recent dictum of our greatest critic and one of 
our most gifted poets, that poetry is essentially ' a criticism of 
' life ' (which, if we cannot accept it sans phrase, is certainly 
one of the most profound and suggestive things ever said about 
poetry), what a ' criticism of life ' is this, which represents the 
' House of Life ' as the scene only of a moaning, fawning, 
purposeless, unmanly passion I And unfortunately this tone is 
only significant of a good deal more that we meet with in con- 
temporary art and literature. In Mr. Rossetti's own paintings, 
in his women with staring soulless faces and great red lips \ in 
the sickly nymphs of the Grosvenor Gallery ; in the love scenes 
of some of Wagner's operas, where, as in ' Tristan und Isolde,' 
music is tortured to the expression of the most unbridled sexual 
passion — in all these we see signs of a tendency which plainly 
speaks of social unhealthiness and the decay (temporary at 
least) of the best ideal of manly and womanly feeling. We 
think of the tone in which woman has been spoken of in other 
stages of English life and literature — 

' I could not love thee, dear, so much, 
Loved I not honour more ; ' 

of Wordsworth's 

' Perfect woman, nobly planned, 
To warn, to comfort, and command ; ' 

of the fine and elevated tone of some of the more serious 
poems addressed to women by Byron ; of the noble figure of 
Adriana in ' Philip van Artevelde ; ' of Tennyson's picture 
of Maud seated under a cedar tree, ' singing of death and of 
' honour that cannot die ; ' and we feel that something rotten 
in the state is to be argued from the prevalence of a tendency 
in art and literature to pay to woman a species of homage 
which hardly deserves a higher title than aesthetic caterwauling. 
From a purely literary point of view, these sonnets present 
a curious phenomenon. They are prefaced with a fantastically 
expressed sonnet in praise of the sonnet, for which it is claimed, 
in one good line, that it should be 

' Of its own arduous fulness reverent.' 

The expression conveys well the idea of the concentrated 
meaning and clearness, though terseness, of power and style 
which should characterise this refined and intellectual form of 

1882. Rossetti's Poems. 335 

poetic expression. But the majority of the sonnets which 
follow seem characterised rather by an arduous emptiness — 
arduous certainly to the reader, if not to the writer. There 
are a few which exhibit a comparative clearnerss of expression 
and continuity of thought and metaphor, and which, if standing 
alone, could be accepted as the adequate poetic expression of 
a moment of impassioned fervour or of curiously elaborated 
fancy. The sonnet called in the first volume • Love's Re- 
'demption,' for example, which, when taken apart from the 
rest, is capable of a less sensuous interpretation, struck us, in 
its first form, as a fine utterance of passionate rapture, based 
upon an unusual and effective metaphor ; in the second edition 
it is spoiled by the excision of the \Qry metaphor which gave 
to the poem its peculiar solemnity of turn and association. '"The 
' Monochord,' described in the first volume as * written during 
' music,' Avas one which, in spite of some obscure and awkward 
lines, presented a fine expression of the efi'ect of music on 
the mind, one remarkable line of Avhich has been before quoted 
in these pages as conveying Avhat many must have felt in lis- 
tening to some of Beethoven's symphonies, and which we have 
never seen expressed in poetry before. By a strange perversity 
this sonnet also has been in the second edition deprived of its 
direct reference to music by an alteration of the first line, and 
reduced to that cloudy vagueness of meanhig which it seems 
the object of the poet in these sonnets to attain. One vigorous 
and manly sonnet in the first volume, ' On Refusal of Aid 
' between Nations,' is noticeable as breathing quite a different 
tone, and representing a much clearer literary style than the 
rest ; and there is a fine thought, powerfully expressed, in the 
conclusion of the one entitled 'Known in Vain.' But, in spite 
of a good deal of mere musical beauty of language and verse 
in many of the sonnets, we turn over most of them Avith an 
increasing sense of their intellectual barrenness and weak- 
ness, of the preponderance of mere sound over meaning, the 
prevalence of an elaborate and cloying mannerism of words 
and metaphors, which seems not so much the expression of ful- 
ness of thought as the arrangement of elaborate drapery to hide 
the tenuity of the meaning. The constant iteration of certain 
words and phrases increases the impression of affectation Avhich 
these poems convey. The word ' control ' (as a substantive) 
seems to have a peculiar charm ; there is some special meanino- 
in the phrase ' soul-sequestered face ; ' the words ' fain ' and 
' even ' — 

' Even in my place he weeps. Even I, not he,' &c., &c., — 

336 liossetti''s Poems. April, 

are repeated (id nauseam. These latter expressions are a 
well-known trick with lesser poets of the intense school, and 
have been the subject of some well-timed gibeg in ' Punch.' 
There are versifiers who are obviously created for nothing 
better than to vent this kind of pribble-prabble. Mr. Rossetti, 
if he did justice to the capacities which he has shown in some 
other poems, might well regard such niaiseries as beneath him. 
It is only just to say that, on the other hand, we constantly 
meet with lines of much vivid picturesqueness and suggestive- 
_ness, such as remain in the memory :■ — 

* And see the gold air and the silver fade, 
And the last bird fly. into the last light.' 

' Sleepless Avith cold commemorative eyes.' 

' Visions of golden futures ; or that last 
Wild pageant of the accumulated past, 
That clangs and flashes for a drowning man.' 

But fine lines and metaphors do not in themselves make fine 
poetry, any more than carved stones make architecture. Perhaps 
we ought not to forget, either, in reference to our complaint 
about the sensuous ideal of love expressed here, that there is 
just a passing recognition of something higher in a sonnet where, 
after a passage in which the poet puts himself in the supremely 
ludicrous and indelicate position of a spectator of the most 
sacred privacies of wedded life, he adds : — 

' Ah ! who shall say she deems not loveliest 
The hour of sisterly sweet hand in hand ? ' 

We thank the poet 'even' (as he would say) for that sug- 

As we have before hinted, comparing the tone and style of 
these ' House of Life ' sonnets with that of some of the other 
poems, we are disposed to regard them as the product of an 
affectation of mental attitude and literary style, not repre- 
senting the best side of the author's mind or the best possi- 
bilities of his poetic utterance. Whatever chance Mr. Rossetti 
may have of producing poetry which Avill be permanently 
enrolled in the literature of this country appears to us to de- 
pend very much on how far he may be able to shake off this 
artificial and morbid phase of thought and style, and develop 
the liigher powers of genuine pathos and sincerity of purpose, 
and of a robust and healthy English style, of which some 
portions of his poems certainl}- show very striking examples. 
At present we should very much hesitate to affirm that any 
of the poetry in these two volumes has sufficient innate vitality 
to survive the inevitable changes in taste which soon put out 

1882. Rossetti's Poems. 337 

of date all poetry which is based on a mere temporary fashion 
of feeling and expression, and not on those deep-seated feelings 
which are common to human nature under all its varying social 
and intellectual phases. The two among the longer poems 
which deal most successfully with these more permanent sub- 
jects of human interest are nevertheless somewhat heavily 
weighted by defects of artistic form and consistency and literary 
finish, defects which always tell against the vitality of poetry 
sooner or later. The highest finish is reaHsed in the works 
the interest of which Ave believe, from other causes, can only 
be temporary. We must except, however, from this judgment 
some of the smaller reflective and lyrical pieces ; among the 
former ' A Young Firwood ' and ' The Wood Spurge,' among 
the latter such as ' A New Year s Burden ' and two or three 
of the other poems that are classed as ' songs ' in the first 
volume. By way of giving a pleasant turn to the close of our 
remarks, we may quote one of these, ' First Love remem- 
' bered,' which in purity of thought and expression seems to 
us nearly perfect : — 

' Peace in lier chamber, wheresoe'er 
It be, a holy place : 
The thought still brings my soul such grace 
As morning meadows wear. 

' Whether it still be small and light, 
A maid's who dreams alone, 
As from her orchard gate the moon 
Its ceiling showed at night ; 

' Or whether, in a shadow dense 
As nuptial hymns invoke. 
Innocent maidenhood awoke 
To married innocence : 

' There still the thanks unheard await 
The unconscious gift bequeathed ; 
For there my soul this hour has breathed 
An air inviolate.' 

38 The Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

AliT. Tir. — CuIftDv/eschichte des Orients unter den Khalifen. 
Von A. VON Kkemer. Zwci Biinde. Wien: 1875. 

* r\^ Monday, the 8th of June, 632 a.d., between the hours 

' of two and tliree in the afternoon, there was a busy move- 

* ment in the square before the chief mosque at Medina. The 
' serious faces and pious ejaculations of the men, the wails of 
' woe, now plaintive, now rising to despairing cries, of the 
' women, who were in the huts nearest to the mosque, showed 
' that some great and mournful event was anticipated. An 
' hour had passed, when, from the summit of a platform of inter- 
' woven palms covered with mud, a powerful musical voice 
' gave forth the call to midday prayer. At that moment a 
' man of some sixty years, Avhose long sharply cut profile 
' showed his pure Arab descent, appeared at the door of the 

' neighbouring dwelling-house. He was of fair complexion, 
' spare figure, and prominent features. His beard, according 
' to Arab custom, was dyed bright red to conceal his grey hairs, 
' and the brow projecting from under the turban gave evidence 
'of no ordinary intelligence. The man's Avhole appearance, 
' however, was prematurely aged. His walk was halting, and 
'his back was bent. He w^as dressed in a white sheepskin 
' picturesquely thrown over the shoulder as a toga, Avhile his 
' hands were left free. Under this garment he wore a close- 
' fitting tunic of camel hair reaching to the kn^es. It was Abu 
' Bekr, the father-in-law of Mohammed. He saluted all with 

* the customary words, " Greetings to ye all." To which all 
' present replied in the usual formula, " May the greeting of 
' " God be unto thee and His blessings ! " The Prophet lay 
' grievously ill within his house, a series of mud huts on one 
*side of the square. Aisha was tending him — Aisha, his 
'passionate youthful wife, then barely in her eighteenth 
' summer, in all the glow of youth, her dark eyes flashing fire, 
' her slim figure coquettishly half concealed in gauzy muslin, 
' her small feet peeping out from the loose red trousers. The 
' Prophet was reclining on a couch of palm boughs, his head 
' on the lap of Aisha, while she fanned his heated brow, and 
' endeavoured to calm his fevered fancy. 

' There lay the man who within a period of a few years had 
' established a new religion, had conquered Mecca, and rendered 
' all Arabia obedient to his Avord. He was battling helplessly 

* against the raging fever. His nervous organisation, meagre 

* diet, night watches, and harem excesses had worn out the 
' feeble body. His strength was sinking, wearier and deeper 

1«82. The Empire of the dialifs. 339 

*came his breath. Aisha murmured a prayer, " O God, 

* " Refuge of man, drive away this evil. Thou art the Healer, 
■* " Thou alone canst cure. Disease must yield to Thy healing 
*** power." She prayed, and clung to the Pi'ophet's hand. 

* She felt the hand weigh heavier and heavier. Suddenly she 

* ceased her appeal to God, and her arms fell motionless by 

* her side. The Prophet had passed away.' 

The dramatic story of the death of Mohammed, of which the 
above is a summary, opens a work full of interest to those who 
would gain some knowledge of the mode of government and 
state of society under the Chalifs of the first two dynasties. 
Herr von Kremer, whose knowledge, industry, and research 
have enabled him to consult all that has been preserved to us 
«f the Arabic chronicles, as well as later authorities, has 
succeeded in presenting a vivid and accurate picture of the 
social life of the Arabs. In reading his two volumes we are 
surrounded with actual realities, with living men, dining and 
carousing witli them, listening to the gossip in the bazaar, wit- 
nessing the jousts and races, serenading the beauties of the 
Chalifs palace, whispering love in the shady gardens of Damas- 
cus, assisting at grave debates, attending the solemn ceremonies 
at Mecca ; we are in the law court, academy, and mosque, in 
the palace, laboratory, and library ; before us passes a living 
panorama of four centuries, headed by the great Prophet, the 
inspired one, with his few faithful followers in the burning 
desert, followed by the simple, stern Omar the lawgiver, by 
Moawija the conqueror, by chieftains and poets, by hermits 
and grave doctors, and closed by the luxurious voluptuary, 
the Chalif of Bagdad, the last of the Abbasides. Religion and 
law and finances, the military and civil administration, com- 
merce, literature, and art, are all treated Avith fulness of detail, 
precision of language, and acute and scholarly ci-iticism. AVithin 
the limits of a review it is difficult, if not impossible, to render 
justice to so vast a subject, on which, it is true, much has been 
written, but which is considered by Herr von Kremer in an 
entirely fresh and original manner. 

To Omar, the second of the Chalifs, is due the praise of 
having first organised into a state the unruly tribes of Arabia. 

* He may be regarded as the founder of all thoce institutions 

* which raised the Chalifate to a ruling power in the Avorld 

* for centuries.' Before we pass on to later times it is neces- 
sary to glance at the measures taken by this remarkable man 
to give stability and compactness to the loose and hetero- 
geneous elements of which the Arab race was composed. 
Mohammed, humanly considei'ed, was a fervent religious 


340 Tke Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

entlnislast ; Omar Avas the cool-headed statesman, of the hard, 
stern monld of a Scotch Puritan. He kept two objects steadily 
in view, the extension of Islamism and the assertion over other 
people of the Arab race in all its purity. Although he was 
most successful in carrying out his policy in respect to the first 
point, still the means he employed were not peculiar to himself. 
It was generally at the point of the sword that the Koran was 
accepted. With regard, however, to the second object, Omar 
enacted certain measures which bear the impress of the cha- 
racter of the man who initiated them. The religious bond in 
early days, beyond the limits of the Prophet's immediate 
followers, was "not a strong one in itself. It is extremely 
doubtful if the fervour which made martyrs of the early 
Christians filled the breasts of the sons of the desert to the 
same degree. The rapidity of the Arab conquests, the un- 
paralleled swiftness with which the Koran Avas borne from 
land to land and adopted by the subject races, the devotion of 
the conquerors to their cause, should not be unhesitatingly 
attributed to religious enthusiasm in its noblest sense. The 
Semitic love of plunder and riches, and the proud arrogance of 
an exclusive race, furnished motors as powerful as any spiritual 
incitement. The half-hearted and unwilling acceptance of the 
mission of Mohammed by many of the Arab tribes showed 
clearly that the truth of that mission had not sunk deeply into 
the hearts of men. Had it not been for the early military 
successes of Abu Bekr, Arabia would have thrown off its 
allegiance immediately after the death of the Prophet. The 
jealousies and rivalries of the several tribes and their constant 
feuds might at any moment rend asunder the somewhat Aveak 
bond of a common faith. Some stronger tie had to be found 
if the religion of the Prophet Avas to be spread amongst foreign 
nations. For this a firm union between the bearers of the Avord 
Avas necessary to ensure the success of the propaganda. It 
was essential to create in each Moslem a direct personal interest 
in the dissemination of his belief. Omar rightly judged that 
the most powerful instrument Avould be the prospect of satisfy- 
ing the aA'arice and greed of the Arabs. 

In the very early days of Islamism, Avhen the financial ad- 
ministration Avas of the simplest character, it had been the 
custom to divide the surplus revenue of the state amongst all 
the members of the Moslem community. It may be as Avell to 
give a short account of the sources of the rcA^enue, and Ave can- 
not take a better course than follow the narrative of Herr v^on 

' The Koran ordains, after inculcating the necessity of prayer, the 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 341 

levying of a tax (poor-tax) termed " zakali," Avhicli signifies purification ; 
and the Arabs explain that by the payment of that tax the faithful 
purified themselves and their property from all sin. In the Koi-an the 
order to pay the poor-tax follows immediately after that enforcing the 
necessity of prayer, " Offer up prayer and pay your legal alms," 
So much importance was given to this poor-tax that it was considered 
as much a distinctive mark of the pure Moslem as prayer itself. 
The riches of a man were chiefly estimated, as was but natural in 
those primitive times, by the number of camels and sheep he pos- 
sessed, and a proportionate duty was levied. This duty Avas paid in 
kind. Merchants were also liable to a certain tax, as is evident from 
the following order issued by Omar : " Take from the Moslem (mer- 
" chants) one dirham out of every forty dirhams, and write a receipt 
" for the year, but from the non-Moslem merchants take one dirham A 
" out of every twenty." ^ 

' The revenue arising from the poor-tax was devoted to the following ^ 
purposes: — 1. The equipment of troops for war against the unbe- pi* 
lievers. 2. The payment of the officials (Amil) who were entrusted . 

with the collection of the tax, 3. The support and maintenance of q 
destitute Moslems. It must be remembered that the two noble Ko- 
raishite families, the Mottalibids and the Hashimids, the nearest relations 
of the Prophet, were expressly excluded from receiving any moneys 
from the poor-tax, as they were subsidised from the treasury chest. 
By degrees the absolute disposal of the poor- tax and of the other 
revenues of the State came into the hands of the Chalif. The taxes 
which the subjected people of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia 
had to pay were twofold : 1. The poll-tax {gizja, tributum capitis) ; 
and 2. The land-tax (c^ara^, tribiitum soli). The poll-tax Avas divided 
into three classes. In Egypt and Syria, Avhere there existed a gold 
currency, the standard being the Eoman solidus, the rich man paid 
four dynars yearly, the middle classes two dynars, and the poor 
classes one dynar. In Mesopotamia, Eastern Arabia, and Persia, 
where there Avas a silver currency, and the standard was the Sassanid 
dirham, forty dirham were paid as poll-tax by the rich. Beyond these 
taxes the conquered races had to furnish the troops with certain con- 
tributions in kind. A very productive source of revenue Avas the 
booty captured in Avar, of Avhich a fifth part was set aside for the State.' 

In the time of Omar's predecessor the donations from the 
surplus revenue had been limited to the inhabitants of the two 
holy cities, and possibly to the tribes in alliance with them ; 
but the distribution was soon extended to all Moslems. 
The revenues even in Omar's time amounted to such large 
sums that both the Chalif and his counsellors were at some loss 
how to apportion them amongst the faithful. The difficulty 
was surmounted bj^ a census being taken, according to tribes 
. and families, and a fixed yearly sum was paid to each tribe. 
These donations Avere of no insigaificant amount, as a member 
of even the loAvest class received an annual stipend of 1,000 

342 The Empire of tlie ChaUfs. April, 

dlrlmms (about forty ])Ounds sterlinnr). In distributing these 
donations Omar strictly followed the precept of Mohamuied 
that all jAIoslenis are brothers, as he made no distinction 
between pure Arabs (-smj/i), half-blood Arabs {hahjf), and 
clients. All Moslems without exception received the share to 
which they were entitled. The subject races -were forced to 
sow and labour ; to the Moslem was reserved the privilege of 
reaping. His only duty was the noble profession of arms. The 
non-Moslem paid poll and land taxes, and had further to furnish 
contributions in kind. The Moslem, It Is true, had to submit 
to a poor-tax of two and a half per cent, and to a land tax of 
ten per cent. ; but he received from the State, on the other 
hand, his share of the four-fifths of the war booty, and fixed 
yearly donations in addition. As the number of the faithful 
increased, and as the exigencies both of the State and of the 
Court demanded larger resources, the liberality shown towards 
the Moslems had gradually to be restricted, and some distinc- 
tion In later times had to be made between the more recent 
converts and those who were born believers in the faith. 
The community eventually w^as classed under three categories : 
1. Moslems ; 2. Converts ; and 3. Tolerated unbelievers. Theo- 
retically no distinction existed between the first tw^o categox'ies, 
but owing to the condition of the finances it was found impos- 
sible to carry the principle into practice. It may be said 
generally that the converts paid the land and poll taxes, while 
the Moslem only paid the tithes. 

Down to the period of the later Challfs of the Omeiyade 
dynasty the Arabs of pure descent Avere alone considered as 
forming a stable and reliable element in the State. The policy 
of the early Challfs was to preserve the Arabs as a ruling and 
a warrior caste, distinctly separate and excluded from foreign 
admixture. Polygamy was adopted as a means to assist the 
rapid increase of the race. With the view of maintaining the 
Arab race as pure as possible, Omar promulgated sevei'al laws. 
He issued a decree which prohibited all Arabs, beyond the 
boundaries of Arabia, from acquiring property or pursuing 
agriculture in the conquered countries. It is evident that 
this law could not be strictly followed ; and, although Omar 
punished the smallest Infraction of It with the greatest severity, 
its observance, even in his day, was neither general nor exact. 

Another measure of Omar, and one for which he has been 
much blamed by later historians, Avas his expulsion of the Jews 
|<"fl Christians from certain districts of Arabia. Nothing can 
justify such arbitrary steps, though they were taken with the 
view of preserving Arabia as the bulwark of Islamism. He 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 343 

considered that there was but one race which should rule, and 
that race was the Arabian. No Arab could be a slave ; he could 
neither be made a slave by purchase nor by the misfortunes of 
war. The Arabs were not to learn or speak foreign tongues, 
and the Christians were not to be permitted to read Arabic or 
write in the Arabic character. All these measures show that 
Omar endeavoured to render the distinction between the Arabs 
and other races as wide and as permanent as possible. In the 
case of a race of conquerors coming into perpetual contact with 
many different peoples, it Avas, however, in fact impossible to 
maintain such ethnical barriers. The example of the Jews 
may have been present to the mind of Omar, but the conditions 
of the two cases were essentially different. 

In his private life Omar remained true to the patriarchal 
habits of the simple old Arabs. An eye-witness relates the 
following anecdote : — 

* On a very hot summer's day I was with Osman at an estate which 
the latter possessed near Medina. In the distance we saw a man 
approaching, driving before him two camel foals. Tlie heat was so 
great that the ground Avas baked dry. We were astonished that any- 
one should venture out on such a day. When the man came near, we 
saw to our surprise that he was the Chalif Omar. Osman stood up, 
and put his head outside the shady place under which we were resting, 
but drew it quickly in again, as the burning wind was insupportable. 
When Omar came up to us, Osman asked him why he had ventured 
out into the open in such a heat. Omar answered that the foals be- 
longed to a number of animals which had arrived in payment of taxes, 
and that he wished to drive them himself to the State meadow so that 
they should not run away and escape.' 

Omar was mortally wounded in the year 644 a.d. by a 
Persian slave during prayer in the mosque. Death, however, 
did not ensue immediately, and he Avas able to effect his last 
arrangements in full possession of his faculties. From the date 
of his conversion to Islamism he had been the wise and trusted 
counsellor of the Prophet. As Dr. Weil in his ' Geschichte der 

* Chalifen ' observes, ' Islamism is indebted to him for most of 
' the energetic measures of those days — measures which the more 

* timid Mohammed and Abu Bekr would never have taken with- 
' out his assistance.' The steps taken after his decease with regard 
to the appointment of a successor are significant and important. 
He appointed a Council of Regency composed of the most 
influential companions of the Prophet, to whom he added his 
own son Abdalrahman, on the express condition, however, that 
the latter should not put himself forward as a candidate. This 
council was to come to an agreement as to a successor, and 
submit their choice for ratification by the people. The Arabs 

344 Thr Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

diflfercHl widely from other Asiatics on this point. The idea of 
an hereditary monarchy Avas entirely foreign to them. They 
considered that the Chalifs should be elected in precisely the 
same maimer as they had previously chosen their chiefs — that 
is, by i)opular acclamation. In early times this mode was 
adopted, and the new Chalif received the homage of the people 
by the primitive ceremony of handshaking. This had been 
the form observed at the election of Abu Bekr. 

* The ideas and customs inherited from ancient times had merely 
been followed. The Arab tribes before the time of Mohammed had 
observed a similar procedure in the election of their chiefs and leaders. 
It was owing, however, to the fact that no rule had been established 
that an endless series of succession disputes hereafter ensued. There 
was a continual conflict between the theory of an election o£ the 
prince by the people, and the law of succession according to seniority, 
by which the eldest member of the ruling family was considered as 
entitled to the throne.' 

In the case of Omar's successor the Council, after much 
wrangling, selected Osman, son-in-laAv of the Prophet. Here 
the principle of seniority no doubt induced Aly to surrender 
his claims as the nearest relative of the Prophet. Omar him- 
self had observed the tradition of his race by expressly exclud- 
ing his son from the candidature. 

With Osman a new party came into power, the old patrician 
party of Mecca, which had only very recently acknowledged 
the Prophet and adopted Islamism, and which was bitterly hated 
by the austere puritans of Medina. Osman, by several im- 
prudent acts, roused the jealousy and fears of the Medina 
party, and the feeling against him became at length so bitter 
that a conspiracy was organised, and the venerable Chalif 

' Aly was called by the large majority to the Chalifate immediately 
after the assassination of Osman. At first he resisted the choice ; but 
the multitude listened not and forced him to stretch out his hand to 
receive the salutation Avhich signified the approval of the election. 
The malcontents proceeded to excite a movement against the new 
Chalif, whom they accused of participation in the murder of Osman. 
The situation was rendered extremely critical owing to Mouwija, the 
Governor of Syria, joining the movement, and, under the pretext of 
avenging the death of Osman, throwing off his allegiance to the 
Government at Medina and declaring the election of Aly to be null 
and void. In the sanguinary conflict which ensued Moawija proved 
the victor, and Aly fell by the hand of an assassin. His son Hassan 
was elected by his adherents as Chalif This feeble and timid ruler 
soon retired from the throne, and handed over the reins of government 
to Moawija. The Chalifate was thus once more in the undisputed 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 345 

possession of one man. The capital, however, was no longer Medina, 
but Damascus. The patriarchal Chalifate terminates -with this revolu- 
tion, and Ave enter into the second period, during which the aristocracy 
of Mecca governed the vast empire. On the fall of the Omeiyade 
dynasty the seat of government Avas transferred from Damascus to 
Bagdad, and thus ended the pure Arabian period of the Chalifate. The 
Chalifate in its last stage became more and more affected by foreign 
and especially by Persian influences, till the invading Mongol tinally 
closed this period.' 

The above remarks and quotation from Herr von Kremer's 
work have been made in order to draAV attention to the manner 
in Avliich the monarchical idea Avas interpreted by the Arabs. 
The union of spiritual and temporal functions Avas considered 

' To the pure Semitic mind of the Arabs government and religion 
Avere identic conceptions. The Arabs employed the same term (imam) 
to express " sovereign " or " head of the State," as Avas originally 
used when speaking of the leader of the prayer at the public religious 
services in the mo>^que. Sovereignty had been hitherto unknown to 
the North Arab tribes, and, Avhen adopted, could not be disconnected 
from the religious idea. They could not conceive a j^rince Avho Avas 
not invested Avith the highest priestly powers. The Arab State ap- 
peared to be a revival of the old Hebrew theocracy. Otherwise it is 
impossible to understand how personal government and the monai"- 
chical principle could have developed and taken root among a people 
so unruly and so averse to restraint. Stern necessity formed out of 
the scattered elements of the North- Arab tribes a community whose 
intersocial relations were so governed by a system of strict discipline 
as to present to the Avorld a united and compact State. The monarchy 
was, therefore, a necessary condition to the preservation of the neAvly- 
born Islamic commonwealth Avliich was involved in perpetual conflicts 
with the neighbouring States. It is well Avorthy of remark that those 
Arab thinkers Avho have made philosophical enquiries into the origin 
of the monarchy have all candidly admitted it to be an institution 
necessary to the maintenance of good order. They do not hesitate to 
declare that an imjust and violent monarchy is better than unbridled 
liberty, since an " unjust monarchy for forty years is to be preferred 
" to one hour of anarchy." ' 

There Avas a Avide diflference between the Arabic and Hebrew 
conceptions of the monarchy. The former took as a basis the 
free election by the people, Avhile the latter considered legiti- 
mate succession and divine sanction as essential elements in 
the recognition of a sovereio;n. The careless rulers of the 
Omeiyade and Abbaside dynasties paid but little regard to 
their religious duties as Chalifs, and were content to govern as 
purely temporal sovereigns, until the rapid decrease of their 
power induced them to lay more stress on their spiritual claims 

346 Tlu' Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

as heads of Islam, and to endeavour thereby to reclaim a posi- 
tion to Avhich their actual influence did not entitle them. 

The Chalifs spiritual functions were not very arduous. In 
the earlv days the Chalif had to preside at the prayers five 
times daily in the mosque, and also to preach on Fridays. On 
such occasions he appeared dressed in white, wearing a white 
tunic and a peaked cap. This colour was changed to black 
under the Abbasides. The only insignia of dignity that he 
bore were the signet ring and the staff. In later times, how- 
ever, the Chalifs appointed representatives for these religious 
duties, and it is reported that on one occasion a Chalif of the 
Omeiyade dynasty caused his mistress to ofhciate in his place. 

Under the favouring auspices of Osman, the third Chalif, 
the Mecca patricians acquired riches and prosperity, and 
rapidlv monopolised all the lucrative and important posts. 
Wealth flowed into the holy city as country after country 
became subject to the conquering Moslem, and the pleasure- 
seeking voluptuous manner of living w^hicli the nobles of Mecca 
generally adopted found imitators even in Medina itself. 
Music, and song, and dance replaced the old simple customs 
in spite of the thunders of the fanatics. At banquets and 
festivals the guests, clad in bright red, green, or yellow gar- 
ments, reposed on couches strewn with sweet-smelling herbs and 
flowers. Musk, aloe branches, and other scents burned in gold 
and silver vases, and charmed the senses of the guests with 
their heavy perfumes. Goblets of precious metal or of crystal 
passed from hand to hand, while female singers warbled their 
most touching ditties. The relations with the female sex 
relaxed from the severity Avhicli Islamism desired to introduce, 
and which it eventually succeeded in imposing. The young 
bloods of Mecca pursued their bold courtships without shame 
in the holy city, and even in the temple itself. As in 
Europe of the Middle Ages, in the joyous times of the Trouba- 
dours, so in Arabia woman was Avorshipped and courted with a 
true chivalrous gallantry. In later ages Islamism sternly 
thrust this frivolity from it, when society was perturbed by 
fanatical priests, Ulemas, and the inspired hypocrites of the 
mystical school. A change indeed, and within so short a period, 
from the days when Abu Bekr employed his leisure hours in 
cutlery, and Omar, declining a tent, slept under a bush with his 
mantle as a covering ! 

' A busy, pleasure-seeking activity distinguished the higher classes 
of the holy city. A barbaric luxury existed in company with a high 
refinement of social etiquette and manners. Facilities for social 
meetings were provided, and a rich patrician established a gambling- 

18S2. Tlie Emjnre of the Chahfs. 347 

house, a kind of club, where chess and draughts were played ; books 
also were furnished for those who wished to read. At a very early 
date an ordinary was opened at Medina.' 

Two of the poets . of the day, Omar Ibii Aby Raby'a and 
Argy, who were not behind their contemporaries in dissipation, 
have left behind them many a song illustrating the gay and 
careless life of the time. Courtships, love adventures, wine 
songs, and epigrams abound in the collection of which Herr von 
Kremer gives a discreet and judicious selection. We see in them 
the forerunners of the minstrels of Damascus and Bagdad, of 
Cordova and Grenada, of Guienne and Provence. It was not 
until the middle of the first century of the Mussulman era that 
an Arab school for singing was established at jNIecca, and some- 
what later at Medina. Towais is the first who is mentioned 
as having sung in Arabic and with the accompaniment of the 
tambourine. The principal musical instruments in vogue at 
that time were the small drum (doff), the tambourine {tanbur\ 
the shawm {nai), the lute {'ud), &c. Formerly the Arabs had 
merely known a kind of montonous recitative, and the intro- 
duction from Persia of an harmonious unison of voice and 
instrument was a great novelty. 

The more serious saw the dangers likely to arise from the 
softening and enervating influences of such a mode of life as 
that above described, and the fanatical party, exaggerating these 
fears, cried out vehemently for the prohibition of all singing 
and the destruction of all musical instruments. Laws were 
even enacted to this purpose, but, as is always the case when 
the impossible is demanded, they existed only to be ignored. 
Indeed, as a bitter irony, it was from Mecca and Medina that 
the Court at Damascus procured the best singers. The danger, 
however, in the early days was really grave, as beyond the 
dissertations on the Koi'an, with which few of the rich occupied 
themselves, the youth of the towns had no serious studies. They 
were, therefore, impelled on a very dangerous incline. 

We have hastily glanced at the softer side of Arab life be- 
fore the removal of the seat of government to Damascus ; it 
may perhaps not be out of place now to give a short account of 
the military organisation of the early Moslems. The troop& 
were not divided into regiments or legions, but according to^ 
tribes, and were composed of two arms, infantry and cavalry. 

The weapons of the infantry were the bow and the sling, the 
pike and the sword, and the chief arm of the cavalry was a 
lance of ten ells in length. The infantry carried as defensive- 
arms large wooden shields covered with leather or metal guards 
{tars), or small round targets {cjahfak or darakah). The troops 

348 Tkc Empire of the Cluilifc. April, 

wore helmets partly of leather and ])artly of inetal, with a 
visor and small chain armour to cover the neck. The coats 
of mail were also of chain armour, but, at any rate in the eax-ly 
days, they were very rare owing to their high price. The 
army in the field was divided into a centre, two wings, ^vith 
advance and rear guards. The cavalry covered the wings, and 
the archers, a very important arm, formed a separate corps. 
Each tribe had its Hag, a piece of cloth tied on to the end of a 
lance, while the large black standard of the Prophet formed the 
centi-e rallying point. This standard was termed ' *Okab,' the 
Eagle, from the effigy of this bird which surmounted the pole 
of tlie flag, in imitation of the standards of the Roman legions. 
It is needless to remark that what is at present called the flag 
of the Prophet is the green curtain which formed the door to 
his tent. 

After the Arabs had met Avith the Greeks and Persians they 
quickly adopted many of the improvements they found in the 
armies of these two nations, and organised their troops on the 
Byzantine model. The Arabs, however, had one surpassing 
advantage over all troops of that and of many subsequent 
periods, which was of more value to them than their abstinence, 
endurance, and rapidity of movement. This advantage consisted 
in the stern discipline which Avas maintained. Otherwise their 
extraordinary conquests with limited numbers could never have 
been accomplished. 

' Omar and Osnian punished offenders by causing them to be placed 
in the pillory and their turbans to be torn off. At first these 
humiliating punishments were deemed to be sufficient; but it Avas 
gradually Ibund necessary to increase their severity. Mosab added to 
the above punishments the indignity of shaving tlie head and chin of 
the offender. Bishr Ibn Marwan pushed matters a little further, and 
nailed the hands of the prisoner to a post, Avhile Haggag, the energetic 
Governor of Irak under Abdalmalik, simplified the degrees of punish- 
ment by decapitating all offenders.' 

The battles between the Arabs themselves usually commenced 
by a series of duels between several of the most important men 
on either side. These would step out of the ranks, sing a de- 
fiant song, call out their names and lineages, and challenge any 
adversary of equal birth to single combat. After a series of 
duels the respective armies became excited against each other, 
and a general attack Avas then made Avhich ended in a melee. 
The cavalry never charged in a compact body, but in loose 
order, and retreated as soon as they had made an attack. 

The Grecian and Persian armies Avere very uuAvieldy in their 
movements, and Avhen once their ranks Avere broken they could 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 349 

no longer stand their ground, and lost as n)any men by the 
confusion that followed as fell by the sword of the enemy. It 
is stated that the Persians occasionally endeavoured to give 
some firmness to their ranks by binding the men together with 
chains. The consequences of a defeat in these circumstances 
can easily be imagined. 

The Arabs followed the example of the Romans, and esta- 
blished fixed camps in the conquered provinces. These camps 
in many instances grew into large towns, and soon lost their 
original character. Under the Omeiyade dynasty further im- 
provements and reforms Avere made in the military system, and 
the Arabs adopted from the Persians the Greek plan, borrowed 
from the well-known practice of Csesar, of making a fortified 
camp at the end of every daily march. Great attention was 
further paid to the war machines and transport service. For 
the latter purpose camels Avere almost exclusively employed, as 
best adapted to the nature of the country. The troops were 
regularly paid, and their share in the booty proved an additional 
incentive to the soldiers to remain under the standards. The 
pay of the troops under the Omeiyades was liberal, amounting 
to fifty or sixty francs a month to each soldier. The standing 
army in those days was composed of sixty thousand men, costing 
the country about sixty millions of francs annually. During 
the Abbaside period the organisation of the army underwent 
considerable changes, both in its number and composition. 
With the necessity of defending and pacifying the vast empire 
the army had to be largely increased, and the system of re- 
cruiting had to be placed on a less exclusive basis. The new 
converts were freely admitted ; and, as the Persian influence 
acquired the preponderance, men of all races served under the 
banner of the Chalif. The Turks Avere organised into a corps 
of prastorian guards, and soon followed the example of their 
prototypes under the Roman empei'ors. 

The Chalifs of the Omeiyade dynasty were the first who 
undertook maritime expeditions, and they employed for this 
purpose the skilful sailors on the Syrian coast. With the 
conquest of Egypt and other countries on the shores of the 
Mediterranean, a large navy was rapidly developed, which soon 
became the terror of peaceful merchants and of the inhabitants 
of the adjacent sea coasts. It is clear that the Moslems effected 
considerable improvements in naval tactics and equipment from 
the Arabic terms Avhich still exist in nautical vocabularies, such 
as admiral, cable, arsenal, corvette, &c. 

Notwithstanding the religious enthusiasm, which, as we re- 
marked above, was perhaps not so deep and general in the 

350 The Empire of the Chalifs, April, 

oarlv (lays as is usually believed, and notwithstanding the 
brilliant and rapid victories which carried the Prophet's banner 
to the Euplu-atcs and Guadalquivir, the Mussulman State could 
not have developed such strength and consistency, nay could 
not even have existed, had not the civil, financial, and judicial 
administration been established on a firm basis. Much that 
concerned the above branches of government was no doubt 
borrowed from the Greeks and the Persians ; but the Arabs 
were a race of far too great originality, the circumstances of 
their position, habits, and religion were of far too peculiar and 
special a character, to permit their system of government, their 
financial administration, and their laws to be but a copy of 
Avhat they found existing in neighbouring countries and among 
the nations whom they conquered. 

The subject is too vast for us to endeavour to enter upon 
it within the limits at our disposal ; we can give but a bare 
outline of the mode in which the numerous and distant pro- 
vinces were governed during the periods of the Arab dynasties. 
Herr von Kremer has gone most thoroughly into the subject, 
and his cha])ters on the financial and legal administration of 
the Arabs furnish a variety of details which are well worthy 
of the most attentive perusal. There is one great fact to be 
borne in mind, which has especial force in considering the 
affairs of the Ottoman Empire of the present day, and that 
is that the whole system of the government during the period 
Avith which we are now concerned was based on the principle of 
decentralisation. To-day the exact opposite is the case. Each 
village and each town governed itself, and the central autho- 
rity did not interfere unless disturbances took place, or the 
taxes were not paid. Each province had its separate treasury, 
and the provincial expenditure was first met before the surplus 
was remitted to the central government. At the commence- 
ment of the Omeiyade dynasty the Empire was divided into 
ten provinces, and as the list shows the extent of the Moslem 
rule, it may not be out of place to enumerate them. The 
provinces were as follows: — 1. Syria; 2. Kufa with Irak 
3. Bassorahwith Persia; 4. Armenia; 5. Mecca; 6. Medina 

7. The frontier of Jndia (Kerman, Scinde, Kabul, &c.) , 

8. Africa; 9. Egypt; 10. South Arabia. Over each province 
was a governor, appointed by the Chalif, and removeable at his 
will ; but it is easy to understand that the authority of the 
central government over powerful governors of distant pro- 
vinces became gradually weakened, and the subserviency of 
these satraps became in many instances merely nominal. In 
fact, at the date of the Crusades, the political situation of the 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 351 

East resembled in some particulars that of the West. In each 
case there is a number of independent princes acknowledgino- 
one spiritual head, the Eastern Chalif or the Western Pope. 
Before, however, the relation between the provinces and the 
centre had become of this loose nature, the authority of the 
Chalif was of a sensible kind, and was not unfrequently exercised. 
Omar considered it extremely inexpedient that all powers, 
judicial, financial, and administrative, should be entrusted to 
one man, and he commenced the prudent course of separating 
these various functions and confiding them to distinct officials. 
His endeavours in this respect were not, however, very success- 
ful, and the efforts of his successors to separate the financial 
from the administrative duties met Avith considerable opposition. 
One governor frankly declared his objections to these reforms 
to lie in his fear that the Chalif desired to place him in the 
position of the person who held the horns of a cow while another 
milked her. There does not appear to have been the same 
difficulty Avith regard to the appointment of judges, and Omar 
insisted on the regular and liberal payment of these officials in 
order to ensure impartiality and a sense of duty. The finances 
gradually came into the hands of the Christians and Persians, 
when their administration became more complicated. Abd-al 
malik, fired with the desire to render the whole government 
thoroughly Arab, dismissed all those employes who were not of 
that race, but he found that it Avas necessary to reinstate them, 
as few Arabs were competent to deal with questions demanding 
a special education. The judges, it should be remarked, were 
named simply to settle differences between Mussulmans. The 
contemptuous indifference of the Moslem conqueror for the 
subject races allowed the latter to regulate their own affairs 
according to their own manner. 

We may tarry for a moment to say a few words with regard 
to the position of the Christian and other religious under the 
Arab domination. A special distinction had been made by 
Mohammed between the Christian and Jewish religions and 
those of other sects, such as the Manicha3ans, Zoroastrians, &c. 
To the former two creeds greater toleration was shoAvn than to 
the others, and it cannot be denied that, generally speaking, the 
condition of the two relatively favoured religions was not so 
hard as has occasionally been asserted. This statement should 
not be taken too literally, as the treatment of Christians, for 
instance, varied under different Chalifs and in different coun- 
tries. The Christian of the toAvn further enjoyed a better 
position in comparison with his co-religionist who tilled the 
field. The former was educated to a certain extent, and use- 

352 Thr Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

ful, nay even necessary in the more scientific branches of the 
(Tovernmcnt, -while the latter had to make good to the treasury 
the deficits caused by the special exemptions granted to tlie 
IMcslcm. Some Aveight has been attached to the fact that a 
distinctive dress had to be worn by the Christians, but this 
mark of diftcrence was not intended as a badge of inferiority 
merely, but as necessary to distinguish the several sects. In 
language and mode of life the Christian was in many places 
similar to his Moslem neighbour ; an outward and visible differ- 
ence Avas, therefore, considered essentially necessary. The in- 
tellectual activity of the Christians remained not without its 
influence, and to it the Moslems are indebted not only for 
their acquaintance with the philosophical literature of the 
Greeks, and for their instruction in medicine and the more 
subtle arts, but also many of the later divisions in Islamic 
thought may have derived their origin from similar movements 
in the Christian Church. The positions held by the Nestorian 
Catholics, and also by the * Prince of the Captivity ' at Bagdad, 
prove that the Moslem rulers were not Avanting in respect to 
the heads or representatives of those religions which they recog- 
nised as worthy of toleration. 

Herr von Kremer has, with just reason, been at considerable 
pains to describe the ritual and religious ceremonies in the 
mosques. The political, social, and religious duties of the 
Moslems were so interwoven, and indeed still are so, that it 
would be impossible to treat of them separately. CajDtaiu 
Burton has described in such detail the localities and the 
pilgrimage ceremonies that it is needless to repeat them here. 
We would only draw attention to certain points which have not 
been fully entered upon, and to the importance attached to the 
proper performance of the obligatory prayers. 

The weekly sermon was held Avith greater ceremony than is 
at present the case ; and the following account, which is taken 
from an eye-Avitness, Avill sIioav the solemnity observed on the 

' When the pulpit had been moved to the Avail of the Kaaba, tlie 
preacher entered the mosque through the door of the Prophet. He 
Avas dressed in a black mantle, embroidered with gold, and his turban, 
over Avhich Avas throAvn a veil, was also of black Avorked with gold 
threads. This was the dress given to him by the Chalif. Preceded 
by an acolyte, he sloAvly Avalked down the mosque betAveen men bearing 
l)lack banners. In his hand he carried a red tAvisted staff, on the end 
of Avhich Avere fastened strips of fine leather. This he occasionally 
SAvung round quickly so as to let all those in the mosque be aware that 
the sermon Avas about to commence. Before ascending the pulpit he 
advanced to the black stone, kissed it, and offered up a prayer. The 

1882. The Empire of the Ckalifs. 353 

sword was then liur.g over his shoulder, and he commenced to mount 
into the pulpit. At each step he clanked the sword against the steps, 
and having oifered up another prayer, and called blessings on the heads 
of the congregation, he threw the sword on the groimd and commenced 
his sermon.' 

The sermon was a powerful instrument in the hands of the 
Ulemas, and they used it unsparingly. In no other religion 
perhaps has greater importance been given to prayer than in 
Islamism, and in no other is prayer so tied down with rules 
and formulas. The smallest details, every gesture and pro- 
stration, are prescribed by the most exact regulations, and the 
non-observance of any of them completely destroys all the 
efficacy of the prayer. In these circumstances it is inevitable 
that prayer should, in general, degenerate into a mean- 
ingless ritual, although the belief in its efficacy may still be 
strong. It is performed as part of the daily duty, and is not 
the spontaneous outpouring of a sincere heart. The faithful 
in these matters follow strictly the example and ordinances of 
the Prophet. He laid down that there should be five prayers 
daily, one before sunrise, at midday, in the afternoon between 
three and four o'clock, at sunset, and in the night. Great 
importance was also attached to the prayer being in public 
and in common. A saying of Mohammed was quoted that 
' the prayer in common is worth fiftyfold that which is said 
* at home or in the place of business.' The constant reitera- 
tions of certain phrases were supposed to have a salutary effect 
in proportion to the number of repetitions ; while, on the other 
hand, the omission to perform the necessary number of prayers 
rendered nugatory all the good works that might have been 
done in the day. In short, prayer Avas the outward and visible 
sisrn of the grood Moslem, and even in the time Avhen numerous 
sects had appeared the prescribed forms and regulations were 
always universally observed, however much difference there 
might be with regard to dogma. It is not difficult to appre- 
ciate the effect of this rigid discipline exercised daily and 
universally throughout the Moslem world. However careless 
the rich and powerful might in time become with respect to their 
religious duties, the mass of the people followed the traditions 
of their Church with a scrupulous exactitude. This is the 
more to be noted, as Islamism demanded much of its disciples. 
Beyond the prayer five times daily, a Moslem had to pay the 
poor-tax, to fast during the Ramazan, to make his pilgrimage 
to Mecca, and to submit to the military service when called 
upon to do so. There were again numerous regulations with 
regard to the cleansing of the body and the nature of the food 

354 The Empire of the Chalifs. xVpril, 

to be eaten. NotwitlistantlIii<:!; tliese numerous calls on the 
conscience of the individual, Islamisin, however, granted many 
i^ivours to its devotees. ' Xearly every sin could be washed 

* away by an expiatory fine, by fasting, or by prayer. Fre- 

* quently the penance consisted in fe<eding a certain number 

* of ]wor ])eople, in setting a slave at liberty, or in fasting.' 

With the spread of Islamism sprang up numerous sects, 
some moved to dissent on philosophical grounds, others pushed 
to extremes by an exaggerated fanaticism. The latter, as is 
usually the case in the East, gave birth to many frenzied 
•enthusiasts avIio still exist to the present day. Of the former 
we shall have to speak later when wc treat of the Chalirs 
Court at Bagdad. "With the victory of Moawija over Aly 
and the submission of Hassan, the seat of government was 
removed to Damascus. 

Damascus has, at various times and in different circum- 
stances, played a great part in Oriental history, but it arrived 
at the zenith of its brilliancy when the Court of the Omeiyades 
resided thei-e. Firmly established on their thrones, with 
absolute power and ever-increasing resources, the Chalifs of 
that period indulged in all the pleasures of life to a degree 
hitherto unknown. The dissipation of the worst periods of the 
Roman and Byzantine emperors Avas imitated and almost 
equalled at Damascus. Yazyd I. is the typical Chalif of a 
characteristic age, an age which had lost the simplicity of the 
early Arab days, and which had not attained the refinement 
of the Court at Bagdad. Herr von Kremer gives a lively 
picture of Damascus at that time. 

* Damascus was the residence of a rich and extravagant court, 
with its train of high officials. Hither came crowds of strangers, 
merchants, and caravans from all parts of the'East. Her bazaars were 
filled witli the artificial and natural products of three hemispheres, and 
frequented by a picturesque and busy crowd. Here groups of Syrians 
in their piu-ple cloaks, ornamented with arabesque patterns, with 
baggy trousers and red sandals, in their full turbans of white or blue, 
•drove their asses and mules laden Avith the produce of their country. 
Bedouins, in their woollen mantles of brown and white stripes, their 
heads bound with "kufijes" of red and yellow, stood gaping and 
puzzled in the crowded streets ; here on a prancing steed ])assed a 
haughty chief, shaking his long lance. Descendants of the Prophet, 
with sharply-cut features, slowly paced towards the mosque counting 
their rosaries. Trains of women, their figures completely concealed 
in their long white cloaks, bargained and haggled in the shops ; black 
slaves and beggars pushed and wrangled inthe mob; water-carriers, 
selling iced lemonade and sherbet, clinked their metal cups; on all 
sides were heard the cries of the vendors. " Kaghyf ja .shibiib," " Bread, 
"good youths," cried the bread seller; "Goods from Halbun," called 

1882. The Empire of the Chahfs. 355 

out the peasant with his splendid figs, grapes, and pomegranates; 
*' Eddaim Allah," " God is the imperishable," was the cry of the salad 
seller, wishing to win the custom of the devout by praising the eternity 
of God in drawing attention to the perishable quality of his goods. 
And all this bustle and turmoil took place within the narroAv streets 
shaded from the sun by straw mattings or under the stone arcades.' 

The Chalifs took the lead in the gay, roystering life which 
was passed by the society at Damascus. Cock-fighting and 
polo and horse-racing, drinking bouts and revels occupied the 
greater portion of the day. They lived for the day and were 
careless of the morrow. Yazyd I. affords a striking picture of 
the reckless indifference which the high-born showed for their 
reputations and for the consideration in which they were held 
by the people. Reclining on couches, in the sumptuously 
furnished halls or cool courts of their palaces, surrounded with 
till the luxuries which the riches of the East could procure, 
the nobles passed their days and nights in watching the volup- 
tuous dances of their female slaves, in listening to the erotic or 
fulsome songs of highly-paid singers, in drinking, gamblinc^, 
and intrigue. The passion for music which was rapidly deve- 
loped at Damascus is worthy of remark. It rose to such a 
height that fabulous sums were paid for the services of the 
most popular singers. It is related that Yazyd sent for a 
famous singer from Mecca, named Ma'bad, and, as was the 
etiquette in those days, listened to his songs from behind the 
screen which concealed the Chalif from the public gaze. 
Ma'bad, however, possessed to such a high degree the gift of 
enchanting his audience, that Yazyd, unable to contain himself, 
sprang up and danced wildly round the room till he sank down 
unconscious. Another anecdote further illustrates the sus- 
ceptibility of the Chalifs to the power of song. 

Ibn Mosaggih had so great a success as a singer that the younger 
members of the noble families of Mecca were enraptured with him, 
and squandered their money on him. The attention of the governor 
of the city was attracted by the excitement caused by Ibn Mosaggih, 
and he reported to the Chalif at Damascus that the young 'nobles of 
Mecca were ruining themselves on the singer. On receipt of this 
report, an order came from Damascus to send the singer to the capital. 
He appeared there, and so captivated the Chalif by his voice that the 
latter richly rewarded him, and sent him back to Mecca with orders 
to the governor not to molest him further.' 

The love of music and song was especially cultivated by the • 
young nobles of Mecca. 

' A stonemason cf the name of Hodaly had a great natural talent 
or improvising rhymes. When he was at work in the quarries, the 
[young people used to visit him, and beg hini to sing something to 


356 The Empire of the Chulijs. April, 

them. Hodaly, however, stipulated for his reward in advance, and 
asked his admirers to lielp him in his work. They, nothing loth, 
tucked up their caftans, tied them round their -waists, and set to work 
carry in^i? stones. When the task was finished, Hodaly would climb up 
on a rock, sit down, and begin to sing, while the audience lay about 
on the sand. Goblets and refreshments were sent for, and they 
caroused till sunset.' 

The pleasures of life were, however, not reserved to the 
men alone. The position of women m those days was ver}^ 
different from that which they at present occupy in the ]\Ius- 
sulman world. Not only were they the objects of much 
chivalrous admiration, but they were able to exercise consider- 
able influence on public affairs. They did not lead the secluded 
life which is at present the custom, but moved freely in the 
society of the time. Indeed, during the most brilliant period 
of the Abbaside dynasty, a class of Avomen existed Avho occu- 
pied themselves with the theological and scientific disputes of 
the day, and whose salons were frequented by the literary 
world. ' The advantages which a woman had to possess in 
' order to attract men, were not only beauty, but also noble 
' descent, intelligence, wit, and a fine character.' Perfect 
freedom was allowed to a woman in the choice of a husband, 
and cases were not unknown of the widow of a Chalif marry- 
ing a simple private individual. The dowry which a woman 
brought to her husband remained her own property, and she 
was also permitted to lay down as a condition to marriage 
that her husband should not take to himself, during her life- 
time, a second wife. In the early days of Islamism the position 
of woman Avas independent and respected. ' Nothing was con- 
' sidered nobler or more praiseworthy than when a warrior 
' offered up his life in defence of the honour of his wife.' The 
first shock to the position of women was given by Walyd II. 
of the Omeiyades. This Chalif introduced the institution of 
the harem into social life, and on him must be laid the blame 
of having first inoculated the Mussulman world with the virus 
Avhich has gradually and surely undermined its vigour and its 
health, has rendered fruitless all individual efforts towards ini- 
])rovenient and reform, and has vitiated and distorted the 
higher qualities and energies of Arab, and Saracen, and Turk. 
The distinction between wife and concubine, between legitimate 
and natural children, gradually disappeared ; woman sank to 
the position of a slave to the desires of her lord, and children 
were brought up in the polluted and degrading atmosphere of 
an Eastern harem. Intermarriages between near relations 
and ]X)lygamy caused the race to degenerate physically and 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 357 

' Notwithstanding these serious evils Eastern polygamy has generally 
been much misunderstood and wrongly judged. At the date of the 
appearance of Islamisni, polygamy was natural to the state of society 
amongst all civilised races. Every tribe and every family found it neces- 
sary to their power and authority and safety to increase their numbers as 
rapidly as possible. Polygamy not only was supposed to assist to this 
end, but was also practised in consequence of the family alliances which 
it procured. But polygamy in these conditions must be carefully dis- 
tinguished from the harem institution of later days. The Arabs were 
a people of highly aristocratic principles ; great weight was given to 
noble descent, and mesalliances rarely took place. In the house or the 
tent of the tribal chief several wives did not hold equal positions ; one 
alone was regarded as the mistress of the household, the noble-born, 
the Arab woman i^ur sang. The other wives held an intermediate 
position between her and the domestic servants. The relations of 
Sarah to Hagar in the household of Abraham furnish a good example 
in point.' 

The number of members of each family owing to this system 
is very remarkable. A son of Walyd II. had as many as 
sixty sons. A large family, which, in early days, was perhaps 
of advantage, soon proved to be a curse. At first it was not 
difficult to find the wherewithal to support families of any 
size. There was elbow-room and money in abundance. As 
the Arab reached the limit of his conquests, and the revenues 
commenced to diminish, as the State was harassed by internal 
disorders, by party and religious struggles, the fight for exist- 
ence became serious. With the advent of the Abbasides to 
the Chalifate the pure Arab lost the dominant position he had 
hitherto held, and his lands were gradually occupied by Persian 
and Turkish intruders. He then found it impossible to sup- 
port his numerous progeny, and poverty and distress became 
general. With the harem appeared the hideous train of 
eunuchs, an importation from the Byzantines, who furnished 
the first supply of these pernicious adjuncts to an Eastern 
household. Great as may be the reputation enjoyed by the 
Omeiyade dynasty in the eyes of the Mussulmans, as represent- 
ng the consolidation of the Islamic Empire, yet to it must be 
ascribed the introduction of those vices which have never been 
eradicated, and which are fatal to the true development of both 
;he State and the individual. 

In many respects the Court at Bagdad was not superior to 
;he preceding dynasty ; but, whatever faults may have existed 
mder the Abbasides, the artistic, literary, and scientific 
ictivity greatly redeemed the errors which had been inherited. 
Under the Abbasides the Moslem was at the zenith of his 

tplendour ; it was the Augustan age of the East, culminating 

358 The Empire of the Chalifs. April, 

In tlic dazzling reign of Ilarun al Easliid. Poetry and music, 
science, exact" and occult, astronomy, philosophy, theology, 
botany,' and medicine were pursued Avith a vigour and an 
enero-y which produced some very remarkable results. Bag- 
dad was the centre of literary, artistic, commercial, and political 
life. Her trade extended to the walls of Canton, to Russia, 
Sweden, and Spain. There is scarcely a branch of art, of 
science, or of philosophical thought, which does not bear in 
some degree the impress of Bagdad. 

The Islamic Church had undergone many changes since its 
chiefs had transferred their residence from the Holy City. 
The cynicism, the enquiring spirit, the intellectual movement, 
which were general and increasing, could not be without eifect 
on religious 'matters. There were four principal questions on 
which the Arab theologian occupied his mind — the conception 
of the unity of God," the transmission of the sovereignty, 
punishment in a future life, and predestination. On these 
subjects and others of a kindred nature a mass of polemical 
literature was written, which split up the community into 
numerous sects. The intercourse between the Christian theo- 
loo-ians at Damascus and the Arab literati had made the latter 
acquainted with theological dialectics. The contact with new 
ideas and other religions, the acquaintance with the Greek 
philosophers which became general amongst the educated 
classes at Bagdad, the tendency to scepticism, encouraged as 
it Avas by the Semitic mode of thought and the manner of 
living, opened the mind of the jMoslem to doubt and discus- 
sion, and, in the higher classes, banished the blind unreasoning 
faith of their ancestors. The sects were, therefore, partly 
political and partly religious. There were the politico-religious 
sects of the Charigites and the Shy'ites, and the religious sects 
of the Morgites, Kadarites, and Mo'tazilites. There Avere 
numerous others, but these Avere the principal. The Charigites 
were fanatical puritans, strongly in favour of the orthodox 
succession, and considering that faith had no value unless 
accompanied by good Avorks. They declared that those Avho 
AA'cre not of their opinions AA^ere eternally damned, and that it 
Avas just and right to shed the blood of all unbelievers. The 
opinions of the Shy'ites on the succession are too Avell known 
to require recapitulation. They adopted old Persian and Indo- 
Buddhistic ideas respecting the monarchy, and reverenced 
their prince as a demi-god. The Morgites Avere strictly ortho- 
dox. They considered faith alone as being necessary to save a 
man, Avere opposed to the shedding of blood, and firmly be- 
lieved in the doctrine of predestination. The Kadarites were 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 359 

democratic in their ideas, and were the ardent supporters of 
free will. Their system was highly developed by the later 
Mo'tazilites, who deviated more than any of the other sects 
from the orthodox path. On two important points they were 
at complete variance with the received doctrines — namely, with 
regard to their conception of God and revelation. They were 
strongly opposed to the anthropomorphic idea of God, and 
regarded Him in the abstract nature of a First Cause. The 
Koran they considered as a book containing the writings of an 
inspired man, but did not Avorship it with that blind reverence 
which had hitherto been the case. These discords in the com- 
munity, although they no doubt were a cause for anger and 
ill-feeling, still stirred up a great movement, and prevented 
men from falling into an apathetic acceptance of traditions and 
doctrines. Unfortunately the Eastern mind is apt to go to 
extremes, and we soon see the two distinct classes — on one 
side the fanatical ascetic, the monkish devotee, the stern, un- 
yielding, punctilious theologian ; and on the other the careless 
unbeliever, the philosophical free-thinker, the cynical, sceptical 
man of letters. These distinctions are nowhere more clearly seen 
than in the poetry of the day. Indeed, in Arabian history the 
progress of thought and civilisation can, perhaps more than in 
other nations, be traced in the poetical effusions of the time. 
His impressionable character and facility of expression en- 
couraged the Ai'ab to pour forth his own ideas, or to render 
the impressions he received from his environment, at once into 
verse. The enthusiasm with which such lyrical efforts were 
received we have noticed above. 

The physical characteristics and mode of life exercised a 
great influence on the early poetry. The nomad Arab, wan- 
dering with his herds and flocks, had his mental horizon limited 
by his immediate surroundings. His pictures of nomadic life 
are, judging from the examples given by Herr von Kremer, 
charmingly and accurately drawn ; and he delights to describe 
the qualities of his two favourite animals, the horse and the 
camel. Beyond these subjects, he sings of wars and of raids, 
describes joyous carouses and hunting parties. Revenge, love, 
and friendship also form subjects of his lays, but the thought 
is poor, and but little reflection is shown. Rarely is a word 
of counsel given. The poetry is but versified description. 
Before the time of Mohammed there is no allusion to a life 
after death, and in fact the future, even in the present world, is 
rarely mentioned. We see, even in the secondhand translations 
at our disposal, the simple, restless Arab moved by the first 
impressions, and incapable of looking further than the imme- 

360 The. Empire of the Challfs. April, 

diatc present. Old age seemed to be looked upon with some 
fear, Avhich is singular among a people which in many circum- 
stances revered grey hairs. Probably the seventh age alone 
is alluded to in the following verses of 'Orwa Ibn Alward : 
' It bcseemeth me not to totter along propped up by a stick ; 

* no longer a terror to my enemies, and despised by my friends. 
' Shall 1 crouch in the corner of the room, a jest and a sport 

* for the young ? and creep about bent like a young ostrich ? 
' Nay, O children of Lobna, bridle the steeds, let us aAvay to 
' the iDattle-field, for death is better than shame.' With the 
a])pearance of Islamism this class of poetry came to an end. 
The war songs still continued to be sung, but at Mecca a new 
erotic poetry sprang up, of which the chief exponents were 
Omar Ibn Aby Raby'a and 'Argy. At the same time more 
serious thoughts were expressed, and death came to be regarded 
not merely as an escape from helpless old age, but as the 
moment when each individual would have to answer for his 
deeds. Waddah thus gives vent to such feelings : ' O Waddah, 
' why siugest thou but the songs of love ? Fearest thou not 
' death, the lot of all men ? Strengthen thy steps, revere the 
' God above, for He will save thee on the judgment day.' The 
poets of the later Omeiyades and of the Court at Bagdad were 
distinguished chiefly by an absolute indifference as regards 
religion, a worldly cynicism, and a contempt for morality. 
'Argy and his brother poets were not very chaste either in 
their subjects, sentiments, or words, but their love songs were 
the outpourings of a gay and careless mind. Their successors 
wrote as satirical worn-out men of the world, to whom all 
pleasures were bitter, and who mocked at all that was fresh 
and natural. The lano;uao;e in these later times was more 
polished, the versification more correct, and the imagery more 
vivid ; but we lose the rough simplicity and breezy nature of 
the early Arabs, as well as the na'ive passion of the minstrels of 
Damascus. Abul'atahija, however, established a new school. 
He was the champion of the popular feelmg against the vices 
and dissipation of the great ; but his fame was eclipsed by the 
glory of his follower, Abul'ala, commonly called Ma'arry, born 
973 A.D. ' He is celebrated as being the deepest and most 
' serious thinker of his race, and stood on the threshold of de- 
' cay, a noble monument of the poetic art.' He was pursued 
through life by the fanatics and ulemas, but his teaching and 
his example gathered to him many disciples. His calm philo- 
sophical mind could not accept the conception of a personal 
God or of inspired prophets. In this he clearly followed the 
doctrines of the Motazilites. Reason, he asserted, was the 

1882. The Empire of the Chalifs. 361 

sole guide of man. God he considered in the abstract idea of 
the First Cause, and ' religion/ he stated, ' is to be just towards 
' all men.' To do good, for the sake of good, and not with a 
view to future reward, was the text of his teaching. His 
views of the world were somewhat gloomy, and as he became 
embittered by the persecution and ingratitude of his felloAv- 
countrymen, he began to question the value of existence. His 
pessimist views went at length to extremes, and he never 
married, so as to avoid committing the crime of being the 
author of one human life. ' His father had sinned towards 
him, but he had sinned towards no one.' Far above his age in 
many subjects, and one of the few examples of a pure life 
amid the general demoralisation, he yet could not escape from 
the morose misogony to which all Oriental thinkers are so 
prone. Buddha, and Mohammed, and other great Eastern 
thinkers, are all imbued with despair at the folly and hollow- 
ness of the world, and at the emptiness of human affairs. 
Mohammed had a lighter tincture of this pessimism than his 
great predecessors, for in him the statesman and the conqueror 
also abided. 

The scepticism and intellectual vigour of the citizen of 
Bagdad did not prevent the continuance of the superstition of 
the early ages, of the belief in the magic art, and of the fear 
of evil spirits. Before the advent of Mohammed there had 
existed the Djinns, who generally appeared in the form of 
snakes. Shooting stars and meteors were supposed to be the 
darts shot by angry angels at those snakes who were most 
inquisitive and daring. There Avere also ghouls, who, wdiat- 
ever form they might assume, always retained their asses' feet. 
The Devil was an Islamic importation, and was given dominion 
over all spirits. Such an ascendency the democratic Arab of 
the pre-Mussulman period would never have accorded. The 
idea of the Devil was borrowed by the Arabs from the Chris- 
tian and Jewish religions. 

' The Devil was not only considered as the evil one who led men 
istray, and prevented them from performing good works, but he was 
ilso regarded as a general marplot, whose delight it was to teaze and 
irritate men on every possible occasion. If a slave let a cup fall, 
Satan Avas cursed as the cause of the mishap. To this day if a pipe 
s upset and the ashes scattered about the carpet, the host will cry out, 
' Bassak ju malum'/' — enough for this time, thou cursed one.' 

Flights of birds, as with the Romans, were supposed to be of 
3rophetic import. Great terror was also created by the evil 
;ye, and this fear is preserved to the present day. Amulets 
md charms of all descriptions were adopted to avert the danger. 

nG2 The Eiii})ire of the Challfs. April, 

and many were the formulae invented to exorcise the evil effect. 
Sprinklinp; with blood the object on whom it was feared the 
evil eye mio;ht alight was a very old custom, and perhaps still 
exists' in the habit of the present day of dyeing and staining 
■with henna. Necromancers and wizards naturally appeared ; 
and thouo-h Tslamism looked with disfavour upon them, their 
activity could not be checked. There never was a persecution^ 
however, of magicians, as was the case with the witches during 
the iSIiddle Ages of Eurojie, though conjurors were not always 
so fortunate. It is related that a celebrated conjuror was ])er- 
forming his great trick before a large crowd in Bagdad of 
cutting off the head of a man and then replacing it. A pious 
bystander was so eni'aged at this uncanny power that he drew 
his sword and decapitated the conjuror on the spot. Astrology 
was a late introduction, and this, Avith alchemy, did not appear 
until some knowledge had been gained of their orthodox 
parents, astronomy and chemistry. 

It is scarcely necessary to refer to the mathematical victories 
of the school of Bagdad, or to indicate for how much we of the 
present day are indebted to them in this science. In medicine, 
notwithstandino; the illustrious name of Avicenna, not so much 
progress Avas made as might have been expected; but this Avas 
probably oAving to the religious prohibition of anatomy. The 
doctors were, however, a very highly-paid class. In phai'macy 
the Arabs made certain discoveries, of AA'hich the terms syrup,, 
jalap, &c., transmit the memory. AA'icenna's gigantic medical 
encyclopaedia Avas a European text-book for many a century. 
He attributed great importance to the healing poAvers of gold 
and silver, and Herr von Kremer suggests that our practice of 
covering pills with gold or silver may be a remnant of the 
tradition. In geography, history, travels, romances, and all 
the lighter class of literature, the Bagdad men of letters Avere 
most prolific. They travelled much and collected materials from 
every quarter. The Avork of Mokaddary (985 a.d.) is men- 
tioned as a marvellous production, both on account of the 
accuracy of its information and for the Avide range of subjects, 
historical, gecgraphical, and ethnological, overAvhich it travels. 

The favourite mode of giving instruction Avas for some Avell- 
knoAvn professor to take his place in a mosque, and sitting doAvn 
on his straAv mat, his back leaning against a pillar, he Avould 
expound the Koran, or a philosophical work, or in fact any 
subject Avith Avhich he Avas conversant, to his hearers standing 
in a group around him. Instruction Avas gratis at first, but 
soon it Avas found that the mosque lectures Avere not very 

1882. The Empire of the Cludif.^. 363 

profitable to the professors, and regular schools and academies 
were opened. 

We should like to have gone more deeply into the volumes 
of Herr von Kremer, but the limits of a review compel us to 
cease. This hasty and superficial resume of a vast subject 
will be perhaps sufficient to induce the reader to study the 
work itself. We can most heartily recommend it. We close 
the volumes with regret, and with the feeling that we have 
been brought into intimate relations with a little-known 
period. The period, however brilliant and interesting, was 
short. The weakness of the State was shown by the rapidity 
with which it crumbled aAvay on the first onslaught of the 
Mongol. For years the Chalifs lived on at Bagdad, the tools 
and servants of the victorious Seljuk ; but the gentle minstrel, 
the subtle dialectician, the keen scientific enquirer, the genial 
man of letters, had passed away. The Ottoman has taken 
the place of the Arab. With the zeal and fierce enthusiasm 
of a convert, the Turk has borne the banner of the Prophet 
into many lands ; he at one time had organised a state and an 
army which far surpassed those of his European contempo- 
raries; but, however brilliant may have been his victories, 
hoAvever estimable may be some of his qualities, he has never 
even approached to his Semitic predecessor in art, or science, 
or literature ; in those studies which gilded the vices of the 
Arab, and make us pass a lenient judgment on his errors, 
which rendered Bagdad a bright light shining in the East, 
foretelling the dawn in the grim darkness of early medieval 

3ti4 21ic ( 'oiiu'dies (if Terence. April, 

Art. IV. — 1. F. Tcrenti Comcedia;. Edidit et apparatu critico 

instruxit Fkanciscus Umpfenbach. Berolini : 1870. 
2. F. Terenti Comoedicc. With Notes Critical and Exegetical, 

an Introduction and Appendix, by Wilhelm Wagner, 

Ph. D. Cambridge: 1869. 
8. F. Terenti Ilavton Thnorrimenos. Erkltirt von Wilhelm 

Wagner. Berlin : 1872. 

4. Ausgewdhlte Komodien des F. Terentiiis Afer. Zur Ein- 
fiihrung in die Lecture der altlateinischen Lustspiele, erklart 
von Carl Dziatzko. Erstes Biindchen : Fhormio. 
Leipzig: 1874. 

5. Terenti Comcedioi, Andria ^ Eunuchus. With Intro- 
duction on Prosody. By T. L. Papillon. London : 1870. 

6. The Hautontimorximenos of Terence. With Introduction 
and Notes. By E. Shugkburgh. London: 1878. 

7. The Fhormio of Terence. With Notes and an Introduc- 
tion. By Rev. John Bond and A. S. Walpole. Lon- 
don: 1879. 

rPnE comic poet Cascilius Statius had lived down the savage 
opposition with which his innovations on the art and 
method of his great predecessor Plautus had been assailed ; 
and in the last year of his life, aided largely, if we may trust 
the witness o1^ his successor, by the excellent acting of iVni- 
bivius Turpio, the king of early Roman actors, he reigned 
undis})uted monarch of tlie comic stage. Indeed, so firmly 
established was his reputation that the rediles — the Lord 
Chamberlains of the day — Avould refer to his judgment and 
decision any new claimant for scenic honours. One day, as 
Cfccilius was dining alone, there entered a stranger who stated 
that he had been sent there by the adiles. He Avas a mere 
youth, hardly perhaps turned sixteen, and shabbily dressed — 
in fact, a freedman. His swarthy complexion and spare habit 
betrayed his race : for no Italian Avas he, but one of those 
Liby-Phoenician colonists who, themselves, without any ad- 
mixture of Phoenician blood, had settled in the territories 
surrounding the great Tyrian colony Carthage. Crecilius 
somevihat contemptuously bade him take a seat at the foot of 
his own couch and read the manuscript which he had brought 
with him. The ill-clad youth, obeying these orders, at once 
began to recite the comedy, a copy of which he held in his 
hands. It was entitled the ' Gu'l of Andros,' and, like all 
Roman dramas whose merit has enabled them to overcome the 

1882. The Comedies of Terence. 365 

wear and tear of time and to survive to our own day, was based 
on the Greek of the Athenian so-called New Comedy, on a 
play (rather two plays) of its typical exponent Menander. 
But by a skilful combination of two Greek originals a more 
substantial plot had been secured — a method by no means with- 
out risk of intricacy and confusion to the careless writer, but 
capable in skilled hands of sustaining the interest and enhanc- 
ing the effect of a play. 

Chremes and Phania are two brothers and Athenian citizens. 
Chremes, having business in Asia (which represented ' the 
Continent ' to Athenian and therefore to Roman audiences), 
leaves his daughter Pasibula in the charge of his brother at 
Athens. He, when civil dudgeon first grew high in Greece, 
thought good to leave Athens and find the girl's father in Asia. 
But, a storm arising, they are wrecked off the island of Andros, 
and, being saved from the sea, are kindly entreated by a man 
of the place. In course of time both Phania and the man of 
Andros die, and Chrysis, the daughter of this latter, and Pasi- 
bula, who has now changed her name to Glycerium, are like 
to perish of hunger. So they sail to Athens, where, after 
vainly trying honest means of livelihood, they become cour- 
tesans. Pamphilus, the son of an Athenian citizen named 
Simo, and a young fellow of promise, falls violently in love 
with Glycerium, whom he promises to marry. But mean- 
while his father has formed other schemes for his son's alliance, 
and has in fact promised his hand to Philumena, another 
daughter of Chremes. A mere accident betrays to him his 
son's less reputable passion for the courtesan. For Chrysis 
having died, and Glycerium in the depth of her despair hasten- 
ing to throw herself also on the funeral pyre, the eager anxiety 
with which young Pamphilus forces her to desist from her rash 
intent opens the old man's eyes. 

It is at this point that the action of the play opens. Simo, 
the indulgent father, is brought on the stage conversing with 
his freedman Sosia, the scene being, of course, as in all 
the plays of Terence, laid at Athens — which to a Roman 
was more or less what Paris is to us — and in the present 
instance in the street in front of Simo's house. The citi- 
zen begins by reminding Sosia of the kind treatment which 
he has ever experienced at his hands, and asks for his co- 
operation in the furtherance of a scheme which is to bring 
matters to a climax, and so to a happy issue. Telling him the 
whole story of the life of virtue and self-restraint Avhich his 
son had for a long while lived, and that among company not 
of the most virtuous or temperate, he discloses to him what 

366 The Comedies of Terence. April, 

Ave have above intimated, how at last his affections had been 
won by a girl who was in no Avay a desirable connexion, and 
liow, by his most unfortunate and ill-timed display of that 
love, lie had nipped in the bud all his father's hopes, and the 
arrangements which promised so Avell, and were so near to 
their fulfilment. Simo proceeds to give his freedman a graphic 
account of the funeral of Chrysis — this girl of Andros from 
whom the play gets its name, and who, nevertheless, is dead 
before its action commences — and of the casual way in which 
his own eyes had been opened to his son's ardent love for 
Glycerium. The wealthy Chremes, moved by the good report 
Avhicli he heard of the young man Pamphilus, had actually a 
short time previously come to his father, and had offered to 
give the son his only daughter, together with a large dowry. 
The match was highly desirable, and the betrothal had already 
taken place, the very day on which the play opens having been 
fixed for the maiTiage itself. Sosia, who has already learned, 
to his astonishment, that this bridal is but a pretence and strata- 
gem on the part of Simo, in order either to give him grounds 
for upbraiding his son, or to bring that son to a better mind, 
asks what fatal obstacle stands in the way of its consummation. 

Si. You shall hear. In the course of these last few days in which 
these things have happened Chrysis, o\w neighbour, has died. 

So. Good I you've made me quite happy. Ah, I feared some evil 
of Chrysis. 

Si. ]\Iy son was at the time in company with those Avho had been 
lovers of Chrysis; he was constantly with them. With them he saw 
to the funeral arrangements ; in the meantime was gloomy, and some- 
times even shed tears. This pleased me then, for thus I took it : " He 
takes so to heart this death on account of a slight acquaintance, Avbat 
if he had himself loved? What will he do for me, his father ? " I 
looked upon it as the result of a generous disposition and kindly mind. 
Why delay you with a long story ? I, too, to please him, attend the 
funeral, even yet suspecting nothing wrong. 

So. Ha ! Avhat is it ? 

Si. You shall knoAv. The body is brought forth ; on Ave move. 
In the meauAvhile, among the women present I chance to see one very 
young, of a form 

So. Excellent, no doubt. 

Si. Aye, Sosia ; and Avith a face so modest, so beauteous, that 
nothing could surpass it. As she appeared to mourn more than the 
rest, and because she had beyond the rest the beauty of an honour- 
able gentlewoman, I approach the lackeys and ask who she is. They 
tell me she is the sister of Chrysis. At once it struck me, " Aha ! this 
is it; herein lies the source of those tears and of that tenderness." 

So. IIoAv I dread the drift of your Avords! 

Si. The funeral procession meanwhile moves on. We follow. We 

1882. The Comedies of Terence. 367 

are at the grave ; she is set on the funeral fire ; all weep. Meanwhile 
this sister I mentioned went recklessly up to the flame with danger 
enough. Then Pamphilus by his fright betrays the love he had so 
well cloaked and hidden. Up he runs, and embracing her waist, " My 
Glycerium," cries he, "what are you doing? why will you destroy 
yourself? " Then she, to let you easily see that the love was of old 
standing, threw herself, quite as a lover would, weeping into his arms. 

So. What say you ? 

Si. I