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On the Character of the English People, regarded with a 
View to Present Difficulties and their Remedy . 1 

On the Study of the Latin Tongue .... 69 

BrateofTroy 93 

Shakespeare and Aristophanes 143 ^y^ 

On the Nature and Due Extent of Punishment . .161 

On the Best Method of Propagating Paganism in a 
State 199 

On Modem Memoir Writing 209 

Bnckingham and Richelieu 229 










I PEEL, I confess, no little awkwardness in 
approaching the subject that I have named at 
the head of this my first Essay. It is, to begin 
with, a topic which, when regarded in its integ- 
rity, is one of such vast extent, and, when 
dissected, displays so intricate a contexture 
of parts, as to render it a fitting theme to 
exercise far better disciplined and more logical 
powers of mind than any I can direct to its 
consideration, be the object but to give a rough 
tracing of its importance. And, in the second 
place, it is so trite a subject, and one so often 
attempted for its very difiiculty, which seems 
to have made it popular, as to render it not 
at all an easy task to say any thing that shall 

B 2 


not be hopelessly commonplace. There is not 
a newspaper, morning or evening, daily or 
weekly, that does not, season after season, pour 
forth its endless stream of inky lucubration, — 
now gently flowing on in placid dulness, now 
bubbling up in turgid indignation, — upon the 
momentous topic, and attempt to persuade its 
readers, as perhaps it may already have per- 
suaded itself, that the appUcation of its peculiar 
remedy is as easy to others as it finds the pre- 
scribing of it agreeable to itself. There is, 
however, safety (as the proverb goes) in num- 
bers ; and I shelter myself among this crowd of 
writers, merely claiming to be allowed to pro- 
pound some notions to which, as I attach, can- 
didly to own it, some importance, so I crave 
to be permitted modestly to hope they may be 
by others deemed not altogether worthless. 

It were easy, under the head of an " Essay 
on the Character of the English People," to 
spin out, as has oftentimes been done, a showy 
and perhaps an amusing sketch, by seizing on 
some of the most prominent and the most in- 
consistent features of that varied thing ; such, 
for instance, as our turbulent national antipa- 


thies continually jostling with a vehement love 
for and admiration of foreigners individually, 
whenever they come across us; oinr feverish 
desire for popular government and political 
excitement, joined to a strong aristocratic and 
conservative bias, and many such other oppug- 
nancies of acting ; and then exhibiting them all 
in a strong comic light, garnished with philoso- 
phic reflections very plausible, and unfathom- 
ably (if I may be permitted the figure of speech) 
shallow. This, however, is a mode of treating 
the subject which, more than any other, should 
be avoided by any one who does not wish to 
write for effect, but in order, if he may, to effect 
some, be it never so little, practical good. 
These pages are written by an Englishman, a 
strong Englishman, one who loves his country 
much, and wishes well to her, and is desirous of 
probing these seeming inconsistencies, and fol- 
lies, and wilfulnesses, and seeking under them 
for the true ideal of the English character, con- 
sistent, as he believes it in reality to be, and 
stable, and true, and alive to every good im- 
pression ; and having done so, to suggest how, 
upon the foundation of this hidden character. 


may be reared a superstructure lasting and 
beautiful as the eternal hills. These last words 
sound haughty and arrogant^ yet they are 
spoken advisedly, as it is trusted the sequel of 
these observations will demonstrate; and the 
knowing beforehand the imputation that may 
be cast upon them, will, I trust, be to the mind 
of my readers their vindication ; not indeed that 
they are written as hoping that these feeble 
efforts of an inexperienced pen will effect what 
it desires to accomplish, but as pointing out 
what it wishes, that by them its performance 
may be measured. 

Any man who shall accuse the English peo- 
ple, considered as a people, of fickleness, will do 
it grievous injustice. Eccentric it is, very ec- 
centric, and very inconsistent with itself at 
various times ; but this is not the inconsistency 
arising from fickleness, nor the eccentricity of 
a disordered will. It is rather, strange to say, 
the development of a curious and unreflecting 
sort of consistency, which, latent in minds di- 
verse in many respects, but agreeing in tb^ 
that they are all equally unaware of its exii 
ence in them, and, as might be expected, wor 


ing in such minds illogically, manifests itself in 
great and, at first sight, inexphcable diversities 
of action. 

It is not, however, in mere diversities of ac- 
tion and outward manifestations of feeling, that 
the peculiar character of any people consists ; 
though the mistake may often be made, it is, 
in truth, almost as great an error to imagine 
this, as it would be to search in our mere words 
and outward indications of vitality for the in- 
ward life of man, the human soul; in other 
words, it is a species of very subtile materialism, 
which, from having to deal, not with individuals, 
but with species, does not so manifestly appear 
in its true light. By character I mean some- 
thing infinitely more impalpable, and therefore 
more difficult to be ascertained ; and when as- 
certained, to be embodied with any clearness of 
expression. With this apologetic remark, let 
me continue the course of these observations. 

It is manifest that the first step in our inves- 
tigation will be, as far as we may do so, to seek 
the reasons of those diversities of action which, 
it is acknowledged, distinguish the good people 
of England. One reason, as I have above 


stated^ for its existence, is the want of sufficient 
logic in the national mind. This, however, be- 
sides being little removed from a truism, is no 
peculiarity of the English character, but has 
existed in all nations ever since patriarchal fa- 
milies first swelled into nations, and in many, 
nay, most of them, to a far greater extent than 
in England. This faulty logic, then, (for having 
touched upon it we may as well state what its 
workings are,) is diflferently applied by different 
races of men, according to the respective con- 
textures of the national mind; and thus the 
implicit and impalpable character (the contex- 
ture, that is, of the national mind, which is, in 
scholastic language, the ^^ causa formalis '* of di- 
versities, the " dans esse in aliquo '^ to them,) 
becomes explicit and palpable in action, and 
forms what is usually termed, by a compound 
expression, diversity of character; thus, I re- 
peat, from ih^faultinesSy as I say, of the logic 
employed by different types of mind, in the 
adjustment of sufficient motives for action, ac- 
cording to the differences existing in those types. 
I have laid an emphasis upon faultiness, for the 
diversity of national character is in itself essen- 


tially and of necessity a fault, one of the re- 
mains and evident proofs of man's corruption. 
Were all men perfect, all men would think alike ; 
to them their conscience would be the guide of 
life, the arch-logician ; for there is no such per- 
fect logic as the dictates of a pure conscience. 
The type of all such minds would be the same, 
for it would be perfect ; no logic could, there- 
fore, move it to action but such as was itself 
perfect, the bright manifestation of an heavenly 
original. To aU that was faulty and incomplete 
there would exist a repugnance immeasurable 
and unsurmountable. To analyze, therefore, the 
character of the English or any other people, 
we must go deeper, and try, if possible, to ascer- 
tain what the type of their implicit character is, 
taking it, as we must, for granted, that in its 
explicit manifestations faulty logic will be em- 
ployed, by the operations of which, as by ex- 
ternal symptoms physicians ascertain the inward 
malady, so may we attain the object of our 
research. This is, however, a very di£Scult and 
laborious task, and well nigh impossible to per- 
form by any satisfactory process of analytical 
reasoning ; and so to make the conduct of the 


enquiry shorter, I will first state synthetically 
what I hold the English character to be, and 
then confirm the assertion by as many uncon- 
nected proofs, as I think necessary to establish 
its soundness. 

The English character I conceive to be, like 
our language, distinguished for its complexity 
and its scope, and to be composed of elements 
many more than in most national characters, — 
of, indeed, an infinite number of those germs 
which, according to the direction given to them, 
sprout up and increase almost imperceptibly, 
and develope themselves either into virtues or 
into vices. And this being said, short and 
unmeaning as the statement may appear, the 
character of the English people may be esteemed 
to have been given. By granting to the Eng- 
lish character complexity and scope, which, 
as here employed, are but two expressions for 
the same thing, we at once give to it the high- 
est praise, both intellectual and moral, that can 
be given to the character of any nation. The 
possession of these characteristics enables our 
people to do great things, and bear great things, 
and not to faint or be disabled for want of self- 


resources. It must be remembered, that the 
object of these pages was not to ascertain sim- 
ply the character of the EngUsh people, but to 
examine it with a view to present difficulties 
and their remedy; for which examination I 
have, I trust, in what I have said, established a 
locus standi. Deeper investigations would lead 
us into perilous and perhaps forbidden ground, 
though it were easy to speculate at almost any 
length upon the possibility of outward causes 
operating to the production of this complexity. 
One reason might be found in the diversity of 
races composing the present English nation — 
the resolute and obstinate Briton, the sturdy 
and enduring Saxon, the impetuous Norman. 
Another cause may again be discovered in the 
climate and natural temperature of England, 
which, neither over-hot nor over-cold, induces 
its inhabitants to adopt the habits and modes 
of thought of the natives both of warmer and 
of more chilly regions. Again, our insularity 
might be brought forward. But these specu- 
lations are comparatively of little moment, and 
cannot lead to much practical good ; their basis 
is unsubstantial, and their results, at the best 


unreal, often dangerous, as leading those that 
indulge in them to rest satisfied with material 
reasons for every thing, and to forget that there 
is an overruling Power that fashions all things, 
that sways the visible world and the hearts of 
men. Let it, then, be sufficient that such is 
our national character, — an assertion which I 
shall now confirm by instances. 

The characteristic of the English mind which 
rightly demands priority of consideration, is 
that desire, so prominent in it, of dealing with 
the spiritual and the supernatural, which, in its 
best and purest shape, is true religion ; warped 
and distorted, becomes fanaticism. So long as 
the English Church was powerful and glorious, 
and renowned through Christendom for its 
piety and its magnificence, so long were En- 
glishmen foremost in the ranks of Churchmen ; 
but when the iron arm of secular tyranny had 
robbed the Church of its power and its magni- 
ficence, cramped its means of doing good, and 
in too many instances converted it into an 
instrument for executing its own unhallowed 
designs, then, as might be supposed, a grievous 
change came over the mind of the English peo- 



pie. No longer prominent as upholders of the 
Church, but still unwearied as ever in their 
cravings after the realization of the spiritual, 
they fell into the love of every species of heresy 
and schism, till the English nation has become 
a byword and a never-failing jest throughout 
the world for its religious diversities. The evil 
was busy at work as early as the harsh reign of 
Henry the Fourth, whose selfish policy fostered 
the growth of the Lollard superstition. What 
the Tudors did need not be told, 

'^ Satis jampridem sanguine nostro 
Laomedontese luimus perjuria Trojse.*' 

Then Brownism sprung up, the spawn of Ge- 
nevan heresy, fostered by many a faithless son 
of the Church ; and sour Presbyterianism, fed 
by martyrs' blood ; and insane Quakerism, and 
many monstrous forms of error. At length 

Calvinian WilUam landed, and the English 


Chiurch abandoned her fortress to the unholy 
brood, and all seemed hopeless. Then time 
rolled on, and horrible spectres of Mormonism 
and Socialism have raised their frightful heads, 
as if in vengeance for our sins. 


All this is most deplorable^ and it tells^ at 
first sight, very bitterly against our national 
character ; but upon a calmer consideration, we 
may even find much that is hopeful in this 
state. England has, from time to time, been 
the theatre of frightful convulsions of the 
Church: had not, then, the character of the 
people been naturally religious, the result of 
these convulsions would have been to have 
thrown the great majority (as too many persons 
have been thrown) into a state of apathetic 
unbelief. Such, however, has not been the 
case ; but rather a morbid condition of super- 
stition and fanaticism has been produced, 
which, as being more energetic, more akin to 
what is good, is therefore more hopeful. 

Another prominent virtue of the old English 
character was the patient industry of the peo- 
ple : not as other nations — the French and the 
Italians, for instance, and, to a still greater de- 
gree, our fellow-subjects, the Irish — desirous of 
bare subsistence, produced by the least amount 
of labour, and giving opportunity for the longest 
periods of that lazy dreaminess which they re- 
gard as their summum bonum ; but plodding on. 


day after day, at their appointed toil, making it, 
as it were, a part of their existence ; not view- 
ing each particular task as the particular means 
for some desired end, but esteeming work in 
the abstract as their duty and their vocation. 
I am no believer in that age of gold, renowned 
in story, but physically impossible, 

** When every rood maintained its man." 

One thing, however, I will assert, that the spirit 
of English industry is very different from what 
it was in the days of small proprietorship and 
domestic manufacture ; when in every cottage 
was heard the cheerful hum of the wheel, and 
the farmer or the yeoman, lord of acres, drove 
to market, proud of his warm attire of Kentish 
cloth of grey, his dame by his side snugly 
wrapped up in her good red cloak. This was a 
healthy and a laudable manufacturing system, 
and one which spoke much in praise of the 
moral condition of the people among whom it 
was foimd, spreading, as it did, the vitality of 
moderate competency throughout every county 
of the land. Then luxury grew, and so did 
science ; the mighty and impetuous powers of 


nature were made to do man^s work, as man 
had never worked. Then the old industry, that 
favourite virtue of our isle, became a vice, and 
a blight, and a curse, transformed into a greedy 
and restless passion after gain, a burning fever 
of competition, a well-spring of tormenting dis- 
content. Then we beheld tall, gaunt, black 
chimneys, reared by the fair streams of the 
loveliest valleys of Northern England, filling 
the very spots where once the abbey-spire 
would have risen ; and rural villages expanding 
into immense and churchless cities, with no 
variety in their smoke-stained streets, but pri- 
son-like mills, and the wretched, undrained, 
unventilated hovels of the labouring class. I 
dwell upon outward appearances, because they 
afford no untrue index of the inward feelings 
generated by that system of manufacture which 
has of late years grown up. That the steam- 
engine might have been discovered, and power- 
looms been introduced, and Manchester and 
Bolton and Birmingham might have grown up 
to their present extent and opulence, and yet 
that the fearful demoralization which has pre- 
vailed throughout the land, and owing to them. 


might have been spared^ had the controllers of 
the work begun their task in a more generous* 
and Christian spirit than^ I regret to say^ has 
ever generally existed, or is now to be found, 
I do not deny : nay, so far from denying it, I 
most emphatically assert the possibility, and 
asserting it, exclaim more bitterly against the 
bad passions of those who have impeded such 
a state of things. 

At present, millowners, as a class, are not 
content unless they accumulate the trade of the 
world — not to England, not to their own town, 
but each to his own individual mill ; and every 
shiUing that has to be diverted from their dar- 
ling object of accumulating gain, is counted so 
much lost — as it were a drop of their hearths 
blood spilt. In this insane pinrsuit, the health 
and the well-being of those whom they fancy 
their dependents — while upon them, in truth, 
they themselves depend — is set down for 
nought ; and, more than this, the general weal 
of the body politic. Political changes, the most 
reckless and the most unadvised, are to be 
greedily pursued, if they hold out any pros- 
pect, not of increased gain, but merely of dimi- 





nished outlay. In the meantime, round the 
gloomy palaces of these autocrats have grown 
up nations, uncared for, untaught, imbaptized, 
some ignorant of the very existence of a Deity \ 
This is a most true picture of the state of 
things at present existing in England, and one 
which may well be productive of the greatest 
apprehension. I have, I trust, succeeded in 
showing how completely it is a development 
of the English character — a vicious form of 
that part of it which, in a more healthy state, 
showed, and does still show, itself in the form 
of honest and unwearied industry. This is the 
most consolatory point of view to regard it in, 
as it affords hopes, that if the ^^rash, fierce 
blaze of riot^^ may be quenched, it may again 
produce good fruit, and be a blessing, and not 
a curse, to the land. This is to be effected by 
no stringent legislative prohibition of steam- 
engines, no violent strokes, no sudden change, 

^ This was literally the case, as by the Report of the 
Cominittee for Inquiry into the condition of the Collieries has 
appeared^ ija. some coal-district^ I think in Staffordshire ; and 
a head man^ who was present at the examination^ was asto- 
nished at the examiner being surprised at the avowal. 


but by gradual and moral influences^ by pa- 
tience and by confidence, and unflinching firm- 
ness in pursuing the right, wherever it may be 
found. In the latter part of the Essay, I shall 
treat more fully upon this point. 

Another characteristic of the English mind 
is a kind of sturdy independence, which makes 
an Englishman think himself better than the 
native of any other country, in every conceiv- 
able respect. Ask a schoolboy, and he will tell 
you that an Englishman is a match for three 
Frenchmen. This quality, properly nurtured, 
has been the source of many and great national 
virtues. By this our Alfred triumphed; by 
this our Saxon thanes and peasantry, through 
a long course of patient suflering, gained that 
moral victory over their ruthless and unprinci- 
pled invaders which has left our island Eng- 
land, bowed to their feelings the souls of Plan- 
tagenet kings, and secured to the mild laws 
and institutes of good S. Edward perpetuity, 
long after the oppressive and unfair customs of 
the Norman baron have been swept away; ill 
regulated, it has proved the cause of innumer- 
able national disgraces, and of vast distress to 



ourselves as well as others. It is the preva- 
lence of this feeling that has helped to make 
our colonial government so unpopular in the 
colonies, and so unsatisfactory at home. We 
have proceeded to our distant possessions, full 
of these exalted notions of self, and believing 
we only could do any thing. The consequence 
is, that all the offices and the honours, of which 
the inhabitants— either our own native Saxon 
race, descended from us, or our subjects by 
right of conquest — should have had their just 
share, have been reserved, till very lately, to 
the England-born. This, of necessity, consi- 
dering that the fountain of emolument bubbled 
up in Downing-street, has produced a system 
of jobbing and intrigue as different in all out- 
ward appearance from the old independence of 
the English character, as in very truth it is 
cognate with it in fact. The condition of Ire- 
land before the Union is a melancholy and 
striking exemplification of this state of matters, 
of which it would be difficult to say whether 
the evils, moral and political, of which it is the 
origin, show themselves more strikingly in, and 
exercise a worse influence upon, those that gain 



I or those that lose, as far as temporal advan- 
i tages are concerned, by the system. 
^ Many amusing instances of this our con- 
4 sistent inconsistency might be found in the 
7 history of oiu* literature. To take a recent, 
a ready, and a very forcible example : how dif- 
ferent is the estimate in which the poetry of 
Wordsworth is held in the present day from 
the value assigned to it within the memory of 
men themselves not old! — and yet this is not 
inconsistency. Till his wilfulnesses, (as Cole- 
ridge truly calls them,) had become familiar, 
and his bold axioms had been tested by the 
shrewd scrutiny of the public taste, it was per- 
haps almost the proof of good sense not at 
once to have admitted his lofty claims, great 
poet though he be. 

I might enlarge upon these and similar ex- 
emplifications of our national character : this, 
however, I will not do, as trusting that what I 
have brought forward may be sufficient to ex- 
onerate the English people, as a people, from 
the charge of fickleness. Those fierce outbreaks 
of lawless passion which have, from time to 
time, disgraced our national annals, might be 


quoted against this favourable estimate of our 
character ; yet these may, I believe, in part be 
explained according to the principles I am 
endeavouring to establish: the rest must be 
deemed instances of what Bishop Butler con- 
ceived possible, — the lunacy of nations. 

Had Aristides been an Englishman, no one 
would have condemned him to exile because he 
was tired of hearing him called the Just. I 
do not say that the English nation might not 
have persuaded itself that he was the very per- 
sonification of all injustice and unfair dealing, 
and as such, against the face of the plainest 
reason, condemned him ; but believing him to 
be just, it would not have injured him. This 
is the distinction between fickleness and eccen- 
tric inconsistency : in the one the heart, in the 
other the head, is the most to blame; though in 
neither case are they both altogether faultless. 

This view of our national character, which I 
have endeavoured, by these instances, to make 
good, seems, I must confess, as I have before 
hinted, the most consolatory one that can be 
adopted, as proving that our present condition, 
though very sick, is any thing but irremedia- 


ble ; that is^ of course, if the right remedies be 
judiciously applied. If, as I have laid down, 
the English character do contain most of those 
germs which, by different fosterings, expand 
either into virtues or into vices, there is no 
reason that the rank growth of the latter should 
not be checked, and the former tenderly che- 
rished; that England should not again be 
trained to be the glory of the world for her 
virtues and high emprise ; that her sons should 
not again become 

** Renowned for their deeds as far from home, 
For Christian service, and true chivaby. 
As is the Sepulchre in stubborn Jewry, 
Of The World's Ransom, Blessed Mary's Son." 

What, then, are the remedies I propose ? No 
legislative enactments, no boards of self-suffi- 
cient commissioners and well-paid clerks, no 
statistical returns and select committees, — sad 
waste, as many of them are, of that precious 
time which is ever running on towards Dooms- 
day ; but the healing balm of moral and re- 
ligious cure — remedies arising spontaneously 
from the nature of the evils they are meant to 


counteract ; local^ various, incomplete in them- 
selves, developing their influence by gradual 
and partial benefits, but all forming portions of 
one vast and consistent whole, steadily and ir- 
resistibly working its grand end, — the regene- 
ration of the EngUsh people. 

Many of my readers will have anticipated 
where I look to for these remedies— from what 
one only fountain I hope to draw the healing 


THROUGH England op the saints. And 
the Church must be restored by no compul- 
sion, no forcing of men^s minds, no legislative 
enactments ; but by gradually fostering Church 
principles in the hearts of the mass, by gradu- 
ally accustoming them to Church practices, by 
moulding anew the national character into a 
Church-Uke shape, by training up, as of yore, 
a Catholic population in our Catholic land, by 
endearing them, httle by little, to the Church 
of their fathers. 

It is a great mistake, the forcing on Church 


principles where neither place nor time ren- 
ders them, at least for the present, tolerable, 
— in Parliament, for instance, to choose the 
strongest example. When any pressing and 
immediate evil is to be prevented — the sup- 
pression, for example, of some bishopric of 
fifteen hundred years* diu'ation — then all that 
have a heart to love their Church should la- 
boiu* might and main; no compromise should 
be permitted, no feelings of expediency allowed 
to weigh against that indignation which the 
commission of so miserable a spoliation should 
excite. On the other hand, if some sure and 
certain piece of isolated good were to present 
itself to the hands of any who should choose to 
pluck it, it would be blindness to overlook it, 
cravenness to pass it by. Furthermore, if reli- 
gious controversy be brought into Parliament 
from other quarters, it would be no prudent 
caution, but mere cowardice, not manfully to 
stand up and maintain right principles before 
an audience even of scoffers ; yet so as not 
by an unregulated tongue to give handle to 
their scoffs, — a delicate office to fulfil. But let 
Churchmen that are in the House of Commons 


beware of taking the initiative overmuch — they 
are but laymen ; and it is one of the misfor- 
tunes of the day, one of the clearest proofs of 
the sickness of the times, that Church matters 
have fallen so much into lay hands. That 
laymen should boldly and unhesitatingly take 
their part in the maintenance of the right, is a 
duty; but let them learn what that part is. 
Above all, let them feel the awful responsibility 
which attaches to them as a body, and still 
more so as individuals; to their every word, 
and every untimed jest, and half-pondered as- 
sertion. The heathen poet says, 

" Semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum ;" 

and Holy Writ teaches us as much, with a 
most fearful sentence thereto attached. A sin- 
gle speech, one unwise or vain protestation, 
may be caught up, and echoed, and distorted, 
by an unjudging world, and yield a rank harvest 
of unthought-of mischief for years and years, 
when we are gone to wait our last account. 
One short word of explanation, one kind 
thought, may be stored in the treasury of 
Heaven, to bind together, with its irresistible 


power, the long-festering wounds of the Apos- 
toUc Church ; and one silly burst of self-willed 
arrogance may suffice to postpone that blessed 
day for many a long, dreary season. And let 
them not merely care what they say and do 
themselves, but what others say and think of 
them, so far as to avoid scandal. For example, 
let them beware of being esteemed a mere set ; 
of causing, by needless singularity, that their 
high views and high principles be written down 
as nothing more than the manifestation of a 
conceited and eccentric disposition ; and, more 
than any thing, let them avoid having these 
unfavourable opinions of them sealed by their 
being paraded to the world under any nick- 
name, and, through false humility or untem- 
pered love of jest, adopting and rejoicing in it. 
A holy man of old said he was "nomine Chris- 
tianus, cognomine Catholicus :^^ let these be 
the only epithets that they will own, if, that is, 
as I am sure is the case, they do really intend 
to be both Christians and Catholics; for how 
can those whose badge of imagined singularity 
is their attachment to the Universal Church, 
like to cut themselves off, as it were, from it. 


by the adoption of any sectarian appellation? 
But enough of this. 

Church principles and Church practices en- 
forced by authoritative mandates from a ruling 
power, legislative or executive, and these alone, 
will do but little and partial good, much certain 
and general evil. This was a capital fault of 
those great and good men of the English Church, 
her Martyrs and Confessors of two centuries ago, 
that, in a perverse and rebellious age, strove to 
raise her from her humiliation, and again deck 
her with her rejected jewels of matchless price. 
They cared not enough to make what they un- 
dertook, I do not say palatable to, but even 
comprehended by, the mass of those for whom 
they laboured. Profound and ripe scholars, 
holy and self-denying men, deep read them- 
selves in old patristic lore, they yet were much 
deficient in that poetical temperament which is 
a requisite ingredient to form the perfect Ca- 
tholic missionary, the reviver of old truths in 
a forgetful generation. Their minds too much 
resembled that style of architecture which be- 
came fashionable in their days, — regular and 
classical, and, to a certain extent, beautiful; from 


this very regularity, admitting of much adorn- 
ment, and such as not to forbid considerable 
stateliness of Catholic ritual; but lacking the 
vigour, and the freshness, and the grandeur, 
and the unearthly mystery of the Gothic cathe- 
dral. There were no overarching vaults of pon- 
derous lightness, with tapering pillars, massy 
in themselves as mountains, slender in their 
details as the rushes by some saint-surnamed 
well ; no windows dimly bright with azure and 
with red, the history of patriarch or Christian 
Martyr; no dizzy spires and feathered but- 
tresses, spanning the skies like that fair bow of 
promise. These learned men, proud of the 
newly-revived knowledge of Greek and of Ro- 
man customs, could not enter into the feelings 
of a Saxon race ; they knew but little, and they 
cared but little for the homely Catholicity of 
rustic minds, the traditions, not of learned doc- 
tors, but of simple priests and simpler peasants. 
The consequence was, that either they expended 
themselves on the sole pursuit of learned con- 
troversy with foreign polemics, and risked con- 
verting the Catholic Faith in England into a 
religion of the schools ; or that, when they con- 


descended to their ruder congregations, they 
did so awkwardly and fitfully, and so as to gain 
no hold upon the public mind. They revived 
certain isolated ceremonies, and they promulged 
a book of sports, and then hoped they had 
restored the Church of S. Augustine and S. 
Bede to her old glory, stemmed the torrent 
of popular discontent, and built up truth upon 
a sure foundation. But the event showed mat- 
tiers to be far otherwise : the alterations which 
were made were not received as the unanimous 
voice of the English Church, or the reflex of 
public feeling brought back to a healthy con- 
dition, but as the mere single act of Archbishop 
Laud and King Charles the First. And so in 
truth they were; for these holy men, over- 
anxious to enforce compliance with individual 
and isolated ceremonies, postponed, in a great 
measure to this, the maintenance of general 
principles; as, for instance, they were over- 
fond, as the readiest means of accomplishment, 
to command that by virtue of the royal prero- 
gative which should have been enacted by the 
authority of the Church ; the result of which 
would have been, I fear, that, had they pre- 


vailed, an Erastian spirit would have insidiously 
crept into our ecclesiastical polity; not, of 
course, that I mean to say that their defeat has 
saved us from the same evil. The divines who 
maintained the cause of the Church in 1662, 
seem to have taken, in many respects, a far 
higher line. To be sure, they were not beset 
by the temptation to lapse into Erastianism 
which the previous generation had to contend 
against; the crown was no longer worn by 
Charles the First. 

So much for the question of awaking our 
Church from her trance by the dulcet notes of 
Parliament. Another way of so doing offers 
itself, which is, to revivify Convocation, in order 
to accomplish the same result. This has been 
for some time a favourite project of many 
churchmen ; but putting aside the absolute 
necessity of the Church possessing synodical 
government, of which there cannot be among 
the faintest-hearted Catholic the shadow of a 
doubt, and which is not at all involved in the 
present question, I should be very sorry to hear 
of the assembly of Convocation ^^ for despatch 
of business,^* that is, of Convocation in its pre* 


sent shape. In the first place, to the very con- 
stitution of that assembly there is a decided 
objection; it is entirely secular, and framed 
originally for a most secular object, the taxing 
of the clergy ; to effect which, it was assembled 
contemporaneously with Parliament. The idea 
of its becoming a church-council was an after- 
thought, and a most cunning one, of some 
Erastian mind that dreaded the stern aspect of 
synod and of council. Besides which, there is 
even a more important objection, that Convoca- 
tion is (to waive its original character) not a 
representative assembly of the Church of Eng- 
land, but only of the Province of Canterbiuy. 
The Convocation of York existed but as a court 
of registry to its more favoured sister. Now, 
with such a system as this, it would be utterly 
impossible to effect any permanent and effectual 
good. If the Chiu'ch abiding in these realms 
is at once to have her deliberative powers 
restored to her, let it be in a free and indepen- 
dent Synod of all the Churches of the Anglican 
Communion owning the supremacy of the Bri- 
tish Crown, not of the Suffragans of Canterbury 
merely, not of Canterbury and York, but of 


England and of Ireland, of the Colonies, and of 
the Holy Church in Scotland. In this wish I 
am supported by the Canons of our Church, 
" treated upon by the Bishop of London, Pre- 
sident of the Convocation for the Province of 
Canterbury, and the rest of the Bishops and 
Clergy of the said province;^* which Convocation 
was assembled by King James I. to frame "Ca- 
nons, Orders, Ordinances, and Constitutions,** 
'^to be from time to time observed, performed, 
fulfilled, and kept as well by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, the Bishops and their Successors, 
and the rest of the whole Clergy of the said 
Province of Canterbury, &c.** I have been thus 
particular in giving these two quotations, the 
first, to recall to the attention of my readers 
the fact, that the circumstance of these being the 
Canons of a Provincial assembly, gives greater 
weight to any testimony they may contain in 
favour of a National Synod ; the second, to 
show that the Convocation, in its palmiest days, 
was not the Representative Church of England, 
as it did not possess the power of enforcing even 
these ordinances, which were intended to be the 
universal law of the English Church, beyond 



the bounds of the Southern Province. The 
hundred and thirty-ninth of these Canons is 
entitled^ ^ A National Synod the Church Repre- 
sentative/* and runs thus^ ^^ Whosoever shall 
hereafter affirm that the sacred Synod of this 
nation^ in the name of Christ and by the King's 
authority assembled^ is not the true Church of 
England by representation^ let him be excom- 
municated^ and not restored^ until he repent and 
publicly revoke this his wicked error/* This 
Canon seems to me^ so far from being a testi- 
mony in favour of the then and still existing 
constitution of the Convocation^ to be indeed 
the strongest testimony against it. Had the 
framers of that Canon intended to protect that 
form of Synodical representation from altera- 
tion, they would surely have introduced that 
legal and technical appellation^ ^^ Convocation/* 
into its title or its substance ; instead of which 
they, as it were, purposely avoid the word, 
making use instead of it, in this and the two 
following canons, of the more Catholic and ec- 
clesiastical title "Synod.** I do not affirm (indeed 
such affirmation would, I believe, subject its 
maker to the penalties of the Canon) that they 


meant to say that the two Convocations of Can- 
terbury and York did not together constitute a 
National Synod. This I believe they did mean 
to say^ and this I hold ; but this belief is not in 
any way inconsistent with the supposition, that 
along with the assertion of their own authority, 
they were willing to point to and make ready 
for some more satisfactory form of Church re- 
presentation. This is further confirmed by the 
prominent manner in which ^^ National ^^ is in- 
troduced into the title, and ^^ Nation ^^ into the 
body of the Canon, as if in contradistinction to 
^^ Provincial ^^ and ^^ Province.^^ And as an in- 
dication of the mind of the Church upon this 
subject, it may be added, that the Convocation 
of Ireland is National, and not Provincial. 

This being granted, what hopes have we of 
such a Synod as we should desire being at pre- 
sent assembled? And granting that such could be 
called together, what would the results of such an 
assemblage be ? Ludicrous, I fear; if they were 
not tragic. What pen could describe the diver- 
sities of feeling, and of thought, and of learning 
turned loose upon each other, to work their 
mutual ill! Can any imagine the scene that 

D 2 


would ensue, when high CathoHc and bitter 
Calvinist should assemble together, both repre- 
sentatives of the one same Church, both claim- 
ing to be the only true expositors of her real 
doctrines ? History informs us of a Parliament 
that met in the reign of Henry the Fourth, 
from which all lawyers were excluded, and which 
gained the appellation of " Parliamentum indoc- 
torum/^ This parliament was very mischievous, 
and made sad havoc on the Church ; and if a 
^^ Parliamentum indoctorum *^ be so very baneful 
a thing, what would not be a ^^ Synodus indoc- 
torum ? " And such I may, I trust, without 
fear of presumption, assert would be a Convoca- 
tion, even were it composed of the holiest men 
and the most learned divines in England ; for 
to give efficiency to such a council, it is not 
divines merely that we need, but also canonists. 
That our clergy may again be such I confidently 
expect. As was natural and right, the study of 
the high and holy mysteries of the Catholic 
Faith was the first manifestation of the reviving 
energies of our Church; but we already see 
evident signs that the less awful, yet very im- 
portant studies, necessary for the health of the 


Church, are not forgotten. When we have 
again canonists in holy orders, then let us call 
out for Synods. At present our clergy are not 
able so much as to undertake the executive 
department of Church jurisprudence ; and lay- 
men sit and administer lay judgment in the 
courts of Bishop and Archbishop : then how can 
they have the temerity to expect that they are 
capable of legislative functions ? The time will 
come when our Church shall have again her 
Synods, but it is not yet. 

It now, therefore, remains to be seen what 
can, under existing circumstances, be done 
without the aid of either Parliament or Convo- 
cation. An infinite deal of good may, I ven- 
ture so to aflSrm, be effected, if judgment be 
employed ; enough of good to smooth down all 
difficulties, and pave the way for future glories 
to oiu* beloved Church. This leads me back 
again to what I may have seemed to have for- 
gotten, the character of the English people, the 
moulding of whom into a churchlike spirit is, 
according to what has been above laid down, the 
truest, nay, the only sound project for national 
regeneration. From what has been in the pre- 


vious part of this Essay thrown out concerning 
the versatile universality of the English cha- 
racter, it will be manifest that such national 
regeneration is not, considering all things, at- 
tempted in a stubborn soil. This view of the 
character of our nation must ever be borne in 
mind during the course of these remarks, as a 
key to their spirit, and a touchstone to be ap- 
plied whenever it may be thought worth while 
to test their practical soimdness. 

The amount of local good that may be done 
by merely considering what is yet permitted to 
us, and acting up to the letter of it, has yet to 
be tried. Some of the features of the Catholic 
Church, which for these many years have, in our 
branch of it, been so grievously obscured, — the 
daily Communion, for instance, the penitential 
system, religious communities, — it is in the 
power of any Bishop, almost of any parish 
priest, to revive. That this sort of revival were 
to be considered as any thing else but temporary 
and incomplete, I should be sorry to think ; but 
the revival must, in the first instance, be made 
in this manner. Let them be gradually and 
locally re-established, and then our Synod, 


whensoever it shall assemble^ will come forward 
with a better grace to confirm and to seal them, 
dg airavra 7rX«<TTTj/t>i| XP^^^^f than if they were 
to be all at once forced into a premature gene- 
rality by any Canon that it should enact. The 
want of a Pontifical is one of those deficiencies 
which must strike the most casual observer; 
but yet at present we lack no Synod to compile 
one. Let but a certain number of Bishops 
agree as to the ceremonies that they will em- 
ploy in the consecration of Churches, and then 
for their dioceses we possess for the time being 
the benefits which a Pontifical, when enacted, 
would secure for ever. 

It being established that the true and only 
mode of regenerating England is by regenerat- 
ing the English Church, and that, from a con- 
sideration as well of the character of the Eng- 
lish people as of various other points, the only 
way in which this regeneration can, in the first 
instance, be satisfactorily accomplished, is by 
local and particular revivals ; we will now see 
what assistance and what encouragements, 
things, as they stand at present, will afford us ; 
and then proceed very briefly to indicate in 


what various methods the renascent feelmg for 
Church truth may be fostered and matured. 
The English nation^ as a nation^ I believe to 
be still essentially Catholic; and external and 
malign influences being removed, I do not think 
it would be at all a difEcult task to fix the mass 
of the people firm in their allegiance to the 
Church. The class in which the unchurchlike 
feeling is the strongest, is that of those indi- 
viduals suflSciently removed above the lower 
orders to be devoid of sympathy with them, and 
yet not high enough to gratify their own ambi- 
tion; the class greedy after petty distinction 
and parochial influence,— speculating farmers 
and small shopkeepers. This class it is which 
produces those stirring and heroic spirits who, 
if they be nominally churchmen, rejoice to at- 
tain the honours of churchwardenship, that they 
may bully the clergyman, and job the Church, 
and strut th,eir hour ; and if, on the other hand, 
they swell the ranks of schism, move onward 
with peculiar grace to Meeting, sure, from their 
wealth and their dignified position, to be in- 
vested with all the grandeur of a " deacon,^' if 
they be not even called to fill the orator's ros- 


trum, and so acquire the right to ornament their 
names with the title of ^^ Reverend/^ whensoever 
it shall suit their convenience so to do. This 
class it is that has afforded the most determined 
and vexatious opposition to the holy war now 
waging through the length and breadth of the 
land (no slight symptom this, by the way, of 
a healthier feeling) against the pue system. 

The amount of latent Catholicity existing in 
the minds and the habits of the English people, 
would, if it were to be summed up, produce an 
aggregate which would surprise us from its 
amount. Latent, I say, and perhaps little sus- 
pected by many a fierce ^^ anti-Puseyite,^^ in 
whose breast it may yet be lurking, and in whose 
actions a philosophic mind may yet trace its 
movements. I shall not here attempt to do any 
thing more than to give, in confirmation of my 
assertion, a few scattered instances of this Ca- 
tholicity, which have, in various ways, presented 
themselves to my thoughts. 

The reverence for Holy Seasons is one of the 
most obvious and prominent features of the 
Catholic character. Despising the gloomy 
frenzy of the fanatic, that brands this rever- 


ence as superstitious — that so much-abus 
word, so portentous ofttimes in its sound, 
its sense so empty — ^the Catholic feels that t 
observance of sacred seasons brings Heav 
down to earth, raising him from low terrestr 
thoughts, and, with its tempered and religio 
bliss, quahfying him to enjoy the endless ha 
piness of another world, he feels that, by 1: 
hallowed services, 

*' with solemn hand. 

The Church withdraws the veil ; 
And there we see that other land. 

Far in the distance pale. 
While good church-bells are ringing 

All on the earth below, 
And white-robed choirs with angels singing. 

Where stately organs blow : 
And up and down each holy street. 
Faith hears the tread of viewless feet. 
Such as in Salem walked when He 
Had gotten Himself the victory." 

All know the well-nigh universal oblivion ii 
which these blessed practices have fallen; j 
some few landmarks still remain, at once t 
vestiges and harbingers of better things, t^ 
light and dawn of day at once, illumining t 


dark night of unbelief. Easter is yet honoured, 
and Christmas, and Whitsuntide. All know — 
though, alas ! the knowledge recals but seciilar 
thoughts — of Lady-day and Michaelmas ; and, 
to descend to what may seem to some a ludi- 
crous example, the pancake still smokes on 
every board upon Shrove Tuesday. But, lu- 
dicrous as this may seem, it may yet serve to 
remind a forgetful generation, that a season of 
festivity has passed away, and penitential Lent 
begins to show her mourners' weeds. Nor un- 
observed is Holy Week, especially that awful 
Day on which the sun was darkened. 

Many villages in the more northern part of 
our land, perhaps also in the south, still cele- 
brate their annual Wake, or Feast, as it is 
termed; that is, the anniversary of the conse- 
oration of their beloved and antique Church, 
once one of the gladdest, holiest days in the 
year's long course, now too often degenerated 
into a season of mere irreUgious debauchery, 
but yet containing in itself the seeds of bet- 
ter things — the dim memorials of old feeling, 
which, if tenderly nursed, may yet spring up 
into an abundant harvest of holy thoughts. A 


few summers ago, I was journeying through 
Yorkshire, and spent a Sunday at Ripon. A 
beautiful day it was, and the sun shone bright 
on the grey Minster of that quiet city ; and this 
day was the anniversary of the dedication of 
that famous church by S. Wilfrid, nigh twelve 
centuries ago, still called Wilfrid Sunday, still 
observed as a season of universal rejoicing; and 
in the walls of that late-made Cathedral-church, 
I first heard the praises of that great Saxon 
Saint proclaimed by him who then and still 
occupies the decanal stall. It cannot but be the 
case, that the people of Ripon, thus annually 
recalled to the days of our famous Saxon Church, 
and of one of her most illustrious champions, 
will be more patient of Church truths than 
those that never heard S. Wilfrid^s name. 
Other events in our Church history they may 
learn in the crumbling ruins hard by of Foun- 
tains^ fair Cistercian Abbey. 

The dedication-feasts of churches have, in 
two or three instances, of late been revived; 
and, we doubt not, with the happiest effect. 
There are few festivals which so much come 
home to the personal and local feelings of the 


villager^ as those in which his own familiar 
Church is the centre and the object. If the 
House of Prayer be of mediaeval date, there is a 
mystery about those Uchened walls and strange 
massy windows, with, may be, some broken 
fragments of old glass, some saintly face, 
"beautiful exceedingly,^* amid dirt and devas- 
tation, those intricate columns and that oaken 
roof, that if, to the popular mind, they be not, 
as I fear they are not, immediately suggestive, 
must yet be valuable aids, and a strong con- 
firmation to the preacher, when he unfolds to 
his flock concerning the blessed Communion of 
Saints, that they are not men of a day, believers 
m some modem faith, but children of one holy 
mother, members of one universal, everlasting 
body. They see their parish Church, solid and 
magnificent, and they are told that, centuries 
ago, that Church was built for the use of 
their own village; just the same village that 
they see it now, save that then it was poorer 
and smaller than now it is ; and they must, if 
they have any heart, be filled with admiration 
for the times of old. If, on the other hand, 
(which has, I believe, been the case in all those 


Churches the celebration of whose consecration 
has of late been instituted,) the sacred edifice 
be of recent structure, then they will have 
feelings to attach them to it, other, but not 
less real and true. They had themselves beheld 
it rising day by day; contributed, it may be, 


their willing share to the good work ; they feel 
a personal interest in its prosperity, and, if the 
memory of the first consecration of the Church 
be maintained, will transmit these feelings to 
their descendants. 

The beautiful old custom, still universal, of 
decking Church and cottage at Christmas-time 
with the green leaves and bright red berries of 
the holly-tree, is another relic of Church-Kke 
feeling — that feeling which, despising that cold 
and shallow philosophy, or false religion, which, 
pretending to regard all times as alike holy, 
in effect robs all of any sanctity, cherishes 
with especial regard those seasons which Holy 
Church has pointed out whereon high festival 
is to be held, as a foretaste of that eternal fes- 
tival which shall hereafter be, when this pre- 
sent world shall have passed away, and the 
Catholic Church, having endured the red, long- 


burning furnace of tribulation, shall shine forth 
happy and pure for evermore. Such are the 
Churchman^s hopes, the Churchman's feelings. 
We have yet an evidence of the existence 
of much latent Church feeling afforded us by 
the extremely common occurrence of religious 
prints in cottages and in small farm-houses. 
The spirit that suggests this must be essentially 
Church-like. Puritanism, as we all know, in 
its wayward arrogance, despises all such moni- 
tions and aids to devotion, and cannot, there- 
fore, possibly be the originator of so beautiful a 
custom in the mind of the illiterate classes of 
the community, to whom it would, of course, 
present itself in its most unrefined form. 
Against this assertion may be urged the suc- 
cess of the ^^ Pilgrim's Progress,'' an allegory, 
and one, in its various editions, constantly call- 
ing for the aid of pictorial art, and yet the pro- 
duct of a Puritan pen. We should probably 
reply, that, at the core, John Bunyan was not 
so great a Puritan as he would fain have us 
believe him to have been; or, at all events, 
that, had he been as well as he was ill-educated 
and disciplined, he would have belonged to a 


far different school^ — an assertion which will 
not, I should think, be controverted. At all 
events, his Puritanism, Uke that of Milton, is 
a remarkable fact in the history of religious 
psychology; and, like it, tends to show how 
utterly powerless is a mere aesthetic perception 
of beauty, without inward holiness, towards the 
maintenance of a sound faith in the soiil. But 
these remarks are carrying us away from our 
subject. This taste for religious art, so gene« 
rally prevalent, might, if judiciously applied, be 
made a most valuable auxiliary to the recalling 
of England^s bygone Churchmanship. 

" Our two ancient and famous Universities,'^ 
moreover, bear, in their constitution, a noble 
and unceasing witness to the existence of the 
Catholic Church in England. Is it possible 
that any earnest and reflecting man, educated 
within their time-honoured walls, subjected to 
academic rule, clothed with the old-world attire 
of academic station, admitted to academic de- 
gree with those solemn words of investiture 
which still siurive to these late days — an in- 
vestiture, not derived from King or earthly 
potentate, but granted by the University as the 


type and the handmaid of the universal Church, 
—that such an one, I say, can be other than 
more favourably disposed to Church principles 
than he who, with the same natural advantages, 
has never felt the influence of academic air. 
And I trust that the young University planted 
m S. Cuthberfs city will, in her measure, bear 
good fruit to Holy Church. That academy 
cannot surely be a nurse of Puritanism, whose 
students worship, day by day, in that Cathedral 
glorious for its site, glorious for its architecture, 
and yet more glorious for that therein still sleep 
S. Cuthbert and S. Bede. The establishing 
this seminary, one of the munificent acts of 
that noble prelate, the last Lord Palatine of 
Durham, was in itself an indication of awaken- 
ing life in our Church — an harbinger of future 
sunshine, first apparent in those most holy 
precincts ; and it is the more remarkable, as it 
was the unaided work of Churchmen, unsup- 
ported by state influence, and as its foundation 
preceded that great burst of renascent Church- 
manship which occupies and perplexes Eng- 
land, and, sooner or later, will command the 
attention of the universal Church. Previous to 



the foundation of the University of Durhan 
was that of King^s College, London ; which 
albeit it is not so complete by far, nor so ec 
clesiastical, as its northern sister, is yet by n( 
means devoid of such a character, certainly 
aiming, as it does, at being collegiate in its 
constitutions, and is regarded as a forecast o: 
better feelings, highly interesting. The same 
as far as the general principle of their institu- 
tion is concerned, may be said of the colleges 
of S. David and S. Bees. Still more recently 
in more than one of our cathedral cities. Col- 
leges have been instituted to train up young 
men for holy orders, after the expiration of ar 
university undergraduateship. The Church-like 
spirit of such institutions cannot be mistaken 
Their students, exercised in the exclusive studj 
of ecclesiastical lore, dwelling in the midst oi 
the triumphant emanations of Catholic feeling 
and Catholic art, attending, day by day, the 
high cathedral-service, — nay, taking part in it 
so far as laymen may do so*, — must be in- 

^ In the college at Chichester, founded by that excellent mai 
and churchman (whom I am glad to be able to call my friend) the 
present Dean, the students read the Lessons in the Cathedral 


spired with love for their holy mother, the 

Compare with this state of things — this 
quiet, ancient spirit, — the turbulent lawlessness, 
the political ferment, and, worse than all, the 
irreligious, impious recklessness, of a German 
university; and then imagine what the state 
of things in England might have been, had 
we — as, for our sins, we so well deserved, — 
been educated under such a system. Truly, 
we have many a debt of gratitude to pay we 
Kttle think of. 

Nor is it only in those societies, which lapse 
of time has converted, in a great measure, into 
educational seminaries for persons of riper 
years, that the Church-like spirit has survived ; 
on the contrary, the ecclesiastical character 
pervading our pubUc schools should be to us 
a subject of deep congratulation. This cha- 
racter has, I do not doubt, been the source of 
unconceived good to our land — the averter of 
more evils than we are, or can be, aware of. 
Had the seminaries, where the thinking and 
governing portion of the national mind has, 
for the most part, received its training in its 

E 2 


earliest and most plastic years, been like th 
state-gymnasia of Prussia, their pupils woul 
inevitably have been, like the offshoots of thos 
institutions, — unsettled, unbelieving theorists 
A remarkable, because spontaneous, and, i 
isome, doubtlessly, an unwilling witness, hai 
within these late years, been borne to the ex 
cellence of this our system, by its coUegiat 
or ecclesiastical character having, in many in 
stances, been imitated, I cannot say very sue 
cessfuUy, by the various proprietary school 
established throughout the land. Constant! 
do we hear of the College of such a place, th 
Collegiate Institute of such another, and so on 
— and when we visit them, we find them unde 
principal and vice-principal ; and the scholars 
sons, in the main, of the tradesmen in th 
town, arrayed in the pomp of academic dress 
To conclude this portion of my subject, I can 
not but take this opportunity of expressing m; 
joy at the fact, that the parish schoolmaster 
of England — a most important class, and oni 
which may be of the most essential service o 
disservice to the Church, according to the sys 
tem of doctrine and of practice in which thei 


have been reared — will hereafter be trained in 
a collegiate atmosphere, and under a Church 
system, in S. Mark's College, Chelsea, — the 
nonnal school of that association whose great 
importance to the common weal is well sha- 
dowed forth in the abbreviated title, National 
Society, by which it is generally designated; 
not but that, by being so called, it does not 
assume a designation which should belong alone 
to that holiest of corporations, the Cathojic 
Church. Here are to be found the future 
trainers of the rustic minds of England, attend- 
ing, day by day, in a chapel sparkling vrith 
rich painted glass, and chanting there the cho- 
ral service of the Church in the sublime tones 
of the great and good S. Gregoiy. 

Thus have I endeavoured to collect a few 
of the yet remaining germs of Churchmanship 
in om* o'er-much puritanized land, and to show 
how already they are sprouting forth, and pro- 
mising abundant fruit. They are (to run the 
. risk of being prolix by repetition) meant to be 
but specimens of a larger class ; and my object 
in collecting them is, to show that, in the mind 
of the people, there is still so much good re- 


maining, that^ by judicious training, they may 
gradually, but very effectually, — and by such 
gentle steps that the transition shall not be 
perceived, — be transformed from what they 
now are practically, though not formally, to 
what they now are formally, though not prac- 
tically, — from a Protestant to a Catholic peo- 
ple. On this transformation, I repeat it, I 
ground my hopes of England's future welfare. 
I must, in the next place, proceed to indicate 
briefly, as before, and by way of example 
merely, (for to enter into the subject, — I will 
not say completely, for that were impossible, — 
but with any degree of fulness, would be to 
write, not an essay, but a volume,) some of the 
methods by which this most desirable end has, 
within the few last years, been furthered, and 
by the increased cultivation of which it may, at 
length, under the Blessing of Providence, be 

These methods must, as I have previously 
stated, be, in the main, local and particular. 
I have likewise expressed want of confidence in 
legislation for the Church. I do not, by this, 
at all intend to disparage exertions, general and 


united, made by our Church herself, in her 
own behalf. On the contrary, I rejoice at 
them; I hail them as harbingers of a happier 
and a better state of things ; I believe the good 
they have already done to be immense. What 
I am contending for is, that, from the present 
state of things, they do not, by any means, 
produce all the benefits they ought to do ; and 
that they can only be put into a position of so 
doing, by these particular and local means, 
which, by gradually reforming the popular 
mind, will render it capable of receiving large 
and permanent impressions of good. I am 
referring particularly to such great demonstra- 
tions of Church feeling as the Special Fund 
•which the National Society has been collecting 
to promote education in the mining and manu- 
facturing districts, and the Fund for the en- 
dowment of Colonial Bishoprics. I do not at 
all pledge myself to perfect acquiescence in the 
details or the management of all or any of these 
outbreaks of Churchmanship. All I assert is, 
that the spirit they show is wonderful. A few 
years ago, such things would have been un- 
heard of, undreamed of. The evil was not 


acknowledged to be an evil. What mattered 
it, whether the Colonies had Bishops or not? 
What were Bishops ? If they had not Bishops, 
they had Chaplains, who could do as well; 
failing Chaplains, there were "our dissenting 
brethren f failing them, there were — no man 
knew nor ciured. Yew: after year, thousands of 
Christian souls, expatriated from their soil, 
died without having once heard Church-bells, 
once partaken, since they left their own fami- 
liar land, in the Blessed Communion of Their 
Lord's Body and Blood. They lived the life 
of a dog, and were consigned to the dust with 
a dog's burial. Thousands of children were 
born of these, who were never even admitted 
within the pale of the visible Church. But 
what cared the government at home for this? 
Bishops for the colonies — what a presumption ! 
America called for Bishops ; we denied her in- 
habitants their cry, and a civil war ensued, and 
America was lost; and America, independent, 
extorted that from us which, when she was our 
own, we had denied to her. Who cannot see 
the finger of God in this? Blind we were, 
pm'blind; for, with this awful example fresh 


before our eyes, it was with considerable diflS- 
culty that leave coxild be obtained to permit 
the recently-founded Colony of New South 
Wales to have a Chaplain, — a thing incredible, 
were it not the truth. Thus, in a land pro- 
fessedly Christian, whose rulers, every time 
they went to public worship, confessed their 
belief in the Holy Catholic Church, that gift 
was denied to our colonies which the most cor- 
rupt nations of Pagan antiquity would have 
been horror-struck at not affording to their 
departing brethren. They sailed with their 
gods, and their priests, and their appointed 
ceremonies; we thought one Chaplain over- 
much. In this conduct of the state, there was 
involved, not merely atrocious cruelty, which 
all must perceive, but likewise extreme bad 
faith. The state had usurped the Churches 
sacred right to appoint her own Bishops, — had 
ordered that she should have no voice in nomi- 
nating her divinely-given rulers, — had decided 
that pomp and worldly grandeur were neces- 
sary to constitute a Christian Bishop, — had fet- 
tered its Holy Mother, that she no more should 
be the converter of the heathen, no longer send 


out blessed men^ like Aidan and Boniface of 
old, Bishops with nothing but their apostolic 
powers, to bring whole nations within the one 
true fold ; and having done all this, it refused 
to make good the loss. This state of things 
could not, however, always last ; the state was 
at length shamed into something like its duty, 
and a few Colonial Bishops were appointed, — a 
sprinkling, just to show the greatness of our 
wants. In the extremity of our distress, we 
betook ourselves to the only true haven, — the 
Church ; and the state has been compelled to 
permit her, in some sort, to apportion out her 
own Sees, appoint her own Bishops, — 'unsatis- 
factorily enough, but yet this is the first faint 
dawn of day. One Bishop in a land which may 
need ten is, at least, a semblance of Apostolic 
government, a shadowing forth of the Catholic 
Church. Let us be thankful for this, and 
pray, and labour together with our prayers, 
that the other nine may not long be wanting. 

It is, however, time to put an end to a digression 
into which I have been led by the mention of 
the Colonial Bishoprics' fund. It has not, I trust, 
been a useless one ; it has opened a page in our 


history that tells of conduct painful and humi- 
liating to the highest degree; but one that 
should not be unread by any one who has his 
country^s interests at heart. And it is well that, 
amid all our brilliant anticipations of the future, 
our researches into the remains of good old 
things, we should not forget how grievously we 
have sinned, how grievously we have failed in 
our most obvious duties ; and that, though 
brighter days — thanks be to Providence ! — seem 
even now dawning upon us, we have yet a heavy 
debt to pay, and many sad stains of unrepented 
guilt to wash away. 

I now turn to the examination of how much 
may in each special instance be done by local 
and particular means. We will suppose a young 
and zealous clergyman to be appointed to a cure 
of souls. He has perhaps succeeded some fox- 
hunting, port-drinking parson of the old school, 
some dandy preacher of the new, full of the 
arrogance of that sect which calls itself ^^ evan- 
geUcal,^^ the disturber of Church order and 
Church ordinances, the companion of the schis- 
matic. In either case he will find his parish in 
a very imhappy and disorganized state, a state 


which it must be painful to every good church- 
man to behold. What is he to do first ? what 
last? How is he to temper his conduct, so 
as, by neither attempting too much at first to 
shock and frighten the uneducated, unreflect- 
ing minds of his flock, nor by holding too 
timidly back to lose the opportunity of doing 
that good, of effecting those reforms, which Pro- 
vidence seems to have especially put into his 
power ? These are questions which might often 
perplex the wisest head in the land, but which 
must, in some shape or other, present them- 
selves in these unhappy times to the mind of 
every clergyman who is desirous of honestly 
and truly acting up to his Ordination Vow. His 
task, in truth, is one of fearful magnitude, — to 
teach a whole community that they have all 
their life been in darkness of what it was above 
all important they should have known ; and 
that as their knowledge increased, so must their 
conduct change; that hitherto they had lived 
and thought as Lutherans or Calvinists, iso- 
lated individuals of a modern sect; that now 
they must behave themselves as Uving members 
of the Everlasting Spouse of Christ, the Holy 


Catholic Church, as members of Christ Himself. 
Wonderful change ! but one which has, during 
the last ten years, taken place in full many a 
mind throughout the land, and must take place 
in many more. It is the duty of every clergy- 
man to effect this change in his own parish ; 
once he has effected it there, he has done his 
share of the good work ; for as soon as every 
parish in England is reformed, the whole land 
is regenerated. 

It is clear that the very first step to be taken 
is, to bring home to the feeUngs and the lives of 
all, that which they must, when put theoreti- 
cally before them, with their intellects acknow- 
ledge, — though most men unhappily stop there, 
— that rehgion is not a mere Sunday thing ; 
that Holy Church has holy days besides her 
solemn weekly commemoration of Our Lord^s 
Resurrection, which must be observed; and 
that not even to them should reUgious assembly 
be confined; that daily prayer has been the 
heritage and high privilege of the Church from 
the beginning. This must be but the prelude 
to a far more important change, — the frequent, 
much more frequent celebration of those Holy 


Mysteries whereby we are retained in the unity 
of the Church. The public baptisms^ pubUc 
catechizing, and all other goodly rites must be 
restored ; and the charitable and religious so- 
cieties existing in the parish incorporated, as 
far as may be, into the system of the Church ; 
and others formed under her wing; and all 
made to draw their life and their authority from 
her alone, the mother of all beauty and all hoU- 
ness. And while our clergyman is thus labour- 
ing to restore a due respect for all the external 
rites of religion, he must be watchful, and ener- 
getic with his watching, to prevent these, his 
very exertions, from producing other and dif- 
ferent evils ; from men becoming satisfied with 
the orderly performance of these externals, in- 
stead of regarding them but as the types of 
great internal truths, and means whereby frail 
clinging man may attain the sublime heights 
of vital inward religion and virtue. He must, 
in Church and out of Church, enforce upon his 
flock the necessity of leading holy and self^ 
denying lives; without which it were better 
that they had never cast a thought upon the 
externals of Churchmanship. This is a wide 


and an interesting subject; so wide, indeed, 
and so interesting and important, that feeling 
my own incapacity to grapple with it, I must 
hurry over it. I have given an outline sketch 
of a few of the most needful steps, the rest I 
leave to be by abler hands filled up. It has 
been my lot, and a very happy one I feel it, to 
have been, for a considerable portion of the last 
few years, residing in a newly-formed ecclesias- 
tical district, with a new Church planted in the 
midst of a rural population, which, from their 
distance from the parish Church, had well-nigh 
altogether lost the idea of Church-going. They 
now have the services of the Church performed 
by their excellent clergyman, in the spirit of 
the Church, amongst them ; and a visible 
change has taken place. Things are not per- 
fect now, very far from it ; but who could ex- 
pect they should be ? 

There is, however, one point connected with 
this subject which, as it is one on which I have 
bestowed some Uttle thought and attention, and 
which has been to me a source of great interest 
and amusement, I may, in this place, venture 
to digress a little upon. I mean the revival of 


ecclesiastical art and architecture, considered in 
a ritual, that is, in a religious light. This re- 
vival has been so general, so sudden, and so 
striking, that all must have seen it ; and I hold 
it to be of no little importance, in a religious 
point of view, towards bringing England back 
to a sounder state of Churchmanship. Sceptics 
may sneer and say. What can stones, and wood, 
and glass have to do with the religious state of 
any people ? But in so doing, they do but show 
their ignorance of some of the first principles of 
human nature, principles known nearly nineteen 
hundred years ago as well as they are now, or 
else Horace never would have said that which 
has passed into a proverb — 

'* Segnius irritant animum demissa per aures 
Quam quae sint oculis submissa fidelibus." 

These, however, are not the true grounds to 
defend this revival upon, it is indicative of 
higher and holier feelings than mere utilita- 
rianism, though that utilitarianism be a religious 
one. It involves the* principle of honouring 
God with our choicest offerings; of making 
His House, by its costliness and its beauty, as 


far as human hands can make it, worthy of His 
Worship and His Holy Presence ; and we may be 
sure that such an object, humbly and sincerely 
undertaken, will be crowned with a blessing 
from The Almighty ; and what better blessing 
can we pray for than the restoration of His 
Holy Church ? This revival is, however, an in- 
stance of the workings of the spirit of obedi- 
ence ; inasmuch as it is an attempt to make our 
material Churches, in their forms, in their archi- 
tecture, and in their spirit, the most convenient 
to perform our solemn service in, and to carry 
out our ritual laws. 

It is true, that holiest Catholic hearts have 
prayed and taught in the vilest of modem con- 
venticles (for they hardly deserve a better name) ; 
but no man will say that the material form of 
these Churches has had any influence in making 
these persons what they are. On the other 
hand, there is something in the very aspect of 
a vast Cathedral, or rich and gorgeous Church, 
repulsive to the cold doctrines of Calvinian 
unbelief^ whensoever they shall be heard in 
them; something that would disincline the 


hearer to accept such piteous misrepresentation 
of the Faith of ages. 

This revival of Ecclesiology, to adopt a mo- 
dern but very convenient term, is a branch of 
the blessed undertaking in which laymen may 
fitly engage, as it requires no veiy abstruse ac- 
quaintance with deep points of theology; and 
any one who shall attend to it, may rest as- 
sured that he has not embarked upon a useless 

Such are the observations which I have to 
make, fragmentary and incomplete as I know 
them to be, on the character of the English 
people, regarded with a view to present difficul- 
ties and their remedy. Because upon the diffi- 
culties I have not dilated, I beg it may not be 
supposed that I have underrated them ; their 
extent is appalling, but the mere looking at the 
extent of an evil, without at once and without 
delay seeking for a proportionate remedy, is, in 
my opinion, but a vain philosophy. Let its 
magnitude be at once acknowledged, and then 
let all our energies be directed to its removal, 
not to its description. Let it not be supposed 


that when I advocate the Catholicizing of Eng- 
land^ as the sole effectual and permanent re^ 
medy, under Providence, for her ills, that I am 
advocating any sudden or violent revolution, 
any unforeseen shock to the present state of 
things. Far from it; the Church, like the older 
Temple, must be reared silently and slowly, with 
not a grating iron heard to break the holy calm. 
I advocate nothing that has not, for the last 
several years, been going on around us and 
amongst us ; a change that must be wrought 
parish by parish and house by house, until at 
length th^ whole land shall be leavened. And 
happy will that morning be when the glad 
Church bells shall tell of each recurring Festival, 
and the bond of Church fellowship shall link all 
ranks together, and Advent, and Lent, and 
Eastertide shall be no longer empty names, 
and England shall again be hailed ^^The Isle of 

p 2 







Towards the end of the eighteenth and the 
beginning of the nineteenth centuiy, the atten- 
tion of our English scholars was exclusively 
devoted to the study of the Greek language, 
and that in a spirit which, with all respect to 
the talents of those who had devoted them- 
selves to its cultivation, cannot but be charac- 
terized as unsatisfactory. In the first place, the 
range of authors whom they included in their 
researches was extremely circumscribed, and 
then even more circumscribed were the objects 
which they proposed to themselves in those re- 
searches; the investigation of the origin and 
philosophy of language was neglected ; no his- 
torical illustration, no appreciation of poetical 
beauty, was allowed a place within their pages. 


The attention of those scholars was exclusively 
devoted to the framing of minute canons of 
criticism about this particle and that, and the 
enacting precise rules to curb the structure of 
the Iambic verse— canons and laws which 
older men than they had felt, though they had 
never expressed them, and often, like -^schylus 
of yore, transgressed their stringencies. A few 
years later, the natural resilience of the general 
pacification of 1815 brought us more into con- 
tact with the Continent than we had ever been 
before; and the more daring, bolder, though 
perilous flights of German criticism naturally 
attracted the attention of those youthful minds 
that had so long been feeding on Porson's un- 
enlivening technicalities. 

The result of these two combined influences 
was, as naturally might have been supposed, 
that the Latin language was, so to speak, 
utterly neglected. Men would not apply them- 
selves to it ; and they cloaked their wilfulness 
by pretending that Latin, compared with her 
elder sister, was hardly worthy the attention 
of scholars ; that it was so much inferior in 
copiousness and power of expression; in phi- 


lology 80 easy, so void of nice diflferences, and 
of those minuter shades, the dividing of which 
makes the great critic, as to render a profound 
and laborious study of it a comparative loss of 
time. The plain interpretation of which magni- 
loquence was, that they did not choose to take 
thfi trouble of sounding the depths of the Latin 
tongue. They shut their eyes to its yastness 
and its grandeur, and termed it poor and bare. 
Because, happily for the Latin tongue, no 
Porson had sprung up to ticket its turns of 
thought, and build up pompous rules on 
Virgil's golden flow of song, they said that 
Latin syntax was an easy thing. Schoolboys 
naturally caught their superiors' tone, and 
their superiors trained schoolboys in their own 
fashion ; besides which the honours and the 
emoluments of classical learning fell to the 
Grecian's share. Cambridge, by acceptance of 
the Porson prize, secured for the time the un- 
social supremacy of Greek, and Oxford soon 
followed in her wake ; albeit, by the institution 
of the annual Latin scholarship, founded out 
of the funds of Hertford College, she showed 


she felt the error of the neglect, and made 
this effort, which though hitherto not very 
effectual, may yet, I trust, be of utility towards 
preserving the knowledge of the once universal 

The result of this has been, that, with several 
brilliant exceptions, oiu: academic lecture-rooms 
have been far too much haunted by what are 
called good scholars, from public or from pri- 
vate schools ; that is to say, young men who 
have read Thucydides and a few other books 
with tolerable care, and who are able to hitch 
off many a Greek Iambic by the hour, with a 
fragment of iEschylus here, and half a line from 
Euripides there, and have set forms of words 
whereby to Anglicise some of the commoner 
idioms of the Greek tongue ; but who have very 
little conception how indispensable it is towards 
the rightful using of that honourable title to 
be possessed of an analogous acquaintance with 
the sister tongue, so as to be competent to write 
a copy of Latin verses with spirit and elegance, 
to translate a page of Livy with grammatical 
precision, and to render a piece of easy English 


into any form of words, that Cicero would not 
have felt some awkwardness in not laughing at 
for their solecisms. 

It is by no means implied in these ob- 
servations, that Latin should in our estimation 
be given the superiority over Greek. The 
harsher tongues of Italy never framed combina- 
tions of vowels so sweet and so sonorous as 
those the Hellenes have poured forth, — most 
sweetly and most sonorously in their first and 
greatest poet. It was in that wondrous lan- 
guage that the smooth sunny flow of Herodotus, 
the grandeur of JEschylus, the gravity of 
Thucydides, the versatility of Aristophanes, 
the depth of Plato and of the Stagyrite, — the 
one the perfection of ornate, the other of un- 
adorned i^asoning, — found their adequate ex- 
pression. Of Latin, however, I vnll assert, 
that it possesses a vitality which never belonged 
to Greek. The one is dead, gone long ago, 
extinct in the verbose and hyperbolical Chroni- 
cles of that most wretched court, the Byzantine 
empire ; its only monument as a living tongue is 
a corrupt and barbarous dialect, which, strange 
to be related, rejects its own appropriate 


name^ and entitles itself by the appellation 
of the rival language ; while Latin lives every 
where, and will for ever live, the universal 

It may not be uninteresting to take a hurried 
view of the rise and the mutations of this mar- 
vellous language, in order thereby the better to 
form an estimate of its capabilities and its 
excellencies. There is no need, in so doing, to 
extol with pompous praise 

Romanos reruin dominos, gentemque togatam. 

If his spirit be very much to be deprecated, 
and it be matter of regret that he has deprived 
us of so many a bright association, yet Nie- 
buhr in this at least deserves credit, that he 
has provided us with materials towards forming 
a juster estimate of the Roman character than 
we before possessed ; and herein appears to con- 
sist, if it may be permitted me so to say, his 
chief merit as an historian, namely, in minute 
refutation: when he attempts to reconstruct, 
then he fails. I have guardedly said minute refu- 
tation ; for I am far from being prepared to hold 
with him, that Numa never reigned, nor Servius 


I fell, nor Troy beheld Rome's origin. The ear* 
liest remnant of the Latin tongue now extant 
is the Hynm of the Fratres Ambarvales, of the 
old days of the monarchy, a rude, uncouth 
fragment of a few lines long, discovered on a 
stone some sixty or seventy years ago, so dif- 
ferent from any thing like the Latin tongue of 
other days, that its interpretation has been the 
work of scholars. After that, of the language 
of centuries we possess nothing but a few laws 
and inscriptions, sufficient to furnish food to 
philologists, and that is all. At last, we come 
to the fiiU burst of the. majestic Latin tongue, 
not indeed in the exuberant grandeur of ma- 
turity, but rejoicing in healthful youth, vigor- 
ous, natural, and boisterous, in the comedies of 
Plautus, and in the trumpet-toned verses of 
that grand old poet Ennius, of whom few frag- 
ments yet remain, — but these sufficient to de- 
note, that through his rough uncultivated 
lines shone forth a genius, fiery, daring, and 

I lofty, — and in the antique and homely saws of 
that shrewd farmer and politician Cato. The 
cruelty of civil war checked not the Romans in 
the maturing of their language, now that re- 


finement was the order of the day. We soon 
come to the golden era of the classical Latin 
language, to the rich verse of Lucretius, to the 
Thucydidean pithiness of Sallust, to the ele- 
gant versatility of Cicero, rising at times almost 
to grandeur, to the grave enthusiasm of Livy, 
the art of Horace, the studied perfection of 

Time ran on, and Rome became still more 
than ever the sink of all vice, and that same 
language which had bent to Catullus' mea- 
sures, sounded in the mouth of Juvenal and 
Tacitus the stem severe reprovers of misdeeds. 
But the mighty machine of the old Roman 
empire moved onward, ever sustaining a gradual 
change, and the same language was made the 
vehicle of thoughts far diflferent to Ausonius 
and Claudian. In the meanwhile, the world's 
greatest revolution had taken place, and the 
Latin tongue, the tongue of Numa and of Ovid, 
in the hands of a Hilary and an Augustine, 
became the fit and clear exponent of the deep- 
est mysteries of the Catholic Faith, imbibing 
into her essence new words, new forms, new 
ideas, the same and yet another language. Nor 


was this change confined to prose ; S. Ambrose 
and Prudentius showed that Christian Latin 
poetry might exist, and bequeathed an inherit- 
ance to the Church of immortal verse, of a 
gravity, a terseness, and yet a fervour, that 
would, I believe, have been unattainable in 
Greek; while Latin, ever versatile, showed in S. 
Jerome^s hands, that she might assume a He- 
brew dress, and express in her majestic phraseo- 
logy the very spirit of inspired men of old. 

The Roman empire fell, and all her tradi- 
tions ; but her language, thus filled with new 
vigour and a new existence, perished not, but 
instinct as it were with second youth, displayed, 
in the sublime eloquence of S. Gregory the 
Great, how vast her power was. Far difierent 
was his vocabulary, far difierent his cadences, 
from those of Cicero : but why, therefore, is he 
to be termed barbarous, as if by a divine char- 
ter perfection had been granted but to one 
phase of the Latin tongue ? Latin, no longer 
the distinctive tongue of any one nation, (the. 
few tribes who on the borders of Hungary 
and Poland had and still have it in vernacular 
use scarcely forming an exception,) became the 


universal medium of communication to all tfai 
nations which had settled in the various region 
of Europe ; the great moving cause of which re 
markable event was^ without a doubt^ its havin{ 
been the language of the Western Church 
Then the Pandects of Justinian were, if no 
discovered, yet brought into notice by the cap 
ture of Amalfi ; and the Roman tongue, already 
their inhabitant, became together with th< 
Roman law the rightful denizen of Gothic 
courts. Chroniclers who wrote for posterity 
treasured up the memory of past things ir 
Roman phrase. Leases were granted, char- 
ters drawn up, letters written in Latin. Latin 
assuming another of her various forms, became 
the appropriate and adequate vehicle for the 
deepest researches of the mighty doctors of the 
Mediaeval schools. Strange form this was tc 
the pedants of the Ciceronian school, but nol 
less perfect for their objects than that of Cicerc 
for his : while piety and devotion glowed deep 
and strong from prayers sublime, and thrilling 

It has been the habit, now, I trust, wearing 
away, for men to deride the Latin of the Mid- 


Idle Ages ; and because it was not the Latin of 
Augustus's court, to reckon it a mere barba- 
rous jargon. It is difficult to say whether 
such an opinion is more distinguished for shal- 
lowness or for pedantry. This difference in 
truth was the high merit of that tongue. A 
new state of things, new thoughts, new feel- 
ings had grown up; and surely it is great 
praise to any language thus entirely to accom- 
modate itself to them, — to throw off its old cha- 
racter, and be as much at home in its new one, 
to mould itself to the wants of every age and 
every nation. 

Thus time rolled on, and men got fretful, 
and controversial, and critical ; and Latin was 
found the most appropriate vehicle for their 
controversies, and the most convenient medium 
of explaining her own difficulties, the language 
of scholars and commentators ; while the bound- 
less facility of abuse ready at hand to a Scali- 
ger to overwhelm an opponent with, showed 
how deep he and his race must have dived into 
the stream of Suburran vulgarism. 

At length the Latin tongue, before so flourish- 
ing, fell into a partial eclipse, as far, that is, as 



its being the political language of Europe^ the 
language of diplomatic negotiators^ and as such 
it was supplanted by its most degenerate off- 
shoot^ French. This, that is the adoption of a 
modem tongue as the conventional language of 
state intercourse, is, as I have somewhere seen 
very sensibly stated, a great political mischief, 
inasmuch as it must of necessity give that na- 
tion whose language shall be adopted an undue 
and fictitious consideration. Were English to 
be the chosen tongue, the same truth would 
hold good, though we might hot be so will- 
ing to own it. This, combined with the fact of 
French, from its illogical smoothness and its 
facility of expressing nothings, (arising from its 
incapacity for greater things,) having been 
adopted as the , conventional language of sa- 
loons, has made it within the last two centuries 
almost arrogate to itself the rank of an uni- 
versal language, as is manifest from the num- 
ber of authors of Italy, Germany, and other 
foreign lands, who have chosen it as the safest 
vehicle for transmitting their thoughts to pos- 
terity. Our national character has, in the 
main, kept us more free from this fault than 


any other nation : and yet the study of Latin 
has been^ perhaps^ more neglected in England 
than in any other country ; a fact which, how- 
ever, is not surprising, when we consider, on 
the one hand, the religious reasons which make 
the knowledge of it indispensable in many 
lands abroad, and, on the other, the dogged 
perseverance of the Germans. It was not in- 
I deed that hours after hours were not spent on 
'i the study of this language, but this was done 
in a superficial, unimproying way. In our 
public schools, to .which I am referring, the 
knowledge of Latin was at length reduced to 
imply little more than a facility in Latin verse 
composition ; and then, to complete its down- 
fall, came the Porsonian era, with the descrip- 
tion of which I have commenced this essay. 

What we desiderate is the diffusion of an 
accurate and sound, and yet sufficiently com- 
prehensive study of the philology of the Latin 
language, as an integral portion of general 
education. This will furnish a discipline for 
the mind which can be found neither in the 
exclusive cultivation of Latin verse, nor in the 
exclusive study of Greek philology, the Scylla 

G 2 


and Charybdis between which our bark of edu- 
cational scholarship has long been tossed. The 
reason for this superiority is to be sought in the 
different nature of the Latin and the Greek lan- 
guages. A slight acquaintance with Greek prose^ 
or the Greek drama^ will be sufficient to point out 
how technical^ so to speak, its grammar is ; to 
what an extent the sense and the force of dif- 
ferent passages depends, not so much upon the 
collocation or the choice of words, as upon the 
use of qertain particles or certain set phrases. 
Now these particles and these phrases are capa- 
ble of being learned by rote, and then either 
translated into English, when there is a ques- 
tion of translation, or applied, when composi- 
tion is the order of the day, mechanically. 
That this is extensively the case, any one must 
admit who has watched of late years our schools 
and our universities. Latin, on the other hand, 
is not so rich in particles as Greek, nor so 
dexterous in their application, for bringing out 
minuter shades of meaning, and is consequently 
more dependant upon the due collocation of 
words : and further, in this due collocation of 
its words, a great part of its beauty consists ; so 


much SO; that Latin grammarians have not 
thought it beneath them to draw up rules, 
showing what poetical feet should end sen- 
tences, of how many syllables it was advisable 
that the last word should consist, which Cicero 
liked, and which he rejected ; and in this col- 
location much of that majesty which is so dis- 
tinguishing a characteristic of the Latin tongue 
resides. Of course collocation was not of that 
vital importance to Latin which it is to modern 
languages like our own, where inflections of 
case are not denoted by corresponding inflec- 
tions of termination ; but still it was of very 
great importance. This collocation, it is clear, 
cannot be made a matter of rote like the appli- 
cation of particles ; and as a necessary conse- 
quence it must follow, that Latin prose com- 
position, considered educationally, and in the 
light of a discipline of the mind, must be a 
more useful exercise than Greek. In truth, it 
requires some thought and some logical pre- 
cision so to adjust and balance one's words, as 
to transfer a sentence of English prose into 
Latin, as at once to express with tolerable 
accuracy the sense of the original, and yet not 


to do this in rough and solecistic phrase. Ori- 
ginal composition of course is easier, as in it 
the composer possesses the choice both of word 
and of idea. Consequently, though our schools 
have produced, of late years, several very re- 
spectable writers of original Latin prose, yet 
the badness of the general run of translated 
exercises is quite proverbial. 

Perhaps of all the branches of classical com- 
position, the one of the least prominent utility 
is that very fashionable one, Greek Iambics. 
It is notorious, that what is called composing 
them, is, in truth, for the most part, nothing 
more than making a cento of remembered and 
half-remembered scraps of Greek tragedy, pieced 
together so as to represent as accurately as 
may be the sense of that portion of English 
verse which may have been proposed for trans- 
lation, for few examiners have been hardy 
enough to entail upon themselves a rifad- 
mento of the Poeta Scenici by proposing ori- 
ginal Iambics. This, of course, is but a me- 
chanical labour, and tends but little towards 
fashioning the mind. If we look over the 
exercises which at Cambridge, and in our pub- 


lie schools^ have gained prizes in this branch 
of composition^ we shall find that, with a few 
Yeiy brilliant exceptions^ they show little more 
than a considerable accuracy of reading in 
the Greek tragedians, seldom much originality* 
The truth is, that Oreek Iambics are about the 
easiest sort of classical composition, — a fact of 
which people, a few years ago, were not aware. 
Fresh from the exclusive study of Latin verse, 
the name of Greek frightened them. They are 
also, as I have endeavoured to show, the most 
useless, upon the whole; — not, indeed, that 
they are to be repudiated; they have their ad- 
vantages, it is true, though these consist chiefly 
in this, that they form a very usefrd praxis 
upon Greek tragedy. A much nobler, more 
original, and more improving style of composi- 
tion to cultivate, would be that of Greek Hexa- 
meters, which were once somewhat in vogue in 
England, but are now almost entirely forgotten* 
From the structure of the verse, and the cha- 
racter of the great model we should have to 
follow in them, it is impossible to construct 
them in the mosaic fashion that we do Iambic 
verse. Homer's glorious swell of verse cannot 



^e cut up^ and dissected, and reconstructed, 
with the same facility that we do the more 
artificial and prosaic lines of the tragic poets. 
Added to which, Oreek Hexameters offer facili- 
ties for original composition that are not found 
in the newer metre, which, for any other sub- 
ject except dialogue and didactics, and what 
may be called educational poetry, is nearly in- 
applicable, — that is to say, for more than a few 

It is trusted that what has been said at the 
beginning of the last paragraph may not be 
construed to the disparagement of the study of 
Latin verse, — a fault which, by a natural run- 
ning into extremes, many persons of considera- 
ble judgment have been guilty of, at the break- 
ing up of the old system of exclusive study of 
verse composition. Latin verse, — at least, the 
Hexameter, and, I may add, the Alcaic verse,— 
is eminently useful as a means of training the 
imagination, without, at the same time, eman- 
cipating it too much from the control of the 
severer parts of the intellect. The composition, 
being in a learned language, of necessity re- 
quires some knowledge of grammar, in order to 



the first undertaking of it; at the same tin* 
that the poet should be taught not to rest the 
beauty of his production on its thoughts and 
its imagery alone^ but to devote considerable 
care and attention to the elegance of his idiom^ 
and the varied and full rhythm of his verse. 
The same advantages attach to the study of 
Greek Hexameters. I am far more doubtful 
about the advantage of devoting much labour 
to the cultivation, as heretofore was done, oi* 
the Hexameter and Pentameter metre, or as 
boys, with happy brevity, style it, ^^ longs and 
shorts.^^ The disadvantages of Greek Iambics 
may, in a great measure, be predicated of this 
verse also; besides that, for a practical ac- 
quaintance with its niceties, the only Latin 
wet to refer to is Ovid, who, for several rea- 
lons, is, though one of the most used, at the 
lame time one of the least useful educational 
This disuse of Latin has paved the way to, 
t the same time that it has been fostered and 
icreased by, a very slipshod and injurious cus- 
Dm, which has of late years prevailed to a con- 
iderable extent, — that of editing Greek classics 


with English notes, and pubUshing Greek lexi- 
cons with English explanations, — a habit tracer 
able in part to a fatal leniency, and in part t« 
indolence, in those engaged as authors and ai 
teachers in the work of education. A good 
deal, at first sight, might, I own, be said ii 
favour of this, from the increased faciUty tc 
learners, and the necessity of making the patl 
of learning, within proper Umits, as easy af 
possible ; but, in practice, it has worked ill — i1 
has produced superficial scholars. The liberty 
which using their vernacular tongue affords 
them, has induced these commentators, these 
editors of ** School and College Classics,*^ to be 
at once prolix and inaccurate, difiuse and un- 
satisfactory. It is true, that these editions a1 
first promised to be merely for the use oi 
schools, as if precision, and a familiar use oi 
Latin as an understandable language, were not. 
in the early days of education, when so mucli 
of the formation of character takes place, of the 
highest importance. In time, however, they 
took a higher flight; and as their flight became 
more aspiring, so their fault became more glar- 
ing. The evil is, however, at last working its 


own cure; and as a proof that the day of 
Yemacularized scholarship is passing away, I 
may mention with satisfaction, that the Greek 
Grammar which is now obtaining favour in our 
greatest schools, is one drawn up, a few years 
ago, by a distinguished scholar in the learned 
tongue of Christendom. 

On the whole, I hope and I trust that the 
ill state of things, which I have in this Essay 
lamented, is one now already passing away. If 
my feeble protest shall have, in any degree, 
conduced to hasten its departure, I shall be 
most sincerely happy. One thing, however, is 
certain, that the study of Latin must hereafter 
be a generous and a comprehensive one, if it be 
meant that, once restored, it should maintain 
its ground ; that it must be treated, not as a 
dead, but as a living tongue; that men must 
not confine themselves to the dialect of one 
period of time, but grasp the language of all 
ages and every country. 



" Noble Britons spronge of Trojans bolde, 
And Troynovant was built of old Troy's ashes colde." 

So thought the English nation for many a glo- 
rious century of Faith. No doubt then crossed 
their minds that Brute of Troy had landed oh 
our *^ white-cliffed shore/* and founded in this 
far bright island of the west a noble kingdom. 
It was a happy belief^ and sure a harmless one^ 
that Britain's power first showed itself in the 
hands of Ilian kings ; that her primeval forests 
first fell beneath the axe of those whose ances- 
tors had, for twice five years, withstood the 
chivalry of Greece, the bold defenders of Troy 

(town — 
HpiaiiOQ Ktti Xabg IvfifiiXua Upidfioio, 

Then, over the bright fires of castle and of 


humbler grange, wild legends were sung of 
Britain's long captivity ; of his fierce conflicts 
with gigantic Gogmagog ; of his son Locrine's 
misdeeds, and poor Sabrina's death ; of Lear 
and Bladud, and Kudhudibras, and Lud who 
first built Ludgate, and Brennus, and Belinus^ 

** Who gave to sovereign Rome such dread alarms." 

All at once this gorgeous inheritance of old 
glory, this famous history, is gone, 

'^ Gone like a morning dream, or like a pile 
Of clouds, that in cerulean ether blazed." 

No man, not one remembers it any more ; or if 
recalled, it is but to provoke a sneer at the 
blindness, and the ignorance, and the supersti- 
tion of our ancestors, that could have framed so 
ridiculous a fable : no heart, no sympathy with 
the treasured belief of many a long age. Bri- 
tain, till the fierce Roman civilized it, was but 
a howling forest, full of wild beasts, and yet 
more savage men, — a very wilderness. 

This abandonment of all belief in and all re- 
gard for the old Trojan legend, was one of the • 
most gratuitous pieces, I will not say of gene- I 


Tosity, for no man was benefited thereby, but 
of stolidity, that any nation was ever guilty of; 
it was at once to resign a precious deposit of 
beautiful old imagery, a rich store of poetry, of 
historical association, of long-treasured enthu- 
siasm ; and to get what in return ? nothing but 
the fancied consciousness of the greater acute- 
ness of our own noble selves, compared with the 
men of other days, — a coin more worthless and 
more unsubstantial than fairy money. What 
if the details of this history could not be proved 
with the mathematical acciu*acy that attends the 
demonstration of the pons asinorum in Euclid ; 
are they therefore altogether to be rejected as 
Utterly baseless? Is no historical fact ever 
admitted to be even possible, which has not 
been scanned in all its dimensions ? What if 
this long-despised Trojan tale should after all 
turn out to be one which, like other disputed 
points in the old world^s history, admits of 
arguments for its truth as well as assertions 
against its possibility ? if, after all, the fa- 
shionable notions, at least, of the utter savage- 
ness of the British race should prove untrue 
and impossible ? This I shall leave to be con- 



fessed or denied by the readers of this Essay^ 
according to the opinion they may form of the . 
arguments^ which I shall bring forward. 

Some few years ago appeared a book^ certainly , 
very remarkable in its object, and displaying - 
considerable talent and research in its execution, 
entitled ^^ Caesar and the Britons/' by the Rev. 
H. Barry, a late Fellow of Queen's College, 
Oxford. Its object is to prove that our ances- ^ 
tors were much maligned by Caesar ; that as he - 
had failed in his attempts on our island, so, like ^ 
the fox in the fable, he returned, crying " Sour ^ 
grapes ! '' and making out a case against us as 
utterly barbarous, and unworthy of the attention 
of being conquered ; when the truth was, that Bri- - 
tain was, in point of fact, enjoying a considerable ^ 
degree of civilization, and possessed of su£Scient 
military tactic to baffle mighty Julius. This 
leads him to treat of the civilization of the whole 
Celtic race, which, by a fortiori arguments, he 
applies to the British division of it. In the \^ 
course of the work he gives eiprScis of the his- ^ 
tory of the Trojan kings, which he is inclined L 
to admit. The whole work is very ingenious; ^ 
and I shall, in the course of this dissertation, L 


make considerable use of its arguments. Be- 
fore, however, going any further, I must pre- 
mise, that to much ingenuity there is joined in 
the work in question a good deal of what is 
fantastical and untenable, which I must at the 
outset protest against, lest any one who should 
read it should assiune that I had embraced its 
opinions in toto. Such, for instance, is Mr. 
Barry^s dream about the origin of Gothic ar- 
chitecture, that, in reality, it was Phoenician 
iirchitecture, the architecture of the Britons 
before the arrival of the Romans. 

The great source from which subsequent his- 
torians and poets drew their materials for the 
Ante-Caesarian history of England, is, as is well 
known, the work of Geoffrey, Archdeacon of 
Monmouth, in the twelfth century, who wrote 
a History of Britain in seven books, professing 
to have derived it from ancient British sources. 
The originals from which he drew his accounts 
have never been found; and it has therefore 
been supposed that this was but a plausible 
introduction to a bold and impudent forgery ; 
and, accordingly, Geoffrey's name has for many 
years been held up to nothing but opprobrium 



and disgrace ; as if, forsooth, manuscripts, per- 
haps in his days old, must after centuries be 
forthcoming, to gratify the cavils of antiquarian 
critics ; as if, in so troubled a country as Wales, 
parchment must be everlasting. But then they 
will tell us that it is strange that, even so early 
as the twelfth century, one or two records only 
of so famous a history should exist; if these 
events be at all true, then assuredly many would 
have been the records of them. Let these ob- 
jectors remember the Pandects of Justinian, a 
work of much more general and practical in- 
terest, and recall how many copies of them ex- 
isted in Italy at that time. In truth, the case 
of Abyssinian Bruce, who, because he had 
recounted nothing very marvellous, but sim- 
ply a custom not half so brutal and disgust- 
ing as those already known to exist in savage 
nations, was for many years reckoned an impu- 
dent impostor, should be a warning against 
forming rash judgments of modern or of medi- 
aeval writers. I have myself read the earher 
part of Geoffrey's History; and whether it may 
have been that I went to it with prejudiced 
eyes, and determined to see all things therein 


contained at the best colouring possible^ I cer- 
tainly thought that there was an au* of truth 
and faithfulness about his descriptions^ an art- 
lessness^ and that untutored interUning of little 
incidents, which distinguishes true history from 

But perhaps it will be best to let the good 
Archdeacon tell his own story. He thus simply, 
and, as it seems to me, with an appearance of 
truth, commences his narration: *^When, as 
" oftentimes by myself I turned over in my mind 
^^many things, and concerning many persons, I 
"used to fall upon the history of the Kings of 
"Britain, I esteemed it a marvellous thing, 
" that amid the commemoration, which of those 
"things Gildas and Bede had made in eloquent 
"style, I had discovered nothing of the Kings 
" who had inhabited Britain before the Incama- 
" tion of Christ, nor nothing either of Arthur and 
" of very many others who have succeeded after 
" the Incarnation, when both their deeds were 
" worthy of the praise of eternity, and are as if 
" inscribed with pleasure, and with remembrance 
"proclaimed by many races of men (^a multis 
"^populis quasi inscripta jocunde et memoriter 


^^praedicentur^). To me, oftentimes thinking 
^^ such things, and of such like matters, did Wal- 
" ter. Archdeacon of Oxford, a man learned in 
*^ the art of oratory and in foreign histories, pre- 
^^ sent a certain most ancient book, in the British 
" tongue, which, in very beautiful discourse, set 
^^ forth continuously and in order the acts of all, 
" from Brutus the first King of the Britons, up to 
^^ Cadwalader, son of Cadwalon. And so^ induced 
"by his request, albeit I have culled no high^ 
" crested words in other men's gardens, yet con- 
" tent with rustic style and my own reeds, I have 
" taken pains to translate that manuscript into 
" the Latin tongue. For had I bedaubed my page 
**with learned forms of diction, I should have 
" amassed weariness for my readers, while they 
" were compelled to spend more time in explain- 
" ing my words than in comprehending the his- 
" tory. Wherefore,ORobert,Dukeof Gloucester, 
'^ook favourably upon my work, that so with 
" thee as my guide, with thee as my monitor, it 
^^ may be corrected; so that it may not be deemed 
" to have taken its rise from the small fountain 
" of Geoffrey of Monmouth, but as seasoned with 
" the salt of thy wisdom ; that it may be deemed 


"his work whose father is Henry, the illustrious 
" King of the English, whom philosophy hath 
"instructed in liberal arts, whom his innate 
"goodness in military affairs hath placed at the 
"head of soldiers ; whence Britain, with internal 
"aflfection, congratulates thee now in our times, 
"as having obtained another Henry .^^ 

Let us consider this passage attentively, and 
bit by bit ; but first let us see what the accusa« 
tion against Geoffirey is. He is denounced as 
having, in the mint of his own fertile brain, 
corned a long history of many centuries, con- 
taining the feats of many a famous King, and 
publishing it as a piece of the ancient annals of 
his own land ; which, after having for many a 
year lain hid, was at length discovered, and by 
him made known to the world, — which history, 
on the faith of his assertion, became "hencefor- 
ward^ and for a long time, matter of general 
beUef. Now, to such a theory, this prologue 
does, I maintain, give no confirmation : nay, so 
fer from giving any confirmation, it afibrds 
strong presumptive evidence against its possi- 
bility, as will, in the course of the examination, 
be made clear. A forger would probably have 


begun with some burst of self-laudatory or 
mock-modest exclamation at his felicity in hav- 
ing been the discoverer of long-lost truth, the 
re-opener of the " marvellous current of for- 
gotten things ;^^ perhaps entered into a psycho- 
logical enumeration of his own feelings, — his 
surprise, his delight at the discovery. Geoffrey 
does no such thing ; he says that he had often 
deemed it a marvellous thing, that of these 
early Kings, no mention should have been made 
by S. Gildas and S. Bede, ^^ Oftentimes deemed 
it a marvellous thing,'^ — Would a forger have 
dared to have been so impudent, as to pretend^ 
to have been for a long time surprised at not 
having discovered any mention of these facts in 
the standard historians of the country ? Such 
a swagger would infalUbly have at once drawn 
down discovery and ridicule upon the maker of 
it. But perhaps the memory of these events 
was so obscure already, confined to so few per- 
sons, and the facilities of intercourse, literary 
and otherwise,, so scanty, as to have made the 
bravado safe to an historian of the twelfth 
century. This I deny, considering the great 
literary intercourse existing between different 


religious houses ; but, for the purpose of argu- 
ment, conceding the objection, what does Geof- 
frey go on to say? He ventures roundly, and 
with assurance, to assert, that his surprise was 
mcreased from these events being "with plea- 
sure, and with remembrance, proclaimed by 
many races of men, as if inscribed,^^ (a multis 
populis quasi inscripta jocunde et memoriter 
praedicentur). Here, then, is an assertion ten 
times more bold than the former — one which 
no author not anonymous, few anonymous, and 
none certainly holding the high station which 
Geoffrey held, would have dared, (however much 
they might wish it,) to make, had it not been 
true — to pretend that many tribes of our own 
land held an ancient and wide-spread belief of 
many a famous deed, and many a famous man, 
which deeds and men no man had ever heard 
of. Psalmanazar's Formosan forgery is not a 
case in point ; — ^he was a penniless adventurer, 
and wrote of a far distant and little known 
land; Geoffrey, a dignitary of the Church, 
told of his own country ; — and yet how soon 
were the impostures of Psalmanazar made evi- 
dent. But from whom was it that Geoffrey 


professed to have derived his ancient manuscript, 
which gave him some clearer insight than he 
before possessed into these old days ? A forger 
would have conjured up some unknown donor 
for his imexisting book, some obscure Ubrary; 
Geoffery received his from Walter, Archdea- 
con of Oxford, a man famous for his orato- 
rical and historical acquirements. Would a 
forger have been bold enough either to have 
compromised a name so respectable from sta- 
tion and from learning; or, at all events, to 
have drawn down upon himself from Walter or 
his friends the shame of a discovery? The 
truth seems to be this, that Geofirey had al- 
ready made himself conspicuous for his devo- 
tion to, perhaps his enthusiasm for, the ancient 
British history, which was but imperfectly 
known ; and that, accordingly, when Archdea- 
con Walter had discovered a book which con- 
tained more ample infbrmation on the matter, 
aware of its value, he handed it over to one 
whom he knew was the best qualified to make 
a profitable use of it, with injunctions to make 
the events therein recorded of public property, 
by recording them in Latin. What I have 


said does not immediately tell one way or the 
other in regard to the truth of the facts re- 
corded in the history in question, {mediately, 
of course it does ; as, on the one supposition, 
they are traditional, and, therefore, may be 
true, — on the other, they are a pure invention ;) 
but it does tell vitally as to the character of the 
Archdeacon of Monmouth, if, instead of his 
having been a romancer, it should be proved 
that he but recorded the ancient belief of his 
countrymen. Of the existence of this belief 
we shall find traces, as I shall soon prove, in 
the accidental mention which Nennius makes of 
Brute. To prove such belief, it is not neces- 
sary that long, elaborate annals should be 
produced ; a few words like those of Nennius, 
coupled with the internal evidence of Geoffrey^s 
prologue, would be sufficient to establish it. 
The silence of S. Bede, which he marvels at, 
might easily be explained, considering that the 
subject of his History was the Saxon Church, 


and that the multifarious studies of that great 
and holy man seem not to have led to the 
investigation of British Antiquities; and that 
the Saxon Church had as little cause to be 


-••5SS— - 




was written, the British manuscript had, proba- 
bly, in the eyes of his contemporaries, lost its 
value, and no care, therefore, would be taken 
to multiply copies of it; besides which, the 
dreadfiil havoc made upon the ancient litera- 
ture of our land, at the dissolution of monaste- 
ries, must be taken into account. It is possible 
that some persons may try to take a middle 
course, by confessing to the existence of the 
Trojan traditions in Britain, and yet alleging that 
the discovery of the manuscript in question was 
but an invention to cover an ingenious romance 
founded upon them. In the first place, however, 
such an hypothesis is purely gratuitous ; and, 
secondly, the concurrent facts tell against it ; — 
for, as I have before said, had the manuscript 
existed but in nubilms, a man of the character 
which Walter seems to have had, and of the 
station which he certainly held, would not have 
been selected as the individual from whom 
Geoflfrey professed to have received the work ; 
besides which, there seems to be in the history 
itself internal marks of truthfulness and strokes 
of nature which would render such a theory 


But, in truth, the opinion, that Geoffir( 
Monmouth was the inventor of the behef ii 
Trojan colony, is one of such swa^ering i 
ranee and impudent assertion, as to rend 
matter of marvel that such could so long 
passed unnoticed. There is a curious chroi 
written in Latin, by some individual of 
British race, generally supposed, upon the c: 
of a prologue prefixed to some manuscript 
have been a person named Nennius, who ] 
in the middle of the ninth century, of w 
we know nothing but this. But, however 
fact may be, (and it is doubted by the 
editor of the work, Mr. Stevenson,) this c 
nicle was assuredly written before the 
1000, and after having been for some 
known to our archaeologists, was, in the 
1691, published. Nennius, then, (for so I 
for convenience, call him,) says of Brute, 
of Ascanius, after stating some particu] 
^^ And after these things, he came to that isl 
which, fi*om his name, received its name, — 
is Britannia ; and he filled it with his race, 
dwelt there. But from that day Britannia 
inhabited, even to the present day.^^ This 


lief, then, existed long before the days of Geof- 
frey, and was, probably, in the times of Nen- 
nius, an ancient one. This does not prove its 
truth ; but it does, to a great extent, vindicate 
the character of the historian, and does give us 
very diflFerent ground to go upon to what we 
should have been possessed of, had the first 
traces of it been found in the pages of the 

That Venerable Bede is silent on the subject 
matter of Geoffrey's history, is, as I have before 
shown, no argument one way or the other ; his 
History was the History of the Saxon Church, 
and he only introduced the fortunes of the 
earlier British Church as a sort of prelude. 
With Pagan Britain he had absolutely nothing 
to do. Indeed, so little is he concerned with 
Britain at all, that he does not so much as 
allude to King Arthur, nor make any mention 
of York and London having been, in the days 
of the Britons, Archbishoprics. They, there- 
fore, that employ his silence as an argument 
against the Trojan tale, must likewise disbe- 
lieve in Arthur's existence, which several, in- 
deed, of late years, have done. 


So much with respect to the preliminary 
difficulties of our case. The next step is to 
examine the history itself. I shall adopt a dif- 
ferent arrangement from Mr. Barry, taking the 
question of Caesar, and the civilization of Bri- 
tain in his time, last, as being the easier part of 
the subject, and beginning earlier than he does 
with the likelihood of a great and civiUzed 
empire being, so soon as the date assigned to 
Brutus, planted in so distant and savage a land 
as Britain. 

The brief epitome of the history narrated by 
Geoffi'ey is this. Brutus, grandson of iEneas, 
having had the misfortune to kill his father by 
accident in hunting, is compelled to take refuge 
in Epirus, where he finds the descendants of 
those Trojans who had been settled there, under 
the rule of Helenus, in slavery to Pandrasus, 
King of the country. After a time, putting 
himself at their head, he defeats Pandrasus in 
battle, compels him to give him his daughter 
Ignogen (of whom more anon) in marriage, 
and leads his countrymen away to seek new 
cUmes and another realm. After the perils of 
a sea-voyage, he lands in Gaul, where he meets 


with Corineus, another chieftain of Trojan 
descent, of the race of those who had fled with 
Antenor. This prince joins Brutus ; and after 
several wars engaged in with different Gallic 
tribes, they find means of embarking on ship- 
board, and making for Albion, where they land 
at that spot which is now called Totness. They 
find the land inhabited by a race of gigantic 
stature, whose chieft;ain is called, by Geoffrey, 
Goemagot, and, by other authors, Gogmagog. 
This fierce antagonist being precipitated over a 
rock into the sea, Brutus is made master of 
Albion, and builds a city on the banks of the 
Thames, which, in memory of his ancient fa- 
therland, he calls Troynovant, or New Troy. 
Brutus, dying, left his crown to his three sons, 
Locrinus, Albanactus, and Kamber. Of these, 
the eldest, Locrinus, was put to death by his 
wife, Guendolen, Corineus's daughter, in re- 
venge for his infidelity to her; and his natural 
daughter, Sabren, drowned in the river which 
ever since has borne her name. We need not 
go on much ftirther with so particular a narra- 
tion of the early British history. To Locrinus 
succeeded a long line of Kings, of whom the 


most famous were Bladud, and Leir and his 
daughter Cordeilla^ and Dunwallo Molmutius, 
the wise legislator of Britain ; and Brennus and 
Belinus, who burnt Rome^ and durst attempt 
to scale the Capitol ; and the brothers Elidure 
and Archigallo. 

Then, after a long series of Kings comes Lud^ 
who surrounded Troynovant with a wall, whence 
it assumed his name, which, in the altered form 
of " London,^^ it has ever since retained. Lud 
was succeeded by his brother, Cassivelaunus^ 
who, as Geoffrey and Julius Caesar both inform 
us, commanded the armies opposed to the lat- 
ter when he attempted the conquest of the isle. 
Cassivelaunus was succeeded by Tenantius, and 
he by Cymbelin, or Cynobelin, renowned in 
Shakespeare, some of whose coins still exist. 
Here, at the Christian era, we will stop. Such 
are, then, some of the outlines of that famous 
History of Brute of Troy, which, it will I hope 
be owned, does not present greater improbabili* 
ties or difficulties than many another series of 
events in ancient times. The colonization of 
Carthage, for instance, from Tyre ; and of Gy- 
rene from Thera ; of Gades and Tartesus ; and 


the founding of Massilia by the ex3es from 
Phocaea ; and the colonization of Greenland by 
_j Northmen. This is all I now wish to con- 
id for, — the admission of the Trojan history 
Britain into things which may have been, 
le discoveries of modem times have opened 
us more wonderful things, in the ruins of 
ghty cities in the deep forests of central 
nerica, which must have been founded at 
me long-distant period, by roamers of the 
a, whose very memory has quite passed away, 
d whose descendants, if descendants the In- 
ms be, are now uncivilized. The empire of 
exico, too, that wonderful work of unknown 
ligrants, which passed away almost as rapidly 
it rose, may be adduced as a very strong 
rroboration of the possibility of exiles — such 
as Brutus and his followers are represented as 
having been — ^having founded such an empire 
as that of Britain. And, after all, the particulars 
are not so very marvellous. They state that 
Dunwallo Molmutius was the first of those 
kings who wore a crown of gold ; and, as Mr. 
Barry very well observes, a forger would have 
been more prodigal of gold. There is, more- 

I 2 


over, nothing in these events directly repugnant 
to Roman history. Brennus and Belinus are re- 
presented as having been Britons. Livy repre- 
sents them as having been Gauls; but under 
the name of Gauls the Britons might have very 
well been included. We are told, again, that 
Bladud went to Athens. A marvellous voyage, 
certainly ; but Herodotus is our informant for 
the annual visit of Hyperborean virgins ta 
Delos. The forms of the names of Kings and 
chieftains might by some persons be brought 
forward as an objection; that they were not, 
for instance, classical; and that giving such 
names to Trojan emigrants proved the falsity 
of the history. I trust, however, that a little 
examination of the philological structure of 
several of the names in question, will, if any 
thing, rather tend to give probability to the 
tradition, than the contrary. It will at first 
sight be clear, that such names as Brutus, and 
Corineus, and Locrinus, and Albanactus, are of 
a very different character from Rudhudibras^ 
and Bladud, and Gorburdoc, and others which 
occur at a later period of the history. Now the 
former are the names of the two first Trojan 



I settlers^ and of two sons of one of them. There 
seems to me in this a sort of vraisemblance 
w which a forger of the twelfth century, little if 
all conversant in Greek, would hardly have 
it upon. Look at the structure of one of 
ese names, Albanactus ; it seems compounded 
^^Alba^^ and the Greek avaS, and to have 

■ oeen a sort of memorial of or claim to his rights 

► the throne of Alba Longa, put forth by 

k Drutus. And yet Geoflfrey does not mention 

* this. Had he invented the name he most pro- 

ibly would have given the reason for the in- 

ntion ; whereas in his history he mentions it 

a matter-of-fact way, as if, which he may 

■ very probably have been, (supposing he did not 

low the signification of ava^,) unconscious of 
its import. The objection of its being but a 
coincidence, is just worth what that particular 
objection may be valued at. Again, let us con- 
sider the name of Brutus's wife, Ignogen, which 
other authors have softened down to that beau- 
tiful form famiUar as the name of another British 
Queen, Imogen. This word seems a harsh and 
an uncouth designation for a Grecian princess to 
bear ; but change it a little, and we find it none 


other than Inogeneia, a right true Hellenic 
name. Now this is a stroke of truthfuhiess 
that could hardly have been premeditated. Had 
Geof&ey^ as if at hazard^ made a name, he would 
hardly have struck out one that was so like a 
genuine Greek word ; if he had made it pre- 
meditatedly he would have made it quite Greek. 
The little corruption existing in the word, (not 
greater, by the way, than the difference between 
Ignogen and Imogen,) seems to be a stamp of 
genuineness. Locrinus, too, her's and Brutus's 
eldest son, bears a name quite classical, caUing 
our thoughts to Locris ; whereas his concubine, 
a northern princess, is called Estrild, a com- 
pletely imhellenic word, and she is taken in the 
camp of a northern chief, Humber,whom Geof- 
frey calls King of the Huns. Pandrasus, on the 
other hand, Locrinus^s grandfather, king of 
Epirus, and father of *^ Inogeneia,'' bears a Gre- 
cian appellation. All these, I assert, are mi- 
nutiae which would not, in all probability, have 
occurred to an Archdeacon of Monmouth in 
the twelfth century, nor to any Welsh forger 
whatsoever. The giant-king whom Brutus is 
said to have overthrown on his first landing, 


has, if we should adopt the form usually given, 
a Scriptural name, Gt)gmagog. This clearly 
must have been assigned to the adversary or 
Iversaries of Brutus typified in him after the 
bristian era; and yet Geof&ey does not call 
m by this name, but Goemagot. Perhaps, 
ten, British ballads may have sung of one 
hose name not being altogether unlike one in 
tiie Holy Scriptures, was altered into that. 
The form, however, Gogmagog, can, I should 
say, have no place in Albion. There is another 
3incidence of names which, as it is undesigned, 
deserves being mentioned, as showing, at least, 
lat this history had a British origin. One of 
the kings of Britain, Bladud's father, is called 
Rudhudibras. There was a British prince, 
whom Caesar mentions as having accompanied 
him on his expedition to Britain, called Man- 
dubratius. Now no one can fail perceiving the 
similarity of these two names, Rudhudibras and 
Mandubratius ; indeed, considering that we pos- 
sess the latter of them in a Latinised form, and 
the other probablyin nearly its original state,it is 
not at all improbable that the latter part of the 
two names is, in point of fact, identical, or at 


all events extremely similar. This is again a 
coincidence which we should not have been 
likely to have foimd in the writings of a forger. 
Again^ we find in Caesar that the name of the 
tribe inhabiting the region where London now 
stands^ was Trinobantes ; and that city itself is, 
in the days of the Roman dominion^ known 
sometimes as Londinium, and at others as 
Augusta Trinobantium — the town of Lud and 
Troynovant. It is probable that a forger would 
contrive to make his forgery tally as much as 
possible with what is found in other authors 
whose genuineness is unsuspected. But he 
cannot always find things that agree so well as 
Trinobantes and Troynovant, coupled with the 
derivation assigned to the latter ; nor is it pro- 
bable that this coincidence should have given 
rise to the forgery. I must in candour confess, 
that another derivation has by moderns been 
given to Troynovant; it is asserted that it is 
compounded of tre^ "town/' (a Uving word, 
and one which occurs very frequently in the 
names of Welsh and Cornish places,) and ruivantj 
"new.'' I therefore merely bring it forward as 
one of many instances in which the internal 


"'ddence of the names found in Geoffrey's 
pages tends^ more than otherwise, to the con- 
firmation of the genuineness of his history, 
^erfect correctness of ancient nomenclature in 

history derived from British sources, would 
5 utterly hopeless to expect. I have, I trust, 
said enough to vindicate the long-blackened 
character of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Other 
ai^uments, drawn from the apparent truthful- 
ness of several incidents recorded in his his- 
tory, may be found in Mr. Barry's book. 

The next part of my subject is one compara- 
tively easy, namely, to establish that the Bri- 
tons, instead of being the naked barbarians, 
inhabiting the hollow trunks of trees, that they 
are generally supposed to have been, did, at the 
period of Caesar's landing, enjoy considerable 
civilization. On this point Mr. Barry has dis- 
coursed largely ; and I shall first give an ab- 
stract of several of his arguments, and then 
adduce one or two facts in corroboration, which 
he has omitted to make mention of. Indeed, 
so conclusive does the evidence on this branch 
of my subject appear, that I only wonder how 
any author could have embraced the contrary 


belief. His argument is partly of the species 
termed a fortiori, and is concerned first to 
prove^ that all the Celtic nations were^ to a con* 
siderable extent^ civilized; and secondly, this 
being established, that there is proof, that of all 
the Celtic nations, the Britons were the farthest 
removed from barbarism. Our great authori- 
ties for the condition of the Celtic nations, must 
necessarily be their old opponents the Romans; 
and in their writings he imagines he can find 
many unwilling admissions of the ^eatness oi 
the Celtic kingdom, Rome had extended hei 
conquests over the far east, had subjugated 
Syria and Asia Minor, the mighty kingdoms oi 
Alexander's successors, and held old Egypt en- 
thralled under the yoke of a nominal independ- 
ence; while yet, except a small tract on the 
sea-coast, called emphatically " The Province,'' 
she did not possess a foot of land in Transal- 
pine Gaul, a country adjacent to Italy, and oni 
which, for various causes, would have been i 
most desirable acquisition. So far from thu 
being the case, a Gallic war was an object o 
especial dread and horror. It was not callec 
by the usual designation ** bellum,'' a word dea 


' » tbe Roman ear^ but by a new and most ex- 
pressive phrase, "tumultus;^^ and in making 
^he levies for such a strife, all the usual exemp- 
ons of age were disregarded. Not many years 
efore the time of Caesar a Celtic nation, the 
Cimbri, well nigh overturned the Roman state, 
requiring the genius of Marius to oppose them; 
and at a later age, the loss of Varus and his 
legions in a Germanic campaign, made Augustus 
tremble on his civic throne. This argument 
may indeed be made to prove the direct con- 
trary of what I am 'endeavouring to establish, 
and be adduced to confirm the notion of the 
utter lawlessness and brutal barbarity of the 
Celtic nations, that had, like wild beasts, to be 
opposed by old men and boys, with sticks and 
stones, and every weapon that first came to 
hand. But this assertion will not stand the 
test of other facts, which more or less strongly 
indicate the civilization and the power of the 
Celtic tribes ; and so, as the great dread which 
a Gallic war always caused at Rome must have 
arisen either firom the power or the savage bar- 
barity of their opponents, we must assume the 
former as the reason. Let us see on what 


grounds we are called upon to admit this. One 
of the first indications of civilization is the use 
of decent, at all times, and on occasions, of 
magnificent, dress; and such the Gauls were 
distinguished for. It is curious that the cha- 
racteristic feature of their dress, which distin- 
guished them from the natives of Italy and 
Greece, was just that which distinguishes mo- 
dem from ancient nations. The Gauls were 
" braccati.'' Again, their magnificence is shown 
in the use of gold jewellery as an ornamental 
article of dress, and, at all events, as a mark of 
distinction to their chiefs. Manlius, one of the 
famous old Roman champions, was surnamed 
Torquatus, because he had won in single combat, 
from a Gallic chief, the golden necklace which 
he wore. And sure the wearer of a golden neck- 
lace could never have been a naked barbarian. 

Again, the political relation of the Gauls to 
the Romans was that of one civilized nation 
towards another, in that they had at Rome their 
" patroni,'' that is, ministers or consuls ; and 
some of them seem to have filled the same posts 
towards the Romans in their own states. But 
in Caesar we find proof positive of the high 


degree of civilization which one tribe, at least, 
of the Gauls had attained to, in his account of 
the gigantic ships composing the navy of the 
I Veneti, a tribe inhabiting the coasts of the 
itish Channel, of a size that the Roman tri- 
mes could not compare with. Were those 
rbarians that built such ships ? Again we 
id that one of the Galhc towns was so beau- 
Pal, that the nation would not burn it, although 
" the saving of it was very bad military policy. 
Could this have been a collection of huts in a 
wood ? Such are a few out of the many proofs 
that the continental Gauls must have been a 
very civilized race, and indeed a nation formid- 
able even to mighty Rome. 

This admission is now to be applied to the 
case of Britain. It might be supposed that, 
granting the civilization of Gaul, that remote 
and isolated land, Britain, might yet be in a 
state of barbarism, either positive or compara- 
tive. But this does not at all follow. Supposing 
the civilization of Britain to have come, at least 
in part, by sea, from Phoenicia, for instance, 
the coasts of Britain would not have been, in 
any serious degree, more remote than those of 


the Veneti, that great maritime power of Nor- 
thern Gaul. And we know that the Phoenicians 
had settlements on the Cornish coast, and drove 
with our island a tin trade of great importance ; 
and we can but suppose that they must have 
left traces of their civilization behind them. But 
the strongest fact of all which I shall adduce, is 
one which proves the greater learning of the 
British Druids, firom which it is hardly too 
much to infer, that the general mass of the 
people had attained a higher degree of culture 
than on the Continent ; — ^it is that, as we are 
informed, the Gallic Druids used to come over 
into Britain to finish their education, from the 
superior learning of the British Druids. But 
superior learning on the part of the sacerdotal 
class must be accompanied with greater general 
refinement; for, firom what we can learn, the 
lore of the Druids does not seem to have all 
been of a Gnostic description. Diodorus, in 
his history, gives magnificent legends of a rich 
and luxurious island in the west, containing a 
circular temple dedicated to the sun. Now, 
will it be thought extravagant to conjecture 
that this island may have been Britain ; and in 


Britain we still have circular temples of the 
olden time^ Stonehenge and Avebury. With this 
tradition of Diodorus may be considered the re- 
markable fact that Herodotus vouches for, that 
virgins came yearly, from some far distant region 
of the north, which he terms the Hyperborean 
land, to Delos, the island sacred to the Sun God\ 
But to return to Caesar. Mr. Barry gives a 
long examination of his account of his expedi- 
tion to Britain, which I shall not attempt to 
follow, in which he professes to trace^ as also in 
the history of the Gaulic wars, several proofs of 

^ This was Milton's opinion, as we learn from the following 
beautiful passage in his Mansus : — 

*' Sed neque nos genus incultum, nee inutile Phcebo, 
Qnse plaga septeno mundi sulcata Trione 
Brumalem patitur longa sub nocte Booten. 
Nos etiam colimus Phcebum, nos munera Phcebo, 
Flaventes spicas, et lutea mala canistris, 
Halantemque crocum, perhibet nisi vana vetustas, 
Misiraus, et lectas Druidum de gente choreas. 
Gens Druides autiqua, sacris operata Deorum, 
Heroum laudes, imitandaque gesta canebant ; 
Hinc quoties festo cingunt altaria cantu, 
Delo in herbos4, Graise de more puellee, 
Carminibus leetis memorant Corineida loxo, 
Fatidicamque Upin, cum flavicomd Hecaerge, 
Nuda Caledonio variatas pectora fuco." 


wUful perversions of the truth, to serve his own 
self-glorification, — convenient storms raised to t 
sinkships^that the enemies had taken, — doubtful : 
stipulations of peace, — the river Thames crossed : 
with difficulty, and yet no account given of how 
it was recrossed, and other incidents of a like 
nature. All these facts tend, he thinks, to prove 
that Britain was a much more formidable ad- 
versary to Rome and her great general than 
Caesar was himself willing to have supposed. 
He adduces the great preparations which were 
thought necessary to make against the island, 
and the large numbers of the armies which the 
Gauls contributed towards its subjugation. It 
is rather curious that Henry, in his History of 
England, takes, as far as Caesar is concerned, the 
same line as Mr. Barry, pointing out several in- 
consistencies in his narration of the British cam- 
paign, and giving it as his opinion, that they 
had attained a higher degree of cultivation than 
was generally supposed, and that the Roman 
was not so successful as he made himself out 
to have been. The flippant infidel, Hume, on 
the other hand, does not take the trouble to 
adopt any but the ordinary notions of the utter 


barbarity of the ancient' Britons, passing over 
their existence before the days of Caesar almost 
without a notice, and adopting his statements 
merely. Mr. Barry insists especiaUy on the 
British chariots of war, — which are described as 
being, not like the war-chariots of the Homeric 
heroes, mere vehicles of transport, but destruc- 
tive and formidable military engines, capable of 
spreading havoc and confusion through the 
phalanx of the Roman legion in its palmiest 
days, — and then puts it to his readers, whether 
they can believe that savages were possessed of 
the mechanical skill to make, and the miUtary 
talent to manoeuvre, such formidable instru- 
ments. It is a significant fact, that, for so 
many years after Caesar had left the island, no 
further attempts were made to reduce it. It 
was thought a mighty thing by the madman 
Caligula to plan an expedition hither. 

Mr. Barry, moreover, adduces the description 
that Tacitus gives of the little trouble which, 
according to him, Agricola found in civilizing 
the Britons, as a proof that they could not pre- 
viously have been so very barbarous. That his- 
torian, in the twenty-first chapter of the life of 


his father-in-law, says, ^^The following winter/^ 
(a.d. 77) ^was passed in the execution of most 
"wise counsels; for that the natives, dispersed 
" and rude,and on thatveryaccount easilyroused 
" to war, might be accustomed to quiet and indo- 
" leqce by pleasures, he began to exhort them, in 
" private and in public, to assist them to build 
"up temples, fora, houses, by praising those 
" that were prompt in the work, and chastising 
" the lazy.'' A pretty employment indeed for 
barbarians to be building themselves temples^ 
fora, houses ! Within these very few years we 
have become acquainted with a race of men 
which, considering their uncultured habits, have 
shown a predisposition to embrace the arts of 
European civilization which is perfectly won- 
derful, I mean the New Zealanders ; they, how- 
ever, have not undertaken the building of pub- 
lic squares (fora) for themselves ; their civiliza- 
tion at present extends to learning to wear 
clothes and cultivate gardens. And if AgricoWs 
instructions to the Britons had been of that 
nature, we might have supposed them to have 
been in the uncultivated state they are ordina- 
rily represented as having up to this period con- 


tinued in ; whilst, on the contrary, the works that 
he employed them upon are such as to demon- 
strate that they must already have been far re- 
moved from barbarism. This same historian, 
in his Annals, brings against the Britons the 
grave charge of offering human victims^ which 
shows that he was not unduly favourable in his 
view of British gentleness. Whether this be 
but a calumny acceptable in the hostile saloons 
of Rome or not, I will not pretend to say ; but 
from the early Mexican history it is evident, that 
the occasional recourse to this horrid rite is com- 
patible with a high degree of civilization, and 
even with a generally just and lenient polity. 
It is not a little curious, that so near the pas- 
sage containing the charge in question, as, in 
my edition, to be only two lines distant from it, 
though in another chapter, he talks of a British 
King as '' long& opulenti^ clarus,'^ — a savage re- 
nowned for his vast opulence ! It must not be 
forgotten, that he is here talking of the year 62, 
a period anterior to Agricola^s government. A 
little further on, and he says of " Londinium,'^ 
that "it is not indeed distinguished by the 
^* appellation of colony, but an extremely well 



" known place of resort (maxime celebre), from 
^the abundance of its merchants and of its mer- 
" chandize/' Not a colony ; this flourishing mer- 
cantile city was therefore old British Troyno- 
vant ; and yet we must believe, on the authority 
of Hume and such like authors, that its in- 
habitants were utterly uncivilized. 

I have thus endeavoured, without strictly 
confining myself to the order of the original, to 
give an idea of the well-argued and powerful 
dissertation of Mr. Barry, in vindication of the 
civilization of the British island, concerning 
which it is only to be regretted, that he had at 
times permitted wild conjectures to weaken the 
force of his reasonings and his illustrations. I 
shall now bring forward a few facts which he 
has omitted to take notice of, in confirmation 
of the civilized state of Britain about the time 
of the Christian era. 

Every one must know how scrupulous the 
Roman aristocracy was in preserving the race 
of the Quirites unmixed with foreign blood ; so 
much so, that the proud Queen of Egypt was 
esteemed to be but the concubine of Mark 
Antony ; and yet not many years after this pe- 


nod, we find Roman senators married to British 
ladies. Clearly these could not have been the 
barbarian offspring of savage chieflains, but 
persons who, by their education, were thought 
worthy to rank amid the haughty daughters of 
Romulus. One of these ladies, Claudia, is, 
fix)m a passage in Tacitus, supposed to be the 
Claudia who, in Holy Writ, sends greetings, by 
the hand of S. Paul, to S. Timothy. 

But there is also internal proof of the state 
of the Britons at this period. At the time of 
Our Lord's Birth, more than seventy years 
before Agricola's government, a King was reign- 
ing in Britain, mentioned by Geoffrey, and 
familiar to all as Cymbeline, but who entitled 
himself Cunobelin. Of this King there are still 
coins extant, with his head and name upon the 
obverse, and, on the reverse, a device, with 
the legend " Tascio/' which has much puzzled 
archaeologists. Other British coins, too, are 
found. Now, here is a fact that stands incon- 
trovertible ; and if the Britons of that day were 
naked savages, as Hume quietly assumes, these 
naked savages coined money, and circulated 
it Geoflfrey states that "Kymbelinus^Vwas a 


friend of Augustus^ and gave him, as a present, 
the money that Csesar had paid the British «8 
tribute; whence it has been conjectured by 
some, that Tascio might mean tribute, which, of 
course, it mighL This fact, of the friendship of 
Augustus and CunobeUn, whether true or not, 
would tally well with intermarriage between 
Britons and the Roman aristocracy, which took 
place at a later period. We are also informed, 
that the wicker-work of Britain was highly 
prized at Rome. This is a proof of taste in 
our manufacture, though it be an argument I 
shall not much insist upon, as, of all elegant 
arts, wicker-work is perhaps the one in which a 
rude nation has the least difficulty in attaining 

Are we, then, with Hume and the sceptics of 
the last two centuries, to believe that the old 
glories of this our beloved isle are things 

** Which never were, nor no man ever saw ?" 

or shall we, with the child-like, confident belief 
of many a glorious year, and many a noble and 
subtile mind, accept the time-renowned annals of 
Britain's ancient kings, and her old civilization ? 


Whoever reads Geoffrey of Monmouth's His- 
tory must^ whatever opinion he may form of 
the facts therein related^ rise with a strong 
feeling of how marvellous a place was Troy ; — 
not in Greece merely, nor in Italy, nor in the 
nations of the ancient world, but throughout 
every age almost, and every nation, of the civil- 
ized world, this wonderful city has spread its 
influence. The ten years' siege of a not large 
Asiatic town, nigh three thousand years ago, 
has been ever since the subject of the noblest 
soarings of himian genius. The poetry of 
Greece opens with the boundless ocean of the 
Homeric song; the theme of that song ever 
rings through the long-rolling centuries that 
followed. The Greek mind ever turned to 
Troy, that city of the enemy, to furnish mate- 
rials for its choicest efforts; sophists, when 
they declaimed, chose Trojan themes. Troy 
every where used, on all occasions. At length, 
two thousand years after Homer's day, when 
Latin Christians were fighting for the Holy 
Land, the last expiring flame of Grecian poetry 
is extinct in John Tzetzes' hexameters, the 
subject of these hexameters the War of Troy. 


In Italy^ the same. What so precious inheritance 

to the Roman as his Trojan ancestry? What 

theme did the greatest poet of Latium choose hut 

this old undying Trojan tale ? The old Roman 

empire has passed away, and Mediaeval Europe 

rises before us in all its solemn grandeur; 

and the long-lost city of the Hellespont^ royal 

Ilium, is not forgotten. Geoflfirey, Archdeacon 

of Monmouth, writes the History of Britain^s 

Trojan Kings ; and in the same century, Joseph 

of Exeter, the poet of the Middle Ages, who, 

of all before Petrarch, most nearly resembled 

those of Roman days, chose for his subject the 

destruction of Troy. All over Europe, what 

romances were more popular than those which, 

under the names of Dares Phrygius and Dictys 

Cretensis, professed to narrate the events of 

that famous siege ? Printing is invented, and 

introduced into England ; and one of the first 

books Caxton produces is the Siege of Troy. 

Then the world changed again, and the cinque 

cento age came, and Troy was not obliterated. 

Mightiest Shakespeare chose for one of his plays 

a Trojan theme. When, a century and a half 

ago, a French Archbishop wanted to teach his 


royal pupil a moi*al lesson, he drew it from the 
adventures of a son of one of Troy's captors. 
Then came, almost in our time, the horrors of 
the French Revolution ; yet French and Eng- 
lish meet upon a common ground, that ground 
the Plain of Troy, where, in 1788, the enthusi- 
astic Frenchman, Le Chevalier, found the very 
ruins of Pergamus yet undestroyed, and many 
an Englishman followed him. So lasting is the 
interest the world has ever taken in the city of 

Remembering this, the loss of the memory of 
Brute and of his race has been, putting aside 
any question as to the historical weight to be 
assigned to the narration, a most serious detri- 
ment to the literature, and, through the Utera- 
ture, to the people of England; as assuredly 
these, the earliest alleged records of our isle, 
were a true and a beautiful source of poetical 
matter, a legitimate machinery, — one which 
showed its own power, and the fertility of its 
resources, so long as men were willing to make 
use of it, and still remains to accuse a later age 
of its empiric unbelief. Nor is such a loss 
merely a fancied one; for i^ as I believe. 


poetry be a great means of doing good^ a strong 
controller of the human hearty implanted in us 
from above for high and holy purposes, then^ 
assuredly, to every nation must the desuetude 
of its old poetical traditions, — its home-bom, 
home-speaking reminiscences of old times and 
old exploits of their father- land, be a substantial 
detriment. And our own Trojan tradition is 
one of more than usual beauty, and has Air- 
nished matter for the most noble efforts of the 
human mind. It consists not in isolated tales 
of obscure chieftains, who but for this would 
never have been known, like the early history 
of many another nation, but on one side mount- 
ing up to Cretan Dardanus and sacred Ilium, 
and all the heroes of Homer's song, — 

*Avdpwv ^pwutv 9eXov yivoQ, oi KaXeovrot 
*Rfii9B0if 9rporlpy yivsy, Kar antipova ycuav, 
Kai ToiiQ fikv irdXtfidQ re KaKbg Kai ^vXottcc cdvtj, 
ToitQ fikv kij>' itrrairvXiit OriPy KadfititSi vaiy 
'Q^<re fiapvaiikvovg firiXinv ^vbk Otdmodao' 
ToiiQ Sk Kai kv vqiaai vvkp fiiya XaXrfia OaXdaatiQ 
'Eg Tpoiriv Aydyutv, *EXsvriQ 'ivtK ijtiico/ioto, 

then leads us on to Alba Longa, 

genus unde Latinum, 
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romse, 


and so through a long series of British Kings 
and British deeds, to the days of Roman do- 
minion, and the devotion, celebrated even at 
Rome, of Caractacus. Here doubts are at an 
end, and we then learn how S. Lucius, first 
of aU the governors of the West, embraced the 
Christian Faith, and how the British Church 
led Alban to his Protomartyr's block ; and, last, 
this glorious chronicle tells of the name of that 
world-famous monarch, the Champion of the 
Faith, Arthur, son of Pendragon, who fought 
twelve battles against the Pagan Saxons, and 
now sleeps at Glastonbury Abbey. Such is 
the history that we are wiUing to abandon. 

The admiration shown in this Essay for this 
Trojan tale is not a new and sudden fancy; 
it has long exercised considerable influence 
upon the imagination of the writer of these 
pages ; and, apprehended in the comprehensive 
way in which it has just now been stated, has 
been a leading note, feebly and imperfectly 
struck, as he is aware, of several poems, in a 
small volume, which he was rash enough, a 
little while ago, to publish. This remark may 
not, it is trusted, be considered as egotistical. 


But^ to give tangible proof of the assertions 
above made^ let us examine whether, in the 
hands of our older poets. Brute of Troy and 
his descendants have proved a ductile matter. 
First, let Michael Drayton answer, who, in his 
magnificent, but very prolix, and therefore much 
neglected, poem, the Polyolbion, our true na- 
tional epopee, (for epopee it is, though cast in a 
topographical form,) sung many a glorious lay 
of Brutus and his race. Next, Shakespeare 
comes, who wrote King Lear, and Lear was of 
Ascanius' family; and Cymbeline, too, was an 
old British monarch; — and among the seven 
doubtful plays is one upon the fortunes of 
Locrine. And Spenser, too, recurs to Trojan 
days. John Milton, in his better days, invoked^ 
to furnish a fit conclusion to his sweet mask of 
Comus, a British princess, Sabrina, 

*' Virgin, daughter of Locrine, 
Sprung of old Anchises' line ;" 

and as, in his Latin poems, he informs us, he 
once intended celebrating, in heroic verse, the 
deeds of Arthur. Would that he had persisted 
in this intention! The Great Rebellion, and 


the reign of Charles 11.^ and the Batavian 
domination^ obliterated^ as might have been 
expected^ the old remembrance; but in the 
last century^ an heroic poem was planned to be 
written upon the history of Brutus^ and, of all 
men, by Alexander Pope. An extraordinary 
production it would have been, had it been 
completed, as, from its argument, which still 
exists, we may ascertain. It was, of course, to 
be in twelve books ; and Brutus was the hero, 
— a sort of Frenchified pious JBneas, a philoso- 
pher and a gentleman, and, as a general, fully 
equal to Prince Eugene, who built cities where 
he listed, and, when his followers were alarmed 
at a volcano, graciously explained to them the 
causes of such phenomena. From that time, 
"the wondrous Chronicle of Brute'^ remained 
neglected, till he of Rydal Mount exploring it, 
found therein a tale as yet unnoticed, and burst 
forth into his noble ballad of Artegal and Eli- 
dure. May its ponderous and antique clasps 
never again be permitted, as heretofore, to rust 
unopened ! 








Shakespeare, for many years^ was slighted 
V a prosaic and enervated people ; then^ for 
Mother term^ admired in a strange manner, as 
one who violated, mdeed, in his writings, every 
principle of good taste, every rule of criticism, 
l)ut yet, from his talents and his genius, was 
deserving, if not of pardon, at least of indul- 
gence. But then a different era came, and 
now the Stratford man is, by England's uni- 
versal voice, proclaimed the first of poets, — as 
one too great to criticise, whose beauties must 
be felt and not expressed,-as one reigning, 
without a rival, on the throne of verse. From 
this estimate of his excellences I have no wish 
to derogate ; I desire not to drag, from his pre- 


eminence^ " the thousand-minded man/^ as, by 
a most felicitous application, Coleridge styled 
him, in that between Shakespeare and Aristo- 
phanes I institute some comparison. The de- 
gree of intellect possessed by each being, as it 
may very well be, put out of the question, it 
may be demonstrated, that of all the great 
poets of antiquity, — or, indeed, of any age,— 
Aristophanes is the one whose genius most 
resembled, in character and in development, 
that of Shakespeare; and this being proved, 
our task will next be, to show wherein they 
resembled most, wherein most differed. 

Poets, like all other authors, and most other 
men, of every class and every profession, are, 
in a great measure, creatures of circumstance. 
They may have high and lofty views, and deep 
streams of thought rolling through their mind, 
too clear, and yet too rapid and too impetuous, 
for ordinary beings to bear up against; they 
may have some fixed unity of purpose, for good 
sometimes, and sometimes for evil, — some great 
end, of which they are conscious, or perhaps 
half conscious only, ruling them, and swaying 
every action of their life, — a guide they cannot 


and they will not disobey ; but yet, for all this, 
they are men, — there are fashions, and conven- 
tionalities, and weaknesses, which they cannot 
divest themselves of, will not overcome. The 
subjects of their verse are produced by the cir- 
cumstances of the time and country in which 
they live, — by the fear of some political evil, 
by the hope of some political advancement. 
Augustus made the JBneid ; and in the mazes 
of Italian politics, in the deep themes of the 
mediaeval schools, we search for the productive 
causes of La Divina Commedia. In short, to 
recapitulate this somewhat lengthy dictum in a 
word, poets, though poets, are men. There is 
but one study in which we can hope at all 
to divest ourselves of the world, and that is 
Theology, the highest and the sublimest of all 
studies ; and yet even in Theology, the deepest 
and the purest minds, the boldest defenders of 
the Universal Faith, are not, indeed, fashioned 
in diflFerent moulds, but yet are guided, in the 
expression of their feelings, and in the choice 
of subjects to make that expression by, accord- 
ing to many various conditions of time and 
place. To this universal rule Shakespeare and 

T 9, 


Aristophanes were subject. The one lived at a 
Tudor court, the other was a member of the 
Athenian Demus. Strange difference of con- 
dition, and enough to account for almost any 
diversity. And yet, as I have said before, in 
their respective genius there was very much 
alike ; as I shall demonstrate, by giving a cha- 
racter, which my readers may peruse, first as 
that of the one, and then as that of the other^ 
without, I trust, either in the one case or the 
other, finding it very inconsistent with the 
truth, or, which is necessary to the full esta- 
blishment of the assertion, being able to men- 
tion any third poet to whom it be equally 

" He was a poet, the greatness of whose 
" genius showed itself, as by other indications, 
*^ so first by his wonderful versatility, — a versa- 
*UiUty that did not merely consist in the art of 
"treating different subjects, at different times, 
*^ equally well, but in that of separating the 
" unity of the same production, so as to present 
^' it in different aspects, each in itself whole and 
*^ perfect, and, at the same time, to preserve the 
" essential oneness of the general body. This 


" versatiKty will be further explained^ as I go on 
"to detail the remaining excellences of his poeti- 
" cal character. His knowledge of human nature 
"was extreme and surprising; he was perfectly 
"well acquainted with the sources of human 
"action, — the pFejudices, the weaknesses, the 
"customs, that, for the most part, guide and* 
"diversify the course of a man's life; and, pos- 
" sessed of this knowledge, he displayed an appa- 
"rently intuitive acquaintance with what, under 
"given circumstances, any man would sa)r or 
"do. Possessed as he was of this talent, it^s 
"hardly needful to observe, that his wit, and his 
"humour, and his drollery, were brilUant and 
"profuse. And now here comes the proof of 
"versatility, that, with the business-Uke part of 
"poetry, so to speak, developed to that extreme 
"degree, yet, in the more imaginative and aerial 
"branches of it, his supremacy stood equally 
"confessed; from the shrewdest dialogue, or 
"most broad comic extravagance, he bursts out 
"at once into the highest flights of imagination ; 
"and, after revelling at will in the expanse of 
"highest fancy, dismounts at once from his Pe- 
"gasus, and re-appears on earth ; — and, may be. 



*^ solaces himself, by exerting his own irresistible 
" drollery on his own sublimer strains ; and 
"yet so dexterously, so cautiously, with such a 
" nice perception of beauty running through the 
" whole, that, by his farce, he noways diminishes 
*^the desired eflFect of his serious and more | 
" elevated strains. And, to conclude, amid his I 
" wildest freaks, his most blameable compliance 
" with the false taste and faulty morals of his | 
" age, there yet is apparent in him a love for « 
^* moral truth and beauty, a sense of the responsi- g 
" bility of the poet's art, which makes him direct 
" his eflForts to the cause of truth and justice, 
" and old high feeling/* 

Such is the character which may, I think, be * 
given both of Shakespeare and of Aristophanes ; 
and for two poets, in such diflFerent ages and ^ 
countries, to agree in so many points, argues 
no slight simiUtude in the respective character I 
of their genius. I shall now proceed to make a 
few observations on each separately, and then 
again proceed, on some few points, to examine 
them conjointly. And first of Shakespeare. 

Shakespeare, the truant son of the petty 
shopkeeper of Stratford-upon-Avon, the penni- 


less and friendless adventurer in London^ by 
dint of his own vast intellect^ became the 
cheriBhed poet of the formal and artificial court 
of that vain, imperious woman — the clever, 
masculine, cold-hearted Elizabeth, — ^which fa- 
vour he retained during the days of her cal- 
culating, ^^cannie,^^ pedantic successor. He 
was the observed of observers, the caressed of 
haughty nobles. Clearly he must have ac- 
commodated himself somewhat to the tastes of 
his days, — an acknowledgment which does not, 
in the least degree, derogate from our assigning 
to him the highest place in poetical and in- 
tellectual greatness. These tastes were cold, 
formal, and pedantic. The English nation, 
considered intellectually, had, thanks to its 
German friends, cut itself off from much com- 
munity of feeling with past ages, or other 
countries of Christendom ; and they, too, were 
much involved in the same error; — so that, 
lacking their company and association, it fell 
back upon classical antiquity, without, at the 
same time, possessing that knowledge which 
enabled them correctly to seize upon its spirit. 



Consequently, men became pedantic, and for- 
mal, and fantastical, — a state of things not a 
little promoted by the Tudor sovereign — one 
who fain would be, not the most beautiful 
merely, but the most learned of her sex. In 
such an atmosphere alone could Sidney^s 
genius have framed an Arcadian romance ; L 
potent must have been the spell that could 
have made Spenser pour forth his endless flood 
of noblest verse, to glorify the last of the Tu- 
dors. So much had this pedantry become the 
recognized staple of fashionable conversation, 
that a man of some note in his days, and still 
so now among a certain class of literati, named 
Lilly, systematized it under the name of Euphu- 
ism, in a book entitled Euphues. Euphuism 
then was the order of the day ; and Euphuise 
must Shakespeare, if he purposed at all to keep 
his ground; and the only marvel is, how much 
he contrived to avoid the fault. This is the 
clue to many of his conceits, which we are not 
called upon to defend, because an unpoetical 
and stupid age, full of the pride of its supposed 
talents, deep read in Dacier, and fancying him 


Aristotle^ has laid hold upon them to inculpate 
the mighty bard^ and to convict him a gross^ 
illiterate boor. 

Aristophanes^ on the other hand,— though, as 
it is supposed, he was a person of independent 
birth and fortune, — was bom a servant to one 
of the rudest taskmasters, the most capricious 
tyrants the world ever beheld; — in a word, he 
was a member of the Athenian Demus, — him- 
self, indeed, possessed of a fraction of that fear- 
fill sovereignty, and yet liable himself to all its 
waywardness. So situated, he was compelled 
to flatter its tastes, to condescend to its vices. 
A tragic poet might, indeed, if he willed, en- 
trench himself in the dignity of his art, and 
refuse compliance with his audience. For this 
he might, to be sure, lose, as JBschylus and 
Sophocles had done, the prize ; but supposing 
he cared not, as we may suppose these two 
mighty spirits did not care, for the temporary 
decision of the Theatre of Bacchus, but, waiv- 
ing this, he had whereon to support himself. 
To the comic poet, however, we may be tolera- 
bly certain no such liberty would have been 
permitted. He was there to make the sove- 


reign Demus laugh ; and laugh he must make 
them^ in the way they liked the best. It was 
holiday-time when the comedies were exhibited 
— the festival of jovial Bacchus ; and they chose 
to give their own interpretation to the meaning 
of holiday. I do not make these observations 
in palliation^ for such were very wicked, of the 
indecencies which so often pollute the pages 
of Aristophanes, but to explain how, in old 
Greece, that most sensual coimtry, even the 
better class of minds were obliged to stoop 
to the level of the lowest and the worst. 
We that are Christians, with the supernatural 
helps to goodness which our Holy Religion af- 
fords, cannot at all adequately judge of the 
state of mind and feelings in a pagan land. 
Perhaps if we were possessed of the writings of 
Aristophanes^ competitors, — of Eupolis and 
Cratinus, and other obscurer names,— we might 
find that, compared with them, his plays were 
even pure. One thing is certain, that the mind 
of Aristophanes was not one whose natural sus- 
tenance was garbage. It is noticeable, that the 
same school of critics who had banished Shake- 
speare into savage wilds, waged war likewise 


upon the Attic comedian. His plays were set 
down as mere smut and scurrility. His judi- 
cious and noble defence of iGschylus was es- 
teemed but the outbreak of malicious feeling 
against Euripides. His determined opposition 
to the Sophists, embodied unfortunately in the 
person of Socrates, was believed to be hatred 
to that wonderful man ; and to crown the ab- 
siu'dity, the poet was usually reckoned to have 
been the agent of persons who never prosecuted 
the sage till twenty years after the Clouds had 
been exhibited. This is the more remarkable, as 
that school piqued itself upon its admiration 
for every thing it thought classical; this is 
proved by trying authors, old and new, upon 
the Procrustian bed of those famous unities 
which it had fancied in Aristotle, dreamed of in 
the tragedians, and found in Dacier. Aristo- 
phanes could not be bent so as to suit their 
requisites ; and so the Athenian was a bungler 
at Attic comedy. Thus are the Euphuism of 
Shakespeare and the indecency of Aristophanes 
correlative, and furnish new grounds of com- 

There is an objection which might be urged 


against the comparison of these two poets^ — by 
no one^ indeed, I should think, who is at all 
acquainted with the spirit of Greek literature, — 
but still, as it has some prima facie plausibility 
about it, one that it may be worth while very 
briefly to notice. It is this, that Shakespeare is 
both a tragic and a comic poet, Aristophanes ex- 
clusively the latter; and that, on this account, till 
we should have discovered among his works any 
thing which could bear to be put alongside of 
the horror of Macbeth, the philosophic stateli- 
ness of Troilus and Cressida, the deep pathos 
of Romeo and Juliet, the solemn grandeur of 
Hamlet, it would be doing an injustice to our 
native poet to compare the Athenian to him. 
The reason of this defect is at once to be found 
in the constitution of Greek society, and the 
immemorial laws which bound their usages. 
The Greek mind had a strange undercurrent 
of technicality running through it, which its 
strange religion not a little fostered. The poet 
was not merely a poet writing for the amuse- 
ment of the people, he was invested with a kind 
of sacred character ; he was a species of priest 
of Bacchus, performing his appointed duty, — 


the tragic poet in the production of tragedies, to 
grace the festival ; the comedian, of comedies. 
Therefore for the tragedian to write comedies, 
or the comedian tragedies, would have been 
esteemed a gross breach of etiquette, where such 
breaches would be least permitted, a sort of lese 
majeste against the fitting performance of the 
wine-god^s solemnities. Both tragedian and 
comedian seem sometimes to have winced under 
the yoke ; and it is certain that, in later days, 
some of the new school showed a very rebelli- 
ous spirit, as may be witnessed in some of the 
tragedies of Euripides, which trenched not a 
little upon the province of the comic muse. 
From what we can learn, too, of the productions 
of his contemporary, Agatho, it has been con- 
jectured that, in them, the dignity of the buskin 
was not very sedulously maintained. The tragic 
poets, indeed, had, by old prescriptive right, 
the duty of writing plays, which, though not so 
called, were, in very fact, comedies, viz. the 
Satyric dramas, which completed the tetralogy. 
These, however, from the constitution of their 
chorus, could only include a limited range of 
subject. The comedians, on the other hand^ 


if, which in all probabiUty was more usually the 
case, they had less desire to invade the preroga- 
tives of the tragic poet, so had less opportunity 
of so doing. That Aristophanes might, had he 
chosen, been eminent as a tragedian, and that 
this reputation would not have been to him dis- 
tasteful, may, I think, be inferred from the 
many beautiful, many subUme passages and 
choruses interspersed through his plays, of 
which I shall mention but one, — the Cosmogony 
in the Birds. That his taste in tragedy, (no 
certain proof, however, that the critic would 
make a good ironrrrigy) was noble and true, he 
demonstrates in that magnificent specimen of 
judicial poetry, the Frogs. 

Both Shakespeare and Aristophanes have 
ever, as I have read, in their wildest flights, 
shown themselves not unmindful of the high 
end that poetry was designed to serve, — the high 
responsibility of the poet. This feeling mani- 
fests itself in the bursts of deepest moralizing, 
and the long reflections on man and man^s in- 
most constitution, the earnest and thoughtful 
wisdom, that Shakespeare makes the most in- 
congruous characters give utterance to, almost 


his only deviation from strict nature ; and the 
profound political truths^ the cautious and 
virtuous maxims, that at times is heard from 
out of the most grotesque mask of Aristo- 
phanes. This is no vulgar inconsistency in 
either, no common foisting in of moralizing, 
brought in without object, meaning, or lead- 
ing subject, Uke the morals so assiduously 
presented in ^sop's fables, so uniformly 
overlooked, as I fear, by the youthful reader. 
To be characterized by this habit would be 
no peculiarity in either poet; there is hardly 
one great dramatic writer who does not, more 
or less, &11 into the fault, and few more than 
Euripides; while among inferior playwrights, 
fiill many a character stalks the stage like an 
animated dictionary of proverbs. With Shake- 
speare, on the other hand, one does not feel the 
incongruity ; it seems to be the great poet him- 
self speaking in disguise ; each character seems 
to possess a double personality, the one his 
own distinctive nature, the other the reflex of 
the poet^s mind, and each equally appropriate. 
To quote an instance from Aristophanes, to 
whom this merit will not be probably so easily 


granted as to Shakespeare : in the Knights 
sausage-seller is introduced as the very p 
sonification of every thing that is base, bla 
guardly, and brutal, and well does he act u{ 
his character through the greater part of 
play; when all at once a change takes pis 
and he, the offscouring of the city gates, coi 
forth the high-minded and patriotic minis 
the restorer of the days of Aristides and Mi 
ades, the friend and counsellor of Demus, r 
restored to youth, and vigour, and sense, in t 
magnificent burst of anapaests, when the Pro 
laea are thrown open to behold Athens, 
famous, the wondrous, the famed in song, i 
Demus, with his golden grasshoppers. Kin; 
the city of the violet crown, bright in his anci 

Here I will close the remarks I purpo 
making on the resemblance between Sha 
speare and Aristophanes, believing, I trusi 
have said enough to make out a case. 








t^HE nature and the due extent of punishment 
11^ matters^ which it is of the highest import- 
ance for the common weal of every state, as far 
L8 may be, to define ; and the discussion of them 
^as accordingly occupied no little of the time 
rfthe writers on political science in various ages. 
Many has been the hour of hard thought that 
:hey have occupied,many the brilliant theory and 
::he absurd imagining that they have given rise 
bo ; and the question is yet debated hotly. It is 
ao discussion of the schools, no curious object 
[)f antiquarian research, no high, sublime, but 
incorporeal vision ; but a question on the due 
idjustment of which, in no slight degree, de- 
pends, not the accidents merely, but the sub- 
stance of human society, whether considered 

M 2 



merely in its human shape, or as the type of 
higher and unearthly things ; a question in the 
solution of which the comfort of all and the 
existence of many is engaged ; and it has been 
treated accordingly. Not in the schools merely, 
nor in grave conclaves of philosophers, have the 
first principles of punishment been canvassed; 
but in legislative assemblies, in a Roman senate 
and a British parliament, in the Pnyx at Athens 
and in the Capitol at Washington. Nor has 
public opinion suffered the determination even 
of such dignified referees to be unquestioned, 
but has in various, and not a few of them very 
strange, ways, pronounced its own opinion upon 
the all'important matter. Such being the case^ 
it may seem an arrogant undertaking, with the 
limited erudition I possess upon the subject 
and the limited time I have devoted to the con- 
sideration of it, to move again the "vexed'' 
question; but yet I dare to do it, feeling mj 
best confidence to be in this, that although the 
views which I shall advocate with an imperfect 
utterance be to this age strange and novel, yel 
that, in point of fact, they are by no means so 
but, on the contrary, those that have on then: 



the stamp of ancient and universal acceptation ; 
and it is a satisfaction to reflect, that the matter 
of this Essay has been already crowned with 
the public approbation of my much-loved Uni- 

I shall pass over the many famous names of 
old who have left behind their discussions and 
judgments on the nature and the due extent of 
punishment, and make mention of two authors 
only who have handled the subject during the 
last (Jentury, the one in Italy and the other in 
England. In the former country the Marquis 
of Beccaria, a Milanese, published in the year 
1764 a treatise " Dei Delitti e delle Pene," 
a work which, as it is said, has passed through 
fifty editions and translations. Some years afl^r 
him the well-known Archdeacon Paley, in that 
treatise of his which is facetiously denominated 
^^ Moral Philosophy,'^ treats at length on the 
subject, adopting the same side of the contro- 
versy as the Lombard nobleman. The age 
they lived in was a sensual and an unbelieving 

^ This Essay is founded upon a shorter one, in Latin, 
which gained the second Members' prize for Bachelors of 
Arts at Cambridge, in 1841. 


one ; Faith and high feeling had well nigh passed 
away, and cold rationalistic views on all subjects 
largely prevailing, paved the way to that fearful 
storm in which, throughout the continent, the 
ancient state of things was to be submei^. 
Consequently the writings and the opinions 
of these two persons partook most largely 
of the prevailing spirit, in the systematizing of 
which they had doubtless a considerable share. 
Their theory of punishment was utterly utilita* 
rian, inasmuch as both denied that therein 
was contained any thing of a retributive cha- 
racter, asserting that punishments were assigned 
with the sole view of effecting the suppression 
of crime by means of terror, that efficacious in- 
strument of control, and thereby maintaining 
the body politic in a healthful condition. This 
hypothesis, so well adapted to the feelings of a 
faithless age, and supported, doubtless, with 
considerable ingenuity, quickly found nume- 
rous supporters, and is still the belief, in all 
probability, of the majority of the thinking 
world, at least in this land. A better spirit has, 
however, arisen, and the prestige of the vain- 
glorious philosophers of the last century is 


rapidly passing away to the land of forgotten 
things^ never more to cast a shade upon the 
earth. The bold assertion that punishment is 
of a retributive character, may again be made, 
and not be clamoured down; but clamoured 
down or not, it is the truth. That the pre- 
vention of crime, by the example of crime 
being made to suffer, is a very important con- 
sideration in the adjustment of punishment, is 
most true ; but it is no less true that it is not 
the only consideration, nor the most important 
one. Indeed, the admission of such a principle 
seems to me to involve the 'virtual denying of 
all moral government in the world. But to 
waive this consideration, it is no slight testi- 
mony in favour of the ancient theory, that 
albeit it be repugnant to the tastes of mo- 
dem theorists and system-mongers, yet it is 
innate in the very souls of the whole human 
race, being, in point of fact, a development of 
that moral perception known as the feeUng of 
justice. And to this case of moral truth we 
may be permitted to apply the golden rule of 
S. Vincent of Lerins, or rather of the Universal 
Church, respecting theological truth, ^^ Magno- 




pere credendum est^ quod ubique^quod sein| 
" quod ab omnibus creditum est/' To seek | 
illustration from ancient times, how symbolif| 
is it, that at Athens, before the ancient, the 
mous, the hallowed court of Areopagus, wi 
placed the temple of the Eumenides, the god| 
desses of retributive justice. Indeed the whol|| 
mythological history of these dread sisters iau 
the embodying of the principle of retributive! 
justice, exercised, I must confess, for the most \ 
part, by superhuman agents ; but not altogether 
so : for if we refer to fable for the origin of that 
very temple to which I have just alluded, we 
shall find it was built in consequence of the 
Areopagus, a court of human judicature, having 
decided that the Eumenides — that is, retributive 
punishment — ^had sufficiently afflicted the son 
of Agamemnon, 

But, to argue the matter more closely, I shall 
now refer the case to that high, unerring, irre- 
fragable tribunal, to whose decrees all human 
theories must bow — the Holy Scriptures. I 
do not approve of bandying many texts, or 
dwelling on some one text, from any fancied 
exposition it may contain of one's favourite 




doctrine, — as heretics, throughout all ages, have 
done, and as, before their day, before the Chris- 
tian Church was formed, the great enemy of 
mankind himself was permitted to do to his 
Creator; but yet some texts there are, not 
referring to the more mysterious doctrines of 
the Faith, which may be adduced, without sup- 
port from others, without fear of falling there- 
by into dangerous error: to take an extreme 
case, there can be but one interpretation of 
the law forbidding to commit murder. Some 
men, wise in their own belief, have, from this 
very perverse use of the Sacred Writings to 
which I have just alluded, formed an opinion, 
that human societies possessed no right of 
administering retributive justice, grounding 
their belief on the text, ^^ Vengeance is Mine, 
I will repay, saith The Lord/^ This, however, 
is a notable misapplication of words, as the 
passage merely prohibits the private exercise of 
vindictive feeUngs, and, so far from discounte- 
nancing the opinion advocated in these pages, 
does, as I shall hereafter demonstrate, rather 
tend to confirm it. The determination of the na- 
ture of punishment is, in truth, but the portion 


of a much larger question^ on the adjustment of ^ 
which it entirely depends, and to the conside- 
ration of which I shall, therefore, in the first 
instance, direct my attention, — the origin, that 
is, and the nature of civil government, and the 
source to which we are to look for the delega- 
tion of that authority which we see our rulers 
exercise over us. I shall not insist upon the 
especial divinity that hedges round a Eang as the 
Anointed of The Lord : not that I am desirous 
that my silence should be interpreted as pro- 
nouncing a judgment one way or the other ; but 
because the consideration of this matter is foreign 
to my immediate purpose. One thing, however, 
I do most broadly affirm, and upon the affirma- 
tion shall ground my argument, that govern- 
ment is from above, and not from below ; that 
in civil rulers we are not to reverence the mere 
man, or the mere idea of our own personal 
comfort and security contained in the fact of 
a well-regulated government, (the theory of 
Hobbes, and Locke, and Paley, and the like,) 
but persons with powers not their own, dele- 
gates of The Almighty to feed His people. 
How the contrary opinion ever could have 


obtained weight with any but scoflfers and infi- 
dels, is marvellous to conceive; how persons 
who truly believed in Providential government, 
"'ho did not doubt the words of Our Lord 
[imself, when He tells us that not a sparrow 
in fall to the ground without His cognizance, 
►uld have brought themselves to think, that 
^er the weightier matters of states and em- 
pires, over the government of the nations of the 
irth, there should not be an especial Provi- 
dence, is one of those inconsistencies which 
teach us how weak the noblest intellects are, 
when they attempt to stand by themselves, 
— ^how dark, and dreary, and perilous is our 
way, when we attempt to guide our own paths, 
in contempt of the light of Revelation, dis- 
pensed to us through the Holy Church. But 
there is one text in Holy Scripture so explicit 
on this point, that it has called forth all the 
ingenuity of heretical intellect in the attempt 
to deprave its sense ; and a text, too, that de- 
fines the more immediate object of my inquiry, 
the natiire of punishment. It is, as my readers 
will probably have anticipated me in conjec- 
turing, in the thirteenth chapter of S. PauPs 


Epistle to the Romans^ that the memorable 
passage is to be founds where the Apostle says, 
*^Let every soul be subject unto the higher 
"powers. For there is no power but of God: 
" the powers that be are ordained of God. Who- 
^' soever therefore resisteth the power^ resisteth 
"the ordinance of God: and they that resist 
"shall receive to themselves damnation. For 
" rulers are not a terror to good works but to 
"the ^vil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the 
"power? do that which is good^ and thou shalt 
*^ have praise of the same : for he is the minister 
" of God to thee for good. But if thou do that 
" which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the 
" sword in vain : For he is the minister of God, 
^^a revenger to execute wrath upon him that 
" doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be sub- 
" ject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' 
" sake.^' What more clear, undoubted revelation 
of the nature of government can the most diffi- 
cult inquirer, provided with his difficulty he be 
honest, require? And, as I said before, this 
passage is most explicit upon the nature of 
punishment ; for what other interpretation can 
we affix to the expression of "rulers bearing 



the sword^^ but one, that they are possessed of 
the right of administering retributive justice, 
which is still further strengthened by the fol- 
lowing sentence, wherein it is declared, that a 
ruler '* is a revenger to execute wrath upon him 
that doeth evil ?^^ Therefore, upon the authority 
of this one text, — though, as I shall soon proceed 
to show, other passages of Holy Writ confirm the 
doctrine, — we may safely believe that the govern- 
ing powers in states exercise an authority dele- 
gated to them from Heaven, and, in virtue of this 
authority, have a right to administer, in vindi- 
cation of wrongs done, retributive punishments, 
—not eternal, indeed, and unerring, like those of 
The Almighty Himself, — not supernatural, like 
those of men who bear the Keys of the Kingdom 
of Heaven, — but terrene and transitory, like the 
commission of those who administer them. A 
common and thrice-shallow objection has oflen- 
times been lu'ged, with vast assurance, against 
the opinion of the Divine authority of govern- 
ments, and the idea, that the above-quoted 
passage from the Epistle to the Romans gives 
any colour to it, by the evolving a theory, that 
the words of S. Paul are not to be taken to 


mean what they seem; but that^ in reality, 
when he says "no power/^ he means "no vir- 
tuous power ;*^ that, in short, these impressive 
words, and their impressive denunciation, only 
prescribe obedience, where obedience is, by the 
nature of things, comfortable, and leave the ques- 
tion, where any difficulty was likely to occur,— 
that is, in the case of evil rulers, — ^undecided, 
or, rather, decided in the negative, pronounciDg 
that resistance to such was lavdul and merito- 
rious. Not to dwell on the fearful consequences 
which must result from the admission of such 
a lax and reckless explaining away of the most 
weighty words of Holy Scripture — a method 
which, if consistently followed out, would inevi- 
tably lead us to the Socinian unbelief — a me- 
mentos consideration of the time and place of this 
Epistle will show the inanity of this objection. 
This is an Epistle to the inhabitants of Rome ; 
and at the time this Epistle was written, the 
monarch of Rome — the emperor, whose coutt 
was held in that very city whose indwellers are 
addressed — ^was no vdse and beneficent lord, no 
prince whose virtues have been the admiration 
and the example of all after years, no nursing- 


father of God^s Holy Church, a Theodosius or a 
Charlemagne; but that being, whose name is 
an execration and a byword, the very personifi- 
cation of all things impure, and cruel, and 
utterly wicked, — Nero. If ever resistance had 
been lawful, it would have been lawful for the 
inhabitants of Rome,- while Nero was their 
' '^"iperor; and yet to the inhabitants of Rome 

iring the reign of Nero, does the Holy Apos- 
f tie S. Paul address a severe injunction, prohi- 

ting them, under pam of Divine vengeance, 
resist. But a few lines before the passage 

liich I have given, though, from the division 

itween the twelfth and the thirteenth chapters 
having been drawn just before it, the connexion 
of the two is not, by ordinary readers, imme- 
diately perceived, S. Paul quotes the text, ^'Ven- 
geance is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord,*' 
80 little does he by this intend to forbid the 
public administration of retributive justice. 
What indeed can be a stronger proof that a 
certain meaning is not the meaning of a pas- 
sage, when its appHcation to that passage being 
at best doubtful, it is immediately followed by 
one which, on the very face of it, bears a con- 


trary signification^ both passages occurring in a 
book which^ being inspired, must of necessity 
be consistent and unerring. Indeed the two 
texts are in antithesis to each other, and may 
thus be abridged, ^^ Dearly beloved, avenge not 
"yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; 
" for it is written. Vengeance is mine, saith The 
" Lord. . . . Let every soul be subject to the 
'^higher powers; for there is no power but of 
" God. . . , He is the minister of God to 
" thee for good. But if thou do that which is 
" evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in 
^^ vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger 
^^ to execute wrath upon him that doeth eviL^' 
I have, I believe, not omitted any part which 
can garble the signification of what I have re- 
tained. So manifestly is the antithesis drawn, 
not between man, whether in a corporate or an 
individual condition, and the Deity, but between 
man in an individual nature and the Deity, 
whether acting immediately or mediately 
through means of those whom, though of human 
birth. He has appointed His ministers on earth. 
Another text there is which I shall refer to in 
another part of this discussion, " Whoso shed- 


" deth man^s blood, by man shall his blood be 
" shed ;^^ which clearly indicates the retributive 
character of human punishment. 

It is a memorable fact, and to those who shall 
look upon the subject at a day when the mis- 
chief these two authors have caused to the 
moral world shall have passed away, it will be 
an amusing one, that the two great coryphaei of 
what I crave excuse for calling the imbeheving 
side of the question, although perfectly agreeing 
among themselves as to the opinion they hold 
concerning the object of punishment, yet as 
decidedly differ in the theory they have formed 
of the origin of governments and the nature of 
its authority, and therefore, of course, of the 
nature and the authority of punishment itself; 
a discrepancy which must, in no slight degree, 
tend to throw a doubt on the stabiUty of a 
superstructure the nature of whose foundations 
is so very uncertain. Beccaria holds that civil 
government is grounded upon what has been 
termed by its excogitators, '^the social com- 
pact.^^ Paley treats the social compact, — ^that 
March-madness of Locke's school, — with the 
contempt that it deserves, and argues, that man« 



kind invented civil government for itself^ upon 
consideration and experience of its comfort and 
its utility^ the comfort and the utility of man- 
kind being the will of The Almighty, and the 
standard of right and wrong. 

I shall not attempt to meddle with the social 
compact ; it was a wild theory of a perverse and 
rebellious spirit, who was not satisfied with 
seeing William of Nassau upon the Stuarf s 
throne, without trying to find a reason why he 
should be, as well as was, there. The babe of 
clouts played its part for a few days, and then 
fell to pieces. If, however, there be any who 
still believe in its existence, I advise them to 
exercise their wit in the discovering at what 
precise period of the world's history this com- 
pact was first struck. With regard to Paley's 
theory, I believe that the necessity of punish- 
ments being retributive, may be proved even 
upon the low and sensual principles advocated 
in his book. Paley's leading idea, in his own 
words, is as follows : ^^ It necessarily comes to 
" pass, that what promotes the public happiness, 
" or happiness on the whole, is agreeable to the 
^^ fitness of things, to natiire, to reason, and to 


"truth; and such (as will appear by and by) is 
" the Divine character ; that which promotes the 
** general happiness is required by the will of 
^^ God ; and what has all the above properties 
"must needs be rights for right means no more 
"than conformity to the rule we go by, whatever 
"that rule be/' I must alter the form of his 
proposition slightly, and then it will stand thus : 
"The promotion of the pubHc happiness is an 
" attribute of the Divine character ; but we know 
" by revelation that the administration of just and 
" retributive punishment is a characteristic of the 
" Divine character ; therefore the administration 
" of just retributive punishment promotes public 
"happiness; and therefore civil governments 
"ought to administer just retributive punish- 
"ments ; and therefore as they ought, that is, it 
" is expedient, to do so, they should do so. Upon 
" Paleyan principles, punishments must be re- 
" tributive.^' Here we may be met with the argu- 
ment, that the Divine punishments are unerring; 
human fallible, and therefore liable to be unjust ; 
and that, therefore, one of the two requisites — 
the justice and the retributiveness — not being 
fulfilled, the argument must fall to the ground. 

N 2 


To this it will be sufficient to reply, that, assum- 
ing this objection to be valid, we should never 
inflict any punishment at all, for fear of its 
being an unjust one ; which certainly would not 
'^ promote the public happiness/^ This objec- 
tion of the fallibility of human judgment will be 
further treated of below, when I am not clogged 
with the chains of Paley^s theory. 

It is no small testimony to the truth of our 
theory, or, to speak more reverently, our theory 
is incontestably proved by the fact, that the 
Jewish law, the law of The Lord Himself, given 
to Moses by The Almighty with the awful so- 
lemnity, the convulsion of elements on Mount 
Sinai, was a law in which the punishments 
were of a retributive character, inasmuch as 
therein, an eye was commanded to be given for 
an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Here, however, 
it will be urged, that the Jewish law, being the 
law of The Lord Himself, was an infallible law ; 
and that therefore it was right its punishments 
should be retributive, it being certain that they 
were at the same time just ; that as, however, this 
does not hold good in the fallible condition of 
other states, organized by weak and prejudiced 



men, the same argument proves that in them 
punishments should not be retributive, as afford- 
ing no guarantee of justice. However, although 
the Jewish law was itself Divine and infallible, 
yet the administration of it was left to human and 
fallible agents; and it is in the administration, 
more than in the framing of laws, that abuses 
and injustice creep in. And yet these men had 
a retributive system to wield ; so that the ob- 
jection is converted into an argument in con- 
firmation of our theory. Besides which, the 
objection does not meet the nature of the diffi- 
culty at all, unless it be conceded that error, 
and injustice, and cruelty, is a less evil in a 
constitution where the punishment is meant to 
be coercive and exemplary alone, than where it 
is meant to be retributive. 

But even the laws of our land bear loud wit- 
ness to the dogma, that punishments are retri- 
butive ; otherwise among those legal maxims on 
which the spirit of our legislation is formed, and 
which have hardly less force than they would 
have did they carry with them the force of le- 
gislative enactment, this one never would have 
been found, — that it is better that ten guilty 


persons should escape^ than that one inno- 
cent should suffer. Were punishments merely 
coercive^ and meant for example^ this maxim 
would not be true; for what worse example 
could there be^ than that ten villains should live 
beyond the reach of the law ? (I am here per- 
plexed for an expression which does not imply 
the notion of retribution, so much does our very 
language witness to the truth.) And, on the 
other hand, the punishment even of an innocent 
man, for a supposed offence, is eminently coer- 
cive, and calculated to repress crime by the 
terror of example. And indeed Paley, with 
the cold-heartedness of his school, does deny 
the truth of this traditionary judgment, a suf- 
ficient proof of what I shall hereafter enlarge 
upon, namely, that the retributive system, con- 
trary to general opinion, is more likely to be 
merciful than a coercive one. Those who do 
not think with him can see the nobleness of 
this maxim ; for what can be more terrible than 
for the sword of retributive justice to fall upon 
the innocent head ? while, on the other hand, 
the escape of a criminal, though it be a thing to 
be lamented, yet contains in itself nothing so 


revolting to the innate sense of justice and 

I now come to the consideration of the po- 
pular objection which has been made to the 
doctrine^ on the ground of the faUibihty of hu- 
man judgment. This^ however, has been already 
done to a great degree, in the observations I 
have made on the testimony borne to it by the 
Jewish dispensation ; and I shall merely remark 
here, that if we are to admit this argument as 
of any weight in the determination of the ques- 
tion, we shall find that it, like many other as- 
sertions, would go to prove much more than its 
advocates either contemplate or desire. For if 
we are, to any degree, to admit its validity, we 
shall find no safeguard, no conservative prin- 
ciple involved in the philosophy of which it is 
the type, nothing to prevent the turbulent and 
the lawless from pushing it to its extreme 
length, and claiming for themselves immunity 
fi*om any laws whatever, fi'om obedience to any 
form of government at all, arguing the while, 
that human judgment is too fallible, to render it 
safe for any one man to exercise any sort of 
control over another ; advocating, in short, those 



very principles which, in this unquiet age, 
have obtained stamp and currency, and de- 
luded many an unhappy soul to its ruin, 
under the seductive but satanic form of So- 

Had the object of punishment been merely 
coercion, and not in the least retribution, it 
stands to reason that the more common a crime 
was, and the more easy of perpetration, so much 
the more severe would have been its punish- 
ment, in proportion to the greater difficulty 
of deterring men from the committing it; 
whilst, on the other hand, such crimes as were 
difficult to perpetrate and of rare occurrence, 
would be restrained by a proportionately mode- 
rate punishment. For example, dreadful would 
have been the penalty attaching to drunkenness 
or falsehood, as being offences to which men 
are most prone, and which, from the facility of 
their perpetration, are of the extremest diffi- 
culty to keep under ; whilst, on the other hand, 
parricide, a crime of so horrible a complexion 
that few are found to make themselves guilty of 
it, would be slightly passed over, there being 
little ground of apprehension that the preva- 


lence of that offence would ever endanger the 
healthy condition of the body politic. It may 
be hastily answered to this, that the great need 
of repressing such a crime balances the infre- 
quency of its recurrence ; that, on the one hand, 
the feelings of natural humanity would revolt 
from the law being armed with all its terrors 
against a man for being once found intoxicated ; 
and, on the other, they would equally call 
out against a villain who has imbued his hands 
in a parent's blood being permitted to range 
the earth unscathed. But what is this but to 
confess, in almost as many words, that there is 
the idea of retribution implied in punishment ; 
that men must follow certain immutable rules 
of right and wrong. In short, this is a plain 
abandonment of the unbelieving theory, and 
a confession that the principle of retribu- 
tion is the only tenable groimd for defend- 
ing punishments at all. The opposite opin- 
ion, followed out never so little way, involves 
its advocates in an endless maze of discre- 
pancy; and I defy its advocates to bring 
forward any answer to the assertion, that ac- 
cording to their theory, the severity of pun- 


ishment should be in the inverse ratio to 
the frequency of the crime, which shall not, 
either explicitly or impUcitly, admit the prin- 
ciple of retributive justice. Various nations 
have at different times forgotten this golden 
rule, and pitched the scale of punishment with 
a view rather to coercion than retribution, and 
the result has been legal atrocities and judicial 
murders. For instance, in our own land, sheep- 
stealing was, till lately, a capital offence; so 
frightfully disproportionate and severe a pun- 
ishment can only have been adjudged to the 
offence with a view of preventing, by the terror 
it must necessarily inspire, the recurrence df 
the offence. So little foundation is there for a 
belief which I beUeve we should find not rarely 
existing, that a system of punishment, based 
upon retributive principles, is necessarily harsh 
and unforgiving, and one whose only scope 
is coercion and prevention, mild, gentle, and 
equable; whereas, from the very nature of 
things, the contrary must be the case. 

These remarks have gradually led me on to 
the second part of my inquiry, and I must now 
briefly consider the due extent of the punish- 


ment to be assigned to different offences* This 
is a more difficult consideration than the for- 
mer one^ because it is less determinate; not 
resting, as that does, on certain short and ab- 
stract propositions, but on inference, and pro- 
bability, and questions of greater and of less. 
I do not pretend to draw out a graduated 
scale of crime and punishment, — that would be 
an Utopian scheme, in truth, for a young au- 
thor, — ^but merely to throw out a few hints as to 
the principles upon which a good, honest legis- 
lator, one who has faith in the Catholic Church, 
and who believes in the retributive character 
of the punishments of God-appointed rulers, 
should be guided. It is manifest that the frailty 
of human judgment will prevent the scale of 
crime and retribution being adjusted with a 
mathematical accuracy ; and, therefore, in cases 
where they find this difficulty great, lawgivers 
may certainly attach weight to the consideration 
of example,— a consideration I have never said 
should be omitted, but only have a secondary 
importance given to it. In this case, however, 
considerable care is requisite to prevent the 
faults of the faulty system becoming apparent, 


and resulting in the infliction of a punishmeDt 
either over-lenient or over- severe. So much for 
a statement of preliminary difficulties. 

The first step requisite for our legislator to 
make out his systematic award of punishment, 
is clearly to ascertain, not the scale of crimes, 
but that of punishments, as being a more tan- 
gible and an easier task. First, let him fix 
what shall be the severest infliction the consti- 
tution of his state shall acknowledge; then, 
taking that as his standard, make a list of 
punishments, diminishing in severity ; and then 
to these apply the respective degree of guilt. 
This is an artificial course, and one not very 
likely to be practically appiUed ; but it may be 
useful to assume it, by the way of systema- 
tizing our own ideas on the subject. So fiir 
as this, the work will be laborious, at least 
at the onset, but not very perplexed, provided 
that the legislators have a fluency of punish- 
ment. In the adjustment of crimes, many 
difficulties will probably occur, all of them, 
however, more or less matters of detail, not 
involving the consideration of general princi- 
ples, — that is, the retributive nature of human 


justice being steadily kept in mind. I have 
said that the adjustment of punishment may be 
perplexed at the onset ; this I meant to app]y 
to the consideration^ which must first of all 
occur, Shall capital punishment be or not be 
our maximum infliction of retribution ? a ques- 
tion which only of late years has appeared to 
be of any diflSculty, and to which I should 
unhesitatingly answer in the affirmative. 

In the first place, it has the direct sanction 
of the Divine Writings. The judicial inflic- 
tion of death for murder is expressly enjoined 
in the earliest dispensation recorded in the Holy 
Scriptures, by a text which I have previously 
quoted; and capital punishment for many of- 
fences is a feature of the Law of Moses. It 
may be objected to this, that, under the new 
dispensation of Christianity, we might reason- 
ably suppose such severe enactments abrogated. 
This objection is, however, at once met, by 
referring to that passage from S. Paul's Epistle 
to the Romans which I have already quoted, 
wherein the Apostle says of the civil ruler, that 
^^he beareth not the sword in vain.*' What 
can bearing the sword imply, but possessing 


the right of inflicting capital punishment ? Had 
this right been abrogated by the new dispensa- 
tion, we may be pennitted to suppose that the 
sword would not have been chosen as the type 
of civil authority. The caviller, though con- 
vinced by this of the lawfulness of this ex- 
tremest infliction of human justice, may yet 
not be convinced of its expediency. Now, 
doubting the expediency of what Almighty 
Wisdom has prescribed, must betoken either 
great irreverence or great thoughtlessness ; and, 
therefore, to the irreverent and the thoughtless 
alone must the answer be directed, which is 
borrowed from Paley, and breathes the spirit ol 
his philosophy, namely, that we had better not 
abolish capital punishment till we have found 
out some other sort of infliction which shall be 
equally efficacious to the prevention of crime,— 
a thing that has not yet been done. 

But we have not yet finished this part of oui 
inquiry. Death is not a simple punishment^ 
but may be infinitely varied, according to the 
mode of inflicting it which we may choose: 
and it behoves us, therefore, now to say a fe\i 
words on the mode of death which our legis- 


lators should adopt. This is briefly done^ as I 
shall not enter more deeply into this abstruse 
question than to state^ that I think that, as 
justice should ever be tempered with mercy, 
so, above all things, is it requisite that such 
should be the case in the exercise of the ex- 
tremest and most awful privilege delegated 
from above to civil rulers, as the risk of faUing 
into undue severity is necessarily there the 
greatest; and that, therefore, some easy mode 
of inflicting the supreme penalty should be 
adopted. The choice of the mode is a surgical 
rather than a poUtical question. 

The same caution must be used in the selec-* 
tion of crimes to be adjudged capital, and yet 
not to an over-great degree, — a fault to which^ 
of late, our legislators have shown themselves 
prone. Their predecessors erred fearfully in 
the opposite extreme; as, among other in- 
stances, may be proved by their having sullied 
our statute-book with such fearful enactments 
as that the stealer of a sheep should for that be 
sent into another world, while many another 
crime, of a blacker cast, received far gentler pim- 
ishment. Such an act of legislative cruelty could. 


as I have previously stated, only have pro- 
ceeded from an obUvion of the true nature of 
punishment as retributive, and is a proof that 
the most truthful is also the most merciful 
system. Our legislators may learn a useful 
lesson from that magnificent and most sym- 
bolic ceremony of the Holy Church, the Coro- 
nation of our Kings, that precious bequest to 
us of the wisdom of the Middle Ages. There, 
before Anointed Majesty, is borne the Sword 
of Justice, sharp and terrible, and Heaven- 
given ; but by its side is seen another sword, 
with blunted point : this is Curtana, the Sword 
of Mercy. 

When once it shall have been decided what 
crimes are to be visited by capital punishment, 
it will be found, though, perhaps, rather a 
laborious office, yet one in which the difficul- 
ties are of a subordinate and a particular cha- 
racter, to assign to the difierent punishments 
in our scale the crimes which should respec- 
tively call for their infliction, provided that, in 
so doing, we never at all lose sight of the natu- 
ral consistency of things. For, as may be 
imagined, with those writers I am utterly at 


variance who assert that we have no moral 
sense implanted in us^ no supernatural grace 
added at Baptism. We have a moral sense^ 
we have a conscience, who sits enthroned 
in our minds, clothed with severe authority, 
(albeit many times we rebel against her ordi- 
nances,) armed with goads and scourges, to 
punish our evil thoughts ; bearing crowns and 
richest presents,— peace, happiness, and inward 
tranquillity, —to reward our good deeds, done in 
faith and self-denial. She inspires thoughts 
just and holy, she banishes mischief; she pro- 
vides for the future, and she punishes the past. 
If we shall humbly obey her warnings, we shall 
find all things easy and smooth ; for conscience 
teaches us what is the true, unchangeable order 
of things. If, on the other hand, trusting to 
the delusive aid of a shallow philosophy, we 
shall set up mere expediency as our rule of life, 
we shall have much cause to fear lest, whilst 
laboriously striving to accommodate the incon- 
sistencies of disputing theories, and illuminate 
the dark recesses of baseless doubt, we shall all 
at once find ourselves involved in the intricate 
mazes of the dark and dreary labyrinth of 



scepticism. These observations bear a general 
aspect^ but they are also applicable^ with great 
exactness^ to that particular case of theoretic 
politics, in the behalf of which we have brought 
them forward. 

In estimating the respective weight of guilt, 
and consequent severity of punishment, consi- 
deration must be had, not merely to the bare 
crime itself, but also to the manner in which 
that crime was perpetrated ; as, for example, in 
any case,— say of murder,— whether the crimi- 
nal perpetrated it by himself, or as one of a con- Ig 
spiracy, — which latter fact would increase the d 
guilt, as unlawful conspiracy is of itself a crime ; ^ 
— whether, again, he perpetrated his offence in ^ 
a moment of ungovernable passion, or from n 
malice prepense, and with a deliberate intention ti 
of offending against the laws of his country,— a h 
circumstance which must aggravate his offence, t 
as such deliberate evil intention is of itself i 
very wicked. i 

It has been a fertile source of political < 
argument, whether the criminal enactments of 
a country should be of a lenient character 
and rigorously administered, or of a more 



severe cast^ with a considerable latitude allowed 
to their administrators of mitigating^ according 
to circumstances^ the stringency of their enact- 
ments* Our own criminal jurisprudence was, 
till lately, of the latter class, — indeed, too much 
80 : recent alterations have given it more of the 
former character. My own opinions lead me 
to prefer the latter system ; for the same crime 
may have so many shades of guilt, and be so 
much aggravated by external circumstances, or 
— which, however, must be comparatively of 
rarer occurrence — lightened by them, as to be 
in name only the same offence in one person 
that it is in another ; so that if the penalty 
attached to it be of a rigid and unalterable cha- 
racter, it must of necessity follow, that, often- 
times, the very guilty shall escape with an 
inadequate award of retributive justice, while 
those comparatively innocent shall be mulcted 
in a degree fearfully disproportionate to their 
offence. This discretionary power will, of 
course, increase the responsibility of the execu- 
tive power, which, in itself, is an advantage, 
as for the whole responsibility to rest on the 
original legisktors,and to render those appointed 



to cany their enactments into effect but instru 
ments; as, on the one hand^ it renders tb 
weight of responsibility attached almost to< 
great for it to be right for men to charge them 
selves with, so, on the other, by diminishing 
the due share of it which should belong U 
persons who, from their position, must needs 
be esteemed worthy of it, incurs the danger o 
diminishing their self-respect, and so rendering 
them less Ukely to discharge satisfactorily evei 
that share of duty which, in such an arrange- 
ment, would fall to them. If it be alleged 
that we hereby run the risk of giving the exe- 
cutive power a responsibility too great for it tc 
be safe for the commonwealth for fallible men 
to possess, I answer, that this responsibilily is 
not so great as that possessed by the legislative 
part of the body politic ; and that, in propor- 
tion as the executive is humbled, so is the 
legislative aggrandized. 

Another question which has been raised, is 
that concerning making our pimishments pub- 
he, for the sake of the example, the propriety 
of which some have denied. Now, at first 
sight, taking the purely retributive view of the 


question, it might be supposed that this denial 
should be supported: I have, however, never 
put out of the question the advantage of ex- 
ample, though I have maintained it to be 
but of secondary importance. Nor, indeed, 
need the question be argued on the grounds of 
example at all; but it may be so put, — shall 
exposure, or shall it not, form a part of punish- 
ment? Those that deny this, say that the 
punishment should be secret, lest its publicity 
should be of detriment to the criminal; and 
are, therefore, for instance, unwilling that cri- 
minals should be employed on public works, — 
a practice which, though (probably from some 
such reason as this) it has never prevailed in 
England, has yet been acted upon, not only in 
other countries of Europe, but also in oiu: owti 
penal settlements, such employment causing, of 
necessity, much exposure. I cannot, however, 
see the soundness of this unwillingness. The 
advantages of such exposure, as far as example 
goes, are too obvious to require being at all en- 
larged upon ; but, even in the retributive point 
of view, why should we deprive ourselves of the 
power of dealing out the retributive award of 


infamy in cases where that of mere personal 
suffering or pecuniary loss might either be in- 
applicable or inexpedient? Besides^ that mani- 
festing such excessive care for the delicate feel- 
ings of persons who, from the very nature of 
things, must be supposed to be comparatively 
unendowed with them, does seem rather hyper- 
legislation. Whether, therefore, we regard pun- 
ishment merely in the light of a state-engine, 
to deter men from crime, or as the reflex of the 
Divine Government upon earth, as an august 
and sacred manifestation of retributive govern- 
ment, let the criminal be taught that, for his 
misdeeds, he must expect, not merely pain or 
loss, but infamy. Many is the man that would 
face both pain and loss, who yet would shrink 
back from infamy; and, therefore, in the case 
of such men, the more severe in this respect 
the laws of his country are, the more lenient 
may he esteem them 5 — ^for, to conclude, not in 
the indulgence of criminahy but in the extirpation 
ofcrimey consists true leniency. 








What the best method of propagating Pagan- 
ism in a state may be^ is a question^ the obvious 
and practical utility of which must strike every 
reflecting mind. It is my intention^ on the 
present occasion^ to oflFer, not dictatorially, 
or with an overweening confidence in my own 
opinion^ but as a young author should do^ in a 
tone of humble and modest suggestion^ a few 
remarks on this momentous question. 

A state may be regarded either aggregately 
or corporately — as composed of a number of 
individuals^ or as one uniform whole : in both 
lights let us, then, consider it with a view to 
the interests of Paganism. 

First, as to individuals. It is obvious that 


the best method of training them up in Pagan- 
ism^ as well as in any other thing, would be to 
make that the subject of early and important 
instruction; to suckle them, as it were, in its 
belief; to accustom their youthful imaginations, 
yet limited in their scope, to have nought but 
Pagan food to feed upon. For this purpose, I 
confess it would seem to me the best and the 
most obvious method, if, after a course of in- 
struction, either at home or in more private 
seminaries, the ingenuous youth of a kingdom 
were to be sent to certain larger and more pub- 
lic academies, where Pagan literature. Pagan 
history, and, above all. Pagan mythology, 
should form the staple of instruction, the staple 
of learning, the staple object whereon to exer- 
cise that spirit of emulation, which, if judi- 
ciously fostered, to the exclusion of milder 
qualities, will, I feel assured, not a little con- 
duce to the ample development of a very per- 
fect Paganism. 

So far we have considered the youth of a 
country as in a state of pupilage ; but boys will 
grow up to be men, and will, at one time or 
other, claim to act and to think for them- 


selves. The question^ therefore, now arises, 
what, at this stage of life, is the best course to 
be adopted in order, without coercion, to win 
them to a happy state of Paganism ? Many 
schemes might be proposed ; the one, however, 
which I should humbly imagine might in the 
end be found the most efficacious, would be 
then to offer to our pupils a religious system, 
the characteristic of which should be, the repu- 
diation of system, a form of doctrine the basis 
of which should be the right of private judg- 
ment in matters of Faith. If this were to be 
acted upon, I could safely venture to say, that, 
considering their early bias towards Paganism, 
it must only be external and adverse influences 
that could prevent the great majority, at least, 
of our pupils exercising this right of private 
judgment, in the adoption of some system of 
Paganism either explicit or implicit. At the 
very worst, there is a great likelihood of their 
having many hankerings after it ; but— 

^ Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures, 
Quam quae sunt oculis submissa fidelibus." 

It is of the first importance that every thing 


presented to the spectator's eye should hi 
Pagan complexion. Let all buUdings, 1 
public and private, be reared in Pagan st; 
let the rules of Pagan architecture be qu( 
be referred to, be believed in, as the only 
canons of correct taste. Let the edifices { 
other spirit — the Christian, we may suppo 
has raised, be despised and reviled as barbai 
and gloomy, and unworthy of an enlight 
age. Let ApoUos and Mercuries frisk on 
summits, and the Muses crowd into their ] 
ments. Let students be sent to draw Pan! 
naic processions and Egyptian idols, while 
less enlightened public read their newspape 
Athenaea, and smoke their cigars in Erechi 
We might suggest another device for adop 
were we not afraid that its boldness (amoui 
to what an adversary would almost call ii 
dence) would deter even the most detem 
from trying the experiment, — that of b 
carrying the war into the opposite cam] 
spiking the adverse cannon. Why shoul( 
we fill the places of worship of another < 
with Pagan monuments, Pagan trophies, P 
emblems. Pagan deities? make Cupids 


and Mars storm in a Christian Church ? Nay, 
more, surrender to the deities of Paganism the 
building themselves, and proudly display to 
the eyes of the passers by in some crowded 
street, a Church adorned with bulls' heads and 
sacrificial chaplets? As I said before, I fear 
the boldness of this plan would prevent its 
adoption ; but let it but once be tried, and I 
shrink not from affirming the success would be 

But, secondly, as to the State in its corporate 

All these plans, however, and well-devised 
schemes, might be utterly frustrated, if that 
polity to which these individuals belonged were 
to bear upon its front any marks of being 
Christian ; if it recognized any overruling Pro- 
vidence in the designs of man ; if it showed any 
zeal or any liberality for the propagation of any 
system adverse to Paganism. Such must, there- 
fore, be utterly repudiated, and held up to con- 
tempt; the one as betokening fanaticism, the 
other as incurring a great and a needless ex- 
pense. For instance, supposing the ecclesias- 
tical polity of the country to be the same as 


when the population was a tenth of what in those 
days it should have grown to, the idea of increas- 
ing the number of the ecclesiastical rulers nm8t 
be pertinaciously impeded or avoided, or else the 
spirit of Paganism would suffer a grievous over- 
throw. This,however,i8 but passive countenance, 
and therefore but a small thing ; a well-regulated 
country should, whenever it has an opportunity, 
give an active support to Paganism ; whenever, 
that is to say, there is no risk of thereby incur- 
ring any popular odium. For instance, let us 
suppose that State to have conquered distant 
and mighty empires, far larger and more popu- 
lous than itself, and all devoted to Paganism ; 
a child^s comprehension would be sufficient to 
perceive, that, in order to maintain this state of 
Paganism, the conquering country must care- 
fully and watchfully avoid all opportunities of 
doing any thing tangible towards the conversion 
of its subjects; that it must never send out 
missions on a large and really practical scale, 
never give to such any encouragement. The 
triumph, however, of diplomacy and State in- 
genuity would be this, that while the conquer- 
ing country should openly profess to be of 


another faith^ (the Christian^ for instance^) and 
glory, too, in this profession, it should yet, in 
these distant and Pagan tributaries, not give 
countenance merely, but open and active sup- 
port to Paganism, encouraging, and rewarding, 
and protecting its professors, its ministers, and 
its temples ; seeking all excuse to put down any 
of its rites, however strange to the uninitiated ; 
the suicide of widows, for instance, to suppose 
an extreme case from ancient history ; and yet 
never all the while, even in those lands, desert 
its profession of an adverse faith. 

May we ever hope to see so splendid an 
imagination reaUzed ! If so, it may not be too 
much to anticipate, that in the mother-country 
itself, there shall be millions and millions of 
inhabitants who shall never run the risk of 
receiving any religious instruction which may 
at all damage the cause of Paganism ; nay, some 
of whom may be ignorant of the very existence 
of a Deity. 

Such are a few hints I venture to throw out 
on this subject, scanty, I fear, and incomplete, 
yet such as, I trust, may not be without their 
use to some future legislator, who shall be de- 


sirous of making a great and a glorious nation, 
a nation which shall build its hopes and its 
happiness on its wealth and its power^ its 
irresistible armies and awful fleets^ its mone- 
tary system and manufacturing prosperity, its 
crowded towns and scattered colonies^ on which 
the sun never sets. 








-iMONG the many symptoms of a restless and 
strange spirit which has in our day spread its 
influence over the mind of man^ not the least 
remarkable, nor the least dangerous, is an insa^- 
tiable and unhealthy inquisitiveness, a desire of 
knowing everything in season or out of season ; 
manifesting itself as well in other shapes, as in 
a general craving after posthumous and secret 
Biography. Scarce a day passes without adding 
to the number of works of this class, as various in 
their kind as they are, for the most part, insigni- 

^ This Essay was written in consequence of my getting the 
first Declamation prize at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1840. 
The prizeman writes an Oration on a subject chosen by him- 
self, which is delivered in the College Chapel on the Com- 
memoration Day in the month of December. I have here 
reprinted my Oration without much alteration. 




ficant in their subject-matter. The press teems I 
with Memoirs, Diaries, Conversations, Letters, I ^ 
Reminiscences ; and these not merely of per- 
sons who have filled any conspicuous character, 
whether for good or for evil, on the world's 
stage, — the publication of which, if not ex- 
cusable, would at least be comprehensiblej— 
but of the most obscure and contemptible men, 
of men who, after a whole life's course, are not 
able to point to one great, one worthy deed, and 
say, " This I have done, on this I rely for the 
affectionate remembrance of posterity f^ of men 
whose very names, may be, are only heard of 
from some slight and fortuitous connexion with 
persons only less insignificant than themselves; 
not even that, in many instances. On the same 
shelf we shall find the Memoirs of Sir Walter 
Scott and of Grimaldi the clown. t 

Such instances of popular extravagance call 
for other feelings than those of mere ridicule. 
Persons of serious and contemplative mind will 
not be so much amused at their absurdity, as 
alarmed at the morbid spirit manifested in them. 
They will regard them as the type of something 
deeper and more pernicious, as the external 


symptom of some inward and radical disease. 
It is not, I trust, too unkind an inference to 
draw from these facts to assert, that they go far 
to prove that our age has lost that acute taste, 
that feeling of the decorous and the beautiful, 
which characterized other and earlier times, 
before the march of (so called) intellect was 
heard, while the mist-wreaths of faith still re- 
flected the glorious beams of the rising sun, and 
added new and less earthly beauties to the fresh 
landscape. They of former days loved to col- 
lect the precious bones of the departed great, 
and enclosing them in a golden casket, reared 
some fair temple where they might for ever lie, 
the object of affectionate remembrance to all 
men. We seize on them, and wire them, and 
ticket them, and hang them up in some museum, 
to be handled and descanted on by the anato- 
mist and the phrenologist. They loved to hide 
the petty faults and the weaknesses of those to 
whom they owed so deep a debt of gratitude ; 
we strive to render them conspicuous. . ^^ De 
Mortuis nil nisi bonum,'^ was the old and the 
true principle ; " De Mortuis omne,^' the modem 
and the false. Some one will object to me in 


the outset of my argument, that Xenophon's 
Memorabilia of Socrates, the oldest and not the 
least delightful Biography the world possesses, 
is written m the modem spirit. At first sight 
I own such does seem to be the case, but a 
little consideration will show the fallacy of the 
objection. Socrates was a man who lived, and 
loved to live, in the open air, in and for the 
public. Instead of now stooping to the com- 
prehension of the many, now retiring within 
his school, and giving formal lectures to the 
fiivoured few, he ever strove to make his instruc- 
tion familiar and acceptable to all men ; so that 
those passages which the unreflecting reader 
might be tempted to blame for impertinent in- 
trusions on the privacy of confidential inter- 
course, are, in point of fact, the accurate report 
of public lectures. To take an instance fi'om 
the rival state : when that prudent Roman, Cor- 
nelius Tacitus, wrote the life of his father-in- 
law, Agricola, did he make full and complete 
revelations ? Far otherwise. Complete though 
brief, dignified though not reserved, is his life 
of Agricola; the labour of love of a kindred 
mind, furnishing to the admirers of that hero 


sufficient ground of admiration ; to his detrac- 
tors, none of detraction. To take yet another 
example, from better and more familiar times : 
when Walton, that wise and meek old mau, 
strong in the affections of his pure heart, girded 
himself up to leave to aU times the portraiture 
of holy men, with whom he had lived in friend- 
ship, such as none but the good can know, did 
he think it necessary to rifle all their secrets, 
and expose them to the rude gaze of a captious 
world ? Without telling one thing in his Lives 
that their subjects could have desired untold, 
(save what praises these saintlike men from 
deep modesty might have wished spared,) he 
has left a fuller, and a better, and a more lively 
picture, than can in these days be drawn from 
the ^' indigesta moles " of even the most bab- 
bling of Secret Memoirs. 

Suppose the world to be suddenly informed 
that an ancient and noble family had banished 
its Vandykes and its Lelys to the lumber-room, 
and had called in the happy genius of some 
modeller in wax to supply their place with 
figures of their ancestors, habited, as they 
boasted, and in all respects appearing, just as 


they were in life ; great would be the storm of 
indignation bursting from all quarters^ con- 
cerned or not with the affairs of that family. 
The columns of the public press would overflow 
with letters, with remonstrances, with lamenta- 
tions, with indignant appeals from Crit<^, Bri- 
tannicus,Archaeus, Philo-Graphus ; "barbarous 
outrage,^' " Vandal spoliation,*' " sacrilege,*' 
would be the civiilest language used. In vain 
would the unfortunate victims of this pitiless 
storm of popular indignation expostulate, that 
the new wax-works were much more like their 
family than the old pictures ; that their object, 
like that of the persons who hung the pictures 
up, was to leave resemblances behind ; that the 
progress of art had found out a means of pro- 
curing resemblances much more accurate than 
the people of those times had any idea of; that 
they had a right to avail themselves of it. All 
this, as it stands, is very plausible ; no person 
could answer a word of it, for, in fact, every 
word of it is strictly true. But still the world 
would be unconvinced ; it would feel there was 
a want of taste, a want of good feeling, a want 
of propriety, almost a want of moral principle. 


in the whole proceeding. All the while the 
public would be perfectly unaware that it was 
censuring conduct precisely similar to what it is 
itself guilty of, or Memoirs bear to Biography 
the same relation wax- works do to pictures ; 
and thanks to the popular taste of the day, all 
our grand old biographies are being driven out 
of our recollection, while, in their place, are 
springing up hosts of mushroom-lived memoirs, 
(TKioeiSia (fivX afievriva. Let us not, then, live 
on in dangerous self-security, but arm ourselves 
to meet the evil, being well assured that if once, 
in any one point, the principles of good taste 
and good order are weakened, no man can tell 
in what fantastical excesses the newly-awakened 
spirit of misrule may not display itself. 

So far I have treated the subject as a ques- 
tion of feeling alone, and shown that, on the 
grounds of feeling and good taste, the modem 
practice of indiscriminate Memoir-writing is to 
be strongly reprobated. I will now take a more 
practical, and therefore, in some men's minds, 
a stronger ground, and show the dangers of the 
system from its inexpediency ; that on the most 
utilitarian, or, to translate that word into Eng- 


lish, ^' selfish^' principles possible^ each man 
ought, as much as in him Ues, to strive against 
the practice, and, if he may, stifle it in its 
growth. It is, I assert, nothing better than a 
system of espionage ^ of the most harassing, the 
most tmjustifiable, and the most suspicious 

The evil effects of this morbid inquisitiveness 
are twofold. First, in all those persons who, by 
rank, talent, or neither quality, stand at all out 
from the great mass of mankind, it will destroy 
all frankness and sincerity, all simplicity and 
heartiness. Every gesture will be studied, for 
they know every gesture is noted down, and 
bears its price in the market ; free, unreserved 
conversation will be at an end, for in every word 
they speak they will dread something may be 
found to record against them. On the other 
hand, among the more stirring and unprinci- 
pled of those who compose the great bulk of 
the world, it will breed petulance, insolence, 
and censoriousness, for they will feel their 

^ I am, though loth, obliged to borrow this word from 
the French, there being no expression in English equivalent 
to it. 


power of doing harm. Each, with his note- 
book in his hand, will extort the protection of 
those he feels he can injure ; or do his little all 
to malign those persons whose independent and 
chivalrous natures prompt them rather to defy 
their malice than purchase their forbearance. 
And when one of these individuals, by some 
well-timed piece of scandal, has earned himself 
a place in the class of the more conspicuous, he 
will, to the faults the new system engenders in 
that body, add those of the body he has just 
left ; and so matters will go on, from worse to 
worse, till we shall live in a state of society 
more resembling that of old Rome than Eng- 
land, in the power of a moody pubhc, at once 
Nero and Tigellinus — 

*' Lives there no man this world her grievous crimes dare 
Where be those noble spirits for ancient things that 
stood M" 

Let me take an instance of the evils of the 
espionage system, which, though not strictly in 
point, is so analogous as to warrant its applica- 

* Drayton. 


tion. If there be one being who, above all 
others, should surely be, from every considera- 
tion of good feeling and of duty, kept free from 
the rude gaze of vulgar curiosity, whose every 
action should be held sacred, it is our Lady 
the Queen ; and yet who is so persecuted as 
she is ? Do not the public papers teem, day 
after day, with anecdotes and sayings of her? 
the indiscriminate publication of which, touch- 
ing any woman, would be very indelicate, — 
when that woman is our Sovereign, is hardly 
less than sacrilege. 

There is a book of which I do not know what 
to say ; I ought in strictness to include it under 
my censure, and yet I am loth to do so, it is so 
delightful. Its name will probably have been 
anticipated, when I mention Boswell's Johnson. 
Perhaps the best thing to say for it wiU be at 
once to confess, that the principle on which it 
is written is as radically bad, and therefore as 
much to be deprecated, as that of any other 
work of the same class ; but that in this one 
instance the bad effects of the system have been 
neutralized by the transcendant goodness of 
him that was its subject; that nothing could be 


amassed, even by a Boswell, about Dr. Johnson, 
which was not good. We may, though, with 
great fairness, set up the same defence for it as 
that which I have already brought forward for 
Xenophon's MemorabiUa, namely, that Dr. 
Johnson considered himself and acted as a 
public teacher of morality, even in his most 
familiar moments, and that therefore his con- 
versations had not that sacred privacy about 
them which belonged to those of other men, 
but that he himself would desire their publi- 

^^ But/^ says the public to all this, " we have 
a right to know the truth.'* Undoubtedly — 
but not the whole truth. The public has a 
right to demand, that what may be dispensed 
to it shall not be falsehood, and nothing more. 
To be consistent, they ought to put in their 
claim to know every thing of every man in his 
lifetime they may please to be curious about ; 
the state of his fortune, the ratio it bears to his 
expenditure — every thing, in short. Now no 
man will be mad enough to assert that such a 
right as this is inherent in the public : then on 


what possible ground of argument do they as- 
sert its existence in the ease of the same per- 
son, now that he is dead? now that he cannot 
defend himself from the attacks of bad and 
calumnious men ? To me I confess it seems an 
a fortiori conclusion, that if the public have no 
right to know that of any man which may be 
detrimental to his character, he still being in 
possession of the means of active defence; 
when these are removed, there is still less 
reason to claim, touching his affairs, privilege 
of omniscience. 

In truth, this is but one of the many indica- 
tions of the frightful spirit of the age, which 
teaches us to regard those around us, not as 
separate beings, as Christian Souls having an 
existence now and for ever, but as mere units 
in the mass of animated matter, as of no indi- 
vidual importance, but to be regarded merely 
in so far as they conduce to the sum of human 
happiness — that is, to give things their true 
names, in so far as each man finds every other 
human being capable of ministering to his sel- 
fishness — as teeth on the world^s wheel, ugly 


and useless in themselves, but, when combined 
together, and with the wheel, necessary to keep 
the body composite in motion. 

These considerations lead me to regard the 
evils attending the reckless publication of secret 
Memoirs in another and a higher point of view, 
— namely, as treason against the repose and the 
privileges of the Christian Dead. Have we not 
just been reminded, in the Solemn Commemo- 
ration of the Founders and Benefactors of this 
our Noble College, that ^^The Souls of the 
Righteous are in the Hand of God"' — ^that, 
when death takes place, they are but removed 
to some other place in the universe, of higher 
dignity than what they now inhabit? Then 
how can we treat them as if they existed not — 
as if, by their separation from their temporary 
abode, the body, they had lost all privileges, 
all claims to our respect and our consideration ? 
One would rather think that these feelings 
would be heightened by the greater mystery 
that hangs around them; — where they are we 
know not — ^perhaps close to us. Then how can 

^ Wisdom iii. I. 


we treat their wishes and their feelings as if 
they were annihilated from existence^ and had 
neither sense nor perception ? They cannot, it 
is true^ hold that unreserved communication 
with us they could before ; greater the reason, 
therefore, that we should show deference to 
what we learned to be their desire while yet 
they were with us. Numberless are the pas- 
sages in Holy Writ that inculcate this feehng; 
nor are human institutions wanting to give 
their witness to the doctrine. To take one in- 
stance out of many. For what other reason is 
it that a man is allowed to entail and tie up his 
property for years after his deaths than this, 
that his rights terminate not with that event? 
It is a marvellous sights to behold some vast 
property, from year to year, working its end, as 
a thing endowed with life and instinct,, while 
those, whose it is called, sit by with folded 
arms, watching its movements, unable to stop 
or to control them. What else could produce 
such a state of things as this, but the Christian 
feeling, that he who willed them so to be, still 
lived, still watched over them, still felt interest 
in the fulfilment of his desires ? The abroga- 


tion of this privilege was one of the first enact* 
ments whereby Revolutionary France signal- 
ized the triumph of infidelity; and it still 
remains in force^ at once the memorial and the 
punishment of her wickedness. Thus do the 
institutions of man^ thus does the written Word 
of God, bear witness to the grand Catholic 
Truth, that the Dead live and enjoy high privi- 
lege; and shall we, to gratify, a low, an un- 
healthy, a wicked curiosity, show them such 
contempt ? 

There are one or two points connected with 
my subject, which I shall now briefly allude to. 
The first is, that what I have said can touch 
ia a very slight, if any degree, the publication 
of state papers, and the correspondence of those 
engaged in state affairs, so far as it is concerned 
about political matters: such documents are 
not private property, but that of the govern- 
ment to which their authors belong; therefore 
it, or persons acting under its authority, can of 
course use their full discretion, touching their 
pubhcation; — ^their surreptitious promulgation 
by unauthorised persons is to be treated on the 
same principles as any other unauthorised act 



of the same sort Neither do they at all touch 
the publication of secrets^ however discreditable 
or disagreeable^ when it is clear it is done with 
the permission of the parties concerned: for 
man is the keeper of his own secrets^ as much 
as to divulge them^ as to store them up, — only 
care must be taken that no other person is 
compromised by the proceeding; for to what- 
ever degree thi^ is the case, to that degree is 
the publication obnoxious to the blame that has 
been passed upon the system. The expediency 
of such revelations*, except under pecuhar cir- 
cumstances, is another point altogether. On 
the other hand, the unreserved record of the 
thoughts and the feelings of great and good 
men, when made public by their own desire, is 
a high incentive to worthy deeds to those who 
come after, a noble monument of the glories 
of times past. 

Such are the remarks I have to offer on a 
custom, whose evils all must acknowledge who 
consider the matter dispassionately. Having 
by ancient usage been called upon to address 

^ Such, for instance, is Rousseau's Confessions. 


this day^ I thought I could not do it more 
fully than by lifting up my voice — weakly I 
5 uselessly I fear — against a great and a 
wing mischief. If I may seem to have 
ken too decidedly^ and ex cathedrdy let this 
my excuse, that I have spoken sincerely, 
it I have not occupied your time fruitlessly, 
are say, if the cause I have been advocating 
a good cause. 




The earlier part of the Seventeenth Century 
was, compared with the cold era which suc- 
ceeded it, a bright and a wonderful period. It 
was an age of genius, and learning, and of 
many a valiant deed. In it flourished poets, 
statesmen, warriors, not inferior to the greatest 
names of ancient times. Its very vices were 
cast in a gigantic mould. Of its picturesque- 
ness we, placed at this distance of time, can 
form but an inadequate conception ; — all things 
around us have sunk into a tame uniformity. 

^ This is, with some slight alterations, the declamation to 
which the prize was assigned at Trinity College, Cambridge. 
The declamations are carried on after the fashion of scholas- 
tic disputation, two persons taking opposite sides of the same 
question (having reference to English history). Consequently 
these productions bear the impress of pleading rather than of 
judging, — a fault which (as I am well aware) is very con- 
spicuous in the following pages, and should therefore be ho- 
neatly confessed. 



Expediency, profit, are the mainsprings of hu- 
man actions, and society risks being swallowed 
up in the dark, still pool of selfishness ; but in 
those times, the breath of antique Chivalry 
still moved, albeit in fitful gusts, along the sur- 
face of the deep waters, curling their bright 
expanse into a thousand fantastic shapes of 
beauty. The ablest general still aimed at being 
the bravest in the field ; the wisest statesman, 
the most brilliant in the court; — a king mode- 
rated in the schools, and judges led the revels. 
And when, during this momentous time, each 
separate state of Europe was shaken and con- 
vulsed with war and commotion, mutual or 
internal, these were not the mere feuds of men, 
but the conflicts of mighty principles, now for 
the first time ranked against each other on the 
tented field, and assaying their influence over 
the human mind by the arbitration of the 

At this period the destinies of England and 
France were swayed by two statesmen, in cha- 
racter most dissimilar, but each the object of 
marvel and admiration to his contemporaries, 
of interest and discussion to posterity — ^Villiers, 


Duke of Buckingham^ and the Cardinal de 

It will be my purpose, on the present occa- 
sion, after a due investigation of the character 
of these eminent men, to decide, as far as in 
me lies, which of the two ministers was more 
deserving of the title of Great. 

Before proceeding any further in the research, 
I must premise that, from all I have read, my 
prepossessions are considerably in favour of the 
Duke of Buckingham. , 

Arinand Du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Riche- 
lieu, was bom the younger son of a noble fa- 
mily. Destined fey his parents for the solitude 
of a cloister, he early showed such an aversion 
to this quiet and unambitious life, that they 
were induced to change his destination, and 
confer upon him the family Bishopric of Lu9on. 
To this, after a few years spent in assiduous 
study, he was consecrated, and shortly after 
plunged into the troubled waters of political 
contention. By attaching himself, in the first 
instance, to the party of Mary de Medicis, 
Queen Mother of France, he early acquired 
such an influence over her, and such a share of 


popularity, as to render himself formidable to 
the weak mind of King Louis the Thirteenth, 
and the creatures who then composed his mi* 
nistry. Profiting by this, he suflfered himself 
to be, in appearance, hurried along by the 
engine whose motions he, in fact, controlled, 
always ready to play the sufferer, and to fall a 
seeming victim to the faction he was preparing 
to crush, — till at length his plots are ripe, and 
the Queen Mother is driven into exile. Be- 
trayed, insulted, scorned by the proud minister 
she herself had fostered and raised to eminence, 
she at length falls low enough to become the 
suitor of him her former servant for the poor 
favour of returning to that country she had 
ruled with sovereign authority. From that 
hour the King was the slave of his insolent 
counsellor, and the Cardinal continued intrigu- 
ing, cajoling, threatening, plotting, acting, till 
death freed that monarch from thraldom who 
could not live without a master, and that na- 
tion from tyranny which could not enjoy free- 
dom. In his career we find much ingenuity, 
much and unwearied industry, an intimate 
knowledge of the springs of human actions. 



and the manifold influences of state-corruption. 
We find also great talents for official business 
md diplomatic negociation ; great firmness and 
onwardness of purpose, unless where perhaps 
his vanity might interfere, or wounded self-love 
prompt him to mar some preconceived design, 
and thereby change the destinies of provinces, 
compelling perhaps the ancient monarchies of 
Europe to give satisfaction for the insults, 
real or imagined, of Parisian cdteries. In vain, 
however, do we look for any real greatness, for 
any high or fixed principles of duty, for any 
manly or straightforward line of policy. His 
highest object — his own aggrandisement; his 
tools — courtiers and mistresses — the weakest of 
kings, and the most foolish of women. 

On the other hand, the Duke of Buckingham 
had far different men, and a far different state 
of things, to deal with. The Cardinal was the 
dictator of one hypochondriac Monarch, who, 
had he not been fortunate enough to have been 
Richelieu^s tool, would have continued to the 
end of time that of Luines's and Concini^s. 
Buckingham having conciliated the favour of 
the wary, unfeeling James the First, preserved 


that of his noble-hearted, chivahic son, — no 
small proof of genius or aoeomplishments. A 
person of inferior abilities may have ingratiated 
himself into favour with the one or the other ; 
but he that, having won the esteem of James, 
could have preserved that of Charles, must 
truly have been, if not a great, at all events an 
able man. 

And by what arts did he accomplish this? 
— by flattery and courtly fawning? Undoubt- 
edly not. So little has Buckingham ever been 
suspected of that, that he has be^n blamed 
by some writers for too insolent a carriage 
towards his royal master. His very faults 
bear the aspect of virtues exaggerated. His 
frankness, his munificence, his friendship, not 
unfrequently hurried him into what was hasty 
and impolitic To borrow his character from 
Lord Clarendon : — *^ This great man was a 
^^ person of a noble nature and generous dispo- 
^^ sition, and of such other endowments as made 
" him very capable of being a great favourite to 
^^ a great king. He understood the arts of a 
^^ court, and all the learning that is professed 
" there, exactly well. By long practice in busi- 


^^ ness under a master that discoursed excel- 
^Mently, and surely knew all things wonder- 
" fully, and took much delight in indoctrinating 
" his young, inexperienced favourite, who, he 
" knew, would be always looked upon as the 
^^ workmanship of his own hands, he had ob- 
" tained a quick conception and apprehension 
^^ of business, and had the habit of speaking 
" very gracefiilly and pertinently. He was of 
^^ a most flowing courtesy and afiability to all 
^^ men who made any address to him ; and so 
^^ desirous to obUge them, that he did not 
" enough consider the value of the obligation, 
" or the merit of the person he chose to oblige, 
" — from which much of his misfortune re- 
'^ suited. He was of a courage not to be 
" daunted, which was manifested in all his 

^^ actions His kindness and affection to 

" his friends was so vehement, that they were 
" as so many marriages, for better and for 
" worse, and so many leagues, offensive and 
" defensive ; as if he thought himself obliged 
" to love all his friends, and to make war upon 
" all they were angry with, be the cause what 
" it would. And it cannot be denied that he 


^^ was an enemy in the same excess^ and prose- 
'^ cuted those he looked upon as his enemies 
^'with the utmost rigour and animosity^ and 
was not easily induced to reconciliation. And 
yet there were some examples of his receding 
in that particular. And when he was in the 
highest passion, he was so far from stooping 
to any dissimulation, whereby his displeasure 
^^ might be concealed and covered till he had 
^^ attained his revenge (the low method of 
" courts), that he never endeavoured to do any 
" man an ill office before he told him what he 
^^ was to expect from him, and reproached him 
^' with the injuries he had done, with so much 
" generosity, that the person found it in his 
" power to receive further satisfaction in the 
^* way he would choose for himself.** 

How different a man is this from the cold, 
selfish Richelieu ! How infinitely more manly, 
more truly great ! The one, indeed, never did 
commit a political blunder — the other, often; 
but why was this? Because the cunning Ri- 
chelieu never dared to be great; the great 
Buckingham never condescended to be cun- 


Richelieu^ during the whole of his career, 
had but to contend against the petty intrigues 
of a luxurious court, the low cunning of a 
IKAncre and a Luines, the gasconades of a 
Duke of Anjou, the womanish schemes of a 
Mary de Medicis. Buckingham, in order to 
maintain his power, had to stem the moody 
passions of a House of Commons, the licen- 
tiousness of a secret press, the turbulence of a 
mob, the eloquence of a Sir John Eliot. And 
yet, with these superior advantages, Richelieu 
could not sustain his power without the prac- 
tice of cruelties, whose parallel we seek in vain 
in the career of Buckingham. The noblest 
blood of France — that of a Marilliac, a Mont- 
morenci, a Cinq Mars — was spilled to maintain 
our Cardinal in that pre-eminence he had in 
the first instance won by the low arts of in- 
trigue and dissimulation. 

What arguments may be brought forward on 
the other side I know not, but for my part, I 
will give up the cause, and own myself defeated, 
if my opponent can produce one instance of any 
true friendship ever formed by Richelieu. By 
friendship I do not mean that influence over 


the mind of another which renders it the reflex 
of our own ; but the linking of two pure and 
noble natures in the bonds of affection and fel- 
low-feeling. I had almost said, if he could 
prove Richelieu possessed of anyone of the softer 
feelings of humanity, from which friendship is 
wont to spring, I would leave him master of 
the field. Flatterers the Cardinal had in abund- 
ance, tools in abundance — beings who, having, 
like the contemptible Father Joseph, bound 
themselves body and soul to the tyrant, seemed 
almost to have lost their separate existence, as 
they toiled and toiled to fulfil the dark designs 
of the proud Cardinal, trusted but with scraps 
and beggarly doles of confidence, sacrificed as 
soon as they were no longer necessary to feed 
his ambition or his selfishness — but not one 
friend. Whereas Buckingham loved to join 
himself in affectionate confiding friendship with 
the noblest spirits of his day. Innumerable 
were the odes, sonnets, epic poems, in all lan- 
guages, metres, styles, and degree of merit, ad- 
dressed to the Cardinal during his reign; but 
he died, and the muse was silent, not one poet 
found to drop a tear upon the grave of him they 


had bespattered with most fulsome adulation 
while yet he retained the power of doing them 
harm. But hardly do we find great Bucking- 
ham fallen by an assassin^s knife^ when a 
kindred spirit laments his fate in words like 
these — 

'^ Reader, when these dumb stones have told 
In borrowed speech what guest they hold. 
Thou shalt confess the vam pursuit 
Of human glory yields no fruit, 
But an untimely grave. If Fate 
Could constant happiness create, 
Her ministers — Fortune and Worth — 
Had here that miracle brought forth ; 
They fixed this child of honour where 
No room was left for hope or fear 
Of more or less ; so high, so great 
His growth was, yet so safe his seat ; 
Safe in the circle of his friends ; 
Safe in his loyal heart and ends ; 
Safe in his native valiant spirit ; 
By favour safe, and safe by merit ; 
Safe by the stamp of nature, which 
Did strength with shape and grace enrich ; 
Safe in the cheerful courtesies 
Of flowing gestures, speech, and eyes ; 
Safe in his bounties, which were more 
Proportioned to his mind than store ; 
Yet though for virtue he becomes 
Involved himself in borrowed sums, 



Safe in his care, he leaves betrayed 
No friend engaged, no debt unpaid. 

But though the stars above conspire to shower 
Upon one head the united power 
Of all their graces, if their dire 
Aspects must other breasts inspire 
With vicious thoughts, a murderer's knife 
May cut, as here, their darling's life. 
Who can be happy, then, if nature must. 
To make one happy man, make all men just 1 



Can the subject of these words have been 
any but a great man ? These few lines of Ca- 
rew do more than outweigh the heaps of flat- 
tery oflTered up to the Cardinal Duke during his 
tide of power. 

Many persons have been accustomed to re- 
gard Buckingham merely as a brilliant profli- 
gate ; as one who, to great fertility of talent 
and fascination of manner, united a total want 
of moral principle. We must not, however, 
forget that Buckingham was the enemy of the 
Puritans ; this consideration solves the mystery. 
In other cases, too, Puritan misrepresentation 
has distorted the fairest forms that wonderful 
age produced ; and to them it is we owe our 
unfavourable impressions of Villiers^ character. 


Does Clarendon give any ground for such a 
supposition? Assuredly no such thing; and 
on the plain face of matters^ is it likely that the 
confidential minister of King Charles the First, 
the friend of Laud, could have been such a 
being as some writers strive to make out Buck- 
ingham? However persons may differ as to 
the tendency of Archbishop Laud's theological 
opinions, yet all must agree in admiring his 


sincerity, his nobleness of heart, his spotless 
purity of life. Would such a man have deigned 
to accept the friendship of an abandoned pro- 
fligate ? Would such a profligate have tendered 
any but an insincere and hollow friendship to a 
holy and a religious man? and of insincerity 
not even his bitterest enemies ever accused 
Buckingham. That prelate who, to his latest, 
saddest years, observed that day with deep 
humiliation and bitter self-reproach on which, 
in early life, over-persuaded by a powerful pa- 
tron *, he had united him to the divorced wife 
of another; that prelate who, when himself 

^ f^l of Devon. 


powerful, scrupled not to make that power serve 
the cause of virtue rather than that of interest^ 
by censuring incontinence in the proudest dames 
of the land, in Buckingham's own sister ', would 
surely not have chosen a shameless adulterer as 
his bosom friend. In a word, what faith can 
be put in the relation of persons who, while 
slandering the moral character of the Martyr- 
King, deified the assassin Felton, and revered 
John Bradshaw as a patriot? At all events, 
even were these accusations true, which I do 
not at all admit, yet the private character of 
Richelieu is far from stainless; so that even in 
this case the Duke would but be on a level 
with the Cardinal; on the other supposition, 
infinitely superior to him. 

To turn to another point, in which Villiers 
has been made the subject of a vast deal of 
undeserved reprehension. The Spanish expe- 
dition of Prince Charles and the Duke has 
oftentimes been held to be a wild and foolish 
scheme of Buckingham, and such as would of 

* Countess of Purbeck. 


itself be sufficient to exclude his name from the 
roll of greatness; whereas, on the contrary, it 
may be esteemed a most wise and ingenious 
measure, nay, a profound stroke of skilful diplo- 
macy. There were at that time two problems 
to be solved by the English government, — 
whether Spain was in reality favourably dis- 
posed towards this country in the matter of the 
Palatinate, and whether an alliance with the 
daughter of Spain would be pleasing to the 
Prince or advantageous to the nation; and to 
solve these Buckingham devised his much- 
famed Spanish expedition. In these days such 
a proceeding would be deemed, and would truly 
be. Quixotic and absurd. But then the bright 
spirit of chivalry still reigned in European 
courts, it was not altogether supplanted by dull, 
dry diplomacy; still the youth trod forth in 
his slashed doublet, with his feather in his hat, 
and his good Toledo by his side, ready for any 
adventure that might betide him by flood or 
field, battle or tournament. In this spirit 
Buckingham proposed the Spanish expedition, 
and it succeeded; it was proved without a 


doubt, that the intentions of Spain were not 
sincere, and that the match would please nei- 
ther the Prince nor the people; and all more 
quickly, more truly, and more easily, than if 
recourse had been had to the endless routine of 
congress and of protocol. And sure it was a 
more graceful sight to behold a young and gal- 
lant Prince throwing himself at the feet of the 
Princess of Castile, than to find him wooing by 
proxy, and wedding by ambassador. 

Hitherto we have viewed the favourable side 
of Richelieu^s character ; but when we investi- 
gate his private life, and bring to light the 
many littlenesses concealed beneath the glitter 
of his public administration ; when we see the 
proud Lord Cardinal spending his night in 
gathering together and piecing up the frag- 
ments of that his Tragedy he had torn up from 
vexation that the Academy, in ignorance of its 
authorship, had not pronounced it superior to 
Comeille ; when we hear of him depriving a 
learned Professor * of his pension, because, in 

1 Borbonius. 


equal ignorance^ he had dared censure the 
Latinity of an inscription written by the haughty 
Prelate; when, I say, we behold these and a 
thousand other examples of the like sort, can 
we for a moment hesitate in deciding that, pre- 
eminent as were Richelieu's abilities, the palm 
of greatness is more justly due to Villiers, Duke 
of Buckingham ? 


Gilbert & Rivington, Printers, St. John's Square, London. 

J - V 

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