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^a-/M. 3 

tiarvarD Colleoe Xibrar)^ 











Akt. I. The Political Destination of Amemca, 1 ' 

n. Legality of American Slavery, - - - 32 

in. Th5 Law of Evidence, 39 

IV. The Works of Walter Savage Landor, 63 

V. A New Theory of the Effect of the Tides, 77 

VI. Postal Reijorm, 82 

Vn. The Free Soil Movement, 105 

VIII. Short Reviews and Notices, - - - - 126 

9 VI. 

^^i^y'hi^, L The German Revolution of 1848, - - 137 

n. The Eternity of God, 183 

in. Discovery of America by the Norsemen, 189 

IV. Mr. Prescott as an Historian, - - - 215 ^ 

V. Oxford Poetry, 249 

VI. Short Reviews and Notices, - - - - 253 


.. '3- Art. I. The Methodology of Mesmerism, - - 273 

- n. The Ocean, and its Meaning in Nature, 308 

m. Macaulay's History of England, - - 326 

IV. Short Reviews and Notices, - - - - 866 


^/Tj.'t-v.ABT. I. The Methodologj of Mesmerism, - - 401 

n. The Poetry of Keats, 414 

m. Prichard's Natural History of Man, - 428 

rv. Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, - - - 437 - 

V. Angelus Silesius, 471 

VT. Recent Defences of Slavery, - - - - 487 

vn. Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architbcturb, 514 

VIU. Short Reviews and NoncBS, - - - - 520 


NO. v. — DECEMBER, 1848. 


Evert nation has a pecniiar character, in which it difiers 
from all others that have been, that are, and possibly from all 
that are to come, for it does not jet appear that the Divine 
Fattier of the nations ever repeats himself and creates eitiier 
two nations or two men exactly alike. However, as nations, 
like men, agree in more things than thej differ, and in obvious 
things too, the special pecntiaritj of any one tribe does not 
always appear at first sight. But if we look through the his- 
tory of some nation which has passed off from the stage of 
action, we find certain prevailing traits which continuallly re- 
appear in the language and laws thereof; in its arts, literature, 
manners, modes of religion — in short, in the whole life of the 
people. The most prominent tiling in the history of the He- 
brews is their Continual Trust in God, and this marks them 
from their first appearance to the present day. They have 
accordingly done litfle for art, science, philosophy,* littie for 
commerce and the useful arts of life, but much for Religion 
— and the psalms they sung two or three thousand years ago 
are at this day the Hymns and Prayers of the whole Christian 
world. Three great historical forms of religion — Judaism, 
Christianity, and Mahometanism — aU have proceeded from 

He that looks at the Ionian Greeks finds in their story al- 
ways the same prominent characteristic— a Devotion to what is 
Beautiful. Tins appears often to the neglect of what is true, 
right, and therefore holy. Hence, while they have done littie 
for reli^on, their literature, architecture, sculpture, furnish ua 

NO. V. ] 

2 Political Destination of America. [Dec. 

with models never surpassed, and perhaps not equalled. Yet 
they lack the ideal aspiration after ReUgion that appears in 
the literature and art, and even language of some other people, 
quite inferior to the Greeks in elegance and refinement. Sci- 
ence, also, is most largely indebted to these beauty-loving 
Greeks, for Truth is one form of Loveliness. 

If we take the Romans, from Romulus their first king, to 
Augustulus the last of the Caesars, the same traits of national 
character appear, only the complexion and dress thereof 
changed by curcumstances. There is always the same hard- 
ness and materialism, the same skill in organizing men, the 
same turn for affitirs and genius for legblation. Rome bor- 
rowed her theology and liturgical forms; her art, science, 
literature, philosophy, and eloquence ; even her art of war was 
^m imitation. But Law sprung up indigenous in her soil ; her 
laws are the best gift she offers to the Human Race, — the 
^^ monument more lasting than brass " which she has left be- 
hind her. 

We may take another nation, which has by no means com- 
pleted its history, the Saxon race, from Hengist and Horsa to 
Sir Robert Peel : there also is a permanent peculiarity in the 
tribe. They are yet the same bold, hardy, practical people 
as when then: bark first touched the savage shores of Britain ; 
not over religious ; less pious than moral ; not so much upright 
before God, as downright before men; servants of the Under- 
standing more than children of Reason ; not following the 
guidance of an intuition, and the light of an Idea, but rather 
trusting to experiment, facts, precedents, and usages; not 
philosophical, but commercial ; warlike through strength and 
courage, not from love of war or its glory; material, obstinate, 
and grasping, with the same admiration of horses, dogs, oxen, 
and strong drink; the same willingness to tread down any 
obstacle, material, human, or divine, which stands in their way ; 
the same impatient lust of wealth and power ; the same dispo- 
sition to colonize and reannex other lands ; the same love of 
Liberty and love of Law; the same readiness in forming 
political confederations.. 

In each of these four instances the Hebrews, the lonians, 
the Romans, and the Anglo-Saxon race have had a nationality 
so strong, that while they have mingled with other nations in 
commerce and in war, as victors and vanquished, they have 
stoutly held their character through all ; they have thus modi- 
fied feebler nations joined with them. To take the last, 

1848.] Political Destination of America. 8 

neither the Britons nor the Danes affected very much ttie 
character of the Anglo-Saxons ; they never turned it out of 
its course. The Normans gave the Saxon manners, refinement, 
letters, elegance. The Anglo-Saxon bishop of the eleventh 
century, dressed in untanned sheep skins, ^^ the woolly side out 
and ttie fleshy side in ; " he ate cheese and flesh, drank milk 
and mead. The Norman taught him to wear cloth, to eat 
also bread and roots, to drink wine. But in other respects the 
Norman left him as he found him. England has received her 
kings and her nobles from Normandy, Anjou, the Provence, 
Scotland, Holland, Hanover — often seeing a foreigner as- 
cend her throne ; yet the sturdy Anglo-Saxon character held 
its own, spite of the new element infused into its blood : change 
the ministries, change the dvnasties often as they will, John Bull 
is obstinate as ever, and himself changes not ; no philosophy 
or religion makes him less material. No nation but the Eng- 
Ush could have produced a Hobbes, a Hume, a Paley, or a 
Bentham, — they are all instancial and not exceptional men in 
that race. 

Now this idiosyncrasy of a nation is a sacred gift; like 
the genius of a Bums, a Thorwaldsen, a Franklin, or a Bow- 
ditch : it is given for some divine purpose, to be sacredly cher^ 
ished and patientlv unfolded. The cause of the peculiarities 
of a nation or an mdividual man we cannot fully determine as 
yet, and so we refer it to the chain of causes which we call 
Providence. But the national persistency in a common type 
is easily explsdned. The qualities of father and mother are 
commonly transmitted to their children, but not always, for 
peculiarities may lie latent in a family for generations, and re- 
appear in the genius or the folly of a child — often in the com- 
plexion and features : and besides, father and mother are often 
no match. But such exceptions are rare, and the qualities of 
a race are always thus reproduced, the deficiency of one man 
getting counterbalanced by the redundancy of the next : the 
marriages of a whole tribe are not far from normal. 

Some nations, it seems, perish through defect of this na- 
tional character, as individuals fail of success through excess 
or deficiency in their character. Thus the Celts, — that great 
flood of a nation which once swept over Germany, France, 
England, and, casting its spray far over the Alps, at one time 
threatened destruction to Rome itself, — seem to have been so 
filled with Love of Individual Independence that they could 

4 Political DestinaUon of America. [Dec. 

never accept a minute organization of human Rights and 
Duties, and so their children would not group themselves into 
a City, as other races, and submit to a strong central power, 
which should curb individual will enough to ensure National 
Unity of Action, Perhaps this was once the excellence of the 
Celts, and thereby they broke the trammels and escaped from 
the theocratic or despotic traditions of earlier and more savage 
times, developmg the Power of the Individual for a time, and 
the energy of a nation loosely bound ; but when they came in 
contact with the Romans, Franks, and Saxons, they melted 
away as snow in April — only, like that, remnants thereof yet 
lingering in the mountiuns and islands of Europe. No extern 
nal pressure of £&mine or political oppression can hold the 
Celts in Ireland together, or give them national unity of action 
enough to resist the Saxon foe. Doubtless in other days this 
very peculiarity of the Irish has done the world some service. 
Nations succeed each other as races of animals in the geologi- 
cal epochs, and like them, also, perish when their work is done. 

The peculiar character of a nation does not appear nakedly, 
without relief and shadow. As the waters of tiie Rhone, in 
coming from the moimtains, have caught a stain from the 
soils they have traversed which mars the cerulean tinge of tiie 
mountain snow that gave them birth, so the peculiarities of 
each nation become modified by the circumstances to which it 
is exposed, though the fundamental character of a nation, it 
seems, has never been changed. Only when the blood of the 
nation is changed by additions from another stock is the idio- 
syncrasy altered. 

Now, while each nation has its peculiar Genius or character 
which does not change, it has also and accordingly a particular 
Work to perform in the economy of the world, a certain Fundar 
mental Idea to unfold and develop. This is its national task, for 
in God's world, as in a shop, there is a regular division of labor. 
Sometimes it is a limited work, and when it is done the nation 
may be dismissed, and go to its repose. Nbn omnia posmmus 
omnes is as true of nations as of men ; one has a genius for 
one thing, another for something different, and the Idea of 
each nation and its special Woric will depend on the Genius of 
the nation. Men do not gather grapes of thorns. 

In addition to this specific genius of the nation and its 
corresponding work, there are also various Accidental or Sub- 
ordinate Qualities, which change with circumstances, and so 
vary the nation's aspect that its peculiar genius and peculiar 

1848.] Political DtBtination of America. 5 

duty are often hid from its own conscioosness, and even obscured 
to tiiat of the philosophic looker on. These subordinate pecur 
liaritios will depend first on the peculiar Genius, Idea, and 
Work of the nation, and next on the Transient Circumstances 
— geographical, climactic, historical, and secular — to which 
the nation has been exposed. The past helped form the cir- 
cumstances of the present age, and they the character of the 
men now living. Thus new modifications of the national tjpe 
continually take place ; new variations are played, but on the 
same old strings and of the same old tune. Once circum- 
stances made the Hebrews entirely agricultural, now as com- 
pletely commercial ; but the same Trust in Ood, the same 
iTational Exclusiveness appear, as of old. As one looks at 
Uie history of the lonians, Romans, Saxons, he sees Unity of 
National Character, a Continuity of Idea and of Work ; but it 
appears in the midst of Variety, for while these remained ever 
the same to complete the economy of the world, subordinate 
qualities — sentiments, ideas, actions — changed to suit the 
passmg hour. The nation's course was laid towards a certain 
pomt, but they stood to the right hand or the left, they sailed 
with much canvas or little, and swift or slow, as the winds and 
waves compelled ; — nay, sometimes the national ship " heaves 
to," and lies with her ^^ head to the wind," regardless of her 
dcMBtination ; but when the storm is overblown resumes her 
course. Men will carelessly think the ship has no certain aim, 
but only drifts. 

The most marked characteristic of the American nation is I 
LovB oy Frbbdom; op Man's Natural Riouts. This is" 
so plain to a student of American History, or of American 
Politics, that the point requires no arguing. We have a Ge- 
nius for liberty: the American idea is Freedom, Natural 
Rights. Accoidingly, the work providentially laid out for us / 
to do seems this: to organize the Rights op Man. This* 
is a problem hitherto unattempted on a national scale, in 
human history. Often enough attempts have been made to 
organize the Powers of Priests, Kings, Nobles, in a Theoc- 
racy, Monarchy, Oligarchy — powers which had no foundation 
in human Duties, or human Rights, but solely in the selfishness 
of strong men. Often enough have the Mights of Men been 
organized, but not the Ri^ts of Man. Surely there has 
never been an attempt made on a national scale to organize 
the Rights of Man as Man, Rights restmg on the nature of 

6 PolUicdl DestdnaUan of America. [Dec. 

things ; Bights derived from no conventional compact of men 
with men ; not inherited from past generations, nor received 
from Parliaments and Kings, or secured by their parchments, 
— but Rights that are derived stwdghtway from God, — the 
Author of Duty and the Source of Right, — and which are 
secured in the Great Charter of our Being. 

At first view it will be said, the peculiar genius of America 
is not such, nor such her fundamental idea, nor that her des- 
tined work. It is true that much of the national conduct 
seems exceptional when measured by that standard, and the 
nation's course as crooked as the Rio Grande ; it is true that 
America sometimes seems to spurn Liberty, and sells the 
freedom of three million men for less than three million an- 
nual bales of cotton ; — true, she often tramples, knowingly, 
consciously tramples, on the most unquestionable and sacred 
Rights. Yet, when one looks through the whole character 
and history of America — spite of the exceptions, nothmg 
comes out with such relief as this Love of Freedom, this Idea 
of liberty, thb attempt to organize Right. There are numer- 
ous subordinate qualities which conflict with the nation's Idea 
and work, coming from our circumstances, not our soul, as 
well as many others which help the nation perform her provi- 
dential work. They are Signs of the Times, and it is impor- 
tant to look carefully at the most prominent among them, 
where, indeed, one finds striking contradictions. 

The first is an Impatience of Authority. Every thing 
must render its reason, and show cause for its being. We 
will not be commanded, at least only by such as we choose 
to obey. Does some one say, " Thou shalt," or " Thou shalt 
not," we ask, " Who are you ? " Hence comes a seeming 
irreverence. The shovel hat, — the symbol of authority, — 
which awed our fathers, is not respected imless it covers a 
man, and then it is the man we honor, and no longer the 
shovel hat. " I will complain of you to the government ! " 
said a Prussian nobleman to a Yankee stage^lriver, who un- 
civilly threw the nobleman's trunk to the top of the coach. 
" Teil the government to go to the Devil ! " was the symbol- 
ical reply. 

Old precedents will not suffice \is, for we want something 
anterior to all precedents ; we go beyond what is written, 
asking the cause of the precedent, and the reason of the 
writing. " Our fathers did so," says some one. " What of 

1848.] Political Destination of America. 7 

timt?" say we. *'Our fathers — they wcro giants, weM 
they ? Not at all^ only great boys, and wc are not only taller 
tluui tbey, but mounted on tbeir shoulders to boot, and seo 
twiee fts far. My dear wise man, or wiseacre, it is we that 
are tbe ancients, and have forgotten more than all our fathers 
knew* We will take their wisdom joyfully, and thank God 
for it, but not their aathorityj — we know better, — and of 
tbeir nonsense not a word* It was very well that they lived, 
and it is very well that tbey are dead* Let them keG|j de- 
cently buried, for resr>ee table dead men never walk,'* 

Tradition does not satisfy us, Tbe American scholar has 
no folios in bis library. Tbe antiquary unrolls bis codex, bid 
for eighteen hundred years in tbe ashes of Herculaneum, de- 
dphe!^ its fossil wisdom, telling ua what great men thought 
in tbe bay of Naples, and two thousand years a^o. " What 
do you tell of that for?*' is the answer to his learning. 
** What has Pythagoras to do with the price of cotton ? You 
may be a very learned man ; you can read the hieroglyphics 
of Egypt, I dare say, and know so much about the Pharaohs, 
it is a pity you had not lived in tbeir time, when you might 
have been good for something ; but you are too old-fashioned 
for our busineaa, and may return to your dust*** An emineni 
American, a student of Egyptian history, with a scholarly 
indignation declared, ** There is not a man who cares to know 
whetber Shoophoo lived one thousand years before Christ, or 

The example of other and ancient states does not terrify or 
instruct us* If Slavery were a curse to Athens, the corrup- 
tion of Corinth, the undoing of Eome, — ^and all history shows 
it was 90, — we irill learn no lesson from that experience, 
for we say, "We arc not Athenians, men of Corinth, nor 
pagan Romans, thank God, but free Ropablicans, Christians 
of America. Wo live in the nineteenth century, and though 
Slavery worked all that mischief then and there, we know 
how to make money out of it — twelve hundred millions of dol- 
kra, as Mr. Clay counts the cash/* 

The example of contemprary nations fumiabes ns little 
warning or guidance. We will set our own precedents, and 
do not like to he told that tbe Prussians or the Dutch have 
Icarrjed some things in the education of the people before us^ 
which wc shall do well to learn after them. So when a good 
man tells us of their schools and their colleges, " patriotic" 
Hcbool masters exclaim, '* It is not true ; our schools are the 

8 Political Deitinatian qf America. [Dec. 

best in the world ! Bat if it were true, it is unpatriotic to 
say 80 ; it aids and comforts the enemy." Jonadian knows 
liUle of war ; he has heard his grandfather talk of Lexington 
and Saratoga ; he thinks he should like to have a little touch of 
battle 6n his own account : so when there is difficulty in setting 
up the fence betwixt his estate and his neighbours, he blusters 
fbr a while,, talks big, and threatens to stnke his father ; but, 
not having quite the stomach ibr that experiment, falls to beatr 
ing his other neighbour, who happens to be poor, weak, and of 
a sickly constitution ; and when he beats her at every step, — 

** For 't 18 no war, as each one knows, 
When only one side deals the blows, 
And t' other bean 'em,"*— 

Jonathan thinks he has covered himself '^ with imperishable 
honors," and sets up his general for a great king. Poor Jon- 
athan — he does not know the misery, the tears, the blood, 
the shame, the wickedness, snd the sin he has set a-gomg, 
and which one day he is to account fbr with God who forgets 

Yet while we are so unwilling to accept the good principles, 
to be warned by the &te, or guided bv the success, of other 
nations, we glacUy and servilely copy meir faults, their follies, 
their vice and sin. like all upstarts, we pique ourselves oa 
our imitation of aristocratic ways. How many a blusterer in 
Congress, — for there are two denominations of blusterers, 
differing only in degree, your great blusterer in Congress and 
your little blusterer in a bar-room, — has roared away hours 
Wg agdnst aristocratic influence, in favor of the "pure 
democracy," while he plaved the oligarch in his native village, 
ihe tyrant over his hired help, and though no man knows 
who his grandfather was, spite of the herald's office, conjures 
up some trumpery coat of arms! Like a clown, who, by 
jmiching his appetite, has bought a gaudy cloak for Sabbam 
wearing, we chuckle inwardly at our brave apery of foreign 
absurdities, hoping that strangers will be astonished at us — 
which, sure enough, comes to pass. Jonathan is as vain as he 
is conceited, and expects that the Fiddlers, the Dickenses, and i 
the TroUopes, who visit us periodically as the swallows, and 
likewise for what they can catch, shall only extol, or at least 
stand aghast at the brave spectacle we offer, of " the freest 
and most enlightened nation in the world" ; and if they tell 
us that we are an ill-mannered set, raw and clownish, that we 

1848.] PoKtical Deitinatian of America. 9 

pick <mr teeth with a fork, k)Il back m our chairs, and make 
oar coantenaiice hateful with tobacco, and that with all our 
ezcell^ices we are a nation of "rowdies," — why, we are 
offended, and our feelings are hurt. There was an African 
chief, long ago, who ruled over a few miserable cabins, and 
one dav received a French traveller from Paris, under a tree. 
TVith the exertion of a pair of shoes, our chief was as naked 
as a pestle, but with great complacency he asked the traveller, 
" What do they say of me at Paris ? " 

Such is our dread of authority that we like not old thing? ; 
hence we are always a-changing. Our house must be new, 
and our book, and even our church. So we choose a material 
that soon wears out, though it often outlasts our patience. 
The wooden house is an apt emblem of this sign of the times. 
But this love of change appears not less in important matters. 
We think " of old things all are over old, of new things none 
are new enough." So the age asks of all institutions their ^ 
right to be ; What right has the government to existence ; who 
gave the majority a right to contrdi the minority, to restrict 
trade, levy taxes, make laws, and all that ? K the nation goes 
into a committee of the whole and makes laws, some little man 
goes into a committee of one and passes his counter resolves. 
The state of South Carolina is a nice example of this self- 
reliaace and ihk questioning of all authority. That little 
Waien state, which contains only about half so many free 
white inhabitants as the single city of New York, but whidi 
none the less claims to have monopolized most of the chivalry 
of the nation, and its patriotism, as well as political wisdom — 
that chivalrous little state says, " K the nation does not make 
laws to suit us ; if it does not allow us to imprison all black 
seamen from the North ; if it prevents the extension of Sla- 
very wherever we wish to carry it — then the state of South 
Carolina will nullify, and leave the other nine and twenty 
states to go to ruin ! " 

Men ask what right have the churches to the shadow of 
authority which clings to them — to make creeds, and to bind 
and to loose ! So it is a thing which has happened, that when 
a church excommunicates a young stripling for heresy, he 
turns round, fulminates his edict, and excommunicates the 
church. Said a Aj Jesuit to an American Protestant at 
Borne, "But the rites and customs and doctrines of the 
Catholic church ep back to the second century, — the age 
afier the apostiesT" " No doubt of it," sud the American, 


10 Political Destination of America. [Deo. 

who had also read the Fathers, ^^ they go back to the times of 
the apostles themselves ; but that proves noihmg, for there 
were as great fools in the first century as the last. A fool or 
a folly is no better because it is an old folly or an old fool. 
There are fools enough now, in all conscience. Pray do n*t 
go back to prove their apostolical succession." 

There are always some men who are born out of due season, 
men of past a^es, stragglers of former generations, who ought 
to have been oom before Dr. Faustus invented printing, but 
who are unfortunately bom now, or, if bom long ago, have been 
fraudulently and illegally concealed by their mothers, and are 
now, for the first time, brought to light. The age lifts such 
aged juveniles from the ground, and bids them live, but they 
are sadly to seek in this day ; they are old-fashioned boys ; 
their authority is called in question ; their traditions and old 
wives' fables are laughed at, at any rate disbelieved ; they get 
profanely elbowed in the crowd — men not knowing their 
great age and consequent venerableness ; the shovel hat, 
though apparently bom on their head, is treated with disre- 
spect. The very boys laugh pertly in their face when the^ 
speak, and even old men can scarce forbear a smile, though it 
may be a smile of pity. The age affords such men a place, 
for it is a catholic age, large-minded, and tolerant, — such a 
place as it gives to ancient armor, Indian Bibles, and fossil 
bones of the Mastodon ; it puts them by in some room seldom 
used, with other old fiimiture, and allows them to mumble 
their anilities by themselves ; now and then takes off its hat ; 
looks in, charitably, to keep the mediaeval relics in good heart, 
and pretends to listen, as they discourse of what comes of noth- 
ing and goes to it ; but in matters which the age cares about, 
commerce, manufactures, politics, which it cares much for, 
even in education, which it cares &r too little about, it trusts 
V no such counsellors, nor tolerates, nor ever affects to listen. 

Then there is a Philosophical Tendency, distinctly visible ; a 
groping after Ultimate Facts, First Principles, and Universal 
Ideas. We wish to know first the Fact, next the Law of that 
Fact, and then the Reason of the Law. A sign of this ten- 
dency is noticeable in the titles of books ; we have no longer 
" treatises " on the Eye, the Ear, Sleep, and so forth, but in 
their place we find works professing to treat of the '^ Philoso- 
phy " of vision, of sound, of sleep. Even in the Pulpits men 
speak about the ^^ Philosophy " of Religion ; we have philo- 



1848.] PoUUad DestmaUon of America. 11 

8ophical lectures delivered to men of little culture, which 
would have amazed our grandfathers, who thought a shoe- 
maker should never go beyond his last, ^^ even to seek for the 
plulosophy of shoes." " What a pity," said a grave Scotchman 
m the be^nning of this century, " to teach the beautiful science 
of geometry to weavers and cobblers." Here nothing is too 
good or high for any one tall and good enough to get hold of 
it. What audiences attend the Lowell lectures in Boston — 
two or three thousand men listening to twelve lectures on the 
Philosophy of fish ! it would not bring a dollar or a vote, only 
thoughts to their minds ! Toung ladies are well versed in the 
philosophy of the affections, and understand the Theory of 
Attraction, while their grandmothers, good easy souls, were 
satisfied with the possession of the Fact. The circumstance 
that philosophical lectures get delivered by men like Walker, , 
Agassiz, Emerson, and their coadjutors — men who do not spare •^ 
abstruseness — get listened to and even understood in town and 
village by largfe crowds of men of only the most common cul- 
ture, — this indicates a philosophical tendency unknown in any 
other land or age. Our circle of professed scholars, men of 
culture and learning, is a very small one, while our circle of 
thinking men is disproportionately large. The best thought 
of France and Germany finds a readier welcome here than in 
our parent land : nay, the newest and the best thought of 
England finds its earliest and warmest welcome in America. It 
was a little remarkable that Bacon and Newton should be re- 
printed here, and La Place should have found his translator 
and expositor coming out of an Insurance Office in Salem ! 
Men of no great pretensions object to an accomplished 
and eloquent politician : '' That is all very well ; he made us 
cry and laugh, but the discourse was not philosophical ; he 
never tells us the reason of the thing ; he seems not only not 
to know it, but not to know that there h a reason for the thing, 
and if not, what is the use of this bobbing on the surface ? " 
Young middens complain of the minister that he has no philos- 
ophy in his sermons, nothing but precepts, which they could 
read in the Bible as well as he ; perhaps in heathen Seneca. 
He does not feed their souls. 

One finds this tendency where it is least expected ; there is 
a philosophical party in politics, a very small party it may be, 
but an actual one. They aim to get at Everlasting Ideas and 
Universal Laws not made by man, but by God and for man, 
who only finds them ; and from them they aim to deduce all 


12 Political Destination of America. [Deo. 

particular enaeianents, so that each statute in the code shaH 
represent a Fact in the Universe ; a point of thought in God ; 
so, indeed, that Legislation shall be divine in the same sense 
that a true system of Astronomy is divine — or the Christian 
Religion — the word corresponding to a fact. Men of this party 
in New England have more Ideas tiian precedente, are sponta- 
neous more tiian lo^cal ; have intuitions rather than intellectual 
convictions arrived at by the process of reasoning. They 
think it is not philosof^icid to take a young scoundrel and shut 
him up with a party of old ones for his amendment ; not philo- 
sophical to leave children with no culture, intellectual, moral, 
or religious, exposed to the temptations of a high and corrupt 
civilization, and then when they go astray — as such barto- 
rians need must in such temptations — to hang them by the 
neck for the example's sake. They doubt if war is a more phi- 
losophical mode of gettmg justice between two nations, wan 
blows to settie a quarrel between two men. In eitiier case 
they do not see how it follows that he who can strike the 
haraest blows is always in the right In short, they think that 
judicial murder, which is hanging, and national mmrder, which 
is war, are not more philosophical than homicide, which one 
man commits (m his own private account. 

Theological sects are always tiie last to feel any popular 
movement. Yet all of them, from the Episcopalians to the 
Quakers, have each a philosophical party, which bids fair to 
outgrow the party which rests on precedent and usage, to 
overshadow and destroy it. The Catholic Church itself, 
though far astern of all the sects in regard to the great move- 
ments of the age, shar^ this s{mit, and abroad if not here id 
well nigh rent asunder by the potent medicine which this new 
Daniel of Philosophy has put into its mouth. Everywhere in 
tiie American churches there are signs of a tendency to drop 
all that rests merely on tradition and hearsay, to clii^ only to 
such &cts as bide the test of criti<^ search, and such doc- 
trines as can be verified in human consciousness here and to- 
day. Doctors of divinity destroy the faith they once preached. 

True, there are antagonistic tendencies, for soon as one 
pole is developed the otiher appears ; objections are made to 
Hiilosophjr, the old cry is raised — " InJSdelitjr," " Denial,'* 
" Free thmkmg." It is said that philosophy will corrupt the 
young men, will ^il the old cmes, and deceive the very Elect. 
^^ Authority and Tradition," say some, are all we need con- 
sult ; ^^ Beason must be put down, or she will soon ask ter- 

1848.] Fol^ieal De^UnaJHon of America. 18 

rible qnestKHis." There is good cause for these men warring 
against Reason and Philosophy; it is purely in self-defence. 
But this counsel and iiiat cry come from those quarters before 
mentioned, where the men of past ages have their place, 
where the forgotten is re-collected, the obsolete preserved, and 
tihe useless held in esteem. The counsel is not dangerous ; 
the bird of ni^t who overstays his hour is only troublesome 
to himself, and was never known to hurt a dovelet or a mouse- 
ling after sunrise. In the night only is the owl destructive. 
Some of those who thus cry out against this tendency are 
excellent men in their way, and highly useful, valuable as 
conveyancers of opinions. So long as there are men who take 1/^ 
<^)inions as real estate, ^^ to have and to hold for themselves 
and their heirs for ever," why should there not be such con- 
veyancers of opinions as well as of land ? And as it is not the 
duty of the latter functionary to ascertain the quality or the 
value of tiie land, but only its metes and bounds, its appurte- 
nances and the title tiiereto ; to see if the grantor is regularly 
seized and possessed thereof and has good right to convey and 
devise the same, and to make sure that the whole conveyance 
is regularly made out, — so is it with these conveyancers of 
opinion ; so should it be, and they are valuable men. It is a 
good tiling to know that we hold under Scotus, and Ramus, 
and Albertus Magnus, who were regularly seized of this or that 
opimon. It ^ves an absurdity the dignity of a Relic. Some- 
times these worthies who thus oppose Reason and her kin seem 
to have a good deal in them, and when one examines he finds 
more thui he looked for. They are like a nest of boxes from 
EQngham or Nuremburg, you open one and behold another; 
that, and lo ! a third. So you go on opening and opening, and 
finding and finding, till at last you come to the heart of the mat- 
ter, and then you find a box that is very littie, and entirely 

Yet with all this tendency, and it is now so strong that it 
cannot be put down, nor even howled down, much as it may be 
howled over — there is a lamentable Want of First Principles 
well known and established ; we have rejected the Authority 
of Tradition, but not yet accepted the Authority of Truth and 
Justice. We will not be treated as striplings, and are not y 
old enough to'go alone as men. Accordingly, nothing seems ^ 
fixed. There is a perpetual see-sawing of opposite principles. 
Somebody sud Ministers ought to be ordmed on horseback, 

14 Political Destination of America. [Dec, 

because thej are to remain so short a time in one place. It 
would be as emblematic to inaugurate American Politicians by 
swearing them on a weathercock. The great men of the land 
have as many turns in their course as the Euripus or the Mis- 
souri. Even the Facts given in the spiritual nature of man 
are called in question. An eminent Unitarian divine regards 
the existence of God as a matter of opinion, thinks it cannot 
be demonstrated, and publicly declares that it is " not a cer- 
tainty." Some American Protestants no longer take the Bible 
as the standard of ultimate appeal, yet venture not to set up 
in that place Reason, Conscience, the Soul getting help of 
God ; others, who affect to accept the Scripture as the last 
authority, yet when questioned as to their belief in the mirac- 
ulous and divme birth of Jesus of Nazareth are found unable 
to say Yes or No, not having made up their minds. 

In Politics it is not yet decided whether it is best to leave 
men to buy where they can buy cheapest, and sell where they 
can sell dearest, or to restrict that matter. 

It was a clear case to our fathers in '76 that all men were 
"created equal," each with "Unalienable Rights." That 
seemed so clear that reasoning would not make it appear more 
reasonable ; it was taken for granted, as a self-evident proposir 
tion. The whole nation said so. Now it is no strange thing 
to find it said that negroes are not " created equal " in Una- 
lienable Rights with white men. Nay, in the Senate of the 
United States a famous man declares all this talk a dangerous 
mistake. The practical decision of the nation looks the same 
way. So to make our theory accord with our practice, we 
ought to recommit the Declaration to the hands which drafted 
that great State Paper, and instruct Mr. Jefferson to amend 
the document, and declare that " all men are created equal, 
and endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable Rights 
if bom of white mothers ; but if not, not." 

In this lack of first principles it is not settled in the popular 
consciousness that there is such a thing as an Absolute Right, 
a great Law of God, which we are to keep come what will 
come. So the nation is not upright but goes stooping. Hence 
in private affairs Law takes the place of Conscience, and in 
public, Might of Right. So the Bankrupt pays his stalling in 
the pound and gets his discharge, but afterwards becoming 
rich does not think of paying the other nineteen shillings. 
He will tell you the Law b his conscience ; if that be satisfied, 
so is he. [but you will yet find him letting money at one or 

1848.] FolUiedl Destination of America. 15 

two per cent, a month, contrary to law ; and then he will tell 
YOU that pajing a debt is a matter of law, while letting money 
IS only a matter of conscience. So he rides either indifferently 
— now the public hack, and now his own private nag, accora- 
ing as it serves his turn. 

So a rich state borrows money and " repudiates " the debt, 
satisfying its political conscience, as the bankrupt his commer- 
cial conscience, with the notion that there is no Absolute 
lUght ; that Expediency is the only Justice, and that King 
People can do no wrong. No calm voice of indignation cries 
out from the pulpit and the press and the heart of the people, 
to shame the repudiators into decent morals — because it is not 
settled in the popular mind that there is any Absolute Right. 
Then because we are strong and the Mexicans weak, because 
we want their land for a slave-pasture and they can not keep 
us out of it, we think that is reason enough for waging an 
infamous war of plunder. Grave men do not ask about " the 
natural justice " of such an undertakmg, only about its cost. 
Have we not seen an American Congress vote a plain lie, with 
only sixteen dissenting voices in the whole body ; has not the 
head of the nation continually repeated that lie, and do not 
both parties, even at this day, sustain the vote ? 

Now and then there rises up an honest man, with a great 
Christian heart in his bosom, and sets free a score or two of 
slaves inherited from his father ; watches over and tends them 
in their new-found freedom : or another, who, when legally 
released from payment of his debts, restores the uttermost 
&rthing. We talk of this and praise it, as an extraordinary 
thing. Indeed it is so ; Justice is an unusual thing, and such 
men deserve the honor they thus win. But such praise shows 
that such honesty is a rare honesty. The northern man, bom 
on the battle-ground of freedom, goes to the south and be- 
comes the most tyrannical of slave-drivers. The son of the 
Puritan, bred up m austere ways, is sent to Congress to stand 
up for Truth and Right, but he turns out a " doughface," and 
betrays the Duty he went to serve. Yet he does not lose his 
place, for every doughfaced representative has a doughfaced 
constituency to back him. 

It is a great mischief that comes from lacking First Princi- 
ples, and the worst part of it comes from lacking first princi- 
ples in Morals. Thereby our eyes are holden so that we see 
not tJie great social evils all about us. We attempt to justify 
Slavery, even to do it in the name of Jesus Christ. The Whig 

16 Political DeHinaUon of America. [Dec. 

party of tbe North loves Slavery ; the Democratic party does 
not even seek to conceal its affection therefor. A great poli- 
tician declares tiie Mexican war wicked, and then urges men 
to go and fight it ; he thinks a famous general not fit to bo 
nominated for President, but then invites men to elect him. 
Politics are national morals, the morals of Thomas and Jeremiah, 
multiplied by millions. But it is not decided yet that Honesty 
is the best Policy for a politician ; it is thought that the Best 
Policy is honesty, at least as near it as the times will allow. 
Many politicians seem undecided how to turn, and so ^it on 
the fence between Honesty and Dishonesty. Mr. Facing- 
both-Ways is a popular politician in America just now, sitting 
on tiie fence between Honesty and Dishonesty, and, like the 
blank leaf between the Old and New Testaments, belonging 
to neither dispensation. It is a littie amusing to a trifler to 
hear a man's fitness for the Presidency defended on the ground 
that he has no definite convictions or ideas ! 
I There was once a man who said he always told a lie when 

i^ it would serve his special turn. 'T is a pity he went to his 

j own place long ago. He seemed bom for a party politician 
I in America. He would have had a large party, for he made 
a great many converts before he died, and left a numerous 
kindred busv in the editing of newspapers, writing addresses 
for the people, and passing " resolutions.*' 

It must strike a stranger as a little odd that a republic 
should have a slave-holder for President five sixths of the time, 
and most of the important offices be monopolized by other 
slave-holders — a little surprising that all the pulpits and most 
of the pesses should be in favor of Slavery, at least not 
agmst it. But such is the fact. Every body knows the 
character of the American government for some years past, 
and of the American parties in politics. ^' Like master, like 
man," used to be a true proverb in old England, and Like 

Bjople, like ruler, is a true proverb in America — true now. 
id a decided people ever choose doughfaces ; a people that 
loved God and man choose representatives that cared for nei- 
ther Truth nor Justice ? Now and then, for dust gets in the 
brightest eyes ; but did they ever choose such men continually ? 
The people are always fairly represented ; our representatives 
do actually re-present us, and in more senses than they are 
paid for. Congress and the Cabinet are only two thermometers 
hung up in the capital, to show the temperature of the national 

1848.] FoUtieal Deiti$kttion of America. 17 

But amid this general uncertiUDty there are two capital 
maxims irhich prevail amongst our hucksters of Politics : To 
love your party better than your country, and Yourself better 
than your party. There are, it is true, real statesmen amongst 
us, men who love Justice and do the Right, but they seem lost 
in the mob of vulgar politicians and the dust of party editors. 

Since the nation loves Freedom above all things, the name < 
Democracy is a favorite name. No party could live a twelve- 
month that should declare itself anti-democratic. Saint and 
sinner, statesman and politician, alike love the name. So it 
comes to pass that there are two thmgs which bear that name y 
each has its type and its motto. The motto of one is, '< You 
are as good as I, and let us help one another." That repre- 
sents the Democracy of the Declaration of Independence, and 
of the New Testament ; its type is a Free School, where chil- 
dren of all ranks meet under the guidance of intelligent and 
Christian men, to be educated in mind, and heart, and soul. 
The other has for its motto, '^ I am as good as you, so get out 
of my way." Its type is the Bar-room of a tavern — dirty, 
oflfensive, st^ed with tobacco, and full of drunken, noisy, 
quarrelsome ^^ rowdies," just returned from the Mexican war, 
and readv for a " Bufetlo Hunt," for privateering, or to go 
and plunder any one who is better off than themselves, espec- 
ially if also better. That is not exactiy the Democracy of the 
Declaration, or of the New Testament; but of — no matter 

Then, agm, there is a great Intensity of life and Purpose. 
This displays itself in our actions and speeches ; in our spec- 
ulations ; in the ^^ revivals " of the more serious sects ; in the 
excitements of trade ; in the general character of the people. 
All that we do we overdo. It appears in our Hopefulness ; 
we are the most aspiring of nations. Not content with half 
the continent, we w^i the other half. We have this charac- 
teristic of genius : we are dissatisfied with all that we have 
done. Somebody once said we were too vcdn to be proud. It 
is not wholly so ; the national ideal is so far above us that any 
achievement seems little and low. The American soul passes 
away from its work soon as it is finished. So the soul of each 
great artist refuses to dwell in his finished work, for that 
seems little to his dream. Our Fathers deemed the Revolu- 
tion a great work ; it was once thought a surprising thing to 
found that littie colony on the shores of New England ; but 

NO. V. 2 


18 Political Deitination of America. [Dec 

Young America looks to other Beyolutions, and thinks she has 
many a Plymouth colony in her bosom. K other nations 
wonder at our achievements, we are a disappointment to our- 

^ selves, and wonder we have not done more. Our national 
Idea out-travels our experience, and all experience. We 
began our national career by setting all history at defiance — 
for that s£ud, '^ A Republic on a large scale cannot exist." 
Our progress since has shown that we were right m refusing 
to be limited by the Past. The political ideas of the nation 
are transcendent, not empirical. Human history could not 
justify the Declaration of Independence and its large state- 
ments of the new Idea : the nation went behind human his- 
tory, and appealed to Human Nature. 

We are more spontaneous than logical; we have ideas^ 
rather than facts or precedents. We dream more than we 
remember, and so have many orators and poets, (or poetas- 
ters,) with but few antiquaries and general scholars. We are 
not so reflective as forecasting. We are the most intuitive 
of modem nations. The very party in politics which has the 
least culture, is richest in Ideas which will one day become 
facts. Great truths — political, philosophical, religious — lie 
a-buming in many a young heart which cannot legitimate nor 
prove them true, but none the less feels, and feels them true. 
A man full of new truths finds a ready audience with us. 
Many things which come disguised as truths under such cir^ 
cumstances pass current for a time, but by and by their bray 

X discovers them. The Hope which comes from this intensibr 
of life and intuition of truths is a national characteristic. It 
gives courage, enterprise, and strength. They can who think 
they can. We are confident in our star ; other nations may 
see it or not, we know it is there above the clouds. We do 
not hesitate at rash experiments — sending fifty thousand sol- 
diers to conquer a nation with eight or nine millions of people. 
We are up to every thing and think ourselves a match for any 
thing. The young man is rash, for he only hopes, having 
little to remember ; he is excitable and loves excitement ; 
change of work is his repose ; he is hot and noisy, sanguine 
and fearless, with the courage that comes from warm blood and 
ignorance of dangers ; he does not know what a hard, tough, 
sour, old world he is bom into. We are a nation of young 
men. We talked of annexing Texas and northem I^xico, 
and did both; now we grasp at Cuba, Central America, — 
all the continent, — and speak of a RaUroad to the Pacific as 

1848.] PoaUeal DutinOHon of America. 19 

a trifle for ns to accomplish. Oar Dational deeds are certainly 
great, but our hope and promise far outbrags them all. 

If this intensity of life and hope have its good side, it has 
also its evil ; with much of the exceUence of youth we have 
its faults — rashness, haste, and superficiality. Our work is 
seldom well done. In English manufactures there is a cer- 
tain solid honesty of performance ; in the French a certiun 
air of elegance and refinement: one misses both these in 
American works. It is said America invents the most ma- 
chines, but England builds them best. We lack the phleg- 
matic patience of older nations. We are always in a hurry, 
morning, noon, and night. We are impatient of the process, 
but greedy of the resvdt ; so we make short experiments but 
long reports, and talk much though we say little. We forget 
tiiat a sober method is a short way of coming to the end, and 
that he who, before he sets out, ascertuns where he is going 
and the way thither, ends his journey more prosperously than 
one who settles these matters by the way. Quickness is a 
great desideratum with us. It is said an American ship is 
known far off at sea by the quantity of canvas she carries. 
Rough and ready is a popular attribute. Quick and off would 
be a symbolic motto for the nation at this day, representing 
one phase of our character. We are sudden in deliberation ; 
the ^^ one-hour rule " works well in Congress. A committee 
of the British Parliament spends twice or thrice our time in 
coUecting facts, understanding and making them intelligible^ 
but less than our time in speech-making after the report; 
speeches there commonly being for the purpose of facilitating 
uie business, while here one sometimes is half read^ to think, 
notwithstancUng our earnestness, that the business is to facili- 
tate the speaking. A state revises her statutes with a rapidity 
that astonishes a European. Yet each revision brings some 
amendment, and what is found good in the constitution or laws 
of one state gets speedily imitated by the rest, each new state 
(of the North) becooung more democratic than its predecessor. 

We are so intent on our purpose that we have no time for 
amusement. We have but one or two festivals in the year, 
and even then we are serious and reformatory. Jonathan 
tiiinks it a very solemn thing to be merry. A Frenchman sud 
we have but two amusements in America — Theology for the 
women and Politics for the men ; preaching and voting. K 
this be true it may help to explain the fistct that most men 
take their theology from their wives, and women politics bom 

20 Political Destination of Ameriea. [Deo. 

their husbands. No nation ever tried ihe experiment of 
such abstinence from amusement. We have no time for sport, 
and so lose much of the poetry of life. All work and no play 
does not always make a dull boy, but it commonly makes a 
hard man. 

We rush from school into business early ; we hurry while 
in business ; we aim to be rich quickly, making a fortune at 
a stroke, making or losing it twice or thrice in a lifetime. 
" Soft and fair, goes safe and far," is no proverb to our taste. 
We are the most restless of people. How we crowd into 
cars and steamboats ; a locomotive would well typify our fum- 
ing, fizzing spirit. In our large towns life seems to be only a 
scamper. Not satisfied with bustling about all day, when 
night comes we cannot sit still, but alone of all nations have 
added rockers to our chairs. 

All is haste, from the tanning of leather to the education 
of a boy, and tiie old saw holds its edge good as ever — " the 
more haste the worse speed." The young stripling, innocent 
of all manner of lore, whom a judicious father has barrelled 
down in a college, or law school, or theological seminary, till 
his beard be grown, mourns over the few years he must spend 
there awcdting that operation. His rule is, ^^ to make a spoon 
or spoil a horn ; " he longs to be out in the world ^^ making a 
fortune," or " doing good," aa he calls what his father better 
names ^' making noisy work for repentance, and doing mis- 
chief." So he rushes into life not fitted, and would flv towards 
Heaven, this young Icarus, his wings not half fledged. There 
seems Uttie taste for thoroughness. In our schools as our 
farms, we pass over much ground but pass over it poorly. 

In Education the sum is not to get the most we can, but the 
least we can get along with. A ship with over much canvas 
and over Uttle ballast were no bad emblem of many amongst 
us. In no country is it so easy to get a reputation for learn- 
ing — accumulated thought, because so few devote themselves 
to that accumulation. In tins respect our standard is low. So 
a man of one attainment is sure to be honored, but a man of 
many and varied abilities is in danger of being imdervalued. 
A Spurdieim would be warmly welcomed, while a Humboldt 
would be suspected of superficiality, as we have not the stand- 
ard to judge him by. Yet in no country in the world is it so 
difiicult to get a reputation for eloquence, as many speak and 
that well. It is surprising with what natural strength and 
beauty the young American addresses himself to speak. 

1848.] Political DeitinaUon of America. 21 

Some hatter's apprentice, or shoemaker's journeyman, at a 
temperance or anti-slaverj meeting, will speak words like the 
blows of an axe, that cut clean and deep. The country swarms 
with orators, more abundantly where Education is least esteem- 
ed — in the West or South. 

We have secured National Unity of Action for the white 
citizens, without much curtailing Individual Variety of Action, 
80 we have at the North pretty well solved that problem which 
other nations have so often boggled over ; we have balanced the 
Centripetal Power, the government and laws, with the Centrifu- 
gal Power, the mass of individuals, into harmonious proportions. 
If one were to leave out of sight the three million slaves, one 
sixth part of the population, the problem might be regarded as 
very happily solved. As the consequence of this, in no country 
is there more talent, or so much awake and active. In the 
South this Unity is attained by sacrificing all the Rights of 
three million slaves and almost all the Rights of the other col- 
ored population. In despotic countries this Unity is brought 
about by the sacrifice of freedom, individual variety of action, 
in all except the Despot and his favorites ; so much of the 
nation's energy is stifled in the chains of the State, while here 
it is friendly to institutions which are friendly to it, goes to its 
work, and approves itself in the vast increase of wealth and 
comfort throughout the North, where there is no class of men 
which is so oppressed that it cannot rise. One is amazed at the 
amount of resuly skill and general ability which he finds in all 
the North, where each man has a littie culture, takes his 
newspaper, manages his own business, and talks with some in- 
telligence of many things — especially of PoUtics ai^d Theot 
ogy. In respect to this general intellectual ability and power 
01 self-help, tiie mass of people seem far in advance of any 
other nation. But at the same time our scholars, who always 
represent the nation's higher modes of consciousness, will not 
bear comparison with the scholars of England, France, and 
Germany, men thoroughly furnished for their work. This is 
a great reproach and mischief to us, for we need most accom- j 
plished leaders, who by their thought can direct this national 
intensity of life. Our literature does not furnish them ; we 
have no great men there; Irving, Channing, Cooper, are 
not names to conjure with in literature. One reads thick vol- 
umes devoted to the Poets of America, or her Prose Writers, 
and finds many names which he wonders he never heard of 
before, but when he turns over their works he finds consolation 
and recovers his composure. 



S3 PoUUeal DuHnation of America. [Dee. 

AfliericiQ literature may be divided into two departments : 
tke Permanent Literature, which gets printed in books, that 
aoaetimes reach more than one edition ; and the Evanescent 
literature, which appears only in the form of speeches, pam- 
phlets, reviews, newspaper articles, and the like extempore 
piodttctions. Now our permanent literature, as a general 
dung, is superficial, tame, and weak, ; it is not American ; it 
has not our ideas, our contempt of authority, our philosophical 
tarn, nor even our uncertainty as to first principles, still less our 
natifmfJ intensity, our hope, and fresh intuitive perceptions of 
tradi. It is a miserable imitation. Love of freedom is not 
there. The real national literature is found almost wholly in 
speeches, pamphlets, and newspapers. The latter are pretty 
dioroughly American ; mirrors in which we see no very flat- 
tering likeness of our morals or our manners. Yet the picture 
is true : that vulgarity, that rant, that bragging violence, that 
lecklessness of Truth and Justice, that disregard of Right and 
Duty, are a part of the nation's every day life. Our newspa- 
pers are low and '^ wicked to a fault ; " only in tiiis weakness 
tre they un-American. Yet they exhibit, and abundantly, the 
fe ar qualitie s we have mentioned as belonging to the signs of 
our times. As a general rule our orators are also American 
— with our good and ill. Now and then one rises who has 
studied Demosthenes in Leland or Francis, and got a second- 
hand acquaintance with old models ; a man who uses literary 
common-places, and thinks himself original and classic be- 
cause he can quote a line or so of Horace, in a Western House 
of Representatives, without getting so many words wrong as 
his reporter ; but such men are rare, and after making due 
abatement for them, our orators all over the land are pretty 
thoroughly American, a little turgid, hot, sometimes brilliant, 
hopeful, intuitive, abounding in half truths, full of great ideas ; 
often inconsequent ; sometimes coarse ; patriotic, vain, self-con- 
fident, rash, strong, and young-mannish. Of course the most 
of our speeches are vulgar, ranting, and woi thless, but we have 

J)roduced some magnificent specimens of oratory, which are 
resh, original, American, and brand new. 

The more studied, polished, and elegant literature is not so ; 
that is mainly an imitation. It seems not a thing of native 
growth. Sometimes, as in Channing, the thought and the hope 
are American, but the form and the coloring old and foreign. 
We dare not be original ; our American Pine must be cut to 
the trim pattern of the English Yew, though the Pine bleed 

1848.] PoliUeal Deitination of America. 28 

at every clip. This poet tunes his lyre at the harp of Goethe, 
Milton, Pope, or Tennyson. His songs nught better be sung 
on the Rhine than the Kennebec. They are not American in 
form or feeling ; they have not the brea^ of our air ; the smell 
of our ground is not in tiiem. Hence our poet seems cold and 
poor. He loves the old mythology ; talks about Pluto — the 
Greek devil, — the Fates and Furies — witches of old time in 
Greece, — but would blush to use our mythology, or breathe 
the name in verse of our Devil, or our own Witches, lest he 
should be thought to believe what he wrote. The mother and^ 
sisters, who with many a pinch and pain sent the hopeful boy 
to college, must turn over the Classical Dictionary before they 
can find out what the youth would be at in his rhymes. Our 
Poet is not deep enough to see that Aphrodite came from 
the ordinary waters, that Homer only hitched into rythm and 
furnished the accomplishment of verse to street-talk, nursery ^ 
tales, and old men's gossip, in the Ionian towns ; he thinks 
what is common is unclean. So he sings of Corinth and 
Athens, which he never saw, but has not a word to say of u 
Boston, and Fall lUver, and Baltimore, and New York, which 
are just as meet for song. He raves of Thermopylae and 
Marathon, with never a word for Lexington and Bunkerhill, for 
Cowpens, and Lundy's Lane, and Bemis's Heights. He loves 
to tell of the Hyssus, of " smooth sliding Mincius, crowned with i^ 
vocal reeds," yet sings not of the Petapsco, the Susquehan- 
nah, the Aroostook, and the WilHmantick. He prates of die 
narcissus, and the daisy, never of American dandelions and 
blue eyed grass ; he dwells on the lark and the nightingale, 
but has not a thought for the brown thrasher and the bobo- 
link, who every morning in June rain down such showers of 
melody on his affected head. What a lesson Bums teaches us 
addressing his " rough bur thistle," his dwsy, " wee crimson 
tippit thing," and finding marvellous poetry in the mouse whose 
nest his plough turned over ! Nay, how beautifully has even 
our sweet Poet sung of our own Green river, our waterfowl, 
of the blue and fringed gentian, the glory of autumnd days. 
Hitherto, spite of the great reading public, we have no per- 
manent literature which corresponds to the American Idea. 
Perhaps it is not time for that ; it must be organized in deeds 
before it becomes classic in words ; but as yet we have no 
such literature which reflects even the surfece of American 
life, certainly nothing which portrays our intensity of life, our 
hope, or even our daily doings and drivings, as the Odyssey 

24 PoUUcal Destmation qf America. [Dee. 

paints old Greek life, or Don Quixote and Gil Bias portray 
bpanish life. literary men are commonly timid ; ours know 
they are but poorly fledged as yet, so dare not fly away from 
the parent-tree, but hop timidly from branch to branch. Our 
writers love to creep about in the shadow of some old renown, 
not venturing to soar away into the unwinged sdr, to sing of 
things here and now, making our life classic. So, without the 
grace of high culture and the energy of American thought, 
tiiey become weak, cold, and poor ; are " curious, not know- 
ing, not exact, but nice." Too fastidious to be wise, too 
/unlettered to be elegant, too critical to create, they prefer a 
\dull saying that is old to a novel form of speech, or a natural 
J expression of a new truth. In a single American work, — 
\and a famous one, too, — there are over sixty similes, not one 
priginal, and all poor. A few men, conscious of this defect, 
Ahis sin agmst the Holy Spirit of Literature, go to the oppo- 
' site extreme, and are American-mad ; they wilfully talk rude, 
write in-numerous verse, and play their harps all janglmg, out 
of tune. A yet fewer few are American without madness. 
One such must not here be passed by, alike philosopher and 
bard, in whose writings ^^ ancient wisdom shmes wiiii new- 
bom beauty," and who has enriched a genius thoroughly 
American in the best sense, with a cosmopoUtan culture and a 
literary skiU, which were wonderful in any land. But of 
American literature in general, and of him in special, more 
shall be said at another time. 

Another remarkable feature is our Excessive Love of Ma- 
terial Things. This is more tiian a Utilitarianism — a pref- 
erence of the useful over iiie beautiful. The Puritan at 
Plymouth had a corn-field, a cabbage-garden, and a patch for 
potatoes, a school-house, and a church, before he sat down to 
play the fiddle. He would have been a fool to reverse this 
process. It were poor economy and worse taste to have 
painters, sculptors, and musicians, while tiie rude wants of the 
body are uncared for. But our fault in this respect is, that 
we place too much the charm of life in mere material things, 
— houses, lands, well spread tables, and elegant furniture, — 
not enough in man, in virtue, wisdom, genius, religion, greair 
ness of soul, and nobleness of life. We mistake a perfection 
of the means of manliness for the end — manhood itself. Yet 
the housekeeping of a Shakspeare, Milton, Franklin, had 
only one thing worth boasting of. Strange to say, that was 

1848.] Political DutiwOum of America. 25 

the master of the house. A rich and yolgar man once sported 
a coach and four, and at its first turn-out rode into the great 
commercial street of a large town in New England. ^' How 
fine you must feel with your new coach and four," said one 
of his old friends, though not quite so rich. ^' Yes," was the 
reply, ^^ as fine as a beetle in a gold snuff'box." All of his 
kincured are not so nice and discriminating in theur self-con- 

This practical materialism is a great affliction to us. We 
think a man cannot be poor and great also. So we see a great 
man sell himself for a UtUe money, and it is thought '^ a good 
operation." A conspicuous man, in praise of a certain paint- 
er, summed up his judgment with this : ^^ Why, sir, he has 
made twenty thousand dollars by his pictures." " A good deal 
more than Michael Angelo, Leonardo, and Raphael together," 
might have been tiie reply. But 't is easier to weigh purses 
thim artistic skill. It was a characteristic praise bestowed in 
Boston on a distinguished American writer, that his book 
brought him more money than any man had ever realized for 
an original work in this country. ^^ Commerce," said Mr. 
Pitt, ^' having got into both houses of Parliament, privilege 
must be done away," — the privilege of wit and genius, not 
less tiian rank. Clergymen estimate their own and their 
brothers' importance, not by their apostolical g^, or even 
apostolic succession, but by tiie value of the living. 

All other nations have this same fiitult, it may be sud. But 
there is this difference : in other nations the tmngs of a man 
are put before the man himself; so a materialism which exalts 
the accidents of the man — rank, wealth, birth, and the like 
— above the man, is not inconsistent with the general Idea of 
England or Austna. In America it is a contradiction. Be- I v 
sides, in most civiUzed countries, there is a class of men living I 
on inherited wealth, who devote their lives to politics, art, 
science, letters, and so are above the mere material elegance 
which surrounds them. That class has often inflicted a deep 
wound on society, which festers long and leads to serious 
trouble in the system, but at the same time it redeems a nation 
from the reproach of mere material vulgarity ; it has been 
the source of refinement, and has warmed into life much of the 
wisdom and beauty which have dience spread over all the world. 
In America tiiere is no such class. Young men inheriting 
wealth very rarely turn to any thing so noble ; they either 
convert their talents mto gold, or their gold into furniture. 

26 Political Destination of Ameriea. [Dec. 

wines, and confectionary. A young man of wealth does not 
know what to do with himself or it ; a rich young woman seems 
to have no resource but marriage ! Yet it must be confessed, 
that at least in one part of the United States wealth flows 
freely for the support of public institutions of Education. 

Here it is difficult for a man of science to live by his 
thought. Was Bowditch one of the first mathematicians of 
his age ? He must be at the head of an annuitv office. K 
Socrates should set up as a dealer in money, ana outwit the 
Brokers as formerly the Sophists, and shave notes as skilfully 
as of old, we should think him a great man. But if he adopt- 
ed his old plan, what should we say of him ? 

Manliness is postponed and wealth preferred. " What a fine 
house is this," one often says ; " what furniture ; what feasting. 
But the master of the house ! — why every stone out of the wdl 
laughs at him. He spent all of himself in getting this pretty 
show together, and now it is empty, and mocks its owner. He 
is the emblematic coffin at the Egyptian feast." '* Oh, man ! " 
says the looker on, '^ why not furnish thyself with a mind, and 
conscience, a heart and a soul, before getting all this brass 
and mahogany together ; this beef and these wines." The 
poor wight would answer, — " Why, sir, there were none such 
m the market ! " — The young man does not say, " I will first 
of all things be a man, and so being will have this thing and 
the other," putting the agreeable after the essential. But he 
says, " first of all, by hook or by crook, I will have money, 
the manhood may take care of itself." He has it, — for 
tough and hard as the old world is, it is somewhat fluid before 
a strong man who resolutely grapples with difficulty and mil 
swim through; it can be made to serve his turn. He has 
money, but the man has evaporated in the process ; when you 
look he is not there. True, other nations have done the same 
thing, and we only repeat their experiment. The old Devil of 
Conformity says to our American Adam and Eve, ^^ do this and 
you shall be as Gods," a promise as likely to hold good as 
the Devil's did in the beginning. A man was meant for some- 
thmg more than a tassel to a large estate, and a woman to be 
more than a rich housekeeper. 

With this oflensive materialism we copy the vices of feudal 
aristocracy abroad, making our vulgarity still more ridiculous. 
We are ambitious or proud of wealth, which is but labor stor- 
ed up, and at the same time are ashamed of labor, which is 
wealtii in process. With all our talk about Democracy, labor 

1848.] Polttieal Deitination of America. 27 

is lliought less honorable in Boston than in Berlin and Leipsio. 
Thriving men are afraid their children will be shoemakers, or 
ply some other honorable and useful craft. Yet little pains 
are taken to elevate the condition or improve the manners and 
morals of those who do all the manual work of society. The 
strong man takes care that his children and himself escape 
that condition. We do not believe that all stations are alike 
honorable if honorably filled ; we have little desire to equalize 
the burthens of life, so that there shall be no degraded class ; 
none cursed with work, none with idleness. It is popular to 
endow a college ; vulgar to take an interest in common schools. 
Liberty is a fact. Equality a word, and Fraternity — we do « 
not think of yet. 

In this struggle for material wealth and the social rank 
which is based wereon, it is amusing to see the shifting of the 
scenes ; the social aspirations of one and the contempt with 
which another rebuts the aspirant. An old man can remem- 
ber when the most exclusive of men, and the most golden, had 
scarce a penny in their purse, and grumbled at not finding a 
place where they would. Now the successful man is ashamed 
of the steps he rose by. The gentieman who came to Boston 
half a centurv ago, with all his worldly goods tied up in a cot- 
ton handkercmef, and that not of so large a pattern as are made 
now-a-days, is ashamed to recollect that his father was a Cur- 
rier, or a Blacksmith, or a Skipper at Barnstable or Beverly ; 
ashamed, also, of his forty or fifty countrv cousins, remarkable 
for nothing but their large hands and their excellent memory. 
Nay, he is ashamed of his own humble beginnings, and sneers 
at men starting as he once started. The generation of Eng- 
lish ^^ Snobs " came in with the Conqueror, and migrated to 
America at an early day, where they continue to thrive mar- 
vellously — the chief " conservative party " in the land. 

Through this contempt for labor a certain affectation runs 
through a good deal of American society, and makes our aris- 
tocracy vulgar and contemptible. What if Bums had been 
ashamed of his plough, and Franklm had lost his recollection 
of the candle-moulds and the composing-stick ? Mr. Chubbs, 
who sot rich to-day, imitates Mr. Swipes, who got rich yestei^ 
day, Duys the same furniture, gives similar entertidnments, and 
counts himself ^^ m good a man as Swipes, any day.'' Nay, 
he goes a littie beyond him, puts his servants in Uvery, with 
the Chubbs arms on the button ; but the new-found family 
arms are not descriptive of the character of the Chubbses^ or 

28 PoUUeal DestinaUan of America. [Deo. 

of their origin and history — only of their vanity. Then Mr. 
Swipes looks down on poor Cjiubhs^ ^aad ciirls his lip with 
scorn ; calls him a " parvenu," "an upstart," " a plebeian," 
speaks of him as one of " that sort of people," " one of your 
ordinary men ; " " thrifty and well off in the world, but a little 
vulgar." At the same time Mr. Swipes looks up to Mr. 
Bung, who got rich the day before yesterday, as a gentleman 
of old family and quite distinguished, and receives from that 
quarter the same treatment he bestoWs on his left-hand neigh- 
bour. The real gentleman is the same all the world over. 
Such are by no means lacking here, while the pretended gen- 
tlemen swarm in America. Chaucer said a good word long 

* — This is not mine intendment 

To clepen no wight in no age 
^ */ eentle for ma I' 
But' whoso that is Tirtnous, 

And in his port not ontrag<fons : 
When snch one thou see*st thee beforn, 
Though he be not gentle born, 
Thou ma^est well see this in soth. 
That he' is gentle, because he doth 
As 'longeth to a eentleman ; 
Of them none otner deem I can ; 
For certainly withonten drede, 
A churl is deem^ by his deed. 
Of high or low, as ye may see, 
Or of what kindred that he be." 

It is no wonder vulgar men, who travel here and eat our 
dinners, laugh at this form of vulgarity. T^er men see its 
cause, and prophesy its speedy decay. Every nation has its 
aristocracy, or controlling class : in some lands it is permanent 
— an aristocracy of blood ; men that are descended from distin- 
guished warriors, from the pirates and freebooters of a rude 
age. The NobiUty of England are proud of tiieir fathers' 
deeds, and emblazon tiie symbols thereof in tiieir family arms, 
emblems of barbarism. Ours is an aristocracy of wealth, not 
got bv plunder, but by toil, thrift, enterprise ; of course it is a 
movable aristocracy : the first fSeonilies of the last century are 
now forgot, and their successors will give place to new names. 
Now earning is nobler than robbing, and work is before war ; 
but we are ashamed of both, and seek to conceal the noble 
source of our wealth. An aristocracy of gold is far prefera- 
ble to the old and immovable nobility of blood, but it has also 
its peculiar vices ; it has the eflfrontery of an upstart, despises 
its own ladder, is heartless and lacks noble principle ; vulgar 

1848.] PoKtieal De$Unatian of Ameriea. 29 

and oordng. This lust of wealih, however, does us a service, 
and gives the whole nation a stimulus which it needs, and, low 
as the motive is, drives us to continual advancement. It is a 
great merit for a nation to secure the largest amount of useful 
and comfortable and beautiful things which can be honestij 
earned, and used witii profit to tiie body and soul of man. Only 
when wealth becomes an Idol, and material abundance is 
made the end, not tiie means, does the love of it become an 
evil. No nation was ever too rich, or over thrifty, though 
manv a nation has lost its soul by living wholly for the senses, 
ifow and then we see noble men living apart firom this vul- 
garity and scramble ; some rich, some poor, but both content 
to live for noble aims, to pinch and spare for virtue, religion, 
for Truth and Right. Such men never fail from any age or 
land, but everywhere they are the exceptional men. Still they 
serve to keep alive the sacred fire in the hearts of young men, 
rising amid the common mob as oaks surpass the brambles or 
the fern. 

In these secondary qualities of tiie people which mark the 
special signs of the times, tiiere are many contradictions, 
quality contending with quality; all by no means balanced 
into harmonious relations. Here are great fiitults not less 
than great virtues. Can the national &ult8 be corrected? 
Most certainly ; they are but accidental, coming from our cir- 
cumstances, our history, our position as a people — heteroge- 
neous, new, and placed on a new and untamed continent. 
They come not from the nation's soul ; they do not belong to 
our fundamental Idea, but are hostile to it. One day our im- 
patience of Authority, our philosophical tendency, wQl lead us 
to a right method, that to fixed principles, and tiien we shall 
have a Continuity of National Action. Considering the pains 
taken by the fathers of the better portion of America to pro- 
mote religion here, remembering how dear is Christianity to 
the heart of all, conservative and radical — though men often 
name as Christian what is not — and seeing how Truth and 
Right are sure to win at last, — it becomes pretty plain that we 
shall arrive at true principles. Laws of the Universe, Ideas of 
Crod ; then we shall be in unison also with it and Him. When 
that great defect — lack of first principles — is corrected, our 
intensity of life, with the Hope and confidence it inspires, will 
do a great work for us. We have already secured an abun- 

80 PoliUeal De$tlnaiian of America. [Dec. 

dance of material comforts hitherto tmknown ; no land was 
ever so fall of com and cattle, clothing, comfortable houses, 
and all things needed for the flesh. The desire of those things 
— even the excessive desire thereof — performs an important 
part in the divine economy of the Human Race ; nowhere is its 
good effect more conspicuous than in America, where in two 
generations the wild Irishman becomes a decent citizen, order- 
ly, temperate, and intelligent. This done or even a-doing, as 
it is now, we shall go forth to realize our great national Idea^ 
and accomplish the great work of organizing into Institutions 
the Unalienable Rights of man. The great obstacle in the 
way of that is African Slavery — the great exception in the 
nation's history ; the national Sin. When that is removed — as 
soon it must be — lesser but kindred evils will easily be done 
away ; the truth which the Land-Reformers, which the Assuci- 
ationists, the Free-traders, and others, have seen, dimly or 
clearly, can readily be carried out. But while this monster 
vice continues there is little hope of any great and permanent 
national reform. The positive things which we chiefly need 
for this work, are first, Educiition, ne^t. Education, and then 
Education, — a vigorous development of the mind, conscience, 
affections, religious power of the whole nation. The method 
and the means for that we shall not now discuss. 

The organization of Human Rights, the performance of Hu- 
man Duties, is an unlimited work. If there shall ever be a 
time when it is all done, then the Race will have finished its 
course. Shall the American nation go on in this work, or 
pause, turn off, fall, and perish ? To us it seems almost trea- 
son to doubt that a glorious future awaits us. Young as we 
are, and wicked, we have yet done something which the world 
will not let perish. One day we shall attend more emphati- 
cally to the Rights of the Hand, and organize Labor and Skill ; 
then to the Rights of the Head, looking after Education, Sci- 
ence, literature, and Art ; and again to the Rights of the 
Heart, building up the State with its Laws, Society with its 
families, the Church with its goodness and piety. One day 
we shall see that it is a shame, and a loss, and a wrong, to have 
a criminal, or an ignorant man, or a pauper, or an idler, in the 
land ; that the jail, and the gallows, and the almshouse are a 
reproach which need not be. Out of new sentiments and 
ideas, not seen as yet, new forms of society will come, free 
from the antagonism of races, classes, men — representing the 
American Idea in its length, breadth, deptii, and height, its 

1848.] PoUUcal Dettinatian of America. 81 

beauty and its tratli, and then the old civilization of our time 
shall seem barbarous and even savage. There will be an 
American Art commensurate with our Idea and akin to this 
great continent ; not an imitation, but a fresh, new growth. An 
American Literature also must come with democratic freedom, 
democratic thought, democratic power — for we are not always 
to be pensioners of other lands, doing nothing but import and 
quote ; a literature with all of German philosophic depth, with 
English solid sense, with French vivacity and wit, Italian fire 
of sentiment and soul, with all of Grecian elegance of form, 
and more than Hebrew piety and faith m God. We must not 
look for the maiden's ringlets on the baby's brow ; we are yet 
but a girl ; the nameless grace of maturity, and womanhood's 
majestic charm, are still to come. At length we must have a 
system of Education, which shall uplift the humblest, rudest, 
worst bom child in all the land ; which shall bring forth and 
bring up noble men. 

An American State is a thing that must also be ; a State of 
freemen who give over brawling, resting on Industry, Justice, 
Love, not on War, Cunning, and Violence, — a State where 
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are deeds as well as words. 
In its time the American Church must also appear, with Lib- 
erty, Holiness, and Love for its watchwords, cultivatmg Reason, 
Conscience, Affection, Faith, and leading the world's way in 
Justice, Peace, and Love. The Roman Church has been all 
men know what and how ; the American Church, with freedom 
for the Mind, freedom for the Heart, freedom for the Soul, 
is yet to be, sundering no chord of the human harp, but tuning 
all to harmony. This also must come ; but hitherto no one ha8 
risen with genius fie to plan its holy walls, conceive its columns, 
project its towers, or lay its comer stone. Is it too much to 
hope all this? Look at the Arena before us — look at our 
past history. Hark ! there is the sound of many million men, 
the trampling of their freeborn feet, the murmuring of their 
voice ; a nation bom of this land that God reserved so long 
a virgin earth, in a high day married to the Human Race, — 
rismg, and swelling, and rolling on, strong and certam as the 
Atiantic tide ; they come numerous as ocean waves when east 
winds blow, their destination commensurate with the continent, 
witii Ideas vast as the Mississippi, strong as the AUeghanies, 
and awful as Niagara; they come murmuring littie of the 
past, but, moving in the brightness of their great Idea, and 
casting its light far on to other lands and distant days — come 
to the world's great work, to organize the Bi^ts of Man. 


82 The LegdUty of American Slavery. [Dee. 



The fourth number of this Review containg a very elaborate 
article, in which three positions are sought to be maintained ; 
first, that negro slavery, prior to the Revolution, had a legal 
existence in the British Colonies, now the United States of 
America ; second, that this legal existence was recognized and 
continued by the state constitutions ; and third, that it was rec- 
ognized and ratified by the Constitution of the United States. 

The second and third of these propositions obviously depend 
upon the first, and if that fuls tiiey have nothing to stand 
upon. Having in a former number of this Review maintained 
the doctrine that slavery in the British colonies had no legal 
basis, we feel at liberty to reply very briefly to the article re- 
ferred to ; and the more so as our own former article is therein 
freely quoted and criticized. 

Following in the footsteps of Sir William Scott, (afterwards 
Lord Stowell,) who, by the way, was no common lawyer, but 
an admiralty judge, distinguished for that hostility to popular 
rights which always made the civil law and its professors so 
obnoxious to the common law courts and the English people, 
our reviewer attempts to limit, to retrench, and to belittie as 
much as possible the famous Somerset case. But after all he 
IS obliged to admit, — what indeed it would be bold to deny, 
and what is all that any body contends for, — that it is decid- 
ed by Somerset's case, that negro slavery never was sanc- 
tioned or permitted by the law of England. Our reviewer 
holds, however, that though not legal in England, negro sla- 
very was made so in the colonies, first by custom, and second- 
ly by statute. In maintaining this proportion, he confines 
himself to Virginia, tiie Carolinas, and Georgia. Marvland he 
omits ; he does not tell us why, but it is not very difficult to 
coi\]ecture the reason. The charter of Maryland remained in 
full force down to the period of the Revolution, and that char^ 
ter contained an express provision that all laws made under it 
should be ^^ consonant to reason" and ^^ not repugnant or con- 
trary^ but so far as conveniently may be, agreeable to the laws, 
irtatetot* Mttoms, and rights of this our kingdom of England." 
S^ w^gjhi ktfrt been rather too bold to have argued, in tiie face 
of tids nmpipn prohibition, that the assembly of Maryland had 
power to mtroduce into that colony the c(mdition of negro sla- 

1848.] The LegdUfy of American Slavery. 88 

very, pronoanced by Lord Mansfield, in the Somerset case, 
not only unknown to the law of En^and, bat '^ odious," and 
^^ of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on 
any reasons^ moral or political." It is imagmed, however, by 
our reviewer, that Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia stand 
on different ground. They, too, once had charters containing 
restrictions in substance the same with that in the charter of 
Maryland. But these charters were ultimately taken away, 
and the legislative authority vested in a royal governor and 
assembly under a commission and instructions from the crown. 
We had asserted, in our former article, that these crown colo- 
nies or provincial governments were legally just as much re- 
stricted in their power of legislation as the charter colonies, 
and practically more so ; and consequently that they had no 
more power than the charter colonies to legalize negro slavery. 
Upon this point issue is taken with us. It is maintained, that 
though negro slavery was contrary to the law of England, the 
assemblies of the crown colonies, with the consent of the king, 
had the power to make it legal there ; and that they exercised 
this power with the consent of the king, and did actually make 
it legal tiiere. The whole of the article rests upon this ajsser- 
tion as a pivot ; and when it is shown to be groundless, the 
whole argument, with all its mass of quotations and authori- 
ties, falls to Uie ground. It is, indeed, a little singular, that 
amid such a profusion of references, no authority should have 
been quoted to sustain a position upon which the whole argu- 
ment rests. 

Several different theories were brought forward at different 
times as to the basis of lemslation in the English colonies. It 
was maintained by many English lawyers, prior to the revolu- 
tion of 1689, and by some afterwards, that the king was abso- 
lute sovereign in the colonies, and had a right to establish 
there such laws as he pleased, and that the inhabitants were 
only entitled to such laws- as he did actually establish. Chcd- 
mers observes, (^History of the Revolt of the American CoUh 
nies^ Vol. I., p. 308, note) that " the state papers demonstrate 
that the most renowned jurists of the reign of William had 
formed no complete conception of the nature of the connective 
principle between the parent country and her colonies." *' The 
most respectable cabinet which that monarch ever enjoyed, 
composed of Somers, Pembroke, Shrewsbury, Bridgewater, 
Romnev, Grodolphin, and Sir William Trumbull, denied to the 
New English the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, because 

NO. V. 8 

84 The LegaiUjf of American Slavery. [Dec. 

it had never been conferred on the colomsts by any king of 
England," plmlj supposing that the most important of all 
rights, the best security of personal liberty, must result from 
a grant of the crown to a subject beyond ^e ocean. In the 
game reign, the illustrious Lord Holt himself, in relation to 
this very subject of slavery, in the case of Smith vs. BrowUj 
(1 ScUk.j 666, Soltj 495) in which he declared that no such 
tiling as slavery was known in England, and that ^^ as soon as 
a negro came iato England he is free," while he held on this 
ground ihat indebitatus assumpsit could not lie for the price 
of a slave sold in England, yet seemed to admit that if the 
dave had been alleged to have been sold in Virginia, and the 
laws sanctioning slavery there had been set out, the action 
might lie ; because ^^ the laws of England do not extend to 
Yirgima. Being a conquered country their law is what the 
king pleases, of which we cannot take notice if it be not set 

But this arbitrary doctrine was never admitted in the colo- 
nies ; and was ultimately abandoned by all English constitu- 
tionsJ lawyers. The colonists maintained that the^ carried 
with them from England, or, being bom in the colomes under 
the king's allegiance, inherited thereby, all the rights, privi- 
leges, and immunities of British subjects ; that the great 
charter and the law of England formed a part of this inher- 
itance, ihe birthright of every subject, and that as the king 
at home possessed no power of arbitrarily interfering with his 
subjects, or altering the law of levying taxes except by consent 
of those subjects by their representatives in parliament — so he 
could lay no taxes in the colonies, nor make any local regula- 
tions there, except by consent of the inhabitants as represent- 
ed in an assembly. 

This doctrine as to the inheritance of the English law, was 
fully established by the English courts, (1 Salk.^ 411, 2 Peere 
Williams J 76) and is distincdy stated by Blackstone (1 Comm.j 
157,) as to uninhabited countries discovered and planted by 
English subjects. As to conquered or ruled countries, " that 
have already laws of their own, the king may indeed alter or 
change those laws ; but till he does actually change them, the 
ancient laws of the country remain, unless such as are against 
the law of God." (lb.) 

According to both these theories, the consent and coopera- 
tion of the king was absolutely essential to colonial legislation. 
By the first theory, the colonial assemblies, whether authorized 

1848.] The Legality of American Slavery. 85 

by express grant, as in the charter colonies, or by the gover- 
nor's commission and instructions, as in the crown colonies, were 
mere creatures of the king, unable to go beyond the powers 
expressly conferred upon them in the instruments by which • 
they were authorized. And even by the second theory, al- 
lowing that legislation by an assembly was not a mere grace 
from the king, but a right of the colonists, still the king's^ 
assent was essential to legislation, and no acts could have any 
binding force to the enactment of which he had not expressly 
or implicitly consented. We shall therefore be willing to ad> 
mit, for the purpose of this argument, what our reviewer as- 
sumes as his foundation doctrine, but what certainly never was 
true, — since Parliament claimed and was admitted to be the 
supreme le^slature of the British dominions, and down to the 
Revolution exercised the right in unnumbered instances of in- 
terfering with the internal polity of the colonies, — "that with 
the concurrence of the king, the assembly of a royal province 
was as completely unlimited in its powers of legislation over all 
matters of internal polity as parliament itself was in England." 
We will admit, for the purpose of the argument, that the king 
and the colonial assemblies might have concurred in setting 
the law of England at defiance by the legal establishment of 
slavery in the colonies. But in point of fact we allege and 
will show that the king never did so concur ; and, therefore, 
that any such attempted legislation on the part of the colo- 
nies was merely void. 

It is to be observed that the consent of the king to colonial 
acts of legislation was not expressly and separately given, as it 
was to acts of parliament. Ho acted in this matter by his 
agent, the royal governor, whose assent to any act was consid- 
ered as bindmg on the king till by special proclamation he de- 
clared his dissent. But to bind the king, that assent by the 
governor must have been ^ven in conformity to his commis- 
sion and instructions, his only authority for giving it at all ; 
and by those commissions and instructions the governor and 
assembly were only authorized to enact laws not " repugnant 
but as near as may be agreeable to the laws and statutes of 
our kingdom of Great Britain." Such are the terms of the 
commission printed in Stokes; and we challenge the proof 
that any royal governor ever received a commission which did 
not contsdn in substance the same limitation. 

And in accordance with this view of the case are all the 
authorities. Thus Blackstone (1 Comm,^ 108,) speaks of 

86 The Legality of American Slavery. [Dec. 

^^ provincial establishments," meaning thereby crown colonies, 
^^ tiie constitutions of which depend on the respective commis- 
sions issued by the crown to the governors, and the instroo- 
tions which usually accompany those commissions ; under the 
authority of which provisional assemblies are constituted with 
the power of making heal ordinances not repugnant to the law 
of ±!nglandy 

So Story, in his account of these same governments, (1 
Comm.j 143,) says, ^^ The commissions also contained authority 
to convene a general assembly of representatives of the free- 
holders and planters," " which assemblies had the power of 
making local laws and ordinances not repugnant to the laws of 
England, but as near as may be agreeable thereto." It is a 
little singular that our reviewer, who cites these very pages of 
Blackstone and Story for another purpose, should not have 
seen the bearing of these passages on his argument. He en- 
deavours, indeed, to throw off this unwelcome impediment of 
the royal conmiission, by alleging that ^^ such a commissicm 
cannot be deemed a constitution, because a constitution which 
exists only at the pleasure of the ruler is really no constitution 
at all." The constitution of Massachusetts exists only at the 
pleasure of the ruler, that is, the sovereign people of the Com- 
monwealth, who made it. As often ^^as suits their whim" 
they make, revoke, and annul " every clause, article, and thing 
therein contained." Yet for all that it is not the less a con- 
stitution, restrictive of the powers of the state government. 
We must be permitted, therefore, still to hold, with Blackstone 
and Story, that these commissions were ^Hhe fundamental 
constitutions of the provinces," and that all acts of the colonial 
assemblies passed in defiance of the restrictions which they 
imposed, lacked the essential ingredient of the royal consent, 
and, in a legal point of view, were absolutely nugatory. To 
this very point of the legal futility of any attempt to legalize 
slavery in the colonies, contrary to English law, we shall quote 
the authority of Lord Hardwicke. Lord Hardwicke was one 
of those learned lawyers who mamtained, notwithstanding 
Holt's opinion to the contrary, that negroes might be held as 
slaves even in England, to which effect, when attorney-general 
in 1719, he had given a written opinion in conjunction with 
Talbot, then solicitoi^general. When sitting twenty years af- 
terwards as Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke had occasion to refer 
to this opinion, which he still maintained to be good law, and 
he disapproved of Lord Holt's doctrine that the moment a slave 

1848.] The Legality of American Slavery. 37 

sets foot in England he becomes free, by declaring tiiat no rea- 
son could be found " why they should not be equally so when 
ihey set foot in Jamaica, or any other English plantation. All 
our colonies are subject to the law of England^ although as to 
some purposes they have laws of their own." Not, however, 
as Lord Hardwicke implies, for the purpose of introducing a 
condition of slavery, or any thing else, which the law of Eng- 
land did not allow ; and thus far, at least, the doctrine of this 
case is good law. (See Ambler j 76. Peame vs. lAsle.^ 

So much for the pretended legalization of slavery in the 
crown colonies by statute. But even independent of any 
statute, our reviewer maintains that slavery might become 
legalized in those colonies by custom. 

Now, admitting that the modern common law consists, to a 
great extent, of modem customs sanctioned by the courts, and 
admitting that the colonial courts had the same right of giving 
the character of law to colonial customs, yet it was not every 
custom, good, bad, or indifferent, that was capable of such a 
sanction. It must have been a custom good in itself, tending 
to promote the ends of justice, and not in contradiction to any 
established right previously existing. Will any body pretend 
that slavery was such a custom ? The courts were under the 
same restrictions as the assemblies. What the assemblies 
could not do directly, the courts could not do indirectly. Nor 
does there exist the slightest evidence that any colonial court 
ever pretended to sustidn slavery on this ground of custom. 
On the contrary, both courts and assemblies acted on the pre- 
sumption that there was nothing in the English law which 
made negro slavery illegal, and that the colonial statutes au- 
thorizing it were therefore binding. They acted under a mis- 
apprehension cf the English law ; but their mistake on this 
point cannot affect any body's legal rights. 

It was not the less true that negro slavery was not allowed 
by the laws of England. The decision of this point in Somer- 
set's case set free not less than fourteen or fifteen thousand 
negroes held in bondage in that country — so we are told in the 
report of the case ; and so far as the mere matter of legal right 
was concerned, it established the freedom, also, of every slave 
in the colonies ; and this inevitable consequence of this de- 
cision had been foretold, as we have seen, by Lord Hardwicke, 
twenty years or more before. 

At the time, then, when the first state constitutions were 
framed, slavery existed in the states not as a vested legal right, 

88 The Legality of American Slavery. [Dec. 

but as a mere wrong and usurpation. The framers of those 
constitutions did not attempt to confer upon it any new charac- 
ter of right or legality. They left it exactly where it stood 
before, avoiding, indeed, all direct reference to it. But this 
is a point which we have fully handled in a former article, and 
with which it is not necessary again to weary our readers. 

We will only add, that this matter of the legality of slavery 
is one we are glad to see discussed, because we feel satisfied 
that the more it is discussed, the plainer it will become that the 
only law upon which slavery rests is the lynch law of force and 
violence. We deny altogether that the states of this union 
have or ever had any power to legislate a part of their inhab- 
itants into slavery. Though they claim to be sovereign and 
independent, they have been at all times, and still are, greatly 
limited and restrained in their legislative powers. While col- 
onies they were restricted, as we have just proved, from mak- 
ing laws repugnant to those of England, and of course from 
subjecting any of the king's natural bom subjects to slavery. 
There was, indeed, a very important distinction on this point, 
too apt to be overlooked in these discussions. Whatever the 
condition might legally be of those unfortunate aliens, pur- 
chased in Africa as slaves and brought to America and sold to 
the planters ; suppose, even, that it might have been conso- 
nant to English law to retain them as servants for life, as 
Blackstone seems to have imagined ; yet the case was very 
different as to their children bom in the colonies, who were in 
every respect natural bom subjects of the king of England, 
and entitled to all the rights of Englishmen, which the colo- 
nial legislatures had no power to invade. These alien Africans, 
be it observed, would furnish ample material for the colonial 
state laws, and all constitutional compromises to act upon, 
without involving any native bom Americans in the fete of 

Before the colonies escaped from this restraint of English 
laws, they had already subjected themselves to a new one by 
entering into a confederacy against Great Britain, of whicn 
the avowed object was, to maintain the rights of human nature. 
" Let it be remembered, finally," says Congress, in its address 
to the states, on the termination of the Revolutionary War, 
^^ that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that 
the rights for which she contended were the rights of human 

When the colonists set forth in their Declaration of Inde- 

1848.] The Law of Evidence. 89 

pendence, as the justification and basis of the stand they had 
taken, the natural right of all men to life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness, they must be esteemed as pledging 
themselves to the world and to each other for the recognition 
and midntenance of that right. Nor was this declaration the 
mere act of the Continental Congress, whose power might be 
disputed ; for it was distinctly and solemnly ratified, adopted, 
and confirmed by eyery individual state in the union. From 
that moment, then, it was a solemn pledge on the part of all 
the states, and a tacit condition of the union, that slavery 
should be done away with as soon as possible. By adopting, 
two years before, the non-importation agreement, known as the 
American Association, the states had already pledged them- 
selves to import no more slaves ; a pledge ^from which they 
were never released, though the Carolinas and Georgia chose 
afterwards to violate it, and to insist on a constitutional per^ 
mission to continue that violation for twenty years. The same 
understanding as to the abolition of slavery prevailed when the 
federal constitution was adopted ; it was regarded as a transi- 
tory evil, to be speedily removed, and the greatest care was 
taken not to mention slavery by name, or to recognize in that 
instrument any such idea as property in man. The northern 
states have waited a great while, patiently, for their southern 
neighbours to carry out their agreement. K the conclusion 
should be arrived at that the southern states are unable or un- 
willing to redeem their pledge, certainly the least we of the 
North can do, is, to proclaim, everywhere, our conviction of 
the utter illegality of this accursed institution of slavery, and 
of the bad faith of the South in prolonging its existence. 

/^y Uh,MX (PfuA^^l^ 

Art. III. — A TreatiBe of the Law of Evidence. By Simon 
Grbenleap, LL. D., Royall Professor of Law in Harvard 
University. Boston. 1846. 2 Vols. 8vo. 

A NEW work on the law of Evidence, from the learned and 
distinguished Royall Professor of Law in Harvard University, 
seems naturally to invite attention, as well from the unques- 
tioned ability of the author, as from the importance of the sub- 
ject. Of the work it may be observed, that it is a clear, 
concise, and satisfactory exposition of the law, with the reasons 

40 The Law of Evidmee. [Dec* 

upon which it rests. But it is not bo much our intention to 
examine the professional merits of this work of Mr. Greenleaf^ 
as to invite the public to a consideration of the present state 
of this branch of the law, and to the reforms which, we think, 
it imperatively requires. In doing this we write not so much 
for the professbn as for the people. The subject should not 
be considered as referrible oidj to the peculiar and exclusive 
jurisdiction of the bar, but as one easily understood and fully 
within the intellectual scope of aJl possessmg any claims to in- 
telligence or general information. 

In the whole field of law or legislation there is no subject 
of such vast practical importance as the law which determines 
the admission or rejection of evidence. The substantive por^ 
tion of the law, that which prescribes and ordains, may be 
in the highest degree wise ; the criminal code may be framed 
in the soundest philosophy, and with the most judicious com- 
bination of the principles of prevention and reformation ; per- 
fection, in fine, may be predicated of each and every portion 
of the substantive brancn of the law, yet if the rules of evi- 
dence are erroneous, their wisdom is no better than so much 
folly, the will of the le^lator is unheeded, his rewards un- 
reapt, his penalties unimposed. 

Lnportant as is the subject, — and its importance corre- 
sponds to that of all interests which may be judicially endan- 
gered, — yet it is but recently that it has received the atten- 
tion of the public either in Europe or in this country. In the 
Year-books and the earliest reports and digests, questions re- 
lating to the competency of witnesses or tiie admissibility of 
evidence, were of the rarest occurrence. The intricate tech- 
nicalities, the hairbreadth distinctions, the conflicting and con- 
tradictory decisions, which form so large a portion of any trea- 
tise of evidence, are not to be found in the Rollis and Fletas of 
our early jurisprudence. By the gradual accretion of deci- 
sions, this has now become one of the most important divisions 
of the law, so that he who is thoroughly versed in its rules 
may be considered almost prepared for the practice of the 
courts without any other professional learning. 

In the trial of Warren Hastings, the injurious operation of 
those rules was seen and felt on a great scale. The indefati- 
gable industry and perseverance, the deep philosophy of 
Burke ; the strength and vigor of Fox ; the thrilling and dra- 
matic eloquence of Sheridan, were seen to be foiled during the 
whole course of that prosecution, by the technical learning and 

1848.] The Law of Evidence. 41 

legal quibbles of a Law and a Dallas. The future chiefg'ustice 
of the king's bench, then just commencing that career which 
ended in the attainment of the highest honors of the profes- 
sion, insisted that his client should be tried according to the 
rules of evidence as they were administered in courts of com- 
mon law jurisdiction. The highest judicial tribunal of the na- 
tion, ignorant of the laws they were called on to administer, 
with a want of self-reliance naturally and appropriately inci- 
dent to such ignorance, sought information of the common law 
judges as to what they might or might not properly hear, and 
as to what would and what would not afford instruction or aid 
in the elucidation of the cause then pending before them. The 
common law judges almost invariably excluded the evidence 
proposed. Burke, perceiving that the adoption of their rules 
would end in the exclusion of the proof by which alone he could 
hope to convict the great proconsul of the Indies of the high 
crimes and misdemeanours with which he stood charged, was 
indignant that their opinions were followed by the House of 

For the first time, "in a report from the committee of the 
House of Commons appointed to inspect the Lords' Journal, 
made April 30, 1794," the attention of the House of Commons 
was called to the rules of evidence, and particularly to those 
which had been laid down by the judges for the guidance of 
the House of Lords upon a variety of questions submitted to 
them for their opinion. Until that time, the law of evidence, 
like every other branch, had been assumed to be the perfec- 
tion of human reason, and the assumption had remained un- 
questioned. In this report, Burke conceded the general fit- 
ness of those rules in cases between parties, but perceiving 
their efiect in the exclusion of the proof necessary to sustain 
his cause, endeavoured to distinguish between rules proper to 
be adopted in ordinary civil cases, and those by which the impe- 
rial court of parliament should be governed. He thought that 
" the committee could not with safety to the larger and more 
remedial justice of the law of parliament admit any rules or 
pretended rules, uncorrected or uncontrolled by circumstances, 
to prevsttl in a trial which regarded offences difficult of detec- 
tion, and committed far from the sphere of the ordinary prac- 
tice of the courts." But Burke, while examining those rules 
and endeavouring, though ineffectually, to shield the law from 
the reproach of " disgraceful subtleties," and while urging that 
^' the lords ought to enlarge and not to contract the rules of 

42 The Law of Evidence. [Dec. 

evidence, according to the nature and difficulties of the case,'* 
did not perceive that the defect lay deeper ; that the rules of 
the common law were intrinsically defective and vicious, un- 
fitted for the end proposed ; that, in reality, it mattered not 
whether the tribunal was that of a petty justice of the peace 
or the highest and most solemn tribunal of a great nation ; 
whether the amount in litigation was the penny of the poor 
man or the wrongs of injured nations ; that the ascertainment 
of the truth, for the purposes of judicial action, was the end 
alike proposed in each, and the modes of obtaining it most 
fitting in one case, were equally so in the other. 

This report of Burke is remarkable as being the first in- 
stance in which this branch of the common law was subjected 
to the investigation of one not trained in and bigoted to pro- 
fessional pursuits and professional logic. But the time had 
not then arrived, nor was Burke the man. That entire free- 
dom from all sinister bias and class mterest ; that utter abne- 
gation of the authoritative force of mere prescription ; that 
deep and all pervading philanthropy; that power of acute, 
accurate, and patient analysis so necessary in the examination 
of the subject ; that profound and thorough knowledge of the 
law ; that martyr-like devotion to the refonn of long estab- 
lished abuses ; that fearlessness and enthusiasm in the prose- 
cution of cherished pursuits, were wantmg. 

In the fuhiess of time Bentham arose. Bentham, the mas- 
ter in that great work of judicial and legislative reform in 
which RomiUy and Brougham were content to be enrolled as 
disciples. A profound philosopher, a laborious student, learn- 
ed in the codes of all nations, sagacious, determined, inde- 
fetigable in the accomplishment of whatever he undertook, 
he devoted days and nights to the great work of judicial re- 
form. Educated to the bar, he knew well the law and could 
trace his course through its more than Daedalian labyrinths. 
Leaving the gtdns of legal traffic and the visions of professional 
eminence ; deserting the field of politics, which lay open to 
him ; filled with the sublime and magnificent idea of becoming 
the law-^ver, not of one nation or people, but of all nations 
and tongues, the Solon or Numa of humanity, in the vigor of 
manhood he set himself apart for that great work, the concep- 
tion of which had awakened his energy and enkindled his 
genius. Occupying ground illustrious as having been the res- 
idence of Milton, if he caught none of his poetic inspiration, 
and we think no one will suspect him of having wandered in 

1848.] The Law of Evidmce. 43 

the to him tmgenial fields of poesy, yet it will not be denied 
that he was blessed with a full measure of his lofty indepen- 
dence, his indomitable love of liberty, and his generous enthu- 
siasm for the rights of man. With ^^ the ^atest happiness of 
the greatest number" as the object to be attained, an end 
heretofore too little regarded in legislation, he probed to the 
quick existing laws and institutions. He examined with the 
mtmost thoroughness the rules of procedure and the principles 
of evidence as developed in the English law. All weapons 
seemed at his command ; wit the keenest ; humor the most 
felicitous; sarcasm the most biting; logic unanswered and 
unanswerable. In his great work, The Mationdle of Judicial 
Evidence^ he placed its principles upon a firm and solid foun- 
dation. The result to which his investigations led him ; the 
result to which all intelligent men who have examined the sub- 
ject are arriving, is, that all, without exception, all who, hav- 
ing any or all the organs of sense, can perceive, or perceiving, 
can make known their perceptions to others, should be received 
as witnesses. Their religious belief or want of it ; their char- 
acter as established mfamous by conviction ; their relation to 
the cause as parties, or interested as attorneys, or as husband 
and wife of those who are parties, should be regarded as cir- 
cumstances affecting only the greater or lesser degree of 
credit which should be placed in their statements, but never 
as sufficient reasons for exclusion. In other words, while the 
credibility of witnesses should be most rigorously scanned, the 
question of their competency should never be raised. Such 
were the conclusions to which, after a most searching analysis 
of existing laws, he arrived ; a result the correctness of which 
he has established with almost the precision and certainty of 
mathematical demonstration. 

Such are not the conclusions of the common law. Such are 
not the conclusions of Mr. Oreenleaf. Indeed, in a work writ- 
ten for a text book, what is msdnly wanted is, that it should be 
a correct exposition of existing law. The work of Mr. Green- 
leaf can never be regarded otiber than as a successful and well 
arranged compilation of adjudged cases. He seems, however, 
never to have thought of the law save with the docUe and ad- 
miring submission of a believer in its infallibility ; and the re- 
forms of IBSentham would meet with about as much sympathy 
firom him as John Calvin would have received if he had un- 
dertaken to exhort a conclave of Roman cardinals to embrace 
his peculiar dogmas. 

44 The Law of Evidence. [Dec. 

As we consider Mr. Greenleaf an able defender of the ex- 
isting law, and as presenting with great success the results of 
past decisions and the reasoning upon which they rest, we 
propose, by examining the general doctrines of exclusion, or 
particular instances as found in the English law, to give his 
reasoning as the text of our comment. 

It should ever be borne in mind t^at litigation is rarely 
foreseen ; that it springs up unexpectedly ; that no one can 
foreknow and prepare in advance for the emergency. No one 
goes around in the ordinary business of life attended by a 
witness, like a familiar spirit, who may be always ready to see 
and hear what may occur ; nor if any one were thus accompa- 
nied, could he be sure of the presence of such a witness when 
the occasion in which he might be needed should arise. 

There is no act the most trivial, no contract the most inr 
significant, which may not become the subject matter of litiga- 
tion, or upon which the most important consequences may not 
depend, — the hour of rising, of departing from or returning 
to our residence, the articles of apparel worn, the road taken, 
the place of stopping, the individual with whom conversation 
jnay have been held, the topics of that conversation, the exact 
questions put and answers given, all, any, every thing which 
man has done or which man can do. The infinite variety of hu- 
man action is only coextensive with the infinite variety of liti- 
gation upon which property, liberty, or life may depend. There 
is no event, no word spoken, no thing done, no motion of the 
body, no thought of the heart, which, in the eternal chain of 
antecedents and consequents, may not become matters of in- 
quiry. In vain, then, can one in advance guard his rights. 
He can not know how they will be jeoparded, nor if jeoparded 
by what witnesses the facts he may deem of importance may 
be proved. Whether they be men of deficient or exuberant 
faith ; whether they be men famous for integrity or infamous 
for want of it — whosoever they may be by whom such facts 
were perceived, he needs them, and if they be the only wit- 
nesses, still greater is his need. 

The exclusion of testimony, from whatsoever source attaina- 
ble, is presumably wrong. The judge needs testimony, else 
he cannot decide ; he requires proof, else he is without the 
means of correct decision. He might as well resort to the lot, 
to ordeals by fire, to ordeals by water, to burning ploughshares, 
to trials by battle, as to attempt to decide without proof. So 
obvious would all this seem, that one would suppose that resort 

1848.] The Law of Evidence. 46 

i?load naturally be had for information to all to whom the facts 
■were known. To the common lawyer it seemed otherwise. 
Ordinary men seeking for information, inquire of those who 
know. Extraordinary men, learned men, lawyers deeply im- 
bued with the wisdom of the past, specially object to inquiring 
of such. -r 

Exclude evidence material, and unattcdnable from any other 
source, for what cause soever plausible or otherwise ; exclude 
evidence, and the judge, to the extent of and in proportion to 
the importance of the evidence excluded, is deprived of the 
means of correct decision. Exclude all evidence for any rea- 
sons, or for such as have in various instances been assigned, 
and you compel the judge to resort either to lot or to arbitra- 
ry will, not by any means so safe as the lot for the determina- 
tion of the cause. You deprive him of the very food of justice 
— pabulum justitice — as Bacon terms it. Justice was beau- 
tifully symboUed by the ancient Greeks as blind. Deaf as 
well as blmd she might as well be, if she is to be precluded 
from hearing testimony. Correct decision, the great result 
sought for, mjunly depends upon the fulness of the facts pre- 
sented for consideration. Any source, every source, any in- 
dividual, every individual, no matter who he mav be, to whom 
any portion, however minute, of the facts may be known, should 
be heard. Scrutinize his testimony as rigidly as you will, but 
hear it. Because the light of the noonday sun can not be 
had at midnight, should the farthing taper therefore be extin- 
guished ? Because evidence from the best conceivable sources 
cannot be obtained, shall none be had ? 

He who would claim that evidence from any source should 
be rejected, is bound to show satisfactory reasons for such re- 
jection. In his chapter on the competency of witnesses, Mr. 
Greenleaf bases the general doctrines of exclusion upon the 
following grounds: — 

"Although, in the ordinary affairs of life temptations to prac- 
tise deceit and fakehood may be comparativelyyeir, and therefore 
men may ordinarily be disposed to believe the statements of each 
other: jet in judicial investigations the motives to pervert the 
truth and to perpetrate falsehood and fraud are so greatly muld" 
plied, that if statements were received with the same undiscrimi- 
nating freedom as in private life, the ends of justice could with far 
less certainty be attained. In private life, too, men can inifuire 
anfl deter mute for thrmseJves^ whom they will deal with, aid in 
whom they will confide ; but the situation of judges and jurors 

46 The Law of Midence. [Dec. 

renders it difficult, if not often impossible, in the narrow compass 
of a trial, to investigate the character of tcitnesses: and from the 
very nature of judicial proceedings, and the necessity of prevent- 
ing the multiplication of issues to be tried, it may often happen 
that the testimony of a witness unworthy of credit, may receive as 
much consideration as that of one worthy of the fullest confidence. 
If no means were employed totally to exclude any contaminating 
influence from the fountains of justice, this evil would constantly 
occur. But the danger has always been felt, and always guarded 
against in all civilized countries. And while all evidence is open 
to the objection of the adverse party, before it is admitted, it has 
been found necessary to the ends of justice that some kinds of 
evidence should be uniformly excluded. 

" In determining what evidence shall be admitted and weighed 
by the jury, and what shall not be received at all, or in other 
words, in distinguishing between competent and incompetent wit- 
nesses, a principle seems to have been applied similar to that 
which distinguishes between conclusive and disputable presump- 
tions of law, namely, tlte experienced connection between the sit* 
tuition of the witness and the truth or falsity of his testimony. 
Thus the law excludes as incompetent those persons whose evi- 
dence in general, is found more likely than otherwise to mislead 
juries : receiving and weighing the testimony of others, and giving 
to it that degree of credit which it is found on examination to de- 
serve. It is obviously impossible that any test of credibility can 
be infallible. All that can be done is to approximate to such a 
degree of certainty as will ordinarily meet the justice of the case. 
The question is not whether any rule of exclusion may not some- 
times shut out credible testimony ; but whether it is expedient 
that there should be any rule of exclusion at^all. If the purposes 
of justice require that the decision of causes should not be embar- 
rassed by statements generally found to be deceptive or totally 
false, there must*be some rule designating the class of evidence to 
be excluded. And in this case as in determining the ages of dis- 
cretion and of majority, and in deciding as to the liability of the 
wife for crimes committed in company with the husband, and in 
numerous other instances, the common law has merely followed 
the common eccperience of mankind." — pp. 376, 377. 

Such are the reasons by which Mr. Greenleaf would justify 
the general doctrines of exclusion. They are fairly stated by 
him. They are all the law has to give. Are they well found- 
ed ? Let us examine them. 

The main business of life is in hearing and reasoning on 
evidence. Judicial action — decision upon proof — is an every 
day affair. Evidence, proof, testimony, is the same ; whatever 

1848.] The Law of Ihndence. 47 

may be the occasions on which it is obtained, or the uses to 
which it is applied. Whether it be given " in the ordinary 
aflbirs of life ' or "judicial investigations," its probative force 
is the same. The individual — party, wife, attorney, convict, 
atheist — no matter what he may be, whose statements out of 
court would be entitled to, and would receive credence, (and 
" in the ordinary aflfairs of life " they might receive credence, 
though it were a party speaking of his own interests, a wife 
of her husband's, an attorney of his client's, a convict or an 
atheist of those of others,) would be none the less entitled to 
belief, because the same statements in relation to the same 
subject matter should be uttered m open court. " The or- 
dinary afiairs of life," all business transactions between man 
and man, are conducted upon evidence, and the same princi- 
ples which guide, the same rules of judging and weighing testi- 
mony ate aUke applicable m "judicial investigations" as " in 
the ordinary afl&urs of life." Not a day, not an hour passes 
in which every man is not called to act upon proof without 
the checks, safeguards, and securities of judicially delivered 
testimony. The ratio of the value of property or interests 
upon and in relation to which judicial action is, to that in which 
it is not reqmred, shows the values thus respectively deter- 
mined upon, and their difference, and that but a very trivial 
and comparatively minute portion of the great business of life 
ever receives or requires judicial interposition. " In the or- 
dinary business of life," were a man to be governed by the 
rules of the law as to the sources from which alone it would 
be safe to receive information, he would be thought better fit- 
ted for a place in a lunatic asylum, than for the management 
of his own affairs. Two children disputing, of whom does the 
father inquire ? Wishing to know the truth, does he send his 
children away, and set himself to gleaning up confessional 
fragments from his servants ? Was there ever a lawyer or a 
judge so idiotic as to be governed out of court by the rules which 
are followed in court in the investigation of facts ? But if in 
the infinite variety of human afiairs different rules from those 
adopted by the courts are observed and seen to be observed 
without prejudice or injury, does it not afford a strong indica- 
tion that those rules might be adopted in the trial of causes, 
without endangering the rights of property or the peace of 
society ? 

" In the ordmary affairs of life, temptations to practise de- 
ceit and falsehood may be comparatively few." Temptadons 

48 The Law of Evidence. [Dec. 

few I Why, they are as numerous as the objects of human de- 
sires, as potent as the hopes and fears, the losses and gains of 
life. " In judicial investigations the motives to pervert the 
truth and perpetrate falsehood and fraud are so greatly multi- 
plied." How multiplied ? How little of what man has or 
desires is ever the subject of judicial investigation? How 
rare is litigation to each man. How little of the wealth of 
the rich or the pittance of the poor, in comparison with the 
aggregate possession of either, is ever the subject matter of a 
judicial contest; and if it were, how is the motive to ^^ falsehood 
or fraud " thereby increaaed ? The same object is no more an 
object of desire, because its attainment is to be sought through 
the intervention of judicial action, than if sought without such 
intervention ; nor will there be more likely to be falsehood to 
allow it in one case than in the other. Multiplication of occa- 
sions for falsehood there is not, still less is there of motives. 
Falsehood in the ordinary afiFairs of life receives, when detect- 
ed, only the punishment of public opinion. Judicially uttered 
falsehood is not merely followed with loss of public respect, 
but it is or may be followed by the severest penalties of the 
law. The ordinary motives to truth exist in their accustomed 
vigor ; and to these is superadded the disgrace of convicted 
perjury. The motives inducing falsehood are no greater be- 
cause the amount involved is sought to be judicially obtained. 
Whatever the amount in question, one dollar or one million, 
the interest is no greater in court than " in the ordinary affairs 
of life," when the same amount is at stake, the motives to 
preserve or retain are the same, while new motives, whose 
tendency is to preserve the witness in the line of truth, are 
called into action. So that, whatever may be the subject 
matter — property, character, what not — the fact of its being 
judicially mvestigated furnishes no additional motives for false- 
hood, but on the contrary many and important securities for 
truth not attainable in private life. The fear of punishment, 
examination, and cross-examination, the checks of adverse tes- 
timony, lessen the dangers and diminish the probabilities of 
&lse testimony. 

" In private life, too, men can inquire and determine for 
themselves, whom they will deal with and in whom they will 
confide ; but the situation of judges and jurors renders it diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, in the narrow compass of a trial, to 
investigate the character of witnesses." But what then ? 
The argument, if good for any thing, would imply that judges 

1848.] The Lam of Evidmce. 49 

and jurors were to inyeftiigate for tliemselreSy and because they 
-would not be able to investigate satisfactorily the character 
of witnesses, that, therefore, ful such witnesses should be ex- 
cluded. But is this investigation pursued as to those who 
are received ? K not, what is d&e force of the argument as to 
those excluded ? Suppose it ever so difiGicult to investigate 
^e character of witnesses. What then ? Is it their business ? 
Is it the duty of the judge to descend from the bench, the 
juror to leave his panel, to investigate the character of wit- 
nesses ? And are witnesses by classes to be shut out because 
it cannot be done ? It is not done as to those received. Is it 
not equally necessary that it should be done in one case as in 
the otiier f But what is the danger of deception on the part 
of the judge or the jury ? The party active, vi^ant, with 
time and means, will be littie likely to permit his ri^ts to suffer 
from not sufficiently investigating the character of those who 
may be witnesses against him. 

It is said, ^^ it may often happen that the testimony of a 
witness imworthy of credit may receive as much consideration 
as that of one worthy of the fullest confidence ; " but does 
any argument in fisivor of shutting out evidence arise from 
that fact? Of what witness may it not be scud, that the 
judge or the jury may have erred in giving too much or too 
littie consideration to his testimony? If of none, then to 
what pos»ble case does not the argument apply ? What wit- 
ness should ever be received ? Is then exclusion the le^timate 
inference, or is it that there should be increased vi^iknce on 
the part of judge or jury ? 

" If no means were employed totally to exclude any con- 
taminating influences from the fountain of justice this evil 
would constantiy occur." But is all contammating influence 
excluded ? Can it be ? But what is the evil, the constant 
occurrence of winch is sought to be guarded against ? That 
of inability on the part of judges or jurors to investigate 
the character of witnesses ? That is never done. The judge 
who should attempt it would be impeached, and the juror who 
should go about investigating for himself would probably be 
discharged before he had proceeded very extensively in his 
inquiries. Is the evil that of believing witnesses unworthy 
of credit ? And is that to be guarded against by excluding 
all contanunating influences ? How can that be done ; how 
know in advance the full effect of conservative influences, and 
how they compare with those which are the reverse, and on 

NO. V. 4 

bO The Law of JShndenee. [Dec. 

which ride the balance will lie, for on that depends the question ? 
Would not that inquiry lead to a multiplication of issues ? 

^^In determining what evidence shall be admitted and 
weighed by the jury, and what shall not be received at all/' 
the law is foimded upon ^^ the experienced connection between 
the eituatian of the witness and the truth of his testimony. 
Thus the law excludes as incompetent those persons whose 
evidence in general is found more likely than otherwise to 
mislead juries." The rule is then based on experience of 
the evils resulting firom an admission, at some former time, of 
the now excluded testimony. But this ^^experienced con- 
nection " is a matter of fact, itself to be proved by testimony 
— not by reasoning. Mr. Greenleaf would be much puzzled 
to define that period of the common law, when parties or 
those interested were received as witnesses, or to ^ow when 
and why the change occurred, by which they were excluded. 
This experiment — when and where did it take place; under 
what kmg's reign ? In which of the Tear-books or in the 
later records of judicial wisdom are ^^ found" those experi- 
mental cases, where those now incompetent were sworn to the 
great subvendon of justice, and residts so disastarous ensued 
that legislative sagacity interposed ? In which of the parlia- 
mentary rolls is found the statute making so great ana nec- 
essary changes? Experienced connection, — why so Ceut as 
there has been any experience, it has been of exception to 
general rules, which were so bad that it was found necessary 
for the purposes of justice in innumerable instances to vidate 

The true question is, ^^ whether it is expedient that there 
should be any rule of exclusion at all." That question is no- 
where met. The argument of Mr. Greenleaf does not meet 
it. So far as any ucibrence can be derived from the experi- 
ence of ordinary life, it is ag^nst him. So far as the ^' expe- 
rienced connection" is to be conadered as a fact — it never 
existed. He says the ^^ common law has merely followed com- 
mon experience." If by common experience is meant the ex- 
perience of other nations, it is obvious that unless their exclu- 
sions are the same^ and unless, further than that, they have 
been the result of some " experienced connection " between 
the admission of the now excluded evidence and falsehood, 
they furnish no argument in favor of exclusion, and if so based, 

Y they furnish an argument only in the particular instances in 

^ which the experience has been had. 

1848.] The Law of Ihndenee. 61 

What are tiie teachings of experience as found in the codes 
of different nations ? The Jews, with little of the spirit of 
modem gallantry either in the rule or the reason assigned, 
excluded all women, on account of the leyity and boldness of 
the sex. They likewise rejected the testimony of children un- 
der thirteen years of age, of the deaf, dumb, blind, insane, 
the relations and enemies of parties, publicans, slaves, rob- 
bers, those convicted of having borne false witness, and those 
who had committed any crime worthy of death. The Mahom- 
etans, in all matters of property, received two men, or one 
man and two women, to prove any fact, estimating ihe testi- 
mony of a woman at hall that of a man in trustworthiness. 
By tiieir laws the moral character of witnesses was regarded, 
drunkards, gamesters, and usurers being incompetent. Evir 
dence in favor of a son or grandson, or a father or grandfather, 
was not received. Slaves could not testify for their master nor 
their master for them ; nor could infidels and apostates be 
heard when a Mussulman was a party. 

The institutes of Menu, which for ages were the law of the 
multitudinous population of India, present a curious illustration 
of the caution with which evidence was received. Those must 
not be received as witnesses who have a pecuniary interest ; 
nor &miliar friends, nor menial servants, nor enemies, nor 
men perjured, nor men grievous by disease, nor those who 
have committed a heinous offence. The king cannot be a wit- 
ness, nor cooks, nor other mean artificers, nor public dancers 
and singers, nor men of deep learning in Scripture, nor a 
student in theology, nor an. anchorite, nor one dependent, 
nor one of bad fame, nor one who follows a cruel occupation, 
nor one who acts against law, nor a decrepit old man, nor a 
child, nor one man unless distingtdshed for virtue, nor a 
wretch of the lowest mixed class, nor one who has lost the 
organs of sense, nor one grieved, nor a mad man, nor one 
tormented with hunger or thirst, or oppressed with fatigue, ex- 
cited by lust, inflamed with wrath, nor one convicted of theft. 
A slave of either sex, a blind man, a woman, a minor till the 
age of fifteen years, an old man of eighty years, a leper, and 
the like, were not received as witnesses. 

These, it may be said, are the exclusions of ignorant barba- 
rians. If we examine the Roman law, as found in the re- 
sponses of her civilians, or the edicts of her prsetors, or the 
rescripts of her emperors — the Roman law as illustarated by 
the learning and genius of the Gates and Scsevolas of consu- 

52 The Law of JEvidenee. [Dec* 

lar, or the Tribonlans and Ulpians of imperial Borne — though 
we may find absurdities less glaring than Hkose of the great 
law-giver of the East, it will s^ be seen that Borne has made, 
in tUs branch of the law, but slight advances toward sound 
views, either as to the admission or the just appreciation of 
testimony. In the civil law the excludons are fdmost as nu- 
merous and not much more judicious than those found in the 
laws of Menu. By its provisions, children approaching pu- 
berty were to be f eceived, but not compelled to testtfy of 
matters within their understanding. Minors were received as 
witnesses when pecuniary interests were at stake, but they 
were not allowed in criminal cases, unless over twenty years of 
age. Slaves were not witnesses if the fSftcts could be obtained 
from any other quarter. The testimony of those convicted 
of offences against the state, informers, of those cast into the 
public prisons, those guilty of making false accusations, those 
expelled from the senate, apostates, heretics, libellers, those 
convicted of bribery, in£Bunous women, those who hire them- 
selves to fight with wild beasts. Hie worthless, and the poor, 
were not a£nitted when other proof could be had. No one 
was a witness in his own case, or in that of one associated 
with him. The son could not be the witness for the father, 
nor the father for the son. Patrons were not heard in tiie 
cause of their client, guardians of their ward, nor overseers in 
that of the minor of whose estate they had charge.* 

B V the common law, parties to a suit, those interested in its 
result, husband and wife, the attorney as to all confidential 
conmiumcations from his client, the atheist, and the convict, 
are excluded as witnesses. 

The arguments of Mr. Greenleaf would as well support one 
set of exclusions as another ; and whether found in the He- 
daya or the Pandects, in the institutes of Menu or in those of 
the common law, they would have been equally applicable ; 
for, being based upon assuming the very question to be proved, 
one law-^ver may as well assume as another. Were all these 
exclusions to be united in any one code, it is difficult to imag- 
ine from what source proof could ever be obtained. If selec- 
tions are to be made, we think little judgment is shown in 
those of the common law. 

Decision as to the truth of testimony there must be, at 
some time or other — deci^on either with or without hearing. 

* Heineocias, EUmmta Jwu CmUi^ Ht. V., DeTest, &c. 

1848.] Thfi Law of Evidence. 53 

Ezelomon presupposes a jadgment determining the probable 
fidsity of testimony, without and before hearing it. Such is 
its supposition, else why exclude ? The common lawyer, then, 
is not the man of experience, but the theorist, and an absurd 
and visionary one. His theoiy is, that he can decide better 
as to the truth of a witness without seeing and hearing him, 
than with ; that a judgment as to the truth of testimony can 
better be made centuries before and without its utterance, than 
upon a hearing and a comparison of it with other evidence in 
the case. Mr. Bentham, abused as a wild and unsafe specu- 
lator, thought that before a decL^on could be safely made as 
to the trustwortiiiness of a witness, it might be as judicious to 
hear him. Mr. Ghreenleaf, who would call himself the man 
of experience, who would eschew s^culation as dangerous, 
thinks that decision without hearing is the perfection of judi- 
cial wisdom. 

In the list of excluaons, to our mind there axe none so 
erroneous, so utterly without justifici^on, as those of the 
parties and of persons interested. These we intend to exam- 
me particularly. 

Let us bridly conader tiie matter. Correctness and com- 
pleteness are the primary qualifications of witnesses. To at- 
tun these, attention is necessary. To g^ve the necessary 
attention, an adequate motive is required. Be it contract, 
be it crime, whicn is the subject of inquiry, no one can be 
expected to have the same motive to ^ve attention — full, 
careful, absorbing attention — as the parties, as those inter- 
ested, the expected gainers or losers. Other witnesses acci- 
dentally present, like the fortuiti testes of the Roman law, 
may be uree from any sinister bias which might affect their 
testimony. But mere freedom from bias — mere absence of 
interest — is not the most essential qualification of a witness. 
Without motive to observe, men are inattentive 'observers. 
Nor is this all. While those interested are most likely to 
perceive what took place, so they will be the most likely accu- 
rately to remember. To perceive accurately and to remember 
truthfully is the work of labor, — of labor greater or less ac- 
cording to the number and complexity of the fSftcts, — a work 
never undertaken except under the pressure of motives ade- 
quate to the attempted production of the expected result. 
Mere indifference can hardly be considered any very peculiar 
guaranty for clearness of ori^nal perception or accuracy of 
recollection ; for from indifference naturally flow carelessness, 


54 The Law of JSvidmee. [Bee. 

inaocnracy, forgetfulness, misrecolleotion — consequences none 
the less undesinible, with however undoubted cUsinterestedness 
they may be accompanied. 

So far, therefore, as perception and recoIlecii<ni are con- 
cerned, those interested would be most likely to perceiye and 
recollect all the facts witlun their knowledge, material and 
necessary to a just detenmnatic«i of the rights involved. They 
are witnesses ordinarily present, and upon whose intelligence 
and recollection reUance may be placea. Whether they will 
truly state their knowledge, when caUed in for judicial pur- 
poses, is another and different question, which hereafter will 
be considered. 

In regard to parties, the ^^rule of the common law is 
founded not solely in the consideration of interest, but partly, 
also, in the general expediency of avoiding the multiplication 
of temptations to perjury." * " The general rule is, that a 
party to the record can, in no case, be a witness: a rule 
founded principally on the policy of preventing perjury^ and 
the hardehip of calling on a party to charge himself. ^^ 

^^ The principle on which ^ those interested in the result of 
a suit ^^ are rejected is the same with that which excludes the 
parties themselves ; . . . namely, the dancer of perjury, 
and the little credit found to be due to such testimony in judi- 
cial investigations." f 

It is obvious, tiiat so far as interest is to be considered a 
ground of exclusion, it is immaterial whether it be that of a 
party or of one merely interested in the result. Nobody 
supposes that it makes the slightest difference, so £Eur as that is 
to be considered as a ground of exclusion, whether the name 
of the witness be on the docket of the court as a party or 
not. So far as the reasoning of the author is of any validity, 
it applies mth equal force in both cases. 

To the English lawyer, but one motive is seen acting upon 
the human mind, and that always with overwhelming force and 
in a sinister direction. Filial affection, paternal solicitude, the 
ties of friendship, are not considered as likely materially to 
endanger the truth of testimony. From one source and from 
one alone is there fear, and tiiat is pecuniary interest. All 
hopes, all fears, all loves, all hates, all mortal passions, at once 
yield to the omnipotence of money. Such is the philosophy 

* 1 Greeoleaf, 378. 1 1 Gh«enleaf, 432. 

1848.] The Law of Evidence. 55 

of die law. In English jurispradence, no unapt representa- 
tion of the national character, Mammon reigns supreme : 

"Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell 
From Hearen — for e*en in Hearen his looks and thoughts 
Were alwajs downward bent, admirine more 
The riches of Hearen's pavement, trodden gold, 
Than anght dirine or holy." 

Indeed, such is the degraded character of the communiiy in 
the eye of the law, that it presumes that all, rich and poor, 
good and bad, from the beggar in the streets to the chief- 
magistrate — for any the smallest pecuniary gidn, or to avoid 
any the smallest pecuniary loss — would commit perjury; 
presumes, nay declares, that they will do so ; makes such 
result a legal presumption not to be contradicted: ^^The 
magnitude er degree of the interest is not to be regarded," 
says Mr. Greenleaf, ^^ in estimating its effect on the mind of 
the witness : for it is impomble to meaeure the influence which 
any given interest may exert." 80 universal and uneradica- 
ble is this depravity — so deficient is the whole population in 
veracity, so loose and inefficient are the ordinary restraints 
of human action — that our enlightened public policy requires 
this universality of exclusion for the least conceivable interest, 
lest otherwise the seat of justice might be polluted. 

But how absurd is this reasonmg. The motives which 
influence the human mind are as innumerable as the feelings 
or the desires of man ; their strength as varying. The same 
motives vary in intensi^ between man and man, or as affect- 
ing the same man at different periods of time. Nor is there 
any motive the direction of which is uniform. It may lead to 
truth, it may lead to falsehood. However sinister the direc- 
tion of any motive, it may be controlled or overborne by other 
motives, actins in a contrary direction. The prejudices and 
pasfflons, the hopes and fears, by which man is affected, are 
not susceptible of the uniform and accurate admeasurement of 
mechanical forces. To the common lawyer, mental dynamics 
are as mmple and invariable as those of brute matter. The 
argument m favor of exclusion assumes that pecuniary inter- 
est, as a motive, acts at all times, in all men ; that the minut- 
est interest leads uniformly to falsehood, and that it will not be 
oveibome hj fear of punishment, loss of reputation, or any 
motive leadmg in the direction of truth ; or that it is so ex- 
tremely improbable that this will be the case, that the only 
safety to society is to be found in exclusion. 

56 The Law of Eviimce. [Deo. 

Fear of penurj is a main reason for ezdnrion. What is 
the danger of peijuiy on tibe part of any mtness ? In all 
cases, the chance of his being right is equal to that of his being 
wrong ; if in the right, he wUl never commit perjury, for truth 
will better subserve lus purposes. However trudbdestroying 
the effect of interest may be, it is manifest that in all cases of 
adverse and conflicting interests, as to each ^puted fact, one 
must be in the right, Sie other in the wrong ; or each may be 
partly right aud partly wrong. It is equaUy manifest, that of 
two parties, if one be in the right, in whole or in part, that so 
£Btr as his testimony is excluded, so far the truth will be shut 
out ; if in the wrong, what are the chances of perjury ? The 
portion of the party — his interest and consequent bias — is 
seen and perceived by others, and known to himself. The or* 
dinary restrsdmng motives act with more than usual strength, 
for, feeling his position as one looked upon with suspicion, he 
will be likely to guard his testimony. Besides, if both parties 
are heard, the perjury of one is known to the other. Will 
one be so very likely to commit this offence in the presence of 
an antagonist, who has the knowledge to detect and the motive 
to pumdi? 

Is danger of peijury a reason for excluding a witness ; for 
refusing to call on one having the requisite and desired infor- 
mation, but of the truth or ftdsehood of whose testimony noth- 
ing can be foreknown ? — for it cannot be foreknown whether 
he is in the ri^ht or the wrong. Why is not danger of murder 
an equally vahd reason for imprisoning the son, lest, considep> 
ing nature too tardy, he mi^t anticipate its course ? The 
argument applies as well in one case as the other. In either 
case the commission of crime is assumed as probable, because 
a gfdn may thereby be made. Because ono might be so mtu- 
ated as to gsdn by crime, it by no means follows that he will 
be a criminal ; yet such is the inference of the law. Exclud- 
ing a witness, firom fear of his committing perjury, is as sane 
as it would be for the shopkeeper to send away all his cus- 
tomers, lest they might steal. In the one case, ^^ it certainly 
preserves the party from temptation to perjury*^ * In the 
other, it with equal certmty preserves the customer from 
temptation to larceny. Men may perjure; men may steal ; 
one dollar or one thousand dollars — to gain or retm that sum, 
what greater probabDity of perjury than of larceny ? What 


184&] The Law cf IMdmee. 67 

retfOQ to sappoee timt interest would take tlie one ra&er than 
the other direotion^ to attain its object? Indeed, with a 
watchfiil and excited party — with examination and cross- 
examination in the way to success — who does not see that 
perjury is not half so |dausible a mode of obtaining m<Hiey as 
lar^y ? Yet the court refuse to hear one of whose integrity 
they Imow nothing, lest, perchance, he may commit perjury. 
If, to gain one doUar, the party will commit perjury, what 
8lM>uld prevent him from investing that sum in the subornation 
of witnesses ; for the same sum which would induce him to 
commit that crime, would probably be a sufficient motive for 
other crimes ? K this fear of perjury is well grounded, is it 
not absolutely dangerous to receive any proof? 

In the case where the fSftcts necessary for a correct decision 
are known only to the parties or to persons interested, the 
exclusion of their evidence is the exclusion of the only means 
of arriving at a correct decision. Injustice must ensue. In 
all cases, the evil will be in proportion to the importance of 
the facts thus withheld. But the perjury is not certain. The 
probability of its commission is seen to be not so great as is 
unagined. Excluding evidence for this cause, the conse- 
quences of the worst perjury follow: — an unjust claim suc- 
ceeds. K the evidence proposed is received and accompanied 
witii the anticipated perjury, it is by no means certain that the 
oppoong truth will not prevail. !Both parties heard, one ut* 
tering truth, the other uttering £Etlsehood, which irill triumph? 
Truth consistent with itself, with every true fact ; fisdsehooa in- 
consistent with itself, with every fiM^t in the case — which wiU 
J re vail ? Will not the sagacity of the judge of fact, — called 
y whatever name, — sever the truth from falsehood ? How 
is the difficulty greater than in the ordinary case of conffict^ 
ing testimony? In what does it differ? ^^The hardship of 
calling a party to charge himself" — what is that hardsmp ? 
H a r dship implies wrong, for if in the right, there is no hard* 
ship in uttering what will aid or tend to aid the party uttering 
such testimony. Hardship excludes the idea of peijury on 
either side ; for if there is hardship in uttering the truth, and 
it is uttered, no perjury follows ; and the other party being in 
the right, his interests will best be promoted by the truth. 
No questions are to be asked, lest the party in the wrong 
should feel umdeasantly ; lest scrutinizmg interrogatories 
should disturb the repose of fraud, or bring dismay and terror 
to guilt. The hardship inddent to the utterance of the truth, 

58 The Law of Emimee. [Dec. 

and to being compelled in consequence {hereof to perfonn 
what Justice requires, is the hardship too grievous to be borne. 
The hardship of uttering the truth must not be permitted. 
Reluctance to answer, the hardship of answering what truly 
answered will lead to ilie compulsory performance of ccmtracts 
which otherwise would have been violated, if sufficient reasons 
for exemption from answering, are much better reasons for 
exemption from the performance of contracts ; just as much 
better are they as is the performance more onerous than the 
mere answering of inqtdries. If hardship should exempt from 
answering, the hardship of performance should be a good bar 
to the claun for performance, and unvrillingness to do ri^t a 
reason for exemption from the obligations of duty. 

Hardship and perjury never coexist as reasons for exclu- 
sion. If tiiere is hsurdship, there is no periury. If there is 
peijury, it is self-«6rvmg ; there is not we hardship of a par- 
ty's " charing himself." 

What is remarkable is, that all this sympathy for hardship, 
tins dread of perjury, operates to the benefit and for the pro- 
tection of wrongdoers. The party in the right, seeking re- 
dress, has no peijury to commit, no hardship to endure in 
uttering his testimonv ; the law, fearing lest its violation in 
seeking to avoid his obligation mi^t wound his conscience by 
a fiEilsehood, or his feelings by the truth, exempts him from m 
inauiry, and thus renders the success of the wrong inevitable, 
unless proof can be obtained from otiier sources. 

The danger of peijury "from receiving the hardship" of 
compelling the testimonv of those interested; the "general 
experience of mankind" of the dangers arising from such tes- 
timony, and tiie "little reliance to be placed" thereon, having 
been considered sufficient reasons for its exclusion, it woula 
seem impossible to conceive of any cases in which these rea- 
sons should be found inapplicable ; for if the position be well 
founded, that there is a preponderant probability of mischief 
from certain classes of testimony, there can be no propriety in 
receiving testimony which ordinarily is found adverse to the 
truth. But in fact, however, while the wisdom of the rule is 
assumed without foundation, in practice it is found so utterly 
subversive of right, that it is violated in instances without num- 
ber. Indeed, so many are these violations, — so contradictory 
to the general rule and subversive thereof, — that were it not 
for the aid to be derived from the text-books, one would be 
ahoaost at a loss to know which was the rule and which the 

1848.] The Law of JSmdenee. 69 

Mr. Greenleaf^ enraplored as he is with tihe princijde of 
ezclufflon, is none ttie less so with that of admission. In his 
view, as in that of everj lover of the common law, " whatever 
is, is right." Exceptions utterly subvendye of a general rule 
founded in the highest ezpediencj are established ; it matters 
not to him, he steers right onward and bates not a jot of his 
admiration of this development of conflicting and discordant 
wisdom. Fraud, trust, and accident are the principal objects 
of eqmty jurisdiction. That the defendant has been guilty of 
fraua ; that he has violated some trust reposed in him ; that 
he has taken some undue advantage of an accident, are the 
ordinary allegations of a bill, and, if the bill be sustained, are 
true, xhe peculiar boast of equity is its efficiency when the 
common law fiuls ; and this efficiency is msdnly attributable to 
the virtues of its searching interrogatories. No one but a 
lawyer would conceive that resort to a court for its aid to com- 
pel the performance of what should have been done without its 
mtervention, would be considered the best evidence of integ- 
rity on the part of the individual refusing, or that it could be 
construed into ^^ an emphatic admission tiiat in that instance 
the party is worthy of credit, and that his known integrity is 
a sufficient guaranty agtdnst the danger of falsehood." Still 
less would he suppose, that under such circumstances integrity 
surpassing that of common witnesses would be predicated of 
an equity defendants. The credit of witnesses is usuaUy left 
to the intelligence and judgment of those who are to hear. In 
eqmty the law measures and determines the trustworthiness of 
the defendant in advance, without reference to the truth or 
falsehood of his testimony, in utter ignorance of all that can 
corroborate or detract from its weight, rates it as uniformly 
exceeding the testimonv of one disinterested witness, however 
great his integrity, and determines that it shall always be re- 
garded as true, imless overcome by two witnesses, or one wit- 
ness and corroborating circumstances. The party who would 
not be heard before a jury, whose testimony it would be 
thought dangerous for wem to hear, is judicially adjudged 
to possess not merely average, but superior trustworthiness. 
All defendants in equity, by virtue of their position, in all 
time, past, present, and to come, are decreed to possess ex- 
traordinary clidms to credence. While the defendant is 
considered so unusually trustworthy, the plamtiff, the party 
wronged or asserting that he is wronged, is not even heard. 
The plaintiff in equity is no more trustworthy than his brother 

9Q The Law of Mndenee. [Dec. 

at common law. The defendant in equity alone recdres Hiis 
unmerited confidence. Whatever the danger in hearing par- 
ties, that danger is immeasurably increased when only one is 
heard, and that under such peculiar circumstances. 

The general rule in all cases of exceptions, whether statu- 
tory or conunon law, seems to be this, — increase the motive 
to and the danger of perjury, diminish the securities for trust- 
worthiness, and remove the means of detection, and an inter* 
ested witness or party may be heard. The confessions of a 
party — incorrect and incomplete — uttered without the ordi* 
nary securities for trustworthiness, misunderstood, misrecol- 
lected, or misreported, are received, while the party whose 
statements they are alleged to be is denied the opportunity of 
completing what is incorrect, supplying what is deficient, or of 
rectifying the errors of ori^nal perception or subsequent recol- 
lection : secondary is perversely preferred to primary evidence. 
When the facts are in the exclusive knowledge of a party, so 
that he is free from all fears of contradiction, let his statements 
be reduced to writing cautiously, under the advice and with the 
fdd of counsel — all favorable foots in full relief, all unfavorable 
foots in the background or suppressed ; exclude all examina- 
tion and cross-examination, provided only the evidence is of- 
fered in the worst possible form, that of affidavits, and the 
party is at once and without objection heard. Let the word 
poK(^ or necessity be used, — as though there were policy in 
receiving testimonv which the " common experience " of man- 
kind had ^^ found unworthy of credit, as though any neces- 
rity would justify receiving proof which would ordinarily be 
peijured, — and the rules of the law are changed. Anxious to 
testify, one may release his interest, thus provmff that motives 
stronger than pecuniary influence him, yet notwithstanding this 
conclusive evidence of an existing interest which compelled the 
surrender of the pecxmiary and lesser, he is received. Antic- 
ipating prime firom interest, the government creates the very 
motives whose action is so uniformly deleterious, offering pecu- 
niary rewards attmnable onlv on conviction, as if its money 
was less likely to lead to perjury than tiiat of individuals. Lti 
admiralty and in probate cases, parties are allowed to testify. 
But to what purpose increase the list ? The usurer and lus 
ruined victim, the briber and the bribed, the infamous mother 
—whosoever the whim of the judge or the caprice of the 
le^lator may accept, are heard, and under circumstances the 
most unfavorable to the elucidation of truth. Better, then, 

1848.] The Law qf Ihidence. 61 

would it be, to hear all, leaving to the tribunal bj whom they 
are heard to detenmne the value of the testimony, instead of 
declaring it of no value, without knowing any thing about it, 
or capriciously considering it of the greatest and most remark- 
able trustworthiness, in equal ignorance of its real and intrin- 
dc worth. 

Other changes are necessary. Defect of religious belief 
diould never be a ground of exclusion. The absence of one 
motive to veracity may be a good reason for hearing with cau- 
tion, but never for refusing to hear. When the sanction of an 
oath would be unavailable, the witness may testify under the 
pains and penalties of perjury. 

Those now considered as incompetent from infamy should be 
received. They are now heard, when to tiie in&my of the 
criminal is added the infieuny of the traitor. They are now 
heard, in case the punishment due to crime is remitted ; as if 
the witness would not testify as honestiy without as with the 
pfurdcm ; as if the testimony could only be obtamed at the cost 
of relieving a wrongdoer m>m the fluffisring of justly incurred 

Husband and wife should be heard. Where the interest of 
either is subserved by the testimony of the other, there is no 
danger of any violent disruption of the conjugal ties. Where 
it is otherwise, the testimony, from '^ the identify of their legal 
rights and interests," may be considered true. No iust and 
beneficial confidence between man and wife will be left unpro- 
tected because either should be compelled to utter the truth to 
the prejudice of the other. Nor would the happness of social 
life ^'be very much impaired because the husband, witnessing 
his own dbhonor,'' were admitted as a witness to prove the 
guilt of his wife, or the wife, falsely charged by the husband 
with the most infamous crimes, were received to vindicate her 
own reputation. 

The attorney should be examined as a witness. Confessions 
made to him should no more be held sacred than those made 
to any one else. Confessions ordinarily are admitted, but 
those made to an attorney are peculiarly deserving of credence, 
from the circumstances under which they are made. The 
knave and the villain should not be permitted to enjoy the aid 
of a hired defender in whose skill, energy, and secresy they 
may repose the most implicit reliance, whatever the fraud to 
be committed or the punishment to be avoided. The common 
rule is only for the benefit of the dishonest and the criminaL 

62 The Law of Evidence. [Dec. 

Its abolition would not in the slightest degree interfere with 
the legitimate intercourse between the client and the attorney. 
It would only operate as a check upon the relation, so far as 
it subsists, between wrongdoers and their counsel, and it is 
difScult to perceive what principles of sound policy require that 
their intercourse should be so far unrestrained and secret, that 
any communication thus made, if important to the furtherance 
of justice, should be withheld. In no other confidential rela- 
tion is tins exemption from testifying allowed. Father and 
son, brother and sister, physician and patient, confessor and 
penitent, principal and agent, guardian and ward, trustee and 
cestui qui trusty are obliged, if the purposes of justice require 
it, to (uvulge any communications, however confidential they 
may be. The relation of the attorney to the client is purely 
a business relation, involving only the obligations and imposing 
only the duties of good faith, integrity, and abilify commensu- 
rate with the trusts reposed. It pannes in no degree of the 
high and sacred character of that subsisting between parent 
and child, brother and sister, or even friend and friend. In no 
other instance is the confidence of guilt respected. Liberty 
to consult, under the most inviolable secresy, how fraud may 
be successfully committed, when civil obligation merges into 
criminal liability, and how, if crime has been committed, its 
just punishment may be evaded, may be, as it is termed, a 
" privilege " to the client ; but it is a privilege granted at tiie 
expense and to the injury of the rest of the community. 

We would then utterly abolish the distinctions of compe- 
tency and incompetency as applied to witnesses. The credi- 
bility of testimony alone should be regarded. Let that be the 
subject matter of investigation, and a great reform ia the law 
will be accomplished. 

In England, if we mistake not, the attention of parliament 
was first called to the consideration of the reforms we have 
been considering, in 1828, bv Mr. now Lord Brougham, in his 
celebrated speech on law rerorm. Since that time the subject 
has been frequently under consideration. In 1843, by Lord 
Denman's act, so called, the law of evidence was so far modi- 
fied, that interest and infamy are no longer grounds of exclu- 
sion. In New York, after due examination of the question, the 
same exclusions have been abolished, and a still more important 
change made, by which parties are subject to examination and 
cross-examination. In Massachusetts, at the recent session of 
the legislature, a bill was reported by tiie Judiciary Committee, 

1848.] The Works of WdUer Swage Landor. 68 

subsiantiany the same with Lord Denman's act ; but it was 
rejected. All that could be accomplished was the passage of 
a bill by which stockholders in an insurance company are 
allowed to testify, notwithstanding their interest ; as though, 
if the principle of exclusion on the ground of interest were 
good for any thing, there was any thing peculiar in insurance 
stock which would render the testimony of its owner less liable 
to be affected by it in his testimony, than by any other stock, 
or by any other property at stake. But legblation is piece- 
meal — migmentary. By and by, it is to be hoped, the 
le^lature will perceiye that a dollar's worth of insurance 
stock differs not from a dollar's worth of any other stock and 
property. Other reforms must soon follow. We trust that 
the time b not far distant when the changes we haye indicated 
will become part of the law of the land. If our efforts shall 
haye done any thing towards accomplishing so important and 
desirable a r^ult, our labors will not haye been in yain. 

Abt. rV. — The Worke of Walter Savage Landor. Lon- 
don. Edward Moxon. 1846. 2 yols. 8yo. 

Though we haye placed at the head of our article the titie 
of the collected edition of Lander's works, it is to a consider- 
ation of his poems, and in particular of his ^^ Hellenics," that 
we shall in a great measure deyote ourselyes. It may at 
first sieht seem somewhat of an anomaly te try a great prose- 
writer by what he has written in yerse ; but the man is so in- 
diyidual that the merits both of his prose and poetry are iden- 
tical in kind, and the defects which we are conscious of in the 
latter may help us to a clearer understanding, if not to a 
clearer definition, of what is poetry. 

To say of any writer that his faults are peculiarly his own, 
is in a certain sense to commend him, and, where these are 
largely outweighed by excellences, it amounts to a yerdict in 
fayor of his originality. Imitatiye minds inyariably seize upon 
and exaggerate the exaggerations of their model. The para- 
sitic plant indicates the cracks, roughnesses, and flaws of the 
wall to which it clings, for in these alone is it able to root it- 
self. If Byron were morose, a thousand poetasters bleated 
sayagely from under wer-wolyes' skins. It Carlyle be Teu- 


64 The Works qf Walter Savage Landor. [Dec. 

tonic, those will be found who will out-Germanize him. If 
Emerson be mystic, the Emersonidse can be misty. It is only 
where the superior mind begins to differ from the commonplace 
type, or to diverge from the simple orbit of nature, that infe- 
nor ones become subject to its attraction. Then they begin 
to gravitate toward it, are carried along with it, and, when it 
pauses, are thrown beyond it. It is only the eclipse men stare 
at. It is not the star but the comet that gathers a tail. When 
we say, then, that Lander's &ults are especially Landor, we 
imply iiiat he is no imitator. When we say that he has no 
imitators, we imply that his faults are few. 

If we were asked to name a writer to whose style the phrase 
correct would most exactly apply, we should select Ijandor. 
Yet it is not so at the expense of warmth, or force, or generos* 
ity. It is only bounded on every side by dignity. In all tiiose 

girtions of his works which present him to us most nobly, and 
erefore most truly, the most noticeable quality of ihe mere 
style is its tm-noticeability. Balance and repose are its two 
leading characteristics. He has discovered that to be ample 
is to be classical. He observes measure and proportion in 
every thing. If he throw mud it is by drachm ana scruple. 
His coarsest denunciation must be conveyed in sentences of 
just so many words spelt in just such a manner. He builds a 
paragraph as perfect as a ureek temple, no matter whether 
rhoibos or Anubis is to be housed in it ; — tor he is a coarse 
man with the most refined perceptions. He is the Avatar of 
John Bull. He is Tom Gnbb with the soul of Plato in 1^, 
and when he attacks there is no epithet which seems to fit him 
so well as brtuser. 

But though he asks us to many banquets, where, after the 
English fashion, the conversation at a certsun point becomes 
such as to compel women to withdraw; though he so obtrudes 
his coarseness upon us that any notice of him would be inade- 
quate without some mention of it ; yet this jarring element is 
rather the rare exception than the rule in his writings. It 
affects the style more than the character of his works, and is 
more important in helping us to an estimate of the man, than 
of his books. An introduction to him without a previous hint 
of it would hardly be fair ; yet we might be in his company 
for hours without discovering it. We should be at a loss to 
name the writer of English prose who is his superior, or, set- 
ting Shakspeare aside, the writer of English who has furnished 
us with so many or so delicate aphorisms of human nature. 

1848.] The Works of Walter Savage Landar. 65 

Browning, certainly a competent anthority, in dedicating a 
drama to hun, calls him a great dramatic poet, and if we 
deduct from the dramatic faculty that part of it which haa 
reference to a material stage, we can readily concede him the 
title. His mind has not the succinctness necessary to a writer 
for the theatre. It has too decided a tendency to elaboration, 
and is more competent to present to the mmd a particular 
quality of character in every light of which it is susceptible, 
thim to construct a unitary character out of a combination of 
qusdities. Perhaps we should be more strictly accurate if we 
diould say that his power lies in showing how certain situations, 
passions, or qualities would affect the thought and speech 
rather than the action of a character. Of all his dramas ex- 
cept one, he has himself said that they are more imagmarr 
conversations than dramas. Of his "Imaginary Conversations * 
we may generally say that they would be better defined as 
dialogues between the imaginations of the persons introduced, 
than between the persons themselves. There is a sometiung 
in all men and women which deserve the much-abused title of 
xndimduaUj which we call their character^ something finer than 
tiie man or woman, and yet which U the man or woman never^ 
iheless. We feel it in whatever they sav or do, but it is bet- 
ter than their speech or deed, and can be conceived of apart 
from these. It is his own conceptions of the characters of 
different personages that Landor brings in as interlocutors. 
Between Shakspeare's historical and ideal personages we per- 
ceive no difference in point of reality. They are alike histor- 
ical to us. We allow him to substitute his Richard for the 
Richard of history, and we suspect that those are few who 
doubt whether Caliban ever existed. Whatever Hamlet and 
Gsesar say we feel to be theirs, though we know it to be 
Shakspeare's. Whatever Landor puts into the mouth of Per- 
icles and Michael Angelo and Tell, we know to be his, though 
we can conceive that it might have been theirs. Don Quix- 
ote would never have attacked any puppets of his. The hand 
which jerked the wires and the mouth which uttered the 
speeches would have been too clearly visible. 

We cannot so properly call Landor a great thinker, as a / 
man who has great thoughts. His mind has not much conti- / 
nuity, as, indeed, we might infer from what he himself some- 
where says — that his memory is a poor one. He is strong 
in details and concentrates himself upon points. Hence his 
criticisms on authors, though always valuable as far as they 

KG. V. 6 

66 The Works of Walter Savage Landor. [Dec, 

go, are commonly fragmentary. He makes profound remarks 
upon certain passages of a poem, but does not seem to aim 
at a comprehension of the entire poet. He perceives rather 
than conceives. He is fond of verbal criticism, and takes up 
an author often in the spirit of a proofreader. He has a 
microscopic eye, and sees with wonderful distinctness what is 
immediately before him. When he turns it on a poet it some- 
times gives us the same sort of feeling as when Gulliver re- 
S^rts his discoveries in regard to the complexions of the Brob- 
gnag maids of honor. Yet, of course, it gives him equal 
power for perceiving every minutest shade of beautv. 

In the historical personages whom his conversations intro- 
duce to us, or, to speak more strictly, who introduce his con- 
versations to us, we are sensible of two kinds of truth. They 
are true to the external circumstances and to the history of 
the times in which thev lived, and they are true to Landor. 
We always feel that it is he who is speaking, and that he has 
merely chosen a character whom he considered suitable to 
express a particular phase of his own mind. He never, for a 
moment, loses himself in his characters. He b never raised 
or depressed by them, but raises and depresses them at will. 
If he choose, he will make Pericles talk of Blackwood's Mag- 
azine, or Aspasia comment on the last number of the Quar- 
terly Review. Yet all the while every slightest propri- 
ety of the household economy and the external life of the 
Greeks will be observed with rigid accuracy. The anachro- 
nism does not seem to be that Pericles and Anaxagoras should 
discuss the state of England, but that Walter Savage Landor 
should be talking modern politics in ancient Greek, — so thor- 
oughly are the man's works impregnated with himself. But 
to understand this fully we must read all his writings. We 
only mention it as affecting the historical veracity of his char- 
acters, and not because it subtracts anything from the peculiar 
merits which belong to him as a writer. If a character be in 
rapport with his own, he throws into it the whole energy of 
his powerful magnetism. He translates every thing into Lan- 
dor, just as Chapman is said to have favored Ajax, in his ver- 
sion of the Iliaa. Afler we are once put upon our guard, wo 
find a particular enjoyment in this intense individuality. We 
understand that he is only borrowing the pulpits of other peo- 
ple to preach his own notions from, and we feel the refresh- 
ment which every one experiences in being brought within 
the more immediate sphere of an ori^nal temperament and a 

1848.] The Worki of Walter Savage Landor. 67 

robust organization. We discover, at last, that we have en- 
countered an author who from behind a variety of masks can 
be as personally communicative as Montaigne. 

The epithet robust seems to us particularly applicable to y 
Landor. And his is the robustness of a naturally vigorous con- 
stituiion, maintained in a healthy equipoise by regular exercise. 
The open air breathes through his writings, and in reading him 
we often have a feeling (to use a local phrase) of all out^ 
doors. In saying this we refer to the general freedom of 
spirit, to the natural independence confirmed by a life of im- 
mediate contact with outward nature, and only thrown back 
the more absolutely on its own resources by occasional and re- 
served commerce with mankind ; tolerated rather than sought 
by a haughty, and at the same dme exquisitely sensitive dispo- 
mtion. We should add, that his temperament is one more 
keenly alive to his own mterior emotions than those suggested 
to him from without. Consequently, while a certain purity 
and refinement suggest an intimacy with woods and fields, the 
truest and tenderest touches of his pencil are those of human 
and not of external nature. His mountain scenery is that of 
the soul ; his rural landscapes and his interiors are those of the 
heart. K there should seem to be a contradiction between the 
coarseness and the delicacy wo have attributed to him, the in- 
consistency is in himself. We may find the source of both in 
the solitary habit of his nund. The one is the natural inde- 
pendence of a somewhat rugged organization, whose rough 
edges have never been smoothed by attrition with the world, 
and which, unaccustomed to the pliability and mutual acconh 
modation necessary in a crowd, resents every obstacle as in- 
tentional, every brush of the elbow as a personal affront. ITie 
other has been fostered by that habitual tendency of the Iso- 
lated to brood over and analyze their own sentiments and emo- 
tions. Or shall we say that the rough exterior is assumed aa 
a shield for the tenderness, as certain insects house titemselves 
under a movable roof of lichen ? This is sometimes the case, 
but we suspect that in Landor both qualities are idiosyncratic. 
That frailest creation of the human imagination, the hamadry- 
ad, is the tenant and spirit of the gnarled oak, which grasps 
the storm in its arms. To borrow a comparison from thd 
Greeks, to whom Landor so constantly refers us, we must re- 
member that Polyphemus, while he was sharpening the spit 
for Ulysses, was pining for Galatea, and that his unrequited 
tenderness sought solace in crushing his rival with half a 

68 The Wark$ of Walter Savage Landor. [Deo. 

There are two kinds of egoism : one which is constantly 
measuring itself by others, and one which as constantly meas- 
ures others by itself. This last we call originality. It so- 
dudes a man from external influences, and, leaving hun nothing 
to lean upon but his own judgments and impressions, teaches 
him their value and enables him to inspire other men with the 
same estimate of them. In this sense Landor is original. 
Tins ^ves all that he writes a decided charm, and makes the 
better part of it exceedmgly precious. He is constructed 
altogether on a large scale. His littlenesses are great, his 
weaknesses decided ; and as long as the larger part of men are 
80 careful to give us any thing rather than themselves, let us 
learn to be duly thankful for even a littleness that is sincere, 
nxA a weakness that is genuine. So entirely has he been 
himself, that, while we cannot help being conscious of his de- 
fidencies, we also feel compelled to grant a certun kind of 
completeness in him. Whatever else he might have been, we 
sre sure that he could not have been more of a Landor. In 
ijate of the seeming contradictions of his character, it would 
not be easy to find a life and mind more thorou^y consistent 
than his. A strenuous persistency marks every thmg about 
him. A few friendships and a g^ many animosities have 
lasted him all his days. He may add to l>oth, but ho never 
lessens the number of either. In speaking of a man consti- 
tuted as he is, it would perhaps be better to say oppugnancies 
tiian animosities. For an animosity properly implies contem- 
poraneousness, and a personal feeling towam its object ; but 
ao entirely does Landor refer every wing to his absolute self, 
that he will pursue as vindictively a dead error, or a dead man, 
as a living one. It is as they affect him that they are good or 
bad. It IS not the year 48 or 1848 that is past or present, 
but simply Walter Savage Landor. With hun it is amicuM 
Plato J arnica vmtaiy magis amicus Landor. His sense of 
his own worth is too large and too dignified to admit of per- 
sonal piques and jealousies. He resents an assault upon him* 
self as a wrong done to sound literature, and accepts commen- 
dation merely as a tribute to truth. 

We know of no writer whose pages, if opened at random, 
are more sure to repay us than tlwsc of Landor. Nowhere 
ahall we find admirable thoughts more admirably expressed, 
nowhere sublimer metaphors or more delicate ones, nowhere 
a mind msunUuned at a high level more equably, or for longer 
intervals. There is no author who surpasses, and few who 

1848.] The WarTu of Walter Saoage Landor. 69 

e^[iial him m purity and eleyation of stjle, or in sustained 
dignity and weight of thought. We should heatate to name 
any writings hut Shakspeare's which would afford so large ant 
80 various a selection ot detached passages complete and pre> 
eious in themselves. The rarest and tenderest emotions of 
love and friendship have never found a more adequate histo- 
rian. His pathos is most delicately subdued. He approaches 
sorrow with so quiet a footfall and so hushing a gesture, that 
we are fain to suspend our breath and the falling of our tears, 
lest they should break that tender silence. It is not to look 
upon a picture of grief, but into the solemn presence of grief 
herself, that he leads us. 

Landor has as littie humor as Massinger, who in some re- V>/ 
spects resembles him, though at an mfinite distance below. AD 
that he has is of a somewhat gigantic and clumsy sort. He 
snatches up some littie personage who has offended him, sets 
him on a high shelf, and makes nim chatter and stamp for his 
diversion. He has so long conversed in imagination with the 
most illustrious spirits of all ages, that there is a plentifiil 
measure of contempt in his treatment of those he esteems un- 
worthy. His lip begins to curl at sight of a king, partiy be- 
cause he seems to consider men of that employment fools, and 
partiy because he thinks them no gentiemen. For Bourbons 
he has a particular and vehement contempt, because to the 
folly of kingship they add the vileness of being Frenchmen. 
He is a theoretic republican of the stndn of S^ton, Sydney, 
and Harrington, and would have all the citizens of his repuV 
fic fiEu>descended gentlemen and scholars. 

It is not wonderful that Landor has never been a popular \ 
writer. His is a mind to be quietiy appreciated rather tiiaa \ i 
to excite an enthumastic partisanship. That part of his works 
which applies immediately to the present is the least valuable* 
The better and larger portion is so purely imaginative, so truly 
ideal, that it will t^ as fresh and true a hundiid or a thousand 
years hence as now. His writings have seldom drawn any 
notice from the Reviews, which is singular only when we con- 
nder that he has chosen to converse almost exclusively with 
the past, and is, therefore, in some sense, a contemporary of 
those post^ecular periodicals. The appearance of a collected 
edition of his works seems more like the publication of a new 
edition of Plato than of an author who has lived through the 
most stirring period of modem history. Not that he does not 
speak and speak strongly of living men and recent events,- 

70 The Works of Walter Savage Lcmdor. [Dec. 

but at sach times the man is often wlioUj, or at least partially, 
obscured in the Englishman. 

We should be quite at a loss to give adequate specimens of 
a man so various. As we stated in the outset, we shall con- 
fine ourselves, in making our extracts, to the '^ Hellenics," on 
a brief consideration of which we now enter. They will con- 
vince any careful reader that something more (we do not say 
higher or finer) goes to the making up of a poet than is in- 
chided in the composition of the most eloquent and forcible of 

Opulent as the prose of Landor is, we cannot but be con- 
' scions of something like poverty in his verse. He is too mi- 
nutely circumstantial for a poet, and that tendency of hb mind 
to details, which we before alluded to, stands in his way. The 
same careful exactness in particulars which gives finish to his 
prose and represses any tendency to redundance, seems to 
oppress his verse and to deprive it of flow. He is a poet in 
bis prose, but in his poetry he is almost a proser. His con- 
ceptions are in Hke fullest sense poetical, but he stops just on 
ibe hither side of adequate expression. He comes short by 
flb mere a h{dr*sbreadth that there is something pidnful in it. 
There is beauty of a certain kind, but the witching grace is 

And pfunfaUj the soul receives 
Sense of that s^one which it had nerer mist, 
Of somewhat lost, hut whm it never wist 

In verse Landor seems like a person expressing himself m 
a foreign language. He may attain to perfect accuracy and 
elegance, but the native ease is out of his reach. We said 
before that his power lay less in developing a continuous train 
of thought, than in presenting single thoughts in their entire 
fulness of proportion. But in poetry, it is necessary that each 
^m should be informed with a homogeneous spirit, which 
now represses the thought, now forces it to overflow, and 
everywhere modulates the metre and the cadence by an in- 
stinct of which we can understand the operations, though we 
may be unable to define the mode of them. Beside this, we 
should say that Landor possessed a choice of language, and is 
not possessed by that irresistible and happy necessity of the 
true poet toward the particular word whose place no other can 
be made to fit. His nicety in specialties imprisons him for 
the time in each particular verse or passage, and the poem 

1848.] The Work$ of Watter Savage Landor. 71 

seems not to have grown, but to have been built np slowly, 
with square, single bricks, each carefully moulded, pressed, 
and baked beforehand. Sometimes, where a single thought 
or feeling is to be expressed, he appears exactly the man for 
the occasion. 

We must not be sui^posed to deny the presence, in Lander's 
" Hellenics," of those fine qualities which we admire in his prose. 
We mean that the beauties are not specially those of poetry, 
and that they gain nothing from the verse. The almost invis- 
ible nerves of the most reared emotions are traced with rapid 
and familiar accuracy, rare shades of sentiment and character 
are touched with a delicacy peculiar to Landor, noble thou^ts 
are presented to us, and metaphors fresh from nature. %ut 
we fold no quality here which is not in his prose. The " Hel- 
lenics" seem like admirable translations of original poems. It 
would be juster, perhaps, to say that they impress us as Greek 
poetry does. We appreciate the poet more than the poetry, 
in wmch the Northern mind feels an indefinable lack. 

The "Hellenics" have positive merits, but they are not ex- 
clumvely those of poetry. They belong to every thing which 
Landor has written. We should mention, as especially promi- 
nent, entire clearness, and so thorough an absorption of the 
author in his subject that he does not cast about hun for some- 
thing to say, but is only careful of what he shall reject. He 
does not tell us too much, and wound our self-esteem by al- 
ways taking it for granted that we do not know any thing, and 
cannot imagme any thing. 

We should be inclined to select, as favorable specimens of 
bis poetry, " Thraaymedea and Eunoe^^ " The Hamadry- 
ady^ " Uncdloa and Cymodameiay^ and the last poem of the 
"Hellenics," to which no title is prefixed. Of these the last is 
most characteristic of Landor and of his scholarly and gentle- 
manlike love of freedom ; but the one most likely to be gener- 
ally pleasmg is the " Haraadryad^'* in copying which we agfdn 
repeat that we consider Landor as eminently a poet — though 
not in verse. The more precious attributes of the character 
he possesses in as high a aegree as any modem Englishman. 

Khaicos was born amid the hills wherefrom 
Gnidos the light of Caria is discerned, 
And small arc the white-crested that play near, 
And smaller onward are the purple waves. 
Thence festal choirs were risible, all crown'd 
With rose and myrtle if they were inborn ; 
If fipom Pandion sprang they, on the coast 

TS The Works of Walter Savage Lmdar. [Dec. 

Where stem Athen^ raised ber citadel. 
Then olive was intwined with violets 
Clustered in bosses, regular and large. 
For Tarioos men wore various coronals ; 
But one was their devotion : *twas to her 
Whose laws all follow, her whose smile withdraws 
The sword from Ar^ thunderbolt from Zeus, 
And whom in his chill caves the mntable 
Of mind, Poseidon, the sea-king, reveres. 
And whom his brother, stubborn Dis, hath prayed 
To turn in pity the averted cheek 
Of her he bore away, with promises, 
Nay, with loud oath before dread Styx itself, 
To give her daily more and sweeter flowera 
Than he made drop from her on Enna*s delL 
Rhucos was looking from his father's door 
At the long trains that hastened to the town 
From all the volleys, like bright rivulets 
Gurgling with eladness, wave outrunning wave, 
And thought it bard he might not also go 
And offer up one prayer, and press one nand. 
He knew not whose The father call'd him in. 
And said, " Son Rhaicos ! those are idle games ; 
Long enough I have lived to find them sa" 
And ere he ended, sigh'd ; as old men do 
Always, to think how idle such games are. 
**I have not yet,** thought Rhaicos in his heart, 
And wanted proof. 

** Suppose thou go and help 
Echion at the hill, to oark yon (wk 
And lop its branches off, tiefore we delve 
About ue trunk and ply the root with axe : 
This we may do in wmtcr." 

Rhaicos went; 
For thence he could see farther, and see mora 
Of those who hurried to the city-gate. 
Echion he found there, with naked arm 
Swart-hair*d, strong sinew*d, and his eyes intent 
Upon the place where first the axe should fail : 
He held it upright ** There ara bees about, 
Or wasps, or hornets,** said the cautious eld, 
** Look sharp, O son of Thallinos ! *' The youth 
Inclined his ear, afar, and warily. 
And cavem*d in his hand. He heard a buss 
At first, and then the sound grew soft and clear, 
And then divided into what seem*d tune, 
And there were words upon it, plaintive words. 
He tum*d and said, ** Echion ! do not strike 
That tree : it must be hollow ; for some God 
Speaks from within. Come thyself near.** Again 
Both turned toward it : and behold ! there sat 
Upon the moss below, with her two palms 
Pressing it, on each side, a maid in form. 
Downcast were her long eyelashes, and pale 
Her cheek, but never mountain-ash display*d 
Berries of color like her lip so pure. 
Nor were the anemones about her hair 
Soft, smooth, and wavering like the face beneath. 
"What dost thou here?** Echion half-afhud, 

1848.] The Wark$ of Walter Savage Landar. 7» 

Half-an^, cried. Sho lifted up her ejes, 
Bat nothing: spake she. Rhaicos drew one step 
Backward, for fear came likewise over him. 
Bat not sach fear: he panted, gaspt, drew in 
His breath, and woald have tamed it into words, 
Bat coald not into one. 

'^O send away 
That sad old man 1 ^ said she. The old man went 
Without a warning from his master's son, 
Glad to escape, for sorely he now fear'd, 
And the axe shone behind him in their eyes. 

Hamadryad. And wouldst thoa too shed the most innocent 
Of blood 1 no tow demands it ; no God wills 
The oak to bleed. 

Rhako9, Who art thoa t whence ? why here ! 

And whither woaldst thoa go ? Among the robed 
In white or saffron, or the hue that most 
Reseml)les dawn or the clear skv, is none 
ArrayM as thoa art. What so beaotiful 
As that gray robe which clings about thee close, 
Like moss to stones adhering, leaves *o trees, 
Tet lets thv bosom rise and fall in tarn, 
As, toacht by zephyrs, fall and rise the boagfas 
Of sracefal platan by the riverside. 

Hamadryad. Lovest thoa well thy father's honse ? 

Bhaico$. Indeed 

I love it, well I love it, yet woald leave 
For thine, where'er it be, my futher's house. 
With all the marks upon the door, that show 
My growth at every birthday since the third, 
And all the charms, overpowering evil eyes, 
My mother naiPd for me against my bed. 
And the Cydonian bow (which thoa shalt see) 
Won in my race last spring from Eatychos. 

Hamadryad. Bethink what it is to leave a home 
Thoa never yet has left, one night, one day. 

JOudcoB, No, 'tis not hard to leave it ; ^tis not hard 
To leave, O maiden, that paternal home, 
If there be one on earth whom we may love 
First, last, for ever ; one who says that she 
Will love for ever too. To say which word, 
Only to say it, sarely is enongh . . 
It shows sach kindness . . if 'twere possible 
We at the moment think she wonid indeed. 

Hamadryad. Who taught thee all this folly at thy age ? 

BhaieoM. I have seen lovers and have learnt to love. 

Hamadryad, But wUt thou spare the tree ? 

IUutiro9. My father wants 

The bark ; the tree may hold its place awhile. 

Ihmadryad. Awhile 1 thy father numbers then my days f 

Bhttko9. Are there no others where the moss beneath 
Is quite as tufty ! Who would send thee forth 
Or ask thee why thou tarriest 1 Is thy flock 
Anywhere near? 

tJamadryad, I have no flock : I kill 

Nothing that breathes, that stirs, that feels the air, 
The sun, the dew. Why should the beautiful 
(And thou art beautifUl) disturb the source 
Whence springs all beauty 1 Hast thoa never heard 
Of Hamadryads! 

74 The Works of WaUer Savage Landor. [Doc. 

Bhairoi, Heard of them I have : 

Tell me some tale ahout them. May I sit 
Beside thy feet ? Art thoa not tired ? The herbs 
Are very soft; I will not come too nis^h ; 
Do bat sit there, nor tremble so, nor doubt 
Stay, stay an instant: let me first explore 
If any acorn of last year be left 
Withm it; thy thin robe too ill protects 
Thy dainty limbs against the harm one small 
Acorn may do. Here^s none. Another day 
Trust me :* till then let me sit opposite. 

Hamadryad. I seat me; be thou seated, and content 

Bhaico9. O sight for sods I Te men below ! adore 
The Aphrodite b she diere below ? 
Or sits she here before me? as she sate 
Before the shepherd on those highths that shade 
The Hellespont, and brought his kindred woe. 

Hamadryad, Reverence the higher Powers ; nor deem amiai 
Of her who pleads to thee, and would repay . . 
Ask not how much . . but very much. Kise not: 
Ko, Rhaicos, no ! Without the nuptial vow 
Love is unholy. Swear to me that none 
Of mortal maids shall ever taste thy kiss. 
Then take thou mine ; then take it, not before. 

Rhawo». Hearken, all gods above I O Aphrodite ! 

Her^ ! let my vow be ratified ! 

But wilt thou come into my father's house ? 

Hamadryad, Nay : and of mine I can not give thee part 

Rkakot, Where is it ? 

Hamadryad, In this oak. 

BhaicoM. Ay; now begins 

The tale of Hamadryad : tell it through. 

Hamadryad. Pray of thy father never to cut down 
My tree ; and promise him, as thou mayst, 
That every year he shall receive from me 
More honey than will buy him nine fat sheep, 
More wax than he will bum to all the gods. 
Why fallest thou upon thy face ? Some thorn 
Mav scratch it, rash young man 1 Rise up ; for shame ! 

Bhaico$. Fot shame I can not rise. O pity me ! 

1 dare not sue for love . . but do not hate ! 

Let me once more behold thee . . not once more, 
But many days : let me love on . . unloved ! 
I aimed too high : on my own head Uie bolt 
Falls back, and pierces to the very brain. 

Hamadryad. Qo . . rather go, than make me say I love. 

BkaieoM. If happiness is immortality, 
(And whence enjoy it else the gods above ?) 
I am immortal too : my vow is heard : 
Hark ! on the left . . Nay, turn not from me now, 
I claim my kiss. 

Hamadryad, Do men take first, then claim ! 
Do thus the seasons run their course wiUi them 1 

. . Her lips were seaPd ; her head sank on his breast 

'Tis said that laughs were heard within the wood : 

But who should hear them t . . and whose laughs t and why ? 

Savoury was the smell and lon^ past noon, 
Thallinos 1 in thy house ; for marjoram. 

1848. J The WwtTcb of WdUer Savage Lmdar. 76. 

BmiI and mint, and thyme and rosemary, , 
Were iprinkled on the kid*8 well roasted length, 
Awaiting Rhaicos. Home he came at last, 
Not hangry, hut pretending hunger keen, 
With head and eves just o^er the maple plate. 
** Thou seest bat 'badly, coming from the son. 
Boy Rhaicos ! *' said the father. " That oak*i baik 
Mast have been tough, with little sap between ; 
It ought to run ; but it and I are ola." 
Khaicos, although each morsel of the bread 
Increased by chewing, and the meat grew cold 
And tasteless to his palate, took a draught 
Of gold-bright wine, which, thirsty as he was, 
He thought not of until his father fiU'd 
The cup, arcrring water was amiss, 
But wine had been at all times poured on kid, . . 
It was religion. 

He thus fortified, 
Said, not quite boldly, and not quite ahasht, 
** Father, that oak is Jove's own tree: that oak 
Year after year will bring thee wealth from wax 
And honey. There is one who fears the gods 
And the gods love . . that one" 

(He blusht, nor said 
What one) 

** Has promist this, and may do more. 
Thou hast not many moons to wait until 
The bees have done their best: if then there come 
Nor wax nor honey, let the tree be hewn." 

** Zeus hath bestow'd on thee a prudent mind," 
Said the glad sire : but look thou often there, 
And gather all the honey thou canst find 
In every crevice, over and above 
What has been promist : would they reckon thati " 

Rhaicos went daily ; but the nymph as oft 
Invisible. To plav at love, she knew. 
Stopping its breathings when it breathes most soft, 
Is sweeter than to play on any pipe. 
She plav*d on his: she fed upon his sighs : 
Thev pleased her when they gently waved her hair, 
Cooling the pulses of her purple veins, 
And when her absence brought them out diey pleased. 
Even among the fondest of them all, 
What mortal or immortal maid is more 
Content with giving happiness than pain ? 
One day he was returning from the wood 
Despondently. She piti^ him, and siud 
** Come back ! ** and twined her fingers in the hem 
Above his shoulder. Then she led his steps 
To a cool rill that ran o'er level sand 
Through lentisk and throu^ oleander, there 
Bathed she his feet, lifting Uiem on her lap 
When bathed, and drying them in both her hands. 
He dared complain ; for those who most are loved 
Most dare it; but not harsh was his complaint 
''O thou inconstant r said she, **if stem law 
Bind thee, or will, stronger than sternest law, 
O, let me know henceforward when to hope 
The fruit of love that grows for me bat here." 

le The Works of Walter Savage Landor. [Deo. 

He spak^; and plackt it from its pliant stem. 

** Impatient Rhaicos I why thus intercept 

The answer I woald give? There is a bee 

Whom I have fed, a bee who knows my thoughts 

And executes my wishes ; I will send 

That messenger. If ever thou art fiUse, 

Drawn by another, own it not, but drive 

My bee away : then shall I know my fate, 

And, . . for thou must be wretched, . . weep at thine. 

But often as my heart persuades to lay 

Its cares on thine and throb itself to rest, 

Expect her with thee, whether it be mom 

Or eve, at any time when woods are safe.** 

Day after day the Hours beheld them blest, 
Season after season : years had past, 
Blest were they still. He who asserts that Love 
Ever is sated of sweet things, the same 
Sweet thing he fretted for in earlier dajrs, 
Never, b^ Zeus ! loved he a Hamadryad. 

The nights had now grown longer, and perhaps 
The Hamadryads find them lone and dull 
Among their woods : one did, alas I She called 
Her faithful bee : 'twas when all bees should sleep, 
And all did sleep but hers. She was sent forth 
To bring that light which never wintry blast 
Blows out, nor rain nor snow extinguishes, 
The light that shines from loving eyes upon 
Eyes that love bock, till they can see no more. 

Rhaicos was sitting at his father's hearth: 
Between them stood the table, not o'erspread 
With fruits which autumn now profusely bore, 
Nor anise cakes, nor odorous wine ; but there 
The draft-board was expanded ; at which game 
Triumphant sat old Thallinos ; the son 
Was puzzled, voxt, discomfited, distraught 
A buzz was at his ear : up went his hand. 
And it was heard no longer. The poor bee 
Retnm'd (but not until Uie mom shone bright) 
And found the Hamadryad with her head 
Upon her adiing wrist, and showed one wing 
Half-broken off, the other's meshes marr'd. 
And there were braises which no eye could see 
Saving a Hamadryad's. 

At this sight 
Down fell the languid brow, both hands fell down, 
A shriek was carried to the ancient hall 
Of Thallinos : he heard it not ; his son 
Heard it, and ran forthwith into the wood. 
No bark was on the tree, no leaf was green. 
The trank was riven through. From that day forth 
Nor word nor whisper soothed his car, nor sound 
Even of insect wing : but loud laments 
The woodmen and the shepherds one long year 
Heard day and night ; for Khaicos would not quit 
The solitary place, but moan'd and died. 

1848.] A New Theory of the Effect of Hit Tides. TT 

Hence milk and boner wonder not, guest, 
To find set duly on the hollow stone. 

In ibis brief and bastj article we have not attempted any / 
tlung like an adequate criticism of one of the most peculiar / 
and delightful writers in the English language. We have 
onlj stated some of Uie sharper impressions of him which ro- 
mam in our memory, after an acquaintance of many years. (/^ 
We feel that what we have said is exceedmgly imperfect* 
But we shall be satisfied if we lead any one to desire that 
better knowledge of him which his works alone can furnish. 
To give an idea of the character of the man, a very few quo- 
tations would suffice, but to show the value of his writings we 
should be obliged to copy nearly all of them. We are some- 
times inclined to think of Wordsworth, that, if he has not re- 
duced poetry to the level of conmionplace, he has at least 
glorified commonplace by elevating it into the diviner aether 
of poetry ; and we may say of Landor that he has clothed / 
common-sense with the singing-robes of imagination. In'tlus / 
respect he resembles Groethe, and we feel that he eminentiy 
deserves one of the titles of the great German — the Wise, 
for, as common-sense dwelling in the ordinary plane of life 
becomes experience and prudence, so, looking down from the 
summits of ima^nation, she is heightened into inspratiim 
and wisdom. 

abt. v.— a new theory of the effect op 


Among the discoveries in science recentlv made on this 
side of the ocean, is one which has excited, much interest 
among geologists and navigators; and which seems to us 
equally to merit the attention of scientific men in Europe. Wo 
mean the tide-theory of Captain Davis, recently laid before 
the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists in 
Philadelphia. Having had occasion to become familiar with 
the elements of this theory during a stay of several months 
this summer, on board the vessel commanded by Captiun 
Davis, as the officer superintending one of the divisions of the 
United States Coast-Survey, we thought it might be profitable 
to publish a sketch of the principal results at which our 

78 A New Theory of the Effect of the Tides. [Dec. 

learned friend has arrived, after long and patient investigar 

The eastern coast of the United States is bordered through- 
out its whole extent by a line of sand-banks and islands of 
very various forms and outlines, but very uniform in their 
mineralogical character, being composed, for the most part, of 
a fine white and very quartzose sand. On the coasts of the 
Southern States, (the Carolinas and Virginia), they form a 
chain of low islands, separated from the coast by a series of 
lagoons, which give a peculiar character to the navigation of 
those districts. 

Higher up, on the southern coasts of New England, they 
occur as submarine ridges, parallel to the coast, and separated 
from each other by wide channels. Farther North, these de- 
posits are more extensive, and form vast submarine plateaus, 
such as the St. George's and Newfoundland Banks. Finally, 
deposits analogous to these are formed at the bottom of bays, 
but in a state of more complete trituration. These are known 
under the name of flats. 

Mr. Davis, after having devoted several years to the study 
of these various species of banks, has arrived at this result : 
that their formSy extent^ and distribution are principally deter- 
Tinned by tides ; — the wind and the waves playing but a sub- 
ordinate part in their formation. 

One of the first points on which Mr. Davis insists. Is the 
relation that exists between the strength of tides and the dis- 
tribution of sand-banks. On both sides of the Atlantic we in- 
variably find sand-banks most numerous where the tides are 
slight, or where their force is exhausted after having been 
considerable. Mr. Davis accounts for this in the following 
manner : — According to the researches of Mr. Whewell, the 
tidal wave, on entering the Atlantic Ocean, passes onward in 
the form of an arc ; the convexity of which is turned toward 
the north. In its progress northward, this wave strikes against 
the coasts of the two continents of Africa and America. From 
this shock proceed the various local currents which are desig- 
nated under the name of tidal currents, the direction and 
rapidity of which are determined by the shape of the coasts. 
Their rapidity is, in general, in proportion to the directness of 
the obstacles opposing them, ana the narrowness of the chan- 

* Mr. Daris is now en^^ed in preparing a detailed paper on this rabject, 
which will appear in the transactions of the American Academy. 

1848.] A New Theory of the Effect of the Tidee. 79 

nels through which they run. These tidal currents, in run* 
ning with great rapidity along a coast, raise up and carry 
with them the movable deposits and the detritus of all sorts 
which the waves and atmospheric forces have detached from 
the beaches. These cun-ents, however, soon lose their force, 
unless new obstacles come in their way ; and in proportion as 
they abate, the substances held suspended begin to be depos- 
ited. Any inequality of the bottom is then sufficient to form 
the nucleus or point of departure of a sand-bank, the direction 
of which will be parallel to that of the current. Such, for in- 
stance, is the origin of the narrow banks bordering the island 
of Nantucket, and known under the names of Bass Rip, Great 
Rip, South Shoal, &c. 

But the most favorable conditions for the formation of sand* 
deposits exist where the tidal current, after passing a promon- 
tory, is deflected laterally into a wide bay, where it can ex- 
pand freely. Not only the heavy materials, but also the 
more minute particles are then deposited at the bottom of tiie 
bay; no longer under the form of narrow ridges, but as broad 
continuous strata or flatSy generally composed of very fine 
sand, or of calcareous mud, where the deposit takes place in 
the neighbourhood of coral reefs. This is the reason why the 
most extensive and regular deposits are found at the bottom 
of wide bays. Cape Cod Bay, on the coast of Massachu- 
setts, is cited by Mr. Davis as an example of this mode of 

On the contrary, when the bay is narrow, as the fiords of 
Norway, or when it lies in the direction of the current, so as 
to allow the tide to rush in without obstacle and rise to a great 
height, as for instance the Bay of Fundy, the ebb and flood 
are too violent, and occasion too rapid currents to allow the 
water to deposit any of the materials which it holds suspend- 
ed. Hence it is that such bays are generally without sand- 
banks, unless it be in their lateral coves. 

A remarkable phenomenon takes place when the tidal cur^ 
rent flows with a moderate rapidity along a coast, so as to 
deposit a bank of sand against the cliiTd. In this case, it is 
not unusual to see the bank stretchhig out into the sea, but 
instead of following the direction of the coast, it inclines, from 
the pressure from without, towards the interior of the bay, so 
as to describe a bend, which the seamen of this country call a 
Hook. Sandy Hook, in the bay of New York, is of this char- 
acter. Such, also, are the Hook of Cape Cod and the Hook 

80 A New Theory of the Effect of the Tidee. [Deo. 

of Holland. The direction of the Hook is invariably that of 
the current. 

The coasts of Europ offer numerous examples of these 
rarious forms of alluvial deposits. Lines of narrow banks, 
like those on the coasts of New Jersey and the Carolinas, have 
been described by M. Elie de Beaumont, on the shores of 
France, as, for instance, near Dieppe, and in the department 
of Finisterre. On the other hand, the Bay of Biscay offers 
in its sands, (which are carried by the winds into the mterior 
and formed into dunes,) a striking example of the bay-depos- 
its. But it is the Netherlands that ment the greatest atten- 
tion. Sand-banks are rare on the northwest coasts of France, 
but no sooner do we quit the Channel than we find them 
scattered throughout the North Sea. Holland itself is in a 
great measure formed of alluvial sand. Now these depofflts 
are formed precisely on the spot most favorable to the form- 
ation of alluvial deposits : namely, where the tidal current, 
having passed through the Channel, enters the vast basin of 
the North Sea. The deposition of sand-banks in the North 
Sea is favored, moreover, by the meeting of two tides on the 
coast of Jutland, (one coming from the Channel and the other 
passing round the island of Great Britain,) forming what the 
hydrographers call a tide node^ which implies, generally, a 
continual eddy, which is more favorable than any thing to flie 
formation of sand-banks. 

Considered in their general connection, the alluvial deposits 
of a continent should be looked upon as the product of a series 
of currents and eddies alternating with eacn other, the final 
result of which is to transport, in the direction of the flood, the 
movable materials which the waves and atmospheric agents 
have detached from the coast-beaches. This is particularly 
striking on the coast of the United States. The alluvial 
deposits form, at first, only a narrow line on the coast of Flor- 
ida ; this line enlarges insensibly on the coasts of the Caro- 
linas, Virginia, and New Jersev; it becomes wider on the 
coast of Alassachusetts, and finally attains the maximum of its 
development in the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. 

This process is of the highest importance in the economy 
of nature, if we consider that the banks thus formed by the 
tidal currents are the principal seats of animal life in the 
ocean. It is upon the banks which border tiie coast of the 
United States that the most extensive fisheries are carried on, 
(particularly the St. George's and Newfoundland Banks,) 

1848.] A New Theory qf the Effect qf the Tide$. 81 

beeaase these are the abodes of those myriads of invertebral 
animals (worms, moUosks, and zoophytes,) which serve for 
the food of fishes, whilst the great aepths of the ocean, at a 
short distance from the banks, are almost deserts. 

l?he tides are not less important from the manner in which 
tiiej influence river-deposits. Hitherto the formation of del- 
tas, such as those of the I£ssissippi, the Nile, the Orinoco, 
fuid other rivers, has been attributed too exclosivelv to the 
great quantities of mud which these rivers transport. It seems 
to be forgotten that other rivers, such as the Amazon, the Rio 
de la Plata, the Delaware, and others, are not less muddy, and 
yet, instead of forming deltas at their mouths, they empty mto 
wide bays. 

Mr. Davb, on the contrary, shows that deltas are in an in- 
verse ratio to the tides, so that they exist only where the tides 
are feeble or null; whilst we find estuaries wherever the tides 
are considerable. Take, for example, the rivers of the eastern 
coast of the United States, and most of the rivers of Europe 
which emp^ into the Atlantic Ocean. And this is perfectly 
natural. The tide, on entering a river, accumulates during 
the flood, and keeps back the water of the stream, so that 
when the ebb begins, the water, in escaping, forms a current 
strong enough to carrv off to sea the princi^ part of the ma- 
terials held suspended in the river-water. Mr. Davis remarks 
on this point, t^at where bars exist in such estuaries they are 
generally composed of sea-sand brought by the tide, and not 
of fluviatile deposits. 

In connection with Mr. Davis, we have endeavoured to apply 
the above results to the stud^ of the deposits of former geo- 
lo^cal epochs ; and we think it is easy to show on a geological 
clmrt of the United States, that the same laws which now reg- 
ulate the deposition of sand-banks have been in operation dur- 
ing the diluvial, tertiary, and cretaceous epochs ; the deposits 
of these epochs forming so manv parallel zones successively 
following tne great backbone of the Alleghanies. 

The diluvid deposits, in Europe as well as in America, 
merit a special attention in this respect. No doubt, during 
the diluvial epochs, the plains of northern Germany as well as 
a great part of Scandinavia, and, on tins continent, the coast 
of the Xfnited States from Florida to Canada, formed a series 
of banks and shoals, like the Banks of Newfoundland in our 
day, whilst the plains of the West, between the Alleghanies 
and the Rocky Mountains, formed a vast bay, comparable 

HO. V. 6 

62 Poital Eeform. [Dec« 

to the Golf of Mexico, in which the sea deposited the fine sand 
and clay of the prairies, as it now deposits in the Gulf <^ 
Mexico the sand and mud that border the coast of Texas. 

The results of the above researches may be summed up 
thus: — 

1st. The form and distribution of banks, and of alluyial 
formations in general, are, in a great measure, dependent on 
tides. They ou^t to be found ever^here where the tidal 
current is sufficientiy abated to permit the materials held in 
suspension to be deposited. The finer and lighter materials 
must tiierefore be deposited in the cahner places. 

2nd. The formation of submarine banks is indispensable to 
the maintenance of animal life, since they constitute the most 
favorable localities for marine animals. 

3d. The formation of deltas, at the mouths of rivers, is in 
an inverse ratio to the force of the tide. 

4th. The sedimentary deposits of the most recent geolo^- 
cal epochs, being, in all respects, like the alluvial deposits of 
our aay, we must hint that they were formed under uie oper- 
ation of the same laws. 

5th. The fcMrm and extent of contments, so far as they are 
composed of sedimentary deposits, are thus dependent on 
astronomical laws, that is, on the attraction which the moon 
and the sun exert, and in all time have exerted on the hquid 
part of our planet. 

Art. VI. — Chea'p Postage. By Joshita LEAvrrr, Corre- 
sponding Secretary of the Cheap Postage Association, 
Boston. 1848. 

There is nothing which so surely makes a man write Mm- 
self down an ass, as his vanity. It is just so with nations ; 
and the American people are often led, by indulgence in this 
weakness, to make themselves egregious asses in the eyes of 
intelligent foreigners. " You are the most free and enligh^ 
ened nation upon the earth," say the politicians ; and the 
people cry. Amen ! and straightway go and vote such smooth- 
tongued orators into place and power. 

According to the theory, our government, being composed 
of representatives of the people taken from among the citizens 

1848.] Poitdl Reform. 88 

themselveSy has no motive to do any thing, or to support any 
institution, which is hostile to the interests of the people ; bat, 
according to the fact, it does do many such things. Ainone 
these is the imposition of a most unjust, unnecessary, and 
oppresMve tax vpon knowledge and intercourse among menj 
which is levied oy means of an odious monopoly of the busi- 
ness of conveying letters. To this monopoly our " enlightened 
people " submit, and even think their " postK)ffice privilege " 
IS a great boon, while a neighbouring nation has for years been 
in the enjovment of a system compared to which ours is like 
a relic of me dark ages. 

Any one who can see an inch into futurity, has only to 
exanune our present system of postal arrangements, its imper- 
fections and abuses, and to compare it wi^ one that is per- 
fectiy feasible, in order to feel assured that in a few years men 
will look back upon it with that complacent contempt with 
which they now look back upon the moae in which they trav- 
elled before the days of steam-boats and rail-roads. 

To say nothing of a journey to Washmgton or New York, 
matters of such grave import as to require ^^ a note read in 
meeting,'' asking the prayers of the pious for safe deliverance 
from perils by sea and perils by land, one could not make a 
journey even of a hundred miles without painstaking prepa- 
ration and long-suffering endurance. 

If a wise man, you prepared to start on Monday, so as to 
have the whole week for " lee way." You went on Friday 
or Saturday to the ^^ stage-office," booked yourself, and paid 
the fare. On Sunday, about sunset, you might see some 
runner from the office speerine about the neighbourhood, to 
make sure of the place and number of your dwelling, in order 
the more easily to find it in the gray of the morning. You 
made a compact with the watchman to rap on your window 
an hour before the time of starting ; or, you haa some queer 
contrivance to awaken yourself, such as a bunch of keys, or 
old iron, suspended by a string passed across the lower part of 
a candle, wluch, in four or five hours, would bum down to the 
mark, set fire to the string, let fall the iron into a wash-basin, 
and so make racket enough to arouse you. You waked 
twenty times to see if the machinery was all in order, and at 
last got up before it gave the signal. You roused the miud, 
who bustled about to make ready your coffee, ham, and eggs, 
while you shaved vour chin and packed your chest. At last 
you heard the distant horn; then the sound of rumbling 

84 Postal lUform. [Bee. 

wheels, — of clattering hooft ; — the " stage " is at the door. 
You rash resolutely to the ** entnr," and put on and button 
up your overcoat with desperate naste ; you don your travel- 
ling cap, and throw a heavy cloak over your shoulders, while 
two men lift your heavy tnink, and strain and pull at great 
straps, to bind it on behind the coach ; which done, they cry 
**all ri^t;" and you kiss your mother, wife, or sister, who 
stands shivering on the doorway, holding a dressing-gown to- 
gether with one hand, while the other, rsused above her head, 
supports the candle whose flickering light guides you down the 
steps, and serves to tell the wondering neighbours, with night- 
capped heads popped out of the windows, who is going away. 
You take the " baik seat," if you are old or feeble ; 3ie mid- 
dle one by the window, if you are hearty ; or mount the box, 
beside the jolly driver, if you are young and vi^rous, and 
want to see the countrr. Crack goes the whip! and away 
you post, to pick up other passengers, and so pass an hour 
preparing for the final start. At last you are feiirly off; and 
the horses go jog-trotting along the plain, walking up the hills, 
galloping down the slopes, until you come to the *^ chanong 
place." You then get out, and warm your toes by the bar- 
room fire, while the panting horses are taking off, and fresh 
ones are put on ; you treat your driver to a " horn," (not 
of tin,) wnich drunk, he lights his cigar, and, crjring ^* all 
aboard," heaves his heavy carcass up into his box, picks 
up the Unes, and away you start again. Thus toiling on, 
through all the tedious hours of the forenoon, stopping to 
water the horses or to change them five or six times, you 
arrive at the ** half-way house," hungry as a hunter, and 
happy that a quarter of your journey is done. After a hearty 
dinner, you mount again and try to sleep away an hour or so, 
while the rumbling carriage goes slowly on, with the o(x$a8ional 
variety of a "break-down" or an "overset," until, long after 
dark, you arrive at the stopping-place for the night ; and, 
heated, tired, jaded out, you lie down, perchance in damp 
sheets, with the poor satisfaction that you have got over nearly 
fifty miles, and have only fifty more before you. 

fettt now, you make the same journey by going quietly 
to the " station," after breakfast, with no other impedimenta 
than your sack-coat and the last new novel ; you take your 
seat by the wmdow ; you finish the distance as you finish the 
first volume ; you do your buaness, return home before night, 
and, if your wife asks you where you " dined to-day," you 

1848.] Po$tal Brfarm. 85 

(nueUj answer, m Porttaad, or in Springfield, or anywhere 
dse a hundred miles oS^ as tiie case may he. 

Now, as the difference between the first joomey, slowly, 
painfully, and perilously performed, and the second, swiftly, 
easily, and siuely done, so is the difference between our 
present postal arrangements and those which may be had for 
the asking, if the people will only ask loudly and resobtely 

But in order to make a resolute and successful demand for 
any tlung, men must be satisfied, first, that it is a desirable 
and reasonable and feasible thing, and, second, that they have 
a right to demand it. It is desiiable and reasonable that there 
should be the freest possible circulation of light and knowt 
ed^, and that d^e government should fetch ai^l carry letters 
and newspapers for ^e people, tnthout any other tax thanjuU 
90 much 08 will prevent abuse qf the yrwUege. Under this 
principle we ^ould have a uniform postage of one cent on 
each letter or paper, whether carried one mile or one thousand 
miles ; we should have, moreover, in all thickly settled places, 
the letters we write and those we receive taken from and 
brought to our doors, without any other charge than the aingle 
cent posta^. 

The various associations and petitioners for cheap postage, 
and even the author of the able pamphlet at the head of this 
article, do not go as fieur as this ; the v ask merely for a uniform 
postage of two eente ; they do this, however, because they are 
tinld to take the buU by the horns ; they think that men would 
start too much at the thought of a cent postage ; and that Con- 
gress would refuse that, u asked for openly, but might grant 
a two-cent postage atfinty and yield the other afterwards. If 
this timid policy is followed, the whole work will have to be 
done over agsdn ; for there are men who will never rest until 
the people have their right in this matter, and that right is 
clearly tiiat postage should be fixed at the lowest sum that will 
prevent an abuse of the privilege, which is one centj and no 

Ccmgress, forsooth ! the congregated wisdom of the country, 
as it is called, but which is ratiier a congregation of cunning, 
cowardly, time-servmc availablee; a congregation in which not 
five men can be found whose morality is up to a level of that 
of the old heathen who said let the right oe done though the 
roof fall and crush us. Congress, indeed, will not allow us 
the lowest posnble rate of po^ige ! that is, a congregation of 

86 PoBtal Befarm. [Deo. 

the veiy men, who, mostly for selfish and personal purposes, bj 
a gross abuse of the franking privilege, do themselves keep up 
this tax on the circulation of letters among the people ! they — 
a collection of some fifteen score of succe^ul and well-paid of- 
fice seekers, who, bj a shameless abuse of a sacred trust, weigh 
down the miuls of the country with a heavier load, jes, many 
fold heavier than all the letters written by all the men, wo- 
men, and children in the land, in all the days of the year, will 
refuse to lower the postage ! 

We allude not to members who send home by mail their shirt- 
coUars, false fronts, and such matters, for their wives to wash 
and mend, or fine shoes for them to wear — it is only snobs 
who do such things ; but we allude to the franking of speech- 
es, newspapers, documents, and even books. Let those who 
are not familiar with the extent of this business read the follow- 
ing firom good authority; in 1844, Congress printed fifty-five 
thousand copies of the Report of the Commissioner of Patents, 
at a cost of $114,000. 

^This Report is a huge document, printed in large type, 
with a large margin, containing very little matter of the least im- 
portance, and that little so buried in the rubbish, as to be worth 
about as much as so many '' needles in a hay-mow." Then tins 
huge quantity of trash, created at this large expense, is to be 
/ranked for ail parts of the country, by way of currying /avor 
and getting votes next time, lumbering the mails, and creating 
another large expense. We have taken the trouble to weigh the 
copy of this document which was forwarded to us, and find its 
ponderosity to be 2 lbs., 14 oz., or, with the wrapper, about three 
pounds ! The aggregate weight of the 55,000 copies, is therefore 
BiGHTT-TWO AND A HALF TONS ! Eighty-two and a half tons 
of paper spoiled; and the nation taxed $114,000 for spoiling it; 
and then compelled to lug it to all parts of the Union through the 
monopoly post-office and the franking privilege I Poor patient 

^* Such taxes, to be defrayed by high postage on letters and 
newspapers, grow out of i)mfrarJcing privilege ; and the power 
which Congress reserve to themselves, of distributing free as 
many documents as they choose to print at the public expense I 
These documents, it seems, are the grand means resorted to by 
many members, of ^ currying favor* with the influential, and thus 
* getting votes next time /'" 

Let us put this in a simpler form. It is found that 10,000 
ordinary letters weigh 156 lbs., or about one fourth of an 
ounce to a letter. Now, each one of the documents above 

1848.] Po9tal B^brm. 8T 

named wei^ as much as 198 letters, or, for conyenience, say 
200 ; and the whole 55,000 weigh about as much as 11,000,- 
000 letters. Bat, the whole number of letters carried m 1848 
was only 24,000,000, so that the circnlation of this docnment 
alone cost nearly half as much as the circulation of all the 
letters of the country. 

Let us make all due allowance for exaggeration ; let us sup- 
pose that the whole number of that particular document was 
not mailed ; let us suppose any thing, still there are scores of 
such documents every session of Congress ; and then there are 
hundreds of thousands of copies of members' speeches firanked 
and sent off by the groaning mails to ubiquitous Buncombe^ so 
that any way we can view it, the members of Congress do ac- 
tuaUy midl and frank much more matter, and that mostiy for 
electioneering purposes, than the weidit of all the letters of 
all the twenty millions of people in me country ! And yet 
we must wait for them to remove the tax from our letters ! 
No ! no, there is but one way for this thing to be done, and 
that is for the people to go up and demand that it be done, 
even at the cost of the franking power, which is nothing more 
nor less than a relic of feudal ana ariustocratic privileges. We 
gol>ack, then, to what we sidd : it is for the people to satisfy 
themselves tiiat it is right and proper that no other tax should 
be put upon the free circulation of letters, than just enough 
to prevent abuse of the miul privilege. We need spend no 
time to show that a cent postage will prevent any such abuse, 
especially if letters are required to be prepiud. Some may 
object, mdeed, (as they did at first in England,) that all the 
boys and ^Is, and idl the men-servants and midd-servants 
would go to scribbling nonsense, and sending it off by mail ; 
we can only say, the more the better ; the^ will scribble non- 
sense until the practice teaches them to wnte good sense ; and 
it will be cheap schooling. 

As to the desirability of the thing, can any man, who has 
any human relations, who has parents, children, sister, brother, 
lover, or friend, — any one who has any business with other 
men, can he doubt a moment the benefits of free and rapd com- 
munication by mail ? Can any man, who loves his race, doubt 
a moment that an immense spring would be given to human 
progress by coming down at once to a cent postage ? I hear 
you, Dives, who know not the difference between a cent and a 
dime, reply, that if any one has any thinffwortii writing about, 
he can pay five or ten cents for it! But, go to! contract 

88 Po9M Bef&rm. [Dec. 


tbkt swelling pride, and get throng the needle's eye as well as 
iroti can ! Look at that youth or maiden earnmg out two dol- 
ars a week, whose parents are in &e fistr West, whose brother, 
sister, or lover is away in another direction, and who would 
fain hear from and write to the dear ones every day ; and, say, 
shall he or she pay ten cents, a third or a quarter of the daily 
eamings — >the sole income, for a single draught to slake the 
soul's thirst for sympathy and love — a single token of well- 
being — a simple ^^ God bless you my son, my daughter, or my 

Oh Dives ! Dives ! thou hast thy good things in abundance ; 
thou goest home at night from thv storehouse to thjr dwelling, 
where riches, tastefully expended, surround thee with refined 
eleeance, with statuary and paintmg ; thou hast music, and 
books, and friends, and whatever thy heart desireth r thou hast, 
too, kindness and ffenerosity in that heart, if it can be awak- 
ened ; oh ! beerudge not to the toiling ones the only luxury 
they have,— ue luxury of the aSbctions. 

Many things serve in thb our country and generation to 
weaken and to sever the ties of fieimily love. Children are 
hardly grown, before they are tempted abroad to try their 
fortunes in a thousand ways; the parents grow gray in a 
lonely homestead, and pme for timngs of their scattered 
brood ; the once tender actions of brother and Mster become 
weaker and weaker by long separation ; and the friendships 
of youth, and the attachments of neighbourhood, are gradually 
lost in absence and in forgetfolness. 

This ought not so to be. The most binding union among 
men is the union of ilie family ; its constitution was given by 
God himself; and its laws are those of affection. Next comes 
the bond of friendship, the most endunng cords of which are 
those which are twined about the heart in the tender season 
of youth. Without those two binding forces society is but 
a crowd of independent individuals, whose distinguishing fea- 
ture is selfishness. Look at the hunters and trappers of the 
West ; look at the floatmg populaticm of Paris ; the unmarried, 
utiUmng meuy who have snapped all the ties of family and of 
friendsUp, and gathered together in that great centre of civ- 
ilisation, to pre;^ upon each other and upon the race ; men 
whose element is discord, whose reli^on is atheism, whose 
creed is passion, whose law is license, whose bemg's end and 
aim is self, self, and ever self ;*— men who make not the revo- 
lutions, but (Hily profit by them ; men who cry Liberty ! only 

1848.] Pa#ta{J2e/im. 8ft 

liiat they maj commit erimes in her name ; — men who harry 
on the premature birth of Freedom, and by force and violence 
make abortions of what would be the fairest ofipring of human 
progress ! The tendency of owr commercial and pditical insti- 
tutions is to create men like these ; and if ther^ were not a 
thousand enterprises to scatter them over a vast continent ; if 
there were any great centre, like Paris or LondiMi, we shcnild 
see with what recklessness tiiey would trample on every law 
that restndned license. 

To lessen this centrifugal force ; to weaken thb tendency 
to separation and selfishness ; to check, indeed, any bad ten* 
dency, the most powerful means is instruction ; and Uxou^ our 
centrsJ government cannot give much of this directiy, it may 
do much to encourage reading and writing among tM people; 
it may do much to keep bright the chain of affection between 
the scattered fSunilies and parted companions, and keep them 
united by love, though divided by distance. 

The moral effect of free and firequent communication by 
nudl can hardly be conceived by those who have not thought 
closely upon it. The government cannot indeed *^ annihilate 
both time and space '^ and make all lovers happy, but it can do 
much towards it. Suppose the telegraph to be perfected; 
suppose its network to be spread over tiie whole land, and its 
filaments running into every house, would they not become like 
the stretohed but unbroken heart^tringB of a million families ; 
should we not have, besides speculations in stocks and orders 
for goods, a constant stream of messages of love and friendship ? 
would there not be, ever flying across the sky, such warm 
greetmgs as ^^ how d' ye my motiier 7 how fSures my fieither, my 
sister, my friends ?" and the tender replies, ^^ it is well witii me 
my child ! my son, my daughter, my lover,'' — until the whole 
atmosi^ere would become so fiill of love and affection that 
the ai^els of God might delight to dwell therein 7 This will 
be called fisincy, to^ay, by the profiuie ones who doubt about 
progress; but, never mmd! God will make it a fiftct tomorrow; 
meantime, sometlung like this is within our reach, even now. 
Let the greatest attidnable perfection be j^ven to the present 
m^l system ; let postage be reduced to a ^gle cent ; kt the 
gathering up and distributing of letters in populous places be 
free, so that by the side of the street door of the awellings 
there may be a box open to the inmde of the house, but dosM 
on the outside by a lock, to which the postman has the key, 
and from which he may take all letters for the post, and drop 

90 Po9tdl Erfarm. [Dec. 

in it all directed to the household. By this arrangement, and 
by the simple use of stamped envelopes j families could receive 
and forwaid their letters without sending to the po8tK)ffice, and 
without any trouble whatever. Is this visionary? Not at 
all ! for no further off than London, this very thing is done in 
many houses, and the families receive and send off their let- 
ters with the utmost certainty and regularity, and without 
sending to the general post-office from the be^nning of the 
year to the end.* 

The use of stamped envelopes is not known here. They are 
envelopes for letters, which are stamped, or franked, at the 
po6tK)ffice. You buy these by the hundred or the thousand, 
at any bookseller's or even grocer's, paying a penny for the 
stamp, and a trifle for the paper ; you put your letter into one 
of them, seal it, direct it to any part of the kingdom, far or 
near, drop it into the nearest post-box, at your own door, if 
you have one ; and the postman, at his next round, carries It 
to the posioffice, and it goes free to its destination, and is 
delivered at your friend's door. 

To such system is tiiis reduced, and such labor-saving is 
made, that merchants who write very frequently to a partic- 
ular correspondent, have a package of stamped envelopes 
printed with his address, say, "To John Thrifty, No. 48 
Queen Street, Aberdeen, Scotland." The labor of writing 
the address is thus saved, and the savmg is something. Sup- 
pose tiiere are ten letters daily to regular correspondents, the 
time saved on the whole of them would be over fifty hours, 
equal to one week's work. 

Despise not a crumb, or a cent, or a minute : a crumb will 
feed a starving bird ; a cent may gladden a hungry beggar ; a 
minute is one of the golden sands of life's hour-gUi^ ; — every 
one of them is the gift of God ; for every one of them He 
will ask an account. 

We need not spend time to show the social and moral and 
intellectual advantages that would flow from the establishment 
of a postK)ffice upon such a system. Every busmess man will 
see tiie advantages of it in a business point of view. But 
there would be mgher, far higher, advantages than these : it 
would hold out the strongest motive for those who cannot read 

* It is not yet common to have boxes so arranffod that the postman can 
take the letters oat ; bat it is rery easy to hare them. They can be so con- 
trived that he can tell as he passes alone the street whether they contain any 
thing for him or not With each letter is his penny fee. 

1848.] Postal Reform. 91 

and write to learn to do so ; it would prevent thousands from 
kdng, as thej now do bj long disuse, the faculty of writing 
and reading ; it would make those who now write ten letters 
a year, write a hundred ; it would save man^ a youth and 
muden from the temptation which idle evemng hours now 
bring; it would keep alive affections and friendships which 
now die out in distance ; it would, in short, be a new bond of 
union, binding the people together in knowledge, and sym- 
pathy, and love. 

Au this would be very fine, says the politician, with a sneer, 
but government has no right to do it. No right, — why not ? 
Because the postroffice department must pay its own expenses ! 
MiMt ? — but why ? Why more than the army-department — 
than the navy ? Why not make the soldiers work ; why not 
make the frigates carry freight ? Is labor, is commerce, dis^ 
honorable ? 

This common political dogma, that the post-office must 
support itself, which is in every wiseacre's mouth, is sheer 
assumption ; is nonsense, and worse than nonsense ; it is nar- 
row and illiberal. There is not one word in the Constitution 
to warrant it. 

Strange with what stupid tenacity conservatism makes men 
cleave to things and thoughts merely because they are old. 
This one in question is only a relic of feudal days ; a laying 
on of black maU. Politicians have asmmedy without the 
shadow of a foundation, that the government has a right to 
lay whatever tax it chooses upon the carriage of letters, and 
tliat nobody has a right to compete with it in the business ! 

See how conservatism, the ghost of feudalism, ^bbers at 
those smugglers, the people, who insist upon the right of doing 
their own business, and how it widls the loss of its pm[uisite8« 
Congress-men complain that the ^^ bufflness [that is, of people's 
competing with the government mail by private expresses] has 
been some time struggling through its incipient stages ; " — 
that ^^ it has now assumed a bold and determined front, and 
dropped its disguises." ..." Thus 3,268,000 letters a 
year, and (543,840 of annual revenue, are the spoils taken 
from the mails by private cupidity .'" • The House Committee 
of 1845 siud there is " no just reason why individuals engaged 
in smuggling letters and robbing t]>e department of its le^t- 
imate revenues should not be punished in the same way and 

• Beportof House Committee, Maj 15th, 1844. 

92 Po9tal Brf&rm. pec. 

to the same extent as persons guilty of smuggling goods ; nor 
why the same means of detection should not be ^ven to the 
p06tK)fiSce department which are now giyen to the treasuir." 

The SPOILS taken by private oupibitt ! that is the U^ht 
in which conservatism viewed the fact that people earned 
their own letters, because they could carry them quicker and 
cheaper than the government could or would do ! It coolly 
proposes to search their persons, and to punish them as smug* 

It is probable that the fear of the total loss of these 9p(nl$ 
did more than an^ thing else to favor the reduction of postage 
in 1845. So it is always with poor old Conservatism ; she 
grud^gly gives up part, only because she fears to lose the 

But the matter of the right of the people to demand cheap 

K stage, is better set fortib by the author of the pamphlet 
fore us than we can do it. He says, pp. 28, 24, 

'^The constitutional rule for the establishment of the poet- 
office, is as follows : 

" * Congress shall have power to — 
^ ^ EstfS>li8h post-offices and post-roads.* 

^This clause declares plainly the will of the people of the 
United States, that the federal government should be charged 
with the responsibili^ of fiimishing the whole union with conven- 
ient and proper mail privileges — according to theur reasonable 
wants and the reasonable ability of the government. This is one 
point of the ' general welfare,' for which we are to look to Con- 
eress, just as we look to Congress to provide for the general 
defence by means of the army and navy. It imposes no other 
restrictions in the one case than the other, as to the extent to 
which provision shall be made — the reasonable wants of the 
people, and the reasonable ability of the government It limits 
the resources for this object to no particular branch of the 
revenue. It gives no sort of sanction to the so oft-repeated rule, 
which many suppose to be a part of the Constitution, that the 
post-office must support itself. Still less does it authorize Con- 
gress to throw all manner of burdens upon the mail, and then 
refhse to increase its usefulness as a pubUc convenience, because 
it cannot carry all those loads. The people must have mails, and 
Congress must furnish them. To reason for or against any pro- 
posed change, on the ground that the alternative may be the 
discontinuance of public mails, the privation of this privilege to 
the people, and the winding up of the post-office system, is deariy 
inadmissible. When the government ceases to give the people 

1848.] Postal B^arm. 98 

the privfleges of the mail, the government itself will soon wind 
np, or» rather, will be taken in hand and wound up bj the people;, 
and set a-going again on better principles. The sole inquiry for 
Congress is, what is the best way to meet the reasonable wants of 
the people, by means within the reasonable ability of the goT- 

The reasonable wants of the people are, means of frequent 
and rapid intercourse by mail at the lowest cost that mil pro- 
vent aouse^ and that is, as we said, the lowest coin in use, or 
one cent ; and it is witMn the reasonable ability of the govern- 
ment to provide this, even if it has to ^ve np a few fiigateSi 
or a few reg^nent8 ; even if it has to make its half-pay ofiScera 
work aspost-masters, and its lazy soldiers trot about with mait 
ba£S. The employment would be better than their present one, 
which is merely to keep their long knives sharp, and be ready 
to slay at thenr employers' bidcUng, as the village butchers 
keep their knives ground and ready at any one's call ; with 
this difference, that the butchers slay only swine and cattle, 
while the soldiers will slay nothing meaner than men and 

Without going much into the details of the proposed post- 
office reform, we shall allude to two prominent features of it 
which seem the most objectionable to those not familiar with 
it. The first is the uniform rate of postage for all distances ; 
the second, the delivery at dwelling nouses. 

" What ! " says Mr. Holdfast, " charge no more to carry a 
letter from Maine to Louisiana than from one village to the 
next one ? The thing is absurd I it is wrong ! " 

Let us look at it. The post-office system is a unit. The 
mail must ^ from Midne to Louisiana ; the great expense is 
in establishmg the route and carrying the bag ; and there is 
no appreciable difference between £e cost of carrying one 
letter, and carrving one thousand lettersy for one thousand 
letters weigh only fifteen pounds. 

^ ^.It is not matter of inference,' says Mr. Eowland Hill, ^but 
matter of fact, that the expense of the post-office is practically 
the same, whether a letter is going from London to Bamet, (11 
miles,) or from London to Edinburgh, (397 miles) ; the difference 
is not expressible in the smallest coin we have.' The cost of 
transit from London to Edinburgh he explained to be only one 
thirty-sixth of a penny. And the average cost, per letter, of 
transportation in all the mails of the kingdom, did not differ 
materially from this. Of course, it was impossible to vary the 

94 Postal Reform. pec. 

rates of postage accordiog to distance, when the longest distance 
was but a little oyer one tenth of a farthinff. The same reason* 
ing is obyiouslj applicable to all the productive routes in the 
United States." 

Mr. Leayitt fhos presents the matter very forcibly. He 

^The goTemment establishes a mail between two cities, say 
Boston and New York, which is supported by the avails of post- 
age on letters. Then it proceeds to establish a mail between 
New York and Philadelphia, which is supported by the postage 
between those places. Now, how much will it cost the govern* 
ment to carry in addition all the letters that eo from Boston to 
Philadelphia, and from Philadelphia to Boston ? Nothing. The 
contracts will not vary a dollar. In this manner, you may extend 
your mails from any point, wherever you find a route that will sup- 
port itself, until you reach New Orleans or Little Rock, and it is 
as plain as the multiplication table, that it will cost the government 
no more to take an individual letter from Boston to Little Rock, 
than it would to take the same letter from Boston to New York. 
The government is quite indifferent to what place you mail your 
letter, provided it be to a place which has a mail regularly run* 
ning to it" 

"But," says old Holdfest, "^ou must make your productive 
routes pay for the unproductive ones." Thus out of false 
premises flow vicious consequences. This fundamental error 
of supposing the post-ofiSce must support itself is the root of 
an the miscmef. Speaking of the expensive routes over the 
new states, Mr. Leavitt says well, 

^The honor and interest of the nation required that as soon as 
the title to the country was settled, our citizens who were resi- 
dent there, and those who shall go to settle there, should enjoy 
the benefits of the mail. And as it was the nation's business to 
establish the mail, it was equally the nation's business to pay the 
expense. No man can show how it is just or reasonable, that the 
letters passing between Boston and New York should be taxed 
150 per cent to pay the expense of a mail to Oregon, on the pre- 
text that the post-office must support itself. 

Once get rid of the fsdse notions actually existing about the 
post-office being necessarily a self-supporting system, and view 
it as a great social macnine, intenaed to weave a web of 
friendly and commercial intercourse between all parts of the 
country, and to promote purposes and ends the value of which 
cannot be measured by any money scale, and people will cease 

1848.] Poital B^arm. W 

to sajy My broi^ier in New Orleans shaU paj more for a mes- 
sage, because be has the disadvantage of hving further &om 
the centre of the social circle than I do. 

As we remarked) the most potent enemy to this improve- 
ment will be the fear of its cost ; one of the vicious brood 
of that mother of false notions — the idea that the Postoffice 
must support itself. Even this, however, will disappear or be 
dwarfed mto insignificance, if closely examined. What are 
the causes of the great cost of the present mode of distribu- 
tion of letters in Boston and other large cities ? A spacious 
and very expensive building in the heart of the city ; the fat 
perquisites of a chief, whose nmn business it is to see that no 
body else ^ets his office ; a cashier, a head clerk, and several 
oUier clerks, men who can command high salaries; and 
younger clerks, whose business it is to sit and widt for all the 
people to come to them and ask them, through a hole in the 
wall, if there be any letters, instead of carrying the letters to 
the thousand who have any, and letting the other ninety-nine 
thousand stay at home and mind their business. As for the 
real work of the office, it is done by simple, honest, laboring 
men, the wages paid to a dozen of whom are not equal to the 
salaries of one high non-laboring officer. Now it is evident 
that under a reformed method, by which the credit system 
should be abolished, the occupation of most of those gentie- 
men would be gone ; their ledgers, their journals, their blot* 
ters, their way-bills, and most of their trumpery accounts 
would be done away with ; they would wipe their pens, and 
pack off to spoil paper elsewhere ; and the humble laborers, 
who now work for a dollar a day, would take up the ten thou- 
sand letters which the clerks had been writing about, and run 
and deliver them quickly, and make an end of them. 

The folly and litUeness of what should be called the hum- 
bug of the day, if the infinite mischief it works did not de- 
mand for it a graver name, — the credit system, — is shown 
plidnly in the present postoffice management. Were it not for 
the prevalence of this pestiferous system, men would not pre- 
sume to ask the government to carry a letter thousands of 
miles for ten cents, and, moreover, to give them or their cor- 
respondent credit for it. That they do this now is manifest, 
because every unpaid letter must be made account of; it 
must be stamped, it must be charged, it must be noted several 
times, and finally credited when paid, or, if payment is never 
made, go to the dead-letter office. 

96 Postal Btfarm. pec. 

Under fhe present system there are nearly five millions of 
letters, newspapers, and pamphlets, mailed every year in the 
United States, upon which people refuse to pay the postage}; 
and therefore, alter having been carried to every part of the 
Union, they must all be trundled back to Washington, — so 
many dead bodies, — to be laid out in state awhile, that their 
friends may have a chance to recognize them, and finally em- 
bowelled, lest any treasure should be within them that ought 
not to be burned upon the great funeral pile on which they are 
finallv to be consumed. By abolishing the credit system, about 
two nimdred thousand dollars, the postage on tiiese five mil- 
lion corpses, would be saved ; but vastly more tiban this by the 
great simplification of the whole postal machinery. The same 
credit system, and to the same permcious extent, existed for- 
meriy in Eneland ; indeed, vulgar people used to refuse to 
prepay their letters, upon tiie grouna that if the government 
once got the money, the letters would not be half so well cared 
for. Now so well has the penny postage worked, that ninety 
PER OBNT. of the letters sent by mail are prepaid. 

The other feature of the proposed reform which most alarms 
conservatism is the free dehvery, at people's dwellings, of all 
stamped or prepaid letters. U was equally alarming, when 
first proposed in England ; but you would as soon make John 
Bull give up a clause of Magna Charta, as attempt now to 
take away the privilege of fi^e delivery of letters at houses 
and places of business. In speaking of this matter, we assume 
that letters would be almost universally prepaid ; indeed we 
should be glad to have the government refuse to give credit 
upon letters, that is, to receive none but stamped and pud let- 
ters, or at least to demand five-fold more postage on letters 
that were not prepiud by stamps ; so that few or none of them 
would be found.* The great dUBculty then would be to fix 
upon the rate of population to the square mile which towns 
must attain, in order to have a postoffice with free deliverv. 
In some towns, of great extent and sparse population, it would 
be difficult to establish one. As a general rule, however, the 
number of letters to be distributed, is in direct ratio to the 
density of the population. 

As this distribution must begm with populous towns and 
cities, and cannot at first be ^ven to townships which extend 
straggling over miles and miles of hill and dale, selfishness will 

* It 18 already proposed in England to require that all letters be prepaid. 

1848.] Postal Reform. 97 

start up and crv out against the unfairness of giving to the 
citizen what is denied to the rustic. To be sure, Rusticus did 
not think of the privilege before ; cared not, indeed, whether 
there was any postoffice or not, but now that Cit has a postman 
to call upon him, he must have one also. If, however. Reform 
must take heed to every dog that barks at her when she 
walks abroad, she might as well stay at home. The end 
idmed at is the greatest attainable good to all mankind, and 
if Rusticus does not see that whatever saves time, saves mon- 
ey, quickens intercourse, commerce, and business of all kinds 
among the central groups of men, at the same time benefits 
him, it is none the less true that it does so. 

GHie best way to show what would be the advantages of free 
delivery in large towns, is to set forth the actual working of, 
the system elsewhere. In London there is a general post-office * 
into which are received and mailed one hundred and fifty mil- 
lion letters yearly, or nearly five hundred thousand every day. 

A large proportion of these letters is for the dbtrict of 
London itself. In 1839 the letters for London itself were one 
million per month ; in 1842, after the reduction of postage, 
they were two millions ; in 1847 they were three millions.; 
during the current year it is probable there have been nearly 
four millions ; say a million a week. 

A million letters ! it is very easily written or spoken, but 
does the reader get any adequate idea of the number ? Did 
you ever send out a hundred notes of invitation, to be delivered 
at houses in different parts of the city ? Try it, and you will 
find that it will keep one man trotting from sun to sun, even in ' 
a densely-peopled place like Boston ; but extend his circle to 
twelve miles, and scatter the letters over it, and it would take 
him much longer. Now give the poor fellow a million letters 
on the day that he comes of age, and send him to deliver thein 
at the rate of a hundred a day, and it will take him twentyr 
seven years to do it ! Yes ! he will be about fifty years old, 
before he has delivered the last one, without having had leisure 
time to propose and to get married ! and a large proportion 
of the people addressed will have died before the letters reach 
their dwellings. 

Now let us see how the mailing and distributing of a million 
of letters is done in London. In order to simplify the matter, 
suppose there are only a hundred thousand letters per day. 
One way to distribute them would be that which we adopt ; a 
hundred thousand men and boys would trot to the general 

KG. V, 7 

?!8 Postal jRrfortu, [Dec. 

po^t-oSce, m tlie mormng, to deposit their letters; and the 
hundred thousand persons to whom they are directed would 
come to get thorn, while fifty or a hundred thousand more 
would come to see if there were any for them, and go away 
empty-banded* Thus there would be three hundred thousand 
pei^us sfM^nding their time, and most of them travellmg sev- 
eral miles to aud fro, about one hundred thousand letters. 
Eut ttie way actually adopted in London is, to let the three 
hundred thousaud persons stay at home and mind their busi- 
ness, and to employ a small number of active men on horse- 
back and on foot, to gather up the letters, bring them to cer- 
tain central points, and send them out again according to their, 
several directions. 

'In the book-stores, in the drug^t's shops, in the grocery, 
stores, and in other places where men and women most do con- 
gregate^ are " receiving boxes," to the number of 220 ; you . 
go and drop your letter, with a penny stamp upon it, into any , 
otie of those, at a quarter before eight o^clock in the morning, 
and your friend, two or three miles off, receives it at ten. 1^ . 
drops his answer into the nearest box, and you receive it at 
your door, or, if you have a box at your door with an opening ' 
on, the street, you find it dropped in there, withm two hours., 
l^ou may send off your letters at eight o^clock, at ten, at noon, 
at one, two, three, four, five, six, or eight o'clock in the after-' 
noon, and have your answer back within four or five hours, or. 
early the next morning, if dropped too late in the afternoon ; 
apd all that is paid is the penny by yourself for your own let- 
ter, and a penny by your correspondent for his reply. 

But suppose you do not want to go out to the receiving 
office, and have no one to send ; you need not do so ; your 
letter ^ill bp taken from your own door. In the afternoon a 
hundred men start from different points of the circumference of 
the great circle, each one carrying a locked bag,, (which can 
be unlocked only at the post-office,) with a hole in the side 
large enough to admit a letter. They walk along the streets 
ringing their bells ; they come at your beck, and you drop your 
stamped letter into the bag, paying the man nis fee of one 
penny, and you may be quite sure your letter will reach the 
post-office, and be mailed that evening to any part of the 

It costs us m Boston morjc time, more labor, and therefore 
more money, to send a note from one part of the city to another,^ * 
from the North end to. ibid South end, than it docs to send ' 

18481] Po§MB^/^frm 99 

a^.lettw to Now Yorki or even to -New OHeaos. We rnmi - 
have a messen^r, wbo must run two miles and spend some 
time, perhaps, m finding the place ; he must then run back 
agiun ; and our friend, when he has got his answer ready^ 
must employ not only another pair of legs, but the body, arms, . 
and heaa, all the powers, in short, of a human being, for the 
safe conduct of a single little bit of paper* In London there 
iaever silently at work a vast machinery, which picks up H^ 
hundred thousand letters and brings back & hundred thousand- 
answers, more swiftly, more surely^ and more cheaply than we 
send a single thousand. 

But after all, perhaps, there is anobjection that will occur 
to many persons as insurmountable, and that is, that even if 
we had a system of free delivery at houses^ people would not ' 
trust to it, but still run to the post^flSce. So they would, 
during a little while, because it is in the very mature of things 
for most persons to suppose that what they have always done 
they , must always do. Turn the blind mill-horse out into the 
p^ure, imd he will go round and round awhile as he grases, 
out at last stand and graze at his ease. 

The best answer, however, to this objection, is the fSsu^t: 
Londoners once used to go gadding daily to the post-office, to- 
get a letter, or a surly No ! to their inquirv for one ; but now, 
if a man should be seen hurrying towards the centre of the 
city, and should tell his friends he was going to the general 
ppstoffice, they would be more surprised than if he should tell 
them he was going to take the steamer for the Continent or^ 
the United States. 

There are many benefits arising from the method of free 
delivery at houses, which we have not time to dwell on ; but 
we must allude to one, and that is, the advantage to the poor 
and humble, especially to timid females, who are now deterred 
from keeping up a correspondence with friends by the difficul- 
ties attendant upon the delivery of letters. They are often 
obliged to go a half a dozen times, and make vam inquiries 
at the post^ffice. They must often go in bad weather ; they 
are liaole to detention, to rudeness, and to a thousand vexa- 
tions. We pretend that in this country one man is as good as 
another, and so we treat him, in the abntrad; but we can 
easily see in how much greater esteem the rich and refined are 
really heU, by supposing that % rule were passed that no let> 
ter diould be delivered for any lady or gentiemtfn at the post- 
office, except to themselves personatly, and that Dives should 

100 PoBtalJteform. [Doc. 

not send his messenger, or have his box, any more timn Lass- 

Suppose our rich men were obliged to go and mingle in the 
crowd, and push and be pushed, and struggle up to the pos^ 
office window, and pay out their specie for every letter ; and 
suppose then: wives and daughters should have to do as the 
poor milliners and sewing women must do, — go day after day 
to' the most public place in the city, and work their way througn 
a bustling crowd up to a pigeonhole in a wall, and cling on to 
it with their hands, for fear of bemg pushed aside ere the 
pert clerk had looked at them long enough to see whether 
they were old or young, fair or ugly, before deciding with how 
much quickness and care he should look for their letters. Let 
rich mi refined ladies have to do and suffer what poor and 
humble women have to do and suffer in order to miul and re- 
ceive their letters ; and we should have a post-office reform 
ri^t speedily. 

Far be it from us to propose or desire any restriction upon 
the conveniencies of one class, because they cannot be had by 
all ; but we want Dives to bring down his nose (in imagination 
merely,) upon the grindstone of reality, in order to understand , 
how it actually grinds the face of the poor. 

We have thus very loosely and imperfectly jotted down 
some thoughts about the proposed postoffice reform. We have 
not dwelt much upon statistics, because the financid side of 
the matter interests us much less than the moral. We have 
been willing to grant that the proposed reform would throw 
some burden upon the general treasury, though it would be 
easy to show that this Would soon become very small, and per- 
haM be removed entirely. 

The redaction of postage to one cent for all distances would 
act like a prenuum upon writing and readmg. In 1839, the 
li^t year of the old high system of postage in Great Britain, 
the whole number of letters mailed was seventy-nine millions. 
In 1840, the first year of the reformed system, it rose to one 
hundred and sixty-nine milUons; in 1842 it exceeded two 
hundred millions, and rose steadily till it reached three hun- 
dred and twenty-two millions in 1847, and is still rising. 

The gross income, under the old system, had i^mained 
about stationary for nearly half a century, varying from ten 
to twelve millions of dollars. In 1839, it was little short of 
twelve millions. The sudden reduction of postage to one pen- 

. 1848.] Poital Htfortn. 101 

nj caused a great falling off in the net revenue, in 1841. But 
soon a flood of letters began to pour in, and the numbers in- 
creased 80 rapidly, without thereby materially increasing the 
expense, that m 1847 the gross income was about ten millions 
of dollars ; and during the current year, information obtiuned 
by Mr. Hume in official quarters assures us that it is expect- 
ed the gross revenue will equal the gross amoimt of postage 
in the year before the postage was reduced. 

Yes ! in 1847 the post-office system of Great Britain afford- 
ed the immense fitciUties to which we have alluded, circulated 
over three hundred millions of letters to all parts of the king- 
dom, at a penny a|Hece, took up and delivered many millions 
at the very doors of the inhabitants, and not only cost the 
government nothing, but actually paid into the treasury four 
millions of dollars,* its net earnings, over and above all ex- 

Here is a sop for Mammon ! 

In 1843, there were 24,267,552 letters circulated by mail 
in the United States, yielding the sum of $3,525,268. The 
number in 1847, under the partial reduction, was more than 
doubled, being 52,173,480, yielding $3,188,957; Uie reduc- 
tion doubling the number without sensibly increasing the ex- 
pense, and yielding almost the same revenue. 

Take fifty million as the present number of letters circulat- 
ed, and estimate the revenue at three nullions of dollars, that 
is, an average of about six cents a letter. Now, if we reduce 
the postage to one cent, we must have six times as many let- 
ters, or three hundred millions yearly, to yield the same reve- 
nue. Let us see what is the probability of this being done. 
Look at Scotland: she has a population of two and a half 
millions ; her foreign and her domestic commerce are very 
limited, compared with those of the States ; one would sup- 
pose the iptercourse between different parts of the countr]^ 
would be less than in ours ; her people are not more intelUgenti 
to say the least ; and yet, under the reformed postage system, 
over twenty-eight millions of letters are circulated annually, 
or eleven letters for each inhabitant ; while we circulate le$$ 
than three letters per inhabitant. Now give us the cent post- 
age, and suppose that we write only eleven letters, each, 
vearly, as many as they do in Scotiand, and the revenue w3l 
be two nullions two hundred thousand dollars. But suppose, 

• The nd leveniie of the Britiih port-ofllce, in 1S47, wat £839,548, 9t. Stf. 

:l«2 M^^iUB^fmn. [3)60. 

«s w& 9V!eU mAjr, ^t\re: shall .wiifte one quarter ixKMre kttocs 
in proportioQ to our population) the revenae will then come: ap 
to wh^,it DOW is, witlitout iQateriallj inereamng the expeoae. 

But there will be other aoiirces of economy, besides the in- 
creased number of leUers circulated, if the proposed reform 
ehould be ivdopted. The jodious franking pririlege . should be 
Abolished at once. Suppose each member of Congress wants 
to send ten thousand letters per annum ; let Congress provide 
•lum with ten thousand letter stamps, and charge it in the ex- 
pense&.of the session. Or, if he thinks this wilLnot l>e enou^ 
to distribute his speeches to ubiquitous Buncombe, ^Te Jiim 
tweu^*— thirty thousand, but, in the name of conscience and 
.reascm, set him ^ome limit, and do .not make ithe people pay 
high postage on their letters, that bis speeches may swarm 
over the land like winged incubi. 

Serve presidents and secretaries in the same vrvy ; limit 
them somewhere. Let the rule be imperative and universal ; 
.let not even ^jihpresiikfUesBes escape it. Give them stamps, 
:as many as you choosq, only let it be a specific chaise upm 
the ti^&asury. Give them even a hundred thousand, and let 
them sell them, if th^ will, it will not be vforaethim Ullktg 
human fie^h'i.dBone qf lihem does! 

Wq have already jdluded to the saving tS the pres^it.loss 
upon doad letters ; that on dead newspapers would be equally 
great, nay ! it would be .&r .greater, if we take the cost pf 
transportation into the Account. Under the present system, 
HuUio^s of newspapers and {mmphlets are carried by mail 
^jN> all iparts of the .country and left uncalled for, because ^the 
^Qooisignees will not pay the postage. Once require prepay- 
^meiK^y and men will cease to put valueless papers into the maD. 

Another saving would be made by a reduction of the cost of 
raU-road transportation. At present the enormous sum charged 
by rail-road corporations for carrying the maib is clear profit, 
jfer it costs neict to nothing more to take a mail filong in the 
tpafs, than to send Ihem without it. The stockholder in a 
rail-road company nuw ^^ goes shares-" with ihe government 
in ttie -bladk mail levied upon letters. You may send a man 
from Bostou to Philadelphia with five thousand letters kx 
iiis trunk, ^nd it will cost you :but ten dollars, board and 
.lodging included ; that is, a mill a letter. But government 
«tepB up and says, ^' Stop, ^end, you are smng^ng. You 
must put those letters into my bag, and pay ten cents for each 
on^, 9T :fiv0 jiundi«0d dollars for Uie vi^te.'' 33ie rail*ioad 

1848.] Pow^nifotm. lbs 

director witnesses this jdoing, Itfad str^^twaj steps up to th6 
government and sajSy "Stop, old gentleman, since you get fiV^ 
hundred dollars ibr carrying that tag, jrou doh't suppose 1 1^ 
fool enough to take it on board my cars at the same rate that 
I take a bag of common merchandise'; you must pay me many 
fold more, — you must pay, not in proportion to what the 
freight is worth, but in proportion to what you get." TIA 
government blusters and threatens prosecution, but finallj^, 
Slinking the less stir is made the better, it yields and sharcib 
purt of its plunder with the company. 

There can be no doubt that if proper reforms were madd* 
and the postK)flSce were regarded as a great social machinery 
for promoting the intellectual, moral, and material interests of 
the people, railroad corporations, soulless as they are supposed 
tb be. would cooperate with government to facilitate its work- 
ing. So it would be in ^ hundred other ways, and unthought- 
i)f savings would be madd. 

This, then, is the one thing wanting — a right understanding 
0f the great capacities of the postK)ffice system. A moral ag6 
will make it as efBcient a moral agent as a commercial ag^ 
makes it au efficient commercial agent. To indulge in specu- 
lations about what would be the effect of developing all the 
latent force of this powerful Agency, and yoking it into the 
caii^e of true reform, would 6wetl this article to a volume. 
We cannot close, however, without alluding te one benignant 
feature which we discover already in the misty future; aiid 
Hiat is, A^ OcBAN Cent Postagb ! 

Let us first consider ocean postage as it is now usually re- 
garded — it will give u& a fai^ view of the spirit of commerce,. 
Then let us look upon it as it will be regarded by and by — Jl 
*will give us a faint idea of the spirit of beneficence. 

Millions of men have torn themselves from the land of tbei^ 
birth, and the homes of their youth, and planted themselves i^ 
America. The heartstrings,^ however, are not like the tree^ 
roots ; they will stretch around the globe without breaking; and 
th6ughts and affections will fly from end to end quicker tha^ 
the lightning flashes along the wire. But parted hearts mwiV 
have more than thoughts and wishes to satisfy their yearning^'; 
tiiere must be words and signs of love. Then Mammon looks 
pn, and says, ^^ Lol tbese millions here would send message! 
to those millions there, let us carry them and make great gatd 
thereon." So his servant. Commerce, says to the people, ^* I 
will take your merchandise cheaply ; I will carry a hundred 

106 The Free iSail Mavemeiit. [Dec. 

occasions, but not of slight causes ; * the Occasion may be oV 
vious and obviously trivid, but the Cause obscure and great. 
The Occasion of the French Revolution of 1848 was afforded 
by the attempt of the king to prevent a certain public dinner: 
he had a legal right to prevent it. The Cause of the Revolu- 
tion was a little different, but some men in America and Eng- 
land, at first, scarcely looked beyond the occasion, and, taking 
that for the cause, thought the Frenchmen fools to make so 
tnuch ado about a trifle, and that they had better eat their 
taupe maigre at home, and let their victuals stop their mouths. 
The Occasion of the American Revolution may be found in the 
Stamp-Act, or the Sugar- Act, the Writs of Assistance, or the 
Boston Port-Bill ; some men, even now, see no further, and 
logically conclude the colonists made a mistake, because for a 
dozen years they were far worse off than before the '' Rebel- 
lion," and have never been so lightly taxed since. Such men 
do not see the Cause of the Revolution, which was not an un- 
willingness to pay taxes, but a determination to govern them- 

At the present day it is plain that a revolution, neither 
slow nor silent, is taking place in the political parties of Amer- 
ica. The occasion thereof is the nomination of a tn^n for the 
presidency who has no political or civil experience, but who has 
three qualities that are important in the eyes of the leading 
men who have supported and pushed him forward: — one fi 
that he is an eminent slave holder, whose interests and accord- 
ingly whose ideas are identical with those of the slave-holders; 
the next, that he is not hostile t6 the doctrines of northern 
manufacturers respecting a protective tariff; and the third, 
that he is an eminent and very successful military commander. 
The last is an Accidental Quality, and it is not to be supposed 
that the intelligent and influential men at the North and South 
who have promoted his election, value him any more on that 
account, or think that mere military success fits him for hii 
high oSSce, and enables him to settle the complicated diflicul- 
ties of a modem state. They must know better ; but they 
must have known that many men of fittle intelligence are 60 
taken with military glory that they will ask for no more iix 
their hero ; it was foreseen, aldO, that honest and intelli^eni 
tnen of all parties would give him their vote because he haA 

* Viyvnvrai fitv ouv al araoei/c ob rcept fUKpCrv &XX* Ik /luccwy, araatu^own A 
irep2 fuydXuv. — Arbu>tlo*8 Bflit., lib. Y^ Chap. 4, fl. 

.1048.] Ti$ Free 3$a ihvemnt. lOT 

oerer been mixed up with tbe intrigoes of political life. Thm 
^ fiur^ighted " politicians of the North and South saw that he 
might be elected, and then might serre the purposes of the 
dbve-holder, or the manufacturer of the North. The military 
tuooess of General Taylor, an accidental merit, was only the 
occasion of his nomination by the Whigs; his Substantial 
. lierit was found m the &ct that he was supposed (or known) 
to be favorable to the "peculiar institution '^ of the Sout£ 
and the protective policy of the manufacturers at the North : 
tfus was the cause of h^ formal nomination by the Whig con- 
vention of Philadelphia, and his real nomination by membeta 
of the Whig party at Washington. The men of property at 
the 8outh wanted an extension of slavery ; the men of prop- 
erty at the North, a high protective tariff, and it was thought 
General Taylor could serve both purposes, and promote the 
interests of the North and South. 

Such is the occasion of the revolution in political parties : 
the cause is the introduction of a New Idea into these partieB 
entirely hostile to some of their former doctrines. In the elec- 
tioneering contest the new Idea was represented by the words 
'" Free Soil." For present practice it takes a negative form^ 
" No more Slave States, no more Slave Territory," is the mot- 
to. But these words and this motto do not adequately repre- 
^Bent the Idea, only so much thereof as hi» been needful in tbe 
.pDeaent crisis. 

Before now there has been much in the political history of . 
America to provoke the resentment of the North. England 
lias been ruled by various dynasties ; the American chwr has 
leen chiefly occupied by the Southern House, the Dynasty 6t 
iSlave-holders : now and then a member of the Northern House 
lias sat on that seat, but commonly it has been a " Northern 
Man with Southern principles," never a man with Mind to see 
^e great Idea of America, and Will to carry it out in action. 
AiU the Spirit of Liberty has not died out of the North ; the 
attempt to put an eighth slave-holder in the chwr of " the 
-model Bepuolic^' gave occasion for that spirit to act again. 

The new Idea is not hostHe to the distinctive doctrine of 
either political party ; — neither to Free Trade nor to Proteo- 
:tion ; so it makes no revolution in respect to them — it is neu- 
itral and leaves both as it found them. It is not hostile to th6 
<}eneral Theory of the American State, so it makes no revo- 
lution tiiere ; this Idea is assumed as self-evident in the Decla- 
ration of Independence. It is not inimical to tiie theory of 

108 The Free SaU Movement [Dec. 

.the Constitution of the United States as set forth in the pream- 
ble thereto, where the design of the Constitution is declared to 
be '^ to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure 
domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote 
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to our- 
selves and our posterity." 

There are clauses in the Constitution which are exceptions 
to its theory, and hostile to the design mentioned above ; to 
such this Idea will one day prove itself utterly at variance, as 
it is now plainly hostile to one part of the practice of the 
American government, and that of both the parties. 

We have had several political parties since the Revolution : 
the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, — the latter shading oflF 
.into Republicans, Democrats, and Locofocos ; the former 
tapering into modem Whigs, in which guise Some of their 
fathers would scarcely recognise the family type. We have 
had a Protective party and an Anti-Protective party ; once 
.there was a Free-trade party, which no longer appears in 
politics. There has been a National Bank party, which seems 
to have gone to the realm of things lost on earth. In the 
^e and fall of these parties, several dramas, tragic and 
comic, have been performed on the American boards, where 
'^ one man in his time plays many parts," and stout represent- 
atives of the Hartford Convention find themselves on the same 
side with worshippers of the Gerrymander, and shouting the 
same cry. It is kindly ordered that memory should be so 
Bhort and brass so common. None of the old parties is likely 
to return ; the living have buried the dead. " We are aU 
Federalists," said Mr. Jefferson, "we are all Democrats," 
and truly, so far as old questions are concerned. It is well 
known that the present representatives of the old Federal 
party have abjured the commercial theory of their predeces- 
sors ; and the men who were " Jacobins " at the beginning of 
the century, curse the new French Revolution by l£eir gods. 
At the presidential election of 1840, there were but two par- 
ties in the field — Democrats and Whigs. As they both sur- 
vive, it is well to see what Interests or what Ideas they 

They differ accidentally in the possession and the desire of 
power; in the fsbct that the former took the initiative in 
annexing Texas and m making the Mexican War, while the 
latter only pretended to oppose either, but zealously and con- 
clusively cooperated in both. Then, agam^ the Democratic 

1848.] . The Free Sail Movement. 109 

party sosttun the Sub-treasorj system, insisting that the gov- 
ernment shall not mterfere with hanking, shall keep its own 
deposits, and ^ve and take only specie in its business with 
the people. The Whig party, if we understand it, has not of 
late developed any distinctive doctrine on the suWect of money 
and financial operations, but only complained of the action of 
the Sub-treasury ; yet, as it sustainea the late Bank of the 
United States, and appropriately followed as chief mourner at 
the funeral thereof, uttering dreadful lamentations and proph- 
ecies which Time has not seen fit to accomplish, it still keeps 
up a show of difiering from the Democrats on this matter. 
These are only Accidental or Historical difierences, which do 
not practically affect the politics of the nation to any great 

The Substantial difference between the two is this: the 
Whigs desire a tariff of duties which shall directly and inten- 
tionally protect American Industry, or, as we understand it, 
shall directly and intentionally protect Manufacturing Indus- 
try, while tiie commercial and agricultural interests are to 
be protected indirectly, not as if tiiey were valuable in them- 
selves, but were a collateral security to the manufacturing 
interest : a special protection is desired for the great manu- 
factures, which are usually conducted by large capitalists — 
such as the manufacture of wool, iron, and cotton. On the 
oQier hand, the Democrats discl^dm all direct protection of any 
special interest, but, by ndsing the national revenue from the 
imports of the nation, actually afford a protection to the arti- 
cles of domestic origin to the extent of the national revenue, 
and much more. That is the substantial difference between the 
two parties — one which has been much insisted on at the late 
election, especially at the North. 

Is this difference of any practical importance at the present 
moment ? There are two methods of rmsing the revenue of a 
country: first, by Direct Taxation, — a direct tax on the per- ^ 
son, a direct tax on the property ; second, by Indirect Tax-- 
ation. To a simple-minded man Direct Taxation seems the 
only just and equal mode of collecting the public revenue : the 
rich man pays in proportion to his much, the poor to Jiis little. 
Tina is so just ana obvious, that it is the onl^ method resorted 
to, in towns of the North, for raising their revenue. But 
wWle it requires very little common-sense and virtue to appre- 
ciate this plan m a town, it seems to require a good deal to 
endure it m a nation. The four direct taates levied by tiie 

110 TAe Free Soil Movement. ^ [Dee. 

American government Bincc 1787 have been imperfectly col- 
lected, and only with great difficulty and long delay. To 
avoid this difficulty, the government resorts to various indirect , 
modes of taxation, and collects the greater part of its revenue . 
from the imports which reach our shores; In this way a man's 
national tax is not directly in proportion to his wealth, but . 
directly in proportion to his consumption of imported goods,, 
or directly to that of domestic goods, whoso price is enhanced : 
by the duties laid on the foreign article. So it may happea • 
that an Irish laborer, with a dozen children, pa^s a larger 
national tax than a millionaire who sees fit to live m a miserly 
style ; besides, no one knows when he pays or what. At first 
it seems as if the indirect mode of taxation made the burthen 
light, but in the end it does not always prove so. The remote 
effect thereof is sometimes remarkable. The tax of one per 
cent, levied in Massachusetts on articles sold by auction, has . 
produced some results not at all anticipated. 

Now since neither party ventures to suggest direct taxation, 
the actual question between the two is not between Free-trade 
and Protection, but only between a Protective and a Revenue 
tariff. So the real and practical question between them is this: 
Shall there be a high tariff or a low one ? Now at first sight 
a man not in favor of free trade might think the present tonS 
g^ye sufficient protection to those great manufactures of wool, 
cotton, and iron, and as much as was reasonable. But. the 
present duty is perhaps scarcely adequate to meet the expenses 
of the nation, for with new territory new expenses must come; 
there is a large debt to be discharged, its interest to be paid ; , 
large sums will be demanded as pensions for the soldiers. 
Since these things are so, it is but reasonable to conclude that 
under the administration of the Whigs or Democrats a pretty 
high tariff of duties will continue for some years to come. So 
' the great and substantial difference between the two parties 
ceases to be of any great and substantial importance. 

In the mean time another party rises up, representmg nei- 
ther of these interests ; without developing any peculiar views 
relative to Trade or Finance^ it proclaims the doctrine ihat., 
there must be no more slave territory, and no more slave « 
states. This doctrine is of great practical importance, and - 
ooe in which the Free-soil party differs substantially from both 
the other parties.: Tbd laea on which the party rests is not ^ 
new ; it does not appear that the men who framed the Oon3&. 
tutiouy or the people who accepted it, ever contemplated the. 

1848*] The Fre$JSoa MovmenU 111 

extension of slavery beyond the limits of the United States at 
that time; had such a proposition been then made, it would 
have been indignantly rejected by both. The principle of the 
Wilmot Proviso boasts the same origin as the Declaration of 
Independence. The state of feelmg at the North occasioned 
by the Missouri Compromise is well known, but after that 
there ¥ras no political party opposed to slavery. No President 
has been hostile to it ; no Cabinet ; no Congress. In 1805, 
Mr. Pickering, a Senator from Massachusetts, brought forward 
his bill for amending the Constitution so that slaves should not 
form part of the basis of representation; but it fell to the 
ground, and not to be lifted up by his successors for years to 
come. The refusal of John Quincy Adams, while President, 
to recognize the independence of Hayti, and his efforts to favor 
the Slave Power, excited no remark. In 1844, for the first 
time the anti-slavery votes began seriously to affect the presi- 
dential election. At that time the Whigs had nominated as 
their candidate a man of great powers, of popular manners, 
the friend of Northern industry, but still more the friend of 
Southern slavery, and more directly identified with that than 
any man in so high a latitude. The result of the anti-slavery 
votes b well known. The bitterest reproaches have been 
heaped on the men who voted against him as the incarnation . 
of the Slave Power ; the annexation of Texas, though accom- 
plished by a Whig Senate, and the Mexican War, tJiough only 
nxtoen members of Congress voted against it, have both been 
laid to their charge ; and some have even affected to wonder 
that men conscientiously opposed to slavery could not forget' 
their principle for the sake of their party, and put a most ; 
decided slave-holder, — who had treated not only them but* 
their cause with scorn and contempt, — m the highest place 
of power. 

The Whig party renewed its attempt to place a slave-holder 
in the President's chmr, at a time when all Europe ris^ tO; 
end for ever the tyranny of man. General Taylor was partic- 
ularly obnoxious to the anti-slayery men. He is a slave-holder,- 
holding one or two hundred men in bondage, and enlarging 
that number by recent purchases ; he employs them in th« 
worst kind of slave-labor — the manufacture of sugar; he 
leaves them to the mercy of overseers, the dregs and refuse of 
mankind ; he has just returned from a war undertaken for thd , 
extension of slavery ; he is a Southern man with Southern 
interests, and opinions favorable to slavery, and is uniformly^ 

112 The Free Soil Movement. [Dec. 

represented by his supporters at the South as decidedly op- 
posed to the Wihnot Proviso, and in favor of the extension of 
slavery. We know tins has been denied at the North ; but 
the testimony of the South settles the question. The conven- 
tion of Democrats in South Carolina, when they also nomi- 
nated him, swd well, " His interests are our interests ; . . 
. . we know that on this great, paramount, and leading 
queston of the rights of the South [to extend slavery over the 
new territory] he is for us and he is with us." Said a news- 
paper in his own state, " General Taylor is from birth, asso- 
ciation, and conviction, identified with the South and her 
institutions, being one of the most extensive slave-holders in 
Louisiana, and supported by the slave-holding interest; is 
opposed to the Wilmot Proviso, and in favor of procuring the 
pnvilege to the owners of slaves to remove with them to newly 
acquired territory." 

The Southerners evidently thought the crisis an important 
one. The following is from the distmguished Whig Senator, 
Mr. Berrien. 

" T consider it the most important presidential election, espec- 
ially to Southern men, which has occurred since the foundation 
of the government. 

" We have great and important interests at stake. If we fail to 
sustain them now, we may be forced too soon to decide whether 
we will remain in the Union, at the mercy of a band of fanatics or 
political jugglers, or reluctantly retire from it for the preservation 
of our domestic institutions and all our rights as freemen. If we 
are united, we can sustain them ; if we divide on the old party 
issues, we must be victims. 

" With a heart devoted to their interests on this great question, 
fmd without respect to party, I implore my fellow-citizens of 
Greorgia, Whig and Democratic, to forget for the time their party 
divisions : to know each other only as Southern men : to act upon 
the truism uttered by Mr. Calhoun, that on this vital question, — 
the preservation of our domestic institutions, — the Southern man 
who is furthest from us is nearer to us than any Northern man 
can be ; that General Taylor is identified with us in feeling and 
interest, was bom in a sJave-holding state, educated in a slave- 
holding state, is himself a slave-holder ; that his slave property 
constitutes the means of support to himself and family ; that he 
cannot desert us without sacrificing his interest, his principles, the 
habits and feelings of his life ; and that with him, therefore, our 
institutions are safe. I beseech them, therefore, from the love 
which they bear to our noble state, to rally under the banner of 

1848.] The Free Sail Movement. 118 

Zacfaaiy Taylor, and with one united voice to send him hj accla* 
mation to the executive chair." 

Now there have always been men in America who were 
opposed to the extension and the very existence of slavery ; in 
1787, the best and the most celebrated statesmen were pub- 
licly active on that side. Some thought slavery a sm, oiiiers 
a mistalce, but nearly all in the Convention thought it an 
error. South Carolina and Georgia were the onlv states thor- 
oughly devoted to slavery at that time. They iJbreatened to 
withdraw from the Union if it were not sufficiently respected 
in the new Constitution. If the other states had said, ^' You 
may go, soon as vou like, for hitherto you have been only a 
curse to us and done little but brag," it would have been bet- 
ter for us all. However, partly for the sake of keeping the 
peace, and perhaps still more for the purpose of making 
money bv certain concessions of the South, the North granted 
the ^utnem demands. After the adoption of the Constitution 
the anti-slavery spirit cooled down ; other matters occupied 
the public mind. The long disasters of Europe ; the alarm of 
Uie English partv, who feared their sons should be ^^ conscripts 
in the armies of Napoleon," and the violence of the French 
party, who were ready to compromise the dignity of the 
nation and add new elements to the confusion in Europe ; the 
subsequent conflict with England, and then the efforts to 
restore the national charac(;er and improve our material con* 
dition, — these occupied the thought of the nation till the 
Missouri Compronuse again disturbed the public mind. But 
that was soon forgotten ; little was said about slavery. In the 
eighteenth century it was discussed in the colleges and news- 
papers, even in the pulpits of the North ; but in the first 
quarter of the nineteenth, little was heard of it. Manufac- 
tures got established at the North and protected by duties ; at 
the South cotton was cultivated with profit, and a heavy duty 
protected the slave-grown sugar of Louisiana. The pecuniary 
mterests of North and South became closely connected, and 
both seemed dependent on the peaceable continuance of sla- 
very. Little was said agcdnst it, little thought, and nothing 
done. Southern masters voluntarily brought their slaves to 
New England and took them back, no one offering the Afirican 
the conventional shelter of the law, not to speak of ike natural 
shelter of Justice. We well remember the complaint made 
somewhat later, when a judge decided that a slave brought 

NO. V. 8 


114 The Free SaU Ihvemmd. pta 

here by his master'a consent beeame from that moment free ! 
But where am abounded grace doth much more abomid. There 
rose up one man who would not compromise, nor be silent, — 
lAkO wodd be heard. He spoke of ^e evil, q)oke of the Sin 

— for all true Befbrms are bottomed on Religion, and while 
they seem adverse to many Interests, yet represent the Idea 
ef the Eternal. He found a few others, a very few, and 
began the anti-slaveiy movement. The ^platform" of the 
new party was not an Interest^ but an Idea — that ^^ all men 
are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain 
Unalienable lU^ts.'' Every Trutii is also a Fact ; this was 
a Fact of Human Consciousness and a Truth of Necessity. 

The time has not come to write the histoiy of the abo)itioit> 
ists, — othw deeds must come before words ; but we cannot 
forbear quoting the testimony of one witness as to the state of 
anti-davery feeHng in New England in 1831. It is the late 
Hon. Hamson Qray Otis, a former mayor of Boston, who speaks. 

^ The first information received by me of a disposition to agitate 
this subject in our state, was from the Governors of Virginia and 
Georgia, severally remonstrating against an incendiary newspaper 
published in Boston, and, as they alleged, thrown broadcast among 
their plantations, inciting to insurrection and its horrid results. It 
appeared, on inquiry, that no member of the city government [of 
Boston] had ever heard of the publication. Sometime aAerwardi 
it was reported to me by the city officers, that they had ferreted 
out the paper and its editor ; that his office was an obscure holoi 
his only vbible auxiliary a negro boy, and his supporters a very 
few insignificant persons of all colors. This information . . . 
I communicated to the above named Governors, with an assurance 
of my belief that the new fanaticism had not made, nor was likely 
to make, proselytes among the respectable classes of our people. 

Such was the state of things in 1831. Anti-slavery had 
'^ an obscure hole ^' for its head-quarters ; the one agitator, 
who had filled the two doughtv governors of Virginia and 
Georgia with uncomfortable forebodings, had " a negro boy " 
" for his only visible auxiliary," and none of the respectable 
men of Boston had heard of the hole, of the agitator, of the 
negro boy, or even of the a^tation. One thing must be true, 

— either the man and the boy were pretty vigorous, or else 
diere was a great Trutii in that obscure hole ; for in spite of 
liie governors and the mayors, snite of the manv able men in 
tire South and the North, spite, also, of the wealth and respect- 
aU&fy of the whole land — it is a plain case that the aboli^ 

1848.] TJ^ Frea SM MonmnmL tIS 

tionists have shaken the natioai, and thdr Idea is thr Idea of 
the time, and the party which shall warmly welcome that ia 
destined before long to overiide all the other parties. 

One thing must be said of the leaders of the anti-slaares]^ 
iBOvement: thej asked for nothing but Justice ; not Ju^ioe fm 
themselves, — they were not Socratic enough to ask that, — 
but only Justice for the slave, and to obtain Uiat they forsook 
aU that human hearts most love. It is ratiier a cheap courage 
which fou^t at Monterey and Palo Alto — a bravery that can 
be bought for ten dollars a month ; the patriotism which hm^ 
ras for ^^ our side," which makes speeches at Eaneuil HaO^ 
nay, which carries torch^lights in a procession, is not ike r^ 
lofdest kind of patriotism ; even the man who stands up 9i 
fbe stake, and in one brief hour of agony anticipates the long 
torment of disease, does not endure die hardest but only ik9 
most obvious kind of martyrdom. But when a man for con* 
science' sake leaves a callmg that would ensure him bread and 
respectability, when he abjures the opinions whieh give him tftit 
esteem of honorable men ; when for the sake of Truth and 
Justice he devotes himself to liberating the most abused and 
despised class of men, solely because tihey are men and broUk^ 
ers; wh^i he thus steps fortii in front of tiie world and eBb 
counters poverty and neglect, the scorn, the loathmg, and the 
contempt of mankind — why there is something not very ooni» 
men in that. There was once a man who had not where te 
lay his head, who was bom in ^^ an obscure hole " and had 
not even a negro boy for his ^^ auxiliary ; " who all his life 
lived with most obscure peiBons — eating and drinking wttk 
pddioans and sinners ; who found no favor witii mayors or gon^ 
eniors, and yet has had some influence on the history of the 
worid. When intelligent men mock at small begmnings, it is 
Burprismg they cannot remember that the greatest institutions 
have had their times which tried men's souls, and that they 
who have done all the noblest and best woric of mankind, 
sometimes forgot self-interest in looking at a great Truth, and 
though they had not always even a negro boy to help them or 
an obscure hole to lay their heads in, yet found the might of 
the universe was on the mde of Bi^t mi themselves Workers 

The abolitionists did not cdm to found a political party ; they 
set forth an Idea. If they had set up the Interest of the 
Whigs or the Democrats, the manufocturers or the merchantSi 
they mi^t have fcurmed a* party and bad a h^h plaee in il| 

116 The Free SM Movement. [Dec. 

irith money, ease, social rank and a great name — in iiie party 
newspapers. Some of them had political talents, Ideas more 
ihan enough, the power of organizing men, the skill to manage 
ihem, and a genius for eloquence. With such talents it de- 
mands not a Uttle manliness to keep out of politics and in ihe 

To found a political party there is no need of a great moral 
Idea ; the Whig party has had none such this long time ; ike 
Democratic party pretends to none and acts on none ; each 
represents an Interest which can be estimated in dollars ; nei- 
ther seems to see that behind questions of political economy 
there is a question of political morality, and the welfare of 
the nation depends on the answer we shall ^ve ! So long as 
the abolitionists had nothing but an Idea, and but few men had 
that, there was no inducement for the common run of politi- 
cians to join them ; they could make nothing by it — so nothing 
of it. The Guardians of Education, the fiustees of the Pop- 
ular Religion, did not like to invest in such funds. But stiU 
the Idea went on, spite of the most entire, the most bitter, the 
most heartless and unrelenting opposition ever known in Amer- 
ica. No men were ever hated as the abolitionists ; political 
parties have joined to despise and sectarian churches to curse 
them. Yet the Idea has gone on, till now all that is most pious 
m the sects, most patriotic in the parties; all that is most 
Christian in modem philanthropy, is on its side. It has some 
representative in almost every family, save here and there one 
whose God is Mammon alone, where the parents are antedilu- 
vian and the children bom old and conservative, with no &cul- 
ty but memory to bind them to mankind. It has its spokes- 
men in the House and the Senate. The tide rises and swellsi 
and the compact wall of the Whig party, the tall ramparts 
of the Democrats, are beginning to " cave in." 

As the Idea has gamed ground men have begun to see that 
an Interest was connected with it, and begun to look after 
that. One thing the North knows well — the art of calcula- 
tion, and of cyphering. So it begins to ask questions as to 
the positive and comparative influence of the Slave Power on 
the country : who fought the Revolution ? — why the North, 
fumishing the money and the men, Massachusetts alone sendU 
ing fourteen thousand soldiers more than all the present slave 
states. Who pays the national taxes ? the North, for the slaves 
pay but a trifle. Who owns the greater part of the property — 
the mills, the shops, the ships ? the North. Who writes the 

1848.] The Free Sail Movement. 117 

books — the histories, poems, philosophies, works of sciencOi 
eren the sermons and commentaries on the Bible ? still Ihe 
North. Who sends their children to school and college ? the 
North. Who builds the churches ; who founds the Bible-soci- 
eties, Education-societies, missionary-societies — the thousand 
and one institutions for making men better and better off? 
why the North. In a word, who is it that in seventy years 
has made the nation great, rich, and fiemious for her Ideas and 
their success all over the world? The answer is — still the 
North, the North. 

Well, says the calculator, but who has the offices of the na- 
tion ? the South. Who has filled the presidential chair forty- 
eight years out of sixty ? nobody but slave-holders. Who has* 
held the chief posts of honor ? the South. Who occupy the 
chief offices in the army and navy ? the South. Who in- 
creases the cost of thepK)stK)ffice and pays so litttle of its ex- 
pense ?* the South. Who is most blustering and disposed to 
quarrel? the South. Who made the Mexican war? the 
South. Who sets at nought the Constitution ? the South. 
Who would bring the greatest peril in case of war with a 
strong enemy ? why the South, the South ! But what is the 
South most noted for abroad ? for her three nullion slaves ; — 
and the North ? for her wealth, freedom, education, religion J 

Then the calculator begins to remember past times — opens 
the account-books and turns back to old charges : five slaves 
count the same as three freemen, and the three million slaves, 
which at home are nothing but property, entitle their owners 
to as many Representatives in Congress as are now sent by all 
the one million eight hundred thousand freemen who make the 
entire population of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Bhode 
Island, and Massachusetts, and have created a vast amount of 

K>perty worth more than all the slave states put together ! 
en the North must deliver up the frigitive slaves, and Ohio 
must play the Traitor, the Kidnapper, the Bloodhound, for 
Kentucky ! The South wanted to make two slave states out 

* The following table thowB the facts of the case : — 

Cost of post-office in slave states for 
the year ending July 1st, 1847, 

Receipts from post-office, 624,380 

Cost of post-office in flree statea for 
the year ending Jnly 1st, 1847, 

Receipts from post-office, 1,459,631 

So the Southern post-office cost the nation $694,161, and the Northern post- 
office paid the nation $421,412, making a difference of $1,115,573 against the 

UB The Free Shu Mmmm$. [Dm^ 

of Plorida, and will out of Tezas^ she makes slav^eiy j>erpeta- 
;al,m both, she is always bra^dng as if she made the fievola- 
£on, while she only laid the Embai^go, and made the late w«r 
with England, — but that is going further back than is needful. 
!Che South imprisons our colored sailors in her ports, contraiy 
rto Justice, and even contrary to the Constitution. .She drofe 
jxar comnussioners out of South Carolina and Louisiana, wlran 
tlhe J were sent to look into the matter and legally seek for jne- 
^Icess. She afEronts the world with a most odious de^)otis]i|, 
and tried to make England return her runaway slaves, makii^ 
the nation a reproach before the worid ; she insists on kidnap- 
ping men even in Boston; she declares &at we shall not abol* 
jsh slavery in the captal of the Union; that she will extend 
it in spite of ns from sea to sea; she annexed Texas for a 
slave^pasture, and then made &e Mexican war to enlarge that 
jiastttre, but the North musti)ay for it ; she treads the Consti- 
tution under her feet, the Norm under her feet, Justice and 
ihe Unalienable lUghts of Man under her feet. 

The North has charged all these items and many more ; now 
.they are brought up for settiement, and, if not cancelled, will 
jDot be forgot till the Muse of History gives up the ghost The 
North has the American sentiment, the American Idea, puts 
tthe man befbre the dollar — counting man the Substance, 
^property the Accident- The sentiment and Idea of liberty 
are bottomed on Christianity, as that on Human Nature ; they 
jare quite sure to prevail ; the spirit of the nation is on tiieir 
jBide — the spirit of Oxe age and the Everlasting Right. 

It is instructive to see how the political parties have hithe^ 
to kept clear of anti^lavery. It is '^no part of the Whig doc- 
, trine ; " the Democrats abhor it. Mr. Webster, it is true, once 
• X^laimed the WUmot Proviso as his thunder, hxxi he cannot 
' wield it, and so it slips out of his hands, and runs round to the 
chair of his brother senator from New Hampshire. No leadmg 
^litician in America has ever been a leader i^inst slavery. 
Even Mr. Adams only went as he was pushed. True, among 
the Whigs there are Giddings, Palfrey, Tuck, and Mann ; — 
among the Democrats there is Hale, and a few others,; but 
what are they among so many ? The members of the fami^ 
of Truth are unpopular, they make esoellent servants but hard 
masters ; while the members of tiie 'Family of Interest are all 
Tespectable ; they are the best company in the worid ; their liv- 
ely is attractive; their motto, ^Hhe almighijy dollar," is apass- 
poit everywhere. Now it happens that some of the move eA- 

1848.} The Free SaaJUmmmt. lit 

vanoed memibers of tbe bmiy of Truth figbt tlieir way iak^ 
^^ good society," aad make matrimonial alliances mih some ci 
the poor relatbns of the faoulj of Interest. Straightway they 
become respectable; the church publishes the bans; the mai^ 
riage is solemnized in the most Christian form ; the attorney d^ 
Clares it legal. So the Gt>spel and Law are satisfied, Truth and 
Interest made one, and many persons after this alliance may be 
seen in the company of Truth who before knew not of her «xis^ 
ence. The Free coil party has grown out of the anti-slaveij 
movement. It will have no more slave territory, but does not 
touch slavery in the states, or between them, and says nothing 
against tiie compromises of tiie Constitution, — the time has 
not come for that. The party has been organized in haatOi 
and is composed, as are all pieties, of most ^scordant materi- 
als, some of its members seemmg hardly familiar with the Idea; 
some are not vet emancipated from old prgudices, old method! 
of action, ana old interests; but the greater part seem hostile 
to davery in aU its forms. The immediate triumph of this 
new party is not to be locked for ; not desirable. In Massa- 
chusetts they have gained large numbers in a very shcwi 
Eriod, and under every disadvantage. What their futum 
itory is to be we will not now attempt to conjecture ; but thii 
is {dam, that they csmnot remain long in their present positi(»9 
— eith^ they will go back, and, after due penance^ receive 
pditical absolution from the church of tbe Whigs, or the Deia> 
ocrats, — and this seems impossible, — or else they must ff 
forward where iixe Idea of justice impels them. One day tlui 
motto " no mwe slave territory " will give place to this : " no 
slavery in America." The revolution in Ideas is not over ti^ 
&at is done, nor the corresponding revolution in deeds whilo 
a single slave remains in America. A man who studies th| 
great movements of mankind feels sure that that day is not 
&r off; that no combination of northern and southern interesti 
no declamation, no violence, no love of money, no party zea), 
no fraud and no lies, no compromise, can long put off the tinrai. 
Bad passions will ere long league with the holiest love of 
^^, and that wickedness m^y be put down with the strong 
iaaad which might easily be ended at little cost and without 
any violence, even of speech. One day the Democratic part^ 
of the North will remember the grievances which they havo 
fittflered from the South, and, if they embrace the Idea jqC 
Freedom, no constitutional scruple wul long hold them from 
4Us work. What slavery is in the acoddle of the nmeteenth 

120 The Free Sail Movement. [Deo. 

century is quite plsdn ; what it wXl be at the beginning of the 
twentieth it is not difficult to foresee. The Slave Power has 
gamed a great victory — one more such will cost its life. 
South GaroUna did not forget her usual craft in voting for a 
northern man that was devoted to slavery. 

Let us now speak briefly of the conduct of the election. It 
has been attended, at least in New England, with more mtel- 
lectual action than any election that we remember, and with 
less violence, denunciation, and vulgar appeals to low passions 
and sordid interest. Massachusetts has shown herself worthy 
of her best days ; the Free Soil vote may be looked on with 
pride, by men who conscientiouslv cast their ballot the other 
way. Men of ability and integnty have been active on both 
mdes, and able speeches have been made, while the vulgarity 
that marked the " Harrison Campwgn " has not been repeated. 

In this contest the Democratic party made a good confes- 
mon, and " owned up " to the full extent of their conduct. 
They stated the question at issue, fairly, clearly, and entirely; 
the point could not be mistaken. The Baltimore convention 
dealt honestly in declaring the political opinions of the party : 
the opinions of their canmdate on the great party questions, 
and the subject of slavery, were made known with exemplary 
clearness and fidelity. The party did not fight in the dark ; 
<hey had no dislike to holding slaves, and they pretend none. 
In all parts of the land they went before the people with the 
same doctrines and the same arguments; everywhere they 
** repudiated " the Wihnot Proviso. This gave them an aa- 
Tantoge over a party with a different policy. They had a 
platform of doctrines; they knew what it was; the party 
Bfcood on the platform ; then the candidate stood on it. 

The Whig party have conducted differently ; they did not 
publish their confession of faith. We know what was the 
Whig platform in 1840 and in 1844. But what is it in 1848 ? 
Particular men may publish their opinions, but the doctrines <^ 
the party are " not communicated to the public." For once 
la the hwtory of America there was a Whig convention which 
passed no " resolutions," — it was the convention at Philadet 
plua. On one point, of the greatest importance too, it expressed 
the opinions of tiie Whigs : it rejected the Wilmot Proviso, and 
Mr. Webster's thunder, which had fallen harmless and without 
lightning from his hands, was " kicked out" of the meeting! 
As the party had no platform, so their candidate had no poht- 

1848.] The Free Sail Movement. 121 

ical opinions. " What ! " says one, " choose a president who 
does not declare his opinions, — then it must be because they 
are perfectly well known ! *' Not at all : General Taylor is 
raw m politics and has not taken his first " drill." " Then he 
must be a man of such great political and moral ability that 
lus Will may take the place of reason ! " Not at all : he is 
known only as a successful soldier, and his reputation is scarcely 
three years old. Mr. Webster declared his nomination ^' not 
fit to be made," and nobody ha£ any authentic statement of his 
political opinions — perhaps not even General Taylor himself. 
In the electioneering campwgn there has been a certain du- 
plicity in the supporters of General Taylor : at the North it 
was mmntsdned that he is not opposed to the Wilmot Proviso, 
while at the South quite uniformly the opposite was maintmned. 
Tins duplicity had the appearance of dishonesty. In New 
England the Whigs did not meet the facts and arguments of the 
Free Soil party : in the beginning of the campaign the attempt 
was made, but was afterwards comparatively abandoned ; the 
matter of slavery was left out of the case, and the old question 
of the Sub-treasury and the Tariff was brought up again, and 
a stranger would have thought, from some Whig newspapers, 
that that was the only question of any importance. Few men 
were prepared to see a man of the ability and experience of 
Mr. Webster in his electioneering speeches pass wholly over 
the subject of slavery. The nation is presently to decide 
whether slavery is to extend over the new territory or not : 
even in a commercial and financial point of view, this is far 
more important than the question of Banks and Tarifl& ; but 
when its importance is estimated by its relation to Freedom, 
Right, Human Welfare in general, — we beg ike pardon of 
American politicians for speaking of such things, — one is 
amazed to find the Whig party of the opinion that it is more 
important to restore the Tariff of 1842 than to prohibit sla- 
very in a country as large as the thirteen states which fought 
the Revolution ! It might have been expected of little, ephem- 
eral men — mintite politicians, who are the pest of the State, 
— but when at such a crisis a great man rises, amid a sea of 
upturned faces, to instruct the lesser men, and forgets Right, 
forgets Freedom, forgets Man, and forgets God, talking only 
of the Tariff and of Banks, why a stranger is amazed, till he 
remembers the peculiar relation of the great man to the mon- 
eyed men, — that Tie is their attorney, retained, paid, and pen- 
sioned to do the work of men whose interest it is to keep the 


1S£ The Free SoU MMfement. [Deo. 

qoesti^ of Slavery out of sight. If Oeneral Gavaigoac had 
received a pension from the manufacturere of Lyons and of 
Lisle, to the amount of half a million of francs, should we be 
surprised if he forgot the needy millions o! the land ? Nay, 
only if he did not forget them f 

It was a little hardy to ask the anti-slavery men to vote for 
General Taylor ; it was like asking the members of a temper- 
ance society to dioose an eminent distiller for president of 
their association. Still, we know that h(me8t anti-davery men 
did hoaiestly vote for him. We know nothing to impeach the 
political integrity of General Taylor ; the simple &ct that he 
is a slave-holder seems reason enough why he should not be 
president of a nation who believe that ^^ aU men are created 
equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable 
Bights." Men will be astonished in the next century to learn 
that the ^' model Republic " had such an affection for slaine- 
holders. Here is a remarkable document, which we thioi: 
should be preserved : — 

** Jonr HAQAmD, 8m. To Zaobabub Tatior. Received for Beeordf ISih Feb.y 1818. 

*' This Ltdenturt^ made tbis twenty-first day of April, eighteen 
hundred and forty-two, between Jphn Hagacd» Sr., of the City of 
New Orleans, State of Louisiana, of one part, and Zachariah Tay« 
lor, of the other part, WitJtesseth, that the said John Hagard, Sr.« 
for and in consideration of the sum of Ninety- Five Thousand 
Dollars to him in hand paid, and secured to be paid, as hereafter 
stated by the said Zachary Taylor, at and before the sealing and 
delivering of these Presents, has this day bargained, sold, and 
delivered, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these Presents does 
bargain, sell, deliver, and confirm unto the said Zachariah Taylor, 
his heirs and assigns, forever, all that plantation and tract of land: 

. . . • Also, all the following Slaves — Nelson, Milley, 
Peldea, Mason, Wilhs, Rachel, Caroline, Lucinda, Ramdall, Wir- 
man, Caorson, Little Ann, Winna, Jane, Tom, Sally, Gracia, Big 
Jane, Louisa, Maria, Charles, Barnard, Mira, Sally, Carson, Paul^ 
Sansford, Mansfield, Harry Oden, Harry Horley, Carter, Henri- 
etta, Ben, Charlotte, Wood, Dick, Harrietta, Clarissa, Ben, An- 
thony, Jacob, Hamby, Jim. Gabriel, Emeline, Armstead, George, 
Wilson, Cherry, Peggy, Walker, Jane, Waliace, Bartlett, Martha, 
Letitta, Barbara, Matilda, Lacy, John, Sarah, Bigg Ann, Allen, 
Tom, George, John, Dick, Fielding, Nelson or Isom, Winna, Shel- 
k>d, Lidney, Little Cherry, Puck. Sam, Hannah or Anna, Maiy, 
Ellen, Henrietta, and two small children : — Also, all the Horses, 
Males, Cattle, Hogs, fVuming Utensils, and Tools, now on jaid 

18180 The Free SoaMwemem. 1S8 

Plantalioo — togelber with all and «iagcilar, tbe hereditaaieiilei 
appartenances, privileges, and advantages unto the said Land and 
Slaves belonging or appertaining. To have and to hold the said 
Plantation and tract of Land and Slaves, and other property 
above described, unto the said Zachariah Tajlor, his heirs and 
assigns, forever, and to his and their only proper use, benefits, and 
behoof, forever. And the said John Hagard, Sr., for himself, his 
heirs, executors, and administrators, does covenant, promise, and 
agree to and with said Zachariah Taylor, his heirs and assigns, 
that the aforesaid Plantation and tract of Land and Slaves, and 
other ^property, with the appurtenances, unto the said Zachariah 
Tiiylor, hb heirs, and assigns against the daim or claims of all 
fKCBons whomsoever claiming or to claim the same, or any part 
or |)arcel thereof, shall and will warrant, and by these Presents 
forever defend. 

" 2» Testimony Whereof^ the said John Hagard, Sr., has here- 
unto set his hand and seal, the day and year first above written." 

If this document had been discovered among some Egyptian ^' 
fwpyrii with the date 1848 before Christ, it would have been ^^ 
remarkable as a sign of the times. Li a Bepublic^ nearly four 
thousand years later, it has a meaning which some future his- 
torian will appreciate. 

The Eree Soil party have been plain and explicit as the 
Democrats ; they published their creed in the celebrated Buf- 
£eJo Platform. The questions of Sub-treasury and Tariff are 
set aside ; " no more slave territory " is the watchword. In 

SH they represent an Interest, for slavery is an injury to the 
orth in many ways, and to a certain extent puts the North 
in the hands of the South ; — but chiefly an Idea. Nobody 
bought they would elect their candidate, whosoever he might 
he ; they could only arrest public attention and call men to 
ihe great questions at issue, and so, perhaps, prevent the evil 
which the South was bent on accomplishing. This they have 
done and done well. The result has been highly gratifying. 
• It was pleasant and encoura^ug to see men ready to sacrifice 
their old party attachments and their private interests, oft- 
times, for the saJce of a moral principle. We do not mean to 
say that there was no moral principle in the other parties — 
ire know .better. But it seems to us that the Free SoHeis 
oommitted a great error in selecting Mr. Van Buren as their 
candidate. True, he is a man of ability, who has held ttie 
lugbest offices and acquitted himself honorably in all ; but he 
liad been the " northern man with southern principles ; " had 
lihown a degree of subserviency to ike South which was m- 

124 The Free SM Movement. [Dec. 

markable, if not ^galar or strange : his promise, made and 
repeated in the most solemn manner, to veto any act of Con- 
gress abolishing slavery in the capital, was an insult to the 
country and a disgrace to himself. He had a general repu- 
tation for instability and want of political finmiess. It is 
true, he had opposed the annexation of Texas, and lost his 
nomination in 1844 by that act ; but it is also true that he 
advised his party to vote for Mr Polk, who was notoriously in 
favor of annexation. His nomination, we must confess, was 
unfortunate ; the BuffiU o convention seems to have looked at 
hb availability more than his fitness, and in their contest for a 
principle began by making a compromise of that very principle 
itself. It was thought he could " carry " the state of New 
York ; and so a man who was not a fair representative of the 
Idea was set up. It was a bad beginning. It is better to be 
defeated a thousand times rather than seem to succeed by a 
compromise of the principle contended for. Still, enough has 
been done to show the nation that the dollar is not almighty ; 
that the South is not always to insult the North and rule tiie 
land, annexing, plundering, and making slaves when she will ; 
that the North has men who will not abandon the great Senti- 
ment of Freedom, which is the boast of the nation and the age. 

Greneral Taylor is elected by a large popular vote ; some 
voted for him on account of his splendid military success; some 
because he is a slave-holder and true to the interests of the 
Slave Power ; some because he is a " good Whig" and wants a 
high TariflF of duties. But we think there are men who gave 
him their support because he has never been concerned in the 
intrigues of a part^, is indebted to none for past favors, is 
pledged to none, bribed by none, and intimidated by none ; be- 
cause he seems to be an honest man, with a certain rustic in- 
telligence ; a plain blunt man, that loves his country and man- 
kind. We hope this was a large class. K he is such a man, 
he will enter upon his office under favorable auspices and with 
the best wishes of all good men. 

But what shall the Free Soil party do next ? they cannot 
go back, — Conscience waves behind tiiem her glittering winsg 
and bids them on ; they cannot stand still, for as yet their 
measures and their watchword do not fully represent their 
Idea. They must go forward, as the early abolitionists went, 
with tlus for their motto : No Slavery in America. " He 
that would lead men must walk but one step before them ; '* 
true, but he must think many steps before them, or they will 

1848.] The Free Soil Movement. 125 

presently tread him under their feet. The present success of 
the Idea is doubtful. The Interests of the South will demand 
tiie extension of slavery,* the Interests of the party now com- 

* The following extract, from the Charleston Marcury^ shows the feeling of 
the Soath. — ''Parsaant to a call, a meeting of the dtizens of Orangebara 
district was held to-day, 6th November, in the court hoose, which was weU 

filled on the occasion Gen. D. F. Jamison then rose, and moved 

the appointment of a committee of twenty-five, to take into consideration the 
continaed agitation by Congress of the question of Slavery ; .... the 
Committee, urongh their chairman, Gen. Jamison, made the following Report : 

**The time has arrived when the slaveholding States of the confederacy 
most take decided action upon the continued attadcs of the North ajgainst their 
domestic institutions, or submit in silence to that humiliating position in the 
opinions of mankind that longer acquiescence must inevitably reduce them to. 
.... The agitation of the subject of Slavery commenced in the fanatical 
murmnrings of a few scattered abolitionists, to whom it was a long time con- 
fined ; but now it has swelled into a torrent of popular opinion at the North ; 
it has invaded the fireside and the church, the press and the halls of legislation ; 
it has seized upon the deliberations of Congress, and at this moment is sapping 
the foundations, and about to overthrow the fairest political structure that the 
ingenuity of man has ever devised. 

** The overt eflforts of abolitionism were confined for a long period to annoy- 
ing applications to Congress, under color of the pretended nght of ])etition ; 
it lias since directed the whole weight of its malign influence against the 
annexation of Texas, and had well nigh cost to the country the loss of that 
important province ; but emboldened by success and the inaction of the South, 
in an unjust and selfish spirit of national agrarianism it would now appropri- 
ate the whole public domain. It might well have been supposed that the 
ondutorbed possession of the whole of Oregon territory would have satisfied 
the non-sUvenolding States. This they now hold, by the incorporation of the 
ordinance of 1787 into the bill of the last session for establishm|^ a territorial 
government for Oregon. That provision, however, was not sustamed by them 
firom any apprehension that the territory could ever be settled fk^om the States 
of the South, but it was intended as a gratuitous insult to the Southern people, 
and a malignant and unjustifiable attack upon the institution of Slavery. 

" We are called upon to give up the whole public domain to the fanatical 
cravings of abolitionism, and the unholy lust of political power. A territory, 
acquir^ by the whole country for the use of all, where treasure has been 
squandered like chaff, and Southern blood poured out like water, is sought to 
be appropriated by one section, because the other chooses to adhere to an 
iostitation held not only under the guaranties that brought this confederacy 
into existence, but under the highest sanction of Heaven. Should we quietly 
fold our hands under this assumption on the part of the non-slaveholding 
States, the fate of the South is sealed, the institution of Slavery it gone, and its 

existence is but a question of time Tour committee are unwilling 

to anticipate what vrill be the result of the combined wisdom and joint action 
of the Southern portion of the Confederacy on this question; but as an 
initiatory step to a concert of action on the part of the people of South Caro* 
lina, they respectfully recommend, for the adoption of this meeting, the follow- 
ing resolutions: 

" Bnolvtd, That the continued agitation of the question of Slavery, by the 
people of the non-sUveholding States, by their legislatures, and by their 
representatives in Congress, exhibito not only a want of national courtesy, 
which should always exist between kindred States, but is a palpable violation 
ci good faith towards the slaveholding States, who adopted the present 
Gonstitation * in order to form a more perfect union.* 

126 Slwrt Reviews and Notices. [Dec. 

ing into power will demand tiieir peculiar boon. So aoother 
compromise is to be feared, and the extension of slaverj yet 
further west. But the ultimate triumph of the Genius of 
Freedom is certain. In Europe it shakes the earth with 
mightj tread ; thrones fall before its conquering feet. ¥rhile 
in the eastern continent kings, armies, emperors, are impotent 
before that Power, shall a hundred thousand slave-helders staj 
it here with a bit of parchment ? 

Art. Vm. — short REVIEWS AND NOTICES- 

I. — Endymion: A Tale of Greece, By Henry B. Hirsx, 
Author of the ** Penance of Roland," « The Funeral of Time," 
and other Poems. Boston. William D. Ticknor & Co. 184B. 

Ideal love ! The story of the mortal swam who wooed a; 
Groddess and was loved bj her ! Endymion and the Moon ! The 
Grecian tale cannot grow obsolete so long as human hearts and 
poetrj and love are mcts of life. Every youth whose soul was 
ever kindled with the love of beauty, and ever yearned with 
boundless aspiration, has or has had an Endymion in him, and 
reads the tale with as much trembling interest as he might the 
secret of his own heart, were he to find it in the public prints 
some morning, delicately told, so as to flatter rather than betray. 
The deepest consciousness, the fairest imaginings, the lofUest am* 
bition, the profoundest, tenderest joy, the deepest tragedy, and wild- 
est unrest, — indeed the whole problem, metaphysical and moroV 
of human life and destiny, are exquisitely involved in this antique 
fable. It is classic for ever. Happy the artist or the poet who 

** Bitohed^ That while we ac(|iuesce in adopting the boundary between the 
ria^idiolding and non-slavefaolding States known as the Missonn Compromiie 
Une, we will not snbmit to any farther restriction npon the rights of any South* 
em man to carry his property and his institutions into territory acquired by 
Soudiem treanire and by Southern blood. 

** BetohteLThtA should the Wilmot Proviso, or any other restriction, b# 
iqsplied by Congress to the territories of the United States, south of 36 degi 
30 min. north latitude, we recommend to our Bepresentative in Congreasi at 
the decided opinion of this portion of his district, to leave his seat in t£u bodji 
and return home. 

" RtBolvtdy That we respectfully suggest to both houses of the Legislatare 
of South Carolina, to adopt a similar recommendation as to our Senatoia- in 
Coi^vss from this State. 

**■ EeMolvedy That upon the return home of our Senators and Benresentativey 
in Gbngrcss, the Legislature of South Carolina should be forthwitii asaemhicd 
to adop^such measures as the ex^ncy may demand. 

** The Resolutions were then submitted, strtaltjii, and, together with tba 
Beport, were unanimously adopted.'* 

1848.] ShoH B^mewB and Notices. 127 

can reproduce it to ns in its liviog beautj ! Keats adopted it, and 
almost breathed out his own passionate life in it. Now a rival 
has sprung up, verilj an American Endymion, and more Grecian 
than the other, however you may find them compare in other 
respects. Take, for instance, the very first stanzas : 

" Through a deep dell with mossy hemlocks girded — 
A dell by many a sylvan Dryad prest, — 
Which Latmos' Uyfij crest 
Flmighalf in shadow — where the red deer herded — 
While mellow murronrs shook the forests gray — 
Endymion took his way. 

''Like clnstering sun-light Ml his yellow tresses, 

Wiihpurple fillet, scarce confining, bonad, 

Winding their flow around 

A snowy throat that drilled to their caresses. 

And trembling on a breast as Indd white 

As sea-foam in the night 

" His fluted tunic swelling, yielding, floated, 
Moulded to every motion of his form, 
And with the contact warm, 
Bound charms on which the Satyrs might have gloated 
Had he been buskined nymph ; but, being man, 
They loved him like to Pan.'* 

We break ofi* here abruptly, for no reason but the nnreasona- 
bleness of ofiering selections, specimens, where every stanza is 
essential to the picture. In this style it goes on, richer and more 
beautiful at every step ; every verse as polished, every image as 
distinct, every suggestion brief and direct, standing in organic 
unity with every other, and all bathed in the wannest atmosphere 
of beauty. The hero stands before you, bold and beautiful and 
statuesque. Yet we must dismember the living whole, by tearing 
from their setting and presenting a stanza or two more, to show 
Endymion bathing in that crystal lake, as the beach rises over 
him wbtfully watching. 

" Endymion yet was heated: sudden turning, 
He loosed the clusters of his hyacinth hair. 
And shook them on the air ^ 
Laid down his pi[)es ; unbound his girdle, burning 
The while with August heat j his tunic now 
He drew above his brow. 

** There, in the moon-liffht radiantly gleaming, 
Lovely as mom he rose ; the swelling veins 
^ Seeming like purple stains 
Along his limbs, which, like a star's, were streaming 
Serenest light, as lustrously ho stood, 
Iteflected in the flood. 

" And now, her purple zenith reaching, brighter 

Than ever before, reclined the Queen of Night, 
Enchanted with the sight 
Of one whose pure and perfect form was whiter 
Than Indian pearl, her bosom's frozen mow 
KeHing m paasion's glow. 

128 Short Beviews and Notices. [Dec. 

** Slowlr EndTmion bent, the light Elysian 

Flooding his figure. Kneeling on one knee 
He loosed his sandals, lea 
And lake and wood -land flittering on his vision, 
A fairy landscape, bnght and beauUM 
With Venns at her fnll. 

'^Hia milky feet gleaming in emerald grasses ; 

The moon-beams trembling on his whiter neck; 
His breast without a speck ; 
While the dense woods around, the mossy masses 
Of rudest rock, the bronzed and Titan trees 
Looking on Latmian leas, 

" Assumed from him an aspect soft and holy ; 
For, like a naked God, the shepherd youth 
Stood in his simple truth. 
At last, with gentle steps retiring slowly. 

He paus^ beside a rude, rough laurel brake, 
A bow-shot from the lake. 

" White-footed, then he passed the crimson clover 
Like a swift meteor gleaming on the night, 
Streaming in silver light. 
His arms uplifted and his hands flung over 
His noble head ; — a sinele spring he gave, 
Then flashed beneatn the wave. 

'* Down, as he sank, a flood of yellow glory 

Shot from the moon, as if the moon had drooped 
And on the mountain stooped ; 
And soon the sphere itself, grown gray and hoary. 
Its essence gone, slid slowly *neath a cloud 
That wrapped it like a shroud. 

" Then, like a ghost of some unwedded maiden, 

On whose pale lips life seemed to strive with death. 
Hushing, as 'twere her breath, 
A glorious figure, wreathed with vapor laden 

With delicate odors, stood with yearning eyes. 
Waiting Endymion's rise : 

'*£ndymion rose and on the water lying 

Tlung out his arms, sank, rose and sank again ; 
Fale Dian in her pain, 
(For it was Dian's self who watched him,) sighing. 
While gazing on him, and her breath came short 
And heavy from her heart 

" She saw not Eros, who on rosy pinion 

Hung in the willow's shadow — did not feel 
His subtle, searching steel 
Piercing her very soul, though his dominion 

Her breast had grown ; and what to her was heaven 
If from Endymion riven ? 

"Nothing; for love flowed in her, like a river. 

Flooding the banks of wisdom ; and her soul, 
Losmg its self-control, 
Waved with a va^e, uncertain, tremulous quiver; 
And, like a lily in the storm, at last 
She sank 'neath passion'a blast** 

1848.] Short Meviewa and Notices. 129 

These stanzas are a fair sample of the stjle of the whole four 
cantos, — cantos which only disappoint you by their brevity and 
win you back to re-perusal. Glossy and symmetrically rounded 
are they as the Grecian marble, clipping with their wise bounds 
a wealth of beauty not easily exhausted. Hence we call the 
poem Grecian, because it is not diffuse and limitless like Keats's, 
but so direct, bold, simple, and objective. Here the creative im- 
pulse does not overflow its banks, as in the case of Keats ; it is 
confined within its own severe symmetric channel^ and observes 
the unity of Art The imagination of this poet does not riot, as 
Keats did, and pursue in its vague and greedy plan the whole sub- 
terranean, sub-marine labyrinth and wilderness of kindred mythol- 
ogy, exhausting you with the very fever of Endymion's dream. 
It beholds Endymion and sets his marble form berore you. 

As to Mr. Hirst's peculiar treatment of the story, his making a 
Roman of his hero, and bringing him back to a repentant practi- 
cality before the dinauement, we will not quarrel with him, for 
he so clings to the dream in the dismissing of it, that really we 
feel its empire reestablished. Keats solves the knot more to our 
mind however, who makes him find the goddess in the mortal bride. 

Our rambling remarks are not a criticism. We mean them for 
a recognition, which we hope they may convey to our readers, of 
a genuine poem. Indeed, a more artistic, vital, and substantial 
product of the poetic temperament has seldom, if ever, made its 
appearance among this practical people. It has the healthy glow 
of a creative genius, thoroughly aroused and self-possessed. Its 
rhythmic form is a sure sign of life ; spontaneous music true to se- 
verest laws of the great world-vibration. Its pulse is vigorous and 
full. The measure of the stanza is most apt, and stimulates tlie 
right mood ; we dismiss one after the other as reluctantly as we 
do the waves which ripple up upon the pebbly beach, and beau- 
tiful often as gems are the single words, pictures in themselves, 
which are strung together in those musical series. 

2. — Se Jin Kwei Ouing Tung Tseuen Ckeuen. The CampleU 
History of Se Jin Kwei : or, Oie Conquest of Corea. A Novel. 
Transkted from the Chinese, by Stanislas Hebnitz, late 
Attach^ of the United States Mission to China, Member of the 
" Institut Historique de Paris," of the American Oriental Soci- 
ety, &c , &c, &c 

The above is the title of a work making four small volumes 
in the original Chinese, which has been translated by the acoora- 
plished interpreter to the American Legation to China; but not 
yet published or even printed. Some ojf our readers may remem- 

xo. V. 9 

130 bihort lieviewu and Noticei. [Dec. 

ber the course of lectures on China delivered by Mr. Hernitz, a 
few years ago, at New York, and be ready to anticipate a good 
deal of pleasure from this work. We will not give an analysis of 
the entire work, and spoil the effect of the novel by relating the 
whole of its plot ; for its whole, we trust, will soon be laid before 
the public. 

*' In a retired and peaceful part of the district Lung Mun, in 
Keang Chan Fu, in the province of Shan Se, there was a village 
called Se Kea. In that village lived a very wealthy man, whose 
name was Se Han. He had two sons : the name of the oldest 
was Se Heung, that of the younger, who was then about thirty 
years of age, was Se Ying. After the death of the old man the 
two brothers made an equal division of the heritage. To each 
fell a share of a considerable extent of rich soil, and both enjoyed 
in their neighbourhood the reputation of being wealthy gentlemen. 
Se Ying had married a lady called Fan, who, when she was in her 
thirty-fifth year, dreamed one night that a star had fallen into her 
lap. Soon afterwards she became pregnant, and at the end of ten 
months gave birth to a boy, who received the name of Te Le, with 
the additional designation of Jin Kwei. As he grew up the boy 
never uttered a word, and his parents were apprehensive he would 
remain dumb for life. This was to them a subject of great sorrow." 

One day the Emperor, Tai Tsung, held his court, and the Duke 
Sew Mo related a dream portending misfortune to the empire. 
But the Emperor also had a dream, of the same import, which he 
told as follows : — 

** My dream was a strange one, indeed. I dreamed I had 
mounted my horse, and, unattended, was riding out of the camp. 
I admired the scenery before me, which was extremely beautiful. 
After a short while I looked back, when, lo ! my camp had disap- 
peared, and I perceived a strange man hastening on towards me. 
He wore a red helmet, was clad in complete armor of the same 
color, and flourished in his hand a red copper sword. His face 
was of a green hue, and bore an expression of extreme ferocity. 
He urged the steed upon which he was mounted to the utmost 
speed, pushing forward with the evident design of taking my life. 
I immediately called out for assistance, but no one came. In this 
perilous situation, I had no other resource but to whip my horse 
and flee for my life. The road through which I fled was hilly, 
steep, and dangerous, but still my pursuer continued after me. I 
came to the shore of the sea, — the agitated waves were rising to 
the skies. There was no road left for me to escape, and my heart 
was ftill of agitation and terror. In this extremity I rushed into 
the sea, but my horse's feet soon sank in the muddy bottom near 
tlie shore. 

« I once more called out for assistance, and, to my great jov, a 
warrior made his appearance* He wore on his head a white hel- 

1848.] 8hoH Eeview9 and Notices. 181 

met, was clad in a white silken war-dress, was mounted upon a 
white steed, and held in his hand a large double-headed spear. 
' Sire,' he shouted from a distance, ' be not alarmed ; I come to 
the rescue of your majesty.' He immediately fell upon my pur- 
suer, attacked him vigorously, and afler a struggle of a few min- 
utes killed him with a thrust of his spear. My heart was full of 
joy ; I requested my deliverer to tell me his surname and name, 
and invited him to accompany me to the camp, where I would 
richly reward him for this signal service with promotion to a high 
office at my court. But he excused himself, by saying that he 
was called away by urgent business, and could not accept of my 
invitation. < Upon another occasion,' said he, * I will again appear 
to save your majesty's life, but now I must depart' I continued, 
however, to urge him to give me his name and place of abode, 
that hereafter I might send messengers to bring him with honor 
to the capital, and promote him to a high office. He replied that 
he could recite before me some verses, from which could be gath- 
ered his surname, name, and residence. I requested to hear them, 
and they ran as follows : — 

* My home Is far away 
Where the red dot is seen, 
Where storms rage with fury, 
And fierce winds careen ; 
No footstep leaves a trace behind, 
And shadows flit unseen. 

In my infant days, 
When a child bat three years old, 
My merits shone conspicaoos ; 
. I did snch wit nnfold 
That my worth esteemed was 
A thousand Uang in gold. 

In future I may be 

In serving my native land, 

The saviour of my Emperor's life, 

When he will cross the Eastern Sea, 

To commence the bloody strife, 

And assert his supremacy.* 

" When he ceased to speak, there suddenly arose a blue dragon 
from the sea ; his immense jaws were wide open, and into these 
the warrior and his horse suddenly sprang and disappeared. How 
strange and wonderful ! exclaimed I, laughing at the same time 
at his singular departure. But here I awoke, and found that the 
whole had been but a dream. I know not whether this portends 
good or evil." 

The Duke thought this portended a war, and therefore the 
hero of the dream must be found out. The Duke then explains 
the vision, and concludes that in the province of Shan Se, the dis- 
trict of Lung Mun, (Dragon's Jaw) the man must be found, and 
that his name must be Se Jin Kwei. But to Jind the man 

132 Short BeviewM and Notice$. [Deo. 

was the next difficulty, and the Duke prepared to send thither an 
able officer to organize an army of one hundred thousand men, 
for the hero would certainly present himself amongst them. 
Several officers presented themselves as candidates for this post 
of honor, and, amongst others, General Chang S'z Kwei, the com- 
mander of the vanguard of the seventy-two roads, presented him- 
self. Now this general with the melodious name wished his son- 
in-law, Ho Tsung Hien, to fill the office of the visionary hero, and, 
ahready conceiving a hatred against the actual Se Jin Kwei, de- 
termined to kill him if he should ever be found; with this inten- 
tion he set out for the province of Shan Se. 

By and by it appears that the king of Corea intends to invade 
the Central Empire; the king is in a great rage, intending 
iustantly to punish the rebellious chief, but the Duke advises him 
to wait till the Hero is discovered. The hero, Se Jin Kwei, re- 
mained entirely dumb, until once upon a time, in his tenth year, 
whilst asleep in his father's library, he dreamed he saw a white 
tiger enter the room, beating his ribs with his tail ; he woke up and 
cried out " Ah me ! " and ever after had the art of speech, but his 
father and mother both died« in consequence of the visit of the 
white tiger. After their death Jin Kwei applied himself to study 
the arts of war, " bending the bow, and riding the horse." But 
by the time he had mastered *' the eighteen branches of military 
science," he had spent all his patrimony, which was considerable. 
He was reduced to the last extremity of want ; applied to his rich 
unde, Se Hung, who only turned him out of doors. Then Jin 
Kwei in despair made a rope of rushes and hung himself by the 
neck, bnt, before life was extinct, a man in humble circumstances, 
by name Mo Sang, came and took him down, conducted him to his 
own home, and adopted him as a brother. At length he goes to 
work as a day laborer for a wealthy man called Lew, who is 
building a palace, — and is so prodigiously strong that he carries 
three immense logs at a time, one on his shoulders and one under 
each arm. In the winter he is set to watch the buildings, and 
has a hut of straw built near the palace. Now Lew had a 
beautiful daughter, rejoicing in the name of Kin Hwa, and one 
day she saw Se Jin Kwei, and fell in love with him. So one 
night, in pity for his sufferings in his straw hut, when the snow 
was deep and the weather devouringly cold, she dropped out of 
her window a piece of cloth, which fell upon the sleeping youth. 
It was dark when this was done, and she knew not what cloth it 
was she had thus bestowed upon him. But in the morning the 
father, old Mr. Lew, finds his servant wrapped in an elegant scar- 
let cloth, which he had bestowed upon his daughter. He accuses 
her of the basest conduct, and threatens to kill her. Jin Kwei 
flees off for his life. Dame Lew^ the mother, gets a servant to 
throw a great earthen jar into the well, and then all pretend it is 

1848.] Short Beuiewi and N^Um. 183 

the daughter who has thrown herself there. In the mean time 
she escapes with an old nurse and three hundred pieces of silver. 
Now, as fortune will have it, Miss Kin Hwa and the nurse 8t<^ 
to pass the night in an old bouse where Mr. Jin Kwei lay con- 
cealed. He overheard the young maiden's conversation, and there- 
by learned how he had obtained his scarlet cloth. The nurse pro- 
posed that he should conduct his benefactress to his home — but 
alas I he had no home save a chance lodging in a neglected brick- 
kiln ; — then that he should marry her. At this proposition of the 
old nurse. Kin Hwa rejected within herself; she confessed to herself 
that when she threw the scarlet cloth on Jin Kwei she bad done so 
really from a feeling of affection for him. The advice she had just 
received was therefore in accordance with her own desires, but 
she thought it was unbecoming in a young lady to speak out her 
mind freely upon such a subject. She therefore modest^ hung 
down her head and made no reply. Jin Kwei objects to the 
proposition, but at length is prevailed on to take the maiden in his 
arms to his brick-kiln and then marry her. When there he meets 
his adopted brother Mo Sang, who again is a friend in need, and 
supplies the wants of the wedded pair. Jin Kwei remains in his 
brick-kiln till the money is all spent, and then, as the wife suggests 
he should do something to earn their bread, he takes to shooting 
wild geese, and is so skilful an archer that he shoots an arrow 
down the throat of the birds, and thus kills his game without ruf- 
fling a feather. After continuing for a while in this business, he 
learns that General Chung S'z Kwei has come into the province 
for the sake of raising an army. He meets with an old friend, 
Chan Tsing, and the two go to ofibr themselves as volunteers, aller 
Jin Kwei has taken a leave of his wife, whose condition renders 
his absence painful. The two friends send in their cards to the 
general. Jin Kwei arrayed himself in garments borrowed from his 
friend. ** He covered his head with a white silken cap, on his 
body he put a war robe of white sarsnet, shod his feet with black 
leather shoes, and completed his costume with all the other neces- 
sary articles. His face was covered with a fine down, his nose 
was straight, his mouth large, garnished with teeth of snowy 
whiteness ; his ears were long, his eyes bright surmounted by 
beautiful eyebrows ; his height was about ten cubits, and his whole 
appearance bespoke a young hero." Chan Tsing was examined 
and admitted to the army as a volunteer, and immediately raised 
to the rank of a standard-bearer. Jin Kwei sent in his card, with 
this inscription : ^' Card of a volunteer. Se Jin Kwei, a native 
of the district of Lung Mun, Keang Chan Fu, in the province of 
Shan Se." When the general read the words, he remembered 
the name of the visionary man, and resolved to be rid of so for- 
midable a rival. So when Jin Kwei presented himself, the gen- 
eral ordered him to be beheaded, on the plea that he had ti^en 

184 Short Beviews and NbHcea. [pee. 

the name of his commaoder — KtveL After much entreaty his 
life is spared, but he is forced to flee from the camp. He wanders 
on in despair, till, overtaken bj night, he seeks shelter in a house 
brilliantly illuminated. The owner receives hun kindly. " May 
I respectfully ask," said Jin Kwei, " what is your honorable sur- 
name and name ?" " My name," replied the host, *< is Fan, and 
my surname Hung Hae, and I possess great wealth, but I have 
no male issue." It presently appears that Mr. Fan Hung Hae is 
about to give his only daughter, Seu Hwa, in marriage to a famous 
robber, Le King Hung, who with his brothers, Keang Hing Pa 
and Keang Hwan Pan, called themselves Ta Wang, (great kings) 
and ravaged all that part of the country. Neither the father nor 
the bride had consented to the marriage, which was one of neces- 
sity, and which was to take place that night. Jin Kwei went 
out to meet the robbers, who came with a great army to celebrate 
the nuptials, conquered them and made them prisoners. He 
spares their lives, and makes them promise to go and join the 
army with him. The host, Fan Hung Hae, offers Jin Kwei his 
daughter in marriage. But Kwei pleads that he has already a 
wife; that is no objection, says the father, for the law allows three 
wives. Kwei, however, obtains a respite for two years, and leaves 
his *' many colored girdle " as a token of his engagement, and de- 
parts to the army with the three robbers, who have now sworn 
eternal fraternity with their conqueror. Here we will leave the 
book, only adding that the translation is made into easy and rath- 
er beautiful language. We hope soon to see the work laid before 
the public. 

3. — A Chmplete Dictionary of English- German and German- 
EngHsh Languages, Containing all the words in general use, 
in two volumes. Vol. I. English-Grerman ; Vol. II. German- 
English. Compiled from authors of established reputation, and 
exhibiting the pronunciation of every word, according to Walker, 
Smart, and other prominent English orthoepists. By Dr. J. 6. 
Flttgel, Consul of the United States of America. Third edi- 
tion. Leipsic 1847. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. lxxxii. and 1656, 
and viii. and 1274. 

Dr. FlUgel is well known to the American and European public 
by the two previous editions of his dictionary published at Leipsic, 
and by the scandalous and piratical reprints of it elsewhere. It 
would be difficult to mention an author whose works have been so 
shamefully pirated as his ; nor is this all : but the men who pilfered 
his gold were not satisfied with the theft, but fell to abusing him, 
and declared that the gold was of their own minting, while in his 
treasury there was nothing better than brass, or so lasting as that. 

1848.] Short Memetvs and Natiees. 135 

However, the excellent author knows how to expose these dishon- 
est writers, who have added particular insult to general injury ; 
though he cannot prevent the knaves from pilfering the results of 
his indefatigable labors. 

The present work is invaluable as a help to the German who 
wishes to gain a knowledge of English ; or the English scholar 
who studies Grerman. There is scarce a word or a phrase in the 
English tongue which is not found in this dictionary. The Eng- 
lish-German part contains about 135,000 articles. Obsolete words, 
which are yet found in writers now extensively read, have been 
diligently studied, and happily united to their corresponding Ger- 
man terms ; technical words, used only in the various arts or sci- 
ences, or which belong to military or maritime affairs, are carefully 
noted and explained. Words which have not yet become classic, 
but are coming into the permanent literature, through the broad 
channels of newspapers and other periodicals ; provincial words 
or forms of expression, which, though sometimes not much used 
in conversation, yet find their way into books ; Americanisms, 
which spring up in abundance in New England, and still more 
at the South and West — all these have been carefully studied. 

In each article he gives first the proper or real meaning of the 
word, and then the derivative signification^ the metaphorical sense, 
and so passes on to the various sefises in which it is used : the 
more remote senses, which differ often a good deal from the primi- 
tive meaning, are carefully preserved and indicated by their ap- 
propriate German words. We find words in Dr. Fliigers work 
which we seek in vain in other dictionaries, — such, for example, 
Bs/eck, an English provincial term for the third stomach of rumi- 
nating animals, and wride, another provincial term for a bunch of 
stalks that grow out of a single grain of com, but which one is glad 
to see, as they have no synonyms in the language, and besides, 
they would puzzle a German, if he should find them in a book. 
Dr. Fliigel has taken great pains to indicate by Walker's method 
the pronunciation of every word ; in this he follows the best guides, 
and in general seems quite successful. We have been surprised 
at some criticisms of his pronunciation which have been shown to 
us. A distinguished English orthoepist, Mr. Smart, maintains 
heir should be pronounced with the aspirate hare ; and thinks Dr. 
FlUgel mistaken in finding a difference between the sound of 
JPay^er and Pair, where the London authority recognizes none. 

The work is the result of the most extensive, careful, and labo- 
rious study of the English language, as it is developed in the an- 
cient and modem literature of both continents ; it is printed with 
great neatness and surprising accuracy, — indeed, the proof-sheets 
were read five times by as many different persons ; it supplies 
the want which has long been felt, and entitles its learned and 
estimaUe author to the lastii^ gratitude of the two most widely 

136 List of New Publications Received. [Dec. 

extended Dations of the western world. Long may he rejoice in 
his labors, and thus receive the twofold reward he so richly merits 
— a pecuniary compensation and the honor of producing a work 
which can introduce the two nations to the literary treasures of 
the Grerman and English tongue. 


An Appeal to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 
by Rev. J. L. Merrick, twelve years in the senrice of the Board. Springfield. 
1847. 8vo. pp.126. 

An Appeal to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions 
flpom the unjust and oupressive measures of the Secretary ana Prudential 
Committee, by Rev. J. I>. Baxter, D. D. New Haven. 1848. 8vo. pp. 40. 

An Oration delivered before the Society of Phi Beta Kappa at Cambridge, 
August 24th, 1848, by Horace Bushnell. Cambridge. 1848. 8vo. pp. 40. 

The Least of Two Evils, a Sermon Preached on Julv 9th, 1848, by John 
Weiss, Minister of the First Congregational Church in New Bedford. New 
Bedford. 1848. 12ma pp. 12. 

Communication to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences relative to 
a late Report on the subject of Ventilation and Chimney-Tops, by Frederick 
Emerson. Boston. 1848. 8vo. pp. 12. 

Friends in Council, a Series of Readings and Discourses thereon. Hook the 
First. London. Vol. I. 12mo. pp. viii. and 228. 

The Conquerers of the New World and their Bondmen, being a Narrative 
of the Principal Events which led to Negro Slavery in the West Indies and 

America. Volume the First, [by the author of the preceding work.] Lon- 
don. 1848. Vol I. 12mo. pp. xii. and 264. [These are two delightful 
and instructive works.] 

Poems by Dora Greenwell. London. 1848. 1 vol. 16mo. pp. ti. and 192. 

Madonna Pia, and other Poems, by James Greeor Grant London. 2 vols. 
12mo. pp. XII. and 320, and xiv. and 360. [These two volumes, piint- 
ed with all the beauty of the English press, are dedicated to Bilr. Wordsworth, 
by an author who seems to be a young man, and an earnest admirer of that 
poet The volumes contain a few pieces of considerable merit] 

The System of Nature, or Laws of the Moral and Physical World, by Baron 
d' Holbach. 2 volumes in one. Boston. 1848. 8vo. pp. x. and 368. 

The Son of the Wilderness, a Dramatic Poem, in five acts, by Frederick 
Halm, [Baron Miinch-Bellinghausen,] translated from the German by Charles 
Edward Austin. New York. 1848. 12mo. pp. vii. and 166. 

Verses of a Life Time, by Caroline Gilman, &c., &c Boston and Cam- 
bridge. 1 vol. 12mo. pp. Till, and 264. 

A Discourse delivered before the First Congregational Society of Cincin- 
nati, Sunday, Oct. 8th, 1848, by James H. Perkins. CincinnaU. 1848. pp. 16. 

The Mysteries of Russia, by Frederick Lacroix, translated from the French, 
Boston. 1848. 1vol. 8vo." pp.212. 

An Universal History in a Series of Letters, being a complete and impar- 
tial narrative of the most remarkable Events of all nations, from the earliest 
period to the present time, forming a complete History of the World, by Q. C. 
Hebbe, LL. D. VoL I. Ancient History. New York. 1848. Vol. L pp. 
Till, and 562. 8vo. 

Orators of the American Revolution, bv E. L. Bfagoon. 2d Edition. New 
York. 1848. 1 vol. 12mo. pp. xyi. and 456. 

Ancient Sea Margins, as Memorials of Changes in the relative Level of Sea 
and Land, by Robert Chambers, Esq., F. R. S. E. Edinburgh and London. 
lft4H. 8to. pp. vi. and ."WS. 


NO. VI. — MARCH, 1849. 


The year eighteen hundred and forty-eight will be hence- 
forth, in the history of Europe, the normal year to which 
scholars, legislators, and nations will refer, as the date when 
a new phase in the social and political life of nations began ; 
as the period when a new foundation was laid for rights and 
obligations forming the basis of public and civil laws ; and as 
an epoch from which the years of the people's emancipation 
will be reckoned. The number "forty-eight" has already 
acquired an importance for the student and statesman, as a 
mark in the history of the transatlantic nations, and more 
especially of that of Germany. It was in the year 1648 that 
the memorable Peace of Westphalia was concluded, which put 
an end to the fatal war that for thirty years had laid waste the 
whole of Germany, and which established a new system of 
state-rights and policy among the reigning princes. Although 
religion had been ^e pretext under which the rulers had 
called upon the people to take up arms and shed their blood, 
yet the stipulations of the treaty of peace showed their true 
design to have been personal aggrandizement and absolute 
power, without regarding the people, who together with their 
lands were ^posed of uke goods and chattels. In glaring 
contrast with this, the year 1848 shows the people rising, 
demanding and obtaining their sovereign independent power, 
and crowns and sceptres and thrones diisposed of as goods and 
chattels fit only for collections of curiosities and antiquities. 
Retributive Justice seems to have chosen the very year of the 
two hundredth anniversarr of the triumph of the Princes over 
the Germanic Union, to vmdicate its own immutable laws, and 

NO. VI. 10 

188 The German Bevolution of 1848. [March, 

to show, by a contrast the more strikingly impressive, that 
wrong committed will be its own avenger. 

Of all the revolutions which this last year has seen, that in 
Germany deserves the greatest consideration, and more than 
has been generally bestowed upon this nation in a political 
respect. When quiet, sober Germany suddenly arouses from 
its political lethargy ; when we see a country which has here- 
tofore been known abroad only bv its literature and art, but 
which, for the last two centuries, has hardly been heard of in 
politics, except in a few of its component parts, as Prussia 
and Austria, so that persons often ask in wonder whether a 
Prussian is a German, — when we see this nation of forty mil- 
lions of souls at last rise in its might and awake into a living 
consciousness of its existence, as one and indivisible, and of 
its rights as such by nature and nature's law, — then the 
attention of even the most indifierent is arrested. We are led 
to inquire into the causes that have produced such a phenom- 
enon, which is evidently more than a mere feverish excitement 
accidentally brought on by some restiess spirits, from a dedre 
of notoriety and change. The apparent suddenness of this 
great commotion of the people may have led some to suppose 
that it was only a fitful fever, caught by contagion from a 
neighbouring country ; those, however, who have taken an 
interest in the life of this nation, cannot^ have been surprised 
at the popular outbreak, but rather that it did not take place 
before. As a vessel filled with water, which is chilled through, 
requires but a slight concussion to change the fluid into one 
solid mass of ice, so in Germany it required but an impulse 
from without to make the political atmosphere, long charged 
with the elements of a violent storm, break out in a tempest 
which would shake every one of the thirty-eight states to its 

Political revolutions are, no doubt, always to be dreaded, 
as great temporary social evils, and those who pass through 
them are regarded as martyrs fi)r future generations. But 
revolutions must not, on this account, be condemned as mon- 
strosities, conceived and bom of evil, as many seem to think, 
who owe the blessings they now enjoy to the revolutions their 
forefathers accomplished. A sanctimonious cry of '^ Law and 
Order" is raised on all such occasions, by men who regard 
only existing artificial laws, established, perhaps, by a despotic 
power in bv-gone ages, and entirely disregard or overlook the 
fact that there is a law immutable and unchangeable as the 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 139 

stsurs in heaven, and existing coeval widi the universe itself, 
namely, ihe Law of Nature. If this law be violated in the 
physical world, it avenges and restores itself, and often, too, 
by violent and fwrmidable outbreaks, upheaving all the ele* 
ments. The law inherent in the moral world follows a like 
course, and although its voice may for a time be muffled and 
smothered, it will at last, with tones of thunder, break forth 
and call out, " Law and Order." To uphold this law and 
order is true conservatism. 

A nation's social and political organization must be in per- 
fect accordance with its peculiar character and that state of 
development which it has reached in the progressive course 
of the desUny of man. The forms of a state and its laws 
must be the natural exponent of the people's spirit and genius 
and its human development, and they must grow out of these, 
but cannot and must not be engrafted thereon by an extrane- 
ous wilful power. The gradual changes in all organic bodies 
of nature follow according to inherent laws, and the external 
forms accommodate themselves to the development of the liv- 
ing princi[Je which is working under them. If we try to 
check this natural growth, the violation will vindicate itself, 
and either death or monstrosities will be the consequence. 
When a nation has outgrown its existing political and social 
forms, or if the existing suitable and fitting forms are wilfully 
violated and changed, the living spirit working beneath them 
will maintain its right and try to restore itself. This effort 
we call a Revolution, and as such we do not only deem it 
justifiable, but unavoidable and demanded by the Law of God. 

There are some, however, who would condemn the resort 
to force under any circumstances, and muntidn that love and 
forbearance are the only weapons that should ever be wielded. 
Undoubtedly they ought to rule and control all hearts, all class- 
es, and all nations ; but it is also true, that where these do not 
prevail, there they ought to be established. The field must 
be prepared to receive costly seed, that it may strike root and 
bear fruit. The great founder of the kingdom of peace and 
love laid down his life for the Law of God^ and every one who 
will be his true follower must be willing to do the same, when 
the object is to uphold and maintain divine laws. The most 
acrupidous will allow the justness of self-defence by force, 
when life and limb are endangered, and should the same priv- 
ilege be denied when a People's life and existence are at 

140 The G-erman Revolutim of 1848. [March, 

The question, whether the revolution which has broken out 
in Germany and is still going on, is justifiable, desirable, and 
necessary on the ground we have before claimed and pro- 
nounced as reasonable and just, it is our purpose to answer by 
giving a brief statement of the political condition of this coun- 
try, and this principallv by facts, so that every one may draw 
his own conclusion, and form an answer to the above question 
himself; but we must plead, in the beginning, the insufficiency 
of our space for a perfect statement of so vast a subject. 

Since the general watchword in Germany is, at present, 
" One Germany, one empire as of old, and a constitutional 
representative government," we shall begin with giving a brief 
outline of what Germany was in former times, when it was yet 
called an empire, and when it was, at least nominally, a con- 
federated state ; we shall then proceed to state what the polit- 
ical condition was after the dissolution of the empire, and 
conclude with giving the plan of the projected umon of the 
new empire now in process of being established. 

The old Germanic empire may be said to have existed, at 
least nominally, from the time of Charlemagne, in the year 
800, till Francis II., in 1806. Charlemagne was the first who 
renewed the title of Caesar (Kaiser) or Emperor, when he 
was crowned Roman Emperor in the year 800, by Pope Leo 
III., at Rome. He connected with this title the claim of 
universal sovereignty over all Christendom, and it was long 
considered as attached to the sovereignty of Rome. It was 
therefore given to the oldest son of Louis the Pious, Lothaire, 
as King of Italy, and was afterwards bestowed upon Charles 
the Bald and other Italian princes, until Otho I., in 962, for 
ever united the imperial crown with the German royal dignity. 
However, until Maximilian I., the tide of Roman Emperor 
was given only to those German kings who were crowned by 
the Pope, otherwise they had only the titie of Roman King. 
After Maximilian had called himself, for the first time, Roman 
Emperor, the German kings took this titie without having 
been in Rome. The last German king who was crowned in 
Italy was Charles V. 

Among the Carlovingians, the German crown was hereditary, 
but after their extinction it became elective, and the German 
kings were chosen by all the princes of the empire, until, in 
the middle of the thirteenth century, the elective right was 
•confined to certain electoral princes ; this distinctiy appears in 
1256, at the election of Emperor lUchard of Comwallis. 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 141 

The electoral princes were those of Mayence, Treves, and 
Cologne, — as the first archbishop and chancellors of the em- 
pire, — and those of the Palatinate, alternating for a time with 
Bavaria, and of Brandenburg, Saxony, and Bohemia. The 
other princes still demanded the right of participating in the 
election, but the electoral princes succeeded in maintaining their 
exclusive privilege, until Charles IV., in 1356, confirmed it 
by the edict called the Golden Bull. 

The qualifications required for the imperial dignity were to 
be of legitimate birth, a German, at least eighteen years old, 
of high nobility, at least a count, and in later times an elec- 
toral prince, not a clergyman, and not an infidel. When a 
person of such qualifications had been elected, he had to sign 
the so called Capitulation, or compact drawn up by the elec- 
toral princes, which began, however, first, when Maximilian 
proposed his grandson, afterwards Charles V. Hereupon he 
was crowned as German King, at Aix la Chapelle, and in later 
times at Augsburg or Regensburg, and for the most part at 
Frankfort on the Maine, by bestowing upon him the imperial 
insignia, namely, the golden crown, gilt sceptre, golden globe, 
the sword of Charlemagne and that of St. Maurice, the ^t 
spurs, the dalmatica and other robes ; at Milan he received 
an iron crown, and was finally crowned at Rome by the Pope. 
This last ceremony ceased, as we have said, with iiaximilian I. 

The college of electoral princes remained the same, seven 
in number, till the Peace of Westphalia, except that Bohemia, 
after King Wenzel had been deposed in 1400, did not exer- 
cise her right, and was not admitted again into the electoral 
college till 1708. When the Elector Frederick V. of the 
Palatinate was outlawed, his electoral right and dignity were 
transferred to Bavaria ; but at the Peace of Westphalia, it 
was stipulated that an eighth electoral dignity and vote should 
be created for the Palatinate, on condition that in case of the 
extinction of the Bavarian Wilhemian line, the Bavarian elec- 
toral vote should fall again to the Palatinate, and the eighth 
electorate should be discontinued. In 1692 a ninth electoral 
dignity was created by Leopold I., who made Brunswick 
Luneburg an electorate, but it was not admitted into the col- 
lege till 1710, after a long resistance on the part of the 
Estates of the empire. When, in 1777, the Bavarian line 
became extinct and its lands fell again to the Palatinate, the 
Bavarian electoral vote ceased, according to the previous 
agreement, and hence there were again but eight votes. 

142 The Q-erman Revolution of 1848. [March, 

The electoral princes had privileges which the other Estates 
of the empire dia not possess, beside their exclusive right of 
electing the emperor. They had royal honors, but not the 
title " majesty ; " they were not subject to the jurisdiction of 
the imperial and aulic courts ; their lands were indivi^ble, 
and they held their regalia without investiture. They were 
called, according to the Golden Bull, " the seven pillars and 
lights of the holy empire ; " they could give advice, even when 
it was not called for, and could recommend matters to the 
emperor, as of particular urgency, through addresses ; and, 
finally, they had the right to draw up " the capitulation of 
election," of which we shall make mention presently. The 
Elector of Mayence was arch-chancellor. 

By the Peace at Luncburg, in 1801, the left bank of the 
Bhme was ceded to France, and important alterations became 
necessary, particularly since only the hereditary princes could 
receive indemnification from the German empire. On the 
14th of July, 1802, the imperial deputation was called at 
Begensburg, and through Russia and France a plan of indem- 
nification was proposed, by which only one ecclesiastical elec- 
toral prince, the Archbishop of Mayence, with the title of 
Electoral Prince and first Chancellor of the empire, and three 
new secular electoral princes, to wit, of Baden, Wurtemburg, 
and Hesse Cassel, and afterwards, also, Salzburg and the new 
arch-chancellor, were admitted into the electoral college. This 
took place on the 22nd of August, 1803. Thus there were 
now ten electoral princes. In 1805, by the Peace of Prea- 
burg, Bavaria and Wurtemburg received the royal tides, but 
still continued to be parts of the German empire. But on 
the 12th of July, 1806, at Paris, the Rhenish confederation 
was established, whereupon Bavaria, Wurtemberg, the Arch- 
chancellor, and Baden broke ofi* their connection with the old 
German union. When the French ambassador declared at the 
Diet at Regensburg that Napoleon no longer recognized a 
German empire, and that he had taken the tide of Protector 
of the Rhenish confederation, Francis II., on the Cth of 
August, 1806, laid down the crown as German Emperor, and 
discharged all princes and states from their further allegiance 
and duties to him as Emperor of Germany, and thus the 
complete independent sovereignty of all the different states 
was formally declared. 

The constitution of the German empire, which thus ended, 
may be sidd to have been principally based upon five imperisd 

1849.] The aerman Revolution of 1848. 148 

laws : to wit, the (Jolden Bull of 1356, the Permanent Peace 
of the Land of 1495, the Imperial Capitulation be^nning with 
Charies V., the Religious Peace of 1555, and the Peace of 
Westphalia in 1648. The import of these edicts or laws we 
will now briefly state. 

The Gh)lden Bull is the imperial law which Charies IV. 
issued in 1356, at the Diet at Nuremberg, after it had been 
discussed bj the states. It contained, in thirty chapters, rules 
regarding &e electoral princes and their privileges, and par- 
ticularly those of the king of Bohemia ; and regulations of 
the imperial election and coronation, of the currency, tolls, 
and feuds, and of the cities, whose further increase of power, 
at the expense of princes and sovereigns, Charles wished to 

The Permanent Peace of the Land was the law made and 
proclaimed in 1495 by Maximilian, by which all feuds and 
personal revenge were prohibited under a fine of two thousand 
marks in gold. The Estates were to assemble every year to 
maintain the peace and punish offences against it ; at the same 
time, an imperial court of justice was established, the judges 
of which were chosen by the Estates and the emperor, before 
whom subjects might enter complaints against their princes. 

The Capitulation of Election was the articles of agreement 
which the electoral princes drew up on the election of an 
emperor, and which the emperor, before entering upon his 
office, swore to maintain. The first capitulation was suomitted 
by the electors, when Maximilian I. proposed his grandson, 
Charles V., as emperor. For every newly elected emperor a 
special capitulation was drawn up, called '^ capitulatio CEesa- 
rea," but the main points remained the same ; they were that 
the emperor should take care of the church and the Pope, 
protect the empire, give the proper protection to the electoral 
and other princes, and leave them in their possessions and 
rights ; that he should undertake nothing without the consent 
of the Diet, enter into no compact without the concurrence of 
the same, support the police and commerce, impose no new 
taxes, keep m proper order the mint and currency, neither 
sell nor pledge any part of the empire, keep the stipulations 
of tiie Peace of Westphalia in force, reside in (Germany, if 
possible ; not suffer foreign powers to interfere in matters of 
reli^on, preserve the peace of the land and the mdependenoe 
of the judicial authority, and the imperial postal arrange* 
ments, &c. By this means the princes secured to themselves 

144 The German Bevolution of 1848. [March, 

the power of forcing from the emperor concessions farorable 
to their own independent sway. 

The Religious Peace at Augsburg was concluded at the 
imperial Diet, held at this city in 1555. The import of this 
compact between the Protestant and Catholic princes was, 
that the Protestants should enjoy full exercise of their relig- 
ion and remsdn in possession of all the sequestrated ecclesi- 
astic estates. Each sovereign should have the right to es- 
tablish a prevailing religion of state, but should allow his 
subjects of a diflferent faith to emigrate. Religious contro- 
versies should be settled in a peaceable manner ; and ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction should not extend to and have power over 
the faith and divine worship of the Protestants. The reformed 
church was, however, still excluded, and this compact in- 
cluded only the Lutheran church : at the Peace of Westpha- 
lia the Reformed church was also received into this compact. 

The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 established, besides the 
adjustment of religious controversies, the independent sover- 
eignty of the individual German states, which made the im- 
perial power dwindle into a mere shadow. Each prince ob- 
tained the right to make war, conclude peace, and negotiate 
treaties with foreign nations, and thus the bond of the united 
empire was in fact rent asunder, though the imperial title 
continued to linger for a century and a half. The diplomacy 
of cabinets now commenced. Each prince sought only his 
own independence in his own territory, regardless of the wel- 
fare of the whole nation, and even of his own subjects. The 
freedom of trade and commerce was checked, as each petty 
state was surrounded with a barrier of duties and imposts, to 
supply the wants of the expensive princely households ; the 
earnings of the industrious subjects were taxed and taken to 
uphold useless and ridiculous pride in courts, armies, and 
foreign diplomatic establishments. 

The laws pf the empire were made at the imperial diets, 
which consisted of the Estates of the realm, and these were 
divided into Ecclesiastic and Secular Estates ; to, the former 
belonged the clerical electors, archbishops and bishops, prel- 
ates, abbots and abbesses, the grand master of the Teutonic 
orders, and that of St. John ; to the latter the secular elec- 
tors, dukes, princes, margraves, counts, and the free imperial 
cities. At first the emperor appeared in person at the diets, 
but afterwards by a commissioner, who was a prince of the 
empire. The elector of Mayence, as chancellor of the em- 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1818. 145 

pire, was president of the diet, to whom the envoys of the 
£states and foreign ambassadors presented their credentials. 
The business was transacted in three colleges ; namely, 

First, That of the Electoral Princes, in which Mayence col- 
lected the votes. 

Second, That of Princes, which was divided into the clerical 
and secular benches. The protestant bishops of Lubeck and 
Osnaburg sat on a cross-bench. The counts of the empire had 
in this college no individual votes, (votum virile,) but were 
divided into four benches, namely, of the Wetterau, Swabia, 
Franconia, and Westphalia, of which each bench gave but one 
vote (votum curiatum) ; and, likewise, the prelates of the 
realm, — as abbots, prebendaries, and abbesses, — were di- 
vided into two benches, namely, the Swabian and Rhenish, 
and had two votes. The presidency was exercised alter- 
nately by the archbishop of Salzburg and the archduke of 

Third, That of the Free Imperial Cities, which was divided 
into two benches, the Rhenish and Swabian. The city where 
the diet sat had the honor of the presidency, and each city 
had one vote. 

Generally the majority of votes controlled all matters, ex- 
cept in religious aftairs, and those concerning the individual 
Estates. Each of the colleges passed its resolutions separately, 
and then sought, by conference, to effect unanimity in the 
three colleges. This done, the resolution thus passed was 
called " conclusum imperii," and laid before the emperor for 
ratification, and if it received his approbation, it became a 
law, and was called "an Edict of the Empire," (Reichs- 
schluss,) and the publication of all the edicts passed at a 
diet was called " recessus imperii," (Reichsabschied.) The 
emperor might refuse this ratification in whole or in part, but 
he could not alter the import of the resolves, nor supply the 
needful assent of any one college. The edicts having been 
signed, they were published and sent to the imperial courts 
for registration. The usual business of the diet was to pass, 
abolish, and interpret laws, to conclude war and peace, to 
make compacts and treaties, and transact other similar busi- 

The last imperial diet was opened by Ferdinand III. in the 
year 1653, at Regensburg, and closed the 17th of May, 1654. 
It is called the last, because the other diet, opened in 1663, 
remained in session till the dissolution of the empire, and was 

146 The German Revolution of 1848. [March, 

closed without the promulgation of any laws. The laws passed 
at this last diet related to the appointment of judges to the 
imperial court, (Reichskammergericht,) and the forms of pro- 
cedure. It was a characteristic proceeding on the part of 
the German diet, that it presented minutely, in (me hundred 
and sixty-one paragraphs, the forms under which justice might 
be demanded in the highest court of the empire, in matters 
where the value in dispute exceeded four hundred rixthalers, 
and laid down the forms of appeal from courts of the imperial 
states ; but left single judicial lords and magistrates to exer- 
cise jurisdiction over tlneves, witches, and revilers of religion, 
and dispose of their lives without appeal or opposition. 

Leopold, the son and successor of Ferdinand, being of a 
weak mind and feeble character, allowed the members of the 
empire to establish completely their independent sovereignty. 
The idea of the century, which Richelieu had begun to carry 
out in France and Louis XIV. had adopted, namely, that of 
giving to the ruling sovereign or his chosen minister exclu- 
sively all power of government, was now likewise carried out 
in all the different states of Germany. Emperor Leopold, at 
his election in 1658, had been obliged by the princes to swear 
to uphold a capitulation which stipulated ^^ that the Estates 
should not assume the disposition of taxes, to the exclusion of 
their sovereigns ; and that they should not refuse contributions 
for the support of fortresses and garrisons, as decreed in the 
last recess of the diet ; and if they should, on that account, 
make complaints at the imperial courts, they should be refused 
a hearing, and ordered to obey their sovereigns ; that the 
electoral princes and the other Estates should be permitted to 
assemble and enter into leagues ; that the electoral princes 
should be allowed, with the assistance of neighbouring states, 
to maintain their rights against their own subjects, and to force 
them to obedience ; and, finally, that, although complaints and 
suits arising in consequence of this compulsion of their subjects 
should be decided with all speed, nevertheless the princes 
should not be compelled to obey the mandates issued by the 
imperial and aulic courts at the instance of subjects." 

Thus the Estates and the subjects were entirely barred from 
the protection of the supreme power of the empire. More- 
over, at the diet called in 1663, on account of the war with 
the Turks, the emperor, for the first time, did not appear, to 
open it in person, but sent a commissioner to represent him. 
He afterwards permitted the princes who could not come to 

1849.] The Qerman JRevolvtion of 1848. 147 

an agreement, to leave the diet, and send ambassadors in 
their stead. The diet, formerly an assembly of all the princes, 
now became a congress of ambassadors, who could act only 
after communicatiDg with their princes upon each question 
under discussion. The consequent slowness in transacting 
business made the session of the diet permanent, and it con- 
tinued in session tiU the final dissolution of the empire, in 1806. 
The emperor also permitted each imperial Estate to raise the 
expenses for these embassies from their subjects, and thus he 
confirmed the permanency of the diet. The principal subjects 
discussed were the so called '' religious complsdnts," arising 
from the relations of the different religious parties. 

Through the above cited stipulations in the capitulation to 
which Leopold agreed, the princes had become independent of 
the grants of taxes by their Estates and subjects, and thus 
they could easily break through all restraints which the 
Estates laid upon them. The electors of Bavaria and Bran- 
denburgh set tiie example to the others in dispensing entirely 
with the codperation of the Estates within their dominions. 
Instead of calling all the Estates together, they retained, at 
first, only committees, to perform the same duties which the 
assembled representatives had performed, before; and these 
committees became, at last, permanent; or were abolished with- 
out any ceremony. 

It would lead us too far to go into a particular statement of 
the shameless violations of all existing rights and laws, which 
the princes committed in their respective dominions. The 
atrocities which some of them were guilty of seem almost in- 
credible. We will only refer to the brutalities of a Frederick 
William of Brandenburgh and a Charles Eugene of Wurtem- 
burg, as proof that we do not give too harsh a name to their 
base deeds. 

Thus things went on, till on the Seine the corrupted politi- 
cal atmosphere gave birth to a violent storm, which shook all 
Europe to its centre. The dawn of a new age broke on the 
world — the age of the Rights of the People and of their 
Sovereign Will ; the age when it was to be received as a self- 
evident truth that the rulers are made for the people, and not 
the people for the rulers, and that the people shall have a 
voice in deciding on their own welfare. The princes saw the 
mi^ty spirit rising from the deep, which threatened their ex- 
istence. They rushed one and all to stifle or smother it in 
its cradle. But it embodied itself in one mighty giant, the 

148 The German Revolution of 1818. [March, 

Titan of Corsica, who now like a tempest swept over the 
earth, overthrew all thrones, shattered the sceptres and tore 
the ermine of kings and princes. No earthly hand could 
approach and touch him, and he fell only by the hand which 
raised him. The thunderbolt of Heaven alone hurled him 
from his lofty station ; and even then he rose a second time, 
like another Antaeus, when he touched his mother earth, and 
stood forth in his native strength ; his unruly Titanic spirit 
knew no submission, and could not feel that it was only an in- 
strument wielded by the over-ruling Power by which he was 
overthrown a second time, not to rise again, having fulfilled 
his mission. 

The princes then began to breathe freely once more, and 
recover from the fright and dismay which had struck to their 
hearts, in gazing on the awful meteor which had passed before 
their eyes. They could not but see in it a messenger sent by 
a higher power, to reveal and teach solemn truth. Although 
they were pleased with the absolute sovereign sway which the 
King of kings had wielded to crush the wild demon of the 
people's rule, yet they could not forget that he was a son of 
the Revolution, a man risen from the people, who had destroyed 
the vague yet sacred halo of the divine rights of kings, dimly 
floating round their sovereign thrones. As such, he was but 
the representative of the evil spirit which had broken forth 
on the Seine. Therefore he was banished to a desolate isle 
in the ocean, there to linger out his crushed existence, among 
the mighty waters — his only companions. 

However, this bitter lesson made a deep impression upon 
the minds of the princes, and filled them with a passing spirit 
of repentance, and a desire to mend their evil ways. 

The rulers who had stood foremost in the alliance against 
Napoleon, were the Emperor Alexander of Russia, Emperor 
Francis of Austria, and King Frederick William III. of Prus- 
sia. All three had passed through the bitter ordeal of humil- 
iation, and in the hours of sorrow had found in religion that 
consolation which they had vainly sought in earthly glory 
and power. They now looked upon their high vocation from 
a religious point of view. From Alexander, the most tal- 
ented but also the weakest of the three, the great idea pro- 
ceeded of establishing a European alliance, which should 
have for its basis the mild, love-breathing doctrines of Chris- 
tianity, and not the narrow policy of temporal success. This 
alliance was called by some, from reverential admiration, and 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 149 

by others from a spirit of derision, the Holy Alliance. It 
was signed by the three monarchs, at Paris, on the 26th of 
September, 1815. They hereby declared to the whole world 
their pious resolution, both in the administration of their own 
kingdom, and in relation to other governments, to take for 
their guide only the commands of the Christian religion ; the 
dictates of Justice, Christian Love, and Peace. The three 
monarchs pledged themselves according to the words of the 
Scripture, which demand that all men should regard each 
other as brothers, to remain united and to aid each other like 
brothers on all occasions, and to show themselves to their sub- 
jects and armies as fathers, and to cause the same feeling of 
brotherhood to pervade their subjects ; and the states governed 
by them, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, should in future be only 
three branches of one and the same Christian people, who 
acknowledge as their only ruler Him to whom all power is 
given. All the princes of Europe were invited to join in this 
alliance, excepting the Turkish Sultan and the Pope. 

For the first time in the history of the world, the mighty of 
the earth had pronounced, in a solemn compact, the principle 
Uiat all Christian Europe should unite in one alliance, in which 
the highest law for princes and subjects should be, brotherly 
love and kindness. If it had been possible to carry out this 
plan, the golden age, of which poets speak and common 
mortals dream, would have been realized. But in their be- 
lief that they wished only what was good and just, they had 
reserved the highest and final decision of all affairs to their 
own personal feeling, which, both with high and low, is influ- 
enced by accidental circumstances, and wfich cannot therefore 
be a safe guide in the intricate management of public affairs. 
The supreme rule of personal feeling was, in reality, nothing 
else but absolute unlimited power, whatever religious cloii 
the piety of the authors wished to throw over it. They, 
therefore, restored the tyranny against which they had called 
upon their people to draw the sword. " Freedom " was the 
watchword and battle-cry which inspired the people of all 
classes to break the foreign yoke, and it was the princes them- 
selves who raised this word of enchantment, which electrified 
all hearts, the young and the old, high and low. 

To what degree disinterested love filled the hearts of the 
Grerman princes, and influenced their conduct towards the 
people over whom they were now to resume control — their 
immediate actions showed, and in a manner which left no 

150 The G^wman Revolution of 1848. [March, 

doubt of Uie actual spirit which guided them. We see this 
distinctly, even in the attempt to give shape agam to the frag- 
ments of the old Germanic empire. 

After the first victory over Napoleon, the princes of the 
Germanic states assembled at Vienna to take into considersr 
tion the new order of thmgs which was to succeed the broken 
empire of foreign power. By an article in the treaty of Paris 
it had been decided '' that the states of Germany shall be in- 
dependent, and shall be united by a federative tie." In pur- 
suance of this, thirty-eight out of three hundred and fifty sov- 
ereign states, that once existed, all the rest having been 
absorbed in these, met together. But most contrskdictory 
views and claims were brought forward. Some demanded 
that every thing should be placed again as it existed before 
the dissolution of the empire, and if possible, at the time of the 
Peace of Westphalia. These views were entertained by the 
smaller and mediatized princes. But neither Austria nor 
Prussia felt inclined to accept the imperial dignity, from which 
they could promise themselves no advantages under existing 
circumstances. They entertained the plan of uniting all parts 
that once belonged to the Germanic empire into one whole, 
which, without interfering with the internal government, 
should form a solid union agfdnst all foreign states. The new 
kingdoms created by Napoleon — Bavaria and Wurtemburg, 
and also the Grand Duchy of Baden, made the most resolute 
resistance to any thing that might in the least disturb their 
independence. It might have been long before harmony 
would have been established, if the sudden reappearance of 
' Napoleon, upon his return from Elba, had not driven them to 
a speedy conclusion. Instead of establishing a confederated 
state, they contented themselves with forming a confederation 
of states, which was based upon the entire equality of all the 
members, and had for its object only the preservation of inter- 
nal and external security. The compact was concluded on 
the 10th of June, 1815, eight days before the battle of Belle 
Alliance. Its principal provisions are as follows : — 

§ 1. The sovereign princes and the free cities of Germany, 
including the Emperor of Austria, and the Kings of Prussia, 
Denmark, and the Netherlands — the two former for all their 
possessions formerly belonging to the Grerman empire, the 
King of Denmark for Holstein, and the King of the Nether- 
lands for the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg — enter into a per- 
petual confederation, which shall be call^ the German con- 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 151 

§ 2. The desi^ of it b the preservation of the external 
and internal security of Germany, and the independence and 
inviolability of the individual German states. 

§ 3. All members of the confederation have, as such, 
equal rights. They all bind tliemselves equally to keep tlie 
federal compact. 

§ 4. The affairs of the federal union shall be transacted by 
a federal diet, at which all members, through their plenipo- 
tentiaries, have partly single, partly collective votes, in all 17. 

§ 5. Austria presides at the federal diet. Each member 
has the right to make proposals, and the president is bound 
to bring them up for consultation within a ^ven time. 

§ 6. In cases regarding the making or altering of funda- 
mental laws of the confederation, of resolutions concerning 
the compact itself, the organic federal constitutions, and gen- 
erally useful arrangements, the diet forms itself into a ple- 
num, in which, in regard to the difference in size of the indi- 
vidual states, the following distribution of votes is agreed upon: 
six have 4 votes, five 3 votes, three 2 votes, and the rest 
only one, which make in all 69 (afterwards 70) votes. 

The assembly is in constant session, but may adjourn for 
four months at most. 

§ 9. The seat of the diet is at Frankfort on the Maine, 
and is fixed for Semptember Ist, 1815. 

§ 10. The first duty of the diet shall be the making of 
fundamental laws of the confederation, and the organic ar- 
rangement regarding its foreign military and internal relations. 

The following sections stipulated that sdl the members of the 
confederation should protect both the whole of Germany and 
each federal state against any aggression ; that in case of war 
no one member should enter into separate negotiations with 
the enemy ; that each state should retain the right of making 
treaties with other nations, provided they did not tend to prej- 
udice the safety of the confederation or of its members ; and 
that the members should not mkke war against each other, but 
submit their disputes to arbitration. 

The thirteenth section provided, ^^ In all the federal states a 
representative constitution shall be established;" and the eigh- 
teenth section guaranteed to the subjects of all the states the 
right of acquiring real estate in any one of them, and o# emi- 
grating from one state into another without paying a tax on 
Sieir property ; and lastly, uniform regulations regarding the 
liberty of the press and the security of authors and publishers 
agmst piracy. 

152 The German Revolution of 1848. [March, 

This confederation was, as distinctly appears, only the act 
of the princes of Germany for the support of their own sov- 
ereign independence ; but not the act of the people, forming 
themselves into one nation. It was only after great exertions 
on the part of Prussia, that the thirteenth article was insert- 
ed, which made it incumbent on all the states to introduce 
a representative form of government ; and another article 
which guaranteed liberty of the press. No provision was 
made to enable the people of the individual states to obtain 
redress against their rulers, if they should be deprived of their 
rights ; nor were the rights of the people in the least defined, 
or the principles laid down on which the representative form 
of government should be established. All this was left to the 
sovereign will of each prince. Several states, however, pro- 
ceeded at once to comply with the thirteenth article of the 
compact, and gave constitutions, such as they were. Prussia, 
also, showed the best intentions at first, and made prepara- 
tions to give to its people a general representative form of 
government. On the 22nd of May, 1815, there appeared an 
edict of the king, that provincial diets should be constituted, 
out of which a general diet should be chosen. Of this we 
shall have occasion to speak more at large hereafter. The 
Prussian government, with Prince Ilardenburg as chancellor 
at the head of the state, favored at first the free political de- 
velopment in Germany. Soon after the Peace at Tilsit, under 
the protection of the amiable and gifted Queen Louisa and 
the Baron Von Stein, an association had been formed called 
" the league of virtue," (Tugendbund,) to which, besides the 
princes of the house, the most distinguished men belonged, as 
Fichte, Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Niebuhr, Amdt, Jahn, 
and others. The openly declared object of the pociety was the 
moral and mental culture of its members, whilst it in secret 
pursued the plan to prepare their native country, Germany, for 
redemption and elevation from its disgraceful humiliation and 
oppression. At the demand of the Emperor of the French 
this league was annulled, but it continued to exist in secret, 
and spread far beyond the boundaries of Prussia. As long 
as the enemy was near at hand, all onward movements in 
Prussia proceeded in the spirit of this league ; but when 
peaces was established, there were not wanting those who saw 
or pretended to see in this league tendencies dangerous to the 
state, or rather to the absolute monarchical principle, and 
endeavoured to represent them as such to the king, and to 

1849.] The aerman Bevolution of 1848. 153 

the world in general. The expectations of the young genera- 
tion, who had in large numbers drawn the sword in their coun- 
try's cause, were naturally and justly in favor of an internal 
political regeneration of the German people ; and this spirit 
prevailed particularly among the young men at the universi- 
ties, many of whom had manfully fought for freedom in the 
battles against the common enemy. The celebration of the 
three hundredth anniversary of the Reformation gave occasion 
for a large concourse of students from the different parts of 
the country at tiie Wartburg, to celebrate this festival, on the 
18th of October, 1818, this being the anniversary day of the 
victory over foreign thraldom. The day was celebrated in 
the spirit which filled every heart; namely, enthusiasm for 
the regeneration of the German nation. The impression which 
this celebration made upon all Young Germany was deep and 
astounding. But the governments and their servile supporters 
thought that the devil, who appeared to Luther three hundred 
years ago at this same place, had risen again and was actively 
at work. In addition to this, it happened that a Mr. Yon 
Kotzebue, known to the English public by his dramatic works, 
made himself particularly obnoxious by his writings, ridiculing 
the generous enthusiastic spirit of the young ; and, being in 
the pay and employ of the Russian government, he represented 
to the same the spirit prevailing in Germany as most danger- 
ous to the existing governments. A young man, a student at 
Jena, Charles Sand, a great enthusiast for the regeneration of 
his country, formed the idea that Kotzebue intended to betray 
Germany to Russia, and he felt himself called upon to remove 
this Russian spy at all hazards. His resolution was soon 
taken ; the enemy fell by his dagger. 

This act, together with what had preceded, was sufficient to 
bring the princes to definite and rigorous measures, and the 
tyrannical acts which now followed year after year, and which 
have been continued till the year 1848, took their date 
from 1819. 

Prince Mettemich, the Chancellor of Austria, who had long 
looked upon the onward movement of the people in different 
states with fear and dread, as diametrically opposed to his 
system of preserving the existing state of things, now deemed 
it high time to use effective means to check this innovating 
spirit of the age. Already, in the year previous, the Austrian 
ambassador had expressed, regarding the execution of the 
thirteenth article, the following view of his government : '^ It 

NO. VI. 11 

154 The Gernum RevoluUm of 1848. [March, 

is in existence ; it therefore must be executed, that is, there 
shall and must exist in all German states representadve-con- 
stitutions, and they must therefore, be introduced where they 
do not now exist. It lies in the nature of a promise, which is 
not bound to a certain time, that the fulfilment of it must be 
had as soon and as well as possible. But the wisdom of the 
government and the interest of the subjects require that the 
best of things should be attained under the given circum- 
stances." Then he went on to say, that requisite time 
must be given to the governments to bring about the proper 
result. The Prussian ambassador, also, bad, in a previous 
session, on the 5th of February, 1818, expressed himself in a 
similar way, saying that his government would now soon estab- 
lish the provincial diets, so that the essential part of the edict 
of the 22nd of May, 1815, would bo carried out ; that it would 
then proceed in the way of experiment, and first establish 
what the welfare of the individual provinces required, and 
then see what could be done for a common bond which should 
unite all provinces. 

These declarations showed distinctly that neither of these 
great powers would be led into so great a departure from the 
absolute monarchial system as to bind its hands by a repre- 
sentative constitution ; and at the same time it became evident 
that thev would not scruple to evade their promises and 
pledges uy the most paltry and Jesuitical subterfuges. 

Prince Mettemich, after the occurrences mentioned, called 
a meeting of the ministers of all the principal states for the 
purpose of conferring together to determine in what manner 
the gaps left in the act of the confederation of 1815 should 
be filled up, and at the same time to decide upon measures to 
meet the danger of the moment. The result of these confer- 
ences was the so called Resolutions at Karlsbad, which were 
Kblished on the 20th of September, 1819, at Frankfort, 
ey were as follows : 

1. That the confederate states should, at the next session, 
in the spirit of the monarchial principle and the preservation 
of the confederation, give their views on a proper interpreta- 
tion and explanation of the thirteenth article of the act of 

2. That, until definite executive regulations be establbhed, 
provisional regulations should be introduced, for the purpose 
of carrying out and watching over the measures and resolu- 
tions necessary for the mternal safety, according to the second 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 155 

8. That provisional measures should immediately be taken 
for a thorough reform of schools and universities. 

4. That for the necessary superintendence over all matters 
of the press, and for the purpose of preventing the abuse of 
it, a provisional order should be generally introduced in regard 
to newspapers, periodicals, and pamphlets. 

5. That a central committee should be appointed for the 
express purpose of investigating the revolutionary intrigues 
discovered in several states. 

The presiding ambassador of Austria stated, in opening the 
session, that the most rigorous measures must be taken to 
suppress the fermentation of minds in Germany ; that one of 
the principal causes of the excitement was the indefiniteness of 
the thirteenth article of the act of confederation, promising a 
representative form of government to the individual states ; 
that it was true that this promise had been given, but neither 
the time had been fixed when^ nor the form in which it should 
be done. That nothing else had been imderstood by repre- 
sentative states, but what had always been understood by it in 
Germany, and that he was far from understanding by it a 
kind of government by the people according to foreign pat- 
terns ; that, therefore, no constitutions should be granted in 
the different states until the diet had given an interpretation 
of the thirteenth article, which must be based upon upholding 
the monarchial principle, — that a wrong idea was abroad in 
regard to the extent of power and duties of the confederation ; 
that its object was its own self-preservation and that of the 
states, and, in this respect, it was the highest legislative 
body. The resolves of the diet, therefore, which related to 
the internal and external safety of the whole, the indepen- 
dence and inviolability of the individual members of the 
league, and the upholding of the existing order, must have a 
general binding force, and the execution of them must not be 
checked by separate legislation, and by the laws of a single 
confederate state. 

In accordance with the aforementioned resolutions and in 
the spirit of the sentiments expressed by the Austrian ambas- 
sador, the following measures were adopted : A committee 
of five members was appointed who should watch over the 
execution of the resolves of the diet. In case the resolves 
should meet with resistance on the part of the subjects of any 
state, and its own government should not be able to enforce 
them, the diet shodd enforce them by military power, and the 

156 Tl^ German Bevdutum of 1848. [Maroh, 

diet should determine on the number of troops and the states 
which should furnish them. The same should take place in 
case the government itself should refuse to carry out the 

In order to control the revolutionary spirit which had 
shown itst^lf in the universities, a plenipotentiary of each state 
was to be appointed at each university, who should watch 
over the disciplinary regulations, the spirit of the professors 
in their lectures, and give them a salutary direction for fur- 
thering the objects of the state. All governments were en- 
joined to remove for ever from public instruction every teach- 
er who should abuse his influence over the minds of the 
youth by spreading corrupting principles endangering the pub- 
lic peace and safety ; and such a teacher should be excluded 
from admission to any other institution in any other state. 
All secret and prohibited associations of students in universi- 
ties, especially that of the Burschenschaft, should be strictly 
suppressed, and every individual, taking part in any such, 
should be excluded from holding any public office. 

To carry out the last resolution, a court of seven commis- 
sioners was appointed to assemble at Mayence, to carry on 
the investigations regarding " the demagogic intrigues," as 
they were called ; all local authorities were ordered to deliver 
over to this committee the respective legal papers of prosecu- 
tion, and at the same time to pursue ditigently all traces lead- 
ing to new discoveries. At the same time, extraordinary 
power was given to this committee to make arrests throughout 
all the German states, and to have the arrested persons 
brought to Mayence, where a safe custody was provided for 

The total subversion of all legal rights, which was eflfected 
through these measures, is so evident that it need not be dwelt 
upon. At the Congress of Vienna, absolute independence in 
regard to its internal affiiirs was guaranteed to each state ; but 
here was established a most arbitrary tribunal, winch could 
arrest any individual in any state, and, on mere suspicion, drag 
him from his native state before its bar, and try him accord- 
ing to its own wish and pleasure. History has no other 
example, where a league was formed by so many absolute 
sovereigns for the special purpose of upholding their own ab- 
solute sway within their own dominions over their subjects. 

There exists no pretence of any apology for such measures 
as these ; it cannot be said that they were for tlie purpose <^ 

1849.] The Germm Revolvtian of 1848. 157 

upholding law ^and order, for the very measures themselves 
were a gross hreach of the existing laws ; and moreover, this 
very august body, which deserves better the name of a con- 
spiracy and band of tyrants, and which thought itself entitled 
to interfere with the internal affairs of the individual states, 
when their own safety was concerned, declared itself utterly 
incompetent to interfere in behalf of subjects, when their 
sacred rights were most grossly abused by their princes. A 
striking instance of this was the worse than piratical act of the 
Elector of Hesse, who pronounced null and void all the sales 
of domains made during the French dominion, without in- 
demnifying the individual purchasers. When these applied to 
the diet for redress, the Elector deprecated the interference 
of their body in the internal affairs of his state, and the un- 
fortunate persons, who had been robbed of their property in 
the most outrageous manner, remained unsuded in their help- 
less condition. Another equally glaring instance of this kind 
occurred in 1887, when the present king of Hanover, upon 
his ascending the throne, set aside the established constitu- 
tion ; and the diet, when applied to for upholding law and 
order, declared itself incompetent to interfere. It requires 
the patience of the German people to endure such outrages, 
and one would be inclined to doubt the Eternal Justice if no 
retribution should follow. 

Prince Mettemich had, with these Resolutions at Karlsbad, 
only begun the great work of establishing the existing order 
of things. He full well saw that great danger threatened his 
system through the new constitutions which the states in the 
south of Germany had obtained, and by which the subjects 
had received rights which might lead to a partial rule of the 
people. But the diet had so far no right to interfere ; it was 
therefore necessary to get a semblance of right. For this 
purpose the Austrian cabinet invited all the German govern- 
ments to send plenipotentiaries to Vienna, for the purpose of 
deliberating on and passing resolves regarding " general sub- 
jects of the confederation." On the 25th of November, 1819, 
this congress was opened. Prince Mettemich presiding. 

To get a deeper insight into the principles and views of this 
statesman, we will here insert a letter which he wrote at this 
time to Baron de Berstett, minister at Baden. 

**Time advances amid storms; to strive to check its violent 
mshtng, would be a vain endeavour. Firmness, moderation, and 

158 The G^erman Bevolution of 1848. [March, 

union of well-calculated forces — these alone remain to the pro- 
tectors and friends of order ; in these alone consists at present the 
duty of sovereigns and of disinterested statesmen ; and he alone 
will deserve this title in the day of danger, who, convinced of what 
is possible and reasonable, does not, either through impotent desires 
or inertness, swerve from the noble aim towards which his exer- 
tions must be directed. That aim is easily determined. In our 
times it is nothing more nor less than the upholding of things as 
they are. To attain this aim is the only saving means, nay, per- 
haps the most appropriate to recover what has been losU Under 
the present circumstances the transition from the old to the new 
is attended with as much danger as the change from the new to 
what no longer exists. Both may alike produce an outbreak of 
disturbances, which must be avoided at any price. To swerve in 
no way from the existing order of things, of whatever origin it 
may be, and to make alterations, if they appear absolutely necessa- 
ry, without constraint and with a maturely considered resolution — 
this is the first duty of a government which wishes to resist the 
curse of our century. Such a determination, however just and 
natural it may be, will certainly provoke obstinate conflicts ; but 
the advantage of standing upon a well known and admitted foun- 
dation is evident, because it will be easy, from this position, to 
frustrate and check the uncertain movements of the enemy in all 
directions. The fortification of the Grerman league offers at 
present, to each of the states, an actual guaranty — an inestimable 
advantage under the present circumstances, of which we could 
make sure only in the way prescribed. The rules which the 
Grerman governments will have henceforth to pursue may be 
pointed out in a few words : first, confidence in the duration of the 
peace of Europe, as well as in the unanimity of the principles 
guiding the great powers ; secondly, conscientious attention to 
their own system of administration ; thirdly, perseverance in 
maintaining the legal foundations of existing institutions, and a 
firm determination to defend them with vigor and caution against 
every individual attack ; and also, fourthly, the improvement of 
radical defects in the national institutions, with a public statement 
of the reasons of each improvement ; fifthly, in case of insufli- 
ciency of individual means, to call for the support of the league, 
which each member has the most sacred right to demand, and 
which, according to the new regulations, cannot be refused." 

The result of this second congress at Vienna was the so 
called " concluding Act at Vienna" (Wiener Schlussacte), of 
which we shall give here a few articles, whereby its spirit may 
be sufficiently seen. The indefiniteness with which tiie whole 
was worded admitted of any interpretation which the prince 

1849.] The Gemm BevohUum of 1848. 159 

ini^t, in fatore, hold it for their advantage to make. It must 
also be stated, that as soon as the good-natured German people 
had received the tidings of this new congress, they had in- 
dulged in the fond hopes that now many of their grievances 
would find in these conferences at least a hearing and some 
consideration. It was 'particularly the commercial portion of 
the people which suffered under severe oppression. All the 
states being sovereign, each one thought it proper to its digni- 
ty and advantage to surround its own territory (which might, 
in most cases, be called only a patch of land,) wiih customs 
and duties hostile to every other state, both foreign and Oer- 
man. The most ardent advocate for the protective system 
will at once admit the baneful effect this state of things must 
produce upon all trade and commerce. The merchants, who 
were assembled at the fair in Frankfort in 1819, sent a peti- 
tion to the diet, setting forth the condition of the country ; 
but without attaining a hearing. They then established a 
German Commercial Union, and sent a special commissioner. 
Professor List of Tubingen, to Vienna, to represent their cause 
to the Congress at Vienna. But he was at once, without cere- 
mony, sent back with the answer, '^ that the Commercial Union 
being an unlawful self-constituted association, could neither be 
heard nor considered by the Congress." The same answer 
was ^ven to the petition of the so called ^'Anti-piratical 
Union," which had been formed at the Hanseatic cities, and 
had petitioned for a general German flag, because under it the 
German shipping would be protected against foreign oppres- 
uon, and the piracy of the Barbarians.* But through the 
influence of Mettemich, supported by Prussia, this august 
body resolved to settle only political questions, for which spe- 
cial purpose they were convened. What these political ques- 
tions were the following articles show su£Bcientiy. 

Sections 25 and 26 read thus : '^ The maintenance of inters 
nal peace and order in the states belongs to their respective 
governments alone, but by virtue of the obligation of the fed- 
eral members to lend mutual assistance, the cooperation of all 
may take place for the preservation and restoration of quiet, 
in case of open revolt or dangerous movements in several 
states on part of the subjects ; and if any government should 

* In the spring of 1817 tber« had appeared two cortairs of Tanis in the 
Grerman or North Sea, and had captured, almost in sight of the German coast, 
the ships Oce<m of Hamburg, ana Christina of Lub^d^ and afterwards two 
other TMsab. 

160 The Germm Bevoluti&n of 1848. [Ma»;b, 

be hindered, in case of a revolt, from asking assistance firom 
the confederation, the same shall interfere of its own accord.'' 

Sections 67, 68, and 59 provide that the whole power of 
state must remidn united in the sovereign, who could be 
bound by a representative constitution, only in the exercise 
of certain rights ; but not be limited by the same in the fulfil- 
ment of his federal obligations ; and that where the publica- 
tion of legislative transactions -was allowed, the bounds of free 
speech must not be overstepped either in debates nor in the 
printed publication, so that the peace of the individual state 
or tha^t of the whole of Germany might be endangered. 

Most rigorous measures were also adopted to keep the press 
within perfect control, and to prevent the voice of the op- 
pressed from making itself heard. In accordance with the 
resolutions at Karlsbad, a law was issued on the 20th of Sep- 
tember, 1819, to be in force for five years, but which was re- 
newed in 1824. Its provisions were as follows: 1. All 
periodical writings, and all other writings of less than twenty 
sheets, must be subjected to a previous censorship, and the 
single states are responsible, in this respect, one to the other 
and to the whole confederation. 2. The diet is entitied, of its 
own accord, to prohibit writings, and the editor of a suppressed 
newspaper or other periodical shall not be admitted to the 
editorship of any other similar paper for the next five years. 
3. Complaints of governments regarding the abuse of the 
press in other states, shall be legally prosecuted in states 
where the writings were printed. 4. In regard to writings 
of more than twenty sheets, it is left to the individual govern- 
ments, whether they will introduce a censorship or leave them 
to the superintendence of the police, and under a legal prose* 
cution on the same, but, 6. it is required that in works of over 
twenty sheets, the name of the publisher, and if the work be a 
periodical, the name of the editor, must be inserted, and that 
all the books which do not bear the names mentioned, shall 
be confiscated and not be sold in any state. 

In consequence of this law a number of newspapers and 
periodicals were suppressed. Afterwards the diet directed 
its attention also to greater works, and to the attempts of some 
booksellers in neighbouring countries to spread in Germany 
political writings of a passionate import. The governments 
were requested to ^ve notice of those writings, the sup- 
pression and prosecution of which were deemed necessary 
because their contents were dangerous to the state. Oat- 

1849«] The Qermm Bevoiutim iff 1848. 161 

alogaes of -writings prohibited in the imgle states -were hand- 
ed in, and prohibitions were now likewise issued by the diet. 
Matters at length came to such a pass, that not only all the 
books published by certain booksellers, but also all the writ- 
ings of certain authors, that had not yet been published, were 
prohibited. The law of the diet of July 5th, 1832, prohibited 
all political writings which were published in the German lan- 
guage out of the ccmfederated states, unless a special permis- 
sion had been obtained frcnn the governments. The edict of 
June 28th made it incumbent upon the goyemments to take 
care, in regard to the publication of the transactions in repre- 
sentative bodies, that the bounds of free discussion should not 
be overstepped, and attacks upon the diet should be prevent- 
ed. A later edict of April 28th, 1836, prohibited the publica- 
tion of any news regarding debates in German representative 
bodies, in newspapers and periodicals, from other than the oflS- 
cial sources appointed for publishing them. 

The independent position of the princes was now fortified 
to their hearts' content, and if it was not, no one was to blame 
but themselves, since the people were not even allowed to 
present petitions to the diet. Each one now dispensed at 
his own paternal board the blessings of an almost absolute 
government to the subjects of his land, over whom he had 
been called to rule " by the grace of God." Their represent- 
atives were in constant session at Frankfort ; but for what 
purpose and to what use it would be di£Scult to say. If one 
prince was recommended on account of his general inefficiency, 
and another for the art of doing the least possible work in the 
greatest possible time, this dignified body would undoubtedly 
accept both. The people lived on quietly, and if it be true 
that those states are governed best of winch history has least 
to record, the German states may be said to have enjoyed this 
enviable position. The revolution of Prance, in 1830, found 
Germany in deep repose ; however, the crowing of the Gallic 
cock awoke the people somewhat from their slumbers. 

We have no space to specify the various movements that 
took place in different states. The princes became startled 
at this new and daring spirit of reform which showed itself 
among their subjects, and the result was the issue of six new 
edicts, dated June 28th, 1832, which are the crowning piece 
of their despotic fabric. The edicts speak for themselves, 
and we give here the document itself, rather than oflfer any 
remarks or indulge in denunciation or lamentation over the 
rights infringed and trampled under foot. 

162 The Grnnm Eevolution of 1848. [March, 

^ Since a German sovereign can be boand by a oonsdtation to 
the cooperation with the estates only in the exercise of certain 
rights, he not only may but must reject any petition which is in 
conflict with the same. If the representative assemblies attempt 
to make the granting of taxes dependent upon obtaining other 
wishes, such proceedings are to be classed among revolt and 
resistance to the government, as specified in the twenty-fiflh and 
twenty-sixth sections. A committee shall be appointed at the 
federal diet to watch over the transactions of the representatives 
in the individual states, and to inform the diet of all petitions and 
resolutions conflicting with the rights of governments. The diet 
has the exclusive right of interpreting its own laws and compacts." 

The new restrictive measures in regard to the press, we 
have already mentioned. Here we must leave the proceedings 
of the confederation of German princes. Some idea, at least, 
may be formed of the political condition of Germany, as re- 
gards its union into one nation and tiie freedom "of the people. 
If we should go into the particular grievances which the sub- 
jects in each particular state had to endure, volumes would 
be required to set them forth. We think it, however, neces- 
sary to take more particular notice of one individual state, be- 
cause it is more generally known abroad, and enjoys a certain 
reputation for its administration in some of its internal aflSoiirs 
— we mean Prussia. In regard to Austria it need only be 
stated that there the principles of Mettemich were carried 
out to the fullest extent, and unblushing absolutism reigned 
with a vigor and energy which give history no chance of re- 
cording any acts or events indicative of the existence of life 
within the body politic. We will therefore pass over this state 
entirely, and turn our eyes to the other, where some life and 
energy were shown to exist both on the part of the govern- 
ment and the people. 

The fact that the king of Prussia, on the 3rd of February, 
1847, issued a patent, which was intended to be the long 
promised constitution, and by which the States General were 
called together to assemble in one body at Berlin, has been 
alleged by some (no doubt from ignorance of the actual state 
of things,) as a proof of the development of political rights 
in Germany, Prussia being one of the greatest states of the 
confederation, counting 15,600,000 inhabitants, of whom 11,- 
900,000 belong to the Germanic confederation. So far from 
this being the case, we think it serves as an additional proof 
that all established law was disregarded, and absolutism pro- 

1849.] The aerman Bevolvtian af 1848. 163 

claimed as the bams and fundamental jninciple of government. 
A short allusion to this first assembly of States General in 
Prussia may be of interest, to see whether the German people 
had a legitimate cause to resort to a revolution and demand 
law and order. 

It was as early as the 22nd of May, 1815, that the late 
ling of Prussia issued a decree, declaring that a representa- 
tion of the people should be formed, and that for this purpose 
provincial diets should be restored in those provinces where 
they had formerly existed, and should be instituted where they 
had not existed ; that of these provincial diets a general as- 
sembly of representatives should be chosen to meet at Berlin, 
and the power of these representatives should extend to the 
deliberation on all subjects of legislation which concern the 
rights of person and property of citizens, including taxation ; 
that without delay a committee should be appointed, consisting 
of intelligent statesmen and citizens of the provinces, whose 
duty it should be, first, to organize the provincial diets, sec- 
ondly, the general diet of the kindgom, thirdly, to frame a 

This committee met on the 1st of September following ; but 
all that resulted from it was the decree of the 5th of June, 
1823, concerning the establishment of provincial diets. The 
king, at the same time, reserved to himself the decision when 
the callmg together of the States General should be necessary, 
and how they should be formed out of the provincial Estates. 
This law provided, first, that the possession of real estate 
should be the qualification of the members, that to them should 
be submitted for deliberation all propositions of laws which 
concern the province alone ; secondly, so long as there existed 
no General Diet of Estates, propositions of such general laws 
which relate to alterations of rights regarding persons and 
property and taxes, in so far as they concern the province, 
should be laid before them for deliberation ; thirdly, petitions 
and complaints which relate to the especial welfare and inter- 
est of the province should be received and examined by the 
king, who would then give his determination concerning them. 

It was also provided that desirable changes in these special 
laws should be had only upon consulting the provincial diets. 
It must be borne in mmd, however, that these provincial diets 
had no legislative power, but had merely to give their opinion 
on the proposed laws which the crown should lay before them ; 
the crown could, nevertheless, issue such laws as it pleased. 

161 The Germm BeifohMon of 1848. [March, 

Preyions to ijiifl, another decree or law had been issued, 
bearing date the 17th of January, 1820, concerning the 
adnunistration of the state debts, which stated : 

^* We declare this account of the state debts fcfr ever dosed. 
Over and above the sums therein stated, no certificate of state 
debt or any other document concerning the state debt shall be 

'* If the state should in future be obliged, for its preservation, 
or for the furthering of the general good, to take up a new loan, 
then this can be done only with the cooperation and under the 
guarantee of the future assembly of the States General" 

By this same decree, a board of adnunistration of state 
debts was instituted, consisting of four persons, and it was 
established that the members thereof should in future be pro- 
posed by the assembly of the States Creneral, and furthermore, 
" the board of administration of state debts should be obliged 
to give a yearly account to the future diet of the States Gene- 
ral ; " and " until the meeting of the States General, a deputa- 
tion consisting of the magistrate and the board of administra- 
tion, should yearly, after the account had been rendered, take 
into safe keeping the redeemed documents of state debts, and 
take measures for the separate and safe deposit of the same." 

These were the three principal decrees or laws issued by 
the late Kmg Frederick William III., granted of his own free 
will and absolute sovereign power, which continued unabated, 
and was transmitted to the present incumbent of the Prussian 
throne. Thirty-two years had the subjects of this kingdom 
waited patientiy for the fulfilment of the law of 1815, and 
that of the tlurteenth article of the act of confederation. 
Finally, on the third of February, 1847, the hope of the people 
so long deferred was to be realized, and expectation was at the 
highest, though the seven years' reign of the present king 
allowed no one to expect the most Uberal of grants. But the 
people were stunned and paralyzed when the letters patent of 
the king were made public. After stating in the preamble 
that it had ever been his anxious care to develop the relations 
of the Estates of the kingdom, and that it was one of the 
weightiest problems laid by God upon him to solve, and that 
in doing so he had had a twofold aim, namely, to transmit the 
rights, the dignity, and the power of the crown inherited from 
his ancestors, intact and unabated to his successors, but at the 
same time to grant to the Estates that cooperation which was 

1849.] The Germm Bevolutim af 1848. 166 

in harmony with those ri^ts and the peculiar relations of the 
kingdom, he continued : . 

"In respect whereof — continoing to build on the laws given 
by my royal &ther, particularly on the ordinance respecting the 
national debt of the 17th of January, 1820, and on the law 
respecting the formation of provincial diets of the 5th of June, 
1823 — we decree as follows : 

^^ L As often as the wants of the state may require either fresh 
loans or the introduction of new taxes, or the increase of them, 
we will call together around us the provincial diets of the king- 
dom in a Unit^ Diet, in order, first, to call into play that cooper- 
ation of the diets provided by the ordinance respecting the na- 
tional debt, and, second, to assure us of their consent. 

" n. We will call together, at periodical times, a committee of 
the United Diet 

** ni. To the United Diet, and, as its representcUivey to the 
committee of the United Diet, we entrust : 

" a. In reference to the counsel of the diet in matters of legisla- 
tion, the same cooperation which was assigned to the provincial 
diets by the law of 1823. 

"6. The cooperation of the diet in paying the interest on and in 
liquidating the state debts, provided by law of Jan. 17th, 1820, 
in so far as such business is not confided to the deputation of the 
diet for the national debt 

^c. The right of petition upon internal affairs that are not 
merely provincial." 

This now was the great work, the result of thirty-two years' 
deliberation ; and this deliberation would have been protracted 
still longer, if the crown had not been sadly in want of money, 
and no banker was willing to engage a loan without the consent 
of the States General, according to the law of 1820. This 
royal decree cannot possibly be called a constitution, nor did the 
royal author consider it as such, as he himself declared, in his 
royal speech delivered at the opening of the diet, on the 11th 
of Apnl, 1847 ; nay, he distinctly declared that the absolute 
monarchial power should be sustdned by him intact and unim- 
piured, and in accordance with this, the people have no rights 
whatsoever, except those granted by the crown. But, in the 
present instance, the king recognized not even former laws 
issued by his predecessor, but vindicated to himself the right 
0^' giving such interpretation to past laws, and carry out such 
thereof and as much thereof as he saw fit and proper. The 
royal speech is a fit commentary on the letters patent, by some 

166 The German Bevolutkm of 1848. [March, 

called a constitution, and as such must be noticed here. It 
occupied, in printing, nine large octavo pages, of which we 
will give here a few passages, from which it will appear that 
this document stands prominent among all royal speeches of 
Europe for insolence and foul-heartedness. The royal orator 
speaks, for instance, as follows : — 

^< I feel myself impelled to make the solemn declaration : that 
no power on earth shall ever succeed in inducing ME to change 
the natural relation between the Prince and the people, which is, 
especially with us, so powerful through its living truth, into a 
conventional and constitutional one, and that I shall never allow 
a written piece of paper to force itself like a second providence, 
so to speak, between our Lord God in Heaven and this country, 
in order to rule us by its paragraphs and by them to supply the 
old sacred loyalty.'* 

"It has been Gk)d's pleasure to make Prussia great through the 
sword, through the sword of war externally, and through the sword 
of the spirit internally, but surely not through that of the negative 
spirit of the age, but through that of the spirit of order and subor- 
dination, I proclaim it, gentlemen : As in the camp, without the 
greatest pressing danger and greatest folly, only one will is allowed 
to command, so the destinies of this land, if it shall not instantly 
fall from its height, can only be guided by one will, and if the 
king of Prussia should commit an outrage by demanding from his 
subjects the obedience of a slave, he would surely commit a far 
greater outrage if he should not demand from them that which is 
the crown of the free man, obedience for the sake of God and 

"You, gentlemen, are Grerman states, in the old established 
meaning of the word, that is, above all and essentially ' advocates 
and curators of your proper rights,' and of the rights of the states 
whose confidence has sent the greater part of you here. Beside 
this you have to exercise the rights which the crown has granted 
you. Moreover, you are conscientiouMy to give to the crown the 
advice which it a^ks from you. Finally you have the liberty of 
laying before the throne, but only after mature examination, j!7tf^t- 
tions and complaints, taken from your sphere of action and from 
your range of vision^ 

" These are the rights, and these the duties of German states, 
and this is your glorious calling. But it is not your calling * to 
represent opinions,* and to make prevalent the opinions of the 
schools and of the age. This is thoroughly nn-German, and be- 

1849.] The German Eevolution of 1848. 167 

sidea thoroaghlj unpraGticable for the welfare of the whole, for it 
leads to indissoluble entaDglements with the ctowd, which is to 
ole according to the law of God and of the land, and according 
to its otcn free unll; but must not and cannot rule according to 
tlie unll of majorities, if Prussia shall not soon become an empty 
sound in Europe.'' 

The speech had the beneficial effect of uniting at once the 
liberal members of the different provinces. The representatives 
from the provinces of Prussia and Silesia, who already before 
had desired to declare themselves incompetent, and thus thiow 
to the government the gauntlet, now wanted to leave Berlin 
directly. The more practical Rhinelanders, however, dissuad- 
ed them from doing so, by stating that a calm perseverance 
and an actual be^ning of the fight would be both better and 
braver than leaving .the field before the battle. They now 
agreed to move an address as an answer to the speech from the 
throne, although the order of business, minutely prescribed by 
the king, had not mentioned such a procedure. This motion 
was accordingly made and carried, without any resistance on 
the part of the royal commissary, the minister of the interior. 
The idea and plan was to express, in this address, a reserva- 
tion of all the rights which the previous laws, particularly 
those of 1820 and 1823, which we have stated at large 
before, had given to the states, and which this new law, estab- 
lishing the present general diet, had broken and violated. 
They wished to stand on a legal ground solely, which they now 
saw breaking from underneath them, and threatening the over- 
throw of all existing social and political order. They main- 
tained, that since the laws and royal decrees of June 5th, 1823, 
and January 17th, 1820, were pretended to have been carried 
out and fulfilled by calling together a general diet of the king- 
dom, this diet of the States General had acquired and now 
possessed all the rights founded upon and given in those laws ; 
namely, that the law of 1820 made it the duty of the depart- 
ment or board of administration of the state debts to give an 
annual account to the assembly of the State$ General^ and 
that thereby this stated periodical return of the general diet 
was guaranteed ; that this same law decreed the cooperation 
and guarantee of the general diet not only in regard to loans, 
for which the whole collective property of the state was to be 
given as security, or which served for purposes of peace ; but 
iJso in regard to every new loan^ which the state should be 
obliged to take up for its preservation, or the promotion of the 
general welfare. 

168 The Gtmum BevobOhn rf 1848. [Mardb^ 

Farther, they declared that the guarantee of state debts was 
essentially dependent upon an accurate knowledge of the 
financial condition of the state, and upon the condition of the 
property of the state, by reason of which the cooperation of 
the diet in the disposition of the domains which goes beyond 
the articles of the law of 1820, formed a part of its rights. 

Further, that the law of 1823 decreed, that so long as no 
general diet of the states should ti^e place, the propositions 
of general laws should be laid before the provincial diets, but 
that by the actual constitution and establishment of the gener- 
al diet, this enactment had naturally ex^nred, so that now the 
general diet must be consulted in regard to all general laws 
which contemplated changes concerning the rights of persons 
and property, and concerning taxes, and that this legal right 
could not be transfered upon the provisional diets, nor upon 
the assembly of the united committees, as decreed in this new 
law of February, 1847. 

These were the rights, which were claimed as rights, based 
upon laws in existence before the new decree, and they were 
manftilly maintained by able speakers, of whom we wUl only 
name as the most prominent, Berkerath, Hauseman, and 
Camphausen of the Rhenish Province, and Von Vincke of 
Westphalia, men on whom, at this present moment, the king 
depends for his sole support and safety. The sentiments and 
principles of the crown had already been plainly expressed by 
the king in his speech, and through the letter patent itself; but 
they were now opeiJy stated agsdn, and defended by the 
servants, and advocates, and servile followers of the crown, 
and thus an open proclamation and declaration was made in 
fiEice of the whole world, that the sixteen millions of people of 
the Prussian kingdom had no rights and could not clium a 
legal ground for any rights, but that they depended solely 
upon the grace and absolute will of their sovereign and king. 
All the arguments which they could oppose to the able demon- 
strations of the advocates of law and order, the liberal repre- 
sentatives, were but variations or a decided repetition of the 
t^eme in the king's speech, that, as heir to an unimpaired crown, 
he knew himself to be perfectly free from any obligation in 
regard to thmgs that had not been carried out, and ^^ that no 
power on earth would succeed in inducing him to change the 
relation between the prince and the people into a conventional 
and constitutional one.'' The ministers of justice, Uhden and 
Lavigny, the jurist of European reputation, standing at the 

1849.] The Otrman Bm^gbUionqf 1846. 169 

head of the historical school in law, argaed in this same man- 
ner; nay, the former, XJhden, said quite naively that the 
contest about the legal point was of no use, since the question 
here was about the interpretation of laws, 42Qj^e correctness 
or incorrectness of which not the assembly but^e king had 
to decide ; and that he had already decided^^d hence the 
question of legality had been disposed of. The Words ^' Stat 
pro ratione voluntaSj^ were never more strictiy applied. It 
was asserted, that the ground taken in the address to the king 
— that the states had certain rights, flowing from previous laws 
— could not be maintained, because it was not in harmony with 
the fundamental principle of absolute and unlimited power in 
the crown ; that the present king was not bound by the laws of 
his predecessor, but could mterpret them as he liked, or could 
annul them at pleasure ; and this present decree of February 
was given from the king's own free will and grace, as a boon, 
which the giver could withdraw when he pleased. The states, 
therefore, could not demand any rights, or reserve to them- 
selves any rights based upon previous laws; all that they 
could do was to ask his Majesty to give them certain laws. 
An amendment to this effect was adopted, and thus the liberal 
party for law and order defeated. It must be understood, 
however, that the two houses were convened in joint ballot. 
A Protest or Reservation of rights, specifying the rights guar^ 
anteed by former laws and violated by tiie new decree, was 
then presented, signed by one hundred and thirty-eight mem- 
bers, to be inserted in the record of the house ; but the mar- 
shal refused to receive and record it. 

Mention must be made of a petition which came under 
discussion, touching the freedom of religious belief, and the 
relation of religion to political rights. According to the Peace 
of Westphalia, three religious parties were recognized ; name- 
ly, The Catholic, the Lutheran, and the Reformed. The 
union of the two latter was established in Prussia under the 
name of Evangelical Church. A special '^ Evangelical Church 
Liturgy " was introduced in Prussia in 1821, and more or less 
forced upon the congregations. A decree of 1834 compelled, 
dso, all churches not united to adopt the liturgy, (Agendo,) 
but many Lutherans resisted, and emigrated in consequence. 
The present king^ in 1846,^ allowed those Old Lutherans, as 
they are designated, to constitute independent congregations. 
Nevertheless, the king's design, from the ^beginning of his 
reign, had been to establish the so called '^ '(^j^tian State/' 

NO. VI. 12 ' 

170 The German Revolution of 1848. [March, 

which means that Christianity, as a dogmatic system^ shjdl be 
recognized as the highest principle, and be carried out by the 
goverament, applying it to civU laws and other relations of 
state, so that only Christians shall have full civic rights. But 
one could not stop here : the state could recognize only those 
parties as Christians who adhered to the Christian dogmatic 
system approved by the head of the state ; and the dissenters 
from this state-Christian church were tolerated only on re- 
strictive conditions, but had not the usual political rights. In 
other states Prussia was imitated in this respect, and in the 
Electorate of Hesse the government went so far as to exclude 
the German Catholics from holding a solemn funeral service. 
Prussia sought, also, in an indirect way, to enforce her pecu- 
liar Christian church upon her subjects. In filling important 
offices, the government often looked more upon the Prussian 
Christianity; than the capacity of the candidates. It once 
happened that a representative was rejected on account of his " 
German Catholic faith. 

A petition was now introduced and passed by both houses, 
requesting the king to alter the law in so far that the qualifi- 
cation of electors and representatives should no longer depend 
upon their connection with one of the Christian churches, but 
that all who profess to belong to the Christian reli^on should 
have the right of franchise. 

This petition, however, together with three others, though 
presented by a majority of two thirds of both chambers, was 
entirely ignored by the king — a proceeding unheard of before, 
as the ordinary mode had been for the king either to reject a 
petition or to promise to consider it. He could not have man- 
ifested more strongly his contempt for the Estates and their 
relation to the crown. 

Our space does not allow us to enter further into the pro- 
ceedings of this first united diet of Prussia. 

We hope that it will appear, from the brief statement we 
have given above, that the very act for which the king of 
Prussia was lauded abroad, was a gross infringement and vio- 
lation of law and the rights of the people ; and, at the same 
time, that the champions of law and order and the People's 
Rights used their utmost exertions to obtain and secure Ihese 
rights in a peaceable manner. Years before, similar champions 
of liberty had sprung up m all the difierent states, and partic- 
ularly in the Grand Duchy of Baden, where such as Itzstein, 
Welcker, Bassermann, Hecker, had fought for the people's 

1849.] The German Revolution of 1848. 171 

cause without weariness, and had l<H)g ago prepared for a 
general demand of rights, which the beginning of the year 
1848 has heard repeated from all the thirty-eight states of 
Germany at once, and it must not be thought that it was only 
the outbreak in France which made these claims spring up 
suddenly and by accident. As a proof of this we will only refer 
to the fact that it was as early as the fifth of February last that 
in the second chamber, in Baden, a petition to the Duke was 
moved, that he would take proper steps to effect a representa- 
tion of the German states at the diet in Frankfort, for the 
purpose of creating a uniform German legislation and national 
institutions. A newspaper, " The Suabian Mercury," published 
at the same time .ten petitions from Heidelberg, which asked 
for the restoration of the liberty of the press, and freedom of 
religion, a general arming of the people, that the military 
should be sworn upon the constitution, and the sectarian 
schoob changed into general schools of the people ; for a code 
of police laws, and the transfer of the power of punishment 
for police offences to the regular courts ; for regulations re- 
garding the communes, and checking the accumulation of 
landed property in the hands of speculators ; for the estab- 
lishment of trial by jury, a representation of the people at 
the diet, and the abolition of capital punishment. We enu- 
merate these demands, for the purpose of showing that the 
wishes of the people were of a decided character before the 
revolution had broken out in France. This event was, how- 
ever, the external impulse which concentrated the courage of 
the people, and enabled them to speak with authority. 

The apparently sudden convention of fifty men, from differ- 
ent states in Germany, who stood forth, at once, as an execu- 
tive committee, to call together a general congress of repre- 
sentatives from the whole of Germany, and thus to effect a 
national union of the German people, had been prepared for 
years before, and now only stood prominent to public view 
when the curtain could with safety be drawn aside. After 
the disgraceful humiliation of Germany, as one nation, which 
had been effected by her princes during two centuries, and 
after she had sunk to the lowest degree of debasement through 
the high treason of the princes, who entered into a league 
under the protection of Napoleon against their common native 
country — it was the years 1813, '14, and '15 which saw once 
more a feeling of nationality and patriotism kindle in the Ger- 
man breast, and all the people of the different states unite to 

172 The German Revolvtum of 1848. [March, 

shake off the foreign yoke. The deeds which the generons 
enthusiasm of united Germany then performed will for ever 
remain stamped upon the page of her history in hold relief. 
But the treachery of the princes was displayed again in tiie 
formation of the new confederation. The political education 
of the people at large had not yet heen sufficiently devel- 
oped to maJke them feel this deception, so as to resort at once 
to proper means for ensuring their liberty and union. There 
were but few men who stood forth to combat the internal foe ; 
and the spirit of liberty and national union burned with noble 
enthusiasm only in the hearts of the young men at the univer- 
sities, who united in that much persecuted association, the 
" Burschenschaft." The states were again separate bodies, 
and the patriots in each had to struggle against the ruthless 
hands of their princes, to save and establish, in some measure, 
the political rights of their fellow-citizens. The French revo- 
lution of 1830 awoke again the national feeling that had fallen 
asleep, and the desire fbr a national union led to some popu- 
lar assemblies, which attempted to accomplish their object by 
force, but were soon suppregsed. An assembly or union of 
delegates or representatives of the people of the different 
states was not thought of then, because they were too much 
taken up with the battles in their own individual states ; and, 
moreover, such an attempt would have at once been regarded 
as high treason, and the individuals would have been sub- 
jected to imprisonment, banishment, and even death. It was, 
however, natural that the general oppression and persecution 
of the patriots in the different states, should bring them to- 
gether, at last, to consult together and try to act according to 
some concerted plan. The noble-hearted men of Baden were 
also the movers in this attempt at establishing a union. It 
was in the year 1889 that, upon the invitation of. Von Itzstein 
and Welcker, several distinguished men of Baden and Saxony 
came together at Hattersheim. In the subsequent years sim- 
ilar assemblies of representatives of different states and a few 
other worthy men, were held every year, either at the mansion 
of Von Itzstein, or at Leipsic, or somewhere else. The num- 
ber increased every year, and in the latter years almost every 
state found itself represented, yet the number never exceeded 

These assemblies were neither secret nor public, but resem- 
bled more a free, social gathering. The members abstained 
from speaking of them in newspapers, in order not to provoke 

1849.] The aerman RevoluUon of 1848. 173 

persecution, which, in those times, was directed against men 
who took the most legal of steps ; and, at the same time, no 
' secret was made of them, which might have been fatal to them 
in case of a prosecution. The advantage which these yearly 
gathering? produced is evident. The men from the different 
states became acquainted, exchanged ideas, agreed on requi- 
site steps for the future, and perhaps on propositions to be 
moved in the different German chambers. It was not till the 
autumn of 1847, that the assembly which was held at Hep- 
penheim gave a report of their proceedings in the public 
papers, as the age had somewhat advanced, and in conse- 
quence danger was less imminent. 

After the events in France, in February, no intelligent per- 
son could doubt of the danger which threatened Germany, and 
at the same time, that this was the best opportunity to obtain 
freedom and union for Germany. In order to ward off the 
dangers from abroad and protect the country, a more power- 
ful and central point of the whole people was needea than 
that which the ^' German Confederation^' afforded. To pro- 
cure such a central point was ^the problem of the German 
people. The demand for a "German Parliament" proceed- 
mg from Manheim in Baden, had already reechoed in a great 
part of Germany, and nothing was more natural than that 
those men who had attended the above mentioned annual 
assemblies should take the first steps to call into existence a 
German national representation. There was not time enough 
to call all together from the remoter parts and wait for their 
coming ; therefore, those nearest at hand were invited. The 
men of Baden again issued this invitation to those known to 
them from their former meetings, and to a few other men of 
like sentiments, to convene on the fifth of March at Heidel- 
berg. On this day fifty-one men, almost all representatives 
in their respective states, from Prussia, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, 
Baden, Hesse, Nassau, and Frankfort, came together therC) 
to consult on the most pressing measures necessary for their 
common country. They were unanimously of opinion that 
the restoration and defence of the freedom, union, independ- 
ence, and the honor of the German nation must be sought to 
be accomplished by a cooperation of all the German tribes ; 
and that the sad experience regarding the inefficiency of the 
German diet at Frankfort had shaken all confidence in the 
same, so that an application to it would call forth the bitterest 
feelings in all citizens, since this same body, which now pub- 

174 The German Revolution of 1848. [March, 

lished a flattering call to the people (it had put forth such a 
call on the third of March,) to stand by their princes, had here- ^ 
tofore strictly forbidden all petitions of the people to the same. 
They were unanimously of opinion that the German nation 
must not interfere with the political affairs of another nation ; 
and that there must be a National Assembly of representatives 
chosen according to the number of the people ; and that as 
soon as possible a larger assembly of men worthy of confidence 
must be called together from all the German states, to consult 
together and cooperate with the present government in order 
to establish this National Assembly. 

A committee of seven was appointed to call the preliminary 
national assembly and make the necessary preparations for its 
meeting. This committee sent an invitation to all past and 
present members of the diflerent chambers of representatives 
in all German lands, (East and West Prussia and Schleswig- 
Holstein of course included,) and to some other distinguished 
men sharing the public coniBdence, who were not representa- 
tives, to assemble on the 31st of March at Frankfort. About 
five hundred and fifty men came together in consequence of 
this call, and Professor Mittermaier, the celebrated jurist of 
Heidelberg, was chosen President. A programme of the 
subjects of discussion had been prepared by the committee of 
seven. It contained the following propositions : 

1. To have a Chief of the German Union, with responsible 

2. A Senate, from the individual states. 

3. A House of the People, on the basis of one represent- 
ative for every 70,000. 

4> Competent power of the union and the individual states, 
to give up to the central government their rights on the fol- 
lowing points : rt, a national army ; J, negotiation with foreign 
states ; c^ a system of commerce, maiine laws, duties, coins, 
measures, weights, ports, highways by water, and rail-roads. 

5. Harmony of civil and criminal legislation and judicial 
procedure : a Federal Court. 

6. A Constituent National Assembly on the above basis, 
established by the governments, supported by men of confi- 

7. A Permanent Committee, chosen by this present assem- 
bly, to effect the meeting of the constituent national assembly. 

If this Constituent Assembly should not convene within four 
weeks, then this present assembly should meet again on the 

1849.] The aerman BevoluUm of 1848. 175 

third and fourth of May. The Committee might, m case of 
need, call the Assembly before then. 

A conmiittee of fifty was chosen to cooperate with the con- 
federation of princes to effect the election of the Constituent 
Assembly. This met and opened its sittings on the 1st of May, 
and on the 29th of June chose a Vicar of the future empire, 
which choice fell upon Archduke John of Austria. A special 
committee of seventeen had also drafted a constitution, which 
was laid before the Constituent Assembly, and is at this mo- 
ment the subject of deliberation. 

The principal features of their projected constitution are 
essentially different from any thing that Germany has had 
before. Although the idea of restoring the old Germanic 
empire and imion under it has been the general watchword, 
yet we find the new sketch entirely different from the one we 
have before given of the old empire, and very properly so. 
All the present Germanic states are to form one Federal State 
with an hereditary chief, called emperor, at the head of the 
government. The independence of the different German 
states wliich constitute the confederation is maintained, but is 
limited so far as the unity of Germany demands it. This lim- 
itation consists, partiy, in this : that some special affairs of state 
shall come under the exclusive dominion of the imperial power ; 
and in part, that certain fundamental rights and certain insti- 
tutions are guaranteed to the people. The rights and duties, 
of the federal government are essentially the same which are 
reserved for our American federal government, and those of 
the emperor are the same with our president, except that his 
person is inviolable and irresponsible, but his ministers are 
responsible, and all ordinances emanating from him must be 
signed by at least one minister. 

The Diet or Congress of the empire is to consist of two 
chambers. The maximum number of the Upper Chamber is 
to be two hundred members, consisting of the reigning princes 
or their substitutes, delegates from each of the four free towns, 
and councillors of the empire, being men deserving well of 
their country, to be chosen for twelve years, in such a manner 
that one third of them are renewed every four years. The 
right of election is to be divided among the different states in 
proportion to their population. In those states which only 
delegate one councillor, he is to be appointed by the legisla- 
tures, and so in the four free towns ; in those states which 
delegate more than one, one half shall be appointed by the 

176 The German RevoluHon of 1848. [March, 

legislative bodies, the other by the respective govemmeiits ; the 
councillors of the empire are to be natives of the states vhieh 
appoint them, and must have attained their fortieth year. 

The Lower Chamber shall consist of deputies of tiie people 
chosen for six years — one third to be renewed every two 
years. One deputy is to be returned for every 100,000 souls. 
Every independent citizen who is of age, with the exception of 
those under condemnation for crime, is an elector, and those 
who have attained their thirtieth year are eligible, no matter 
to what state of Germany they belong. The functionaries 
elected need no sanction from tiie government. Each mem- 
ber of the Diet represents all Germany, and shall not be 
bound by instructions. Each chamber is to have the right 
of proposing laws and impeachmg the ministers. The budget 
of the empire is first to pass through the Lower Chamber. 
The result of the vote of this latter can only be rejected m 
toto by the Upper Chamber, who cannot change any separate 
article. The Diet is to meet annually, and the emperor may 
call an extra session ; he may also dissolve the same, but new 
elections must then take place fifteen days after the dissolu- 
tion ; if this is not done, the former diet shall meet three 
months after its dissolution. The sittings of the two chambers 
are to be public. 

A Court of Judicature of the empire, consisting of twenty- 
one members, is also to be instituted. They shall he appomted 
for life, in part by the emperor and in part by the Lower 
Chamber. The jurisdiction of this court is mainly the same 
with that of our federal Supreme Court of the United States, 
but it is to have more extensive powers ; namely, in regard to 
disputes on the order of succession, or the required capacily 
to govern in the different states ; in regard to complaints 
rsdsed by private individuals against reigning princes and 
against states ; in regard to disputes between the government 
of a state and its cUet on the validity of the interpretation 
given to the constitution of the state ; in all cases where jus- 
tice has been refused, or impediments thrown in the way ; in 
regard to accusations against the mimsters of the empire, or 
against the ministers of particular states.' 

The fundamental rights of the German people guaranteed 
to them are, in substance, a popular representation, with a 
deliberate voice regarding legislation and taxes, and the re- 
sponsibility of the ministers ; a free municipal constitution, 
based on an independent admixu8trati<m in communal affiurs ; 

1849.] The Oerman BevobOian qf 1848. 177 

tbe indopendenqe of tribunak, oral and pablic pleadingB in the 
Gonrts of justice, with trial bj jury for all criminal and polit- 
ical offences; the execution, throughout the whole of the 
empire, of the sentences rendered by the German tribunals ; 
equality of all classes as regards the charges of the state and 
of the communes and elig^ility to office ; the establishment 
of a national guard ; the right of assembling ; unlimited right 
of petition; the right of appealing to the Diet against the acts 
of any functionary, after having appealed in vain to the estab- 
lished authorities and to one of the chambers ; the freedom of 
tiie press from all censorship, privileges, and caution money, 
and trial by jury in offences of the press ; guarantee against 
arbitrary arrests and domiciliary visits, by virtue of an act of 
habtcLi corpm ; the right of every citizen to reside anywhere 
in tiie empire ; the right of emigration ; religious liberty, and 
freedom of conscience in public and private worship ; equality 
of all religious sects as regards civil and political rights. 

To change the constitution of the empire, the consent of tiie 
Diet and of the Chief of the empire is requisite, and in each 
chamber the presence of three fourths, at least, of the mem- 
bers, and a majority of three quarters of the members present. 

These are the outlines of the constitution proposed for the 
new German empire. No extravagant demands are made in 
it; on the contrary, it must surprise any one that it was 
thought necessary to insert provisions for certidn rights which 
relate to personal safety and liberty of conscience, and might 
have existed before in perfect harmony with the absolute 
monarchial principle of government. The principal aim is to 
secure to the German people a country in common, so that 
the intercourse of the citizens from all parts shall be untram- 
melled and free, and their political rights essentially the same 
wherever they may reside, in order to remove all jealousies 
and sectional feeling between the members of the same nation, 
which it was the interest of the princes to engender and foster. 

The question now arises. Will it be possible to establish 
this projected German Union and establish the sovereignty of 
the German people ? 

The principal difficulty we conceive to be, the independent 
sovereignty which thirty-four princes have for a long time 
arrogated to themselves. Two states among them, Prussia 
and Austria, have acquired a national importance among the 
great powers of Europe, so that their names are taken as 
denoting distinct nationalities. Now they are called upon to 

178 The German Bevolutwn of 1848. [ManA, 

lay aside all their individual importance, and to be merged in 
the general German natdonalt^^; their intercourse widi for- 
eign nations is to cease, and the central power of all (rermany 
is to assume the dignity which was doled out in homoeopathic 
quantities upon thirty-eight distinct bodies. The results of 
the wars that have been waged, of the unhallowed blood shed 
in those wars, the unmitigated and unwearied exertions made 
with the sacrifice of all that is holy and just, which have made 
Prussia what she now is, — all this is to be swept away at one 
swoop, and the king of Prussia is to become a mere provincial 
governor and an executive of prescribed laws ! As regards 
the princes, then, particularly those of the great states, this 
projected union calls forth a strife for life or death. They are 
preparing to wage this battle with all available means, and the 
result will and must be most sanguinary. Every post, ahnost, 
brings US new tidings of emeutes or mobs, as they are called, 
in the three principal cities — Berlin, Vienna, and Frankfort, 
the scenes of the great drama now struggling through its de- 
nouement. All law and order seem to be subverted, and bar- 
barous acts have already been perpetrated on both sides, which 
may stand by the side of the atrocities witnessed in the first 
French revolution. No one can regret them more than we 
do ; yet we must say, that we have been for years waiting with 
fear and dread for the sanguinary conflict of which we have 
as yet seen, as we believe, only the beginning. We look upon 
it with the same sympathy that we feel for a man in a raging 
fever, in whom the seeds of disease have been accumulating 
for years, and who must now pass through a crisis tiie more 
fearful the longer it has been delayed. 

From the grossness of the violation of the natural rights of 
the people in Germany, may be inferred the magnitude of the 
crisis which this country has to go through before a healthy 
state will be restored. The absolutism in the different states 
must first be crushed. Though this work has been fairly 
begun, yet it will be some time before it can be finished. The 
retrograde movement and reactionary spirit on the part of the 
princes, and especially on the part of Prussia, will bring mat- 
ters to a crisis, and we believe that the agitation in that state 
will not subside until the king and his royal brother are satis- 
factorily disposed of. 

- The other question that arises is, whether the people of tiie 
different states will give their ready assent to this consolida- 
tion. We may safely say, that, generally speaking, they will 

1849.] The Germm Bevolutian of 1848. 179 

do 80 ; nay, they desire and call loudly for ibis union. But 
we cannot disguise from ourselves the difSculty that arises 
from the spirit of separatism, so to speak, which it has been 
the object and interest of the princes to engender and to fos- 
ter for centuries ; so that we now hear many in Prussia cry 
out that they want to remain Prussians and will not be Ger- 
mans. Here, however, we must take into consideration the 
legion of civil office-holders, the countless number of military 
officers and noblemen, who, together with the king, are to 
battle for their very existence, and will leave no means untried 
to accomplish their design. The quiet and sedate merchants 
and tradesmen — who only look to their daily gains, and dread 
any innovation from which they cannot calculate tiieir imme- 
diate profits — may also, for the time, object to this new order 
of things, on account of the troubles which they see arise from 
the conflict of the parties in endeavouring to establish it. Add 
to this the spirit which the crown had the power to infuse and 
strengthen through education and religion, both being under 
its own direct control and superintendence. 

The more elevated desire to unite kindred elements into 
one symmetrical whole, does not move the masses of people ; 
they are necessarily more influenced by material interests. 
But also, in this view of the question, there can exist no doubt 
but the union would give an impulse to commerce and trade 
which would make itself felt throughout all classes, and do 
away, in a measure, with the present crying wants of the 
proletarian population. We hold to the doctrine that the 
more untrammelled and free the intercourse between man and 
man, the greater is the result of his activity, and so much 
less the fluctuation. The merchant and tradesman would, 
therefore, soon cling to the new state of things with that 
peculiar patriotism of their own which would make them soon 
forget that once they had to pay their taxes into the treasury 
of a government called Prussian, or by some other name. 

On the part of the people of the different states, then, we 
apprehend less difficulty ; but as regards their present rulers, 
we believe that this difficulty can be removed only by remov- 
ing them. As long as they are left in their hereditary dignity 
and sovereignty, even if their powers be crippled for a time, 
they will use every exertion to recover what they have lost, 
in the same way as their ancestors knew how to arrogate and 
secure to themselves this power under the old empire. We 
tiierefore do not look forward to a solid and powerful union of 

180 The^ (}m^n(m BevoltOioH iff 1848. [March, 

the whole of Germany^ until all the different districts of 
Germany are made as many little republics, in substance and 
in spirit, if not in name ; we say districts, and not states, be- 
cause these are now constituted of provinces, or parts of terri- 
tory which have been, artificially patched together, when at the 
end of wars the princes divided and distributed the spoils. 

The time when thb desirable result will be effected we do 
not deem abready close at hand, for we fear that the people 
will. yet have to pass through repeated sanguinary struggles, 
before their victory will be entirely accompUshed. Even after 
a complete overthrow of the absolute monarchial power, there 
remwi still formidable obstacles to be overcome. The force 
of habit and custom deep rooted in the older generations ; 
interests and property founded upon the old order of things ; 
jealousies and fears of the persons in affluence and a superior 
social position ; and, more than all, the ignorance and inexpe- 
rience of the masses in political self-government, — all these 
and many other difficulties will yet, for a generation, prevent 
the troubled waters of the social and political life in Germany 
from finding a level and flowing cahnly in their new channels. 
It is the coming generations, chiefly, who will enjoy the fruits 
and blessings of the present struggles and changes, and ap- 
preciate the sacrifices their fathers have made at the altar 
of their country. We do not find it strange, therefore, if 
many a one, in the bitterness of the present trials, calls out, 
in the words of Hamlet — 

" The time Is oat of Joint ; cursed spite ! 
That ever I wai born to set it right" 

Since writing the foregoing remarks, the events which have 
taken place in Prussia and Austria furnish a sad proof how 
well founded our fears were of a reactionary movement on the 
part of the sovereigns of these two states. What faith and 
reliance could be placed upon men whose words and acts had 
always been in direct opposition to what they professed ? It 
was this well founded suspicion which mduced the liberal 
party of the left, (often called "red republicans'' by the 
English tory press and others of a like stagnant spirit, in de- 
rision of their warm zeal for the good cause,) in the national 
assembly at Frankfort and in the constituent assemblies at 
Vienna and Berlin, to insist upon more vigorous measures to 
wrest the means of arbitrary tyranny from the hands of the 
princes. It was witii this view that the assembly at Berlin 

1849.] The Cfermm BevohOUm of 1848. 181 

pa{»ed a resolution on the nintti of August and seventh of Sep- 
tember, which enjoined upon the minister of war to issue an 
order to the army, commanding particularly the officers to con- 
form to the present constitutional state of things, and to refnun 
from reactionary tendencies and actions. The king stead- 
fastly rented thia order, but the assembly insisted, upon its 
being executed. From this time, a crisis was preparing. The 
king could find no ministry to support his treachery, until he 
at last resorted to those very men who had been his ardent 
adherents before the revolution. He full well knew, that if his 
servile military hordes were taken from him, all hope of the 
execution of his iniquitous plans was lost. Through them he 
has succeeded, at least for a time, in breaking through all law 
and order again. The Constituent Assembly has been dis- 
solved, and a constitution has been published of his own free 
will and absolute power. ^^ Might is right " is the fundamental 
principle from which this new law flows. If the scales should 
now turn, no one can complain if the Might of the People 
should exercise a Right over the person of the king. Austria 
shared a similar fate before, but her imbecile monarch has now 
chosen to withdraw from the scene, and has entrusted the fate 
of his dominions to the strong hands of a youth of eighteen, 
who comes forward and assures his faithful subjects of his 
paternal good will ! The national assembly at Frankfort con- 
tinue in session, and prove by their timid and weak action in 
regard to all these momentous and reactionary movements, that 
they are surprised and overcome by these unexpected proceed- 
ings, and that a guilty conscience tells them how blind and deaf 
they have been to the forewamings of the much abused left 
side of their body. We can only hope that the people will 
profit by this sad experience, and that, if in the next bloody 
conflict they are victorious, they wiB eflFectually remove the 
causes of reaction and disturbance of law and order, so that 
they may begin to enjoy the fruits of liberty and self-govern- 

Although the Constituent Assembly at Frankfort has now 
finished the framing of the projected constitution for United 
Germany, the most important part remains yet to be accom- 
plished ; namely, to carry out its provisions. Whoever may 
be chosen the nominal head of the Germanic Union, which 
80 far exists only on paper, and whatever title he may bear, 
whether Emperor or Protector, his best exertions will always 
encounter the insuperable obstacle of the sovereignty of the 

182 The German Mevolution of 1848. [March, 

other princes. Austria has already entirely withdrawn from 
the projected union, and will isolate itself as before, and the 
influence and the name of Prussia seem to absorb all that is 
German proper. The resistance and repugnance of the three 
middling powers — Hanover, Bavaria, and Wurtemburg — 
may, however, yet thwart the ambitious designs of the king of 
Prussia, and, although he may be chosen by the sage legisla- 
tors at Frankfort, may prevent Germany from bemg converted 
into Prussia. The hostile position of the princes among them- 
selves may finally produce some benefit to the people. The 
fond hopes of seeing the German people united into one sov- 
ereign nation seem now, at the beginning of the new year, 
almost entirely blighted ; but we may indulge in the conviction 
that the events of the past year have taught a lesson to the 
people, which will increase their desire to make further ad- 
vances in the science of self-government. It is R> be hoped 
that they will, in future, entrust their interests not to the 
hands of fanciful, pedantic, learned professors and similar 
savants, who fancy that the dreams they indulged in whilst 
engaged in their libraries could be made realities. Instead of 
facing plain matters of fact and drawing practical inferences 
therefrom « such men begin with speaking on historical devel- 
opment, and descend into their "moral consciousne&s" to con- 
struct the frame-work of a law, the substance of which a mind 
not clouded by the dust of antiquarian books would have 
drawn from the simple truth that man is a moral and respon- 
sible being, or that the government is made for the people and 
' not the people for the government. 

The mass of the German people have so long lived in slav- 
ish dependence upon their governments, that the abject spirit 
engendered for so many years by the latter seems to have 
deadened, in them the munly spirit of individual independence 
which prompts a man to walk upright and fear nobody, to 
repel indignantly and with energy any attempt at encroaching 
upon his sovereignty in his own affairs, and to maintain this 
his right at the hazard of all other goods of life. It is hoped 
that the rising generation will redeem the honor of the past, 
and learn to see and feel that a man, though possessed of all 
the learned lore of centuries and all the music and art which 
collective Europe can boast of, but who lacks the pride of a 
free and independent soul, sinks into insignificance by the side 
of men like Hermann and Tell, who, though unskilled in art 
and sciences, warm the heart as true examples of man's worth 
and dignity. 

1849.] The Eternity of God. . 188 



Thou Ocean-deep of God's Eternity ; 

Thou, the Primeval Source of Time and Space ; 

Sole Ground of refuge from a world of storms 

Art thou: Perpetual Presentness Thou art. 

The ashes of the Past are but the Germ 

Of vast Futurities to Thee. Then what 

Is man, — the point we call To-day, the worm. 

Born yester-night, — when with Thy greatness weighed ? 

To Thee Eternal One, a Universe 
Marks but a day, and we in our brief lives 
Are scarcely seconds there. Perhaps the Sun 
I now behold is e'en the thousandth Sun, 
Dancing 'fore Thee with ever changing years, 
And thousands, waiting birth, when strikes their hour 
Shall come, at thine Almighty word moved forth. 
But Thou remain'st, nor count'st the vanished Orbs. 

Meer von Gottes Ewigkeit ! 
Uralter Quell von Welt und Zeit ! 

Grand alles Fliehns von Welt und Zeiten ! 
Bestand'ge Gegenwartigkeit ! 
Die Asche der vergangenheit 

1st Dir ein Keim von Kiinftigkeiten. 
Was ist der Mensch, der Punkt von Heut', 
Der Worm, der sich seit Gestern freut, 
* Gemessen gegen deine Weiten ? 

Vor dir, Gott, Ewiger, vor dir 
Sind Weltfen Tage nur ; und wir 

In unserm Leben kaum Sekunden. 
Vielleicht walzt sich die tausendste 
Der Sonnen alternd, die ich seh, 

Und tausend sind noch nicht entbunden, 
Und kommen, wenn die Stunde schlagt, 
Durch deiner Allmacht Wink bewegt. 

Du bleibst, und zahlst nicht, die verschwunden. 

184 ^ The Eternity of God. [Marefa, 

The Stars, in all their silent majestj, 
And raised on high within unbounded space ;^ 
They who to us discourse the measured time, 
And stand before our eyes such myriad years, — 
Before Thine Eye, oh Lord, shall pass away 
But as the Grass in summer's sultry days : 
As roses at the noontide blooming young. 
But shrunken pale before the twilight hour — 
Such is the W^dn and Polar Star to Thee. 

In the Primeval Time when Life, new bom 
And quickened by Almighty power, struggled 
'Oainst chaos still ; when Ancient Nothingness 
Had scantly left the threshold of that Life ;— 
Before e'en Gravity had learnt to fall. 
And ere the earliest gleam of new made Li^t 
Had shot upon the grim and desert Dark — 
Thou still wert there, wert then, and, spread abroad 
Far from thy source as now, didst all things fill ! 

Der Sterne stille Majestat, 
Im unbegraozten Ranm erhoht ; 

Sie, die uns Jahr' und Monden sagen, 
XJnd uns viel tausend Jabre stehn, 
Sie werden, Herr, vor dir vergehn, 

Wie Gras am schwiilen Sommertagen. 
Wie Rosen, die am Mittag jung, 
Und welk sind vor der Dammerung, 

1st dir der Angelstem und Wagen. • 

IV. / 

Zur IJrzeit, als durch Allmachtszwang 
Mit Nichtseyn noch ein Werden rang, 

Und kaum von neuer Wesen Schwelle 
Das alte Unding sich entfemt ; 
Eh' Schwerkraft fallen noch gelemt. 

Eh' noch des Lichtes erste Heile 
Sich auf ein odes Dunkel goss, 
Warafc du, der allerf iillend floss, 

Gleich ewig fern von aller Quelle. 

1849.] TU Eternity of Chd. 185 


And when a different breath shall come of thine 
Omnipotence to sepulchre the world 
In nothingness, in dead and silent harmonies ; 
When many a Firmament, far, far away. 
Though swarming now with hosts of stars, shall yield 
Its Being up, and vanish into Nought — 
Creator I Thou art, young as now, untouched 
By age, to live for ever future days. 


Compared with Thought — time, wind, and sound, 

And winged light are tedious and slow ; 

But Thought — wearied her rapid wing, hung down, 

And wearied, too, in vain — Eternal One ! 

Must bow 'fore Thee and vainly hope to find 

The limit of Thy Might. A million times 

In thought the monstrous numbers monstrous sum, 

I multiply till Sense and Reason fail: 

Und Wenn ein andrer Allmachtshauch 
Die Welt in Nichts begrabet auch, 

In todte Stille Ilarmonien ; 
Wenn mancher feme Himmel noch, 
Obgleich von Stemen wimmelnd, doch 

Wird seinem Daseyn einst entSiehen, 
Wirst, Schopfer, du so jung als jetzt, 
Von keinem Alter je verletzt, 

Im ewig kiinft'gen Heute bliihen. 


Wogegen Zeit und Schall und Wind 
Selbst Lichtesfliigel langsam sind, 

Die schnellen Schwingen der Gedanken, 
Ermiidet stehn sie fruchtlos hier, 
Und beugen, Ewiger, sich dir, 

Und hoffen nur vergebens Schranken. 
Ich thiirme millionenmal 
Der Zahlen ungeheure Zahl, 

Und alle meine Pinnen schwanken, 
xo. VI. ^ 13 

186 The Eternity of Chd. [March, 

Then age to age I add, and world to world. 
But when I've builded up that height sublime, 
And turn, Eternal One, my wildered eye 
On Thee, — the monstrous sight of billion worlds. 
Ages, and times, though multiplied by 'tself, 
Is all no part, nay not a Now of Thee ! 
I take them all away, and Tbou art still 
The same ; complete in Thy Eternity ! 

Oh Measure of immeasurable time, 
Thy Now is in itself Eternity : 
And Thou, Sun of the universe dost stand 
Perpetual noon, with ever equal power ; 
Nor risest Thou — of circling times the Cause, 
Nor from Thy midday height shalt Thou descend ! 
On Thee Eternal and Unchanging God, 
On Thee who art, and wert, and art to come, — 
On Thee alone doth all Existence hang. 


Ich walze Zeit auf Zeit hinauf, 
Ich thiirme Welt auf Welt zu Hauf. 

Wenn ich, der grausen Hoh' Erbauer, 
Dann richte meinen Schwindelblick, 
Ewiger, auf dich zuriick, 

1st Billionen-Zahlen-Schauer, 
Mit sich vermehrt, kem Theil, kein Nu 
Von dir. Ich tilge sie, und du 

Liegst ganz vor mir in deiner Dauer. 


Maass der ungemessnen Zeit ! 
Dein Jetzt ist lauter Ewigkeit. 

Du Sonne bleibst im Mittag stehen, 
In gleicher Kraft. Du gingst nie auf, 
Du Grund von aller Zeiten Lauf ! 

Nie wirst du jemals untergehen. 
An dir, der da unwandelbar 
Gott ewig ist, und ewig war. 

An dir allein hangt Allbestehen. 

1849.] The Eternity of Qod. 187 


Aye, now, could Nature's firm and solid power,— * 

Which, all sustaining, ever new creates — 

Sink in some moment back to thee : 

In that same hour, with wide and horrid mouth, 

Would Nothingness devour the host of Suns, 

That transient shine, and drink the wide-spread realm 

Of all existing things ; yes, Time and e'en 

Eternity would sink within that horrid maw, 

As Ocean drinks a dropling of the rain. 

Thou Ocean-deep of God's Eternity 

Thou the Primeval Source of Time and Space; 

Sole Ground of refuge from a world of storms 

Art Thou : Perpetual Presentness Thou art. 

The ashes of the Past are but the Germ 

Of vast Futurities to Thee. Then what 

Is man, — the point we call To-day, the worm 

Bom yester-night, — when with Thy greatness weighed ? 


Ja wenn des Wesens veste Kraft, 
Die allerhaltend ewig schafft, 

In dir, Gott, jemals konnte sinken : 
Dann wiirde, zu derselben, Stund', 
Mit grasslich aufgesperrtem Schlund 

Und ob jetzt Sonnenheere blinken. 
Das Nichts der Wesen-Heere Reich, 
Die Zeit und Ewigkeit zugleich. 

So wie das Meor ein Tropflein, trinken. 


Meer von Gottes Ewigkeit ! 
Uralter Quell von Welt und Zeit! 

Grund alles Fiiehns von Welt und Zeiten I 
Bestand'ge Gegenwartigkeit ! 
Die Asche der Vergangenheit 

1st dir ein Keim von Kiinftigkeiten. 
Was ist der Mensch, der Punkt von heut', 
Der Wurm, der sich seit geatem freut, 

Gemessen gegen deine Weiten ? 

188 The Eternity of God. [March, 


No ! he is more than that brief point — To-day ; 

More than the worm bom yester-night ; and may 

Himself compare with that Immensity ! 

For when God founded Earth, and Angel choirs 

Proclaimed His praise, — unseen and fondly wrapped 

In swaddling garments of primeval Time, 

A riddle to myself, I still was there, 

Although I could not then therewith rejoice, 

Nor see my Ood establishing the world. 

And when yet many a thousand times 
New heavenly hosts appear, and as a robe 
Worn out and old are laid aside by Thee ; — 
When other heavenly hosts made by Thy hand, 
Come forth in ever new vicissitude. 
Yet seem for ever during durance made — 
Shall I eternal be as Thou, and^ robed 
In glory, through the eternal Ocean-deep, 
Shdl celebrate Thine everlasting Praise. 


Nein, er ist mehr als Punkt von heut', 
Als Wurm, der sich seit gestem freut ; 

Darf messen sich mit jenen Weiten. 
Als Gott die Erde griindete, 
Ihn Engellob verkiindete, 

Schon in den Windeln grauer Zeiten, 
Mir selbst ein Rathsel, war ich da, 
Wenn ich gleich noch nicht jauchzend sah 

Durch Ihn der Erde Grand bereiten. 


Und wenn auch einst viel tausendmal 
Noch neuer Himmel Heere air 

Vor dir wie ein Gewand vergehen ; 
Wenn andre, Gott, durch deine Hand 
Dann treten in den Wechselstand, 

Zu scheinbar ewigem Bestehen, 
Dann werd' ich, ewig wie du, Herr, 
Durch aller Ewigkeiten Meer 

Verklart dein ewig Lob erhohen. 

1849.] DUcavery of America bg the Norsemen. 189 

Abt. HE. — 1. Die Entdechmg von America durch die 
Islander %m zehnten und eilften Jakrhunderte. Von K. H. 
Hermes. Braunschweig. 1844. 8vo. pp. 134. 

2. AnUquUates Americance sive Scriptores Septentrio' 
nales Iter urn Ante-Columbianarum in America. Edidit 
Societas Regia Antiquariorum Septentrionaliam. Hafnisd. 
1837. 4to. pp. ^. 

3. Die Entdeckung Amerikas im zehnten JahrhunderU 
Von C. C. Rafn. Aus der dan. Hdschrift von G. Moh- 
nike. Stralsund. 1838. 8vo. pp. 38. 

4. The Discovery of America by the Norsemen in the 
Tenth Century, By N. L. Beamish. London. 1841. 
8vo. pp.239. a\^<^-r 

The term "Anglo-Saxon," which has got into such common 
use of late, as a comprehensive appellation for the various 
branches of the Eugllsh stock, is doubtless a very convenient 
one, has acquired a definite meaning, and we should hardly 
know what to substitute in its place. Nevertheless, the as- 
sumption which it seems to make, that the "Anglo-Saxon'' 
nations are the descendants of the old Angles and Saxons, or 
belong jrfiysically or morally to that type, is very clearly erro- 
neous. On the contrary, a large admixture from the Norse or 
Scandinavian branch of the great Germanic stock is both 
historically certain, and, moreover, very obvious in the present 
character of these nations. Perhaps it will be safest to con- 
fine ourselves to the circle of our own immediate o^)servation. 
This, at least, we may confidently assert, that the modem New 
England character has in it much more of the Norse than of 
the Saxon. Not that in any case we hold to the doctrine that 
all traits and qualities are derived from one's ancestors, any 
more than we do to the preformation or pill-box theory in 
Physiology — that all the human race were contained in embryo 
in Adam. The most important part of the character of indi- 
viduals or of nations is not what they got firom their forefathers, 
but what in the course of their moral development they have 
arrived at themselves. Nevertheless, in \hQ foundation of the 
character, in the instinctive tendencies and predilections of a 
man or a nation, the influence of blood is not to be denied. 
Now if we compare the modem Angles and Saxons, namely, 
the Germans of the neighbourhood of the Elbe, the genuine 
descendants of the invaders of England under Hengst and 

190 Discovery of America by the Norsemen. [March, 

Horsa, with ourselves, what do we find ? Why, the restless 
activity, the impatience of control, and the practical facility 
which distinguish the Yankee, are precisely what the German 
lacks. Yet we need not go far to find these traits again, only 
across the Baltic, — not, indeed, in any great development 
nowadays, for reasons which it would take us too long to touch 
upon here. — but strikingly characteristic of the old Norsemen. 
One of the most prominent features of the New England chai^ 
acter is a talent for maritime aifairs. The New Englander is 
bom with a love for the ocean and an intuitive skill in naviga- 
tion. The novelist Seatsfield has made use of this tr^t in 
one of his stories, where an American, being in a boat ex- 
posed to danger in a sudden storm on one of the Swiss lakes, 
astonishes his German companions by assuming the command 
and bringing them to shore in safety. This talent we find 
prominent, also, in the Scandinavians, particularly those of for- 
mer times, but not at all with the Germans. Even now you 
find Swedish and Danish sailors scattered all over the world, 
but who ever saw a German sailor ? The Hollanders, indeed, 
impelled by the all-powerful spirit of traffic, do carry on an 
extensive commerce ; but their vessels are mere warehouses 
afloat, they are driven to sea by the necessity of the case, and 
do not take to it with any fftisto or good will. England is now 
a great maritime power. But when England was Saxon it 
had no sailors and no fleet. King Alfred had to work hard 
to get up a coast-guard to keep off the Norsemen. Ships he 
could build, but for seamen to work them he had to employ 
"pirates" — no doubt another swarm from the same hive. 
Some time after this, though of uncertain date, we find a law 
of the Anglo-Saxons, that " any merchant who fared thrice 
over the high sea in his own craft was thenceforth of thane- 
right worthy ; '* that is, he was raised to the nobility in reward. 
But the Norsemen needed no such bribe. Long before that 
they had circumnavigated Europe from the White Sea to the 
Black. Their discovery of the Faroes is of unknown antiquity. 
These islands, which are four hundred miles from the coast of 
Norway, have never had any but a Norse name, the significa- 
tion* of which would seem to indicate, that at the remote 
period when they first appear in history, and when they had 
no regular inhabitants, they were used as depots of provisions 
for the wandering voyagers. 

• Fareyar^ thtt is, " sheep- islands. ' 

1849.] DUcovery of America by the Norsemen. 191 

Abont the year 860, a seafarer, named Gardar, was unex- 
pectedly driven on to the shores of Iceland; and within a 
year or two, and without any concert with Gardar, another 
Ilorseman, named Naddodd, took shelter there under similar 
circumstances. Now Iceland lies, at a rough calculation, about 
six hundred miles to the westward of Norway. Yet, within 
rixty years after its discovery, the population seems to have 
reached about its present number, namely, 50,000, principally 
by direct immigration from Norway. At one time Am immi- 
£ration was so great, that Harald the Fair-haired, fearing a 
depopulation of his kingdom, forbade any one to' leave it 
without permission, under penalty of a fine of five ounces of 
silver. More than forty years before, one Gunnbiom had 
already discovered the cliffs off* the east coast of Greenland, 
about two hundred miles to the westward of Iceland. Towards 
the end of the tenth century, Eirek the Red established a 
colony in Greenland. 

It is true, in most or all of these instances the discoverers 
had been driven out of their course by storms. Yet they must 
have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of the shores on 
which they were driven. And the facility with which the 
passage direct to Iceland and afterwards to Greenland was 
made shows that voyages of such extent were already familiar 
to them. Now, if we consider that in these voyages they did 
not merely coast along the shore, where there mieht be a 
chance of shelter in case of need, like the Phoenicians, but 
pushed boldly out into the restless North Atlantic in their 
undecked boats, without even the aid of the compass, we must 
acknowledge that for pure daring the exploits of these Norse 
sailors are even yet unequalled. 

This habit of making long voyages is shown also in many 
provisions of the ancient Icelandic code, the " Gray Goose," 
which was reduced to writing from ancient oral tradition, in 
the beginning of the twelfth century. In a special chapter, 
•* Of Naval Afeirs," provisions are made for taking the testi- 
mony of witnesses about to depart " in the floating fir " (a 
jUotandifuro) ; for harbor duties ; for general average in case 
of jettison ; concerning the mutual rights and duties of ship- 
owners and charterers, of sailors and skippers, of tenants in 
common of ships. Among other things, every householder 
who kept any servants was bound to assist, once a year, with 
all his retinue except his shepherd, in launching or hauling 
up any vessel. Like the inhabitants of the New England coast, 

192 ]JUcovery of America by the Norseioen. [March, 

the sterility of the land aifording no scope for their energetic 
disposition, they became of necessity a seafaring nation. 

/ The particular exploit which forms the subject of the works 
at the head of this article is probably no novelty to any of 
our readers, yet, as it has been discredited by influential 
writers, and as those who have admitted the authority of the 
account have drawn some conclusions from it which we shall 
feel obliged to criticize, we place before them, ne^ri^ entire, 
the more important documents in this case.. The perusal 
must, we think, produce the conviction of their genuineness 
in the mind of any unprejudiced person. The skepticism 
above alluded to is not, indeed, of much importance, since it 
is not shared, we believe, by any writer qualified to pronounce 
a critical opinion on the matter. It rests, no doubt, mainly 
on a vague notion of the antecedent improbability of so exten- 
sive a voyage having been made at that early period and with 
such imperfect means. But a moment's consideration of the 
facts above stated will show how unfounded such a notion is. 
The Norsemen had already been, for more than a century, in 
the habit of making voyages direct from Norway to Iceland, 
if not direct to Greenland, (since wo hear of arrivals in the 
Greenland colony "from Norway"). At all events, they 
could have touched only at Iceland. The colony on the west 
coast of Greenland consisted at that time of above one hun- 
dred and thirty farms. Probably it had already reached its 
most populous state. Now the distance across Davis' Strait, 
even at its mouth, is only about the same as from Norway to 
Iceland. But if we take it somewhat to the southward of 
Disco, (which we know the ancient colonists reached, and even 
went further north,) it is not more than two hundred miles. 
Greenland evidently belongs much more to the New World 
than to the Old ; and if we take into consideration the southerly 
current flowing out of Davis' Strait along the Labrador coast ; 
the prevalence of northerly winds in those regions ; and above 
all, the fact that the voyagers to Greenland had occasion to 
run so far to the westward in order to reach that colony, 
whereas there was before nothing to attract them to cruise in 
that direction ; it was much more probable, a priori^ that some 
of them, missing the point of Cape Farewell, or driven off" to 
sea in their northern explorations of BaflSn's Bay, should reach 
the coast of Labrador, than that they should have discovered 
Greenland. It would be singular, indeed, if these bold ad- 

1849.] Diucovery of America by the Norsemen. 198 

venturers, whose dwelling, as Tacitus ssdd even in his time, 
seemed to be the ocean, had missed the discovery of an exten- 
sive continent comparatively close at hand. 

Such are the antecedent probabilities. In this position of 
things, the internal evidence of the documents themselves 
would seem, as we said, sufficient to convince any unpreju- 
diced person of the correctness of the main facts they assert. 
It may be interesting, besides, to have in convenient compass 
the earliest fragment of history relating to this country, and 
this may serve at the same time as an illustration of what was 
said concerning the sea-faring talent of the Scandinavians, 
and as a specimen of their exploits. 

The following translations are taken from the Thattr Mreks 
rauda and the Oraenlenditiga thatt (" the piece about Eirek 
the Red" and "the piece about the Greenlanders"), which 
are presented here nearly entire. These pieces are fragments 
which have been interpolated into a Life of King Olaf Trygg- 
vason, The manuscripts are of the end of the 14th century, 
(1387-1395,) but the style and other evidences show them 
to be copies from much older ones. 

It seems that among a largo number of Icelanders who 
accompanied Eirek the Red, (who was the first to make a 
voyage to Greenland, after its discovery by Gunnbiom,) was 
one Herjulf, whose son Biami, a merchant, had been in the 
habit of passing every other winter at home with his father, 
and then sailing again on distant voyages. 

" That same summer (985 or 986) came Biami with his ship 
lo Eyrar, in the spring of which his father had sailed from the 
island. Thege tidings seemed to Biami weighty, and he would 
not unload his ship. Then asked his sailors what he meant to 
do, he answered that he meant to hold to his wont and winter with 
bis father, * and I will bear for Greenland if you will follow me 
thither.' All said they would do as he wished. Then said 
Biami, * Impmdent they will think our voyage, since none of us 
has been in the Greenland sea.' 

** Yet they bore out to sea as soon as they were boun,* and 
sailed three days till the land was sunk, then the fair wind fell off 
and there arose north winds and fogs, and they knew not whither 
they fared, and so it went for many days. After that they saw 
the sun, and could then get their bearings. Then they hoisted 
sail and sailed that day before they saw land, and they counselled 
with themselves what land that might be. But Biami said he 

• Or bound, (6ilntr) \ luiaelj, readj, as we saj a s^p ia bound for London. 

194 Discovery of America Jy the Norsemen. [March, 

thought it could not be Greenland. Thej asked him whedier he 
would sail to the land ot not ^ This is mj counsel, to sail nigh 
to the land/ (said he) ; and so they did, and soon saw that the 
land was without fells, and wooded, and small heights on the land, 
and thej left the land to larboard, and let the foot of the sail look 
towards land.* After that they sailed two days before they saw 
another land. They asked if Biami thought this was Greenland. 
He said he thought it no more Greenland than the first ; * for the 
glaciers are very huge, as they say, in Greenland.' They soon 
neared the land, and saw it was fiat land and overgrown with 
wood. Then the fair wind fell. Then the sailors said that it 
seemed prudent to them to land there. But Biami would not. 
They thought they needed both wood and water. *0f neither 
are you in want,' said Biami ; but he got some hard speeches for 
that from his sailors. He bade them hoist sail, and so they did, 
and they turned the bows from the land and sailed out to sea with 
a west-southwest wind three days, and saw a third land ; but that 
land was high, mountainous, and covered with glaciers. They 
asked then if Biami would put ashore there, but he said he 
would not ; * for this land seems to me not very promising * Tliey 
did not lower their sails, but held on along this land, and saw that 
it was an island; but they turned the stern to the land, and 
sailed seawards with the same fair wind. But the wind rose, and 
Biami bade them shorten sail and not to carry more than their 
ship and tackle would bear. T*hey sailed now four days, then saw 
they land the fourth. Then they asked Biami whether he thought 
that was Greenland or not. Biami answered, * That is likest to 
what is said to me of Greenland, and we will put ashore.' So 
they did, and landed under a certain ness (cape), at evening of the 
day. And there was a boat at the ness, and there lived Herjulf, 
the father of Biami, on this ness, and from him has the ness 
taken its name, and is since called Herjulfsness. Now fared 
Biami to his father, and gave up sailing, and was with his fjither 
whilst Herjulf lived ; and afterwards lived there after his father." 

Eirek the Red, the leader of the colony, was still looked 
upon as its head, and Biami once havii^g paid him a visit, and 
being well received, the conversation fell upon his adventures 
and his discoveries of unknown lands. All thought Biarai 
had shown very little curiosity in not making further explora- 
tions. There was much talk about voyages of discovery, and 
Leif, the eldest of Eirek's three sons, resolved to see this 
newly-discQi^ered country. Accordingly he paid Biami a 
visit, bought his vessel of him, and engaged a crew. 

* Ok l^ta skaut hor& i. land. 

1849.] DUoovery of America by the Norsemen. 196 

He now endeavoured to persuade his father to accompany 
him, and after some trouble succeeded. But the old man, on 
the way to the vessel, fell from his horse and injured his foot. 
Thereupon he said, " It is not fated that I should discover 
more countries than those we now inhabit, and we can now no 
longer fare all together.*' So he returned home, but Leif 
with his companions, thirty-five in all, set sail. 

(A. D. 999.) " First they found the land which Biarni had found 
last. Then sailed they to the land, and cast anchor and put off a 
boat and went ashore and saw there no grass. Mickle glaciers 
were over all tbe higher parts, but it was like a plain of rock 
from the glaciers to the sea, and it seemed to them that the land 
was good for nothing. Then said Leif, * We have not done about 
this land like Biarni, not to go upon it ; now I will give a name 
to the land, and call it Helluland (flat-stone land). Then they 
went to their ship. After that they sailed into the sea, and found 
another land, sailed up to it and cast anchor ; then put off* a boat 
and went ashore. This land was flat and covered with wood, and 
broad white sands wherever they went, and the shore was low. 
Then said Leif, * From its make shall a name be given to this 
land, and it shall be called Markland (Wood-land). Then they 
went quickly down to the vessel. Now they sailed thence into 
the ^a with a northeast wind, and were out two days before they 
saw land, and they sailed to land, and came to an island that lay 
north of the land, and they went on to it and looked about them in 
good weather, and found that dew lay upon the grass, and that 
happened that they put their hands in the dew and brought it to 
their mouths, and they thought they had never known any thing 
so sweet as that was.* Then they went to their ship and sailed 
into that sound that lay between the island and a ness which went 
northward from the land, and then steered westward past the 
ness. There were great shoals at ebb-tide, and their vessel stood 
up, and it was far to see from the ship to the sea. But they were 
80 curious to fare to the land that they could not bear to bide till 
the sea came under their ship, and ran ashore where a river flows 
out from a lake. But when the sea came under their ship, then 
took they the boat and rowed to the ship, and took it up into the 
river and then into the lake, and there cast anchor, and bore from 
the ship their skin-cots, and made there booths. 

** Afterwards they took counsel to stay there that winter, and 
made there great houses. There was no scarcity of salmon in the 
rivers and lakes, and larger salmon than they had before seen. 

♦ Probably the so called honey-dew, a sweet sabstance deposited on plants 
by certain insects, {dpkides,) which often attracts swarms of ants and iues to 
rose-botbes infested by them. 

196 Diieovery of America by the Norsemen. [March, 

There was the land so good as it seemed to them, that no cattle 
would want fodder for the winter. There came no frost in the 
winter, and little did the grass fall off there. Day and night were 
more equal there than in Greenland or Iceland ; the sun had there 
eyktarstad and dagm€ilastad* on the shortest day. But when they 
had ended theii* house-building, then, said Leif to his companions, 
* Now let our company be divided into two parts, and the land 
kenned, and one half of the people shall be at the house at home, 
but the other half shall ken the land, and fare not further than 
that they may come home at evening, and they shall not separate.' 
Now so they did one time. Leif changed about, so that he went 
with them (one day) and (the next) was at home at the house. 
Leif was a mickle man and stout, most noble to see, a wise man 
and moderate in all things. 


"One evening it chanced that a man was wanting of their peo- 
ple, and this was Tyrker, the Southemer.f ^Leif took this very 
ill, for Tyrker had been long with his parents, and loved Leif 
much in his childhood. Leif now chid his people sharply, and 
made ready to fare forth to seek him, and twelve men with him. 
But when they had gone a little way, there came Tyrker to meet 
them, and was joyfully received. Leif found at once that his 
old friend was somewhat out of his mind ; he was bustling and 
unsteady-eyed, freckled in face, little and wizened in growth, but 
a man of skill in all arts. Then said Leif to him : * Why wert 
thou so late, my fosterer, and separated from the party?' He 
talked at first a long while in Grerman, and rolled many ways his 
eyes and twisted his face, but they skilled not what he said. He 
said then in Norse after a time : ' I went not very far, but I have 
great news to tell ; 1 liave found g^rape-vines and ^pes.' * Can 
that be true, my fosterer,' quoth Leif. * Surely it is true,' quoth 
he, * for I was brought up where there is no want of grape-vines 
or grapes.' Then they slept for the night, but in the morning 
Leif said to his sailors, * Now we shall have two jobs ; each day 
we will either gather grapes or hew grape-vines and fell trees, so 
there will be a cargo for my ship,' and that was the counsel taken. 
It is said that their long boat was filled with grapes. Now was 
hewn a cargo for the ship, and when spring came they got ready 
and sailed off, and Leif gave a name to the land after its sort, and 

* Dat^maltutad was 7 1-2, A. M., the hour of sunrise in the soath of Iceland 
on the first day of winter, (Oct. 17th.) Eyktarstad was the period fixed (in 
the laws,) as 'the end of the natural day; namely, 4 1-2, P. M. — JntiquitateM 
jSmericana, p. 435. 

These, therefore, were two great periods of the dav, and are not to be taken 
too minutely. 

t That is, the German. 

1849.] DUewery of America by the Norsemen. 197 

called it Yinlancl (Wine-land). They sailed then afterwards into 
the sea, and had a fair wind until they saw Greenland, and the 
fells under the glaciers. Then a man took the word, and said to 
Leif, ' Why steerest thou the ship so close to the wind ? ' Leif 
answered, <I look to my steering and to something more, and 
what see ye remarkable?' They said they saw nothing that 
seemed remarkable. ' I know not,' said Leif, ^ whether I see a 
ship or a rock.' Now they looked, and said it was a rock. But 
he saw further than they, and saw men on the rock. ' Now we 
must bite into the wind (beitim undir vedril),' said Leif, < so that 
we may near them if they are in need of our aid, and it is need- 
ful to help them ; but if so be it that they are not peaceably dis- 
posed, all the strength is on our side and not on theirs.' Now 
they came close to the rock, and furled their sail and cast anchor, 
and put out another little boat which they had with them. Then 
asked Tyrker, Who rode before them ? (who was their leader.) 
He said he was named Thorir, and that he was a Norseman of 
kin. ' But what is thy name ? ' Leif told his name. * Art thou 
son of Eirek the Red of Brattahlid ? ' said he. Leif said it was 
so. * Now will I,' said Leif, ' bid you all to my ship, and as many 
of the goods as the ship will carry.' They were thankful for the 
chance, and sailed to fiireksfirth with the cargo, until they came 
to Brattahlid, and then unloaded the ship. Afterwards Leif bade 
Thorir to stay with him, and also Gudrid, his wife, and three 
other men, and got lodgings for the other sailors, both Thorir's and 
his own fellows. Leif took fiAeen men from the rock ; after that 
he was called Leif the Lucky : Leif was now both well to do and 
honored. That winter there came a great sickness among Tho- 
rir's people, and carried off Thorir and many of his people. This 
winter died also Eirek the Red. 

^ Now there was a great talk about Leif 's Vinland voyage, and 
Thorrald, his brother, thought the land had been too little ex- 
plored. Then said Leif to Thorvald, *Thou shalt go with my 
ship, brother I if thou wilt, to Vinland ; but I want that the ship 
should go first afler the wood that Thorir had on the rock ; ' and 
so was done. 


"Now Thorvald made ready for this voyage with thirty men, 
with the counsel thereon of Leif, his brother. Then they fitted 
out their ship, and bore out to sea, (A. D. 1002,) and there is 
nothing told of their voyage before they came to Vinland to Leif 's 
booths, and they laid up their ship and dwelt in peace there that 
winter, and caught fish for their meat. But in the spring Thorvald 
said they would get ready their ship, and send their long boat and 
some men with it along to the westward of the land, and explore it 
during the summer. The land seemed to them fair and woody, 

198 DUcwery of America by the Norwmen. [Marcfay 

and narrow between the woods and the sea, and of white sand. 
There were many islands and great shoals. They foand neither 
man's abode nor beasts ; but on an island to the westward they 
found a corn-shed of wood ; more works of men they found not, 
and they went back, and came to Leif 's booths in the fall. But 
the next summer fared Thorvald eastward with the merchant-ship 
and coasted to ^e northward. Here a heavy storm arose as they 
were passing one of two capes, and drove them up there and 
broke the keel under the ship, and they dwelt there long, and 
mended their ship. Then said Thorvald to his companions : 

* Now will I that we raise up here the keel on the ness and call it 
Keehiesa/ and so they did. Af^er that they sailed thence, and 
coasted to the eastwiu*d, and into the mouths of the firths that 
were nearest to them, and to a headland that stretched out. This 
was all covered with wood ; here they brought the ship into har- 
bour and shoved a bridge on to the land, and Thorvald went ashore 
with all his company^ he said then, 'Here it is fair, and here 
would I like to raise my dwelling.* They went then to the ship, 
and saw upon the sands within the headland three heights, and 
they went thither and saw there three skin-boats, and three men 
under each. Then they divided their people, and laid hands on 
them all, except one that got off with his boat They killed these 
eight, and went then back to the headland, and looked about them 
there, and saw in the firth some heights, and thought they were 
dwellings. AfVer that there came a heaviness on them so great 
that they could not keep awake, and all slumbered. Then came 
a call above them, so that they all awoke: thus said the call: 
'Awake, Thorvald ! and all thy company, if thou wilt keep thy 
life, and fare thou to thy ship, and all thy men, and fare from the 
land of the quickest.' Then came from within the firth innumer- 
able skin-boats, and made toward them. Thorvald said then, 

* We will set up our battle-shields, and guard ourselves the best 
we can, but fight little against them/ So they did, and the 
Skrslings shot at them for a while, but then fied each as fast as 
he could. Then Thorvald asked his men if any of them was 
hurt ; they said they were not hurt. ' I have got a hurt under 
the arm,' said he, * for an arrow flew between the bulwarks and 
the shield under my arm, and here is the arrow, and that will be 
my death. Now I counsel that ye make ready as quickly as may 
be to return, but ye shall bear me to the headland which I thought 
the likeliest place to build. It may be it was a true word I spoke, 
that I should dwell there for a time. There ye shall bury me, 
and set crosses at my head and feet, and call it Krossanes hence- 
forth.' Greenland was then Christianized, but Eirek the Red had 
died before Christianity came thither. Now Thorvald died, but 
they did every thing according as he^ had said, and then went and 
found their companions, and told each other the news they had to 

1849.] Diaeotwry of America hy the Norumen. 199 

tell, and lived there that winter, and gathered grapes and vines 
for loading the ship. Then in the spring tbej naade ready to sail 
for Greenland, and came with their ship to Eireksfirth, and had 
great tiding to tell to Leif." 

In the meanwhile Thorstein, Eirek's third son, had mar- 
ried Gudrid, the widow of the Norwegian Thorir, whom Leif 
had rescued from the rock. When the news of his brother's 
death arrived, Thorstein resolved to go after Thorvald's dead 
body, in order to give it a Christian burial. Accordingly he 
set oflF, but after driving about the whole summer unsuccess- 
fully, he was obliged to put in at the western settlement of 
Greenland, where they remained that winter. Here Thorstein 
and many of his men died of a pestilence, and Gudrid returned 
to Leif, at the eastern settlement. This summer a rich Nor- 
wegian, named Thorfin Karlsefni, came to Greenland and 
stayed at Leifs house, where he fell in love with Gudrid and 
married her. There being still a great talk about Vinland, 
Thorfin was persuaded to undertake a voyage thither, which 
he did, taking with him his wife and a company of sixty men 
and five women. (A. D. 1007.) 

**This agreement made Karlsefni and his seamen, that they 
should have even handed all that they should get in the way of 
goods. They had with them all sorts of cattle, as they thought to 
settle there if they might. Karlsefni begged Leif for his house in 
Vinland, but he said he would lend him the house, but not give it. 
Then they bore out to sea with the ship and ciune to Leifs 
booths hale and whole, and landed there their cattle. There soon 
came into their hands a great and good prize, for a whale was 
driven ashore, both great and good ; then they went to cut up the 
whale, and had no scarcity of food. The cattle went up into the 
country, and it soon happened that the male cattle became wild 
and unruly. They had with them a bull. Karlsefni had wood 
felled and brought to the ship, and had the wood piled on the cliff 
to dry. They had all the good things of the country, both of 
grapes and of all sorts of game and other things. After the first 
winter came the summer, then they saw appear the Skraslings, and 
there came from out the wood a great number of men. Near by 
were their neat-cattle, and the bull took to bellowing {tok at belja) 
and roared loudly, whereat the Skrselings were frightened, and 
ran off with their bundles. These were furs and sable-skins and 
skin-wares of all kinds. And they turned towards Karlsefni's 
booths, and wanted to get into the house, but Karlsefni had the 
doors guarded. Neither party understood the other's language. 
Then the Skrolmgs took down their bags, and dpened them, and 

200 IHseovery of America by the Narnemen. [March, 

oflfered them for sale, and wanted above all to have weapons for 
them. But Karlsefni forbade them to sell weapons. He took this 
plan ; he bade the women bring out their dairj stuff* for them, 
and so soon as they saw this they would have that and nothing 
else. Now this was the way the Skraelings traded, they bore off 
their wares in their stomachs, but Karlsefni and his companions 
had their bags and skin -wares, and so they parted. Now hereof 
is this to say, that Karlsefni had posts driven strongly round about 
his booths, and made all complete. At this time Gudrid the wife 
of Karlsefni bore a man-child, and he was called Snorri. In the 
beginning of the next winter the Skraelings came to them again, 
and were many more than before, and they had the same wares 
as before. Then Karlsefni said to the women, *Now bring forth 
the same food that was most liked before, and no other.' And 
when they saw it they cast their bundles in over the fence. . . . 
[But one of them being killed by one of E[arlsefni*s men, they all 
fled in haste and left their garments and wares behind] *Now I 
think we need a good counsel,* said Karlsefni, *for I think they 
will come for the third time in anger and with many men. Now we 
must do this, ten men must go out on to that ness and show them- 
selves there, but another party must go into the wood and hew a 
place clear for our neat-cattle, when the foe shall come from the 
wood. And we must take the bull and let him go before us.* 
But thus it was with the place where they thought to meet, that a 
lake was on one side and the wood on the other. Now it was 
done as Karlsefni had said. Now came the Skrielings to the place 
where Karlsefni had thought should be the battle ; and now there 
was a battle and many of the Skraelings fell. There was one 
large and handsome man among the Skraelings, and Karlsefni 
thought he might be their leader. Now one of the Skraelings had 
taken up an axe and looked at it awhile and struck at one of his 
fellows and hit him, whereupon he fell dead, then the large man 
took the axe and looked at it awhile and threw it into the sea as 
far as he could. But after that they fled to the wood each as fast 
as he could, and thus ended the strife. Karlsefni and his com- 
panions were there all that winter, but in the spring Karlsefni 
said he would stay there no longer, and would fare to Greenland. 
Now they made ready for the voyage, and bare thence much 
goods, namely, grape-vines and grapes and skin-wares. Now they 
sailed into the sea and came whole with their ship to Eireksfirth, 
and were there that winter.'* 

The next year Freydis, a daughter of Eirek the Red, per- 
suaded two Norwegian voyagers who had lately iarrived in 
Greenland, to undertake an expedition to Vinland with her 

* BUmft^ ItKtidnia — anj thing made of milk. 

1849.] DUcoverjf of America by the Norsemfn* 201 

aod her hvsband. They departed, accordingly, in two ships, 
(1012,) and reached Leif 's booths without difficulty ; but in 
tiie course of the winter Freydis, who appears to have been a 
woman of the most savage temper, stirred up quarrels between 
the two ships' companies, and finally, having with her party 
fallen upon the Norwe^ans by night, tied them hand and foot, 
and killed them all. 

This horrid deed seems to have caused a repugnance to fur- 
ther visits to the spot where it was perpetrated. Then, as 
Dr. Hermes remarks, the adventurous spirit of the Norsemen 
received a check at the introduction of Christianity, which had 
now spread throughout Greenland as well as Iceland. Wheth- 
er Christianity had any thing to do with it or not, certain it is 
that a change was manifested in the Norse character about this 
time ; that they seem to have lost some of their old vigor and 
restless spirit. This is shown, also, in the fact that about this 
time (1023,) Greenland submitted to St. Olaf of Norway. 
The way to Vinland seems to have been forgotten, so that 
when Eirek, the first Bishop of Greenland, went in the year 
1121 to seek it out, (at Uita VinlandB) he seems to have 
been unsuccessful ; at least, nothing further is said about the 
voyage. After this there occur in various of the Icelandic 
annals records of the finding of "new land" (fundu nyja 
land*^ to the westward of Iceland, but no definite mention of 
Vinland until the year 1347, when some sailors arrived in Ice- 
land from Greenland, who said they had visited Vinland. 

The disturbed state of the Scandinavian kingdoms and the 
bad policy of their rulers interrupted by degrees all communi- 
cs^tion with these distant colonies. All trading to Iceland, to 
Greenland, and the other distant provinces, without a special 
royal license, was forbidden, and some merchants who were 
driven to Greenland in a storm, in the year 1389, were prose- 
cuted on their return for breach of this law.f In the year 
1406, the last Bishop of Greenland was appointed, and is known 
to have officiated there in 14094 A. letter from Pope Nich- 
olas V. to the Bishops of Skalholt and Holum, in the year 

* The editors of the ^nliquitaUs Americana suggest that this term n^afwndu 
land may have been the origin of the name of ISewfonndland, discovered by 
Sebastian Cabot in 1496-7. There was donbtless at this time some commer- 
cial interccmrse between England and Iceland. This conjecture, if well found- 
ed, would tend to show thatl^ewfoundland was at that time considered as th6 
Vinland of the Norsemen. 

t ^'leehmd, Greenland, and the Faroe iBlands.** — JUini, Cab. Z#., S74. 

X Beamish, p. 152. 
NO. VT. 14 

202 DUdovery of America by the Norsemen. [Iforoh, 

1448) speaks of the destruction of the greater part of the in- 
habitants of Greenland, and of their churches, &c., by ^' heath- 
en foreigners from the neighbouring coast," about thuiij years 

Already, in the year 1349, or according to some, 1379, the 
western settlement had been entirely Isdd waste and the inhab- 
itants killed by the Skraslings. Probably the eastern settle- 
ment fared the same. Indeed, there is a tradition current to 
this effect among the Esquimaux of the present day.* In 
1559, the prohibition against trading to Greenland was re- 
moved, and ships sent thither, but they were hindered by the 
ice from approaching the eastern coast, (where ihe eastern 
settlement was erroneously supposed to be,) and on the west- 
ern coast only Esquimaux were found, and they so barbarous 
and ferocious that all thoughts of intercourse were abandoned 
until 1721, when the heroic missionary Hans Egede persuad- 
ed the King of Denmark to establish a colony there, which has 
been maintained ever smce, and now numbers some six thou- 
sand inhabitants. 

Such is, in brief, the chronicle of the Norse settlements on 
this side of the Atlantic. But besides these special accounts, 
incidental notices of the discovery of Vinland occur in many 
of the historical documents of the North, among others in the 
Seimskrinffla and the Eyrbyggia Saga^ two of the most au- 
thentic among them.f All these notices exist in MSS. known 
to be older (some of them several hundred years older,) than 
Columbus's discoveryV^To reject their evidence, therefore, we 
must suppose a universal and most unaccountable delusion and 
a fabulous account of imagmary regions, corresponding in all 
essentials with an existing reality. ^ 

It is true, some of the accountdare mixed with fable, and 
all of them must be received with cautious criticism. One of 
them, the Thorfin KarUefni Saga^ we have passed over alto- 
gether, although it has been conridered (except by Dr. Her- 
mes,) as one of the most important documents. But it seems 
evidently a later amplification of the account of Karlsefhi'a 
voyage given in the Chraenlendinga Thatt^ and printed above. 

* Beamish, pp. 151, 153, 156. 

t For instance, Ejfrb. Saga, (Hafh. 1787) Cup. xlviii, snb anno 999 : *'Biit 
Snorri fared to Vinland the Good with Karlsemi, and there fonght with the 
SkrsBlings;* &c. See, also, Hemtkringla, Olaf Try^ason's Saga. And Ad- 
am of Bremen ( 1016) mentions the disooveryof " winland," whm gn;pn and 
com grew wild. 

1849.] JHseovertf of America by the Noreemen. 208 

It has the same outline, but filled up with various additional 
incidents, some of them, perhaps, genuine traditions of the voy- 
age, others evidently fabulous, and others, again, belonging to 
other voyages. Various incidents simply narrated in the an- 
cient account are here heightened by fanciful or supernatural 
features. For example, in the account of the death of Thor- 
vald at Eiarlamess, (which is imported hither doubtless as an 
effective incident,) the arrow is shot by a uniped (jdnfoetingr). 
And the heroism of his simple announcement of his death- 
wound is sought to be heightened by the exclamation, on draw- 
ing out the arrow, ^^ Fat are my entrails, it is a good land we 
have come to, but little good will come to us of it ; " a very 
clap-trap sort of speech, and moreover taken at second-hand 
firom the dying speech of the poet Thormod Kolbrunor-skalld, 
at the battle of Stiklestad.* 

Other incidents are disfigured in a similar manner. Thu% 
the Skrselings when attacked suddenly sink into the earth ; the 
whale they &id on their first arrival being sent in consequence 
of prayers to Thor, proves poisonous ; an addition evidently 
belon^ng to an epoch when Christianity was firmly estab- 
lished, and not befitting the early times when heathendom was 
still respectable, although on the decline. So, also, his connec- 
tion Eirek the Red must be Christianized, and when he falls 
from his horse attributes it to his having sinfully performed a 
heathen rite ; whereas we know from the older account that he 
died a pagan. Then it is often inconsistent with itself. Thus 
in the commencement it says Eirek the Red had two sons, Leif 
and Thorstein, but afterwards mentions the third, Thorvald. 
Many other grounds are brought forward by Hermes in his in- 
troduction, to show that this Saga is of later origin, and in fact 
a fiskmily chronicle of the descendants of Earlsefiu, whose ex- 
ploits are related and amplified to flatter his posterity, and into 
which various scattered stories, as that of the death of Thor- 
vald, are introduced in order to increase the interest. At the 
end of the QraenUndinga Th&tt are genealogical registers of 
the descendants of Earlsefiii, ending with ^^ Brand the Bishop," 
and " Bjami the Bishop," who were in power in Iceland in the 
latter part of the twelfth century, these being probably the 
latest descendants at the time the Saga was written down. 
But the Thorfin KarUefni Saga continues the list to ^^ Hauk 

« Hnmhrvni^ Olaf H. Saga, cap. 247. 

204 Discovery cf Ammea bg the JSRn'demM. [Mirch, 

the Judge," and the Abbesses Oudnm and Salttera^ who 
lived at the beginnmg of the fourteenth c^itnrj. 

This Saga, tiberefore, is to be received with great caution, 
though it mentions a number of additionid particulars, which 
bear the marks of probability, and may very naturally have 
been handed down by family tradition. 

The Sagas which tiie editors of the Antiquitates Americcmoe 
and Mr. Beamish after diem think sufficient ground for pre- 
senting us with maps of the Southern and Middle United 
States as far as the IVCssissippi valley, under the name of It- 
land it ndlcla, or Svitramarmalandj (Great Ireland, or White 
Man's Land,) we concur with Dr. Hermes (^Einleibwng^ 48,) 
in thinking fabulous. This " Great Ireland," or " White Man's 
Land," according to these accounts, was six days^ voyage west- 
ward from Ireland, and was inhabited by persons riding on 
horses and speaking the Irish language. 

It appears, then, past doubt, that some part of the nordieast- 
em coast of North America was visited by the Scandinavians 
long before Columbus. The next question is — what part it 

The former opmion, that of Malte Brun and others, was in 
favor of Labrador or Newfoundland. The editors of the An- 
tiqmtates Americance and their faithful follower, Mr. Beamish, 
endeavour to show, however, partly from independent evidence 
and partly from the descriptions given in the accounts them- 
selves, that it was much further south. According to Mr. 
Beamish, " the countries discovered by Biami were Connecti- 
cut, Long Island, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, 
and Nendbundland ; " HeUuland is Newfoundland, Marklomd 
Nova Scotia ; Leif 's island is Nantucket, and the place where 
he bmit his booths Mount Hope Bay. Cape Cod, Plymouth 
harbour, and even Point Alderton and Gurnet Point have each 
assigned to it a Norse name. Even Dr. Hermes, in general 
skeptical enough, in this case shows unusual easiness of faith. 
Now, it is no doubt true that the features of the country no- 
ticed by the Norsemen correspond often very strikingly with 
points on the New England coast. Yet before any conclu- 
sicms are founded upon such resemblances, it should be shown 
that the descriptions given will not fit equally well any other 
region. Thus, for instance, it is very true that grape-vines 
and ^pes occur about Mount Hope Bay, but so they do in 

1849.] JH$e<wery of America by the Nbr$emen. 206 

Kova Scotia and Canada.* It is true tiiat halibuts (or floun- 
ders) and maple trees are common on the coast of Rhode 
Island, but so they are also on the west coast of Newfound- 
land. Neither can the frequent occurrence of sand-beaches 
and flats be said to distinguish the Vineyard Sound from parts 
of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In short, there is not one of the 
supposed indications of this particular locality which, as far as 
we know, can be smd to designate particularly any one region 
of the coast between Newfoundland and New York, except 
one or two, which we shall notice as making decidedly against 
their hypothesis. 

In the first place, the fact being admitted that the Norse- 
men did actually reach this country, it is most natural, unless 
the contrary be shown, to suppose that their exploration was 
confined to the neighbourhood of the point first reached. The 
coast between Labrador and Long Island Sound is a particu- 
larly rough and dangerous one, beset with rocks and sand^ 
banks, rendered more perilous by strong currents, and lashed 
by the fall swing of the Atlantic. All the knowledge and skill 
of the present day are insuflScient to prevent frequent ship- 
wrecks. It is to be remembered, also, that the Norsemen, in 
exploring an unknown coast, would not steer the shortest course 
from one point to another, nor launch at random into the ocean, 
but would follow the windings of the shores, and thus probably 
double the distance to be passed over. For instance, if they 
kept outside of Newfoundland, they would not steer across to 
Nova Scotia, but return to the Stnuts of Belle-Isle, nearly 
where they started from. If they passed inside, they would 
be likely to ascend the St. Lawrence for some distance before 
finding it was a river. The large bays so numerous on this 
coast, as the Bay of Fundy, the Bay of Chaleurs, and others, 
would be all circumnavigated. 

These things are needful to be kept in mind, in order to 
form a just notion of what is in fact implied by the voyages 
supposed. We do not intend to go into a minute examination 
of the topography or of the probable distance, but, roughly 
estimated, it cannot be less than two thousand miles from the 
northern coast of Labrador to Narragansett Bay, following 
the larger indentations of tiie coast. From a fortnight to three 
weeks must have been consumed in such a voyage, at the least, 
and any account of it could not fail to notice the deep wind- 

* McGregor's Bnii$k Jmeriea, I., 90. 

206 DUcovery of America by the Nareemen. [March, 

ings and bays of the coast, or the labyrinth of islands and 
headlands. Now we mamtain that nothmg of the kmd appears 
in these narratives. They are evidently plain-siuling trips, o! 
a few days onlyl It is only by the most violent distortion that 
the ancient geography can be made to fit the hypothesis. Let 
us look for a moment at the accounts themselves. 

In the first place, Biami, sailing for Greenland, struck the 
American coast at an unknown point, which, however, was 
overgrown with wood. It might have been Newfoundland or 
Southern Labrador. Hence he sailed northward two days,* 
finding the land still woody. Then, turning away from the 
land, he sailed three days, and came to an icy and mountam- 
ous island, perhaps one of the islands at the mouth of Hud^ 
son's Strcdt. Then he bore away from the land again four 
days, and arrived in Greenland. 

Next Leif, sailing for the new counfcnr, reached the spot 
which Biami last visited, and named it Melluland ; thence he 
proceeded to the wooded country, which he called Markland; 
the number of days not given.f It seems most natural to 
assume that this was the most northerly part of the coast cov- 
ered with forest ; namely, the southern part of Labrador or 
the northwesterly part of Newfoundland, which was formerly 
covered with a dense forest of large trees, j: It may have been 
a more southern point, but the burden of proof is on those who 
msdntain this. Hence he goes in two days to Yinland. In 
returning, nothing is said about his voyage, which would 
hardly have been the case had he gone to the southward of 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Next comes Thorvald, who finds Yinland without difficulty, 
and after his death his seamen return without their leader, and 
yet no incidents of the voyage are mentioned. 

* IVff d€^: there is an uncertaintj as to the meaDing of this word. B. 
Haldorsen in his Lexicon, the Glossary to the Edda Samundarj (11. 58 and 
606f) and Rafn, in most of his translations in the JntiquUattt Anuricanm^ 
disting^nish between dagr, a space of twelve honrs, and dagr^ a space of twenty- 
four hours. But Rafn afterwards, in a note, (p. 420,) says he has since come 
to the conclusion that the words are sometimes synon3rmous, giving an instance 
from the Laandnamabok^ and he thinks snch is the ease throughout these 
accounts. For this change of opinion he gives no reasons beyond the single 
citation above, but to be on the safe side we have translated throughout in 
accordance with his suggestion. 

t In the Thorfin KarUefni Saga it is said to be two days (2 dagr). 

i McGregor, p. 145. In Captain Atkins's relation concerning the coast of 
Labrador, lat 53° 40^, he says the woods are full of large pines and other trees 
suitable for ship-building. In Fitches Inlet he found g^ grass-land. — Moita- 
ckutetti Hiitortcal ColUctiom, I, p. 233. 

1849.] IH9cw0ry of America hy ike Mreemen. 207 

In like maimer Thorfin Earlsefiii and Freydis and her com- 
panions all sidl to Vinland and back, without any remarks 
made on the navigation of the route. 

One or two voyages are made in which no part of the conti- 
nent is reached, but we do not hear of any one who had ever 
reached any part of the continent failing to find Vinland, or 
experiencing ^e slightest difficulty. 

Now it is to be observed that the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
divides the northeastern coast into two quite different regions. 
Having the Labrador coast under their lee, the Norse naviga- 
tors might well hit that, somewhere to the northward of the 
region of forest, that is, somewhere in Helluland, (for this is 
evidently only a general expression for the northern barren 
regions). To coast along there until they recognized the 
landmarks ^ven by their predecessors would also be not very 
difficult, and corresponds with the accounts. But the moment 
we get beyond the Straits of Belle-Isle, the case is entirely 
changed. We come then to an intricate and dangerous navi- 
gation, which we cannot suppose the traditions of a nation of 
sailors should have passed over in silence. Nor could the 
requisite distance have been accomplished in the time stated. 
Even if we assume, according to the entirely unwarranted 
conclusion of the Antiquitates AmericaruBy that Markland is 
Nova Scotia, and suppose the intervening regions whisked by 
without remark, yet it is to be remembered that from Cape 
Sable, the southernmost extremity of Nova Scotia, to Cape Cod, 
in a direct course, is seventy leagues, and if we coast round 
the Bay of Fundy, and follow the indentations of the shore, 
(as explorers unacquainted with the navigation would of course 
have done,) the distance will be nearly doubled. Add to this 
the distance to Mount Hope Bay, and we shall have not far 
from two hundred leagues, or six hundred miles, which, ac- 
cording to the average day's sailing of the Norsemen given 
by the Antiquitates AmericcmcBy (pp. xxxrv and 420,) 
namely, one hundred and eight to one hundred and twenty 
miles, would have been five or six days' voyage, whereas Leif 
accomplished it in two, at most. Nor, finally, is it conceivable 
that one after the other should have found so easily the sought- 
for haven, or returned with so little apparent difficulty. The 
direct evidence, therefore, feils entirely. 

Various collateral circumstances, however, touching the 
appearance and productions of the country, as mentioned in 
the narratives, have been brought forward in support of the 

208 DUcovery of America by the, Norsemen. [March, 

hypothesis in question. Most of these are already disposed 
of. Some of them are fabulous, as the discovery of grain- 
fields, in the Thorfin Karhefni Saga. When tnife they do not 
prove any thing, since they apply as well to the region about 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence as to our own coast. Some of them 
do not apply to either of these regions ; such are the mildness 
of the winter, without frost or snow, and afiFording feed to cat- 
tle throughout the winter. The assertions of some writers, 
that snow falls indeed in New England, but never remains 
long on the ground, &c., &c., we need not tell our readers 
are entirely unfounded ; and there is no reason to suppose that 
the climate has ever been milder than at present within the 
historical era. The story is a mere exaggeration, natural 
enough from the contrast with the winter climate of Iceland 
and Ureenland, but no more probable as to the State of Rhode 
Island than as to the islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 
Something has been attempted to be made of the names Nau- 
set and mount Hope^ which occur on our coast. Nanset^ it 
is supposed, may have come from nesit^ a cape or point. But 
any one at all familiar with the Indian names in this part of 
the country, will notice the similarity of sound to many well 
known names of localities, such as Sokonesset^ Wamesitj JVc- 
ponsetj ITassanamesity Okommakamesit^ Unset^ and a hundred 
others ; the very name of our state, MassackusettSy is of this 
kind. As to Mount Hope, which is sought to be connected 
with the name Itop^ occurring in the Thorfin Karhefni Saga^ 
it was remarked by a critic, some time ago, that the Indian 
word was not Hope^ but Montaup^ and the prefix was not 
made by the whites, but by the Indians. It is probably the 
same word as Montauk, on Long Island. And there is a 
Mount Hope or Montaup in Orange county, New York ; an- 
other in the neighbourhood of Albany ; one in Pennsylvania, 
one in South Carolina, one in Virginia, and no less than three 
in Alabama. 

Besides these, however, two pieces of evidence have been 
adduced as showing the presence of the Norsemen in Narra- 
gansett Bay. One of these are the inscriptions on the Dighton 
rock, and others in that neighbourhood ; ttie other, the remark 
made in the Qraenlendinger Thatt^ that the sun, on the short- 
est winter day, was above the horizon nine hours, rising at 
7 1-2 and setting at 4 1-2. This, the antiquaries have reck- 
oned, would make the latitude 41^ 24' 10", that of Seaconnet 
Point being 41^ 26', and this, they think, all things taken into 

1848.] Dimmy of Asn»ioa bjf the Shnmm, 209 

oonsidefdtioii, Sb neftr enough. I& omr opnmon it is altogeliier 
too neiir, and we would ask what chri^meters <»r other meaos 
tlie Icelanders had, to tell tiie lime of day so exactly ? At 
home in Iceland, and probably in Greenland, they had their 
^^ day^toicB/* objects in the landscape which they had learned 
lo mayk the son's {dace by. But here, of course, they had 
no help pf the kind. It was a mere guess, and however 
accurately they be supposed to have guessed, they may very 
w^U have erri&d half an hour in their estimate. But half an 
hour, morning and night, will give us a shortest day of eight 
hours, and this brings us to about the latitude of &e Struts 
of Belle-Isle. 

As to the Dighton rock,* the strong resemblance of the 
whole, and more especisdly of the square-shouldered figure on 
the right, to the paintings on bu&lo-robes, &;c., lon^ ago 
excited the suspicions of those acquainted witii the handiwork 
of our Indian tribes ; and since the publication of Messrs. 
Squier & Davis' ^'Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi 
Valley," t the probabilities, to say the least of it, are decid- 
edly in favor of the Indian origin of these inscriptions. These 
gentlemen (pp. 293-800) give representations and descrip- 
tions of six sculptured rocfc occurring on the Guyandotte 
river in Virginia, and notices of various others in other parts 
of the country, all bearing a strong general res^blance to 
the Dighton rock. The objects represented are men, animals 
of various kinds, and their tracks, and, moreover, Imes, trian- 
gles, circles, &c., such as we see in the Dighton rock. 

In one instance, in particular, (fig. 206,) two figures rep- 
resented on the left-hand lower comer of the stone instantly 
remind one of the figul^es occupying a similar position in the 
supposed Norse inscription. On another occurs a very distinct 
capital P, (fig. 200,) which would make quite as good a 
Runic 2^A (P) as that which in the other case has been so 
interpreted. These rocks have been partly covered with 
earth, and are thus less defaced than the Dighton rocks, but 
they need only to have some of the connecting lines erased, 
to make letters and numerals out of the figures of men and 
animals. And it may be remarked, that the horizontal dispo- 
sition of the marks on the Dighton rock, which might seem to 

* For drawings of this rock see the AiUiomlaUt jSmericana, or the works of 
Mr. Beamish or Dr. Hermes. Also, the memoirg of the jSmerican Academy ^ 
Vol. in. There is a fac-simile cast in the geological collection at Cambridge. 

t Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol. I. 

210 Diicavery of Ameriea ijf the Norumm. [Ifsrch, 

^ye it a more inscription-like character, was, no doabt, deter- 
mined hj the horizontally stratified, slaty stroctnre of that 
rock. It has been argued that the hard graywacke of the 
Di^ton rock could not have been cut without iron instruments. 
But in the work above cited, we have numerous instances of 
elaborate sculpture of porphyry, quartz, greenstone, and jas- 
per, in implements found in die mounds of the Western coun- 

We think, therefore, that there is thus fiur no sufficient 
evidence in support of the Mount Hope hypothesis. On 
the other hand, some of the circumstances mentioned in the 
account of Vinland seem to us strongly in favor of a more 
northern locality. In the first place, it is universally admitted 
that the Skrcslings were Esquimaux. This is the name by 
which the undoubted Esquimaux of Greenland were after- 
wards known. And it could not have been borrowed from 
thence and transferred to other tribes, since the Esquimaux 
did not make their appearance at the Norse settlements in 
Greenland until long afterwards. Their skin-boats agree with 
what we know of the Esquimaux canoes, but not with those of 
any of our Indians. In the Thorfin KarUefm Saga they are 
said to have used slings, an implement unknown, we believe, 
among the more southern races, but in use (at least, some 
similar contrivance for casting darts,) among the Esquimaux. 

Now it is very certwn that no traces of the Esquimaux 
have ever been seen to the southward of Labrador* The sug- 
gestion of Hermes, (p. 101,) that they may formerly have 
inhabited New England, and have been since driven northward 
by the Indians, is, we believe, without the slightest foundation. 
The Esquimaux are evidently a northern race, representing the 
Kamschatkans and other northern tribes of Asia, and, doubt- 
less, from the first confined to similar latitudes. It is no 
more likely that the Esquimaux ever inhabited this part of the 

* It is also t«marked, that these scalptores seem to have been performed 
with a gtmgfthaped instrument. This was noticed as to the Digfaton rock, in 
some of the earliest accoants. See Mem, Am. Acad.^ IIL, 175 et seq. And 
Messrs. Sqnier & Davis (p. 298) notice that the figures on thefiocks described 
by them were evidently jiehed into the etorUj and not regularly chiselled. The 
Rhode Island Society's committee say of the Dighton inscriptions, that the 
chuacters are 'Specked in upon the rock and not chiselled or smoothly cut 
out" — Jnti^itates Americana^ p. 358. It may be remarked here, that the 
resemblance is still stronger in the case of the Portsmouth and Tiverton rocks, 
(see figures in Atttiquitatti Americana,) in which the figures are yet more at 

1849.] IHieavery of America by the Norsemen. 211 

continent, than that polar bears or Arctic foxes were found 

Other norihem features in the Scandinavian narrative are 
the abundance of sahnon and the skins of sables, both animals 
being at this day remarkably abundant about the St. Lawrence 
region. Salmon are found as far south as the Merrimack river 
in this state, and they formerly ascended the Connecticut ; but 
we are not aware that they were ever found in Taunton river, 
' nor is it likely they ever frequented so sluggish a stream. We 
never heard of the so-called sable (^Mustela Maries) in Mas- 
sachusetts or Rhode Island. That they formerly may have 
occurred there is possible ; but, at aU events, both salmon and 
sable certainly indicate a more northern region.* 

The remarkable rise and fall of the tide, which seems to 
have struck the ancient navigators, is much more in accord- 
ance with the more easterly position of Newfoundland and the 
^ adjacent regions, where, from the absence of obstruction, the 
* tides rise to a much greater height than on the New England 

We have dwelt thus disproportionately long on this compar- 
atively unimportant point, because no one, to our knowledge, 
has taken the trouble before to state the obvious considerations 
that arise on reading these ancient accounts in the region of 
which they are supposed to treat. 

Our attention was called to the subject at this time by the 
receipt of Dr. Hermes' very interesting pamphlet. But we 
have left ourselves no room for any thing more than a recom- 
mendation of his critical and thorough performance to all 
interested in the matter. As for the other works on our list, 
the ArUiquitates Americance have probably been heard of by 
most of our readers. An account of it may be found in the 
North American Review for January, 1838. 

[Since writing the above, we have had an opportunity, 
through the kindness of Dr. Webb, of reading an account of 
the '' skeleton in armour" dug up at Fall River, in the year 

* The same maj be said of the eider-dncks' nests, which are mentioned in 
the Thorfln Kariufni Saga as occnrrine in great numbers on the islands. 
These birds pass and repass our coast in men annual mimtions, but that thej 
ever built here is highly improbable, since it is a decidedly arctic species, and 
would find the weather mucn too warm in the breeding season. On the other 
hand, they are known to breed in great numbers on the coast of Labrador. 

t In the harbour of Mingan, on the Labrador coast, north of Anticosti, the 
tide rises from ten to twelve (ett — Bhmt'i Coatt PUot^ p. 103. 

212 3{$eovery of America ty the Narsenmn. [March, 

1881, and whieh, it has been thou^, might be the remains 
of one of the Norse colonists. This account was sent by Dr. 
Webb to the Society of Northern Antiquaries in Copenhagen, 
and published by them in the " Mimoires de la Sociit6 Royale 
des Antiquaires du Nord," Copenhagen, 1843. Prom it we 
extract the following particulars, l^e skeleton was found m 
a sand-bank, at a short distance inland from the mouth of 
Taunton river. 

*^ The individual was buried in a sitting posture, with the legs 
flexed upon the thighs and the thighs bent towards the abdomen ; 
the hands were inclined to, if not, indeed, resting against, the 
clavicular portion of the thorax. The body had evidently been 
carefully enveloped in several coverings of woven or braided 
baik-cloth of different textures, the finest being innermost ; and 
exterior to the whole was a casement of oedar-b^k. On the chest 
was found a breast-plate of brass or other metallic composidon, 
measuring about fourteen inches in length and five and one fourth ^ 
inches in breadth at one end, and six inches at the other. . . . 
The impression of the skin is very strongly exhibited in some 
parts. What were the original length and form of this plate it is 
impossible for me to say, as it was broken or destroyed at both 
ends when found. Over the breastplate, at its lower extremity, 
and completely encircling the body, was a belt, consisting of me- 
tallic tubes arranged in close contact with each other, so as to 
make a continuous cincture. These tubes are in length four and 
a half inches, and in diameter one fourth inch. . . . These 
were formed around pieces of hollow reed, the edges being brought 
so nicely in contact as to give them the appearance of unbroken 
cylinders. Through the inclosed reeds sinews, or narrow strips of 
animal hide, were passed, and the ends braided together, so that 
another string, similar in kind, might run transversely at top and 
bottom, and thus complete the belt Two armlets or bracelets 
were found near the remains ; these, when closely examined, 
appear lo have been made not of manufactured or dressed leather, 
but of raw hide, (having the hair still upon them). . . . The 
only other articles found were half a dozen arrow-heads, made of 
the same material that the breastplate and sash or cincture were.** 

These were triangular, two inches long by one and a third 
wide, and perforated at base. Pieces of the shafts, a few 
inches long, were still connected with the heads. The metal 
bemg afterwards examined by Berzelius, proved to be brass, 
of about the ordinary composition. 

"Wherever the breastplate or cincture came in contact with 
or near propinquity to the body, there the flesh, underneath and 

1349.] JH§6om^ ^ AMri(M ijf ihfi Nmme$^. 218 

for a few iDokeB above and below, waa in Bach a p^eot state of 
preservation, that the muscles could be readily separated or dis- 
sected from one another. The flesh and integuments on the trunk, 
from the top of the shoulders down to the short ribs, likewise on 
the hands and arms, with the exception of the elbows, and on the 
inner side of the right leg or knee, were well preserved. The 
bark coverings were much decayed, except when they came in 
contact with the metallic trappings." 

The following osteological measurements are given in the 
same article by Dr. Hooper of Fall River : Os femoris, 18 3-4 
inches ; Tibia, 14 1-2. Lower jaw : vridth at angles, 4 1-16 ; 
ditto at top of coronoid process, 3 15-16; from symphysis 
to angle, 8 34. Cranium: Circumference at division line 
between sincipital and basilar regions, (as laid down by phre- 
nolo^ts,) 20 1-2 ; firom root of nose to junction of coronal 
and sa^ttal sutures, 5 1-2 : from ditto to external occipital 
protuberance, 18 34 ; between the meatus auditorii over 
Rrmness, 13 14 ; ditto over Causality, 11 34 ; over Cau- 
tiousness, 13 5-8 ; parietal diameter half an inch above mea- 
tus, 5 1-4 ; ditto throng " superior edges of ossa temporum," 
5 1-2 ; ditto through Cautiousness, 5 3-8. " The skull indi- 
cates a deficiency of Philoprogenitiveness, which i$ not char- 
aeteristic of the IncUan.^^ No article of European maiiii£ie- 
ture could be found. No Indian burial-ground is known to 
have existed on this spot, but there is a very ancient one 
tiiree fourths of a mile north, and another about the same dis- 
tance northwest of it. Nothing of the character of the articles 
above described has been found in these. The land was occu- 
pied and improved by the whites as early as 1681. 

These hi^y interesting remains, with the exception of the 
spechnens of bark-fabric and the brass tubes, sent to Den- 
mark, were destroyed by fire a few years since. Neverthe- 
less, we think enough appears from the above account to show 
that they belonged to the aborigines of the country, and not 
to any European colonist. The metal of which the onwanents 
were composed was undoubtedly of European origin, but the 
forms into which it had been wrought are almost identical with 
those of the copper ornaments found in the mounds of the 
West, (see Squier & Davis' " Monuments, &c.," pp. 205, 
207,) and leave a suspicion, as a learned friend of ours re- 
marks, that they may trace their origin to some of the brass 
kettles of those Frenchmen, who, in Captain John Smith's 
time, had so overstocked the New England market, that the 

214 DUeovery of Ameriea by iJie Nor9emm. [March, 

worthy captain thought it not worth his while to enter Mas- 
sachusetts Bay. Some of these kettles. Dr. Webb sajs, are 
found in neighbouring Indian graves. At all events, the 
metal, although European, does not give the slightest pre- 
sumption of a Norse origin, for even if we extend the " age of 
bronze" as far as that period, these ornaments are not of 
bronze, but of brass, which, we believe, was not in use 
among the Norsemen. The sitting position of the body, it is 
well known, is usual among Indian remains. The braided 
cedar-bark is decidedly an Indian manufacture, and is still 
eztennvely used for cords among the Ojibwas and probably 
other tribes. Then the state of preservation of the body 
and of the arrow-shafts militates strongly agunst any great 
antiquity. It is true, the salts of copper exercise a strong an- 
tiseptic influence, but here the effect would be rather too ex- 
tensive. For we must bear in mind that a sand-bank is, per- 
haps, the most unfavorable position for the preservation of 
organic remains, owing to its permeability to water and the 
fiftcility with which it condenses and absorbs moisture from the 
atmosphere. A careful examination of the skeleton might set- 
tle the question, but this, unfortunately, is no longer possible. 
Perhaps some of our anatomical readers may satisfy them- 
selves from the few notes made by Dr. Hooper. On tfa& point 
we may notice the unusual proportions of the leg-bones, the 
femur being longer and the tibia shorter than the average in 
the European type. Then the proportions of the skull seem 
to approach more nearly to those of the American races. 
Krause gives as the average parietal diameter between the 
tulera parietcUiay (which we take to be the bump of Cautious- 
ness,) 6.128 inches in the male European cranium, and 6.039 
in the female. Dr. Hooper's measurement of the same part 
will be seen to be less, in which it agrees with Dr. Morton's 
measurements of aboriginal American skulls, in wluch the av- 
erage of this diameter is 5.5 to 5.6. Then the greater parietal 
diameter at the highest point of the squamous suture (Secre- 
tiveness?) agrees with the pyramidal form noticed by Dr. 
Morton. Above all, the " deficiency of Philoprogenitiveness," 
namely, the flat occiput, is, perhaps, the most unequivocal 
characteristic of the American type yet discovered. See Mor- 
ton's Crania Americana^ p. 65.] 

1849.] Chaaraeter of Mr. Fr4$eoU a$ an JBRitman. 215 

Art. IV. — 1. The HhUyry cf the Reign of Ferdinand 
and Isabella the Catholic. By William H. Prbscott, 
&o., &;c. Boston. 1838. 3 vols. 8vo. 

2. History of the Conquest of Mexico, with a PreHmi- 
nary View of the Ancient Mexican CiviUzation and the 
Life of the Conqueror, Hernando Cortes. By William 
H. Pbescott, &c., &c. New York. 1846. 3 vols. 8vo. 

3. History of the Conquest of Peru, with a Preliminar 
ry View of the Civilization of the Incas. By William 
H. Prescott, &c., &c. New York. 1847. 2 vols. 8vo. 

It is now more than eleven years since our accomplished 
, and distingmshed countryman, Mr. Prescott, appeared before 
the world as a writer of history. Within that period he has 
sent forth three independent historical works, which have found 
a wide circle of readers in the New World and the Old. His 
works have been translated into all the tongues of Europe, 
we think, which claim to be languages of literature ; they 
have won for the author a brilliant renown, which few men 
attain to in their lifetime ; few, even, after their death. No 
American author has received such distinction from abroad. 
The most eminent learned societies of Europe have honored 
themselves by writing his name among their own distinguished 
historians. He has helped strengthen the common bond of all 
civilized nations, by writing books which all nations can read. 
Yet while he has received this attention and gained this re- /^ 
nown, he has not found hitherto a philosophical critic to inves-^ 
^tigate his works carefully, confess the merits which are there, 
point out the defects, if such there be, and coolly announce 
the value of these writmgs. Mr. Prescott has found eulo^ts 
on either continent ; he has found, also, one critic, who adds to 
national bigotry the spirit of a cockney in literature ; whose 
stand-point of criticism is the church of Bowbell ; a man who 
degrades the lofty calling of a critic by the puerile vanities of 
a literary fop. The article we refer to would have disgraced 
any journal which pretended to common fairness. We often 
find articles in the minor journals of America, written in a 
little and narrow spirit, but remember nothing of the kind so 
little as the paper we spak of in the London Quarterly 
Review, No. CXXVII., Art. 1. We have waited long for 
some one free from national prejudice to come, with enliurged 
views of the duty of a historian, having suitable acquaintance 


21C OhmraaUr of Mr. Pr§$oaU a$ m Mktmfi^ [Mardi^ 

with the philosophy of history, a competent knowled^ of the 
subjects to be treated of, and enough of the spirit of Humanity, 
and oarefolly examine these works in all the li^t of modem 
philosophy. We have waited in vain ; and now, co&scioos of 
our own defects, knowing that every qualification above hint- 
ed may easily be denied us, we address ourselves to the work. 
The department of history does not belong to our special 
study ; it is, therefore, as a layman that we shall speaK, not 
aspiring to pronounce the high cathedral judgment of a profes- 
sor in Sat craft ; the History, Literature, and General Devel- 
opment of the Spanish nation fall still less witliin the special 
range of the writer of this article. We are students of history 
only in common with all men who love liberal studies and pursue 
history only in tiie pauses from other tmls. However, the re- 
markable phenomena offered by the Spanish nation in the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries long ago attaracted our attention 
and study. Still, it is with reluctance we approach our task ; 
bad any of the able men whose business it more properly is, 
girded himself and applied to the work, we would have held 
our peace ; but in the silence of such we feel constrained to 

Before we proceed to examine the works of Mr. Prescott, 
let a word be said of the oflSce and duty of an Historian — to 
indicate the stand-point whence his books are to be looked 
upon. The writer of Annals, or of Chronicles, is to record 
events in the order in which they occur ; he is not an Hbto- 
rian, but a Narrator ; not an Architect, but a Lumberer, or 
Stonecutter of History. It does not necessarily belong to his 
calling to elaborate his materials into a regular and complete 
work of art, which shall fully and philosophically represent the 
Life of the nation he describes. 

The Biographer is to give an idea of his hero, complete in 
all its parts, and perfect in each ; to show how the world and 
the age with their manifold influences acted on the man, and 
he on his age and the world, and what they jointly jaxKiuced. 
It is one thing to write the Memoirs or Annals of a man, and 
a matter quite different to write his Life. Mr. Lockhart has 
collected many memorials of Sir Walter Scott ; laboriously 
written annals, but the Life of Sir Walter he has by no means 
written. In telling what his hero suffered, did, and was, and 
how all was brought to pass, the Biographer must be a crit- 
ic also, and tell what his hero ought to have been and have 
done. Hence comes the deeper interest and the more in- 

1849.] Ohartufter of Mr. Pre$eatt ca an Hiftorim. 217 

Btniotive character of a tme Biography ; Memoirs may enter- 
taio, but a Biography must instruct. 

The Annalist of a nation or a man works mainly in an ob- 
jective way, and his own character appears only in the selec- 
tion or omission of events to record, in referring events to 
causes, or in deducing consequences from causes supposed to 
be in action. There is little which is personal in his work. On 
the other hand, the personality of the Biographer continually ^ 
appears. The lumberer's character or the stonecutter's does ' 
not report itself in the oak or travertine of Saint Peter's, 
while the genius of the architect confronts you as you gaze 
upon his colossal work. Now as the less cannot of itself 
comprehend the greater, so a biographer cannot directly, and 
of himself, comprehend a man nobler than himself. All the 
Oysters in the world would be incompetent to write the life of " 
a single Eagle. It is easy for a great man to understand the 
little man ; impossible to be directly comprehended thereby. 
It is not hard to understand the position of a city, the mutua) 
relation of its parts, when we look down thereon firom a high 
tower. Now while this is so, by the advance of mankind 
in a few centuries, it comes to pass that a man of but com- 
mon abilities, having the culture of his age, may stand on a 
higher platform than the man of genius occuped a short time 
before. In this way the Biography of a great man, which 
none of his contemporaries could undertake, because he so far 
overmastered them, soon becomes possible to men of marked 
ability, and in time to men of ordinary powers of comfprehen- 
sion. At this day it would not be very difficult to find men 
competent to write the Life of Alexander or of Charlemagne, 
yet by no means so easy to find one who could do justice to 
Napoleon. Lord Bacon was right in leaving his " name and 
memory " " to foreign nations and to mine own countrymen 
after some time be passed over." We are far from thinking 
Lord Bacon so great as many men esteem him, but at his 
death there was no man among his own countrymen, or in for^ 
eign nations, meet to be his judge. The followers of Jesus 
collected only a few scanty memorials of the man, and they 
idio have since undertaken his life are proofs that the world 
has not caught up with his thoughts, nor its foremost men ris- 
en high enough to examine, to criticize, and to judge a sjnrit 
so commanding. But after all, no advance of mankind, no 
culture however nice and extensive, will ever enable a Hobbes 
or a Hume to write the Life of a Jesus or even a Plato. It 

NO. VI. 15 

218 Oharacter of Mr. PreseoU as an Sktorian. [March, 

wodd be hard, even now, to find a man, in En^and or oat of 
it, competent to give us the Biography of Shakspeare, even if 
he had all that Annals and Memoirs might furnish. 

iNow an Historian is to a Nation what a Biographer is to a 
Man : he b not a bare chronicler, to indite the memoirs of a 
nation and tickle his reader with a mere panorama of events, 
however great and brilliantly colored, — events which have a 
connection of time and place, but no meaning, coming from no 
^ recognized cause and leading to no conclusion ; he is to ^ve 
us the Nation's Life, — its Outer Life in tiie civil, military, and 
commercial transactions ; its Inner Life in the thought and 
feeling of the people. If the Historian undertake the entire 
^history of a nation that has completed its career of existence, 
then he must describe the country as it was when the people 
first appeared to take possession thereof, and point out the 
successive changes which they efiected therein ; the geograph- 
ical position of the country, its natural features — its waters, 
mountains,' plains, its soil, climate, and productions — all are 
important elements which help modify the character of tiie 
nation. The Historian is to tell of the origin of the people, 
of their rise, their decline, their fall and end ; to show how 
they acted on the world, and the world on them, — what was 
mutually given and received. The causes which advanced or 
retarded the nation are to be sought, and their action ex- 
plidned. He is to inquire what Sentiments and Ideas pre- 
vailed in the nation; whence they came, from without the 
people or from within ; how they got organized, and vrith what 
result. Hence, not merely are the civil and military transac- 
tions to be looked after, but the Philosophy which previdls in 
tbe nation is to be ascertained and discoursed of ; the Liter- 
ature, I^aws, and Religion. The Historian is to describe the 
industrial condition of the people, — the state of Agriculture, 
Commerce, and the Arts — both the useful and the beautiful ; 
to inform us of the means of internal communication, of the 
intercourse with other nations — military, conmiercial, liter- 
ary, or religious. He must tell of the Social State of the 
people, the relation of the cultivator to the soil, the relation of 
class to class. It is important to know how the Revenues of 
the state are raised ; how the taxes are levied — on person or 

f>roperty, directly or indirectly ; in what manner they are col- 
ected, and how a particular tax affects the welfare of the 
people. The writer of a Nation's Life must look at the whole 
people, not merely at any oqe clfhss, noble or plebeian, and 

1849.] Oharaeter of Mr. Pre$cott as an HUtorian. 219 

must give the net result of their entire action, so l^at at ike 
end of his book we can say : ^^ This people had such senti- 
ments and ideas, which led to this and the other deeds and 
institutions, which have been attended by such and such re- 
sults ; they added this or that to the general achievement of 
the Human Race." 

Now in the history of each nation there are some Eminent 
Men, in whom the spirit of the nation seems to culminate — 
either because ihej are more the nation than the nation is 
itself, or because by their eminent power they constrain the nsr 
tion to take the form of these individuals ; such men are to be 
distinctly studied and carefully portrayed ; for while embody- 
ing the nation's genius they are an epitome of its history. In 
a first survey, we know a nation best by its great men, as a 
country by its m9untms and its plains, its waters and its 
shores, — by its great characters. Still, while these eminent 
men are to be put in the foreground of tiie picture, the humblest 
class is by no means to be neglected. In the Family of Man 
there are elder and younger brothers ; it is a poor history which 
neglects either class. A few facts from the every-day life of 
the merchant, the slave, the peasant, the mechanic, are often 
worth more, as signs of the times, than a chapter which relates 
the intrigues of a courtier, though these are not to be over- 
looked. It is well to know what songs the peasant sung ; what 
prayers he prayed ; what food he ate ; what tools he wrought 
with ; what tax he payed ; how he stood connected with the 
soil ; how he was brought to war, and what weapons armed him 
for the fight. It is not very important to know whether Gen- 
eral Breakpate commanded on tiie right or the left ; whether 
he charged uphill or downhill ; whether he rode a bright 
chestnut horse or a dapple gray, nor whether he got dis- 
mounted by the breaking of his saddle-girth or the stumbling 
of his beast. But it is important to know whether the soldiers 
were accoutred well or ill, and whether they came voluntarily 
to the war, and fought in battle with a will, or were brought to 
the conflict against their own consent, not much caring which 
side was victorious. 

In telling what has been, the Historian is also to tell what 
ought to be, for he is to pass judgment on events, and try 
counsels by their causes first and their consequences not less. 
When all these things are told, History ceases to be a mere 
panorama of events having no unity but time and place ; it 
becomes Philosophy teaching by experience, and has a profound 

220 OharadxT of Mr. PreseoU at an HUtorian. [Maroh, 

meaning and awakens a deep interest, while it tells ike lesscms 
of the Past for the warning of the Present and the edification 
of the Future. A nation is but a single family of tiie Human 
Race, and the Historian should remember that tiiere is a life 
of the Race, not less than of the several nations and each 
special man. 

If the Historian takes a limited period of the life of any 
country for his theme, then it is a single chapter of the na- 
tion's story that he writes. He ought to show, by way of 
introduction, what the nation has done beforehand ; its condi- 
tion, material and spiritual, the state of its Foreign Relations, 
and at home the state of Industry, Letters, Law, Philosophy, 
Morals, and Religion. After showing the nation's condition 
at starting, he is to tell what was accomplished in the period 
under examination ; how it was done, and with what result at 
home and abroad. The Philosophy of History is of more 
importance than the Facts of History ; indeed, save to the 
antiquary who has a disinterested love thereof, they are of 
littie value except as they set forth that Philosophy. 

Now the subjective character of an Historian continually ap- 
pears, colors his narrative, and affects the judgment he passes 
on men and things. You see the mark of the tonsure in a 
history written by a priest or a monk ; his standing-point is 
commonly the belfry of his parish church. A courtier, a tri- 
fler about the court of Queen Elizabeth, has his opinion of 
events, of their causes and their consequences ; a cool and wise 
politician judges in his way ; and the philosopher, neither a 
priest, nor courtier, nor yet a politician, writing in eitiier age, 
comes to conclusions different from all three. A man's philo- 
sophical, polldcal, moral, and religious creed will appear in the 
history he writes. M. de Potter and Dr. Neander find very 
dififerent things in the early ages of the Christian church ; a 
Catholic and a Protestant History of Henry the Eighth would 
be unlike. Mr. Bancroft writes the history of America from the 
stand-pomt of Ideal Democracy, and, viewed from that point, 
things are not what they seem to be when looked at from any 
actual Aristocracy. Hume, Gibbon, Mackintosh, and Schlos- 
ser, Sismondi, Michelet, and Macaulay, all display their own 
character in writing their several works. Hume cannot com- 
prehend a Puritan, nor Gibbon a "Primitive Christian;" 
Saint Simon sees little in Fenelon but a disappointed courtier, 
and in William Penn Mr. Bancroft finds an ideal Democrat. 

A man cannot comprehend what wholly transcends himself. 

1849.] Chaaracter of Mr. Prescott as an Historian. 221 

Could a Cherokee write the history of Greece ? a Mexican, 
with the average culture of his nation, would make a sorry 
figure in delineating the character of New England. If the 
Historian be a strong man, his work reflects his own character ; 
if that be boldly marked, then it continually appears — the one 
thing that is prominent throughout his work. In the Life 
and Letters of Cromwell we get a truer picture of the au- 
thor than of the Protector. The same Figure appears in the 
French Revolution, and all his historical composition appears 
but the grand Fabling of Mr. Carlyle. But if the Historian is 
a weak man, a thing that may happen, more receptive than 
impressive, then he reflects the average character of his 
acquaintance, the circle of living men he iaoves in, or of 
the departed men whose books he reads. Such an Historian 
makes a particular country his special study, but can pass 
thereon with only the general judgment of his class. This is 
true of all similar men : the water in the pipe rises as high as 
in the fountain, capillary attraction aiding what friction hin- 
dered ; you know beforehand what an average party-man will 
think of any national measure, because his " thought " does 
not represent any individual action of his own, but the general 
average of his class. So it is with an ordinary clergyman ; 
his opinion is not individual but professional. A strong man 
must have his own style, his own mode of sketching the out- 
line, filling up the details, and coloring his picture ; if he have 
a mannerism, it must be one that is his own, growing out of 
himself, and not merely on him, while in all this the small man 
represents only the character of his class : even his style, his 
figures of speech, will have a family mark on them ; his man- 
nerism will not be detected at first, because it is that of all 
his friends. Perhaps it would make littie difference whether 
Michael Angelo was bom and bred amid the rugged Alps or 
in the loveliest garden of Valombrosa — his genius seeming 
superior to circumstances ; but with an artist who has Uttie 
original and creative power, local peculiarities affect his style 
and appear in all his works. 

Now within a thousand years a great change has come over 
the spirit of history. The historical writings of Venerable 
Bede and of Louis Blanc, the Speculum Hystoriale of Vincen- 
cius Bellovacensis, so eagerly printed once and scattered all 
over Europe, and the work of Mr. Macaulay, bear marks 
of their respective ages, and are monuments which attest the 
progress of mankind in the historic art. 

222 Character of Mr. Prescott as an Historian. [March, 

In the middle ages Chivalry prevailed : a great respect was 
felt for certsdn prescribed rules ; a great veneration for cer- 
tain eminent persons. Those rules were not always or neces- 
sarily rules of Nature, but only of Convention ; nor were the 
persons always or necessarily those most meet for respect, but 
men accidentally eminent oftener than marked for any substan- 
tial and personal excellence. The Spirit of Chivalry appears 
in the writers of that time, — in the Song and the Romance, in 
History and Annab, in Homilies, and in^ Prayers and Creeds. 
Little interest is taken in the people, only for their chiefs ; 
little concern is felt by great men for industry, commerce, 
art; much for arms. Primogeniture extended from Law 
into Literature; History was that of Elder Brothers, and 
men accidentally eminent seemed to monopolize distinction in 
letters, and to hold possession of History by perpetual entail. 
History was aristocratic ; Rank alone was respected, and it 
was thought there were but a few hundred persons in the 
world worth writing of, or caring for ; the mass were thought 
only the sand on which the mighty walked, and useful only for 
that end ; their lives were vulgar lives, their blood was puddle 
blood, and their deaths were vulgar deaths. 

Of late years a very diflferent spirit has appeared ; slowly 
has it arisen, very slow, but it is real and visible, — the Spirit 
of Humanity. This manifests itself in a respect for certain 
rules, but they must be Laws of Nature — rules of Justice and 
Truth ; and in respect for all mankind. Arms yield not to 
the gown only, but to the frock ; and the aproned smith with 
his creative hand beckons destructive soldiers to an humbler 
seat, and they begin with shame to take the lower place, not 
always to be allowed them. This Spirit of Humanity appears 
in Legislation, where we will not now follow it ; — but it ap- 
pears also in Literature. Therein Primogeniture is abolished ; 
the entail is broken ; the monopoly at an end ; tiie Elder Sons 
are not neglected, but the Younger Brothers are also brought 
into notice. Li History as in Trade, the course is open to tal- 
ent. History is becoming democratic. The Life of the People 
is looted after ; men write of the ground whereon the mighty 
walk. While the coins, the charters, and the capitularies — 
which are the monuments of kings — are carefully sought after, 
men look also for the songs, the legends, the ballads, which 
are the medals of the People, stamped with their image and 
superscription, and in these find materials for the Biography 
of a nation. The manners ani customs of the great mass of 

1849.] Charader of Mr. Pre$eoU as cm Historian. 228 

men are now investigated, and civil and military transactions 
are thought no longer the one thing most needful to record. 
This spirit of Humanity constitutes the charm in the writings 
of Niebuhr, Schlosser, Sismondi, Michelet, Bancroft, Grote, 
Macaulay, tiie greatest historians of the age ; tiiey write in 
the interest of mankind. The absence of this spirit is a sad 
defect in the writings of Mr. Carlyle; — himself a ^ant, he 
writes History in the interest oiily of giants. 

Since this change has taken place, a new demand is made 
of an Historian of our times. We have a right to insist that 
he shall give us the Philosophy of History, and report the les- 
sons thereof, as well as record the facts. He must share 
the Spirit of Humanity which begins to pervade the age ; he 
must not write in the interest of a class, but of mankind, — 
in the interest of Natural Right and Justice. Sometimes, 
however, a man may be excused for lacking tfie Philosophy 
of History ; no one could expect it of a Turk ; if a Russian 
were to write the history of France, it would be easy to for- 
^ve him if he wrote in the interest of tyrants. But when a . 
man of New England undertakes to write a history, there is ^/ 
less excuse if his book should be wanting in Philosophy and 
in Humanity ; less merit if it abound therewith. 

Mr. Prescott has selected for his theme one of the most 
important periods of history — from the middle of the fifteenth 
to the middle of the sixteenth century. The three greatest 
events of modern times took place during that period: the 
Art of Printing was invented, America discovered, the Prot- 
estant Reformation was begun. It was a period of intense 
life and various activity, in fbrms not easily understood at 
this day. The Revival of Letters was going forward; the 
classic models of Ghreece and Rome were studded anew ; the 
Revival, also, of Art ; Lionardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino, 
Michael Angelo, Raphael, were achieving their miracles of 
artistic skill. Science began anew ; new Ideas seemed to 
dawn upon mankind ; modem Literature received a fresh 
impulse. The new Thought presentiy reported itself in all 
departments of life. Navigation was improved ; commerce 
extended; a new world was discovered, and, buted by the 
hope of gold or driven by discontent and restless love of 
change, impelled by desire of new things or constrained by 
conscience, the Old World rose and poured itself on a new 

224 Character qf Mr. Pre^eott a$ «n Hutarian. [March, 

oontment, and with new Ideas to found empree ipaighUer than 
the old. In Europe a revolution advanced with £e steps of 
an earthquake. The Hercules-Pillars of anthoritj were shak- 
en ; the berf rose against his Lord ; the great Barons every- 
where were losing their power ; the great Kings oonsolidating 
their authority. Feudal institutions reeled with l^e tosangs of 
the ground, and fell — to rise no more. It was the age of the 
Medici, of Macchiavelli, and of Savonarola ; of Erasmus and 
Copernicus ; of John Wessel, Reuchlin, Scaliger, and Agri- 
cola ; Luther and Loyola lived in that time. The Ninety-five 
Theses were posted on the church door ; the Utopia was writ- 
ten. There were Chevalier Bayard and Gonsalvo "the 
Great Captain"; Cardinal Ximenes, and Columbus. Two 
great works mark this period, — one, the establishment of 
National Unity of Action in the great monarchies of Europe, 
the king conquering the nobles ; tibe other, the great Insurrec- 
tion of Mind and Conscience against arbitrary power in the 
school, the state, the church, — an insurrection which no le- 
{^ons of mediaevsJ scholars, no armies, and no Councils of Basil 
and of Trent could prevent or long hinder from its work. 

Writing of this age, Mr. Prescott takes for his chief theme 
one of the most prominent nations of the world. Spun, how- 
ever, was never prominent for Thought ; no Idea welcomed by 
other nations was ever bom or fostered in her lap ; she has 
no great Philosopher — not one who has made a mark on tiie 
world ; no great Poet known to all nations ; not a single Ora- 
tor, ecclesiastic or political ; she has been mother to few great 
names in Science, Art, or Literature. In Commerce, Venice 
and Genoa long before Spain, England and Holland at a later 
date, have fiur out-travelled her. Even in Arms, save the brief 
glory shed thereon by tiie Great Captain, Spiun has not been 
distinguished ; surely not as France, England, and even the 
Low Countries. But her geographical position is an important 
one — between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. At the 
time in question her population was great, perhaps nearly 
twice that of England, and she played an important part in 
the affiurs of Europe, while England had little to do with the 
continent. Spiun was connected with the Arabs, for some 
centuries the most civilized people in Europe ; hence she 
came in contact with industry, skill, and riches, with letters 
and with art, and enj^ed opportunities denied to all the other 
nations of Europe. For her subsequent rank among nations, 
Spain is indebted to two events, which, as they did not come 

1849.] OharaOer of Mr. Fr0$eM m an Matorian. 225 

from the gemus of the people, may be called accidental. One 
was tiie connection with the house of Austria, the singular 
circumstance which placed the united crowns of Castile and 
Arragon on the same head which bore the imperial diadem of 
Germany. This accident gave a lustre to Spiun in the age of 
Charles the Fifth and his successor. But the other cause, 
seemingly more accidental, has given Spain a place in hktory 
which nothing else could have done — the fact that when the 
Genoese navigator first crossed the Atlantic, the Spanish flag 
was at his mast-head. 

Mr. Prescott writes of Spain at her most important period, 
at the time when the two monarchies of Castile and Arragon^ 
were blent into one ; when the Moors were conquered and 
expelled ; ike Inquisition established ; the Jews driven out ; 
the old Laws revised ; a new world discovered, conquered, 
settled, its nations put to slavery, Christianity, or death ; an 
age when Negro Slavery, Christianity, and tiie Inquisition 
first visited this western world. Not only has the historian a 
great age to delineate and great events to deal with, — a new 
continent to describe, a new race to report on, their oripn, 
character, language, literature, art, manners, and religion, — 
but, to enliven his picture, he has great men to portray. 
We will not speak of Ferdinand, Isabella, and Charles the 
Fifth, who pass often before us in kingly grandeur ; but there 
are Gonsalvo, Ximenes, and Columbus, here are Cortes and 

Few historians have had an age so noble to describe ; a 
theme so rich in events, in ideas, and in men ; an opportunity 
so fortimate to present the lessons of History to ages yet to 
come. The author has this further advantage : he lives far 
enough from the age he writes of to be beyond its bigotry and 
its rage. The noises of « city hardly reach the top of a 
steeple ; all l^e din of battie is hushed and still far below the 
top of Mont Blanc ; and so in a few years the passions, the 
heat, the dust, the rage and noises of kings and nations are 
all sUenced and lost in the immeasurable stillness which settles 
down upon the Past. If the thinker pauses from his busy 
thought, and after a year or so returns thither again, how 
clear it all becomes ! So is it with mankind : the problems of 
that age are no problems now ; what could not then be settled 
with all the noise of parliaments and of arms, in the after- 
silence of mankind has got its solution. Yet Mr. Prescott does 
not live so &r from the time he treats of that genius alone has 

226 Charad^r of Mr. PreMcoU m im IR$Urimk. [March, 

power to recall the faded images thereof, to disqmet and bring 
it up agiun to life. Yet he lives so remote that he can judge 
counsels by their consequences as easily as by Iheir cause ; 
can judge theories, laws, institutions, and great men by the 
influence they have had on tiie world, — by their seal and sig- 
nal mark. In addition to these advantages, he lives in a land 
where there is no censorship of Ihe press ; where the body is 
free, and the mind free, and the conscience free — to him who 
will. His position and his theme are both enviable ; giving 
V an Historian of the greatest genius scope for all his powers. 

V To judge only from his writings, Mr. Prescott is evidently a 
man with a certain niceness of literary culture not very com- 
mon in America ; of a careful if not exact scholarship in the 
languages and literature of Italy and Spain. Perhaps he can- 
not boast a very wide acquaintance with literature, ancient or 
modem, but is often nice and sometimes critical in his learning. 
He is one of the few Americans not oppressed by the lUn 
i- dngusta^iomi^ who devote themselves to literature ; to a life 
A of study and the self-denial it demands in all countries, and 
eminently here, where is no literary class to animate the 
weary man. His quotations indicate a wealthy library — 
his own fortune enabling him to procure books which are rare 
even in Spam itself. Where printed books fidl, manuscripts, 
also, have been diligently sought. He writes in a mild and 
amiable spirit : if he diflfer from other historians, he empties 
no vials of wrath upon their heads. He always shows him- 
self a Gentleman of Letters, treating his companions with 
agreeable manners and courtesy the most amiable. Few lines 
in these volumes appear marked with any asperity, or dictat- 
ed in any sourness of temper. These few we shall pass upon 
in their place. 

Within less tiian thirteen years eight volumes have appeared 
from his hand ; the first evidently the work of many years, 
but the last five volumes reveal a diligence and ability to work 
not common amongst the few literary gentlemen of America. 
Labor under disadvantages always commands admiration. How 
many have read with throbbing heart the lives of men pursu- 
ing ^' knowledge under difficulties ; " yet such men often had 
one advantage which no wealth could give, no colleges and 
guidance of accomplished men supply — an able Intellect and 
the unconquerable Will : but Mr. rrescott has pursued his lar 
bors under well known difficulties, which might make the stout- 

1849.] Character of Mr. PreseM as an Hutorian. 22T 

est qoidl. These things considered, no fair man can fiul to 
honor the accomplished author, and to rejoice in the laurels 
so beautifully won and worn with modesty and grace. 

After this long preamble, let us now examine the three 
works before us, and see how the author has done the high 
duties of an Historian. Treating of this great theme, we shall 
speak of the three works in their chronological order, and 
examine in turn the History of Spain, of Mexico, and of Peru, 
in each case speaking of the Substance of the work, first in 
details, then as a whole — and next of its Form. The re- 
mainder of this article will be devoted to the History of Fer- 
dinand and Isabella. 

To understand what was done by Ferdinand and Isabella, 
we must know what had been achieved before their time, — 
must take the national account of stock. This Mr. Prescott un- 
dertakes in his Introduction, (Vol. I., pp. xxix. — cxxiv.,) 
but he fails to render an adequate account of the condition of 
Castile and Arragon, and of course it is not easy for the read- 
er to appreciate the changes that subsequentiy were made 

To be a little more specific : his account of the condition of 
the Law is meagre and inadequate ; the history of the Re- 
form and Codification of laws poor and hardly intelligible 
(Part I., Ch. VI.) ; and though he returns upon the theme in 
the general account of the administration of Ferdinand and 
IsabeUa, (Part II., Ch. xxvi.) still it is not well and adequately 
done. What he says of the Cortes of Castile and that of 
Arragon does not give one a clear idea of the actual condi- 
tion and power of those bodies. He does not tell us by whom 
and how the members were chosen to their office ; how long 
they held it, and on what condition. The reader wonders at 
the meagreness of this important portion of the work, espec- 
ially when such materials lay ready before his hands. After 
all, we find a more complete and intelligible account of the 
Constitution, of the Laws, and of the administration of justice 
in the brief chapter of Mr. Hallam's work than in this elabo- 
rate histoi^. Nay, the work of Mr. Dunham, written for the 
Cabinet Ut/clopcediay written apparently in haste, and not 
always in good temper — gives a far better account of that 
matter than Mr. Prescott. This is a serious defect, and one 
not to be anticipated in an Historian who in this country under- 
takes to describe td us the ancient administration of a foreign 

228 Chtmutter of Mr. Pr€%eo1t 09 m Buit^^ [March, 

land. Witii a A^ tiie stadent remembers the masterly chapter 
of Gibbon which treats of tiie administration of justice and of 
the Roman Law, a chapter which made a new era in the 
study of the subject itself, and longs for some one to guide him 
in this difficult and crooked path. With the exception of tiie 
Code of the VtsiffothSj the Fiiero Jvago, and the Siete Parti- 
daSy works of Spanish Law, or treating thereof, are in but 
few hands : Marina, Zuaznavar, and Grarcia de la Madrid can 
be but little known in England or America ; for information 
the general scholar must here depend on the historian ; con- 
sidering the important place that Spanish legislation has held, 
the wide reach of the Spanish dominion on both continents, it 
was particularly needful to have in this work a clear, thorough, 
and masterly digest of this subject. 

In speaking of the Revenue of the Kingdom, Mr. Prescott 
does not inform us how it was collected, nor from what sources. 
(Introduction, Sect. i. and n. and Part I., Ch. vi.) We are 
told that the kin^ had his royal demesnes, that on some occa- 
sions one fifth of the spoils of war belonged to him, and it 
appears that a certain proportion of the proceeds of the mines 
was his — but there is no systematic or methodical account of 
the Revenues. True, he tells us that Isabella obtidns money 
by mortgaging her real estate and pawning her personal prop- 
erty (Part I., Ch. xrv.) ; afterwawls it appears, accidentally, 
that two ninths of the tithes, TerciaSj formed a part of the 
royal income. (Part 11., Ch. i., p. 283) We are told that 
the Revenues increased thirty fold during this administration. 
(Part n., Ch. XXVI., p. 484.) It is mentioned as a proof of 
sagacity in the ruler and of the welfare of the people — but we 
are not told whence they Were derived, and it appears that 
in 1604 the single city of Seville paid nearly one sixth of the 
whole revenue.* In a note he tells us that the bulk of the 
crown revenue came from the Terdas and the Alcavalas, 
The latter was an odious tax of ten per cent, on all articles 
bought, sold, or transferred. Mr. Prescott tells us it was 
commuted — but how or for what he does not say. (Part IE., 
Ch. XXVI., p. 438.) 

* Mr. Prescott says near a tenth. This is probably a clerical or typog^nphical 
error. The whole arooant is gireo in the autbority as 209,500,000 marayedis, 
of which Seville paid 30,971,096. 

1849.] Character af Mr. PreieoU as an Eiitmm. 229 

Annies figure largely in any histoiy of Spain, bat it is in 
vain that we ask of Mr. Prescott how the armies were nused, 
and on what princi|de, the modem or the feudal ; how they 
were equipped, paid, fed, and clothed. He often dwells upon 
battles, telhng us who commanded on the right or the left ; 
can describe at length Ihe tournament of Trani, and the duel 
between Bayard and Sotomayor — but he nowhere gives us a 
description of the Military Estate of the realm, and nowhere 
relates the general plan of a campaign. This, also, is a seri- 
ous defect in any history, especially in that of a nation of the 
fifteenth century — a period of transition. He does not inform 
us of the state of Industry, Trade, and Commerce, or touch, 
except incidentally, upon the effect of the laws thereon. Yet 
during this reign the laws retarded industry in all its forms, to 
a great degree. Soon after the discovery of America, Spain 
forbade the exportation of gold and silver, and, as Don Cle- 
mencin says, " our industry would have died from apoplexy of 
money, if the observance of the laws established in this matter 
had not been suflScient fw its rum." At a later date it was 
forbidden to export even the raw material of silk and wool. 
" Spam," says M. Blanqui, the latest writer on the political 
economy of that country that we have seen — " is the country 
of all Europe where the rashest and most cruel experiments 
have been made at the expense of industry, which has almost 
always been treated as a foe, managed to the death (exploitie 
d Vautrance) instead of being protected by the Government, 
, and regarded as a thing capable of taxation, rather than 
a productive element." Restrictions were laid not only on 
intercourse with foreign nations, but on the traffic between 
province and province, and a tax, sometimes an enormous one, 
the Alcavala^ was collected from the sale of all articles what- 
ever. " Members of the legal and military profession," says 
M. Blanqui, ^' affected the most profound contempt for every 
form of industry. Any man who exercised a trade was dis- 
graced for life. A noble who ventured to work lost his privi- 
lege of nobility, and brought his fanuly to shame. No town 
accepted an artisan for its alcalde ; tiie Cortes of Arragon, 
says Marina, never admitted to their assembly a deputy who 
came from the industrial class. You would think you were 
reading Aristotle and Cicero when you find in the writers, and 
even in tiie laws of Sp^, those haughty expressions of con- 
tempt for the men who bow their faces towards the earth, and 
stoop to smite the anvil, or tend a loom." 

280 Character of Mr. PrescoU as an Huterian. [March, 

Mr. Prescott does not notice the Condition of the People, 
I expept in terms the most general and vague. Tet great changes 
I were taking place at that time in the condition of the laboring 
class. He does not even tell us what, relation the peasantry 
' bore to the soil ; how they held it, by what tenure ; for what 
time ; what relation they bore to the nobles and the knights. In 
CastUe Mr. Hallam says there was no villanage. Mr. Prescott 
gives us no explanation of the fact, and does not mention the 
Skct itself. In Catalonia a portion of the peasantry passed out 
of the condition of vassalage, — Mariana calls them Pageses, 
others Vassals de Bemenza, — to that of conditional freedom, 
by paying an annual tax to tiieir former owner, or to entire 
freedom by the payment of a sum twenty times as large. This 
was an important event in the civil history of Spain. Mr. 
Prescott barely relates the fiawt. From other sources we have 
learned, we know not how truly, that no artisan was allowed 
in the Cortes of Arragon, that only nobles were eligible to 
certain offices there, and no nobles were taxed. 

In all this History there are no pictures from the lives 
lof the humble, — yet a glimpse into the cottage of a peas- 
lant, or even at the beggary of Spain in the fifteenth cen- 
[tury, would be instructive, and help a stranger to under- 
stand the nation. Much is siud, indeed, of the wealthier 
class, of the nobles, and of the clergy, but we find it impossi- 
ble from this History alone to form a complete idea of tiieir 
position in the kingdom ; of their relation to one another, to 
the People, or the crown ; of the number of tiie clergy, of 
their education, their character, their connection with the no- 
bles or the people, of their general influence — he has nothing 
to tell us. He pays littie regard to the progress of society ; 
to advances made in the comforts of life, in the means of jour- 
neying from place to place. Now and then it is said that the 
roads were in bad order, and so a march was delayed ; even 
at this day the means of internal communication are so poor, 
the roads so few and impracticable, that some provinces lie in 
a state of almost entire isolation. Says M. Blanqui, '^ More 
than one province of Spain could be mentioned which is more 
inaccessible than the greater part of our most advanced posi- 
tions in Africa." ^' Castile and Catalonia differ as much as 
Russia and Germany, and tiie inhabitants of Gallicia do not 
undertake the journey to Andalusia so often as the French 
that to Constantinople." 

A philosophical inquirer wants information on all these sub- 

1849.] Character of Mr. Pre$eaU a$ an Butorian. 281 

jectSy and the general reader has no anthoritj but histories like 
this. It cannot be said that Mr. Prescott feared to encumber 
his work with such details, and make his volumes too numerous 
or big. He has space to spare for frivolous details ; he can 
describe the pageant afforded by the royal pair in the camp 
before Moclin, in 1486 ; can tell us that '^ the queen herseUT 
rode a chestnut mule, seated on a saddle chair embossed with 
gold and silver ; " that " the housings were of a crimson col- 
or, and the bridles of satin were curiously wrought with let- 
ters of gold ; " iliat " the Infanta wore a skirt of fine velvet 
over others of brocade; a scarlet mantilla of the Moorish 
fashion, and a black hat trimmed with gold embroidery," and 
that the king ^' was dressed in a crimson doublet with chausses 
or breeches of yellow satin. Over his shoulders was thrown 
a cassock or mantilla of rich brocade, and a sopra vest of the 
same material concealed his cuirass. By his side, close girt, 
he wore a Moorish scymitar, and beneath his bonnet his h^ 
was confined by a cap or headdress of the finest stuff. Fer- 
dinand was mounted on a noble war-horse of a bright chestnut 
color." (Part I., Ch. xi., p. 401, et seq.) 

The account of the Inquisition is eminently unsatisfactory. 
No adequate motive is assigned for it, no sufficient cause. It I 
stands in this book as a thmg with consequences enough, and | 
bad enough, but no cause ; you know not why it came. Mr. 
Prescott treats Catholicism fairly. We do not remember a line 
in these volumes which seems dictated by anti-Catholic bigotry. 
He has no sympathy with the Inquisition ; he looks on it with 
manly aversion ; but he treats the subject with little ability, 
not showing how subtly the Inquisition worked, undermining 
tiie Church and the State, and corrupting life in its most 
sacred sources. Who made the Inquisition ; for what purpose 
was its machinery set a-going ; what effect did it have on the 
whole nation ? — these are questions which it was Mr. Pres- 
cott's business to answer, but which, as we think, he has failed 
to answer. Whosoever brought it to pass, there is little doubt 
but it gained Ferdinand and Isabella the title of Catholic. 
But our historian does not like to lay the blame on them ; 
they are the heroes of his story. Ferdinand may indeed be 
blamed, — it were difficult in this century to write and not 
blame him ; but Isabella must not be censured for this — her 
heroism is to be spotless. The Spirit of Chivalry in our author 
is too strong for the Spirit of Humanity. He thinks Ferdinand 

232 Chmraeter of Mr. PreseoU a$ an EUtorian. [March, 

may have had poGtical motives for establishine the Inquisition, 
bat Isabella only religions motives for its establishment m Gas- 
tile. (Part I., Ch. vn., p: 246.) Certainly there was a great 
blame somewhere : it falls not on the People, who had neither 
the ability nor the will to establish it ; nor on the Aristocracy 
of nobles and rich men, — they had much to lose, and little 
to gain ; it was always hateful to them. The Priests, no 
doubt, were in fiivor of the Inquisition, but they corjd not 
have introduced it; nay, could have had little influence in 
bringing it about if the crown had opposed it. Ferdinand 
and Isabella were no slaves to the priesthood ; they knew 
how to favor the interests of the Church when it served their 
turn ; but no forehead was more brazen, no hand more hron 
than theirs, to confront and put down any insolence of sacer- 
dotal power. Isabella did not favor the old Archbishop of 
Toledo ; she abridged the power of the priests ; nay, that of 
the Pope, and easily seized from him what other monarchs had 
long clutched at in vain. She allowed no appeals to him. 
(Part I., Ch. xn., p. 4 ; Ch. xv., p. 84. Part IL, Ch. xxvi., 
pp. 485, 436, 437.) The Pragmaticas of Isabella tended to 
restrict the power of the clergy and of the Pope within nar- 
rower limits than before. Ferdinand and Isabella are the 
very parties to be blamed for the Inquisition : if so enlightened 
above their age, the more to be blamed ; if cool-headed and 
far-sighted, they deserve more reproach ; if Isabella were so 
religious as it is contended, then the severest censure is to be 
pronounced against her. It was only thirty-six years be- 
fore the Reformation that she introduced the Inquisition to 
Castile. It is idle to lay the blame on Torquemada (Part I., 
Ch. viT., p. 247, et al.) ; we profess no great veneration for 
this genuine son of Saint Dominic, but let him answer for his 
own sins, not his master's. We cannot but think history is 
unjust in painting Isabella so soft and fwr, while her Inquisi- 
tor-General is portrayed in the blackest colors, and she, with 
all her intelligence, charity, and piety, puts the necks of the 
people into his remorseless hands. Ferdinand and Isabella 
were not fools, to be deluded by a priest, however cunning. 
It seems to us that the Inquisition must be set down to their 
account, and should cover them both with shame ; that as 
James the Second is to be blamed for Jeffries and the bloody 
assis;es, so are Ferdinand and Isabella for Torquemada and the 
Inquisition. Mr. Prescott admits the most obvious and perni- 
cious cnielties thereof, but has not the heart to trace the evil 

1849.] Character of Mr. Pre%eoU as an Siitorian. 283 

to its floorce. It is the fashion of certain writers to dwell with 
delight on every fault committed by the masses of men. What 
eloquent denunciation have.we heard on the " horrid crimes of 
the old French Revolution '' : " horrid crimes " they were, and 
let them be denounced ; but when the writers come to butcher- 
ies done by the masters of mankind, they have no voice to de- 
nounce such atrocities. Yet both equally proceed from the 
same maxim — that Might is Right. Uorente may be wrong 
in the numbers who suffered by the Inquisition ; perhaps there 
were not 13,000 burned alive at the stake, and 191,143 who 
suffered other tortures. Suppose there were but half that 
number — nay, a tenth part ; still it is enough to cover any 
monarch m Europe, since the twelfth century, with shame. 
Grant that Torquemada projected the scheme ; the fact that 
Isabella allowed it to be executed shows that she was of soul 
akin to her infamous ancestor, Peter the Gruel, and deserves 
the sharp censure of every just historian. 

We come next to speak of the Moors and Jews. At the 
time of Ferdinand and Isabella, there were in Spain two dis- 
tmct tribes of men. On the one side were the descendants 
of the Visigoths, one of the new nations who had appeared in 
history not many centuries before, and united with the exist- 
ing population of Spsdn, as the Romans had formerly imited 
with the settlers they found there ; on the other side were two 
nations, descended, as it is said, from Abram, the mytholog- 
ical ancestor of numerous tribes of Asia, the Moors and the 
Jews. Both of these nations had been for centuries distin- 
guished for their civilization ; they had long dwelt on the same 
soil with the Spaniards, and if we may believe the tale, few 
families of the Spanish nobility were quite free from all Moor- 
ish or all Hebrew taint. A philosophical Historian would find 
an attractive theme in the meeting of nations so diverse in 
origin, language, manners, and religion, as the sons of the 
East and the West. It would be curious to trace the effects 
of their union ; to learn what the Hebrews and the Moors had 
brought to Spain and what they established there ; how much 
had been gained by this mingling of races, which, as some 
think, is a perpetual condition of national progress. The Jews 
were not barbarians — they are commonly superior to the 
class they mingle with in all countries. The Moors were 
amongst the most enlightened nations of Europe : they had 
done much to promote the common industrial arts, the higher 

NO. VI. 16 

234 Character of Mr. Prescott as an Sistorian. [Afarch, 

arts of beauty ; they had practised agricultnre and the me- 
chanic arts with skill and science, for, unlike the Spaniards, 
they were not ashamed of work ; they had fostered science 
and letters ; on their hearth had kept the sacred fire snatched 
from the altar of the Muses before their temple went to the 
ground, and still fed and watched its flame, m some ages al- 
most alone the guardians of that vestal fire. The English 
reader familiar with Gibbon's account of the Arabian race, — 
a chapter not without its faults, but which even now must still 
be called masterly, — looks for something not inferior in this 
history, where the occasion equally demands it. But he looks 
in vain. The chapter which treats of the Spanish Arabs, 
(Part I., Ch. vm.,) though not without merit, is hardly wor- 
ttiy of a place in a history written in this age of the world. 

After the two chief monarchies of Spain were practically 
united into one, it was not to be expected that the Catholic 
sovereigns would allow so fair a portion of the peninsula to 
remain in the hands of the Moors. They had only been there 
on sufferance, and seem never to have recovered from their 
terrible defeat in 1210. Spanish sovereigns, with the spirit of 
that age, would wish to subdue the Moors — Christians, the 
" Infidels " ; and when such feelings exist an occasion for war 
is not long to seek. The conquest of a rich kingdom like 
that of Granada, with a high civilization, is an afiair of much 
importance ; the expulsion of a whole people, in modern times, 
though still meditated by men whom the chances of an elec- 
tion bring to the top of society in Republican America, is an 
unusual thing, and in this case it was barbarous not less than 

Mr. Prescott does justice to the industry, intelligence, skill, 
and general civilization of the Moors ; while he points out 
defects and blemishes in their institutions with no undue 
severity, he has yet just and beautiful things to say of them. 
But he glozes over the injustice shown towards them, and 
averts the sympathy of the reader for the suffering nation by 
the remark, that " they had long since reached their utmost 
limit of advancement as a people ; " " that during the latter 
period of their existence, they appear to have reposed in a 
state of torpid and luxurious indulgence, which would seem to 
argue that when causes of external excitement were withdrawn, 
the inherent vices of their social institutions had incapacitated 
them from the further production of excellence." Then he 
puts the blame — if blame there be — on Providence, and 

1849.] Oharaeter of JIfr. Prescott as an Historian, 286 

says, " In this impotent condition, it was wisely ordered that 
their territory should be occujned by a people whose religion 
and more liberal form 6f government . . . qualified them 
for advancing still higher the interests of humanitv." (Part 
I., Ch. XV., p. 105, et seq.) Mr. Prescott elsewhere speaks 
with manly and becoming indignation of the conduct of 
Ximenes, who burnt the elegant libraries of the Moors ; yet 
he has not censure enough, it seems to us, for the barbarous 
edict which drove the Moors into hypocrisy or exile. 

The expulsion of the Jews is treated of in the same spirit : 
the blame is Isdd in part on the Priests, on Torquemada, and 
in part on the spirit of the age. Both were bad enough, no 
doubt, but if Ferdinand and Isabella, as represented, were 
before their age in statesmanship, and the latter far in ad- 
vance of its religion, we see not how they can be shielded 
from blame. It is the duty of an Historian to measure men 
by the general standard of Sieir times, — certainly we are not 
to expect the morals of the nineteenth century from one who 
lived in the ninth ; but it is also the Historian's duty to criti- 
cize that spirit, and when a superior man rises, he must not 
be judged merely by the low standard of his age, but the abso- 
lute standard of all ages. Such a judgment we seldom find ^ 
in this work. Many acts of these princes show that they were 
shortsighted. Allowing Isabella's zeal for the Church, which 
is abundantly proved, it must yet be confessed that she pos- 
sessed its worst qualities — Bigotry, Intolerance, and Cruelty 

— in what might be called the heroic degroe. Ferdinand 
carod little for any interest but his own. We doubt, after all, 
if it was love of the Church which expelled the Moors and the 
Jews, and think it was a love yet more vulgar ; namely, the 
love of plunder. He hit the nail on the head who declared 
that uncounted numbers of Jews wero richer than Christians 

— innumeri {Judceorurn] Christianis ditiores. The Jews 
displayed their usual firmness in refusing to protend to be 
converted, but their rosolution to adhero to the fidth of their 
fathers and their conscience meets with but scanty praise from 
our author, living under institutions formed by religious exiles, 
though he calls it " an extraordinary act of self-devotion." 

Mr. Prescott's defence of Isabella does little honor to his 
head or heart, but is in harmony with the general tone of the 
history. The Catholic sovereign thus struck a deadly blow at 
the industry of the nation. The Moors had almost created 
agricult\ire in Spain ; they had founded the most important 

286 Character of Mr. Pre$catt ob an JBiitoriaR. [March, 

manufactures — that of dlk, wool, leather, and of tempered 
steel. Thej were mgenious mechanics and excellent artists. 
Since that time foreigners have braved the national prejudice 
against manual work. It was the Flemish and the Italians 
who reestablished the manufacture of tapestry, of woollen 
goods, and of work in wood ; and more recently the English 
and French have engaged there m the manu&cture of Imen, 
cotton, and mixed goods. In the time of Louis XIY., more 
than seventy-five thousand Frenchmen had gone to settle in 

Mr. Prescott's account of the Literature of Spain has 
been much admired, not wholly without reason. The chapters 
(Part L, Ch. xix. and xx.,) which treat of the Castilian litera- 
ture were certainly needed for the completeness of the work. 
Every body knows how much Mr. Schlosser adds to the value 
of his Histories, by his laborious examination of the literature, 
science, and art of the nations he describes. To know a na- 
tion's deeds, we must understand its thoughts. " It will be 
necessary," says Mr. Prescott, "in order to complete the 
view of the internal administration of Ferdinand and Isabella, 
to show its operation on the intellectual culture of the nation. 
. • . It is particularly deserving of note in the present 
reign, which stimulated the active development of the na- 
tional energies in every department of science, and which 
forms a leading epoch in the ornamental literature of the 
country. The present and following chapter will embrace the 
mental progress of the kingdom, . . . through tiie whole 
of Isabella's reign, in order to exhibit as far as possible its 
entire results." (Part I., Ch. xix., p. 184, et seq.) 

The education of Isabella was neglected in her youth, and, 
at a mature age, she undertook to supply her defects, and 
studied with such success, says one of her contemporaries, 
that " in less than a year her admirable genius enabled her to 
obtain so good a knowledge of the Latin tongue that she could 
understana without much difficulty what was written or spoken 
in it." She took pains with the education of her own chil- 
dren, and those of the nobility. She invited Peter Martyr 
and Marinaeo Siculo to aid in educating the nobility, which 
ihcy readily did. Mr. Prescott mentions the names of sev- 
eral noblemen who engaged zealously in the pursuit of let- 
ters. "No Spaniard," says Giovio, "was accounted noble 
who held science in indifference." Men of distinguished birth 

1849.] Charaeter of Mr. Freseatt <u cm HUtorian. 287 

were eager, we are told, to lead the way in Science. Lords, 
also, of illustrious rank, lent their influence to the cause of 
good letters : one ladjr, called La Latina, instructed the Queen 
in the Roman tongue ; another lectured on the Latin classics, 
at Salamanca, and a third on Rhetoric, at Alcala. Yet, spite 
of all this rojal zeal, this feminine and noble attention to 
letters, Mr. Prescott confesses that little progress was made 
in the poetic art since the beginning of tiie century. One 
cause thereof he finds in the rudeness of the language, which 
certainly had not become more rude during the progress of 
so much Latmity and Rhetoric ; — and another " in the direc- 
tion to utility manifested in this active reign, which led such 
as had leisure for intellectual pursuits to cultivate science 
rather than abandon themselves to the mere revels of the 
imagination." (p. 229.) 

Let us look at this subject a little more in detail, and see 
what opportunities Spain had for intellectual culture, what use 
she made of them, what results were obtained, and how Mr. 
Prescott has described " the mental progress of the nation." 

The Arabians, as we have twice said before, were for some 
time the most enlightened nation in the world ; they culti- 
vated arts, the useful and the elegant, with singular success ; 
they diligently studied Physics and Metaphysics; they pur- 
sued Literature, and have left behmd them numerous proofe of 
their zeal, if not of theii genius. There was a time when the 
great classic masters of Science were almost forgotten by the 
Christians, but carefully studied and held in honor by the dis- 
ciples of Mahomet. Men of other nations sought instruction in 
their schools, or sat at the feet of their sages, or studied and 
translated their works. By means of their vicinity to the 
Moorish Arabs, the Spaniards had an excellent opportunity to 
cultivate science and letters, but they made little use of those 
advantages. Robert and Daniel Morley, Campano, Athelhard, 
Cferbert of Aurillac, (afterwards Sylvester II.,) and others, 
earned from the Arabian masters ; but there were few or no 
Spaniards of any eminence who took pains to study the thought 
of their Mahometan neighbours. 

It seems to us that Mr. Prescott a good deal overrates the 
literary tendency of the Spaniards under Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella. It is true, at that time a great movement of thought 
went on in the rest of Europe. The capture of Gonstalitino- 
ple drove the Greek scholars from their ancient home ; the 
printing-press diffused the Scriptures, the ancient laws, the old 

288 Cbaraetm' qf Mr. Pr€%eM M cm Bi^torimi. [March, 

classics, spreading new iliought rapidly and wide. literature 
and Philosophy were studied with great vigor. This new 
movement appeared in Italy, in Switzerland, in Germany, 
and France — even in England. But in Spain we find few 
and inconsiderable traces thereof. Mr. Prescott cites Eras- 
mus for the fact that ^Miberal studies were brought m the 
course of a few years, in Spcdn, to so flourishing a condition, 
as might not onlv excite the. admiration but serve as a model 
to the most cultivated nations of Europe." (p. 202.) But 
it deserves to be remembered that Entsmus made this state- 
ment in a letter to a Spanish professor at the University of 
Alcala, and besides, founds his praise on the reli^on as much 
as on the learning of the country. In a former letter he had 
sud that the study of literature had been neglected in Ger- 
many to such a degree that men would not take learning if 
offered them for nothing, — " nobodv was willing to hear the 
professors who were supported at the public charge." But 
elsewhere Erasmus knows how to say that in Germany their 
^^ schools of learning were numerous as the towns." But this 
is of small importance. 

It is certam that Ferdinand and Isabella did scnnething to 
promote the literary culture of their people ; yet it had not 
been wholly neglected before the University of Huesca (Osca) 
was certainly old. Plutarch, in his Life of Sertorius, informs 
us that the Roman general founded a*8chool there, and some 
one says that Pontius Pilate was a " Prcrfessor Juris " — utri- 
usque juris, we suppose — on that foundation ; Spaniards may 
believe the story. The University of Seville was founded in 
> 990 ; that of Valencia in 1200, or about that time ; that of 
Salamanca in 1289, — though some place it earlier and some 
much later ; universities had been founded at Lerida and Vat 
ladolid in the fourteenth century. Tlds statement may read 
well on paper, but it is plain that universities had done little 
to enlighten the nation, — otherwise Cardinal Ximenes had 
never celebrated that auto da fe with the Arabian libraries. 

Queen Isabella, we are told, encouraged the introducticm of 
printing into Spain, and caused many of the worics of her own 
subjectB to be printed at her own charge ; that she exempted 
a German printer from taxation, and allowed foreign books 
to be imported free of duty. But more than twenty years 
elapsed after the discovery of the art before we hear of a 
single printing-press in the kingdom ; and during the whole 
of the fifteenth century we cannot find that four hundred 

1849.] ChmracUr of Mr. Prt&eott as m EUtorim. 389 

editions were printed in all Spain, while daring that period 
the press of Florence had sent forth five hundred and fifty- 
three, that of Mian six hundred and eighty-three, that of 
Paris seven hundred and fifty-seven, Rome nine hundred and 
fifty-three, Venice three thousand one hundred and thirty- 
seven. The little city of Strasburg alone had published more 
than the whole kin^om of Spain. About fifteen thousand 
editions were printed in the last thirty years of that century. 
The character of the works printed in Spain is significant ; — 
first of all comes a collection of songs in honor of the Virgin, 
setting forth the miraculous conception. It is true, a transla- 
tion of the Bible into the Limousin dialect was printed at Va- 
lencia in 1478, but during the fifteentii century we do not 
find that a single edition of the Vulgate, or of the Civil Law 
was printed in all Spidn, though no less than ninety-eight 
editions of tiie Latin Bible came forth from the presses of 

Mr. Prescott professes to describe the mental progress of 
the nation. To accomplish this, the Historian must tell us 
the result of what was done in Law — in the study of the 
Roman, the National, and the Canon Law, for all three have 
been important elements in the development of the Spaniel 
nation ; what was done in Physics ; in Metaphysics, including 
Ethics and Theology ; and in General Literature. Now Mr. 
Prescott, in this examination, passes entirely over the first 
three departments, and bestows his labor wholly upon the last. 
It is true, he treats of the alteration of the laws in his last 
chapter, but in a brief and unsatisfactory style. Yet he had 
before told us that the attention of studious men was directed 
to Science, and it is elsewhere asserted that much was done in 
this reign for the reformation and codification of the Laws. It 
would be interesting to the mere reader and highly important 
to the philosophical student who wishes to understand the 
mental progress of Spain, to know how much the Roman Law 
was studied ; how much the Canon Law, and what modifica- 
tions were made thereby in the national institutions them- 
selves — by whom, and with what effect. Afler all that has 
been written of late years, it would not be difficult, certainly 
not impossible, to do this. The publication of La% Siete Par- 
tidas for Hie first time in 1491, twenty years after the acces- 
sion of Isabella to the tiirone, was an important event ; the 
legal labors of Alfonso de Montalvo deserved some notice ; tiie 
celebrated Omfolato del Mare, which has had so important an 

240 Character of Mr. Pre$eott a$ an SUtorian. [March, 

inflaeDce on the maritime laws of Europe and America, and 
first got printed during this reign, certainly required some 
notice, even m a brief sketch of the intellec;tual history of 
that reign. In all Catholic countries the study of the Canon 
Law is of great importance, but during the fifteenth century, 
though more than forty editions thereof got printed m other 
parts of Europe, we do not find one in Spain. 

In Science, including the Mathematics and all departsnents 
of Physics, the Spanish did little. Yet circumstances were 
uncommonly favorable : the conquest of Granada put them in 
possession of the libraries of the Moors, which were destined 
only to the flames ; under the guidance of Columbus, they 
discovered new lands and had ample opportunities to study the 
Geography, Zoology, and Botany of countries so inviting to 
the naturalist. But nothing was done. It is true, Andres, 
with his national prejudices, undertaken to mention some 
names that are illustrious in Medicine — but Piquer and Lam- 
pillas, Monardes, Cristoforo da Costa, Laguna, ^^ the Spanish 
Galen," and the rest that he mentions, may be celebrated 
throughout all Spain and even in La Mancha : we think they 
are but little known elsewhere. In the departments of Geog- 
raphy and Astronomy the Spanish accomplished nothing wor- 
thy of mention. 

In Metaphysics and Ethics there are no Spanish names 
before the sixteenth century — few even then; Scholastic 
Philosophy, which once prevailed so widely in the West of 
Europe, seems not to have found a footing in the Peninsula. 
In the tenth century Gerbert went to Spain to learn Philos- 
ophy of the Arabs ; in the eleventh, Constantinus A&icanus 
communicated its doctrines to the world ; in the twelfth and 
thirteenth, Athelhard of Bath, called Athelhard the Goth, 
Gherard, Otho of Frisingen, Michael Scott, and others, filled 
Europe with translations of Arabian authors. But Spain did 

In Theology the Spaniards have but one work to show of 
any note, which dates from the period in question. The 
Complutensian Polyglot was a great work ; but to achieve 
that nothing was needed but great wealth and the labors of a 
few learned and diligent men. The wealth was abundant, 
and flowed at the Casual's command ; the treasures of tlie 
Vatican and of all the libraries of Europe were freely offered ; 
the manuscripts of the Jews in Spain were at Ximenes' com- 
mand ; the services of accomplished scholars could easily be 

1849.] Character of Mr. Preeeatt as an Ei^arian. 241 

bou^t. Learned Greeks there were in the South of Europe, 
seelong for bread. Of the nine men who were engaged in 
ttus undertaking, one was a Ghreek and three were Jews — of 
course converted Jews. Artists came from Germany to cast 
the types for the printing. Mr. Prescott exaggerates the 
difficulty of the undertaking : the scholars could be • had, the 
manuscripts borrowed or bought ; indeed, so poorly was the 
matter conducted, that some manuscripts, purchased at great 
cost, came too late for use. Mr. Prescott says, ^^ There were 
no types in Spain, if indeed in any part of Europe, in the 
Oriental character,'' but only three alphabets were needed in 
the Polyglot — the Roman, the Greek, and the Hebrew. The 
two first were common enough, even in Spsdn ; and in various 
parts of Europe, before the end of the fifteenth century, no 
less than thirty-nine editions had been printed of the whole or 
a part of the Hebrew Bible. The CompluUmian Polyglot 
is indeed a valuable work, but at this day few men will contend 
that in the Old Testament it has a text better than the edition 
at Soncino, or that the Complutensian New Testament is better 
than that of Erasmus. Indeed, we hazard nothing in saying 
that Erasmus, a single scholar and a private man, often in 
want of money, did more to promote the study of the Scrip- 
tures and the revival of letters than Cardinal Ximenes and idl 
Spain put together, — and never burnt up a library of manu- 
scripts because they were not orthodox. 

All these matters, except the Polyglot, Mr. Prescott passes 
over with few words, in his sketch of the mental progress of 
Spam in her golden age. While France, Germany, Italy, and 
England made rapid strides in their mental progress, Spain 
did littie — little in Law, littie in Science, in Theology little. 
But Mr. Prescott writes in a pleasing style about another por- 
tion of the Literature of Spain, which is, after all, her most 
characteristic production in letters — her Ballads and the 
Drama. The Medondilla is the most distinctive production of 
the Spanish muse. The Ballads of Spain are unlike those of 
England, of Scotland, and of Germany, in many respects, yet 
bear the same relation to the genius of the people. They 
grew up in the wild soil of the Peninsula ; no royal or eccle- 
siastical hand was needed to foster them. Beautiful they 
are, — the wild flowers of the field, — but under the eye of 
Isabella they began to droop and wither ; no new plants came 
up so fair and fragrant ad the old. Why not? The life 
of the people was trodden down by the hoof of the Priest 

242 Character of M^. Pre$oM a$ m Mtt&rkm. [March, 

whom Isabella had sent to his work. The language was rode, 
says Mr. Prescott. That hindered not ; Bums found a rude 
speech in Auld Scotland, but the verses he sung in ^^ hamelj 
westiin jingle " will live longer than the well filed lines of 
Pope. Rudeness of language hindered not the genius of 
Chaucer, of Hans Sachs. Mr. Prescott had small space to 
note the alteration of laws, the change of social systems, or the 
progress of civilisation in Spain, but he has some twenty pages 
to bestow upon the Drama, and gives us an analysis of the 
^' Tra^comedy of Celestina, or Ci^to and Melibea," spend- 
ing four pages upon such a work. A philosophical reader 
would consent to spare all mention of Encina, Naharro, Oliva, 
Cota, and even Fernando de Roxas, if in the place which they 
but cumber there had been an account of i3ie real thought, 
manners, and life of the nation. Far be it from us to com- 
plsdn of the time and space allotted to the popular literature 
of Spain, — the chapters are the best of the work ; but one 
fietmiliar with that delightful growth laments that the historian 
made no better use of his material to indicate the life, char- 
acter, and sentiments of the people. 

Mr. Prescott overrates the excellence of Queen Isabella. 
The character of Ferdinand was so atrocious that it admits of 
no diefence. Shall it be said the age was distinguished for 
fraud, double-dealing, perfidy, and hypocrisy ? It affords no 
good defence, for it was in these very qualities that Ferdinand 
surpassed his age. He was a tyrannicied king ; a treacherous 
ally ; a master whom no servant could trust ; a faithless hus- 
band in the life of Queen Isabella, and &lse to her memory 
after her death. Few will deny that he had some ability and 
some knowledge of kingcraft, though we think his powers and 
political foresight have been somewhat overrated. The great 
men of the realm he used as his servants, but when they 
acquired renown he endeavoured to ruin them ; cast them off 
neglected and covered with dishonor. His treatment of Co- 
lumbus, Gonsalvo, or of Ximenes, would hav« been a disgrace 
to any prince in Christendom. He was no friend to the nobil- 
ity, and quite as little the friend of his people ; he did not 
favor commerce or the arts ; no, nor letters and science. His 
zeal for religion appears chiefly in the expulsion of the Moors 
and the Jews. Isabella had some natural repugnance to the 
establishment of slavery in America, but Ferdinand had none. 
Mr. Prescott, who is not blind to Ids faults, says truly, ^^ His 

1849.] CharaoUr of Mr. PruwU as an Sutmiem. 248 

wafi ttie spirit of egotism. The circle of his views might be 
more-<»r less expanded, but self was the steady, michangeable 

Mr; Prescott censures Ferdinand, but it seems to us for the 
jrarpose of making a contrast with Isabella, quite as much as 
m reference to the unchangeable laws of morality ; the efifects 
of his character on the institutions of his country and the 
welfare €£ his people he does not pcHut out in a manner worthy 
oi an histcffian. Let us turn to Isabella. ^' Her character,'' 
he sa^s, ^^ was all magnanimity, disinterestedness, and deep 
devotion to the interest of the people." (Vol. III., p. 898.) 
'^ Isabella, discarding all the petty artifices of state policv and 
pursuing the noblest ends by the noblest means, stanas far 
above her age ;" ^^ she was solicitous for every thing that con- 
cerned the welfSEure of her people." This is high pnuse ; but 
laying aside the rules of Chivahry let us look in tiie spirit of 
munanity. The great political work of this reign was the 
establishment of National Unity of Action. Spain had been 
divided into many kingdoms ; the separate provinces of eadi 
had been united by a feeble tie ; the power of the King was 
resisted and diminished by the authority of the great Barons, 
and thus the nation was distracted, and its power weakened. 
Under these sovereigns the different kingdoms were formed 
into one ; the several provinces were closely united, the great 
Barons were humbled and brought into dependence upon the 
throne ; and thus National Unity of Action estabMied by 
the might of a great central power. To accomplish this work, 
the first thing to be done, after the marriage of Ferdinand and 
Isabella, was to diminish the power of the nobles. The same 
problem was getting solved in other countries at the same 
time. In some countries, as the nobles lost power, the cities, 
with their charters, gained it ; the communes, tiie guilds, in 
short, the people, in one form or another, got an increase of 
pohtical power. But in Spain it was not so. As power 
receded from the nobles, it fell into the hands of the king. 
The people only gained domestic tranquillity, not practicAl 
political power, or the theoretic recognition of their rights. 
Ferdinand and Isabella were both jealous of the Cortes. 
Once, when Isabella wanted tiie Cortes of Arragon to declare 
her daughter their future sovereign, and they refused, she 
exclaimed, " It would be better to reduce the country by arms 
at once than endure this insolence of the Cortes." (Part II., 
Ch. u., p. 362.) After Isabella's death Ferdinand for a long 

244 Character of Mr. FreicoU as an Si^arian. [Mareli» 

time neglected to c(»iyene the Cortes. (Vol. HI., p. 284.) 
Once he obtained a dispensation from the Pope, allowing him 
to cancel his engagement with tiie Cortes. (Ibid., p. 398, 
note 58.) In the first two years of her reign, Isabella called 
three meetings of Hie Cortes — of the popular branch abne. 
The motive was plain : she wanted to reduce the power of the 
nobles, and the commons were the appropriate tool. After 
this work was done, the sessions became rare. She made the 
Hermandad take tiie place of tiie Cortes, to the great detii- 
ment of popular liberty. But in 1506 the foolish Cortes, 
either incited by the court or stimulated by the Spanish desire 
of monopoly, complsdned that the right of representation was 
extended too far. Both Ferdinand and Isabella ^' were averse 
to meetings of the Cortes in Castile oftener than absolutely 
necessary, and both took care on such occasions to have tiieir 
own agents near the deputies to influence tiieir proceedmgs," 
(Part II., Ch. XXVI., p. 444, note 34,) and to make the dep- 
uties understand that they had not so much power as they 
fancied. If Isabella had all the superlative qualities which 
Mr. Prescott and others, also, ascribe to her, the result must 
have been different. 

We will not deny that Isabella did much for the nation — 
much to establish internal tranquillity ; much to promote the 
security of property and person. The first thing mentioned 
by Don Clemencm — the restoration of the currency from its 
debased condition — if taken alone, was highly important. 
She elevated men of worth to high stations, though they were 
men of mean birth ; doubtless this was done in part to show 
the nobles that she could dispense with them in places which 
they had long monopolized ; still she knew how to distinguish 
between the accidents and the substance of a man, and chose 
her counsellors accordingly. Her management of the affiurs 
of the Church displayed no littie skill and much energy. She 
kept the Church from the incursions of the Pope, — a task not 
so difficult as it would have been a century or two before, for 
the papal power was visibly on the wane ; still, on the whole, 
we must confess that she did little to elevate the religious 
character of the clergy or the people. 

Did she encourage letters and establish printing-presses? 
few great works were published in Spain : the Lives of Saints, 
treatises in honor of the Virgin, books of '* Sacred Offices," 
and fulminations against Moors, Jews, and heretics ; Papal 
Bulls, and the works of Raymond Lully — such were the books 

1849.] OharaeUr of Mr. Pre%ocU a$ an HUiUmM. 245 

which the Spaniards printed and devoured in the fifteenth 
centorj. The works of Sallost were the most important works 
issued from the press of Valencia in that century. Did she 
encourage Science ? it bore no fruits which the nation has as- 
pired to gather from the Spanish tree ; Poetry ? little was 
brought to pass which could rival the best works of former 
days. In Theology, with the exception of the Polyglot and 
the publication of the Bible in the Limousin dialect, certain* 
ly a surprising event in that age, little was done — nothing 
worthy of note. Under a hand so despotic, and under the 
eye of the Inquisition which Isabella had established, what 
could a Spaniard effect ? It must be confessed that Isabella 
did not foster the greatest interests of the nation. The pub- 
lication of Proclamations which had the force of law, (Prag- 
maticas,) so frequent in her reign, shows plainly enough her 
desire to rule without the advice of the people whose constitu- 
tion she thereby violated. It matters not that they purport 
to be made at the demand of the Cortes, at the request of 
corporate cities, or of prominent men. Even in America we 
could find here and there a man in the Senate of the United 
States wha would recommend a powerful President to do the 
same — perhaps a city or even a state to advise it. Those 
Proclamations were the passmg-bell of popular freedom. Even 
if they dicl not, as Mr. Prescott assures us, intrench on the 
principles of criminal law, or affect the transfer of property, 
they not less undermined the liberty of Castile. The Cortes 
of Valladolid, foolish as it was in other respects, was right in 
remonstrating against those Pragmaticas. Mr. Prescott men- 
tions several causes which contributed to increase the royal 
power at the expense of the people : the control of the milita- 
ry and ecclesiastical Orders ; the pensions and large domains ; 
the fortified places ; the rights of seigneurial jurisdiction ; the 
increase of power over the Moors ; the acquisition of territo- 
ry in Italy, and the discovery of a new continent ; but he 
omits the one cause which gave force to all these — the self- 
ish disposition that counted political power as a right, which 
the monarch might use for her own advantage, not a trust, 
which she must administer by the rules of justice, and for the 
good of all her subjects. This was the cause which enfeebled 
Sie people after it had broken their noble tprrants to pieces. 
The rights of the people were continually abridged. In 1495, 
the nobles and the representatives of the cities complained 
that the people were without arms. Mr. Prescott thinks this 

246 Charaeter of Mr. Prescott a$ an Sktorian. [March, 

fact a proof that they were in a fortunate condition, not re- 
membering that in such an age an armed people was what the 
Constitution is to America ; what the British Parliament and 
acknowledged -Ijaw are to England — the one great barrier 
against the incursions of the crown. She found the people 
burthened with an odious tax, imposed for a temporary emer- 
gency, and continued through the inertia of the Cortes and 
the tyranny of the crown. Isabella had conscientious scru- 
ples about this tax, but continued it. Monopolies were estab- 
lished by this queen, who is represented as so far before her 
time : goods must not be shipped in foreign vessels when a 
Spanish bottom could be had ; no vessel must be sold to a for- 
eigner ; even horses were not allowed to be exported ; gold 
and silver must not be sent out of Spwn on pain of death. 
Yet when she forbade the exportation thereof by her commer- 
cial policy, by sumptuary laws she forbade their use at home. 
There are four things which will long continue as the indelible 
monuments of her reign : the establishment of the Inquisition 
for the torture and murder of her subjects ; the expulsion of 
the Jews and the Moors ; the enslaving of the Indians in 
America, and the establishment of Negro Slavery there. With 
this we leave her and her memory, to speak on the general 
form and style of this work. 

It is no part of our plan to criticize the account of civil and 
military transactions ; but so far as we have examined his au- 
thorities, Mr. Prescott is remarkably accurate. Some errors 
will always escape the vigilance of an author ; in this case 
they are rare and unimportant. The whole work ,is divided 
into three portions : an Introduction ; a History of the Do- 
mestic Policy of Ferdinand and Isabella, (Part I.,) and a 
History of their Foreign Policy, their Discoveries and Con- 
quests. (Part n.) The madn division is a good one, the 
minuter division into chapters is judicious, and the chapters 
well arranged. In separate chapters the author treats of 
various subjects, so as not to confuse the reader. But we 
notice several defects in the matter and style of the work. 
There is no description of the large towns ; no account of their 
history, the growth or decline of their population ; of their rela- 
tion to the vUlages and hamlets ; of the political tendencies of 
their inhabitants. A brief description of Madrid, Toledo, and 
Seville, of Barcelona and Valencia, would be of great value 
to one who wished to understand the age ; the materials for 
this are not wanting. 

1849.] Character of Mr. Pre$eatt a$ an Mitorian. 247 

Again, his portraits of distinguished men are not good ; they 
often lack distinctness and specific character. We have a 
right to demand a careful analysis of the character of such 
men as Columbus, Gonsalvo, and Ximenes ; an Historian never 
does his duty conipletely until he gives us a picture of each 

1)romment man of^ the times he describes. Portraits of men 
ike Torquemada, Fonseca, Carillo, and Mendoza, — the Arch- 
bishops of Toledo and Seville — of Bavard and Foix, of the 
monarchs of those times, and of the other eminent foreigners 
who come upon the stage, ought to have a place in a work like 

The author does not present himself to his readers as a 
Philosopher who knows Man scientifically, and therefore has 
an a priori knowledge of men ; nor does he appear as a Man tX 
of the World, who knows men by a wide practical acquaintance ^ 
with them. In consequence of this twofold defect the reader 
finds neither the careful judgment of the philosopher nor the 
practical judgment of the man of aflSurs. Both of these de- 
fects appear frequently in this work; — for example, in his 
general review of the administration of Ferdinand and Isabel- 
la, which is not written in the spirit of the Statesman, or the 
spirit of the Philosopher, but of an amiable Gentleman of let- . » 
ters filled with the spirit of Chivalry. ^ 

The book lacks Philosophy to a degree exceeding belief.^ 
The author seems to know nothing of the Philosophy of His- 
tory, and litfle, even, of Political Economy. He narrates 
events in their order of time, with considerable skill, but the 
causes of the events, their place in the general history of the 
race, or their influence in special on the welfare of the nation, 
he does not appreciate. He tells the fact for the fact's sake.^^ 
Hence there are no pages in the book, perhaps no sentences, 
which the reader turns back to read a second time, to see if 
the thought be true ; here are the facts of History without the 
thought which belong to the facts. It would be difficult to 
find a history in the English language, of any note, so entire- 
ly destitute of Philosophy. Accordmgly, the work is dull 
and inanimate ; the reading thereof tiresome and not profitable. 
Thus lacking Philosophy, and having more of the spirit of 
Chivaky than of Humanity, it is impossible that he should 
write in the interest of mankind, or juage men and their deeds 
by Justice — by the Immutable Law of the Universe. After 
long and patient study of his special theme, Mr. Prescott 
writes with ihe average Sense of mankind, with their average 

248 Character of Mr. Prescott as an Ststorian. [March, 

of Conscience — and his judgment, the average judgment of a 
trading town, is readily accepted by the average of men, and 
popular with them ; but he writes as one with Utile sympathy 
for mankind, and seems to think that Spain belonged to Fer- 
dinand and Isabella ; that their power was a Right and not a 
Trust, and they not accountable for the guardianship which 
they exercised over their subjects. The style of the work is 
plain, unambitious, and easily intelligible. The language, the 
figures of speech, the logic, and the rhetoric are commonplace ; 
like the judgment of the author they indicate no origmality, 
and do not bear the stamp of his character. There is a cer- 
tain mannerism about them, but it is not the mannerism of 
Mr. Prescott, — onlv of the class of well-bred men. His met- 
aphors, which usually mark the man, are commonplace and 
poor ; rarely original or beautiful. Here are some examples : 
To " spread like wildfire ; " to act " like desperate gamblers ; " 
to run " like so many frighted deer ; " to eirtend " like an 
army of locusts ; '' to be " like a garden." He calls woman- 
kina " the sex ; " not a very elegant or agreeable title. There 
is a slight tendency to excess in his use of epithets ; some- 
times he insinuates an opinion which he does not broadly as- 
sert, rhetorically understating the truth. In his style there is 
little to attract, nothing to repel, nothing even to ofiend ; he 
is never tawdry, seldom extravagant; never ill-natured. If 
he finds an author in error, he takes no pleasure in pointing 
out the mistake. Everywhere he displays the marks of a 
well-bred gentleman of letters ; this is more than can be said 
of the Reviewer we have alluded to before. After long study 
of this work, we take leave of the author, with an abiding im- 
pression of a careful scholar, diligent and laborious ; an amia- 
ble man, who respects the feelings of his fellows, and would 
pass gently over their failings ; a courteous and accomplished 
gentleman, who, after long toil, has unexpectedly found that 
toil repaid with money and with honors, — and wears the hon- 
ors with the same modesty in which they have been won. 

1849.] Oxford Poetry. ' ^S^~^ 249 

Abt. V. — The Bothie of Toper-na-Fnonch. A Long- Vaca- 
tion Pastoral. Bj Arthur Hugh Clouqh. London: 
Chapman & Hall. 1848. 

Here is a new English poem which we heartily recommend 
to all classes of readers. It is an account of one of those 
Oxford reading-parties which, at the begmning of a long vaca- 
tion, are made up by a tutor with five qr six undergraduates, 
who wish to bring up arrears of study/^or to cram for exam- 
ination and honors, and who betakef themselves with their 
guide to some romantic spot in Wales or Scotland, where are 
good bathing and shooting, read six hours a day, and kill the 
other eighteen in sport, smoking, and sleep. The poem is as 
jocund and buoyant as the party, and so joyAil a picture of 
college life and manners, with such good strokes of revenge 
on the old tormentors, Pindar, Thucydides, Aristotle, and the 
logical Aldrich, that one wonders tiiat this ground has not 
been broken up before. Six young men have read three weeks 
with their tutor, and after joining in a country dinner and a 
dance in a bam, four of them decide to give up books for three 
weeks, and make a tour in the Highlands, leaving the other two 
partners with the tutor in the cottage, to their matutine, or 
morning bath, six hours' reading, and mutton at seven. The 
portraits of the young party are briefly but masterly sketched. 
Adam the tutor, Lindsay the dialectician, Hope, Hobbes, 
AirKe, Arthur, who, firom his thirty feet diving, is the " glory 
of headers,'* and Hewson. Philip Hewson, the hero of the 
poem, the radical poet, in this excursion falls in love with the 
golden-haired Katie at the farm of Rannoch, and is left behind 
by his returning fellows. The poet follows his hero into the 

^ Here in Badenoch, here in Lochaber, anon in Lochiel, in 
Knoydart, Croydart, Moydart, Morrer, and Ardnamurchan," 

wherever the restiess Philip wanders, broodmg on his passion ; — 

"Would I were dead, I keep sajring, that so I could go and uphold 

Whilst the tutor anxiously, and his c(»npanions more joyously, 
arid speculating on this dubious adventure of thehr comrade, a 
letter arrives at the cottage from Hope, who travelled with 
Philip, announcing that Philip and Katie have parted, and 

NO. VI. 17 

250 Oxford, Poetry. [March, 

that Philip is staying at Castle Balloch, in as^duons attend- 
ance on the beautiful " Lady Maria." In an earnest letter 
to his friend, the tutor, Philip explains himself; and the free- 
winged sweep of speculation to which his new life at the Castle 
gives occasion, is in a truly modern spirit, and sufficiently em- 
barrassing, one can see, to the friendliest of tutors. Great is 
the mirth of the Oxford party at this new phase of the ardent 
Philip, but it is suddenly checked again by a new letter from 
Philip to Adam, entreating him to come immediately to the 
hoihie or hut of Toper-na-Fuosich, to bring him counsel and 
sanction, since he has finally found rest and home in the heart 
of — Elspie ! We are now introduced to Elspie, the right 
Anteros, hitherto pursued in vain under deceiving masks, and 
are made with Adam the tutor to acquiesce in Philip's final 
choice. The story leads naturally into a bold hypothetical 
discussion of the most serious questions that bubble up at this 
very hour in London, Paris, and Boston, and, whilst tiiese are 
met and honestly and even profoundly treated, the dialogue 
charms us by perfect good breeding and exuberant animal 
spirits. We shall not say that the rapid and bold execution 
has the finish and the intimate music we demand in modem 
poetry ; but the subject-matter is so solid, and the figures so 
real and lifelike, that the poem is justified, and would be good 
in spite of much ruder execution than we here find. Yet the 
poem has great literary merits. The author has a true eye 
tor nature, and expresses himself through the justest images. 
The Homeric iteration has a singular charm, half-comic, half- 
poetic, in the piece, and there is a wealth of expression, a 
power of description and of portrait-painting, which excels our 
best romancers. Even the hexameter, which, with all our 
envy of its beauty in Latin and in Greek, we think not agree- 
ble to the genius of English poetry, is here in place to heighten 
the humor of college conversation. [ We take almost at hazard 
a specimen of these dactyls and spondees, describing a day at 
the cottage. 

" So in the cottage with Adam the pupils ^^^e. together 
Duly remained, a4id read, and looked no more for Philip, 
Philip at Balloch shooting and dancing with Lady Maria. 
Breakfast at eight, and now, for brief September daylight, 
Luncheon at two, and dinner at seven, or even later, 
Five full hours between for the loch and the glen and the mountain. 
So in the joy of their life, and glory of shooting-jackets. 
So they read and roamed, the pupils five with Adam. 

1849.] (htfordPoet^. 251 

What if aatumsal shower came frequent and diill from the west- 
What if on browner sward with yellow leaves besprinkled 
Gemming the crispy blade, the delicate gossamer gemming, 
Frequent and thick lay at morning the chilly bead of hoar frost, 
Duly in matutine still, and daily, whatever the weather, 
Bathed in the rain and the frost and the mist, with the Glory of 

Hope. Thither also at times of cold and of possible gutters, 
Careless, unmindfVil, unconscious, would Hobbes, or e'er they 

Come, in a heavy peacoat his trouserless trunk enwrapping. 
Come, under coat over-brief those lusty legs displaying, 
All from the shirt to the slipper the natural man revealing. 

Duly there they bathed and daily the twain or the trio 
There where of mornings was custom, where over a ledge of 

Into a granite bason descended the amber torrent ; 
Beautiful, veiy, to gaze in ere plunging ; beautiful also. 
Perfect as picture, as vision entrancing that comes to the sightless, 
Through the great granite jambs, the forest and glen and moun- 
Purple with heather the mountain, the level stream in foreground ; 
Beautiful seen by snatches in intervals of dressing, 
Mom after mom, unsought for, recurring ; themselves too seeming 
Not as spectators, accepted into it, immingled, as tmly 
Parts of it as are the kine in the field lying there by the birches. 

So they bathed, they read, they roamed in glen and forest ; 
Far amid blackest pines. to the waterfall they shadow. 
Far up the long, long glen to the loch, and the loch beyond it, 
Deep under huge red clifis, a secret ; and oft by the starlight, 
Or the aurora perchance racing home for the eight o'clock mutton. 
So they bathed, and read and roamed in heathery Highland ; 
There in the joy of their life and glory of shooting-jackets. 
Bathed and read and roamed, and looked no more for Philip." 

A more musical passage follows the arrival of Adam at the 
« bothie." 

** Ten more days did Adam with Philip abide at the change-house, 
Ten more nights they met, they walked with father and daughter. 
Ten more nights, and night by night more dist»it away were 

Philip and she. 
Happy ten days, most happy ; and otherwise than thought of, 
Fortunate visit of Adam, companion and friend to David. 
Happy ten days, be ye fruitful of happiness ! Pass o'er them 


252 Oxford Poetry. [March, 

Slowly ; like cruse of the prophet he multiplied, even to ages I 
Pass slowly o'er them, ye days of October ; ye soft misty mornings. 
Long dusky eves ; pass slowly ; and thou great Term-Time of 

Awful with lectures and books, and little-goes and great-goes, 
Till but the sweet bud be perfect, recede and retire for the lovers, 
Tea, for the sweet love of lovers, postpone thyself even to dooms- 
Pass o'er them slowly, ye hours ! Be with them, ye Loves and 

We have just received a new collection of poems by Mr. 
Clough, published in one volume, with a collection of poems 
by Thomas Kurbridge, under the name of Ambarvalia. From 
Mr. Clough's part in the book we select the following lines of 
his JEndymion : — 

<< On the mountain, in the woodland. 

In the shaded secret dell, 

I have seen thee, I have met thee ! 

In the soft ambrosial hours of night. 

In darkness silent, sweet, 

I beheld thee, I was with thee, 
I was thine, and thou wert mine ! 

When I gazed in palace-chambers, 

When I trod the rustic dance. 

Earthly maids were fair to look on, 

Earthly maidens' hearts were kind ; 

Fair to look on, fair to love ; 

But the life, the life to me, 

'T was the death, the death to them. 

In the spying, prying, prating. 

Of a curious cruel world. 

At a touch, a breath they fade, 

They languish, droop, and die ; 

Yea, the juices change to sourness, 

And the tints to clammy brown ; 

And the softness unto foulness. 

And the odor unto stench. 

Let alone and leave to bloom ; 

Pass aside, nor make to die ; 

— In the woodland, on the mountain, 

Thou art mine, and I am thine. 

Mr. Clough's verses in " Ambarvalia " appear to be of an 
earlier date than his Pastoral, and by no means to promise the 
vigor of sense and of humor which abound in that poem. 

1849.] 8hoH RemewB and Nbtiee$. 253 

abt. VI.— short reviews and notices. 

1. — History of the Philosophy of Mind: embracing the opinions 
of all writers on Mental Science from the earUest period to 
die present time. By Robert Blaket, Esq. 4 vols. 8vo. 
pp. 478, 517, 557, and 676. London : Saunders. 1848. 

•* There are two modes," says Mr. Blakey, "of writing a his- 
tory of philosophy. The one b, to classify authors under general 
heads, in conformity with a principle of resemblance or affinity 
subsisting among their respective speculative opinions. .... 
The other is, to follow the order of time, and give a distinct and 
personal outline of every philosopher's views, in the precise order 
in which chronology develops them." The former mode Mr. B. 
thinks likely to create confusion, and to be an inconvenience to 
young students. " Greneralization on the philosophy of mind 
ought not to precede observation and instruction, but to follow 
them. For these and other reasons, I have adopted the order of 
time, as nearly as the nature of the subject would admit ; leaving 
the reader, except in some few special cases, to select and classify 
writers according to his own opinions and judgment .... 
This work is arranged upon a plan somewhat particular. It is 
almost exclusively confined to mental science. I am not acquainted 
with any publication precisely of the same kind, with the excep- 
tion of Stewart's Dissertation^ prefixed to the Encyclopedia Brir 
tanica. Every reader knows that, on the continent, religion, 
morals, and politics, as well as metaphysics, are comprehended 
under the general term Philosophy. In England, however, we 
have commonly kept these topics apart from each other ; allowing 
each to rest upon its own basis ; and this I consider a better plan 
upon the whole." By way of illustration of this latter view we 
quote the following from the Introduction : ** Philosophy is a 
comprehensive term, and, in its fullest extent, embraces every 
thing which a man can know and feel. Philosophers are, how- 
ever, like other humbler workmen, obliged to divide their labors 
in order to ensure more successful and efficient execution; and 
accordingly we find that from the first dawn of any thing like 
science and literature, all knowledge has been classified under tiiree 
leading divisions; namely, a knowledge of external bodies, of 
mental faculties or powers, and of moral duties and obligations." 
These extracts will, we think, sufficiently indicate Mr. Blakey*8 
position. Very evidently, nothing like a " Philosophy of Mind," 
properly so called, is undertaken by him, or to be expected at 
his hands. To give a correct notion of what his aim really is, 
this part of his title-page should be stricken out, and the whole 
should read^ "Opinions of Robert Bhikey, Esq., on the opinionf 

254 Short Reviews and Notices. [March, 

of all writers," &c. Opinions are all he treats of, and his opinion 
all he has to offer. But here we will borrow from Mr. Blakey 
(I. p. 258) a saying of TertuUian that seems to the point *' Her- 
esies/' says he, *' are the individual opinions of men and demons." 
Leaving out the demons, as hypothetical, the converse of the 
proposition, namely, that the individucd opinions of men are her- 
esies, however it may be in the Liberal Churches of the day, in 
the Church of Philosophy is an axiom. A science that ends in 
opmions is a contradiction in terms; for Science begins where 
Opinion ends. 

One inconvenience of this method is, that if we undertake to 
relate opinions, it is difficult to know where to stop. We cannot 
enumerate all the opinions that have ever been held by men. 
And if we undertake to select the more important, who is to 
determine which are more and which less important ? His own 
opinion is dear to every one, and the opinions of the like minded. 
But this does not prove that they are of any value to the public 
at large. Supposing Mr. Whewell had undertaken in his History 
to retail all the crazy fancies of the alchemists. He might have 
made a rare curiosity-shop, but the bearing upon Science would 
have been, at best, a very indirect one. 

The result of such a procedure must naturally terminate, as in 
the work before us, in an attempt to give a little of every thing. 
We have here accounts of about six hundred and thirty writers, 
according to our reckoning, besides enumerations of and hasty al- 
lusions to a host of others. Of these, to judge by ourselves, the 
very nan^^s of a large proportion will be new to the mass even of 
readers of metaphysical writings. 

Another uncertainty, besides the list to be admitted, is, how 
much to say about each. Mr. Blakey's means are limited : his 
whole number of pages, exclusive of unconnected dissertations, 
notes, and indices, is about 1,860. This, divided by the number 
of writers, will give a fraction less than three pages to each ; and 
you cannot very well say any thing about a man in le^ than half 
a page. Then a httle favoritism is unavoidable on this plan. 
With no guide but opinion, strict impartiality is not to be expect- 
ed. All these things taken together, the reader will guess that 
some of the august names of Philosophy come off rather slimly. 
Socrates gets but three pages; Plato eleven; Bruno, Bohme, 
Hamann, and Hegel are barely touched upon ; while the ^' Lady 
Mary Shephard " runs at large in a spacious common eight pages 
square. Even a tolerable sample of the opinions of any distin- 
guished man is hardly to be found in these volumes; indeed, 
under the circumstances could not be looked for. 

As for criticism, this is, of course, out of the question, since no 
criterion is established or acknowledged. In its stead we have 
general remarks, often of a personal nature, on the character and 

1849.] Short Beviews and NoUcei. 256 

disposition of the meo reviewed. Thus, Spinoza is censored for 
his want of enthusiasm, feeling, and patriotism; his consoling 
himself, after an unsuccessful loye-afi&ir, by a devotion to philos- 
ophy and a life of retirement and meditation, shows his coldness 
and apathy, &c., &c. On the other hand, Alfred the Great, prob- 
ably from his interesting character, has the advantage of Plato by 
five pages. 

Having found so much fault with this work, we are bound to 
say that it displays much liberality, good feeling, and industri- 
ous research. It is, in one respect the most extensive work of 
the kind that we know of It includes writers of all times and 
all European nations, with notices of some Hindoo philosophies, 
and of metaphysics in the United States. As Bibliography, 
therefore, (though by no means complete,) it has its value. Be- 
sides the regular matter, there are interspersed dissertations of 
Mr. Blakey's, on the Faculties of the Mind ; on the Influence of 
Language ; on the Sublime and BeautifuL 

2. — The NattircU History of the Hwnum Secies, its typical 
forms, vrimeval distributions, fHationSy and migrations. Illus- 
trated Dy thirty-nine colored plates, with portrait and vignette. 
inburgh. 1848. 16mo. pp. 464. 

Thi^ book has suffered from the ambition of the bookseller to 
get a great deal into a very small compass. The consequence is, 
a mass of information on a variety of topics and of great extent, 
so scanty in general views or application of the facts stated, and in 
every way so cramped, clipped, and, so to say, short-breathed, as to 
be spoiled for the general reader, and, on the other hand, altogether 
too hasty and dogmatic for the scholar. On a topic so recent as 
this, assertions cannot be admitted unless properly authenticated. 
In the work before us there are very few authorities cited, and those 
often so loosely as to give the impression that a general recollec- 
tion is trusted to. It is difficult, therefore, to pronounce an opin- 
ion with regard to its accuracy in matters of fact We notice 
many unqualified statements on what are usually considered very 
doubtful points. Thus, the hypothesis of a former continent be- 
tween America and Asia, at best an entirely unsettled matter, is 
laid down as aa admitted fact Other statements seem to have 
still less foundation, as, for instance, that in the northern portion 
of the United States, ** there still remain rude sculptures of very 
long vessels manned with namerous rowers, particularly on tide- 

256 SioH HenifWB <md Mtic€9. [Marcli, 

rocks in Massachuaetts,'' — of which we, at leasl, hear fat the 
first time. It is impossible to say what proof the Colonel may 
have obtained, perhaps onlj yestenlay, of these and innumerable 
the like matters, even where he contradicts all foregoing authori- 
ties ; but it is quite out of the question to expect that such state- 
ments will be received as correct, without, at least, more circum- 
stantial exposition. 

From the want of recapitulation or hint as to what is expected 
to be proved ; from the great want of method, and a frequent ob- 
scurity of style, it is by no means easy to make out, in all cases, 
the views intended to be maintidned. In general, they seem to 
be these : That the human race is not a single species, but a genus 
composed of three aboriginal or normal types ; that these types 
from a very early period have been intermingled to a considerable 
extent, yet, taken largely, are distinguished in their geographical 
dbtribution not less than specifically. They are, 1. The Woolly- 
haired Tropical type, with the Miolsy and the American sub- 
types ; 2. The Hyperborean, Beardless, or Mongolic type, with 
the Finnic, OuraUan or Tschudic, and the Ethiopic sub- types; 
3. The Bearded, (geographically) Intermediate, or Caucasian 
type, with the Semitic and the Typical Caucasian subdivisions. 

Thb original diversity is kept up by an instinctive repulsion 
between the various stocks ; yet they are intermingled by a neces- 
sity of nature as the condition of progress, producing the sublyp- 
ical stems. P. 120 : " War and slavery seem to have been, and 
still are, the great elements, perhaps the only direct agents, to 
produce amalgamation of the typical stocks, without which no 
permanent progress in the path of true civilization is made." 
And p. 167: ^Individual interunions between the typical races 
not only tend to the superior development of form and capacity 
in the offspring, but the same tendency continues to operate be- 
tween difierent tribes ; the constant crossing of Celtic with Teu- 
Umic blood, upon a Perso- Arabian basis, being, perhaps, a princi- 
pal cause of the early progressive civilization of Southern and 
Western Europe ; and the stationary character chiefly observed in 
the Mongolic races being a result of the want of the same acting 
cause." The first chapter is occupied with an examination of the 
^ changes of the earth's surface since the commencement of the 
present zoological system," to appearance partly with the view of 
obviating the difficulty of accounting for the population of coun- 
tries now separate, by the same stock ; and partly with the declared 
purpose of establishing " man's coexistence with the latter period 
of the great Pachydermous era." The fact that human bones are 
found in company with remains of extinct animals, is, we believe, 
beyond question, so far as that goes. Besides the instances given 
by our author in his second diapter, (which is devoted to the 
subject,) we may mendon that numerous fragments of human 

1849.] 8Jmi Bevism md NoUeeB. 967 

bones, tc^Uier with pottery, anow-heads, and otiier ioiipleiiieii«8». 
have latdij been found associated with bones of the Mastodon in 
Florida. It is understood that the locality is in a fair way to be 
thoroughly examined, and the subject investigated, by one in 
every respect qualified for the task. 

The next chapter is upon the question of the unity of the 
human race, but the first part of it is so obscurely written, that 
afler considerable study, we are utterly at a loss to detect in it 
what the Colonel's real opinion is. But from other passages it is 
clearly as above stated. Next he treats of certain abnormal forms; 
among others, of the Flathead tribes of this continent Here he 
quotes recent observations of Sir R. Schomburgh to the pdnt 
(which Dr. Morton also maintains) that some of these tribes had 
naturally this shape of skull, which, as he well remarks, '^ appears 
to have bad a conmianding influence in the ideal divine of the 
human head ; for the depression of forehead and occiput it found 
reproduced by many tribes in both the southern and western con- 

The rest of the volume is taken up with a detailed examination 
of the various races, in which will be found a great deal of infor- 
mation, doubtless in many cases original, but exceedingly conftised, 
and stated in such a way as to be deprived of much of its value. 
Its use is accordingly that of suggestion, rather than direct The 
hints are very excellent, for instance, that about the necessity of 
crossing among the different races, as the condition of progress. 
But it remains only a hint It is like listening to the conversation 
of a well informed person, who is endeavouring to tell in half an 
hour what he knows would take him half a day to tell properly, 
and whom you cannot interrupt by a question. 

As to the Coloners theory of the triplidty of the human race, 
as this respects a question which, if not the most interesting, is at 
present the most vexed in the whole field of Fthnography, — the 
question of the physical unity of the human race, — we desire to 
say a few words upon this point The case seems to stand thus. 
In Zoology, the fact of numerous centres of distribution is un- 
questionable. There is no animal whatever that is to be found in 
every part of the world. Among vertebrate animals there is no 
species, we believe, common to the southern, middle, or temperate 
regions of the Old World and the New. More than this, every 
country is subdivided into numerous Faunas, the species of which 
respectively confine themselves to their own often very narrow 
limits, and this evidently by no physical constraint but by a nat- 
ural instinct The various species of Birds and Fishes, for ex- 
ample, inhabit each its own region, and use their facilities of loco- 
motion only to resist all removal beyond their fixed limits. Every 
part of the globe has its peculiar animals and plants ; and besides 
minuter subdivisions, there are certain continental peeuUarilies^aBd 

258 Short BemmoM and Notices. [March, 

higher still, characters distingoishing the New and the Old World. 
But this diversity according to space is combined with regular 
coincidences in analogy between the Faunas of the same latitudes, 
varying in proximity from the north pole southward. Thus, the 
arctic region of each of the three northern continents has many 
species which are common to all three, and many others that strik- 
ingly resemble each other. As we go southward, the number of 
identical species diminishes ; each species b confined within nar- 
rower limits; and the analogies become less and less dose in 
regular progression as we approach the south pole. The animals 
of the antartic extremities of the continent are entirely dissimilar. 
Now if we look at the distribution of the various races of man- 
kind over the world, we find a precisely similar arrangement In 
the north, we have everywhere races closely resembling each 
other, perhaps, in some cases, identical ; as the Namollos of the 
Aleutian islands and the Esquimaux, who are said to speak dia- 
lects of the same language. Here we find the same or allied 
tribes stretching entirely across the continent As we go towards 
the south we find a constantiy decreasing analogy with tribes of 
corresponding geographical position in other continents and on 
the difierent sides of the same continent Thus, in this coun- 
try, we come immediately to a diversity of tribes ; the Flatheads 
of the west coast, although having some general characters in 
common with our more eastern Indians, are strikingly difierent 
from them. At the same time, they present analogies with 
Asiatic tribes of corresponding latitudes. The Indians of Cali- 
fornia are said to resemble the Malays ; the more northern tribes, 
the Mongolian nations, &c. But in South America, these analo- 
gies gradually lose themselves. When we come to the southern 
extremities of the continents, we have, in the comparison of corre- 
sponding tribes, the extremes of dissimilarity between any of the 
savage races of men. The Patagonians are the largest of man- 
kind, with lank, straight hair, and remarkably robust forms. The 
Australians are tall, but their limbs astonishingly shrivelled ; their 
hair neither straight nor woolly, but intermediate, namely, frizzled, 
and in some tribes standing up to a great height f^m the head. 
Finally, the Hottentots are small or of middle stature, some of 
them only four feet high, and their hair consists of tufls of very 
crisp wool* Then the general difierence of character between 
the animal kingdom as a whole, in the Old World and the New, is 
found also, to a certain extent, in the races of men. Excluding 
the arctic races, (who form an exception also in Zoology,) there 
is, with all the diversity of tribes, a common character of the 

* In a Bushman who was in this city last year, the hair was in hard twisted 
banches, and in shape so n&ach compressed, that on a transverse section the 
diameters were as 1 to 5. 

1849.] ShaH Beview$ and NoUeeB. 269 

cranium (the only point thus far extensively examined,) among 
all the American tribes. 

The general laws of geographical- distribution, therefore, in the 
present state of the world, hold good as well of the savage races 
of mankind, as of animals. Prima fade, then, they have held 
good from the beginning ; and it is necessary to suppose that the 
various typical races among savages have originated, as a general 
rule, where they are now found, unless the contrary be shown. 

Those who contend for the physical unity of the human race 
have contented themselves with showing intermediate forms be- 
tween the various races, and certain physical and mental peculiar- 
ities which they have in common ; whence they deduce the possi- 
bility that the present diversity may be the result of external cir- 
cumstances. But if this be granted, the burden of proof is still 
on them to show that it is so. As it seems to us, not only physical 
evidence, but the reason of the thing, is against them. Differences 
of race consist in aberrations on all sides from a normal standard. 
These, they contend, have been produced by the inffuence of cli- 
mate and various outward circumstances. But, in the first place, 
it is among savages, and in proportion to the want of civilization, 
that these aberrations exist Nations in proportion to their civil- 
ization resemble each other. It is only the absence of civilization 
that permits any extensive effect of outward inffuences. The 
civilized man resists them. In a word, the civilized man, and not 
the savage, is the typical man. But to suppose that from an 
originally civilized state mankind by external inffuences degener- 
ated to the savage, is contrary to reason and experience. The 
course of nature is not from the perfect to the imperfect ; from 
the highly developed to the less developed ; but the reverse. 

The truth is, what makes man man is not his body, but his 
mind. It is in the mental condition that the secret of external 
condition, or of any change in it, is primarily to be sought. What 
is really meant by the warm opposition to a separation of species, 
its source and strength, is, an instinctive feeling of a profound unity 
and brotherhood among men, transcending all distinctions, how- 
ever vast to appearance, as mere degrees, more or less, of the same 
nature ; and an utter separation from the brutes, not even lessened 
by the nearest approach in outward resemblance or even in ap- 
parent intelligence. This unity and this separation we also feel as 
thoroughly as any. But it is a spiritual and not a physical one. 
Its true ground is the possibility of a spiritual nature. This, in 
the highest, remains in part a possibility only ; it is not less a 
possibility to the lowest This is the great fact which constitutes 
the sacredness of the human being as such. It is not affected by 
any conceivable degree of brutishness or degradation, for it is a 
distinction not in degree, but in kind. No race has ever been 
found so low as not to recognize a Superior Being. This may 

260 Short Beviem 0md NaticeB. [Mardi, 

sometimefi seem not very important. That the sayage should fall 
down before a bunch of rags at the top of a stick, does not seem 
to argue an]r great dignity of nature. But what possessed him 
to do it ? What want or desire did he thereby gratify ? Very 
evidently, in'order to dream of a Higher, he must have recognised 
the lower, himself; he must be conscious of his own existence. 
This is the great step. Consciousness is the gate by which we 
pass out of the animal kingdom into higher regions. Henceforth 
all spiritual attainments and excellences are present in possibility. 
The soul has recognized itself, and an infinite horizon is spread 
before it. Thus, ^ose who contend for the physical unity of man 
are right in what they mean, but they do not say and do not know 
what they mean. It is necessary to distinguish between these 
notions, for they are altogether diverse, and a confhsion of them 
must of course make mischief. Thus, for instance, it were much 
to be desired that arguers against Slavery, who occasionally wan- 
der into the field of Ethnography, would stick to this great point, 
and not lose them^lves in trying to disprove the obtruding cere- 
bellum ; the webbed hand ; the ape-like arm, and leg, and pelvis. 
What of all that ? Is he not a man ? If he is, all these things 
may be, or not ; they are totally insignificant This is our tower 
of strength, and if we forsake this, we are delivered over to the 

That man, so far as he is an animal, should be governed by the 
same laws as the animals, seems to be self-evident That these 
laws, however, should be modified in his case, is not less natural. 
He has an animal nature, but this is a comparatively insignificant 
part of him. We should expect, therefore, that the sharp dis- 
tinctions of species would be less marked and less persistent The 
ideal animal, the perfect horse or dog, is that in which the specific 
traits are the most developed, in which the species is most distinct 
For this is the character of the animals, to express distinctly some 
special character. In man, the ideal of development, on the con- 
trary, is a point where all differences of race disappear, since it is 
physical characteristic of man to unite all the animal organs in a 
central harmony. 

In these views we are by no means sure that we should not 
have Colonel Hamilton Smith on our side, if he would but speak 
out ; for some obscure utterances of his seem to look that way. 
But his hypothesis, as he states it, misses all round. He rests 
it on zoological analogy, but does not carry this analogy out. If 
there are three races, it is the highest improbability that there 
are not more. We hope he will take time some day to write out 
fully what he means. We may observe, in parting, that the 
thirty-four colored plates (many of whioh are original) are well 
executed and satisfactory, although small 

1849.] Slwrt MmewB and Notices. 261 

8. — The Plant : a Biography^ in a series of Popular Lectures, 
By M. J. ScHLEiDEN, M. D., Professor of Botany to the Uni- 
versity of Jena. Translated by A. Henfret, F. S. S., &c. 
With five colored plates and thirteen wood engravings. London : 
H. BaiUiere. 1848. 8vo. pp.865. 

Fbofessor Schleiden is one of the most distinguished Hving 
botanists of Germany. As we have understood, however, he was 
bred a lawyer, and came to Science at a somewhat advanced age. 
He seems to have early attached himself to the philosophical or 
anti-philosophical doctrines of Fries of Jena, and to have espoused 
his quarrel with the " Fhysiophilosophers," who in the early part 
of the century had their head quarters there. This quarrel 
appears to have inflamed, in his mind, into a general hostility to 
all philosophy, if, indeed, the Friesian doctrines do not of them- 
selves amount to that. More than half of the first volume of his 
" Grundsuge der Wtssensckaftlichen Botanik,^* his principal work 
hitherto, is occupied with the bitterest polemics against the No- 
turphilosophen ; and in the work before us, where one would 
expect him to respect the neutral ground of Society, we find him 
still in the most bellicose humor, and ready to keep the lists 
against all comers. Science in Germany occupies (or until .the 
new revolutions there has occupied) similar ground to Politics 
among us, as it is the most generally interesting topic, and forms 
the battle-field in that war of words that here expends itself on 
questions of state. This importing into Science the polemics and 
partizan spirit of the forum is thus not quite so extraordinary or 
in so bad taste as it would be here. 

But, as before remarked, the old pique against individuals has 
in the present book extended into a hatred of philosophy in gen* 
eral. His mission. Professor Schleiden thinks, (p. 60,) is "to 
labor at this unspiritualizing of Nature, and I took occasion in 
my former lecture to point out how the forms of the world of 
plants, impressing themselves so vividly on the sensuous nature, 
how their mysterious and silent weavings and workings, trans- 
formed before the eye of the instructed naturalist into chemico- 
physiological processes, which take place on and in an invisible 
utricle, the vegetable cell ;" doubtless altogether safe from spiritual 
influences. And agiun, (211,) that ''we may define the purpose 
of all investigation of Natural Science as an attempt to show that 
the whole world around us is bound by exceptionless mathematical 
laws." The naturalist, however, on this scheme must be confessed 
to be as yet very partially ** instructed ; " for Schleiden himself 
confesses, (212,) ** in plants and animals, the forms become so 
varied and so aberrant, that a mathematical basis is out of the 
question : " of course ; for they cannot be so ^^unspiritualized" as 

262 Short Bmew9 and Notices. [Maroh, 

to be brought under the laws of mere dead matter. They are liv- 
ing, concrete realities, and not mathematical abstractions. << Yet," 
says he, ^' there lies in Man an irrecusable necessity, never, in his 
contemplation of the world, to allow of accident, which would 
leave him comfortless and hopeless in the presence of the forces 
of Nature, to which he is subject" Truly, if he were so subject ; 
but this he is not, unless he be a plant or an animal, and tben he 
probably will not trouble himself much about the matter. Nothing 
can be shallower than these trite assertions of the impossibility of 
accident or imperfection in Nature. Grod, it is argued, being 
perfect, can make no mistake, and undertake nothing beyond his 
powers. But let us turn this pious argument round. Nothing surely 
is perfect except God ; then if Grod creates nothing but what is 
perfect, he can create nothing but himself; that is to say, there is 
no creation. Or see in another aspect to what this exaltation of 
Nature leads. (P. 268.) "He who lets his free glance rove 
over the earth's ball, and looks at large over the play of active 
forces, laughs at the digging, dragging, bustling, panting ant-hill 
which we call Humanity, and which with all its imagined wisdom 
is not able to alter the slightest working of the laws which the 
tyrant grantess, Nature, has prescribed to her slaves." Can any 
thing be more preposterous than this setting of material forces, of 
Size and Weight, above the Spiritual? One fancies the trans- 
formed companions of Ulysses might have talked thus^ if the con- 
versation fell on scientific subjects. 

Now this " unspiritualizing " of Nature is just as repulsive to 
common-sense as it is to philosophy. It is simply the product of 
the abstract Understanding. Thus we find our author just as 
much averse to Goethe's morphological doctrines, his Metamor- 
phosis of the Plant, (which seems generally admitted by botanists,) 
as to the '^ physiophilosophers ** and their tenets. 

In spite of all his talents and learning, therefore, and a lively 
paradoxical way that attracts the attention, he is incapable of 
producing a truly popular book. Nevertheless, this is a readable 
and instructive volume, from the facts he gives, though not from 
the use he m^es of them. We copy for the benefit of our read- 
ers some detached bits, without regard to context or order, since 
these do not much affect their value even in the work itself. 

" It was discovered by Arago that the vine will no longer ripen 
its fruit where the mean temperature of the year is higher than 
eighty-four degrees, and on the contrary, the Date will not flourish 
where the temperature sinks below eighty-four degrees. These 
conditions exactly meet in Palestine ; and the Jews, when they 
took possession of this country, found the Date and the Grape 
together. Now, had the temperature of the earth either nsen or 
fallen in the least since that time, one of the^e plants must either 

1849.] Shm Meviews €Bnd Notices. 268 

have disappeared from Palestine or become unfruitful theje, which, 
however, is not the case.*' . . . ''When it is considered that 
almost a century is required to form a layer of humus (vegetable 
mould) nine iuches thick, by the most luxuriant vegetation of the 
tropics ; that this layer, to convert it into Coal, must be compressed 
into a twenty-seventh part of its thickness, an approximative con- 
ception may be form^ of the duration of that period ; since the 
super-imposed layers of coal in England, for instance, oflen have 
a collective thickness of forty-four feet, and correspond, therefore, 
to a period of time almost equalling 100,000 (158,400 ?) years." 
. . . '' Spontaneously, and without the conscious cooperation 
of Man, a certain number of plants attach themselves to the Lord 
of Creation and follow him whithersoever he gotss. ... It 
is more than probable that the different great families of Nations 
may be distinguished through this circumstance, and from the 
weeds which have firmly attached themselves to their transit may 
with some certainty be determined whether Sclaves or Germans, 
Europeans or Orientals, Negroes or Indians, &c., formerly built 
their huts on any spot. . . . The North American savage 
significantly calb our Plantain, or Road-weed, {Plantago major^) 
' the Footstep of the Whites ; ' and a common species of Vetch 
( Vicia cracca) still marks the former abode of the Norwegian colo- 
nists in Greenland.** . . . ** An old Chinese legend narrates : 
A pious hermit, who in his watchings and prayers had often been 
overtaken by sleep, so that his eyelids had closed, in holy wrath 
against the weakness of the fiesh, cast them off and threw them 
on the ground. But a god caused a Tea-shrub to spring out of 
them, the leaves of which exhibit the form of an eyelid bordered 
with lashes, and possess the gif^ of hindering sleep." . . • ''An 
acre of land planted with cabbages requires more than five mil- 
lion pounds of water in the four summer months ; an acre plant- 
ed with hops, as much as six or seven millions of pounds. From 
accurate examinations, it appears that streams carry away in some 
cases four fifths of all the'water precipitated 'from the atmosphere, 
and indeed it would seem fully the whole. But assuming that only 
one half is thus carried away, and the rest made available to the 
plants, this, even in England, will give us less than twelve hundred 
thousand pounds per acre. The watery vapor of the atmosphere 
must therefore be brought to the plant in some other way, and 
this happens through the property of absorbing the moisture of 
the atmosphere, which is possessed by most of the constituents of 
the soil. No substance possesses this property in so high a degree 
as humus." 

264 Short Betnews and Notices. [Mardi, 

4 — Labor and cfther Capital : the JRdghts of each secured cmd the 
Wrongs of both eradicated, or, an Ea^sition of the Cause 
why few are Wealthy and many Poor, and the Delineation of 
a System, which, without infringing the Rights of Property, 
will give to Labor its Just Reward By Edward Kellogg, 
Author of " Currency, the Evil and the Remedy." New York. 
1849. 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 298. . 

Mr. Kellogg is a merchant of New Tork, who has retired 
from active business and now devotes himself to studying the 
Philosophy of Finance. The work referred to in the title-page 
contained a remarkable exhibition of the evils of our present mon- 
etary scheme. The present work sets forth the same thoughts in 
a new form, and applied to other examples. 

The book contains an Introduction and two Parts. In the In- 
troduction Mr. Kellogg very briefly defines his terms, and states 
his design. Part I. treats of the Principles of Distribution. The 
several chapters relate to value, to money as the medium of dis- 
tribution ; to a rate of interest, which determines the amount to 
be distributed to the Capitalist and the Laborer ; to the Banking 
System. In this part of his work he explains at length the evils 
of the present monetary system, and illustrates his opinions by 
striking examples. 

Money, he says, is the measure of all values ; hence, as the na- 
tion fixes the length of the yard and the capacity of the bushel, 
so must it the value of money : this can only be done by fixing 
the rate of interest, and in doing that the nation determines what 
proportion of a laborer's earnings shall go to the capitalist, and 
what remain in his own hands. 

" Money is valuable in proportion to it» power to accomnlate valae by inter- 
est A dollar which can he loaned for twelve per cent interest is worm twice 
as much as one that can be loaned for bat six per cent., as much as a railroad 
stock which will annually bring in twelve per cent., is worth twice as much as 
one thAt annually brings in six per cent" — p. 56. 

*' The right to fix the value of money is as much reserved by the govern- 
ment, as the right to fix the length of the yard or the weight of the pound , 
and the regulation of its value is a thousand times more important to the 
people, than the regulations of the length of the yard-stick or the weight of 
the pound." — p. 61. 

Money is not merchandise, for it is the standard measure of all 
values. The common laws of merchandise will not apply to mon- 
ey. He thus states the effect of a high rale of interest, pp. 75- 

" There are but two purposes to which the yearly produce of labor can be 
applied. One is the payment of the yearly rent or mterest on the capital em- 
ployed, and the other is the payment of labor. If laborers pay to capital, as 
use or interest for the year, their whole surplus products, the laborers, as a 


Sa^ori Bemm and Nbtiees. 265 

hodj^ work merely for a ivibsiBtence, and the capital takes their whole sofphM 
eamiDgs. The laborer reodvei for his gear's toil, food, clothing, and shelter 
only, and these, perhaps, of the poorest kind ; while the capitalist lives in Inx* 
nry, increases the number of his bonds and mortgages, or with his income 
buys land or bnilds houses to let, which will, in succeeding years, take a still 
greater sum from the laborer. The law of interest, or .per centage on money, 
as much goyems the rent or use of all property, and consequenUy the reward 
of labor, as the law of grayitation governs the descent of water. If interest 
on money be too high, a few owners of capital will inevitably accnmulate the 
wealth or products of the many. No body of men can, by labor, offer sucoess- 
fol resistance to accumulation by the law of interest, more than they can bj 
labor alter the effect of the law of gravitation. The evil is legislative, and 
the remedy must be legislative. 

'^ Money loaned on mterest, or invested in property, is doubled in a certain 
length of time, according to the rate of interest dharged. When this rate is 
too high, it requires the principal to be doubled in so short a time, that the 
borrower is compelled to give all his surplus products as interest or rent on tha 
capital ; whereas, instice requires that he should pay for its use only a moderate 
per centage, and himself retain the chief surplus of his labor. 

" The following illustration, calculating property to accumulate or double at 
certain rates of yearly per eentaffe, in the same manner as money, will dearly 
exhibit the various results to laborers from various rates of interest A., B., 
and C, are voung men, who have just come of a^. C. is heir to $10,000, 
while A. and B. are mechanics, without capital. C. contracts with A. and B. 
to build a house which shall cost $5,000, on a lot for which he paid $5,000. 
The house and lot together are worth $10,000. C. leases this property to A* 
and B., and charges them seven per cent upon its cost, clear of insurance, tax- 
es, and repairs. The interest is payable once a quarter. A rate of interest 
of seven per cent, per annum, paid quarterly, will accumulate a sum equal to 
the principal loaned or invested in property in ten years. In this period, A. 
and B. are compelled to buy anotner lot, build upon it another as good a 
house, and pay the lot and house to C. for the use of the house they occupy. 
In twenty years, it A. and B. retain the nse of the house and its accruing 
rents, they must pay C. three houses; in thirty years, they must pav him sev- 
en houses ; in forty years, fifteen houses ; in fifty years, thirty-one nouses ; in 
sixty years, sixtj-three houses ; and in seventy years, one hundred and twenty- 
seven'houses. In sevemy years all these are built by A. and B., and paid to 
C. for the use, or as the accumulation on the one that he leased to them. The 
one hundred and twenty-seven lots which A. and B. earn the money to buy, 
cost $635,000, and the buildings cost an equal amount, making together, 
$1,270,000; which sum is paid to C. for seventy years* rent of one nouse and 
lot worth $10,000. At the expiration of the lease, the original house must be 
returned to its owner, as well as the rent If, instead of ^ing invested in the 
house and lot, the $10,000 were loaned on interest at seven per cent., and the 
interest were collected and re-loaned quarterly, the money would accumulate 
in a given period precisely the same amount as the property. 

" Now, suppose interest to be at three per cent per annum, and A. and B. 
to build the house, and pay C. three per cent annually on its cost of $10,000. 
This is $300, instead of $700 a year; and, at this rate, the interest on money 
eollected and re-loaned quarteriy, requires nearly twenty-four years to accumu- 
late a sum equal to the principal. Therefore, in twenty-four years A. and B. 
would give C. another house; and in seventy-two years, seven houses, instead 
of one hundred and twenty-seven, which they are compelled to* do at seven 
ner cent, interest The laoor of building the houses is neither increased by a 
high rate, nor dhninished by a low rate m interest" — pp. 75-77. 

^The ten thousand most wealthy men in the Unitea States are probably 
worth, on an average, at least $300,000 — in the agzreeate $3,000,000,000. 
The annual interest on this sum at six per cent wc^d be $180,000,000. If 
tiieM men should s^ ifaeir property, and invest the proceeds in bonds and 

NO. VI. 18 

266 ShoH JReviews (md NMee$. [Mansh, 

mortgages bearing six per cent interest per annum, and remoTe from the 
country, tbev would impose a tribute on the productive industry of the nation 
which would impoverish it for ages. It is doubtful whether the people would 
ever be able to pay and satisfy the interest and principal of the debt They 
would pay $180,000^000 of their products yeariy, without receiving any equiv- 
alent ^d vet, without the labor of the buyers or borrowers, me property 
would be useless ; and if the owners received any benefit from it, they would 
be obliged to remain and cultivate it themselves. Should laws be such, that 
ten thousand wealthy men leaving their country, could impose such a burden 
upon the millions left behind ? u interest were reduced to one per cent, and 
the ten thousand men should sell their property, leaving the proceeds on in- 
terest at one per cent, this nation would pay them $30,000,000 interest annu- 
ally. And this would be quite enoagh for producers to pay for the use of 
capital."— p. 94. 

" Suppose, when Virginia was settled in 1607, England had sold to the first 
settlers tne whole of the United States for $1,000, and had taken a mortgage 
'for this sum covering the whole property. Instead of paying the interest 
yearly at seven per cent, the settlers agree to take up their bonds at the end of 
every six months, and add in the interest Allow the $1,000 and the accruing 
interest to remain outstanding until 1850, and then become due. Although 
the prosperity of the nation h^ far surpassed that of an^ other, yet its proper- 
tv of every description would not pay the debt The interest would double 
the principal in ten vears and one mouth. In one hundred years and ten 
months, the debt would amount to $1,024,000; and in two hundred and one 
years and eight months, to $1,048,576,000. Add forty years and four months 
to 1849, and the sum would amount to $16,777,216,000." — p. 115. 

He says that less than one twentieth of the population owns 
more than one half of the property of the whole land. If they 
have done more than one half of the needful productive work — 
of hands or head — this is right; if not, wrong. This unjust dis- 
tribution comes from high rates of interest 

"In 1835, the whole valuation of the taxed real and personal estate in the 
State of New York, was $530,653,524 ; and in 1845, it had increased to $605,- 
646,095. In the ten years^ the people of the State added to their wealth $74,- 
992, 571 — equal to $7,499,257 a year, or a fraction over dne and four tenths 
per cent a year on the capital employed." — p. 105. 

" If the people had rented the State of a foreign nation, and at the end of 
every six months we hud taken up our obligations and added in the six months' 
interest, at the end of the ten years we should have added to the principal over 
$524,000,000. We should have owed the foreign nation, in interest or rent, 
a sum seven times greater than all that we earned above our own support 
If we earned only $74,992,571 more than our own support, how could we re- 
turn the property to its owners, and pay them $524,000,000 of rent, or seven 
times more tnan our labor would produce ? Yet the laws of the State, fixing 
the interest at seven per cent, make a requisition equal to this upon laborers 
in favor of capital." — p. 106. 

"The debts yearly contracted in the State by sales of land, merchandise, 
&c., amount to several hundred millions of dollars, and two, three, or four hun- 
dred millions bear interest Must not the payment of so great an amount of 
interest, bv producers, concentrate the wealth of the State in the hands of a 
few capitalists, and continue more and more to oppress producers 1 We might 
as well expect by labor to dam up the mouths of the nvers of our continent, 
so that they could not empty into the ocean, as to expect, by labor, to contend 
successfully against the power of capital, even at two and a half per cent, in- 
terest, and much less against six or seven per cent An interest of even two 
and a half per cent per annom, on ci^ital, would as certainly break down pro- 

1849.] ShaH Bwiem and Notices. 267 

dactire indoBtiy, and accamtilate the wealth in fiivor of capita], as the waters 
of the rtren woald oertainlr break down the dams, and force thdr waters and 
the obstmcting dams into the ocean." — p. 107. 

^ If all men are by nature free and equal, why has legislation reversed the 
order of nature so as to secure the greatest possible inequality ? It is not in 
the power of man to continue a more effectual method of concentrating prop- 
erty in a few hands, than by high rates of interest This method works rapid- 
ly and securely, because it extorts consent as it operates. If civilization re- 
2uire, as its basis, that property should descend from father to son, it certainly 
oes not require that legislation should do its utmost to magnify the inequali- 
ties arising from this right of inheritance. These inequalities only exist be- 
cause the whole body of producers are obliged to pay an exorbitant price for 
the yearly rent of every description of proper^ ; and why are they obliged to 
pay this price ? Because the rent is determined by the legal interest on money, 
the standard of value, to which no individual, nor class of individuals, can offer 
successful resistance." — pp. 141, 142. 

"* In consequence of our higher rates of interest, the property of the United 
States is concentrating in the hands of a few men much more rapidly than in 
older countries. This concentration will continue until the rates of interest 
are reduced below the rates obtained in older countries." — p. 169. 

" High rates of interest have been, and are, the cause of the poverty of pro- 
ducers in all nations." — p. 171. 

" The income of the holder of English government securities is earned b^ 
the operatives in the mines and the factories, and by the seamstresses and vari- 
ous workmen in the cities. But the bond bolder comes in direct contact with 
none of these. His income is paid by the government, which gathers it from 
every branch of industry in the country by grievous taxations." 

"* The laws of the British government, respecting money, as much compel 
the producing classes to toil for the capitalists, as the laws of the Southern 
States compel the slave to work for his master." — pp. 172, 173. 

Mr. Kellogg shows reasons enough why there are many poor 
and few rich) but he undertakes to point out a remedy. He 
proposes that the nation should found an institution called the 
National Safety Fund, which shall issue paper money and loan it 
at one per cent, a year, taking real property for^ security, and 
shall also receive money on deposit and pay the same interest. 

The work is striking, and in many respects is original. 

5. — The Town; its Memorable Characters and Events. By 
Leigh Hunt. St. Paul's to St. James, with forty-five Illus- 
trations. London. 1848. 2 vols. 8vo. Vol. L pp. xn. 
and 350. Vol. 11. pp. viii. and 312. 

This work is written in the agreeable style which distinguishes 
all the works of the author. It contains a good deal of curious 
information, and is a valuable hand-book for the visitor of the 
great commercial metropolis of the world. The changes in the 
outward aspect of London from the days of "King Lud" to 
Queen Victoria, are nicely delmeated ; the changes of Manners, 

Laws, aad Religion, are also touched npoo. Tbe fHstingiiighed 
men who have lived in London daring the many centuries <^ its 
existenee pass before the reader's eje, and pleasant stories are 
related of some of them ; still, the work is not so interesting or 
so valuable as one might reasonably expect from the subject or 
the author. He seems to have been resolved to make a book, 
and has done so. Mr. Macanlay's account of London, though 
brief, is far more satisfactory. 

6. — A DictwHory of the German and EngiUh Languages, 
Indicating the accentuation of every Grerman word ; containing 
several hundred Grerman synonyms, &c, &c. Compiled from 
the works of Hilpert, Fliigel, Grieb, Heyse, and others. In two 
parts: Part L German and English; Part U. English and 
German. By J. G. Adler, &c, &c. New York. 1849. 
2 vols, in one. 8vo. pp. xvi., 850, and 522. 

The Grerman-EngHsh portion of this work is more valuable 
than any that we have before seen. The English- Grerman part 
is taken from the London edition of Dr. Flugel, without alteration. 
We only wish it had been from the last edition of Dr. FlugeL 
This Dictionary of Mr. Adler affords all that an American or 
English schdar will ordinarily want for reading the German 
classics, and appears to be as complete a manual as Leverett's 
Lexicon is for the Latin, or Mr. Pickering's for the Greek lan- 

7. — Deutsches Mdrchenbuch, Edited by Ludwig BscHStEiN. 
Leipsic. 1847. 1 Vol 12mo. pp. vni. and 301. 

This is a pleasant collection of popular stories, legends, and 
the like. Some of them have been taken from the mouths of the 
people, and never before printed. Others are tolerably well 

We give a translation of the first in the book, which is by the 
Editor himself. 

Once there was a time when there were no little stories (Mar- 
chen), and it was a sad time for the children, for the fairest of 

18490 SiortJt§mmmdIhti$e9. «i 

IwUerfliet was wandBg in tbeir Yo«th'»-£iMd]ae. AaA dMva 
were two children o£ a king, who were playing together in theiv 
ftither's stately garden. The gafden was full of m^|estic flowers ; 
its walks were strown with irarions cok>red stones and golden sand, 
and glittered in rivalry with the sparkling dew on the flower-beds. 
In the garden there were oool grottos with plashing waters, foinn 
tains roshing high up towards £Eur marb^ statues, and lovely 
banks to lie on and go to sleep. Grold and silver fish swam in the 
basins ; the most beautiful birds fluttered about in great gik bird- 
hooses, and other birda hopped and flew about in the open air, 
singing their songs with dear, sweet voices. Bat the two diildren 
had all this and saw it every day, &nd so they were tired of the 
glitter of the stones, of the sweet smell of the flowers, of the 
leaping waters, of the fish that were so dumb, and of the birds 
whose songs they could not understand. 

The children sat down silent together and were sad. They had 
all that a child could wish — oosUy playthings^ handsome clothes, 
pleasant food and drinks, and every cby they could play in the 
beautiful garden. They were sad — they knew not why, nor 
what was wanting. 

One day the queen, their mother, came to them, — a tall, 
handsome woman, with mild and agreeable features, — and she 
took it to heart because her children were so sober and only 
smiled upon her in a melancholy way, instead of running to meet 
her with a shout. She was disturbed because her children were 
not hai^y as children should be and can, for they know no cares, 
and the heaven of childhood is, for the most part, without clouds. 

The queen seated herself beside her children, — the one a boy, 
and the other a girl, — and putting one of her round white arms 
about each of them, said in a motherly tone, *' What do you want, 
my dear children ? " 

^ Dear mother," said the boy, *' we do n't know what." ** We 
are so sad," said the girL " It is so beautiful here in the garden, 
and you have all ^at heart could wish. Why are yon not 
happy ? " said the queen, and a tear came into her eye, out of 
which a kindly soul was wont to laugh. 

« What we have does not give us joy enough," said the girl ; 
and the boy added, " We want something and know not what." 

The mother was troubled and silent, and thought, What can 
the children wish for, to make them happy, besides the fine gar- 
den, these handsome clothes, abundance of playthings, and agree- 
able food and drink. But she could not find out what it was they 
thought of. 

'* Oh that I were myself again a child," said she to herself, with 
a gentle sigh. ** Then I could soon know what would make my 
children happy. But I have roamed too fwr from the land of my 
youth, where the gold birds fiy through the trees of Paradise — 

S70 Short BmmoB and NMee8. [March, 

those birds that have no feet because they are never weary and 
need no earthly rest. Oh that such a bird would come and bring 
my darlings what will make them happy." 

And lo, as the queen was wishing for it, suddenly there hovered 
over her, in the blue sky, a wonderful bird ; a splendor shot out 
from it like the flame of gold and the glitter of precious stones. 
It came nearer and nearer ; the queen saw it and the children, 
who cried, '* Ah, ah ! " and for very astonishment could find no 
other words. 

The bird was very lovely to look upon, as, flying lower and 
lower, it sank down, so shimmering and shining with a rainboir- 
glitter, almost dazzling the eyes, and yet attracting them. It was 
so beautiful that the queen and the children shuddered with joy 
as they felt the waving of its wings. But before they anticipated 
it, the wonderful bird had alighted in the lap of the queen-mother, 
and looked at the children with eyes like the gentle eyes of a 
child, and yet there was something in its eyes which the children 
did not understand — something strange that made you shudder. 
So they did not venture to touch the bird, but they saw that this 
strange and beautiful unearthly creature, under its variegated and 
glittering feathers, had some of a deep black, which could not be 
seen at a distance. But the children had barely so much time to 
look at this fair and wonderful bird as it has taken to tell of it, 
before this bird of Paradise without feet rose and shimmered, 
often higher and higher, till it seemed only a colored feather 
floating in the sky, then only a streak of gold, and then it disap- 
peared, but until then they all looked at it with amazement. 

But oh, wonderful, when they looked down again how were they 
astonished anew. In the mother's lap lay a golden egg, which 
the bird had left there. Oh, how it glittered, so green-gold and 
golden-blue, like the most precious Labrador stones and Mother 
of Pearl. The children both exclaimed with one mouth, " Ah, the 
beautiful Egg ! " But the mother smiled delightedly, gratefully 
surmising that this must be the precious thing yet laddng for her 
children's happiness ; the egg in its shell, glittering with magic 
colors, must contain the talisman which would assure the children 
of that contentment which is denied to the old, and would quiet 
their anxiety and childish trouble. 

But the children could not be weary with looking at the bcau- 
tiftil egg, and in that forget the bird who brought it. At first they 
did not venture to touch it ; but at length the girl laid one of the 
tips of her rosy little fingers upon it, and suddenly called out — 
while her innocent face flushed with purple — ** The egg is warm ! " 
Then the boy also carefully tapped it with his finger, to see if she 
had spoken the truth. At last, the mother laid her delicate hand 
on the precious egg, and — what followed ? The shell broke in 
two, and a creature came forth wonderftil to behold. It had 

1849.] List of New FubUcations lUeeived. 271 

wings, but was not a bird, nor a butterflj, nor a bee, nor a dragon- 
fly, and yet it was something — only not to be described. It was 
the child's delight with vari-colored wings, glittering with 
many hues -^ itself a child, — the child of that marvellous Phan- 
tasy — the Story (Marchen). 

These children of a king are mankind in their Paradise of 
Touth, and Nature was the beautiful tender mother. By her 
wish she had brought down for them tl^at wonderful bird, Phan- 
tasy — which has such elegant gold feathers, and also some that 
are very dark, and in her lap it laid the golden Egg of Story. 


University Sermons. Sermons delivered in the Chapel of Brown Universitj, 
by Francis Wayland, President of the University. Boston. 1849. 12mo. 
pp. Till, and 328. 

The Artist's Married Life, being that of Albert Diirer. Translated from the 
German of Leopold Schefer, by Mrs. J. K. Stoddart, reprinted from the Lon- 
don edition. Boston and Cambridge. 1849. 12mo. pp. xxiv. and 258. 

Essays and Sketches, by Caroline W. Healy Dall. 

" I have besought the stan with tears, to send 
A power unto me." Fistus. 

Boston. 1849. 16mo. pp. Tin. and 116. 

Pompeii and Other Poems, by William Gates Dix. Boston. 1848. 12mo. 
pp. Tin. and 160. 

The Woodman and Other Poems, by William Elleiy Channmg. Boston. 
1849. 12mo. pp. IT. and 92. 

The Oriental Bath, a Poem, with a brief outline of the more important parts 
of Hygiene, and Instructions in the Use of the Bath, with additional Remarks 
of Combe, Andria, Bell, Slade, Urquhart, Savory, and Willis, by C B. Peck- 
ham, Proprietor of the Oriental Baths, Pelham Street, Newport, K. I. Salntem 
felicitatemqae promovero frustraque non vixero. Providence. 1847. 12mo. 

The Vision of Sir Lannfal, by James Bossell Lowell. Cambridge. 1848. 
12mo. pp. 28. 

Rational Psychology, or the SubjectiTe Idea and the Objective Law of all 
Intelligence, by Lanrens P. Hickok, D. D., Professor of Christian Theology in 
the Theological Seminarv of Anbum. Aabum. 1849. 8vo. pp. 718. 

Important Doctrines of the True Christian Religion explained, demonstrated, 
and vindicated from Vulgar Errors, &&, &c., being a Series of Lectures deliv- 
ered at the New Jerusalem Church in Cross Street, Hatton Garden, London, 
by the Rev. S. Noble, &c, &c, with an Introduction by George Bush. New 
York. 1848. 8vo. pp. XTi. and 486. 

Golden Gems for the Christian, selected from the Writings of ReT. John 
Flavel, with a Memou: of the Author, by Rev. Joseph Banvard. Boston. 24mo. 
pp. 128. 

Man shall not Live by Bread alone. A Thanksgiving Sermon preached in 
Newburyport, Nov. 30th, 1848, by T. W. Higginson, Minister of the First 
Religious Society. 2nd Edition. Newburyport. 1848. l2mo. pp. 12. 

272 List qf Nm PMicaUoriM Bemved. [March. 

Leaves from Margaret Smith's Jomnial in the FroTinoe of Massachiisetts 
Bay, 1678-9. Boston. 1849. 12mo. pp.224. 

A Letter to the President of Harvard College, by a Member of the Corpora- 
tion. Boston. 1849. 8vo. PP*54. 

BemariLS on the Science of History, followed by an a priori Autobiography. 
Boston. 1849. 12mo. pp. xii. and 164. 

Proverbs for the People, or Illustrations of Practical Godliness drawn from 
the Book of Wisdom, by £■ L. Magoon, author of '* the Orators of the Amer- 
ican Revolution." Boston. 1849. 12rao. pp. xii. and 272. 

Selections from the writings of James Kennard, Jr., with a Sketch of his Life 
and Character. Printed for private circulation. Boston. 1849. ISmo. pp. 
XL. and 308. 

Poems, by William Thompson Bacon. Cambridge. 1848. 12mo. pp. v. 
and 276. 

Requisites to our Country's Glory. A Discourse before His Excellency 
Greoige N. Briggs, &c., &c, by John Pierce, D. D., &c^ &c. Boston. 8vo. 
pp. 62. 

Merry Mount, a Romance of the Massachusetts Colony. Boston and Cam- 
bridge : James Munroe & Co. 2 vols. l2mo. pp. 222, and 252. 

Sechs Theologisch-politische Yolksreden von David Friedridi Strauss. 8vo. 
pp. 54. 

Der politische und der theologische Liberalismos, von D. F. Stiaass. 8vo. 
pp. 16. 

Der Romantiker anf dem Throne der Caesaren, oder Julian der Abtriin- 
ige, ein Yortrag von David Friedrich Strauss. 8vo. pp. 80. 

Heinrich Ewald, Geschichte des Yolks Israels. Band UL, Hiilfre L, pp. 484, 
und Anhaoi; Zu B. 11., pp. 392. 

Yiehoff, Goethe's Leben. Theil 11. pp.556. 


NO. VII.— JUNE, 1849. 


'^^ Vq^^^'^^uaa/^ 7J.\ 

Art. I.— 1. The Zooist for 1848. London. 

2. Journal du Ma ffnetUme: Quatrieme Ann^e. Paris* 

8. Blatter am Prevorst. Stuttgart. 1883-89. 

It is by no means the purpose of this article to enter into 
an extensive and penetrating criticism of the detiuls of Mes- 
merism. Its object is not nearly so difficult of execution. It 
simply proposes to consider how far the phenomena of zoo- 
magnetism do really deserve the serious investigation of induc- 
tive science ; to convey to such readers, as may not yet have 
attended to the subject, even as a literary appearance, some 
vivid conceptions concerning the sorts of things asserted by 
mesmeric authors ; to pronounce a short, certainly not an un- 
charitable, and if possible a just, scientific judgment regarding 
the general character of the statements of the science ; and 
to bring the universally accredited fact of the mere mesmeric 
sleep or trance into harmony with the system of Nature, so 
far as that system seems to be understood. 

It is well known to the students of modem British literature 
that Samuel Taylor CJoleridge, the " inspired charity-boy " of 
Charles Lamb, a poet of deep-going insight and most musical 
expression in youth, a well real and original metaphysician in 
manhood, an agonizing divine in old age, and altogether one 
of the most lustrous of modem spirits, bestowed a great deal 
of study on the subject now ap^ached. It is duly recorded 
in a note to Southey's Life of Wesley, that, after having con- 
sidered the question in all the aspects in which it had then 
been presented, and that during the course of nine years, he 
could not conscientiously decide either for or against the claixsm 

HO. vn. 19 

274 The Methodology of Me9mmmn. [Jane, 

of Mesmerism. It is worthy of notice, however that the word 
Me9merx9m stood in the vocabulary of that time as the sim of 
nothing more nor less than the apparent transference of one 
species of sensibility to the organ of another on one hand, and 
the faculty of farseeine on the other ; an equivalent which is 
far from sufficient for me symbol at this time of day. Further- 
more, Coleridge did undeniably study the evidence in favor of 
such Mesmerism from an unwarrantable point of view. For 
example, he examined the testimony for the so-called fact of 
farseeing in inseparable connection with the theory usually 
advanced in explanation of it ; being of the preiudged opinion 
that ^^ nothing less than such an hypothesis would t^ adequate 
to tiie satisfactory explanation of the facts." This was to 
investigate the grounds on which an asserted tiling was made 
to rest, but it was to investigate them with an intellect pre- 
disposed against tiie only conceivable idea of the possible fietct, 
and that was to investigate them with an intellect predisposed 
agidnst the verv possibility of the asserted fact itself. Yet 
the evidences of Mesmerism were able to bear the scrutiny of 
this searching and not uncolored eye : They were ^^ too strong 
and consentaneous for a candid mind to be satisfied of its false- 
hood, or its solvability on the supposition of imposture or coinci- 
dence ; too fugacious and unfixable to support any theory that 
supposes the always |)otential and, under certain conditions and 
circumstances, occasionally actual existence of a correspond- 
ing faculty (of farseeing, inseeing, foreseeing, &;c.,) in the 
human som." The parenthesis in the last sentence is our own. 
Every body must be aware, of course, that the inquiries of 
so hungering and thirsting a student as Coleridge always was 
could not consist in attendance upon ever so large a number 
of strav lectures or BianceSj or the perusal of the half-literary 
pamphlets and paragraphs that constitute the staple of mes- 
meric literature in Great Britm and America, or a profes- 
sional glance throu^ the notorious nusreport of the French 
academicians. " Nine years," says he, " has the subject of 
Zoo-magnetism been before me. I have traced it historically ; 
have collected a mass of documents in French, German, and 
Italian, and from the Latinists of the sixteenth century ; have 
never neglected an opportunitj^ of questioning eye-witnesses 
(as Tieck, Treviranus, De Prati, Meyer, and o^ers of literary 
or medical celebritv) ; and I remain where I was, and where 
the first perusal of King's work had left me, without having 
advanced an inch backward or forward." Thus and after 

1849.] The Methodologjf qf Me$merim. 276 

SQoh a career of bookreading, Ais ^^ moet spacious of modem 
intellects/' to repeat the epithet applied to him by Thomas 
de Quincej, could neither bring himself to accept, nor suffer 
himself to reject the statements of the higher order of ex- 
perimentalists and observers in thb dim recess. Yet he was 
a scholar peculiarly qualified to ^ve a righteous judgment 
in so complicated a controversy. He had wrestled with 
almost evenr science one after the other, like the illustrious 
Goethe, ana not let them go without leaving their blessings 
behind them. He was a good physiologist, as well as familiar 
with all the points of view from which the higher phenomena 
of humanity can be contemplated. Hi3 late posthumous work 
on the Idea of life, indeed, exemplifies the most singular 
familiarity with the details of Natural History, Physiology, 
and Physics ; and it is that unspeakable familiarity wbch 
consists, not in remembering scientific things by rote, but in 
knowing them by heart. Above all, he was a truly great 
master in Methodology, or the science whose laws are the rules 
of scientific discovery ; for one may venture to express the 
matured opinion, that Uie dissertation, prefixed to the SncycUh 
pecUa Metropolilanay approves our present hero the greatest 
English writer on Method since Francis Bacon publi^ed his 
Instauration and his Organon. Nor needs any body be 
ashamed to profess himself afiraid to speak with ridicule or 
indifference of a vast fS^bric of statements before which a saffe 
so good, so learned, so penetrating, so catholic, and so candid 
as Coleridge was obligea to pause in anxious doubt, after nine 
long years of research. 

This example, however, conttuns another and a very differ- 
ent lesson. What a contrast does this long-suflbring skepticism 
present to the easy credulity of the majority of proselytes ! 
Here a divine, there a physician, and here a man of science, 
are seen eagerly embracing the doctrine and the allegations 
of the disciples of Mesmer, without any thing worthy of the 
name of methodical investigation ; but because they, the alle- 
gations and the doctrine, appear to pass at once into easy 
consonation with this or tliat crotchet of their own. The 
neophyte of the New Jerusalem perceives at a slance that 
Mesmerism is unconsciously though essentially Swedenborgian, 
and therefore Mesmerism is true or very easily proved to be 
so : The homo&opathist soon observes that mesmeric cures are 
all reducible under the rule of Like to Like, and therefore 
they are undeniable : The disciple of Schelling is delighted to 

2T6 The Methodology of Memerwm. [June, 

notice fliat tbe trance is an emphatic illustration of the daaKty 
of things, and therefore fiiere is no mistake about it ! Far 
be it from us, however, to insinuate that the dualistic scheme 
of the Universe, Homoeopathy, and Swedenborgianism are 
nothing but the crotchets of tbe visionary : nay, we revere 
the mighty spirits, who are represented and perpetuated by 
these outward embodiments of their potent lives, with a kind 
and a degree of reverence which can be shared only by tbe 
St. Pauls, the Keplers, and the Aristotles of the world. But 
there are men about the purlieus of the Church and the School, 
in all ages, in and by whom things the most sacred, the most 
beautiful, and the most important for their truth are degraded 
into crotchets and minims : and it is of such characters alone 
that we have dared to speak with some severity in the pres- 
ent paragraph. Nor is such severitv unwarrantable, for the 
formation of a candid scientific judgment concerning new 
presentations is one of the most sacred duties of the scholar 
and the student. 

But what shall be said of the levity with which so many of 
the laity have espoused the cause of Mesmer! We have 
known such light-hearted inquirers, after having sped their 
shaftlings of ridicule at some Dupotet or Spencer Hall of a 
morning, attend a peripatetic lecture in the evening ; and no 
sooner have they seen a fellow solidified in some grotesque 
attitude upon the platform, or heard his head played upon like 
an instrument, or wondered at his writhing and wriggling in 
vam towards a heap of money the audience has laid upon the 
table for his reward if he can reach it, than they have has- 
tened home with exultation in the character of what they call 
BeUevers in Mesmerism. Then there follows a crowd of the 
most unmeaning experiments, witiiout a plan and without a 
result, without an initiative and without an aim. Every other 
chw in a hundred drawing-rooms is occupied by a passive 
subject, and every other by an operator more passive still in 
reality, for he is only one of fifty straws in the breath of a 
paltry popular delirium. The young disciples soon proceed, of 
course, like Gratiano in the play, to ^' talk an infinite deal of 
nothing, more than any man in all Venice '' ; and the city is 
not long of swarming with the frivolous convertites of the new 
science : — 

So fools rush in where angels fear to tread ! 

To rise, however, to things and thoughts more easily asso- 

1849.] The Methodology of Memerim. 277 

ciated with the venerable name of Coleridge, it is a significant 
circumstance of Mesmerism that the celebrated Strauss, a 
man of unquestionable erudition, of the most laborious habits 
of study, of singular coherence of thought, and the most 
remarkable system-builder of bis age, has not only considered 
but accepted the science. The people of Christendom are 
becoming aware that Strauss has shown himself, in his far- 
famed Life of Jesus, to be incomparably the most formidable 
opponent that has ever withstood the popular Christianity of 
Europe and America. That singular work has agitated many 
of the best intellects in the world to their very foundations, 
and moved many \)f the beet hearts to their most sacred , 
depths. Now, one may reject the mytholo^cal hypothesis of 
the history and the present phenomena of Christianity in the 
world, as it is exj^unded in the wonderful performance at 
present referred to ; but nobody can blind himself to the fact 
that one of its very strongest points, especially for the Anglo- 
Saxon mind, re«des in the use the ingenious author is able to 
make of his reception of the higher phenomena of zoo-mag- 
netism. It is, indeed, an incidental and supplemental, rather 
than a systematic one ; but not the less important in a practi- 
cal point of view on that account. If it be ^e that the 
paltry, conscious, intentional Mesmerist of to-day can make 
water taste like any wine he chooses to his subject guests ; 
and if analogy demands the consequent possibility of making 
water look, smell, and touch like any such wine, so as to 
become veritable wine so far as the spell-bound ptients are 
concerned ; what is to become of the miracle at the marriage 
in Cana of Galilee? If the mesmerized do actually heal 
diseases without material means, or with only such amulets 
as a little clay lifted from the ground and tempered with 
q>ittle ; if they can see athwart tiie earth and look on their 
antipodes ; if they can prophesy the future, in ever so limited 
a range ; if they ever become so intimately coadunated with 
such as are put in communion with them, that they share the 
memories of their unbosomed victims, and read off all that 
they have suffered and done ; if they behoM visions of the 
dead and the angelic ; if tiie mesmerizer can become invidble 
to them at his will ; in fine, if they sometimes rise superior 
to the centred force of gravity itself, and ascend into the 
hoscm of the air : who shall find courage to deny that tiie 
supematuralities of Old and New Testament life may possibly, 
if not probably, have been a manifold and normal manifesto- 

278 The Methodology of Mewiermn. [June, 

iion of certam noble faculties native to humanity ; Acuities 
overlaid by the specific functionalities of everv other nation 
than the peculiar people of God, and among them awakened 
into full activity oiJy in their highest men and women ; facul- 
ties, the morbid ana impotent struggle of which towards de- 
velopment has been actually going on in almost every age and 
country, and can be witnessed by the curious in nearly every 
district of the world to-morrow or the next day ; faculties, in 
a word, which are destined to add a new glory to life with 
their completed efflorescence, in those happy seons in which 
the Race shall be drawing near its first or terrestrial goal ! 
It is true that all the things contained in this long sentence 
cannot be attributed to any one author, either mesmeric or 
theological ; and they are neither to be inculcated nor repudi- 
ated at present. They have been brought together, in this 
instance, solely for the purpose of setting forth the great 
importance of a thorough investigation of the so-called science 
of Mesmerism, whether the inquiry is to end in the utter 
rejection, the unqualified acceptation, or the critical modifica- 
tion of its clsdms. Nor is this importance not deeply felt in 
quarters where the impregnability of the popular Christianity 
is a thing of far greater moment than it is with us ; for 
Tholuck of Halle, perhaps the greatest of the theolo^ans now 
belon^ng to the school of orthodox protestantism, has not 
onl^ become convinced of the general truth of Animal Mag- 
netism, but he has actually proceeded to speculate and write 
upon it in his own way, in oraer to confront and do battie with 
the pointions of such as Strauss. On the other hand, there is 
the case of Professor Bush. That ingenious interpreter, dis- 
satisfied with the common way of conceiving of the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, and holding by the Bible as the sole and 
sacred oracle on the subject, proceeded to reinvestigate the 
scriptural phraseology concerning it. These inquiries into the 
true meaning of the word put for Resurrection in the New 
Testament soon became an elaborate examination of all the 
language held, in Testaments new and old, anent the nature of 
man. The conclusion at which our philologist arrived, after 
a careful comparison of instances, was nothing less than the 
proposition that is implicitly, if not very explicitly, inculcated 
in the holy scriptures, that a man is composed of body, soul, 
and spirit ; the soul dUiffering in nature from the spirit quite 
as much as from the body ; the difference between the three 
being a genuine difference in kind. It se^ns to have been in 

1849.] The MModology of Me$mm$m. 2T9 

this way that Mr. Bush developed for hhnself the conceptioa 
that the spirit, or godlike element, b ensouled in or invested 
with the soul, just as this, the ensouled spirit, is embodied in 
or invested with the bodjr. He learned to conceive of the 
soul as being the spiritual bodj of St. Paul ; and then the 
doctrine of tJie resurrection was as clear as dajr. When the 
bodj, or earthly house, is dissolved, we have the soul, a house 
with God, around the indwelling spirit. The body stript off 
by the serviceable hand of Nature who lent it for awhile, the 
spirit stands up within the shapely soul. This upstanding or 
anastasis is the resurrection ; and the moment of a man's 
death is also the moment of Ins rising again. This is not the 
place to enter into controversy with either those views or the 
grounds on which they are presented; it is not the place 
either to dissent from or agree with their reviewer : but it is 
very much to the purpose to observe that not only has the 
Professor found additional conviction in the phenomena of 
zoo-magnetism, and especially in the hypothesis he adopts for 
the explanation of these phenomena ; but these, the phenom- 
ena and his hypothesis of them, have been not a little instru- 
mental in converting the hard-eyed exegete into an enthusi- 
astic though somewhat self-asserting disciple of Swedenborg 
the Swedish Seer. 

The mixing up of the phenomena now referred to, however, 
with the more momentous interests of theological doctrine, is 
by no means confined to such high-places of the field ; for it 
is undeniable that the religious opinions of many among the 
laity in Europe ancf America have been disturbed and thrown 
into dissonance, if not seriously modified, by their vague con- 
victions concerning the statements and experiments of the 
magnetist. Such disturbance, it ought injustice to be added, 
has neither always nor generally been of an ungenial kind. 
It is competent to our knowledge, on the contrary, that not a 
few earnest, if unmethodical inquirers of this great class have 
been dislodged from the position of materialism by the hints of 
Mesmerism. There are undoubtedly many of these slight but 
eager students, whom their notions regarding such amazing 
things as dearseeing have enabled, for the firet time in their 
lives, to peruse the New Testament with patience, respect, and 
hope. In a word. Mesmerism, be it what it may, has actually 
opened the Bible to thousands ; the Bible, of which it is 
enough for our present purpose to observe that the history 
of Christendom has demonstrated it to be at least the most 

280 The Mtthodohgjf qf Meimmmn. [Jane, 

potent manifestation the world has yet beheld. Now it ap- 
pears to us that it were inhumane and disloyal not frankly to 
accord the rights of an impartial inquisition to a topic, which 
is working such serious eflfects in the depths of a multitude 
of our brethren's spirits. Surely, if Mesmerism can be and 
literally is brought or forced into connection with the highest 
question that can engage the attention, the sooner Mesmerism 
is tried and set in order the bettor for all concerned ; the 
better for its more crude believers, the better for its few real 
investigators, and the better for the prudent spectators of the 

It is not only Theology, moreover, but Physics, also, that 
begins to be entangled with Mesmerism ; and this is a circum- 
stance very much to the point. It is now several years »nce 
the Baron von Beichenbach, a man of experience, an elabo- 
rately trained experimentalist, a chemical analyst of acknowl- 
edged excellence, and a discoverer of facts, commenced the 
indagation of these subtile and escaping phenomena from the 
dde of purely physical science. Nor do the results, obtsdned 
by this patient adept in the positive method of inquiry, con- 
flict with the still more startling things asserted by t£e authors 
of a less sensuous school. He seems, in fact, to have redis- 
covered, in his own more cautious and ascendental way, many 
little phenomena which have long been known and alleged by 
the followers of Mesmer. He appears to have found that 
magnets and crystals (or statically polarized matter) on the 
one hand, as well as light, heat, electricity, galvanism, and 
chemical action (or dynamically polariidDg matter) on the 
other, exert the most unlooked-for influence over the nervous- 
systems of four or five out of every twenty human beings. 
Uhemical action going constantly on within every visible point 
of the animal frame, he has not only found that one person 
may affect another in a similar manner, but supposed that 
therein resides the power of the magnetic operator. He has 
endeavoured to explain the vaunted might of the old mesmeric 
biiquet on the same principle ; on the principle, namely, of 
the vast amount of chemical change that is going on within 
it. Like Mesmer, the careful chemist has been forced to infer 
the existence of a peculiar fluid or force, resembling but dif- 
fering from light, heat, and the rest of the so-ciJled Impon- 
derables, in order to render his observations coherent and 
intelligible. There is no present need of discussing his hypo- 
thetical views. It is enough to take cognizance of the sigmfir 

1849.] The Methodology of Memerim. 281 

cant fact that an eminent physicist is now engaged in the 
study of phenomena, long included in Mesmerism, from ilie 
physical point of view. Nor is it less important to remember 
that his researches were introduced to the worid of science 
under the auspices of Liebig and Wochler, that the late illus- 
trious Berzelius has reported somewhat favorably regarding 
them, and that his experiments are of such a kmd as can be 
readily repeated by any one who chooses. Suffice it, also, 
that the effects asserted to be produced by the agents enumer> 
ated above consist, for the most part, of peculiar sensations, 
generally more or less obscure, sometimes very pronounced 
and even pungent, now pleasurable, now painfull, m one case 
distressing, in another restorative and exhilarating, but always 
unique and unmistakable. For example, some of his patients 
see beautiful flames, of some six, eight, or ten inches in height, 
twisting and turning around points where the common eye sees 
noUiing at all ; at the poles of strong magnets and large crys- 
tals, at the fin^r-ends of some human hands as well as about 
some people's lips, at the free ends of long wires the moment 
the other ends are immersed in vessels containing substances 
in the process of chemical reaction, and so forth. It were little 
short of an insult to the understanding of Reichenbach and 
has editors to mention that the whole investigation was con- 
ducted with the most stringent precautions against imposture 
or illusion. But it is by no means unbecoming to observe 
that the Baron's earliest subjects were chiefly patients either 
laboring under or recovering from deep-rooted diseases of the 
nervous-system ; and it is not easy to escape the suspicion 
that they were all predisposed to such disorders : a remark 
which applies with equal force, however, to the most remark- 
able subjects of mesmeric experimentation. This circumstance 
is not mentioned for the purpose of derogating from the value 
of the experiments in question, so much as to render iiie 
occurrence of such exceptional and curious things more intel- 
ligible, or at least less repugnant to the maxims of ordinary 
experience. In case, however, any body should draw out of 
it an argument against Von Reichenbach's procedure, it may 
be well to qualify it by the statement that we were informed 
about a year ago, by his English editor. Professor Gregory of 
Edinburgh, that the Baron had for some time been confining 
his experiments to patients apparently in a state of perfect 
health, that is to say, a state of as good health as other people 
enjoy. At that lime he had no fewer tlian oxty sound minds 

282 The MeAodohgy of Mewmenm. [June, 

m sound bodies testifying to their perception of his new lights, 
and permitting themselves to be used as dynamometers for 
the discovery of the properties of his new preponderable ! 

As for the character of those who have unreservedly advo- 
cated the cause of Vital Magnetism, we are distinctly of o{»ni(m 
that the body of mesmeric authors is very far above -the con- 
tempt of any man now belonging to the commonwealth of let- 
ters. In Great Britain, mdeed, there has yet been published 
nothing remarkable ; but ihe genius of Britain has never been 
the foremost in the newer and more vague departments of 
science. It holds back till a science has gained a rooting in 
the earth, then steps forward and plucks its richest fruits. 
This proceeds partly from the national caution and reserve, 
and partly from the essentially practical tendency of the 
national mind. The English intellect cannot go to work until 
it has something very sensible to work upon. It ignores the 
embryotic. The merely dynanucal cannot awaken its curios- 
ity. It prefers a visible somewhat to all the forces in the 
world, it swallows sulphuric ether and chloroform with avid- 
ity, but it rejects the thought of one nervous-system being 
struck into insensibility by the reaction of another, with some- 
thing very like disgust. The stomach is its type, not the Iung0. 
It likes a good mouthful of its subject, for it cannot digest the 
air. In one word, it mi^ht have been predicated that the 
mind of England would have been the very last to accord 
any thing lUke a kindly reception to such chameleon's food 
as trances and clearseeings. Notwithstanding all this, how- 
ever, there are really some respectable names among the 
British authors on Mesmerism. Mr. C!olquhoun is a man of 
good tnuning, a disciple of the Scottish psychology, and not 
unacqusdnted with anatomy and physiology. Elliotson and 
Engledue are capital observers and clear writers, although 
their pomt of view is lamentably one-sided, bein^ that of 
materialism ; a circumstance which will certainly vitiate their 
doctrinal conclusions and consequently embarrass their writ- 
ings, even while it does not diminish the value of their observa- 
tions. It must likewise be granted that Chauncey Townshend, 
Spencer Hall, Harriet Martineau, Atkinson, and Dove, to say 
nothing of Braid the hypnotbt and Eidiule the Indian oper- 
ator, are all single-hearted and intelligent lovers of truth and 
man. If they are neither philosophers nor possessed of very 
rare scientific endowments, they are certainly honest, fearless, 
and disinterested people. The same sort of tlung^ has to be sud 

1849.] The Methodology of Memerim. 288 

of American authorship on the subject ; although^it is likelier 
to receive an adequate investigation in the United States than 
in the mother^ountiy. 

It is to France and Germany, in foct, that the inquisitive 
student must turn in quest of the veritable authors in this 
strange department of literature. From the Marquis Pujsegur 
and Deleuze down to Dupotet and Teste, there have been 
hundreds of elaborate productions written and published in 
Paris. A large proportion of these works have be^ com- 
posed by men engaged in the study and practice of medicine ; 
and all of ihem by men of education. They consist chiefly 
of details, they contain innumerable cases, they are deficient 
in classification, they generally dispense with theoretical gen- 
eralization altogether, they are wortii little as conclusive peces 
of inductive research, and they are full of exclamation ; but 
still they argue zeal, probity, philanthropy, intelligence, and 
some degree of scientific culture. In (}ermanv the (^iples 
of -Mesmer are, for the most part, of another order altogether. 
Passavent, Eschenmayer, Meyer, Ennemoeer, and Kemer may 
be taken as good specimens of them. They are studento 
possessed of such an amount of book-learning that there are 
lew of our men of erudition but would show like dwarfs be- 
nde them. They are industrious in historical research be- 

Cid our usual conceptions of literary industry : Eschenmayer 
now edited and mostly written some fifteen quarto vol- 
umes on the subject. They iUustrate their cases and their 
theories with quotations from Plato, Aristotie, Plotinus, and 
Proclus, to say notlung of Pythagoras; from the ancient 
literatures of Persia and of India; from the Egyptian re- 
miuns; and from the Bible. All the mystical library of 
medieval Europe seems to be familiar to their indefatigable 
fingers. The fathers and the Rosicrucians are alike laid un- 
der contribution by these relentless inquisitors. They have 
consecrated their lives to their labors. The^ are philosophi- 
cal rather than scientific, descendental in their method rather 
than mductive ; but they are also the faithful and humble nar- 
rators of the facts they have observed. They are the oppo- 
sites of the Frenchmen. They generalize to excess. Their 
speculations are profound, far-reaching, coherent, and beauti- 
ful ; but the disciplinarian can descry no sufficient basis of 
fSe^ct, even in their own pages, for such singular superstruc- 
tures. But let there come what may over the fortunes of 
Mesmerism, the ingenious student is certainly warranted in 

28S The Methodology of Mmnerimn. QTtine) 

m^untsdning fhat it is impossible for any candid mind to reftise 
an earnest and prolonged scrutiny to a body of evidence that 
has satisfied ana fascinated men of so much philanthropy, so 
much perspicacity, so much disposition to appeal to nature, 
talent so rare, and learning so vast as are now to be found 
among the Mesmerists of Europe. Nay, it appears to be 
right and dutiful to declare that the claims of zoo^magnetism 
appeal no longer to the forbearance or the charity of the man 
of science, but to his sense of duty and right. The sacred 
obligations, of the critical sort, tiiat lie upon the professed 
scientific leader, seem to be but ill understood in tiiese boast- 
ful days. He should learn that he is' a priest in the temple 
of Nature ; and feel that he stands between God's semi-artio- 
ulate creation and the people. He is the appointed guide of 
public opinion within one domain of universal interest. It is 
his implicit duty to be on the watch for every new form of 
truth, or even important error, that reaches the horizon of the 
times. He should be so well instructed in the dignity of his 
calling as to be eicalted above the employment of anger and 
contempt, denunciation, and ridicule, ea the weapons of his 
cause. The world expects him to be as open as the hemi- 
sphere to ascending lights ; as charitable as the air to every 
coming shape, especially when appearing in something like a 
questionable guise ; and as cool as the catholic sky itself in 
judgment. Above all men he professes to know how unfixt 
and expansive is the growing system of knowledge, and there- 
fore above all men he behoves to be the very soul of chivalry 
in opinion. The spirit of Christian chivsJry is wanted in the 
schools. Why, if we will take every man who differs from 
our scientific creed for a foe, shall we not be noble enough to 
borrow an epithet from Emerson, and C9ll him our ^^ beautiful 
enemy " ? Let us imitate the gentle knights of old, salute 
him first with courtesy in the lists of honor, cry God and the 
Right, and then have at him with courage, but not witii ran- 
cor. Let us fight not for victory, but for truth ; and rejoice 
to be vanquished by the hero who is dearer to truth than we. 
Would not so gallant and manly a procedure become us better 
than the obstinacy of a theory of the Universe quite made up 
and concluded, than the sneer of imbecile discipleship to some 
narrowminded master, or than the indolent conservation of 
the little knowledge of this ^^ ignorant present time " ? Let 
us for any sake be generous in the entertainment of one an- 
other's sincere convictions. At all events, let us duly pay 

1849.] The Methodology of Memeriem. 28S 

tiie rererenee of an undisputatious ezsminatfon to tho cher- 
ished opinions of eyery large number of our fellows. lies 
cannot role them. It is only by so much of truth as exists 
irithin error that it lives ana is productive. Let the mgenn- 
ous critic, then, be affectionately curious to discover what 
amount of saving truth there resides in every system — theo- 
logical, philoBopUcal, or scientific — that is quicK enough with 
life to acquire a footing in the world ; sure that a multitude 
of sincere, enthu«astic, intelligent, or even average men, » 
never wholly in the wrong. 

It is evident that the system of statement, denominated 
Mesmerism in the gross, is in these very circumstances. It 
has won itself a standing-place in literature. Its disciples 
increase in numbers, intelligence, and literary power every 
year. In Europe, in America, in India, its votaries signalize 
themselves by industry, energy, and beneficent enthusiasm. 
To bring this plea for a fair hearing to a close, it is surely as 
manifest as the sun that it will no Icmger do for sciolists and 
fribbles, be they collegians or what sort they may, to push 
aside with a contemptuous word that huge imbroglio of allega- 
tion and belief before which a spirit like Coleridge stood ntife 
long years an eager skeptic : which opposmg theologues, suoh 
as Strauss and Tholuck, discuss as an established, i^t imper- 
fect science ; and which includes philosophers, men of science, 
physicians, men of letters, and a crowd of intelligent people 
among its devoted adherents. As for those frivolous crea- 
tures, whose nature it is to sneer at every new light that 
climbs the zenith, careless whether it be a meteor of the mo- 
ment or a perennial orb, they had best, (to borrow one drop 
of gall from the keenest sarcast of the day,) ^^they had best 
take themselves off at once, for Nature does not acknowledge 

We shall now enter on the second part of the task before 
us, namely, the conveyance, to such as need it, of a distinct 
conception of the kinds of statement advanced by mesmeric 

It is necessary to premise a few things. The brain, the 
spinal chord or marrow, and the nerves that ramify from 
and to them, to and from the rest of the body, are united un- 
der the collective name of the Gerebro-spmal Axis. This 
axis may be roughly divided into three great elements : the 
cogitative element, the sensitive one, the voluntative ; to say 

The Meihodohgy of Mesmeriitn. [June, 

nothing of the'respirative totct, or any thing still more ob* 
score. The first is the bnun, considered as the material min- 
ister of intellection, emotion, and propensity ; these coarsely 
defined subdivisions being collected under &e representative 
adjective, cogitative. The sensitive element b simply the 
sum of all the nerves of sensation, specific and general, taken 
together with the sensitive columns of the spinal chord. The 
voluntative part of the axis comprises the nerves which sub- 
serve the exercise of will, together with the motive columns 
of the chord. It should also be remembered that the nerves 
of sensation and voluntary motion are spread so profusely 
over the body, and tiiey branch so minutely and multifariously 
into the structure of every tissue, that ^Beeland makes the 
striking observation that if it were physically, as it is mentally 
possible to dissolve away all the bony, muscular, cellular, and 
vascular substance of tiie body, and leave the naked brain 
and spinal chord alone, with all their countless ramifications of 
nerve, there would still remsdn the full and shapelv figure of 
a man ; like a statue cut out of almost bodiless marble. Now 
it is this filamentous image which is thus shed throughout the 
grosser body of a man, that constitutes the cerebro-spinsJ 
axis : nay, it is this pure cerebro-spinal axis that is the verita- 
ble man himself, physiolo^cally speaking. The bones, the 
muscles, the skin, the tubular vessels of all sorts, the mem- 
branes, the sheaths of the nerves themselves, the glands, the 
hair, are all so many supports, and riggings, and feedmg- 
tubes, and gas-pipes, and breweries, and roofings, and orna- 
ments of this superexcellent cerebro-spinal axis. The rest of 
the body is but a manifold investiture of the precious nervous- 
system within. The axis reqmres to have the visible images 
of things brought full and clear upon it, for example ; and 
straightway there is a littie portion of its substance spun out 
into the form of a pearly white sheet or retina ; a globe is 
built round that suspended surface, chambers of liquors and 
an optical lens are fitted up within the base before the out- 
stretcht curtain of nerve, a hole is left in the forepart of the 
sphere, and a transparent sort of watchglass is glazed in the 
place, the back of the retina is bedewed with a dark pigment, 
cordage and puUevs are fixed to the whole afisdr, to wheel it 
one way and another like a telescope, a thousand indescrib- 
able delicacies of contrivance are superadded — and there is 
produced an eye. It is the same witn the rest of the organs. 
The nervous-system is the true body of tiie soul. 

1849.] The Methodology qf Memerim. 287 

To hasten forward from these preHminarr observations, and 
to saj nothing of such minor effects of Vital Magnetism as are 
included in Reichenbach's researches, the numerous things 
described bj the disciples of Mesmer may be classified under 
five heads. It is not pretended that the five classes, about to 
be defined, comprise all the statements of fact that have been 
adduced bj these writers, but thej certainly do collect and 
distribute the scattered heap of matter which constitutes their 
common creed. Our classification, indeed, is chiefly intended 
as a means of brevity ; but, in addition to its literary conven- 
ience, we trust it will be helpful to the uninitiated reader in 
another way. It must be clearly understood, also, that each 
definition of a class is by no means closely applicable to ev- 
ery fact coming under that class. Each classific definition is 
the generic description of a multitude of recorded statements 
of cases. The word Ro%ey for instance, as defined by the 
Botanist, does not cover the particularities of any and every 
rose, but only those properties which it possesses in common 
with all the roses in the world : it is a generic, not a specific, 
and still less an individual description. 
It is stated and accredited by the Mesmerist : — 
I. That when two nervous-systems are suffered to exert 
their natural influences on one another, in favorable circum- 
stances, one of these nervous-systems occasionally, or rather 
frequently, becomes non-cogitative, insensitive, and involun- 
tative : or, to state the thmg as it more generally happens in 
fact, one of them falls into a state more or less approximate 
to such ultra-generic or ideal condition. One of them ceases 
to be an individual for the time being. One of them is en- 
tranced ; the mesmeric trance being totally different from 
common sleep, although it may yet be found to be intimately 
and importantly related to that kind of death in life. The 
circumstances most favorable to its production, apart from 
nervous disease, are the existence of the nervous-lymphatic 
temperament in the subject of trial ; the shutting out of strong 
light, of noise, and, in a word, of all external forces which 
are calculated to solicit and keep awake the animal sense of 
self; the state of interior bodily repose which follows the di- 
gestion of a moderate meal ; and the use of various manipula- 
tions on the part of the experimentalist. In other words, the 
cue of the operator is to cut off the solicitations of outward 
and internal sensation as much as possible, and then to pro- 
ceed with the employment of every means he can devise for 

288 The Methodology of Mesmemm. [June, 

the purpose of bringing his own cerebro-spinal axis to produce 
its natural effects upon the less forcible axis of the patient. 
Sometimes, however, one imagines himself capable of subdu- 
ing his superior in energy of this sort, and the intending 
fascinator is fascinated by the intended victim ! It is sup- 
posed that, with sufficient perseverance and consent on bom 
sides, one of every pair would pass into this sort of trance, 
after exposure to such mutual influences, ^^ with all appliances 
and means to boot." This brief description is that of the 
total entrancing of one of a pair; and it will be apparent to 
the careful reader that the language in which it is expressed 
is not technical in one sense of the word, while it purports to 
be very much so in another. It is not couched in the phrase- 
ology of the regular Mesmerist, because that phraseology im- 
plies a foregone conclusion : but we have endeavoured to put 
it in words as naked as possible, so far as hypothesis is con- 
cerned. In fact, abjuring the dialect of the science of Mes- 
merism, we have affected that of the science of sciences, or 
methodology. Renouncing the technicality of the pleader, 
we have run the risk of an excess of that of the judge. We 
have accordingly represented the mesmeric trance, a word that 
might have been dispensed with but for the carefulness of our 
definition, as nothing more nor less than a state of functional 
inactivity, into which one cerebro-spinal axis is flung by. the 
neighbourhood and reaction of another one, when the usual 
impediments in the way of such natural reaction are sufficient- 
ly diminished or altogether removed. Suppose some inter- 
fering force were to stop the career of a planet round its sun, 
an interference essential to some higher manifestation of plane- 
tary life, it would not be the less true that the natural action 
of the sun upon the planet is such as is fitted and intended to 
make it revolve ; and no sooner should the interfering force 
be put in abeyance than the retarded planet would resume its 
involuntary race. Again, by the superinduction of another, 
a higher, though a more specific force than that of chemical 
affinity, the otherwise impossible frames of plants and animals 
arise out of the dust ; but the moment the energies of that 
vivifying power find themselves neutralized by the circum- 
stances in and through which it works, the inferior but more 
hardy agent of chemical changes reasserts its freedom, and 
those fine tissues crumble into dust again. Now this first 
class of mesmeric statements of fact simply implies that there 
resides a force in one of every two nervous-systems, of a 

1849.] T%t Methodology qf Mtrnnerim. 298 

parely nenrolo^cal nature, which is potentially capable of 
playing the basilisk to the other, of paralyzing the other, to 
use the phrase in its etymological ana not its medical sense, 
of negativing the other, in a word : potentially, bnt not actu- 
ally ; or rather, not actually in the ordinary circumstances of 
atiimal life ; for there is a superinduced somewhat which is 
generally sufficient to preserve the weaker firom the stronger, 
and to prolong its individuality. The weaker, in fact, is pro- 
vided with an interfering force, by the aid of which it offers 
continual redstance to the more powerful cerebrospinal axis ; 
a resistance which is sometimes altogether vun, as m the case 
of the poor bird under the eye of the rattlesnake ; a resist- 
ance, some refining Mesmerists would say, which is never 
wholly successful, for, even when no sensible approach to the 
trance is produced, tiie potent brain and nerve are sure to 
dominate over the feebler bv th^ mere force of superior ner- 
vous energy ; a resistance m>m which the only refuge is in 
sleep or death. It is the idea of the perfect trance, however, 
that has to be considered at present. All the so-called higher 
phenomena of Mesmerism take place when this trance is in- 
complete ; or rather, when it has been complete, but the pa* 
tient has more or less partially awaked to individuality. So 
that, in a scientific point of view, they are in reality the lower 
phenomena, if they be phenomena at all related to Mesmer- 
ism, and not accidents troubling and perplexing its legitimate 
effects. The absolute trance, in which there is no uiought, 
nor any possibility of thinking, so long as it remains entire ; 
no feeling, and no voluntary motion, is the highest phenome- 
non of the zoo-magnetic force. The other appearances occur 
in those who are partly disentran'ced : and tkis brings us to 
the description of the second sort of statements made by the 
Magnetists. It may be conveyed in the proposition : 

n. That in the first stage of disentrancement, or, to speak 
more classically, disenchantment, the patient is in such a con- 
dition that a touch will awake one of hisphrenolorical organs, 
while all the rest continue locked up. Tnis is to be regiu*dea 
as a stage or degree of disenchantment, notwithstanding the 
&ct that the untouched organs are functionally bound, be- 
cause the touch of the operator is unable to open even one of 
them so long as the patient is in the perfect trance. It seems 
to be a stage, the existence of which is to be inferred from 
the experimental test alone. The fact, that a phrenolo^cal 
organ answers to the touch, is the sign that the spellbound 

NO. vn. 20 

290 *The Methodology of Mesmeritm. [Janei 

nerYOus-syetem has oome out into it. The consequence of 
the state and the touch is picturesque. The liberated orgaa 
springs into solitary activity, unchecked, unbalanced, and un- 
toned by the natural energy of the remainder of the cerebral 
organization. When the organ, or, more strictly, the gnomon 
of Veneration is discharged, the patient instantiy Ms into the 
attitude and expression of adoration ; and that not only un- 
consciously, but with a degree of character quite inimitable 
by the actor, and approaching, as nearly as an everyday or- 
ganisation can do so, to one's ideal of the saintiy nature when 
under the sway of an ecstacy of worship. As soon, however, 
as Veneration is suffered to elapse mto bondage, and the gno- 
DMHi of Gombativeness is set free, the seeming saint is trans- 
muted into the effigies of a ruffian ; but, if Time, Tune, and 
Language are played upon together, the villsdn is dissolved in 
song : and so forth. It is of ^course a condition of the possi- 
ble truth of this kind of statement that Phrenology be found- 
ed in nature ; Phrenology, however, not as a doctrine of the 
constitution of man, but only as a system of physiognomy ; 
Phrenology not as organology, but as organoscopy. It is not 
necessary to the admissibility of such statements, that is to 
say, that the gnomon of Veneration, for instance, be the source 
of all the conditions essential to the manifestation of worship ; 
it were enough that the gnomon in question be a source of 
some of these essential conditions. To take a major example, 
it is undeniable that the brain furnishes conditions of the show- 
bg forth of human character ; but that is a very different 
proposition from that which describes the brain as the organ 
of tiiought. The greater part of the world of thinkers, and 
that in every sense of the adjective, is of opinion that thought 
proceeds through the brain, not from it. A Mesmerist, ac- 
cordingly, who \a not a materialist, but who perceives that all 
his phenomena are connected with the nervous-system, would 
rationalize on this class of facts somewhat in this way : It is 
the nervous-system that is paralyzed, the spirit is intact, its 
activity is unwearied, it is ever ready to burst into any and 
every kind of action, and the instant an exit is opened in this 
cerebral gnomon or in that, its energies are displayed; the 
music it makes being that of the instrument unsealed. Those 
magnetists, on the other hand, who regard their act as psychi- 
cal rather than phrenological, reject this class of statements, 
or rather they resolve them into another one, which will bfe 
defined below. The school of Mesmerism is actually divided 

1849.] The Methodology of Meemerim. 291 

into these &ree sections, so far as phreno-magnetism is con* 
cemed. Engledne is a specimen of the thoroughgoing phre- 
nologisty we take Ennemoser to be an illustration of what we 
would cbII the gnomonolog^t, and Colquhoun exemplifies the 
psychologist in this question. It is no business of ours to en- 
ter into tiie merits of the controyersj : suffice it that almost 
everj body has witnessed some of the experiments with which 
it is connected. 

lU. The third class of assertions put forth by our enthu- 
uasts is this: That in another degree, or perhaps another 
kmd of disenchantment, there is established a community of 
sensation between the person mesmerised and the mesmeriser, 
or between the former and some substitute for the latter. 
What is perceived as a sensation by the latter is shed over to 
the former nervous-system. The operator sips a glass of 
wine, and the other member of this singular pair begins to 
move his tongue upon his palate, opens and shuts his lips, and 
looks in every way as if he were tasting the generous liquor. 
If salt be put upon the tongue of the manipulator, the subject 
spits it out ; and so on. The patient will occasionally even 
analyze a composite flavor, and put the analysis into words, if 
properly managed. We remember seeing a case in which 
the experimentalist took a mouthful of alum-water nuxed with 
sulphuric acid ; and forthwith the patient twisted her lips and 
compressed her nostrils under the distant influence of the 
compound abomination, muttering ^^ It is sour ; It is bitter.'^ 
The last sentence is by no means contributed even as aa 
infinitesimal moiety of evidence in favor of this kind of thing. 
We distrust our unaccustomed powers of observation, in thii^ 
complicated sphere of investigation, too much to attach the 
smallest fraction of value to any thing we nught say, oS the 
experimental sort, under any of these classific heads of ours. 
It might have been added, tiiat the experiment was made with 
rigor and scrupulosity, but not that we considered ourselves 
competent judges of what constitutes sufficient scrupulosity 
and rigor in such complex and important circumstances ; and 
happily it is of no moment, for the incident has been adduced* 
wholly for the literary purpose of bringing out the distinctive 
character of this class of so-called facts. 

lY. The next kind of phenomenon said to be frequentiy 
exhibited by patients in a certain, but as yet quite indeter- 
minate, degree of deliverance from the state of total trance^ 
is like the last. It is the same as the last, indeed, with some?- 

292 The Mahodohssf of MemerUm. [Jane, 

tfamg nmch more astoniBhine saperindaoed upon it. In reali- 
tj there seems to be no sudden trttudiion from grade to grade 
in tins reawaking. The ascent from this Hades is not a statr 
bat an molmed plane. One patient is prcme to stop at one 
point, ano&er at another, of the dim4it sjoral. The numer- 
oos eases on record are accordingly found to glide mto one 
another, when conndered from a cntical pdnt of view ; but 
some classification is necessary. The phenomenon allocated 
to this fourth class of ours, then, consisto in the circumstance 
that not only the sensations, but also the conceptions and vo- 
litions of the operator are transfused mto the subject member 
of the pair. When the former nps some wine, the lattor 
tastos it too, but that is not always the whole 8cq>e of this 
curious communion ; for it frequently occurs that when the 
mesmeriser only conceives of wine with vividness and intono- 
ty, the thought of wine is transferred to the patient. In such 
examples it is alleged that, the operator reproducing a lively 
image, say it were the image of some deceased or absent 
fnend or foe, a fiednt but true phrenotype of that person is 
impressed on the cerebro-spinal axis of the subject in this de- 
gree of the mesmeric trance. In a word, were any pw to 
&11 into this particular species of mutual relation in its ideal 
perfection, then the planetary nervous^ystem, the patient, 
namely, would share all the co^tative movements of the solar 
one. This is called the phenomenon oi douUe consciousness; 
and the reader will now easily understand how the psychologi- 
es Mesmerists, as we have designated them for the sake of 
distinctness, refer the so-called instances of phreno-magnetism 
to this class. They mamtain that either the operator, or some 
one in the room, is of necessity aware of what phrenolo^cal 
organ is being touched ; an act of expectation, if not of voli- 
tion, accompanies this knowledge ; and, in virtue of the (un- 
deniable) fkct of common consciousness, the hope or the wish, 
connected with the very intention of touching mis gnomon or 
that, is not disappointed. It is on the same principle that the 
staunchest members of this section of the zoo-magnetic school 
-expltun the greater portion of what is contuned in the revela- 
tions of the Poughkeepsie seer. The people about him were 
medical men, Swedenbor^ans, new-light Unitarians^ Mesmer* 
ists, students of such books as are contained in Chapman's 
catholic series, readers of popular scientific books, and partic- 
ularly of that unwise work, the " Vestiges of the Natural His- 
tory of Creation " ; in fine, enthusiasts, but not highly culti- 

1849.] The Methodohgf of Mgimemm. 29S 

Tsted ones, men of progress bat not men of substantial habits 
of study ; a company, howeyer, one might say, of the hal^ 
educated laity corresponding with what is perhaps the best 
ehss of scholars now in the world. The notions of such a 
band, gathered into a focus withm the bram of the poor hid^ 
and, after due commingling with his natire rays, reflected on 
the wondering retinas of his witnesses, seem to have been 
the raw-matenal of light from which these Pou^eepae il- 
kminalions were spun. Such, at least, is the Judgment of 
such Mesmerists as hold by the present class of facts, while 
they reject phreno-magnetism together with spirit^eeing, in- 
spration, and the like. In so for as our present purpose is 
concerned, phreno^magnetism is quite as acceptable as double 
consciousness; but a double consciouoiess admitted for the 
sake of argument, it certainly appears to cover Ae case of 
Jackson sufficiently well. The ilhterate character of the book, 
even after the devoted scribe's redaction, the utter absence of 
dther scientific or poetic method from its motley page, and 
especially its want of simplicity, are all in favOT of such aa 
interpretation. But the horrid, hall^igested bits of Sweden- 
borg, Hchte's popular works done into English, DavVs in- 
congruous dream m the " Last Days of a Philosopher,^' Tay- 
lor's " Physical Theory of a Future life," the " Vestiges,"^ and 
Mesmerism itself, are enough not only to nauseate the curious, 
but also, one would have thought, to lower the pulse of the 
enthusiastic. This disgusting figure of speech, however, is 
justified only by the revolting pretensions with which the book 
was ushered into public notice. Considered in itself, it is a 
curious and even an interesting production. 

V. The fifth class of those statements of fact which have 
been reiterated by the continuators of Mesmer, is the most 
startiing of them all. The very suppoation that it may be 
true, is calculated to fill the mind with awe. Even those who 
laugh at it, as one of the oddest of human mistakes, cannot 
divest themselves of the sense of its sublimity as a fiction, if 
it be no more. It is the large and varied set of averments in- 
cluded under the general denomination of clearseeing, or, as 
we shall call it, farseeing. According to all accounts it seems 
to be dimseeing, rather than clearseeing, at all events. It 
is dimseeing to extraordinary distances. It is always seeing 
to a distance ; for, if it be true that a patient ever saw into 
his own lungs, or into the brain of another man, he may be 
said to have seen to as unusual a distance as if he had seen 

294 The Methodology of MewierUm. [June, 

the insido (^ the moon. We speak of a shrewd fellow seeing 
as £Eir through a millstone as another, although the thickness 
(tf that instrument is not many inches. Opacity is the lit- 
erary equivalent of space m such an instance. ]Ekigli8h au- 
thors should accordingly write about this asserted fact as the 
phenomencm of farseeing, if they wish to be at once correct 
and idiomatic. It is, perhaps, a pity that a figure of speech 
deri?ed from the eye was ever employed at all. It would 
cerUunly have been more scientific to have signalized the phe- 
nomenon as that of immediate perception, or some such thing: 
but fEurseeing is good enough for the purposes now in hand. 

In this Und of partial disenchantment, the patient enters 
easily into conversation with the person tiiat is put in relation 
with him. If she is de^ed by the latter to inspect his liver, 
she does it ; and she reports her findings in infantile, impei^ 
jfect, but not inexpressive language. If requested to go to a 
nei^bouring city, and discover how some friend of the intei^ 
locutor's is engaged, she will do so in a trice. She will look 
to India as readily as across the street, and report the Mexi- 
can war with as much fidelity and facility as the quarrel of a 
pair of gossips over the way. 

I 'U pat ft ^rdle roand about the earth 
In forty mmates I 

There is a society at present in a state of activity on the 
continent of Europe, in which they are sending their happy 
patients to Venus and the Moon, as well as the rest of 
the planets, including Neptune. The strange thing which 
these voluntary academicians assert and reassert is this: 
That patient after patient gives substantially the same ac- 
counts of the same planets, and that in circumstances where 
collusion seems to be impossible. Now, if a hundred patients 
describe the surface of Venus as sometiiing very unique, and 
if all the hundred give the same description, it must certainly 
^^ puzzle the will " of the poor experimentalist ! Many of our 
readers have doubtiess been gravelled by such vaticmations. 
Were it our cue, we could amuse them with our own experi- 
ence of these lucid states, as they are sometimes callea, of 
the artificial ecstatic. Our sole object, however, is to draw a 
clear outline of this miraculous system of statement as it oc- 
curs in books ; satisfied that every body who is familiar with 
the literature of the subject, will idlow these definitbns to be 
not only moderate, but even subdued. They are very far, at 

1849.] The Methodology qf Memerim. 296 

all e?6nt8, from being overcharged. We exclude from the 
classification a number of things still more unlikelj, when 
considered from the point of common experience, than any of 
those which have been mentioned ; and that upon the just 
principle that the majority of mesmeric authors themselves do 
not receive, if thev do not reject them. They do not fSuriy 
belong to the creed of the body of magnetic authorship. We 
refer to instances in which patients have been represented as 
sharing the memories, as well as the sensations and present 
consciousness of their mesmeric opposites, so as to be able to 
tell them what manner of life they have led ; instances in 
which the g^ of prophecy has been said to be superadded to 
double memory and farseeing ; instances of daily communion 
with the world of spirits, supposed to be mterdiffused through 
that which we inhabit ; instances of patients speaking in un- 
known tongues, intelligible to other ecstatics; instances, in 
fine, of every sort of wonder that has yet been recorded in 
the early literatures of the world. Before dismissing this list 
with a smile, it should be remembered as very curious m a 
literary point of view, that Zschokke, the well-known Swiss 
author, a patriotic politician, and a very worthv man, has duly 
recorded the fact, m his Autobiography, that he was the sub- 
lect of double memory several times in the course of his life. 
Without any preparation or expectation on his part, he several 
times fell into relations, now with one person, then with an- 
other, of such a sort tiuit he seemed to remember bygone 
years for that person as well as for himself. Never having 
seen nor heard of them before, he suddenly became the partic- 
ipator of their past experiences, in so far as these were con- 
nected with memory ; and he often put it to the test by asking 
fliem if so-and-so had happened to them, at such-and-such a 

Elace, in thisK>r-that year ! For particulars, the reader must 
ave recourse to the pious and excellent story-teller's own 
delightful pages. It is but fair, in the meantime, to give the 
ultra-mesmerists the advantage of such support as is to be de- 
rived from the wide-spread reputation, the undoubted ability, 
and the acknowledged probity of the celebrated Swiss. 

Such, then, are five kinds of phenomena, affirmed to be very 
firequently produced by the natural influence of more energet- 
ic nervous-systems upon feebler ones ; the perfect trance, the 
j^eno-magnetic trance, the trance of double sensation, that 
of double consciousness, and that of farseeing : to which may 
one day be added that of double memory, to be put before 

296 The MeOiodologti of Hkimeriim. [Jane, 

liie last one ; that of prediction to be put after it ; that of 
smritrseeing after the manner of Swedenborg next ; and then 
that consummated ecstasy, in which the blessed subject of 
enchantment shall seize the universal speech of heaven ! 

But now the question is, Will jou believe all these five 
things ? The reader is perhaps disposed to ask us if we be- 
lieve them all ourselves ? Nor is the answer far to seek. It 
is briefly and distinctly as follows. 

Let tiie first of the classes be kept apart from the other 
four, and we do not believe these four, the higher phenomena 
as they are called, from phreno-magnetism to farseeing inclu- 
sive, in the manner in which we know and believe the received 
composition of water, the demonstrated distance of the sun, 
or any of the accredited truths of po^tive science. It has 
been shown that the magnetists themselves are by no means 
agreed about phreno-magnetism, so that a mere scientific spec- 
tator is more than warranted in suspending his opinion. As 
for the remaining tiiree classes, if that of double conscious- 
ness be once admitted, not only is that of double sensation 
explained by it ; but also so large a number of the facts re- 
corded under the head of farseeing are rendered conceivable 
b^ the admission, as to bring the exceptions under suspi- 
cion. The phenomenon of double consciousness itself, how- 
ever, would remm undisposed of; and still less like other 
tilings in the universe of human knowledge tiian ever. Not- 
witi^tanding our inability to accept these four classes of so- 
called facts, as they at present stand in the literature of 
science, let it be clearly understood that we do not reject 
them; we do not disbelieve them; we only do not believe 
them. We do not pronounce them ridiculous, nor assert tiiem 
to be the results of imposture combining with coincidence. 
We only thmk them not proven, nor even rendered likely. 

The degree of evidence necessary to produce conviction 
regarding allegations so stupendous, is very difficult of access 
indeed. It must be enormous in quantity, it must be unques- 
tionable in quality, it must be accumulated by the most sUlfiil 
and patient investigators, and it must be coordinated with in- 
fimte pirecision. Not onlv are such statements too extraordi- 
nary and astonishing to be admitted by the scientific mmd 
without astonishing and extraordinanr testimony to their cor^ 
rectness, but the inquiry is so frigntfully complicated with 
phy»cal, i^ysiological, hyperphysical, and psychological per- 

1849.] The Methodology qf Memerim. 29T 

plenties that it probably sorpibses in complerity every sub- 
ject that has yet been attempted. With these profound im- 
pressions of the momentous and marvellous nature of mesmeric 
statements of fiust, familiar with flie well-known difficultv of 
properly observing and truly recording the simplest new facts 
even in unmixed physics, and feelingly aware of the peculiar 
and very numerous fallacies and impediments which waylay 
the footsteps of investigation in this particular department, we 
are content to be skeptics in the sense of being considerers. 
Hanging over aU these aUegations in a state of suspense, tiie 
requirements of our understanding are not satisfiea with the 
acceptation of them ; but there is so much coherence among 
the descriptions of many and widely diverse authors on the 
questions m which they are involved, the majority of these 
writers are so sensible and calm, and there is such a world of 
good faith apparent in the higher literature of the whole sub- 
lect, that we cannot set all these things aside as either the 
baseless fitbric of a visionary school upon one hand, or as a 
tissue of cunninglv devised fables on the other. As the stu- 
dents of MethodologT, however, we think ourselves competent 
to express the opinion that there does not ^et exist, in the 

Sblished and well-known records of Mesmerism, anv thine 
e a digest or induction of unexceptionable, orderlv, and 
carefully unfolded experiments, such as is demanded by uni- 
versal consent in the other sciences of nature. We repeat, 
then, our decision that the whole case is not proven ; and the 
happiest thing that could befall t^e destinies of Mesmerism 
would be the appearance of a truly great thinker at the head 
of the cause ; a thinker as simple and ingenuous as Spencer 
Hall, possessed of experimental sk3I as remarkable as that of 
Reichenbach, as good an anatomist as Engledue, a phydcian 
of origjmality like Elliotson, as subtie and pliant a metaphym* 
cian as Coleridge, as learned in all things as Echenmayer, as 
devout as Tholuck, as inventive as Strauss, and as clear in 
the literary expression of his results as Harriet Martineau. 
As soon as such a man shaD begin to devote a lifetime to these 
involved and reinvdved inqturies, we shall be^ to become 
sanguine of the palpable solution of them in one way or an- 
other. In the meantime, let the present investigators of zoo- 
magnetic phenomena study with diligence the best models of 
research, and combine witii order and steadfastness for the 
production of purely experimental works, capable of producing 
scientific conviction. 

298 The Methodology of Mennerism. {Jwob^ 

There is, bowever, another sort of conviction than that 
\vhich is scientific in its origin and scope. For example, a 
student may be powerfully impressed with a sense of tiie 
truth of the very four propositions of fact now under discus- 
sion, after having gone through a great deal of candid case- 
reading, or after having witnessed a multitude of apparently 
searching experiments; and yet feel obliged to confess, to 
himself and other inquirers, that his conviction is by no means 
methodical or scientific. Such seems to have been the posi- 
tion of Treviranus, when he assured Coleridge that he had 
seen such things, at mesmeric sessions, as he could not have 
believed upon the authority of his English interlocutor ; and 
added that he accordingly did not expect them to be believed 
on his own testimony. Yet it is this sort of unaccountable 
conviction that carries the day with the vast minority of peo- 
ple. It is a forefeeling of the truth, not a perception of it ; 
and that forefeeling may, in any dven case, be an emotive 
illusion ; just as the demon of the delirious patient is a sensu- 
ous one. Science puts no confidence in such forefeelings, 
such irresistible impressions, such convictions. It demands a 
clear, copious, and unexceptionable comparison of instances ; 
but it must at the same time be confest that it is only the man 
who lives and labors under the influence of this very sort of 
emotive conviction that will ever accompli^ the triumph of an 
inductive demonstration in this case, or any other. All the 
great discoverers in history have proceeoed in that way. 
There has always been, first, the forefeeling of their new 
truths shed into them from the surface of evidence most in- 
sufficient ; then there has followed the life of consecration and 
toil ; and then the attainment of an omnipotent scientific con- 
viction, for themselves Jtnd for the world. The mesmeric 
reader will, accordingly, be pleased to regard us as somewhat 
hopeful though inexorable mquirers, rather than bigoted skep- 
tics ; even while we speak oi some fifty years of contmued 
and better-conducted investigation bemg the condition of the 
scientific spectator's pronouncing a definitive judgment on the 
questions at issue. At all events, if they thmk our demands 
upon their evidence exorbitant, they must just be reminded 
that their demands on our belief are altogether exorbitant too. 
At the same time, we implore the neophyte to be invincibly 
diffident of coming to a decision in favor of the four classes 
of factual statement at present referred to, under the suasive 
force of any thing short of absolute scientific compuldon ; for 

1849.] The Methodohffg of Mumeriim. 299 

our whole philosophy of nature and of man will require to be 
revised, as soon as they are admitted into the canon of accepted 
truth. Remembering that it were (]^uite as unwise, however, 
to cover them with ridicule, or to visit them with angry de- 
nunciation, let us preserve the awaiting skepticism of just- 
minded men. 

All this, it must be understood, is applicable only to the 
last four of our five classes of mesmeric statement. There 
remains the first of them, namely, that which contains the 
fact of the unbroken trance. We call it the fact of the trance 
without any hesitation, for it seems to be fairly and forever 
established as a fact. It is easy of observation. It is not 
complicated with the possible phenomena of illusion. It is 
not difficult to put it to the test of crucial experiment. It 
has been repeated a million times and more. Almost every 
body has seen it. Nobody questions its occasional occur- 
rence, whether it be callea the state of hypnotism, that of 
magnetic sleep, or that of mesmeric insensibility. People of 
worldwide reputation have gone into it, such as Agassiz and 
Harriet Martineau ; and they have attested its reality. The 
mos pidnful of surgical operations have been performed on 
patients thrown into this trance, which is at least as profound 
as the kind of insensibility produced by ether and chloroform. 
Dr. Esdiule has set the question of its existence and its depth 
forever at rest; if his guarded and unexceptionable testimony 
were necessary. It must be regarded as a settied thing, and 
now for its explanation ; for, whenever a new fact is clearly 
and irreversibly made out, it behoves the scientific critic to 
assign it a place in the system of things. For the sake of the 
intellectual exercise, if for nothing else, let us endeavour to 
put this one in its niche. 

The fact itself is simply this. When two cerebro-spinal 
axes are brought into circumstances of relation, propitious to 
the exertion of then* natural influences on one another, one of 
them frequentiy does, (and, if care enough were used, proba- 
bly always would,) fall into a trance vasUy more profound 
than the soundest ordinary sleep ; in which it is insensitive, 
involunt-ative, and non-cogitative. Is there any thing abnor- 
mal in this ? Is it unlike the rest of nature ? Might it not 
have been anticipated ? Why, when two celestial bodies are 
brought to bear on one another, what transpires? One of 
them, the feebler in stellar force, becomes astro-negative to 
the other, passes into the state of motion round the other in 

800 The Methodohgif of Mesmerism. [Jane, 

the natural state of rest ; and forms a double mutj with the 
other, in which their primary functions are the true oppo^tes 
of one another, namely, motion and rest. As soon as two 
chemical atoms are placed in similar circumstances, that is to 
say in atomic neighbourhood, there takes place a similar in- 
duction of opposite states between them, and a third some- 
what results from the union of the atomo-positive with the 
atomo-negative elements of the pair; a somewhat which is 
neither, and yet both at once. When pieces of zinc and cop- 
per are put in contact, the copper is instantly struck into a 
state in which it is metallo-negative to the zinc. Suppose a 
slip of copper in the very process of bein^ dissolved in a 
chemical menstruum, let it be touched with zinc and it ceases 
to display its susceptibility of solution. The chemical activ- 
ity of the copper is instantaneously paralyzed. It is in a 
chemical trance.* Now, suppose it for a moment to be possi- 
ble that one nerve of sensation should become neuro-negative 
to another nerve of sensation ; suppose it possible that one 
nerve should be able to induce an opposite state upon another 
one, and that by simple nervous neighbourhood ; suppose it 
possible that one nerve should fall into the same relation to 
another one as copper sustsdns to zinc in the metallic pair, as 
hydrogen to oxygen in the atomic pair, as the moon to the 
earth in the stellar pair ; what state would be superinduced 
on it, the negative one of the psdr of supposititious nerves, 
namely ? In other words, through what quality in the nature 
of nerves should one nerve of sensation, for instance, manifest 
the fact that it were negative to another ? Doubtiess through 
its primary quality, its mdividuating quality : the rest of na- 
ture is unammous in repose. That quality when predicated 
of a nerve of sensation is sensitivity ; of a nerve of volun- 
tary motion, it is voluntativeness ; of a nerve of thought, it is 
cogitativeness ; using these awkward words to express the 
shares contributed by the mere nervous-system towards the 
showing forth of sensation, volition, and thought. To return, 
then, to our provisional supposition, and to specialize it, sup- 
pose that one optic nerve could, in the nature of things, be 
suffered or made to fall neuro-negative to another optic nerve, 

* We do not bj any means wish such words as mefa/Za-fuga/tve, aiomo* 
potUive^ a$tro-negativ€ to be introduced into the rocabolarj of science. We 
•hoald detest thtm as mach as any body else. They are employed in th« 
present emergency solely to subserve the passing literary purposes of the parar 

1849.] The MeAodohgy of Memerim. 801 

and it is dear that it would pass mto a neardogical state, so 
fjEur as its differentiating quality as a particular part of nature 
is concerned, the ^rect opposite of tiiat natural or positive 
state in which the other would remain. It would instantane- 
ously fall into a state of insensibility to the specific action of 
risible bodies. It would be struck blind. But let it be sup- 
posed, furthermore, that not onlpr the Qptic nerve, but also the 
whole of the sensitive, voluntabve, ana cogitative constituent 
elements <^ one cerebrospinal axis were to fall neuro-negative 
to the corresponding parts of another nervous«ystem, it is 
evident that the former would lapse into a genuine trance or 
suspension of all its functions as a nervous-system, in other 
words, into the magnetic sleep ; which is the very thing to be 
oxpliuned. It is in this way, in conclusion, that we propose 
to coordinate the fact of the true mesmeric trance with the 
rest of the system of nature ; by bringing the conception of 
it, namely, under the idea of polarity, under the law of dual- 
ism, under the binary theorv of the phenomenal. 

This will not appear to be a rationale of the phenomenon 
under discussion to such as expect the ultimate reason of a 
thing in an explanation of it. But there are no ultimate rea- 
sons in inductive science. The law of gravitation, as it is 
generally called, is not the ultimate reason of celestial move- 
ments, for example. It is simplv the statement of these 
phenomena, abstracted from all aetails, unadulterated with 
any spurious hvpothesis; and then presented to the experi- 
mentalist, the observer, and the computator for the discovery 
of its conditions, proportions, and specific manifestations. The 
same sort of sentence has to be pronounced upon the law of 
chemical induction and neutralization, as well as upon those of 
electrical and common magnetic induction, and so forth. The 
astronomer is not only incompetent to assign the ulterior cause 
of the approach of a planetary body towards its sun until it 
come within a certain distance from it, when it proceeds to 
revolve around it in that elliptical line which is the resultant 
or resolution of the mexplicable force which draws it towards 
tiie solar centre, and of the equally inexplicable force which 
hinders its going nearer that centre than any one of all those 
points which make up the ellipse in which it moves ; but the 
inquiry into the essential nature of these cooperative forces is 
quite out of his sphere as an astronomer. The mind perceives 
and can find out no last and inevitable reason why oxygen and 
hydrogen, brou^t mto the requisite atomic neighbourhood of 

802 The Methodology of Mumeriwn. [June, 

each other, should unite in order to the production of that 
similarly inexplicable tertium-quid, a molecule of water, the 
mesothesis or resulting unity of its two coefficients. Nor can 
any body declare why or how the simple contact of zinc and 
copper should induce states in them so opposite that the chem- 
ical energy of the former is exalted, while that of the latfcer 
is rendered equal to nothing. It is in a manner precisely 
analogous that the zoo-magnetist is unable to state, and is in- 
capable of ever descrying, how it is that, circumstances being 
favorable, one nervous-system should precipitate another into 
a condition of what may be called physio-psychological non- 
entity. The cases are truly parallel ; and all that has been 
attempted, in the foregoing paragraph, has been to place the 
phenomenon now considered into methodological connection 
with those of the physical sciences adduced : and it now 
behoves the experimental Mesmerist to determine the condir 
tions, the ratios, and so forth, of this new and most important 
species of induction. 

Nor has this view not been intuitively hinted at during the 
whole course of Mesmerism in history. The magnetist has 
always been surmising the existence of another kind of impon- 
derable fluid, analogous to magnetism, electricity, and their 
congeners, in order to explain his phenomena, that is to say, 
to bring them into coherence with- the rest of our physical 
knowledge : and that from Mesmer down to Reichenbach. 
The very phrases, animal magnetism, vital magnetism, zoo- 
magnetism, and so forth, are the indications of the fact. The 
scientific interest, working obscurely within these adventurous 
observers, is never done pointing, like another magnetic nee- 
dle, to the necessity for a new plus and minus, a jjew positive 
and negative, a new mode of polarization, in order to the 
conceivability of Iheir allegations ; and they imagine they 
have found what is wanted in some unheard-of magnetical 
fluid. From the very birth of languages, the air has been a 
favorite similitude for spiritual powers ; a similitude so cogent 
as to have frequently become almost identified with tiiat which 
it has been taken to symbolize. In more recent times, the 
conception of the air has been refined upon and subtilized into 
tiiat of an imponderable fluid, for the purpose of explaining 
certain physical phenomena. Witness caloric, light, electric- 
ity, and the other hyperbolical aurae of modem science. The 
error of the poetic childhood of humanity is repeated in his 
scientific youth ! The latest movement of physics, however, 

1849.] The Methodology of Memerimn. 808 

IB towards the rejection of those creattires of the immethodical 
mind. Sound thinkers begin to see that they are mere idols. 
Vibrations and vibriatuncles are now taking their place ; the 
new conception emanating from the analogy of sound, the 
vibrations of which appear to be visible to the eye, as well as 
potential in the ear. In fine, the physicist is able at last to 
K>ok at bare facts, without investing them with beggarly shifts. 
Yet this victory of naked truth is slow as well as sure. The 
Newtonian mode of stating the fact of gravitation was once 
abused as mystical, whereas it was precisely the reverse. It 
was those fluid-mongers who were the mystics then, as they are 
now. They invent they know not what, in order to escape the 
dire necessity of confronting pure force face to fece. They 
cannot think that common matter is sufficient for its own ener- 
^es, and therefore they project a family of matters extraordi- 
nary for the purpose. One might well wonder if these ghost- 
loving schoolmen ever mquire whether a series of subter- or 
super-fluids be not needful for the sustaining of their favorites 
from the invisible world. Since the calorific fluid must be 
devised for the sake of expanding solids, liquids, and gases, 
it is surely the next necessity of the case to devise something 
else to produce the expan^on of caloric ! But super-caloric, as 
this second creation of the calorician's "heat-oppressed brain" 
would fall to be denominated, must likewise be provided with 
an expansor, a super-super-caloric ; then this double-superfine 
imponderable were just as needful of an actuator as the origi- 
nal caloric himself; and so on in an interminable series, as 
appalling as it were fistntastical : — 

What 1 will the line stretch out to the crack of doom 1 
Another yet ? — A seventh ? — I *ll hear no more. 

Nay, but caloric is self-expansive, the lingering disciple of 
Doctor Black will urge. Well, is it not just as simple, and &r 
more direct to affirm that the gases are self-expansive in all 
conditions, while liquids and solids are self-expansive under 
conditions which are very determinable ? The fact is, that 
solids and liquids are potentially self-expansive bodies, in which 
tiie self-expansive tendency is overcome by the contractive 
energies of nature, gravitation, and cohesion ; precisely as a 
plant or an animal is, chemically speaking, a putrefactive body, 
m which the tendency to fall down into putridity is overcome 
by the superior force of vitality. The instant a living sub- 
stance ceases to be the subject of the upholding power of life. 

ZM The Methodology of MeenUriem. [June, 

it succumbs to those infmor forces which melt it down again 
mto the rest of nature. And the moment a solid or a liquid 
body is relieved from die constraint of cohesion and gravity it 

This mode of affirming the influence one cerebroHSpinal axis 
possesses over another should, accordingly, by no means repel 
those Mesmerists who are watchful of £e tendency of science 
towards a dynamical view cf all natural phenomena ; alAough, 
with die exception of the ultra-pychologica] section of their 
own school, they have been hitherto hankering after some 
mysterious fluid, supposed to pass from the operator to the 
patient, or from the patient to the operator. The gist of tiie 
argument, which is now pressed on the attention of these 
entiiusiastic investigators, is simplv to the effect that there not 
only is no necessity, but that it is also bad methodology, to 
have recourse to the mystical generation of airs, aurse, winds, 
afflatus, wareens, animal-magnetic fluids, new imponderables, 
or other nonentities, in order to bring the phenomena of 
Mesmerism within the range of intelligibilitv, that it is to say, 
within the pale of recognized analogy. As to the rational 
grounds of the zoopolar force, of vitality proper, of chemical 
affinity, of common magnetism, of cohesion, and of gravity, 
they are beyond the reach of science altogether. In a wori, 
the rational grounds of things lie out of the province of a 
merely science methodology. They belong to the possible 
domain of philosophy, properly so called : but it is a domain 
not yet begun to be realized in any direction ; and probably 
not realizable until after the discovery of a new philosophical 
organon, more potent than the syllogism, the process of induc- 
tion, or the doctrine of antinomies. In the meantime, the 
man of science must willingly confine himself to the study of 
phenomena alone, and beware of perplexing the world mth 
impertinent notlungs or ludicrous impossibilities. 

Returning to the subject more immediately in hand, the 
inquisitive reader may demand a secondary explanation ; a 
rational^, namely, of the too indubitable fact that such en- 
trancings as have just been discussed, are not constantiy 
occurring and interrupting the busmess of the world. How is 
it that, when one half the world shakes hands with the other, 
the less fortunate of the halves is not plunged into this deepest 
of sleeps ? Nay, how is it that the whole splanchnic or sym- 
pathetic system of nerves in the former does not likewise fall 
neuro-negative to that of the latter ; and tlie heart, lungs, 

1849] The MModohffjf of Me$mmm. 805 

stomaoh, and other vital organs conseqnentlj cease to play 
their all-important parts in the drama of animal life ? How is 
it, in fact, that one half of us do not strike the other dead, like 
the basilisk of ancient fable ; and the residuary demi-humanity 
divide itself agun and agam in fatal fascination, until the 
last man be prematurely left alone ? The question is hardly 
ffur, yet the reply seems to be obvious. It lies in the pecu- 
Uar characteristic of a nervous-system, as contrasted with any 
other thmg in nature. A nervous^ystem is reactive upon, or 
sensitive of the movements of all the rest of creation. So is 
a sun, so is a planet, so is an atom : the disturbance of the 
smallest mote disturbs the universe. But a nervous-system is 
more : it is sensible that it is sensitive of the motions of thmgs. 
It is sensitive of itself. Were it not so, the query might 
well arise, Where does the body of a man end, and the rest 
of nature bedn ? Are the bones, are the nails, is the cuticle, 
is the luur tne body ? Is the whole of nature not the body 
ol the soul ? No, because the sensation of his sensations 
sculptures a man out from the rest of nature : and he walks 
abroad the paragon of animals, as well as a denizen of the 
supernatural world. Nor is his (merely animal) individuality 
len at the sport of polarity. It is protected from that other- 
wise inexorable law by the myriad c^ sensations which shower 
down on the periphery of his cerebro-spinal axis from external 
nature, as well as by its own innumerable movements of voli- 
tion and thought; while the respiratory and sympathetic nerves 
are solicited day and night by the pressure of the blood at 
the heart, the touch of venous blood at the lungs, and so forth. 
The nervous^ystem is kept awake by the inpouring and out- 
pouring tides of ceaseless sensation. Hence it is, perhaps, 
that the negative-polarization of the sympathetic and respira- 
tory is ixnpossible, and that of even the axis difficult and infre- 
quent. These are possibly the reasons why the nervouslym- 
j^tic temperament on one hand, and a powerful well-balanced 
nervous-system on the other; freedom from the digestive 
process ; every thing that is monotonous, in the figurative as 
well as in the literal sense of the adjective ; and the cutting 
away of as many as possible of the individualizing agencies 
that act upon the expected subject, are propitious, and even 
more or less necessary to the proauction of the phenomenon now 
criticized. Such, then, is our tiieory of the trance. It is the 
conception of the two cerebro-spinal axes, of different degrees 
of energy, brought mto the relation of dual unity ; the one- 
vo. yn. 21 

806 The Methodology of Meimerism. [June, 

bemg oonoeiyed of as neuro-positive or solar, the other neuro- 
negative or planetary; the former corresponding with zinc, 
the latter with copper. 

K these observations had not ak^adj extended to so great 
a length, we should have been glad to assail the other theories 
of the trance that have been Isud before the world, and to 
defend this one with more particularitj and detail. Suffice it 
at present that, if anv body were to bring forward the self- 
induced hypnotism of Mr. Braid's subjects, nothing is yet 
known of the distances at which one nervous-system can become 
negative to another ; and that the steady contemplation of a 
bright or particular point may only concentrate the circum- 
stances favorable to a person's being unconsciously entranced 
by another in the same room or house. The objector must 
also remember that every man is possessed of two bndns, two 
spinal chords, two systems of nerves for sensation, and two 
for voluntary motions, although only one splanchnic or visceral 
system. Each of us is composed, in fact, of a pdr of cerebro- 
spinal axes, and one of them is always a little different from 
the other. The more alike they are, the more regular the 
features, and the more insipid the character in general. In 
the dreamer, the seer, the poet, the philosopher, the man of 

Erowess, there is always a visible inequality between the two 
rains and nervous-systems, which are thus sheathed in the 
skin and outer body of what is called a man. The Greek 
sculptors never pretermit this fact: they knew it probably 
without reflection ; and thev expressed it without hesitation. 
An excessive difference, on the otiher hand, seems always to be 
the gnomon of a violent and eccentric nature. Be the mean- 
ing of these hints what it may, however, each of us is, speak- 
ing phvsiologically and in sober reality, what one of tJie clas- 
49i^ cnaracters in British poetry is siud to have been in an 
ideal sense of the words. Each of us is ^' two single gentle- 
men rolled into one " ; and we venture to surmise, if not to 
suspect, that not only the hypnotism of the Manchester 
patients, but the common blessed sleep of everv body else, is 
m reality connected with this sort of polarity : but from these 
fascinating subjects we must now refrain. ^ 

But what if all the four classes of allegation, which have 
been dismissed above without very much ceremony, turn out 
to be true ! What if they only awwt the slow-sure revolution 
of the scientific vear ! The simple trance was long disputed, 
and even scoutea, but it is now an indubitable fact ! Is it not 

1819.] The MeUiodology of MmMrim. 807 

at least possible that clearseeing, and all that sort of thing, 
may sJso become established on the accomulated experience of 
the ingenuous ? The Hours alone can brine the answer to 
such eager questionings as these. As soon, however, as the 
observers shall have done their part of the work, and set the 
factual department of the subject beyond contention, we are 
ready to essay our own as critics ; for it is our conviction that 
the theory of polarity is competent to the explanation of all 
the higher phenomena of Mesmerism, supposing them to be 
tarue. It was our original mtention, indeed, to have dealt with 
these phenomena unaer such a temporary supposition as is 
indicated at the close of the last sentence. We should have 
done so, not as a scientific duty, certainly, but as a piece of 
high and exhilarating scientific sport. It would have been 
undertaken and executed in the spirit in which the hardest- 
working men will hasten of an evening, after the substantial 
and necessary labors of the day, to the cricket-ground or the 
wrestling-green. In the event of our readers caring enough 
about the matter, we shall perhaps summon them ere long to 
be the spectators of such a game. In the meantime, it is 
necessary and sufficient to point out, with forefinger as firm as 
iron, the most important consideration, that, whether the phe- 
nomena in question ever be made out or not, the circumstance 
can have no earthly relation with the majority of the wonders 
of the New Testament : and that for tms one overwhelming 
and conclusive reason ; — That the seers, healers, and wonder- 
workers of the Oospels and the Book of Acts are not the neg- 
atives, but the positives in their respective pairs, if they be 
any thing. It is not the patient that shows forth the marvel- 
lous latencies of the nature of man in the most significant of 
these sacred instances, but the operator; whereas it is tiie 
very reverse in the mesmeric couples. This single circum- 
stance, in fact, differentiates those particular cases once for all 
from the mesmeric phenomena; and announces their belonging 
to another sphere of the hyper-physical altogether. 

808 The Oeean and U$ Meaning in Nature. [Jane, 

abt. n.— the ocean and its meaning in 

NATURE. ,-, j.,,_,.^,^ ^.^... 


It is one of the peculiarities of the Ocean, that from whafc^ 
ever side we look at it, it makes a strong impression upon our 
mind. We may contemplate it merely with the physical eye, 
as it extends uninterrupted and restless beyond the limits of 
our perception ; or we may consider it in a scientific point of 
view, with the eye of our intellect, as an agent of natural 
power, and ascertain the part which it has played in the his- 
tory of our planet ; or in its relation to natural history, as the 
principal seat of animal life ; or in an economical and historical 
point of view, pointing out its bearing upon civilization and 
human development in general. 

We intend to consider the Ocean in these different points 
of view, but, before entering upon the subject, we thmk it 
proper to say a few words about its relation to human nature, 
and the light in which it has been considered by the different 
nations from the beginning of history. 

Let us first speak of the Ocean in its relation to human 

It may be said that tiiere is between the liquid element and 
our inmost nature a deep affinity which is independent of ex- 
ternal condition, since it is found among men in a savage state 
as well as among the cultivated. It is anterior to education, 
and is even witnessed in the child before he is able to under- 
stand its meaning.* 

The impression which water naturally produces upon us 
becomes still more profound when we combine with it the idea 
of extent. Water under the form of the Ocean becomes then 
the emblem of all that is vast, illimitable, immeasurable. We 
adopt it immediately as the truest image of the Infinite. It 
is, as a poet said, ^^ I'infini visible qui fait sentir aux veux lea 
homes du temps et entrevoir Texistence sans homes.'' 

In a philosophical point of view, it would no doubt be an 
object of interesting study, to ascertain why this image is so 
natural and so generally received. It is obvious that it is 

• Those who Uto on the border of a sheet of water, the sea, a lake, or a larg« 
rirer, hare oflen observed children, even of a lively and restless temperament, 
^nd whoU hottfs In looking at the water| 

1849.] The Oeem and iU MMmng m Nitttwe, 808 

not eztoit alone which suggests it, mnce there are other phe- 
nomena-* such as a desert, a prairie — whose dimensions, 
though not equalling the Ocean, nevertheless &r exceed the 
limits of our vision, without impressing na in the same manner. 
Neither is it the vividness of oceanic impressions which consti* 
tute their striking character. Other phenomena of nature — 
such as high mountains, glaciers, great cascades — sometimes 
produce upon our mind an impression not less strong and 
perhaps more exciting. But this emotion is of a very different 
nature. That which strikes and moves us in them is, besides 
their dimensions, their definite form, their distinct outlineSy 
their contrast widi the surrounding objects, their mdividualitj, 
m one word. 

The Ocean has no definite form, no individuality, and this 
is the reason why it cannot be described. It is precisely in 
this absence of form that we have to look for the secret of 
its power. Indeed, if it be true that the solid form with its 
sharp outlines, — a crystal, for example, — is the most perfect 
expression of matter, the liquid form, on the other hand, 
wanting as it does a fixed outline, ever changing and impres- 
able in all its parts, does it not remind us, in some degree, of 
tiiis pervading essence that we feel existing within us, which 
is the foundation of our organization, and which has also nei- 
ther form nor limit ? 

^' To try to paint the Ocean is like trying to paint a soul," 
sidd an eminent critic* And yet there is in the Ocean a real 
beauty, a real poetry, which in a measure is felt by every 
body, but which he alone can fully understand who from a 
high cliff has some time contemplated, at the edge of the hori- 
zon, the brilliant and warm colors of the sky melting into the 
soft and quiet tone of the surface of the waters, or he who 
has watched the waves in a storm, in their well-defined but 
transient forms, as they chase each other in endless succession. 
He also who, upon a still summer night in the tropical Ocean, 
has seen the stars glistening with equal lustre on the bosom of 
the deep or in the celestial vault, can understand why it was 
that the ancients made the Goddess of Beauty rise out of the 

This natural charm of the Sea is a sufficient explanation of 
the universal interest in all events which belong to the Ocean, 
which is felt even by those who have but a vague idea of it, 

* The aathor of " The Modem PntinUn:* 

310 The Oeecm cmi U% Meanimg m Natwe. [Jtme, 

wUch causes, for example, tihe ohamois-hiiDter to forget the 
dangers and attraotions of his moantains, and the backwoods- 
man the panther of his wild forest, while listening to- the nu> 
rative of the sailor, who tells him of the wonders of the 
Ocean. Even the adventures of Ulysses — woold they have 
the same charm without his struggles against the waves and 
the tempest ? 

Admittmg thus an intimate relation between the Sea and 
our inmost nature, we do not wonder at the beneficent influ- 
ence whidi the Ocean has upon us, and which we find even in 
the generous dispositions and the open although rude character 
of l£e mmple sailor. The Ocean is truly the friend of man. 
It not only affords pleasure for him upon whom life smiles, it 
has also consolation for him who has sorrow for his portion. 
The soul that suffers finds in it an almost instmctive assurance 
that there must be somewhere similar spaces, where his powers 
of expansion may be freely unfolded. 

It is in this affinity between human nature and the Ocean 
that we have to look for the explanation not only of the impor- 
tance which is given to the Ocean in the different cosmogonies, 
but also for this other fact — that most of them agree in con* 
sidering the Ocean as the origin of all things. According to 
Ihe Hindoo mythology, Brahma caused the earth to rise by 
stirring the Ocean with the mountain Menu. Homer repre- 
sents &e Ocean as the source of all that exists, — 

*QKtavdv^ dcnep yiveotc iravreaai jirvicrai^ ( IHad, xiv^ 246,) — 

and even of the gods themselves. He calls it the father of 
all the gods : 

^Qneavw re, ^ewv yheaiv koH fifiiipa Tj7iW)v. ( IHad, xiv., 201 .) 

It is the same idea which we find, at a later epoch, at the 
foundation of several philosophical schools, especially of those 
of the lonians and Eleatics, who considered water as the orig- 
inal element of all beings ; and we know that the Stoics rep- 
resented Neptune as the spirit of the universe manifested in 
the liquid element. 

Kara r^ eic rb vypov diaraatv, {Diog, Laert.^ vii^ 147.) 

Even among the Indian tribes of the West we find the same 
idea. According to their tradition, the Great Spirit, in the 
form of a beaver, brought from the depth of the Ocean a 
mouthful of earth, with which he builded ui island, which 
became afterwards the American continent. 

1849.] The Occam cmd iU Meammg m Naiwre. 311 

When tiie natiima of antiqoiij had reached a certidn decree 
of civilization and attempted to personify the forces of nature^ 
it was natural that they shocdd assign an eminent rank to the 
Ocean. According to the condition in which the different 
people were placed, and the advantages or inconveniences they 
derived from the sea, they conudered it sometimes as a pro- 
pitious divinity and sometimes as a hostile power. For the 
Egyptian who derived his prosperity from the Nile and its 
periodical inundations, Osiris, or the Nile, was the beneficent 
god, the source of good, whilst Typho (including both the 
sea and tiie desert,) was the hostile divinity, the destructive 
element, whose incursions were dreaded as the greatest ca- 

To the Phoenicism, who looked for his fortune on the floods, 
the Ocean was a tutelary divinity, and history teaches us tiiat 
these bold navigators used to oSer numerous sacrifices to the 
god of the Sea, before they embarked upon their adventurous 

With the Greeks, we find Poseidon (the god of the Sea) 
among the protecting deities of Hellas, and we know, also, 
that among the Romans Neptune numbered a great many 
temples, where sacrifices of all kinds were offered to him. 

In the Scandinavian mythology the oceanic deities do not 
hold, as it appears, so eminent a rank. Ran or Rana, the 
goddess of the Sea, is represented under the form of a fright* 
ful old woman ; she lives at the bottom of the Ocean and ti^kes 
possession of all those who are shipwrecked. Her husband is 
the god ^ger, who more particularly represents the sea in 
tumult. It appears that he was also feared by the old Britons, 
and, according to Carlyle, there still exist traces of this old 
tradition in some parts of England. In Nottinghamshire, tiie 
fishermen say, when a strong wind drives the sea up into the 
river Trent, that " the j^ger is eoimng.*^ 

The fact that the principal mythologies — those of the 
Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Romans — 
took their rise on the border of an inland sea, (the Mediter^ 
ranean,) early led these people to make a distinction between 
the Ocean QQiuavoc) and the Sea, (nwrof,) that is to say, the 
Mediterranean. They represent the Ocean as an immense 
river surrounding both the land and the sea, but without min- 
gling his waters with the latter. It is thus, also, that it is 
represented on the shield of Achilles ; the same idea is met 
vrith in the Greek poetry at a much later epoch. We find 

812 Th$ (kean mki tto MBom^ m iVli^e. [Juae, 

it even in tiie Prometheos of ibcfaylnSy at a time when geo- 
graphical knowledge had long proved it absurd.* 

It was natural that the Ooean, considered as distinct from 
tiie Sea, should appear to the ancients in a more vague 
although not less imposing character. According to Homer, 
it is the primitive river, from which all the waters, the Sea as 
well as the springs and rivers, proceed. (^Iliady xxi., 196.) 
This same iaea is set forth in the myth, in which we find 
Okeanos leaving his palace on the border of the great river at 
the extremity of the earth, and marrying his sister Thetys, 
from which union sprang the principal rivers of Europe and 
Asia. It is frt>m the palace of Okeanos tiiat the sun domes 
in the morning, and thither he returns at night. (^Iliady vm., 
485 ; xviii., 240.) The twilight also dwells in its waves. 
(^lUady XIX., 1. Odyssey, xxu., 197.) The stars bathe in 
his bosom, Qlliad, v., 6,) with the exception of one, the 
Pdar Star. (Jttwi, xvra., 489. Odyssey^ v., 276.) 

Let us now speak of the Ocean in its relation to animated 

It would be a great mistake to conmder the Ocean as barren 
and desert. Naturalists have long ago demonstrated that the 
sea and not the land is the principal seat of life. The land, 
to be sure, is the habitation of the most perfect animals, and 
as it constitutes, besides, the habitation of our own species, 
we feel naturally inclined to connect the idea of life more 
closely with it than with the Ocean. Besides, the land bemg 
less uniform, it affords more favorable conditions for the devet 
opment of a greater variety of functions, among which there 
are several which we consider as characteristic of animal life, 
as, for instance, the faculty of uttering sounds and of express- 
ing in this way feelings of pleasure and of pain, whilst almost 
all marine animals are dumb. Their senses in general are 
less sharp, and their power of locomotion not so perfect as in 
those animals that live on land. 

But, on the other hand, it ought not to be forgotten that in 
the number of species, as well as of individuals, the Ocean, 
or at least the water, far excels the land ; so that the total 
amount of life is far more considerable in the water than on 

* It was Herodotof who first opposed this idea of considering the Ocean as 
a river, since, says he, there are vast seas at the Soath and West, and nothing 
is known of the North. 

1849.] The Oeem md «et Meaning in Nature. 818 

tiie land. Among the. thirteen classes into which zoologists 
generally divide the animal kingdom,* there are six which are 
exclusively aquatic ; namely, the three classes of the depart- 
ment of Radiata, the Jellyiishes, Echinoderms, and Polypes, 
which, with the exception of some few fresh-water Polypes, are, 
moreover, all marine. In the department of MoUusks, we find 
two classes exclusively aquatic, the Cuttlefishes and Clams. 
Finally, there is the great class of Fishes among the Verte- 
brates, which is entirely composed of aquatic animals. Among 
the seven other classes there is none, with the exception of the 
Birds,! which does not contain aquatic animals. Thus we 
have, among the Mammifers, the important order of Whales, 
which are all marine ; among the Reptiles, the Tritons and 
many frog-like animals; among the Insects, a number of 
water insects. As to the Crustacea, or Crabs, they are 
almost exclusively aquatic, since they number but a few small 
land species; the Worms, also, are mostly aquatic, as are 
likewise the Sntdls. In the present state of our knowledge, 
it may be safely stated that two-thirds of the animal kingdom 
are aquatic. But as the marine animals are much less known 
than the terrestrial, it is to be expected that their proportion 
will be increased very much, especially if we include in our 
survey the extinct or fossil species, which are for the most 
part marine. 

Whoever has looked down in a shallow, quiet sea, and has 
beheld the variety of creatures of all sorts — crabs, snails, 
worms, star-fishes, p<Jypes — which live among the sea-weeds, 
may have some idea of the amount of life which is concealed 
in these submarine abodes. It has been observed bv an emi- 
nent traveller, (Darwin,) that our most thickly inhabited for- 
ests appear almost as deserts, when we come to compare them 
with the corresponding regions of the Ocean. And yet those 
animals which we are able to follow in their abodes, as they 
jump, run, swim, spin round, creep, or balance themselves 
among the sea-weeds, are nothing in comparison to that host 
of smaller creatures, imperceptible to our eyes, — the infus<h 

* Mammifers, Birds, Reptiles, Fishes, Cmstacea or Crabs, Insects, Worms, 
Cephalopods or Cattleiishes, Gastropods or Snails, Aoephals or Clams, Bie- 
dusA or Jelly fishes, Echinoderms, (Sea Eggs and Five fingers,) and Polypes. 

t The fact of an animal being aqnatic or terrestrial is MSt ascertained by 
the element in which it is bom. Birds do not lar their eggs in the water, and 
therefore may safely be considered as land animals, although some species U?t 
ahnost exclusively on the water. 

814 The Ocean cmd tt$ MBomng m Nature. [June, 

tia and faramifUferaj — the number of which is daUy in- 
creased by means of microscopic investigation, and which are 
all, without exception, aquatic. A single tuft of a small alga, 
or a bunch of polypes, is thus transformed into a forest qmte as 
&ickly inhabited as the shoal with its sea-weeds is to our 
naked eye. Besides, these minute animals are not, like most 
of the higher ones, limited to the shores and shoals ; they are 
found even at the greatest depths of the Ocean, where no oth- 
er animals seem to thrive. Mud from a depth of six thousand 
feet, on the coast of the United States, has been found by 
Professor Bailey to contidn several new species of infusoria, 
and according to Ehrenberg, not only every sea, but to a cer- 
tain degree the different depths of the Ocean, each contains 
species peculiar to it and not to be found elsewhere. 

The number of individuals in the marine species is not less 
remarkable. We have only to reflect a moment on the quan- 
tity of fishes of different kinds, — mackerel, cod, haddock, 
eels, &c., — and also the number of lobsters, crabs, and clams, 
which are annually caught on the coast of the United States. 
Yet, in spite of these periodical destructions, they are found 
every year equally numerous. The phosphorescence of the 
sea affords us another strikmg evidence of the innumerable 
amount of individuals in certain marine species. In order to 
have an idea of it, one must have seen in a fine summer night 
the sea sparkling like a furnace at every stroke of the paddle- 
wheels, and have ascertained by direct examination that each 
sparkle is a little animal. Or one must have seen in the day- 
time the surface of the water teeming with those beautiful, 
little, transparent creatures of the class of Medus», (Beroe, 
for example,) and remember that these animals constitute the 
only food of the largest whales. Lastly, we may call to mmd 
those coral islands of the southern seas, those whole archipel- 
agoes, constructed by little animals of the class of Polypes, 
some of which are almost microscopic. 

The sea along the coast of the United States is not inferior 
to any other, either in number of species or of individuals. 
Concemmg the species that live near the shores, we have only 
to refer to the catalogues and surveys published by the differ- 
ent States, and as to those that are found in deep water, we 
may state, as an instance of their variety, that in an excursion 
on board of one of the vessels of the United States navy, 
among the shoals of Nantucket, it was only necessary to cast 
the dredge in order to get a rich collection of sea animals, for 

1849.] The Oeem and U$ Meaning in Nature. 815 

the most part new species, or such as had not been nolieed 
before on this side of the Atlantic. Among the species thus 
obtamed, there is one which deserves a particular attention, in 
as far as it may be cited as an instance of the great amount 
of animal life existing unnoticed in the depths of the sea. The 
species in question belongs to a genus known to naturalists 
under the name of Salpa. They are little animals of the size 
of a small bean, gelatinous and transparent like crystals, and, 
what constitutes their most striking peculiarity, tibey are air 
tached to each other in double rows, so as to form long strings 
like necklaces of crystals, which are called colonies. These 
curious animals had never before been noticed on this coast. 
The first specimens were dredged in an isolated state in the 
Vineyard Sound. Some weeks later, during the month of 
September, the vessel being at anchor in the bay of Nan- 
tucket, the surface of the water, immediately after a heavy 
shower, was suddenly seen teeming with elongated bodies like 
long transparent worms. The pilot, having been asked what 
these strange bodies could be, answered that it was the spawn 
of the Bluefish (^Temnudon ScUtcUor^ Cuv.,) that came thus to 
the surface after a warm rain, as he had noticed it many times. 
Natural as this explanation appeared in consequence of the 
great numbers of those fishes which at that season of the 
year came to spawn in the bay, it could not entirely satisfy 
the naturalist who happened to be on board. He wanted to 
examine more closely the supposed spawn, and secured several 
strings. What was his surprise on finding, that instead of fish 
«egga he had before his eyes perfect animals, which not only 
moved by successive contractions, but in consequence of their 
great transparency allowed him even to examine in the most 
distinct manner the circulation within the body. They were 
seen that day only during a few hours, and disappeared sud- 
denly towards sunset. Some days later, they came again still 
more numerous, and could be seen at the depth of at least five 
feet. It was thought that there were, on a moderate compu- 
tation, fifty strings in sight, and as there were at least thirty 
individuals in a string, it was calculated that the total amount 
of individuals was not less than 500,000,000,000 for a square 
mile, without counting the free individuals.* 

* The Salpas are among those animals in which that singular mode of 
reprodaction, known nnder the name of aUmuUe gtntraHon^ is to be obsenred 
— the offspring never resembling the parents, bat the grandparents. In the 
Salpas, the aggre^ted individnals produce isolated young quite different in 
•hape, and these, m their torn, produce again the strings. 

Sid The Ocean and it% Meamng m Nature. [June, 

This fact, whilst affording as an instance of the prodigiow 
quantity of animals that may live unnoticed b the depths of 
the sea, makes it at the same time conceivable that so many 
whales as are known to have existed previously along these 
coasts, could find there are an abundant supply of food, in 
the absence of other similar gelatinous animals, (Beroe and 
Pteropods,) upon which they feed in the more northern regions. 

K we consider that each marine species is circumscribed in 
limits which it does not pass, or, in other words, that they are 
subject to laws of distribution and association, as precise if 
not more so than those that preside over the distribution of 
terrestrial species, we must allow that to the zoologist, as well 
as to the philosopher, the conditions of aquatic life, and the 
peculiarities of the Ocean-bed by which these conditions are 
modified, are not less important to know than those which refer 
to the dry land. 

Another consideration still increases the interest in these 
investigations ; namely, the fact that it is chiefly by the study 
of the marine animals, and of the manifold conditions of soil, 
temperature, depth, and climate in which they live, that we 
are enabled to judge of the conditions of the earth in earlier 
geological periods, in as far as we may compare the remains of 
K>ssil species, their association, and distribution through the 
strata of the earth, with the condition of the analogous spe- 
cies now living on our shores. 

The Ocean has also a great importance in a botanical pcnnt 
of view ; for, although it be true that the marine plants are 
less numerous and diversified than the land plants, (theulry 
land being the chief seat of vegetable life,) there are, never^ 
theless, whole groups which grow in water, as, for example, 
the Alga^ and the Fuci. As in the animal kindgom, we find 
also among plants that the aquatic species hold an inferior 
rank, and in the same manner as the lowest animals, the Pol- 
ypes, are exclusively aquatic, so we find the lowest plants, the 
Algse, only in the water. It is thus in the liquid element that 
the two kingdoms meet. There we find those seeds of Conferva 
that spin round like Infusoria, and there agsdn grow those ani- 
mals which have all the appearances of a plant, a root, a stem, 
branches, and whose flowers are living animals. It is there- 
fore by a comparative study of these oceanic forms that we 
can arrive at a true understandbg of the relations that exist 
between the two kingdoms, and perhaps finally solve the im- 
portant question which has so long puzzled naturalists ; namely, 


1849.] The Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. 817 

where the limifc is between plants and animals, if there be 
any at all. 

As to the inferiority of the marine and aquatic species, we 
ought further to observe that it is not merely a general rule, 
applicable to the great divisions, but that it can also be traced 
in the details. Not only are the marine animals and plants 
as a whole lower than the land animals and land plants ; but 
moreover, if we direct our attention to those groups (classes 
or orders) which contain both land and marine species, we 
shall generally find that the latter are the lowest. Thus, 
among the Mammifers, the aquatic tribes, the Whales, are 
undoubtedly the lowest ; among the Reptiles, the Tritons and 
Frog; among the Insects, the aquatic kinds hold evidently 
a very low rank ; and there can be no doubt that among the 
Snails, the few species that live on land are superior to the 
multitude of marine tribes. Neither is it to be overlooked 
that among those animals which, in consequence of a meta- 
morphosis, change their condition of existence and pass from 
one element into another, the progress is constantly from the 
aquatic element to the dry land. Thus the tadpole, which is 
exclusiveljT aquatic, respiring by means of gills, becomes an 
ur-breathmg animal when transformed into a frog. The mos- 
quitoes are at first small and dull worms living m water, and 
become afterwards the restless creatures that fill the air. 
But there is no instance known of an animal becoming aquatic 
in its perfect state, after having lived in its lower sta^e on dnr 
land. The progress invariably points towards the dry land. 
This fact becomes still more important, if we remember that 
the first animals and plants which appeared on earth in the 
primary or palsdozoic epoch were aquatic, and that it is not 
until a later epoch, (the epoch of the coal formation,) that 
we find, for the first time, land animals and land plants. 

From whatever side we may consider the laws of the organic 
creation, — in its actual distribution over land and water, or 
in its distribution in time through the geological ages, or in 
the physiological evolutions of some of the animal species, — 
we are invariably brought back to the liquid element as the 
starting point of all progress. We may then say that the 
modem investigations merely go to confirm this great idea, 
which was vaguely anticipated by the ancient poets and phi- 
losophers, when they tell us that the Ocean is tne origin of all 

818 The Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. [June, 

We wiU next consider the Ocean in a physical and geo- 
graphical point of view. 

The sea, as a whole, occupies more than two thirds of the 
surface of our globe. The distribution of the waters is an- 
other still more important point to consider. We know that, 
far from being equally distributed over the earth's surface, 
there is, on the contrary, the greatest diversity in this respect. 
It seems as if the land had been concentrated around the 
North Pole, whilst the opposite part of the spheroid is almost 
exclusively covered with water, so that if the northern hemi- 
sphere be designated as the continental hemisphere, the south- 
em hemisphere deserves with still more reason the name of 
the aquatic hemisphere. 

The relation of the sea to the land, and the manner in 
which this great body of salt water is separated by the conti- 
nents, has caused it to be divided into several basins which we 
designate under the name of oceans. Thus we distinguish the 
Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean. In 
certain respects these basins may be considered as mere gulft 
of the great reservoir around the South Pole. 

Each of these oceans has a character of its own, inde- 
pendent of those peculiarities which arise merely from the 
climate or the animals that live in it. Thus tiie leading 
feature of the Pacific Ocean consists evidently in the endless 
number of islands and archipelagoes which are scattered all 
over its surface. The Atlantic Ocean, on the contrary, has 
very few islands ; but its shores are more varied. There is 
no other ocean which combines itself in so many ways with 
the land ; where we find, for example, so manv promontories 
projecting into the sea, and so many gulfs and sounds pene- 
trating into the land. The consequence of this is a great 
amount of coast in a small space, as we see it exemplified in 
the coast of the United States, and in a still higher degree in 
the coast of Europe, where it has had a paramount influence 
upon civilization. The Atlantic is besides remarkable for 
having the greatest number of inland seas, which, although 
connected with the Ocean, are nevertheless so completely 
surrounded by the land as to be in some degree independent 
of its influence, and thus to have a character of their own ; 
as, for example, the Baltic, and, above all, the Mediterranean. 
We may likewise cite as belonging here Hudson's Bay, and 
in some degree the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are connected 
with the Atlantic. The Indian Ocean, although less strongly 

1849.] The Ocean and it$ Meaning m Nature. 319 

characterized than the two precedmg, nevertheless, from the 
peculiarity of its long peninsulas derives a character of its 
own, which is not without importance, especially when consid- 
ered with reference to navigation. 

A thorough investigation of the Ocean ought not to be lim- 
ited merely to its form and extent. The depth of tiie sea 
must likewise be taken into consideration. As a general rule, 
it may be stated that the sea is less deep near the coast than 
at a distance from it. Thus tlie coast of the United States is 
bordered in its whole length by a zone of shallow ground, 
which, according to its peculiar shape, has been designated 
under the names of shoals, flats, and banks, the knowledge of 
which is of the highest importance for navigation. A similar 
zone is to be traced along the coast of Europe and especiallv 
around the British islands. The average depth of the North 
Sea is less than two hundred feet, so that an upheaval of some 
hundred feet would suffice not only to connect the British 
islands with the continent of Europe, but also to double its 
area. There are geological reasons to suppose that at a pre- 
vious geological epoch, a direct connection existed between 
England and France, and also between England and Ireland. 
Some eminent naturalists have even tried to explain in this 
way the fact that the animals an^ plants of the British islands 
are the same as those of the continent, supposmg that they 
have migrated into the British islands at the time when this 
connection existed. 

We do not yet possess a sufficient amount of soundings to 
enable us to draw a comparison between the depths of the 
different oceans, although there is every reason to suppose 
that they are also in this particular different from each other. 
Laplace had tried to demonstrate by astronomical considera- 
tions, that the depth of the Ocean ought to be proportionate 
to the elevation of the continents. But recent investigations 
of the average elevation of the continents do not seem to 
support this view. Indeed, according to the calculation of 
Humboldt, (which of course can be but approximate,) the 
heights of the continents, supposing the inequalities of their 
surface reduced to the same level, would be, for Europe, 600 
feet ; for America, 1,050 feet ; and for Asia, nearly 1,100 
feet. Now the soundings we possess, although not very 
numerous, nevertheless authorize the assumption that the 
average depth of the Ocean far exceeds this amount. There 
is no ocean in which there has not been found a depth of 

820 The Ocean and U$ Meaning in Nature. [Jtme, 

several thousand feei. Thus we know that in the Arctic 
Ocean, whose bottom is very uneven, in latitude 76^ N., 
Scoresby did not find ground at 7,200 feet. Captain Rosa 
found as much as 6,000 feet in Bi^'s Bay. The Atlantic, 
opposite the coast of the United States, has been sounded in 
several places by the officers of the United States Coast Sur- 
vey, who have found from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. But the 
great basins of the southern seas are above all remarkable 
tor their great depth. We know that Captain Ross, at the 
west of the Cape of Good Hope, sounded 15,000 feet, and the 
same navigator did not reach the bottom with a line of 27,600 
feet, west of St. Helena ; a depth which is almost equal to the 
height of the loftiest peak of the Himalaya chain. Bv com- 
bining these facts with other considerations connected with the 
form of the surrounding continents, some recent geographers 
have come to the conclusion that the average depth of the 
Atlantic must be at least two miles and a half, and that of the 
Pacific at least three miles. 

As to the inequalities of the bottom of the Ocean, it is stated 
by some navigators that they are even much more considerable 
than those of the land. According to Captain Wilkes, the 
great depressions, or submarine valleys, run nearly at right 
angles to the great mountain chains of this continent ; there 
is, at the equator, a depression to nearly the 5th parallel of 
south latitude, where a ridge occurs; at -the 15th parallel, 
there is another depression to be found ; 10 degrees further 
south we have another ridge ; and it ag»n increases and then 
lessens in depth twice towards the polar circle. 

It remains (^ consider the Ocean as one of the productive 
agents in the economy of Nature. Howsoever important the 
Ocean may appear when examined from the points of view 
already considered, they do not constitute its onlv or even its 
chief claim to our attention. To consider the phenomena of 
Nature merely in their connections with one another, ta look 
only at their useful or agreeable side, is to judge the works of 
God from a narrow point of view, and to mistake their true 
signification. Every object in Nature ensts in itself and for 
itself, before it forms a part of any whole ; in other words, it 
bears in itself the reason of its existence. It is true, the 
oak in the forest combines with other trees to furnish food for 
the beasts of the field and a shelter for the birds of the air ; 
it is true, a shady'bower gladdens and refreshes us with its 

1849.] The Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. 821 

greenness and its shade ; bat shall we judge from this that 
diese things have no other part to play in Nature ? Shall we 
rest contented here that we have learned all the meaning of 
the Pole-star, because it fenders such signal services to the 
sailor struggling against the storm, or because it serves ^ a 
faithful guide to the slave in his nocturnal pilgrimage journey- 
ing towards the land of freedom ? No more does the Ocean 
exist solely to serve a useful purpose, and for the sake of its 
connection with the rest of the universe. Before the first 
canoe ventured on its waves, it washed the continents as now; 
and before animals dwelt in it^ bosom, it covered with its 
waters the face of this youthful sphere. Then as now it had 
a signification independent of its form and of its relation with 
the rest of the material world : it was the Ocean majestic and 
powerful as at this day. To comprehend it in all its grandeur, 
m all the extent of its influence, it is not enough to study it 
in its present form and its actual condition ; we must study 
the Ocean in its history and in its development. 

The doctrine that the Ocean is the germ or point of depar- 
ture of all things, a doctrine announced in the old cosmogonies 
and laid down as a principle in the philosophical schools of the 
Greeks, is now demonstrated by the results of geological 
research. In short, geology teaches us not only that the rela- 
tions of the continents with the Ocean have been different at 
different geological epochs, but in going back through the 
geological ages we come to an epoch when, according to all 
appearances, the solid earth did not exist, and when the sur- 
face of our globe was entirely covered with water. This was 
the period of "chaos" — a term which does not by any means 
imply confusion, but merely the absence of separation, a gen- 
eral homogeneousness containing the principles of all the ele- 
ments which were thenceforth to be developed ; and in this 
sense an egg is a chaos — though it contains the elements of 
the young chicken hereafter to be developed. 

The materials which form the greater part of the solid land 
were prepared in the bosom of the waters. As we trace on a 
geological chart the successive formations which we know are 
of aquatic ori^n, we commonly arrive at a point where what 
are now entire countries are represented by only a few islands. 
Little by little these islands become enlarged, the spaces which 
separate them become filled up, and vast tracts of firm land 
appear to-day where once the Ocean reigned as absolute mas- 
, ter. This is not the place to inquire what part has been 

NO. vn. 22 

322 The^ Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. [June, 

performed b j the different physical agents in the history of the 
formation of the continents : to do this it would be necessary 
to enter the department of Geology, and to discuss anew the 
old questions so often agitated hf the geologists, and which 
at the beginning of this century gave rise to the celebrated 
controversy between the Vulcanists and the Neptunists. 

Leaving out of sight for a moment the agents which have 
built up the continents, we assume as a fact, that from the 
time when the solid earth first existed, it must enter into oppo- 
sition with the liquid element and occasion a series of actions 
and reactions, which not only constitute the peculiar character- 
istic of various portions of tiie earth, but are the conditions of 
all terrestrial life. It is enough for us to remind the reader 
that by means of evaporation, which continually takes place at 
the surface, the Ocean constantly imparts a portion of its 
waters to the atmosphere, which is agun precipitated on the 
firm land in the form of rain and dew, thus &cilitating the 
development of animal and vegetable life, which could not 
subsist without this supply. Consequently, to remove the 
Ocean from the face of the globe would bo not only to put to 
death all the inhabitants of the sea ; it would be to extinguish 
all life on the surface of the firm land, and consequently to 
, destroy its signification. 

It is thus that the continents, which, geologically speaking, 
are the descendants of the Ocean, after their birth are de- 
pendent thereon, and are never entirely emancipated from its 
control. Even the desert, which never receives a drop of rain, 
is not independent of the Ocean ; arid as its soil may be and 
burning as is its air, nevertheless it receives a certain quantity 
of moisture from the sea, and without this it would be com- 
pletely impenetrable. 

But this is not the only action of the Ocean upon the land : 
it acts directly thereon by modifying the form of its shores. 
We need only cast our eyes on any portion of the sea-coast, 
to discover more or less striking marks of oceanic action. 
Sometimes promontories are washed away by the violence of 
the waves, bays are filled up ; here islands disappear, there new 
islands rise up. In one word, there is a continual change 
going forward in the form of the shore or in the depth of the 

In general, the attention of man is chiefly directed to the 
destructive power of the Ocean. The invasions of the Ocean, 
the ravages of every sort which it commits, are mentioned in 

1849.] The Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. 828 

many documents. These effects are certsdnly the most strik- 
ing. Sometimes, in the conrse of years, we see the shore 
give way, and the sea sweep off tracts of land which for- 
merly were cultivated and' dwelt upon. A man who has seen 
his field vanish before his eyes, and even his habitation disap- 
pear, long remembers this disaster, which he cannot separate 
from the idea of the Ocean. Even men of science, geologists 
and geographers, when treating of the Ocean, have preferred 
to speak of its destructive power. There is no work of Geol- 
ogy in which mention is not made of the destructive action 
of the sea, as one of the causes which sensibly modify the 
form of the land. The history of certain countries — rf 
Holland, for example — is a struggle between man and tiie 
Ocean ; it is probable that idthout this struggle, which has 
stimulated the national activity, this people, now placed under 
such unfavorable conditions, would never have attained their 
present power and weH-being. 

But in addition to these hostile and destructive influences 
of the Ocean, there are others, which, though less striking 
because slow and gradual in their action, are not less but 
much more important. We wish to speak of those accumula- 
tions of materials on certain parts of the shore, which form 
flats, fill up bays, obstruct the coast, and thus render the nav^ 
igation difficult. This slow but powerful action of the sea, 
which has been called its constructive action, in opposition to 
its destructive force, may be observed on the shores of all the 
continents, but especially where the coast is composed of mov- 
able materials. The influence of this constructive action is 
not limited to the shores, where the sea and land come in con- 
tact, but makes itself felt to a considerable distance from tilie 
land, in the basins and shoals whose existence has been veri- 
fied by the maritime surveys. A similar action is going <m 
throughout the whole length of the coast of the United States, 
and if its effects are not well known, it is bec^mse the phe- 
nomenon is on so grand a scale, and. having the whole Ocean 
for its stage of action, its time must be proportionate to iiie ex- 
tent of its field of operation.^ 

In a country composed of movable materials, — like ^ 
coast of the United States, or of the nortli of Europe, — if 
any one were to compare the form and structure of the coast 
with the form and contour of the bottom of the adjacent sea 
as it appears from the surface when the sea is calm, and as it 
appears, on a larger scale, from the soundings, he cannot fid! 

824 Hie Ocean and its Meaning in Nature. [June, 

to be struck inth the remarkable Binularitj. There are the 
same peculiarities, the same contrasts, the same undulations, 
with the ridges, the valleys, the table-lands, and the plains ; 
80 that the observer is naturally led to the conclusion that the 
land has formerly been covered with water. This conclusion 
nowhere presents itself more forcibly than in the vicinity of 
low lands like Long Island and the Keys of Florida, and it is 
generally, and, as it were, instmctively admitted. 

The means which Nature puts in action in her submarine 
constructions are of a various character, and deserve a partic- 
ular and special attention. In the tropical seas, where life is 
so intense, it is the Polypes, that is to say, small and often 
microscopic beings, who take charge of these gigantic con- 
structions. The Keys of Florida have, for the most part, 
been formed by their agency. In the temperate or cold 
regions where animals do not exist, the arrangement of the 
submarine constructions is more particularly the work of phys- 
ical agents, of currents and tides. This is a subject of the 
highest importance, which has not received all the attention 
it deserves. It is quite recently that it has, for the first time, 
been made the subject of some investigations on our own 
flhores. We hope to return to this matter on some other 
occasion ; at present, we go no further than merely to men- 
tion, as a general fact, the striking resemblance which exists 
between the form and direction of the tides and the distribu- 
tion of those oceanic constructions which we designate by the 
terms banks and shallow basins. 

We shall form an idea of the importance of those oceamc 
agencies if we consider that the submarine structures attrib- 
uted to their influence are not confined merely to the vicinity 
of the shore, but extend to a considerable distance from it. 
A proof of this is furnished by the vast banks which are found 
at the northeastern extremity of the American continent, by 
the basins of Newfoundland, by Green Bank, by Sable Bank, 
etc., etc. K all parts of these great banks, as we must 
believe, are formed of movable materials, like the sand-banks 
nearer the shore, it is evident that their structure and their 
mode of formation are of the highest importance in the study 
of similar deposits which at the present time are above water, 
and which, at an earlier period, have been formed and ele- 
vated in the same manner by the agency of the Ocean. One 
day, perhaps, the mass of movable materials which we are 
acquabted with under the name of submarine basins, will rise 

1849.] The^ Ocean and its Meamng in Nabwre. 325 

from the bosom of the Ocean, after having long been the 
abode of a marine population, to serve as a dwelling place for 
the tribes of earth ; then the geologist of those future ages, 
going about with his hammer and pick-axe in hand to explore 
the bosom of this new land, will perhaps be a prey to the 
same doubts and the same uncerttdnties as ourselves, and 
experience the same delights, while they find in those new 
domains, in a soil at present in the process of construction, 
some new fact, some relations hitherto unperceived, which 
permit them to connect their epoch with former ages, and in 
those new realms to discover the same infinite rrovidence 
which in our time and all preceding ages has presided over the 
destinies of our globe. 

Thus, to comprehend the structure and the form of the soil 
we inhabit, we are obliged to go back to the Ocean. There 
in the great deep, which is the laboratory of continents, 
unhappily our knowledge of the form and the connection of 
the different submarine elevations, is exceedingly imperfect. 
Hitherto the minds of men have been preoccupied to such a 
degree with the idea that they are dangerous to navigation, 
that we may say of them what the old poets were wont to say 
of the infernal regions, that they were more dreaded than 
known. However, we have reason to hope that the pilgrims 
of the sea, who follow one another with so laudable a zeal 
along the shores of the two continents, — thanks to the liberal 
and enlightened ideas which begin to prevail with governments, 
— will not ffdl to initiate us more and more into the mystery 
of those grand operations which take place in silence at the 
bottom of the sea. 

In another article, we will make a more detailed investiga- 
tion into the agencies of Nature in these oceanic constructions, 
and applying these principles to the configuration of the soil, 
we will show what has been done by the Ocean in the forma- 
tion of the continents, and what is due to mere telluric causes. 

826 Macaulaj's Hktorj/ of England. [June, 

Art. m. — The Sistory of England^ from the Accession of 
James IT. By T. B. Macaulay, Esq. London. 1848-9, 
2 vols. 8vo. 

Perhaps there is no period in the annals of mankind of 
more interest to Englishmen and Americans than the one 
comprised in the plan of Macaulaj's history, from the acces- 
sion of James the Second till near the present time, and cei^ 
tcdnly no one standing in so much need of a good historian. 
We Know of no good history of England for the last one 
hundred and sixty years, since the termination of Hume's. 
When it was understood that Macaulay had undertaken his 
work, it was a subject of general congratulation. All were 

Ideased that so important and difficult a work had fallen to the 
ot of perhaps the only man of the age who was supposed to 
have the learning and genius required for the task. 

Mr. Macaulay is well known as the most popular and able 
reviewer of the present or perhaps of any past time. Many 
of his articles in the Edinburgh Review are of permanent 
value, and have been republished here in a separate work. 
There may be articles hi that Review that display more pro- 
foimd and exact knowledge in some departments, but there 
are none so eagerly sought for, none that combine so much 
varied and extensive information on subjects of general inter- 
est, presented in so popular and captivating a style. 

It is rare that any man combines so many essential qualifi- 
cations and so many accidental advantages for writing a his- 
tory of England. In addition to great learning and tsJent as 
an author, he is eminently a practical man, well acquainted 
with the world and its affsdrs. His public life for many years 
as a member of Parliament and a part of the time one of the 
iCnistry and of the Cabinet, has made him intimately ac- 
quainted with politicians and statesmen, and given him an 
opportunity of knowing from his own experience how the bud- 
ness of government is carried on. We believe, too, that he 
had the reputation of being one of the best speakers in the 
House of Commons, and combines the powers of speaking well 
and writmg well, so rarely found united since the days of 

This work is more entertaining, and contains more of what 
we wish to know, than any other history of the times ; though 
it appears to us that the author is sometimes liable to the 
charge of prolixity, and dwells too long in illustrating a propo- 

1849.] Macaulay's Bhtory of England. 327 

rition and in narration and description. The characters of 
eminent men are delineated with great skill and much life, but 
are sometimes drawn out to an immoderate length. He seems 
desirous to give a view so fall and complete of every part of I 
his subject, as not only to prevent the possibility of being ( 
misunderstood, but also to save the reader all the trouble of 1 
thinking or making any conclusions for himself. Nothing can i 
be more opposite to the manner of Tacitus, though they agree 
in one respect — in fondness for point and antithesis. 

His style is clear and pointed, as well as beautiful and bril- 
liant. Perhaps the splendor is not always genuine, and 
sometimes, contrary to the rhetorical maxim, resembles that 
of tinsel rather than the brightness of polished steel. 

The extent and minuteness of his knowledge of facts are 
indeed wonderful, and we know not where to find any thing 
like it hi any readable English history. His impartiality, a 
quality so essential to the historian, in his account of 1^6 
different religious sects and political parties, is very conspic- 
uous. The Church of Rome and the Church of England, 
Presbyterians, Independents, and Quakers, are brought in 
review before him, and their errors and faults exposed with a 
bold and imspapng hand. We think he endeavours to pre- 
serve the same impartiality between the Cavaliers and Round- 
heads, and the Whigs and Tories. But we imagine that the 
zealous partisans of all the religious sects will be dissatisfied 
with his accoimt of their conduct and principles, and that no 
political party will be entirely satisfied, unless it be the mod- 
erate, aristocratic Whigs. 

If we were to object at all to his views of parties and sects, 
it would be that he may not have done full iustice to the relig- 
ious or political principles of the Independents, the only sect 
of that day that seems to have had any just notions of religious 
freedom or toleration. It was the Independents alone who 
prevented the Presbyterians, at the termination of the Civil 
War, from establishing a system of religious intolerance and 
persecution as odious as that from which they had just been 
delivered. Cromwell, Vane, Selden, and Milton were for libei^ 
ty of conscience and toleration in religious worship. The Pres- 
byterians wbhed to succeed the ecclesiastical tyrants whom 
the joint arms of the Independents and Presbyterians had 
recently overthrown. Milton had just reason to complain that 

" New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.** 

828 Macaulay's History of England. [June, 

The first three chapters, including the greater part of the 
first volume, are introductory, intended to prepare the reader 
for beginning tiie history with the reign of James the Second. 
The first chapter contwns a rapid sketch of English history 
from the earliest times to the Restoration, or accession of 
Charles the Second. He dwells a little more at length on the 
contest between Charles and the parliament, the Civil War, the 
administration of Cromwell, and the Restoration. 

The second chapter is devoted to the reign of Charles the 
Second, a knowledge of which is indispensable to a good un- 
derstanding of the reign of James, and of the revolution which 
hurled the Stuarts from the throne of England, and condemned 
'them to perpetual exile. 

The third chapter contains a description at length of the 
times when the crown passed from Charles the Second to 
James, and a comparison between that and its present condi- 
tion. It contains a view of the very great advance which has 
been made in almost all the particulars thought most desirable 
in national prosperity and the well-being of individuals, includ- 
ing a high degree of physical, moral, and intellectual improve- 

This description has been mentioned as being out of place 
in a history, but we think it the most important as well as 
entertaining in the whole work, the one we should be most un- 
willing to spare. Voltaire justly complains that " the history 
of Europe in his time was grown to an endless register of 
marriages, genealogies, and disputed tides, which render the 
narrative obscure and unentertaining, at the same time that 
they stifle the memory of great events, together with the knowl- 
edge of laws and manners, objects more worthy of attention." 
Whatever may be the defects of his historical productions, 
Voltaire has the great merit of leading the way in the atten- 
tion now commonly p^id by historical writers to laws, manners, 
and customs, to the progress of the liberal and useful arts, and 
especially to the condition of the people. The attention of the 
reader is no longer exclusively directed to kings and princes, 
ministers, ambassadors, and generals, as if all the rest of the 
world were of no consequence to the historian or reader. 

Mr. Macaulay has on the whole, we think, been very suc- 
cessful in this account, and has given a very picturesque 
description of the condition of England one hundred and sixty 
years ago, and a very favorable one of England at present. 
We are not disposed to call in question the general fidelity of 

1 849.] Macanla/s BiBUyry of England. 829 

these pictures, but we think the former is somewhat over- 
charged, and the latter maj, perhaps, be deemed a little flat- 
tering. Indeed, we think it must be apparent to most readers, 
that some exaggeration in description is not very uncommon 
with Macaulaj. We do not mention this as detracting from 
the general merit of the work, and if there is occasionally any 
exaggeration in his descriptions, or error in his conclusions, 
we think that the author, by a full and accurate statement of 
all the facts that can be ascertained, generally affords the 
intelligent reader the means of forming a correct opinion for 
himself. Some traces are occasionally visible of the rhetori- 
cian and of the eloquent debater in the House of Commons ; 
sometimes he discusses questions in the style of an advocate 
for one party, but in these the decision is commonly that of 
the calm and impartial historian. 

The following is the character of Granmer, the principal 
founder of the English church and one of its chief martyrs, 
and considered the leader of the Protestant party. 

** The man who took the chief part in settling the conditions of 
the alliance which produced the Anglican Church was Thomas 
Granmer. He was the representative of both the parties, which, 
at that time, needed each other's assistance. He was at once a 
divine and a statesman. In his character of divine he was per- 
fectly ready to go as far in the way of change as any Swiss or 
Scottish reformer. In his character of statesman he was desirous 
to preserve that organization which had, during many ages, ad- 
mirably served the purposes of the bishops of Borne, and might be 
expected now to serve equally well the purposes of the English 
kings and of their ministers. His temper and his understanding 
eminently fitted him to act as mediator. Saintly in his profes- 
sions, unscrupulous in his dealings, zealous for nothing, bold in 
speculation, a coward and a time-server in action, a placable ene- 
my and a Itikewarm friend, he was in every way qualified to ar- 
range the terms of the coalition between the religious and the 
worldly enemies of popery. 

" To this day, the constitution, the doctrines, and the services of 
the Church retain the visible marks of the compromise from which 
she sprang. She occupies a middle position between the churches 
of Rome and Geneva. Her doctrinal confessions and discourses, 
composed by Protestants, set forth principles of theology in which 
Calvin or Knox would have found scarcely a word to disapprove. 
Her prayers and thanksgivings, derived from the ancient Litur- 
gies, are very generally such that Bishop Fisher or Cardinal Pole 
might have heartily joined in them. A controversialist who puts 

3S0 Macaulay's Batory of England. [Jane, 

an Arminian sense on her articles and homilies will be pronounced 
bj candid men to be as unreasonable as a controversialist who 
denies that the doctrine of baptismal regeneration can be discov- 
ered in her Liturgy. 

^' The Church of Rome held that episcopacy was of divine insti- 
tution, and that certain supernatural graces of a high order had 
been transmitted by the imposition of hands through fifly genera- 
tions, from the eleven who received their commission on the Gali- 
lean Mount to the bbhops who met at Trent. A large body of 
Protestants, on the other hand, regarded prelacy as positively un- 
lawful, and persuaded themselves that they found a very different 
form of ecclesiastical government prescribed in Scripture. The 
founders of the Anglican Church took a middle course. They re- 
tained episcopacy, but they did not declare it to be an institution 
essential to the welfare of a Christian society, or to the efficacy of 
the sacraments. Cranmer, indeed, plainly avowed his conviction 
that, in the primitive times, thero was no distinction between 
bishops and priests, and that the laying on of hands was altogether 

This view of the doctrines and services of the church re- 
minds one of the saying of Lord Chatham, that " the Church 
of England has a Calvinistic creed, an Arminian clergy, and 
a Popish Liturgy." According to Bishop Hare, the principal 
difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of 
England is, that ^^ the one is infiEkllible, and the other never in 
the wrong." In respect to the divine origin of Episcopacy 
and the apostolic succession, the English church now ap- 
proaches nearer to that of Rome than in the days of Cranmer. 

The present orthodox belief of the high churchmen we be- 
lieve to be, that the Church of England, with its hierarchy, 
its Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, and inferior clergy, affords 
the nearest resemblance to the primitive church in the time of 
the apostles. 

The Church of England has been always strongly attached 
to the sovereign, its supreme head. The extravagance of this 
attachment and the slavish doctrines taught by the clergy are 
thus stated by Macaulay. 

^ The Churoh of England was not ungrateful for the protection 
which she received from the government From the first day of 
her existence she had been attached to monarchy ; but, during the 
quarter of a century which followed the Restoration, her zed for 
royal authority and hereditary right passed all bounds. She had 
suffered with the house of Stuart. She had been restored with 
that house. She was connected with it by common interests, 

1849.] Macaulay's Ei«tory of England. 331 

friendships, and enmities. It seemed impossible that a day coald 
ever come when the ties which bound her to the children of her 
august martyr would be sundered, and when the loyalty in which 
she gloried would cease to be a pleasing and profitable duty. She 
accordingly magnified in fulsome praise that prerogative which 
was constantly employed to defend and to aggrandize her, and 
reprobated, much at her ease, the depravity of those whom oppres- 
sion, from which she was exempt, had goaded to rebellion. Her 
favorite theme was the doctrine of non-resistance. That doctrine 
she taught without any qualification, and followed out to all its 
extreme consequences. Her disciples were never weary of re- 
peating that in no conceivable case, not even if England were 
cursed with a king resembling Busiris or Phalaris, who, in defi- 
ance of law, and without the pretence of justice, should daily doom 
hundreds of innocent victims to torture and death, would all the 
estates of the realm united be justified in withstanding his tyranny 
by physical force. Happily, the principles of human nature afford 
abundant security that such theories will never be more than the- 
ories. The day of trial came, and the very men who had mosi 
loudly and most sincerely professed this extravagant loyalty were, 
in almost every county of England, arrayed in arms against the 

" The restored church contended against the prevailing immo- 
rality, but contended feebly, and with half a heart. It was neces- 
sary to the decorum of her character that she should admonish her 
erring children. But her admonitions were given in a somewhat 
perfunctory manner. Her attention was elsewhere engaged. 
Her whole soul was in the work of crushing the Puritans, and of 
teaching her disciples to render unto Csesar the things which were 
Cffisar^s. She had been pillaged and oppressed by the partj 
which preached an austere morality. She had been restored to 
opulence and honor by libertines. Little as the men of mirth and 
fashion were disposed to shape their lives according to her pre- 
cepts, they were yet ready to fight kneedeep in blood for her 
cathedrals and palaces, for every line of her rubric, and every 
thread of her vestments. ... It is an unquestionable and 
most instructive fact, that the years during which the political 
power of the Anglican hierarchy was in the zenith, were precise- 
ly the years during which national virtue was at the lowest point." 

The immorality, profligacy, and total want of principle 
among the higher classes, in the reign of Charles the Second, 
and especially of the most active and leading politicians, seem 
almost incredible. We have a striking, and, we suppose, a 
pretty correct description of the general character of the 
public men in England at the Restoration, which, to a great 
extent, was applicable for more than half a century afterwards. 

832 Macaolay's Ststortf of England. [June, 

" Scarcely any rank or profession escaped the infection of the 
prevailing immorality : but those persons who made politics their 
business, were perhaps the most corrupt part of the corrupt so- 
ciety ; for they were exposed not only to the same noxious influ- 
ences which aflected the nation generally, but also to a taint of 
a peculiar and most malignant kind. Their character had been 
formed amid frequent and violent revolutions and counter-revolu- 
tions. In the course of a few years they had seen the ecclesias- 
tical and civil polity of their country repeatedly changed. They 
had seen an Episcopal church persecuting Puritans, a Puritan 
church persecuting Episcopalians, and an Episcopal church perse- 
cuting Puritans again. They had seen hereditary monarchy 
abolished and restored. They had seen the Long Parliament 
thrice supreme in the state and thrice dissolved amid the curses 
and laughter of millions. They had seen a new dynasty rapidly 
rising to the height of power and glory, and then, on a sudden, 
hurled down from the chair of state without a struggle. They 
had seen a new representative system devised, tried, and aban- 
doned. They had seen a new House of Lords created and scat- 
tered. They had seen great masses of property violently trans- 
ferred from Cavaliers to Roundheads, and fVom Roundheads back 
to Cavaliers. During these events, no man could be a stirring 
and thriving politician who was not prepared to change with 
every change of fortune. It was only in retirement that any per- 
son could long keep the character either of a steady Royalist or 
of a steady Republican. One who, in such an age, is determined 
to attain civil greatness^ must renounce all thoughts of consistency. 
Instead of affecting immutability in the midst of endless mutation, 
he must always be on the watch for the indications of a coming 
reaction. He must seize the exact moment for deserting a fall- 
ing cause. Having gone all lengths with a faction while it was 
uppermost, he must extricate himself from it when its difficulties 
begin ; must assail it, must persecute it, must enter on a new ca- 
reer of power and prosperity in company with new associates. 
His situation naturally develops in him to the highest degree a 
peculiar class of abilities and a peculiar class of vices. He be- 
comes quick of observation and fertile of resource. He catches 
without effort the tone of any sect or party with which he chances 
to mingle. He discerns the signs of the times with a sagacity 
which to the multitude appears miraculous ; with a sagacity re- 
sembling that with which a veteran police officer pursues the 
faintest indications of crime, or with which a Mohawk warrior 
follows a track through the woods. But we shall seldom find, in 
a statesman so trained, integrity, constancy, or any of the virtues 
of the noble family of Truth. He has no faith in any doctrine, 
no zeal for any cause. He has seen so many old institutions 
swept away, that he has no reverence for prescription. He has 

1849.] Macauky's HUiary of England. 833 

seen so many new institutions from which much had been ex- 
pected produce mere disappointment, that he has no hope of 
improvement. He sneers alike at those who are anxious to pre- 
serve and those who are eager to reform. There is nothing in 
the state which he could not, without a scruple or a blush, join in 
defending or in destroying. Fidelity to opinions and to friends 
seems to him mere dulness and wrong-headedness. Politics he 
regards, not as a science of which the object is the happiness of 
mankind, but as an exciting game of mixed chance and skill, at 
which a dextrous and lucky player may win an estate, a coronet, 
perhaps a crown, and at which one rash move may lead to the 
loss of fortune and of life. Ambition, which in good times and 
in good minds is half a virtue, now, disjoined from every elevated 
and philanthropic sentiment, becomes a selfish cupidity scarcely 
less ignoble than avarice. Among those politicians who, from 
the Restoration to the accession of the House of Hanover were 
at the head of the great parties in the state, very few can be 
named whose reputation is not stained by what in our age would 
be called gross perfidy and corruption. It is scarcely an exag- 
geration to say that the most unprincipled public men who have 
taken part in affairs within our memory, would, if tried by the 
standard which was in fashion during the latter part of the sev- 
enteenth century, deserve to be regarded as scrupulous and dis- 

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland and ancestor of the 
present Duke of Marlborough and of Earl Spencer, was one 
of the most thorough-going politicians of this class. He twice 
changed his religion to please the court, was concerned in 
many of the worst measures of Charles and James, and was a 
successful courtier and favorite minister of William. 

'* Sunderland was Secretary of State. In this man the politi- 
cal immorality of his age was personified in the most lively man- 
ner. Nature had given him a keen understanding, a restless and 
mischievous temper, a cold heart, and an abject spirit His mind 
had undergone a training by which all his vices had been nursed 
up to the rankest maturity. At his entrance into public life, he 
had passed several years in diplomatic posts abroad, and had 
been, during some time, minister in France. Every calling has 
its peculiar temptations. There is no injustice in saying that 
diplomatists, as a class, have always been more distinguished by 
their address, by the art with which ihey win the confidence of 
those with whom they have to deal, and by the ease with which 
they catch the tone of every society into which they are admitted, 
than by generous enthusiasm or austere rectitude ; and the rela- 
tions between Charles and Louis were such that no English no* 

834 Macaulay's Bxstory of En^and. [Jane, 

bleman could long reside in France as envoy, and retain any 
patriotic or hononible sentiment Sunderland came forth from 
the bad school in which he had been brought up, cunning, supple, 
shameless, free from all prejudices, and destitute of all princi* 
pies. He was, by hereditary connection, a Cavalier; but with 
the Cavaliers he had nothing in common. They were zealous 
for monarchy, and condemned in theory all resistance ; yet they 
had sturdy English hearts, which would never have endured real 
despotism. He, on the contrary, had a languid, speculative liking 
for Republican institutions, which was compatible with perfect 
readiness to be in practice the most servile instrument of arbitn^ 
ry power. Like many other accomplished flatterers and nego- 
tiators, he was far more skilful in the art of reading the charac- 
ters and practising on the weaknesses of individuals, than in the 
art of discerning the feelings of great masses and of foreseeing 
the approach of great revolutions. He was adroit in intrigue ; 
and it was difficult even for shrewd and experienced men, who 
had been amply forewarned of his perfidy, to withstand the 
fascination of liis manner, and to refuse credit to his professions 
of attachment ; but he was so intent on observing and courting 
particular persons, that he forgot to study the temper of the na- 
tion. He therefore miscalculated grossly with respect to all the 
most momentous events of his time. Every important movement 
and rebound of the public mind took him by surprise ; and the 
world, unable to understand how so clever a man could be blind 
to what was clearly discerned by the politicians of the coffee- 
houses, sometimes attributed to deep design what were, in truth, 
mere blunders." 

The causes assigned bv Macaulay had no doubt much influ- 
ence in producing the decline of public and private virtue, 
but yet seem hardly sufficient to account for the great immo- 
rality swd to be so generally prevalent. Hume says, that 
" never was a people less corrupted by vice and more actuated 
by principle than the English at the beginning of the Civil 
War. At the close of the reign of Charles the Second, it 
•would seem that the proposition might be almost reversed." 
There is probably some exaggeration in both cases ; but there 
can be no doubt of a great decline in public and private morals, 
and a great prevalence of immorality and corruption at the 
latter period. 

We suppose it to be true that there has been a very great 
change for the better in the moral and political character of 

Kblic men in England since the reign of Charles the Second, 
e improved morals in private life, on which Macaulay dwells 
with some complacency, the diffusion of intelligence, and the 

1849.] Maoaulay's EUt&ry of Eti^gUmd. 835 

fliuch greater force of public opinion, have had a very bene- 
ficial inflience on the conduct of the Englbh politicians and 
statesmen. This improvement may be considered as one of 
the most favorable symptoms of the times in England. 

The kings of the house of Stuart seem to have been an in- 
corrigible race, incapable of discerning the signs of the times 
or of improving by prosperity or adversity. Called by the 
English law of succession to the noblest inheritance in the 
•wond, they supposed their right to the throne was derived 
from Heaven, not from the consent of the people ; that they 
were invested by Grod with absolute power, for the exercise of 
which they were accountable to Him alone. In a word, that 
they had 

** The right dirine of kings to goyem wrong; " 

a right which they strenuously attempted to put in practice 
80 long as they had the power. 

James the first had some learning, with much pedantry, 
and endeavoured to prove, from reason and Scripture, the 
divine and absolute power of the throne. The Duke of Sully 
pronounced him to be the wisest fool in Europe. 

Charles the First had more capacity, firmness, and perse- 
verance than his father, and was more bent upon the estab- 
lishment of arbitrary power. His design included the Amer- 
ican colonies as well as his dominions in Europe. Only six 
years after he had granted the charter of Massachusetts, he 
determined to revoke it, and established a commission, at the 
head of which was Archbishop Laud, with absolute authority 
over the colonies m all cases, civil and religious. This board 
or commission were authorized to make laws and ordinances in 
all cases, especially for the support of the Episcopal clergy, by 
tythes, oblations, and other profits accruing, to make and un- 
make governors, to constitute such civil and ecclesiastical tri- 
bunals and courts of justice, with such powers as they should 
judge proper, and to revoke any charters or letters patent, 
prejudicial to the crown. 

Had Charles been able to carry this plan into execution, we 
ehould have had our High Commission and Star Chamber 
in America, and not a vestige of civil or religious liberty would 
have been suffered to remain. The controversy between the 
king and parliament, which broke out soon after, gave the 
king and archbishop sufficient occupation at home, and saved 
the liberties (^ New England. If England, as most of her 

836 Macanlay's HUtory of England. [June, 

writers say, owes her freedom to the Puritans and Long Par- 
liament, it is not less true as to her American colonies. 

The character of Charles the Second is drawn with much 
force and vivacity, and we suppose in its true colors. This 
most worthless and profligate prince was for a time more pop- 
ular than any of his predecessors. There is one trait in hk 
character, however, not mentioned hy Macaulay; we mean 
his special regard for daring and atrocious villains. 

The case of Blood, who attempted to assassinate the Duke 
of Ormond, the first nobleman In the kingdom, and most 
zealous friend and supporter of the Stuart family, is a signal 
instance. In his attempt Blood almost succeeded. He had 
committed other capital crimes, besides the robbery of the 
crown and regalia from the Tower. Yet this audacious crim- 
inal was not only pardoned by Charles, but became a favorite 
companion of the king and an influential courtier, whose in- 
terest was solicited by applicants for court favors, and was 
rewarded by Charles with tiie grant of a considerable estate in 

Morgan, the most noted of all the pirates or buccaneers in 
the West Indies, was distmguished by Charles with the honor 
of knighthood. 

The infamous and savage Colonel Eirke affords another in- 
stance. Charles, near the close of his reign, appointed Eirke, 
who had been notorious for his tyranny and cruelties at Tan- 
gier, to be governor of New England, with absolute authority. 
This was soon after Massachusetts had been illegally deprived 
of her charter, so that there would have been no security 
against the barbarity of Eirke. But James, when he came to 
the crown, did not wish to part with one whose disposition was 
so congenial with his own, and who was so well fitted for lus 
arbitrary and cruel designs. Instead of Eirke, Sir Edmund 
Andros was sent as governor to New England, a tyrant in- 
deed, but not quite so atrocious as Eirke. 

As to James the Second, his conduct in Scotland and in 
England showed a love of arbitrary power and a delight in 
persecution and cruelty. A bigoted papist himself, he insti- 
tuted a savage persecution against the Scottish Presbyterians 
and Puritans for not conforming to the church of England. 
In this persecution thousands perished by the sword, famme, 
or imprisonment, and many thousand families were utterly 
ruined. And what was the object of this persecution ? Not 
to convert them to what he believed to be the true religion, but 

1889.] Macaulay'B iRWory of Mngland. 337 

to make them change from one false reli^on to another, that he 
believed to be equally false. The same remark applies, in 
some degree, to his brother Charles, in the persecutions of the 
dissenters m England, as he was secretly a Roman Catholic. 
Perhaps, however, it may be doing them some injustice to 
suppose that they were actuated by any worse motives than 
other persecutors, though a little more inconsistent. As we 
believe all persecution arises from bad motives, we do not feel 
certain that Charles and James were any worse in this respect 
than their contemporaries of the established church, who insti- 
gated and were actively engaged in carrying on these perse- 

But for their conduct in church and state both Charles 
and James may have some excuse in the doctrines of divine 
right, passive obedience, and non-resistance, so diligently in- 
culcated by the Church, as we have just seen, and also by the 
Parliament and the University of Oxford. To a sovereign 
inclined to tyranny and persecution, there can be no stronger 
temptation than the assurance that he can indulge his bad 
passions with impunity. This assurance the Church, the Par- 
liament, and the University of Oxford zealously endeavoured 
to furnish. 

The first parliament chosen after the Restoration passed an 
act, that the power of the sword was solely in the Sing, and 
declared that in no extremity whatever could the Parliament 
be justified in resisting him by force. 

By another act all magistrates and officers of corporations 
were required to declare on oath their belief that it was not 
lawful, upon any pretence whatever, to take arms against the 
king, and their abhorrence of the tr^dtorous position of taking 
arms by the king's authority against his person, or against 
those cammisHoned by him. A motion to insert the word 
lawfully before ** commissioned " was rejected. 

The University of Oxford in full convocation passed a de- 
cree "against certain pernicious books and damnable doc- 
trines, destructive to the sacred persons of princes, their 
state and government, and all human society." 

The doctrines condemned consist of twenty-seven proposi- 
tions taken from' the works of Milton, Buchanan, Owen, Bax- 
ter, and several others. One of these damnable propositions 
is, ** That when kings subvert the constitution of their coun- 
try, and become absolute tyrants, they forfeit their right to 
the government, and may be resisted." This and other sim- 

NO. vn. 23 

838 Macaolaj'g HUtory of England. [June, 

ilar propositions, thej declare to be ^^ impious, seditious, 
scandalous, damnable, heretical, blasphemous, and infamous 
to the Christian reli^on." Thej forbid the students to read 
the writings of those authors, and order their books to be 

One would suppose that the Parliament, the Church, and 
University of Oxford were rife for slavery. Charles and 
James had some excuse for taking them at their word. 

The history of this period has a peculiar interest for Amer- 
icans, as bemg essentially connected with their own. The 
revolution of 1688 was not less a deliverance from arbitrary 
power for New England than for Old. The tyranny of Sir 
Edmund Andros had become so insupportable that he was 
deposed and imprisoned, before the success of the revolution 
was known here. 

But though the Revolution was a great blessing to the colo- 
nies, yet some of them had much reason to complidn of the 
government under the new settlement. Massachusetts could 
not obtain a restoration of her charter, though deprived of it 
by a judgment acknowledged to be illegal and unjust. Sir 
Edmund Andros, so noted as a tyrant in Massachusetts, was 
rewarded by being sent out as governor of Virginia. The 
Habeas Corpus Act, so essential to freedom, was passed by 
the General Court of Massachusetts, but was disallowed and 
repealed by the committee of plantations, at the head of 
which was the famous Lord Somers. It seems to have been 
the opinion of this great constitutional lawyer that the English 
act of Habeas Corpus did not extend to the colonies, and 
that they could not have this security of freedom except from 
the bounty of the crown. 

The character of William of Orange, the great hero of the 

IBevolution, the idol of the Whigs, and, in former times, the 
detestation of the Tories, is drawn at great length, and in the 
most favorable colors. He seems, mdeed, with some faults 
and disagreeable qualities, to have been on the whole the best 
and most able of the great public men of the age. He was tol- 
erant and liberal in his views of religion and church establish- 
ments — a great merit in that age. A wise and far-sighted 
statesman, with an invincible courage and perseverance in a 
contest which was the cause not only of England and Holland, 
but of the greater part of Europe, agunst the ambition of 
Loms the Fourteenth. Macaulay in this case, as well as 
some others, has availed himself of important sources of infer- 

1849.] Macaulaj's mstory of England. 889 

mation which do not seem to have been known to any other 
historian, and attributes to him more amiable qualities than 
William was supposed to possess. 

A very different picture is given of him by the Tories, which 
we quote merely as showing the extravagance of party zeal. 
Dr. Johnson, according to Boswell, pronounced William to be 
the most worthless of all scoundrels. But then it is to be 
recollected thai the Doctor had an extraordinary veneration 
for Charles the Second. Smollett's character of William con- i 
tains more point and vivacity than is often found in his history, \y 
and probably shows the sentiments of the ultra Tories of that j 
age. The following is Smollett's view of the government of 

'* Certain it is, he involved these kingdoms in foreign connec- 
tions which, in all probability, will be productive of their ruin. 
In order to establish this favorite point, he scrupled not to employ 
all the engines of corruption, by which the morals of the nation 
were totally debauched. He procured a parliamentary sanction 
for a standing army, which now seems to be interwoven in the 
constitution. He introduced the pernicious practice of borrowing 
upon remote funds ; an expedient that necessarily hatched a brood 
of usurers, brokers, c>ontractor8, and stock-jobbers, to prey upon 
the vitals of their country. He entailed upon the nation a grow- 
ing debt, and a system of politics big with misery, despair, and 
destruction. To sum up his character in a few words — William 
was a fatalist in religion, indefatigable in war, enterprising in 
politics, dead to idl the warm and generous emotions of the human 
heart, a cold relation, an indifferent husband, a disagreeable man, 
an ungracious prince, and an imperious sovereign." 

The account of William Penn's intimacy with James, and 
his concern in some acts of oppression by the king, his cour- 
tiers, and court-ladies, will excite much surprise, and probably 
resentment in some quarters. If the charges are true, it is 
proper they should be made known. If they are unfounded, 
tiie Quakers and Pennsylvanians are abundantly able to vindi- 
cate his character. His reputation would bear a considerable 
reduction, and yet leave him one of the best among the distin- 
guished politicians of his age. 

Macaulay says that it had been the practice of every English 
government to contract debts. What the Revolution intro- 
duced was the practice of honestly paying them. 

This process of honestly paying the national debts has been 
extremely slow in its operation. At the Revolution the national 

840 UMitMlBj'B EUtwy of Ihiglmd. [June, 

debt was bnt little more than one million sterling, it is now 
about eight hundred millions. It is true that the interest has 
been punctually paid, the public credit is good, and any credi- 
tor who chooses m^ receive payment by transferring his 
claim to another. The debt, however, still remains a burden 
on the property and industry of the nation. Hume, in his 
essay on FubUc Credit says, that it would scarcely be more 
imprudent to ^ve a prodigal son a credit iiy every banker's 
shop in London, than to empower a statesman to draw bills in 
this manner upon posterity. 

^' The establishment of a public credit fruitful of marvels, which 
would have seemed incredible to the statesmen of any former 
age," is enumerated among the blessings of the new settlement. 
This is rather a delicate way of treating the national debt. To 
the statesmen of any former age, the ability to contract such a 
debt, and the folly of doing it, might have seemed equally in- 
credible. If nations contract debts they should honestly pay 
them. But we can hardlv deem it a cause for congratulation, 
that the government have been able to incur this enormous debt, 
with an annual mterest of thirty millions, ^^ so burdensome, still 
paying, still to owe," and to mortgage it upon the lands, prop- 
erty, and industry of the nation for ever; if not for ever, at 
least for a duration to which the eye of man can see no limit. 

The national debt has been mentioned as one of the great 
evils produced by the Revolution, as a part of the price the 
nation had to pay for the new settiement made by discarding 
the Stuarts and calling in William, and to defray the expense 
of the wars necessary to support him on the throne. 

Unfortunately, the ministry and moneyed class found their 
own private interests promoted by thus anticipating the in- 
comes of future generations. The ministry, to avmd th« 
odium of imposing the taxes really necessary, or because thej 
wanted a fund for influence and corruption, were willing to 
borrow money on terms profitable to the lenders, and leave it 
to their successors to provide for the payment. Washingtoui 
in his farewell address, with his characteristic wisdom and 
justice, cauti(ms the people of the United States against ^^ un- 
generously throwing upon posterity the burden which we 
ourselves ought to bear." 

As our author, in stating the purpose and objects of his 
work, must be supposed to express his meaning with some 
accuracy, we will, at the risk of being thought hypercritical, 
make a remark on the expression appUed to the British navy. 

1849.] Macaulay's HxBtary of England. 841 

" A maritime power, before which every other maritime power, 
ancient or modem, sinks into insignificance." This is another of 
the glories of England, the boast of every Englishman. Com- 
parisons are apt to be odious, and some discretion is required to 
manage them without giving offence. It would be idle to deny 
the great power of the British navy, and that its strength is 
superior to every other ; but we doubt the propriety or pru- 
dence of this boast ; nations, like individuals, do not like to 
be reminded of their in^ignificancey and neither France, Rus- 
sia, nor America will admit the correctness of the estimate 
here made by Macaulay of their naval power. 

A short time prior to the last war with England, it was said 
in parliament, that a single English sloop of war, or frigate, 
(we forget which) was able to cope with the whole American 
navy. This was soon found to be an error. In case of any 
future war between the two countries (which may Heaven 
avert,) the American navy would be found not entirely insig- 
nificant. De Tocqueville, the distinguished author and states- 
man, who, of all foreign writers, has given on the whole the 
best account of our country, its institutions and prospects, 
devotes a chapter to what he calls the commercial greatness of 
America, and closes with this paragraph : 

<< I think that the principal features in the destiny of a nation, 
as of an individual, are generally indicated by their early youths 
When I see with what spirit the Americans carry on commerce^ 
the facilities they enjoy, and the success they have met with, I 
cannot avoid believing that they will one day become the first 
maritime power on the globe. They are destined to acquire the 
dominion of the seas, as the Romans were to conquer the world." 

Now we confess that we do not entirely like this, and do not 
wish that our own country, or any other, should be any strong- 
er at sea than is necessary for its own security and the defence 
of its just rights at home and abroad. ^^ 

Macaulay seems much of an optimist in politics. Whatever 
happens is for the best, if not for the present, at least in the 
long run. The reign of the sovereigns commonly deemed the 
worst proved to be the greatest blessings. The talents and 
virtues of the first Norman kitigs had nearly proved fatal to 
England, but the follies and vices of John were her salvation. 
Again, ijf the administration of James the First had been able 
and splendid, it would probably have been fatal to the country. 

842 Macaula/s History of England. [Jane, 

Under the reign of his successor, Charles the First, there 
was another narrow escape. The laws and liberties of Eng- 
land, on the brink of destruction, were happily saved by the 
wanton and criminal attempt of Charles to force upon the Scots 
the English liturgy and established church. Another and final 
deliverance from tyranny by the folly and madness of James 
the Second. If the king had not attacked the Church, the 
institution most venerated by Englishmen, he would probably 
have been quietly permitted to prosecute his plan of establish- 
ing arbitrary power in the state. 

This seeming propensity for paradox reminds one of Gib- 
bon's remark upon the clergy, tnat to a philosophic mind their 
vices are far less dangerous than their virtues. A proposition 
which, by the way, we think is contradicted by all ecclesiasti- 
cal history. 

There is, however, some plausibility in these views of 
Macaulay, and in the instances mentioned and perhaps many 
others, they may be substantiallv just. How happy for a 
nation that, when brought to the brink of ruin, it has a per- 
ennial inexhaustible fountain of salvation in the follies, vices, 
and crimes of its rulers ! 

This disposition to look on the favorable side of thing? 
appears often throughout the work. Whether the Church or 
the Isdty have the ascendency, it is all for the good of the 
nation, and she owes a great debt of gratitude both to Popery 
and Protestantism. 

" It is difficult to say whether England owes more to the Roman 
Catholic religion or to the Reformation. For the amalgamation 
of races and for the abolition of villanage, she is chiefly indebted 
to the influence which the priesthood in the middle ages exercised 
over the laity. For political and intellectual freedom, and for all 
the blessings which political and intellectual freedom have brought 
in their train, she is chiefly indebted to the great rebellion of Uie 
laity against the priesthood.*' 

The Long Parliament merits the lasting gratitude of English- 
men for their resistance to Charles the First, and thus saving 
the liberties of the country. The parliament that restored 
Charles the Second, without any conditions to limit his power, 
seized the golden opportunity, which, if lost, would have long 
been regretted by the friends of liberty, of placing on the throne 
this profligate monarch. After the two reigns of Charles and 
James, comprising nearly thirty years of oppression, persecu- 

1849.] Macanla/s Mftory of England. 343 

tion, and almost every kind of misgOTerament, at home, besides 
a vassalage to France the most disgraceful m the annals of 
England, another parliament rescued the nation from Poperj 
and tyranny by the total and final expulsion of the Stuarts. 

There seems much reason to doubt the coorectness of this 
view of the Restoration. Macaulay says that ^^ It has been 
too much the practice of writers zealous for freedom, to repre- 
sent the Restoration as a disastrous event, and to condemn the 
folly or baseness of that Convention which recalled the royal 
family without exacting new securities against mal-adminis- 

Mr. Fox, in his fragment of the History of the Reign of 
James the Second, severely condemns the conduct of those 
who, at the Restoration, made no scruple to lay the nation 
prostrate at the feet of a monarch, without a single provision 
m favor of the cause of liberty. Charles would have been 
glad to accept the crown on any terms. It must have been a 
strange crisis, indeed, that rendered it necessary for the salva> 
tion of the people, to place such a man as Charles upon the 
throne without a moment's delay, and without imposmg any 
limitation on the royal prerogative. 

Our author gives a description at considerable length of the 
state of England at the accession of James the Second, and 
compares it with the condition of England at present. The 
comparison, of course, b very much in favor of its present 
state, and the contrast is probably much greater in almost 
every respect than most readers could have supposed. The 
great physical, moral, and intellectual improvement, in every 
department, if truly represented, as we must presume was 
intended, is indeed a just cause of congratulation and thank- 

The political, social, and industrial system of England, since 
the Revolution, is probably better fitted than any system that 
has been tried, in the old world at least, for very many of the 
objects thought most desirable in national prosperity. It has 
been especially favorable to the acquisition of great wealth 
and rapid progress in the great departments of industry, in 
agriculture, commerce, manufactures, and the mechanic arts, 
and in working the various mines, a very important branch in 

The wealth of the great landholders, merchants, manufac- 
turers, and the moneyed interest, is adequate to any interest or 
enterprise on the largest scale. With abundant capital, witii 

844 Macaulay's HUtory of England. [Jane, 

labor at a low rate to any extent wanted, and often in excess, 
skilfully organized and directed, the advance in every depart- 
ment of business and the increase of wealth are, we believe, 
altogether without example. 

The population of England and Wales at that time is sup- 
posed to have been somewhat more than five millions, and less 
than one third of its present amount. The inhabitants of 
London, who are now at least nineteen hundred thousand, 
were then probably a little more than half a million. 

In the reign of Charles the Second, after London no town 
in the kingdom conttuned thirty thousand inhabitants, and 
only four provincial towns contained so many as ten thousand. 
This statement we suppose may be true, but it is very sur- 
prising, especially when we consider the number of cities in 
the United States containing thirty thousand and upwards, 
and the great number containing more than ten thousand. 
Massachusetts alone has twice the number of towns contsun- 
ing ten thousand inhabitants. 

The army and navy of Charles the Second were small com- 
pared with military and naval establishments in England at 
present. The whole annual expense of the army, navy, ord- 
nance, effective and non-effective service, was then about 
seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Now it is more 
than twenty times that amount. 

It must be acknowledged that the government of the Stu- 
arts was a very cheap one in a pecuniary view, compared with 
any the English have had since. Of all the advances made 
in the rapid march of improvement in England smce the Rev- 
olution, the greatest advance has been in taxation and public 
expenditure ! 

If the wellbeing of a nation depended on the amount of 
its wealth, however unequally distributed, then England would 
be the happiest country m the world. But we believe the 
happiness of a people depends less on the amount, than on 
the general diffusion of property, so as to afford a comfortable 
livelihood, and the means of education and improvement to 
the laboring classes. If this be so, there is much cause for 
regret as well as congratulation in the present condition of 
Great Britain. 

There are some principles in the English political and social 
system that are passed over in the work before us without 
much notice, which seem to us to merit consideration both as to 
their present effects and future tendency. 


Macaulaj's MUtory of England. 845 

The historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Em- 
pire, in his admirable chapter on the Roman or Civil Law, 
says, that " the insolent prerogative of primogeniture was un- 
known to the Romans. The two sexes were placed on a just 
level, and all the sons and daughters were entitled to an 
equal portion of the patrimonial estate." 

Among the Athenians, the sons all shared equally the pa- 
ternal inheritance. The daughters seem to have been left in 
a great measure, if not altogether, to the mercy or discretion 
of their brothers. In case there were no sons, the daughters 
inherited equally. 

The law of primogeniture was not known to the Anglo- 
Saxons, but was introduced into England with the feudal 
system, by the Norman conquest. This principle, by which 
the oldest son alone inherits all the landed or real property, 
has been in force in England ever since, and has contributed 
more than any thing else to form the government and social 
system as they exist at the present day. It is the foundation 
and security of the aristocracy, of their power and. influence 
in the state, and the advantages of their social position. 

Primogeniture not only prevents the division of great es- 
tates, but, in connection with other causes, is continually 
diminishing the number of landed proprietors. It often hap- 
pens that by the failure of heirs in great families, or the 
course of descent, or by purchase, that two or three great 
estates are united, and once united are never again divided. 

This process is remarkably illustrated in the case of the 
present Duke of Sutherland. As this example shows better 
than any mere description could do, how a considerable num- 
ber of even great estates may be united in one, we quote 
from the London Quarterly Review the following account of 
the Sutherland Estate and Improvements. The complacency 
with which the reviewer dwells on this accumulation, and his 
aristocratic tone and style, are somewhat amusing. 

*' The estate attached to the earldom of Sutherland (one of the 
oldest dignities in this empire) was supposed at the time when 
the late countess married Lord Gower, afterwards Marquis of 
Stafford, and finally created Duke of Sutherland, to comprise no 
less than 800,000 acres — a vast possession, but from which its 
owners had never derived more than a very small revenue. The 
Countess, a woman of remarkable talents, was enthusiastically 
attached to her ancestral district ; and felt for its inhabitants of 
all orders, as was natural after a connection lost in the night of 

346 Macaulaj'd History of England. [June/ 

ages, during which her house had enjoyed the support of their 
clansmen and vassals in many a struggle and danger. She had 
the spirit and heart of a genuine chieftainess ; and the name of 
the Ban Mhoir-f hear Chattaibh — the Great Lady of the Country 
of the Clan Chattan — will be proudly and affectionately remem- 
bered in the Highlands of Scotland, many a year after the grace- 
ful Countess and Duchess is forgotten in the courts and palaces 
of which she was for a long period one of the most brilliant or- 
naments. To her English alliance, however, her lasting fame in 
her own district will be mainly due. Her lord inherited one very 
great fortune in this part of the kingdom, and ultimately wielded 
the resources of another not less productive ; and though, as Mr. 
Loch's book records, no English nobleman ever did more for the 
improvement of his English estates, he also entered with the 
warmest zeal into his lady's feelings as to her ancient heritage: 
he added to it by purchase, various considerable adjoining estates, 
which fell from time to time into the market, and finally, in 1829, 
one neighbouring mass of land, the whole estate or country of 
Lord Reay, which alone comprised not much less than 500,000 
acres. It appears that from 1829 the whole northern territory 
of the Duke must have amounted to nearly, if not quite 1,500,- 
000 acres — a single estate certainly not in these days equalled 
in the British empire, and this in the hands of the same peer who 
enjoyed also the English estates of the Gowers and Levesons, 
with the canal property of the Bridge waters." '^ 

Here is the process on a great scale of extinguishing both 
large and small estates. This shows how landed proprietors 
are rapidly diminished in number, and enormous estates or 
principalities formed. In two generations, by marriage, by 
purchase, by inheritance and bequest, five very large and 
several considerable estates are united in one. In Scotland, 
to one great estate of 800,000 acres, is added another of 
600,000, besides several others very considerable in extent. 
All this comes into the hands of the same peer who has three 
very great estates in England. The estate in Scotland alone 
is more than twice as large as the state of Rhode Island, and 
comprises in extent, though not in value, between a thirtieth 
and fortieth part of the territory of the island of Great 

According to our author, at the accession of James the 
Second the number of small landed proprietors who cultivated 
their own estates, was, so far as can be ascertained from the 
best statistical writers of that age, not less than one hundred 
and sixty thousand, who with their families made up more 

1849.] Macaula/s EUtory of England. 347 

ilian a seventh part of the whole population. These small 
estates are now nearly all extinct. At that time the number 
who cultivated their own land was greater than the number 
of those who farmed the land of others. Now it is estimated 
that not one hundredth part of the land in England is culti- 
vated bj the owner. 

The enormous wealth produced by commerce and manufac- 
tures, instead of occasioning any division of the great landed 
estates, has had a directly opposite tendency. The rich mer- 
chant, manufacturer, banker, or fortunate speculator invests 
a part of his wealth in land, and as the very large estates are 
rarely for sale, he buys the smaller ones wherever they can 
be obtained, perhaps in several diflferent counties. When a 
number of small, or moderate, or even large estates are 
thus formed into one, they are seldom or never separated. 

This seems to be a melancholy, disastrous change in the 
social system of England, but we believe most of the British 
political economists not only see no cause of alarm in this 
extinction of the smaller landed properties, but consider it as 
one cause of the great agricultural improvements, and the 
great increase of national wealth. A few, however, among 
whom is John Stuart Mill, the author of the work on Politi- 
cal Economy, consider the English system as afifording ground 
for apprehension, and view with some complacency the condi- 
tion of the French agricultural population, four fifths of whom 
are said to cultivate their own land. But whether for good 
or evil, we suppose there can be no doubt of the fact, that by 
the operation of the causes mentioned, and perhaps of others, 
the number of landed proprietors has been for the last one 
hundred and sixty years continually diminishing, that nearly 
all the land is held by a comparatively small number of own- 
ers, and that the diminution is still going on as rapidly as 
ever. Indeed, according to all accounts, the process of the 
accumulation of large landed properties and the extinction of 
small ones is proceeding with a continually increasing velocity. 

Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo. 

During the last few years we have heard much of the 
reforms in the English government, the progress of liberal 
principles, and the increasing power of popular opinion. It is 
supposed by many that the influence of the aristocracy is on 
the decline, that the common people have gained as the 
nobility and privileged orders have lost, so that the advantages 

348 Macaulay's History of England. [June, 

of English institntions are shared less unequally than formerly 
among the diflferent classes of the community. 

Popular opinion has no doubt much greater influence on the 
measures of government and the conduct of men in office, 
than during the last century. Whatever changes have been 
made to enlarge the political power of the people, and to 
relieve them from unnecessary and oppressive burdens, is to 
be ascribed chiefly to this cause. The privileged orders have 
parted with no portion of their power until they were con- 
vinced it was no longer possible to keep it. Notwithstanding 
these concessions to the popular demands, we think there is 
reason to doubt whether the aristocratic principle pervading 
the political and social institutions of England has been much, 
if at all, weakened. On the other hand, in several important 
respects the aristocracy appears stronger than ever. 

The English government, at least ever since the revolution 
in 1638, has been practically an aristocracy of which the 
sovereign is the nominal head. Lord Brougham remarks that 
England is the most aristocratic nation in Europe, and a 
glance at English institutions will show how the aristocratic 
principle runs through them all. 

The Reform Bill has enlarged the number of voters, and 
some changes have been made m favor of the popular principle 
in mimicipal corporations. But the aristocracy have the 
entire control of all the offices of honor and emolument in 
church and state, in the army and navy, at home and abroad. 

The following extract from a late number of the Edinburgh 
Review presents a striking, and probably, so far as it goes, a 
just view of the political and social state of England. 

" To a superficial glance at the condition of our own country, 
nothing can seem more unlike any tendency to equality of condi- 
tion. The inequalities of property are apparently greater than 
in any former period of history. Nearly all the land is parcelled 
cot in great estates among comparatively few families ; and it is 
not the large but the small properties which are in process of 
extinction. An hereditary and titled nobility, more potent by their 
vast possessions than by their social precedency, are constitution- 
ally and really one of the great powers in the state. To form 
part of their order is what every ambitious man aspires to as the 
crowning glory of a successful career. The passion for equality, 
of which M. de Tocqueville speaks almost as if it were the great 
fever of modem times, is hardly known in this country, even by 
name. On the contrary, all ranks seem to have a passion for 

1849.] Macaulay's HUtmT/ of England. S49 

inequality. The hopes of every person are directed to rising in 
the world, not to pulling the world down to him. The greatest 
enemy of the political conduct of the House of Lords suhmits to 
their superiority of rank as he would to the ordinances of nature, 
and often thinks any amount of toil and watching repaid by a 
nod of recognition from one of their number." ♦ 

In the army, the officers are taken from the nobility and 
gentry with hardly an exception. Commissions are gener- 
ally obtained by purchase, and sometimes by the gift of the 
commander-in-chief. The price is beyond the ability of any 
but the rich, and rarely has any officer risen fi*om the ranks. 
Should a rich parvenu take a fancy to a military life and buy 
a commission, woe to the unlucky wight. His treatment from 
the other officers would soon make him glad to sell or to 
resign a place where he b considered an intruder. The offi- 
cers of the navy are generally taken from the same class. 

The pay and prize-money in the army and navy are gradu- 
ated on the same aristocratic scale. At the capture of Ha- 
vana, in 1762, the distribution of the prize-money was as fol- 
lows. Admiral Pococke commanding the naval forces had for 
his share upwards of £122,000 ; the captains, £1,600 ; lieu- 
tenants, <£234; petty officers, £17; sailors and marines be- 
tween three and four pounds. Lord Albemarle, commander 
of the land forces, had the same as the Admiral ; the field of- 
ficers, £564 ; captains, £164 ; private soldiers, £4, la, 8df. 
There was, however, much complaint that this distribution was 
not exactly conformable to the former practice. The distribu- 
tion of the prize money to the English army at the capture of 
Paris after the battle of Waterloo was made by proclamation 
at London, and was probably agreeable to the established rules 
of the service. 

To the Duke of Wellmgton, £61,000 

General Officers, . . 1,274 10«. IM. 

Field Officers, ... 433 4 4 

Captains, ... 90 7 3 

Subalterns, ... 34 14 9 

Sergeants, Corporals, &c. . 14 4 4 

Private Soldiers, . . 2 11 ^ 4 

This is the partnership of the giant and the dwarf. The 

« EiiiJlfwrgh Ritiew, No. CXLY. 

850 Macaulay's Bxstory of England. [ June, 

commander gets all the honor and profits, the soldier the 
losses and blows. This is apt to be the case in all wars ; and 
party contests are too often the " madness of many for the 
gain of a few." 

The proportion between the pay of the officers and soldiers 
in the armies of the ancient republics, compared with the 
practice in all modem nations, is very curious. 

When Xenopbon, after the retreat of the ten thousand, 
engaged himself and six thousand of the Greek army in the 
service of a Thracian prince, the terms of pay were, to each 
soldier, one daric a month ; each captain, two darics ; and to 
2ienophon, the general and commander, four darics. 

Among the Romans, Polybius says the pay of a centurion 
was only double that of a private soldier. 

It appears from Demosthenes, that the pay of an Athenian 
ambassador in his time was not more than that of a common 

The annual income of the Lord Chancellor of England was 
formerly as much as £20,000, and besides he had many 
lucrative offices at his disposal. We believe it has been re- 
duced by the Whig government to £14,000, with a retiring 
pension of £5,000. The salaries of the Judges are from 
£5,500 to £10,000 a-year. We do not mention these in- 
stances of salaries as extravagant, under the existing circum- 
stances. They are probably not higher than is required by the 
nature of the government, and the state of English society. 

In the church the bishops, archbishops, and other digni- 
taries, enjoy very ample revenues, from one or two thousand 
to twenty thousand pounds a-year. These, with some excep- 
tions, are given to the relatives of the nobility and gentry, 
younger brothers and cousins. The majority of the clergy 
seem sufficiently removed from the temptations of wealth. 
In about five thousand parishes, a few years since, there was 
no resident clergyman, and the religious services were per- 
formed, as far as they were performed at all, by curates. Of 
this portion of the clergy the compensation varies from ten to 
a hundred pounds annually, in few instances exceeding the 
latter sum. 

The bishops often amass large fortunes. Bishop Tomline, 
the private tutor of the late William Pitt, was said to have 
left an estate of £700,000, and we not unfrequently hear of 
a dignitary of the church in England, and especially in Ire- 
land, leaving at his decease from one to several hundred thou- 

1849.] Macaulay's EUtary of England. 861 

Band pounds. The late reform of the church has introduced 
a greater equality in the salaries of the bishops and archbish- 
ops, varying from X4,500 to X20,000. 

In respect to the church, however, we have no idea that 
any attempt to abolish or diminish tithes would be of any ser- 
vice to the tenants, or afford any relief to the people in gen- 
eral. The whole benefit would go to the landlords. There 
is much reason in the sentiment of Burke, that a Bishop of 
Durham or Winchester may as well have £10,000 a-year as 
an earl or a squire, although it may be true that so many 
dogs and horses are not kept by the former, and fed with the 
victuals which ought to nourish the children of the poor peo- 
ple. In the reformation of the church by Henry the Eighth, 
the confiscation of a greater part of the church property 
served only to enrich the crown and a few greedy courtiers. 
The estates of several among the most wealthy of the nobility 
and gentry in England, it is well known, were derived from 
the plunder of the abbeys, monasteries, and convents. Such 
an origin of a great estate as the Duke of Bedford's, so elo- 
quently described by Burke, in his " Letter to a noble Lord," 
is not peculiar to the Russell family. 

The rich plunder expected from the great wealth of the 
church was no doubt one of the main causes of the reforma- 
tion in England, so far as relates to Henry the Eighth and 
his courtiers, especially the latter. The motive assigned by 
the poet Gray, with much wit as well as gallantry, for the 
conduct of the great reformer of the church, was the prima- 
ry, but not the only one. 

" 'T was love that taught this monarch to he wise, 
And gospel light first beamed from Bullen's ejcs." 

Henry's love for the property of the rich abbeys and mon- 
asteries proved far more lasting than his affection for Anne 
Bullen, and his reforms were continued long after the unfortu- 
nate queen ceased to influence her imperious husband. 

The lucrative civil oflSces are shared by the arbtocracy and 
their dependents, except in a few instances where extraordi- 
nary skill or industry is required, and which must be had 
wherever they can be found. 

The mercantile, manufacturing, and moneyed interests have 
long had great influence in the policy and measures of the Brit- 
ish government. Though the representatives of these classes 
have always been in number a minority in parliament, yet 

852 Macaulay's Exstory ofJSngland. [June, 

from their superior activity and sagacity with regard to their 
own interest, they have frequently obtsuned undue advantages 
from the government, and are, on the whole, much more fa- 
vored in the public burdens than the agriculturists. The rich 
merchants, manufacturers, and bankers may be c<»ksidered 
either as members, or as allies and supporters of the aristoc- 

The House of Lords is now far superior to that assembly, 
when, about eighty years ago, it was called by Lord Chester- 
field the Hospital of Incurables. This is owmg chiefly to 
continual recruits of the most distinguished commoners, who 
have, since the accession of George the Third, tripled the 
number of the Upper House. In point of talent, wealth, 
personal influence, and weight of character, it probably stands 
much higher than at any former period. Take from the 
House of Lords the families that have been ennobled during 
the last dixty years, and though its legal and constitutional 
power would be the same, its real power and influence would 
be comparatively insignificant. 

These continual accessions from the ranks of the commons 
are the vivifying principle of the nobility, giving it health, 
strength, wealth, talent, and influence. The leading common- 
ers, the most distinguished men in political life, in the law, 
army, navy, and church, and in the landed, moneyed, commer- 
cial, and manufacturing interests, do not wish to diminish the 
power or privileges of an assembly of which they may hope 
to be one day members, and which, at any rate, they consider 
as indispensable to the continuance of the present political 

One of the best founded complaints against the English 
government is the neglect to provide for the education of the 
common people. No public provision is made for this object, 
at least none worth mentioning, except so far as it may be 
supposed to come within the duties required by law, or custom 
from the clergy of the established church. While so much 
is doing iu' Prussia and several other countries on tike conti- 
nent at the public expense, though much has been said and 
written in England in favor of a general system of education, 
we hardly recollect any measure of the government for this 
purpose except the grant a few years since of £30,000 for 
the education of teachers. 

It may be supposed of course that the same neglect would 
extend to the English colonies and dependencies, or whatever 

1849.] Macaolay's SSttofy of England. Zbt 

territories were added by conqtiest or otherwise to the Bri1^& 
empire. In Ireland and Wales, their old institutions for edu- 
eation were broken up by the English at the Conquest, and no 
new system est^lished, and the mass of the people left in 
ignorance to this day. F<Hr the public school system in New 
!ll^gland we are not indebted to the English government or in^ 
stitutions, but to the piety and wisdom of our Ihiritan ancestors. 

We are much inclined to doubt whether, in any country 
where a privileged order of men have in fSsust the control of 
the government, any public system for the education of the 
people ever has been, or is likely to be, carried into practice, 
in a republic without any privileged class, enlightened men 
feel a common interest in educating the people so far as to 
make them good citizens and qualify them for the duties which 
orcUnary men may be called on to perform in such a commu- 
nity. The general diffusion of knowledge is considered one 
of the best securities for the peace and prosperity of the 
country. In a monarchy where the sovereign has the entire 
power, such a system of general education may be formed ana 
carried into execution, as in Prussia and several of the states 
of Germany. Where the monarchical or the democratic lee- 
ment has the real ascendency, the government may feel an 
interest in educating the people. 

Perhaps the case of Scotland may be thought an exception : 
but in Scotland the system of general education was estab- 
lished by the Presbyterians in the time of the Solemn League 
and Covenant, from tlie influence of popular freedom and 
religious enthusiasm. It was repealed at the Restoration, but 
the Scots obtained the reestablishment of it at the revolution 
of 1688. 

We believe education one of the most essential duties which 
society owes to its members. But what is a good education, 
and what will best fit them for the duties they ma^ be called 
on to discharge, and the place they may probably fill, is a very 
important question. The governing powers in England have 
not yet determined that any system is to be adopted, or tiist 
any general one is expedient ; and lookmg at the continuance 
and stabifity of their present political institutions, it may not 
be 80 e^^ a question as we imagme. For instance, what 
education is best for an English sailor who may be impressed 
and compelled to serve many years under the discipline of a 
British man of war, with littie or no chance of promotion ; or 
for the common soldier, who in an army officered by gentlemea 

KO. yn. 24 

864 Maoaday's Euik^ry of EngUmd. [ Jttne, 

can very rarely rise aboye the ranks; or for the laboring 
classes in their present condition ? No education can remedy 
most of the evils which are felt by the laboring classes. Ed- 
ucation cannot give them employment, food, or clothing, and 
perhaps would only make them discontented with the iney- 
itable hardships of their condition. There is very littie rea- 
son to suppose that the goyemment have any such object in 
yiew as eaucating the common people at the public expense. 

According to M. De Tocqueville an aristocratic goyemment 
has a great superiority oyer all others m the ability with which 
its foreign relations are managed. He adduces the example 
of the Romans and the English m support of this opinion. An 
aristocracy, he says^ is a steadfast and enlightened man who 
neyer dies. 

There may be much truth in this, but we think in respect 
to England, as much of her success is to be ascribed to nation- 
al character and fortunate situation, as to the wisdom of the 
aristocracy. England in her foreign relations and m all con- 
troyersies with otiier powers has unriyalled advantages. Her 
insular situation and naval strength give her means of defence 
and annoyance possessed by no other country. Every other 
great nation of Europe has seen a foreign army in its territory 
and in possession of its capital. But smce the Norman con- 
quest no attempt to invade England has succeeded, except in 
case of a cival war or disputed succession to the crown, where 
ik great portion of the people favored the enterprise. 

This security has rendered Englishmen in a great degree 
strangers to the calamities of war except as they appear in 
the shape of taxes. To their mmds war has been associated 
with the trophies of victory, the display of British power and 
yalor, the firing of the Park and Tower guns, the thanks of 
both houses of parliament, with honors and rewards to the 
successful naval or military commanders. The slaughter of 
the battle £eld, the sufferings of the wounded, the groans of the 
dying, the burning of towns, the multitudes driven from their 
sweet and cheerful homes to perish by cold, hunger, or disease, 
have in times past made little impression on their ima^nation. 
With the English as with all other nations success will for a 
time render any war popular however unjustifiable. It is not 
till they begin to feel the losses and burdens of a war that they 
are sensible of its impolicy or injustice, and wish for peace. 

This geographical position so happy for the English, we 
have thought has sometimes been unfortunate for other na- 

1849.] Maoaola/s Eit^ry of England. 855 

tions, as it has enabled and disposed England to inflict on 
ihem ^Q calamities of war, without any serious dancer of 
their being brought home to her own island. In the Ameri- 
can Revolutionary War it is not probable that so many towns 
would have been wantonly burnt, and so much private prop- 
erty destroyed, if these evils could have been retaliated upon 
their authors. 

Government is constituted for the good of the whole society 
and of every member. The English government like all other 
governments and social systems must oe estimated not by any 
theory or imaginary standard of perfection, but by its eflFects 
on the well-being of the people. We must judge of the tree 
by its fruits. Mr. Fox sidd bis defence of tiie Sritish constif 
tution was, not that it was perfect or tallied with the theories 
of this man, or that man, but that it produced substantial hap- 
piness to the people, and if this ground were taken away he 
Knew not what defence to make. We suppose this to be the 
true and only satisfactory ground on which any political insti- 
tution or form of society can be defended. 

Macaulay looks on the favorable side of things, and sees 
nothing but progress and improvement, though he hears much 
complsdnt of decline and ruin. The nation in his view is sound 
at heart, has nothing of age but its dignity, combined with 
the vigor of youth. He tMnks the nation is going on in a 
course of improvement, preserving what is good in its institu- 
tions, and reforming what is bad in a peaceable constitutional 
way. This is undoubtedly the true mode of reform. 

But the changes in civil society are not confined to acts of 
parliament, or measures of government. Time, says Bacon, is 
the greatest of innovators. Time and the course of events 
have made the English government and social system what 
tiiey now are, and may be silently working greater changes 
than any mmistry or political agitators. 

We look with much interest for the subsequent volumes of 
the work. So far the author has occupied the same ground 
with Hume ; the second volume closing exactly at the ter- 
mination- of Hume's history. As our author has already 
devoted two fifths of the first volume and the whole of the 
second to the four years reign of James II., we presume he 
intends to pass over many of the following years with more 
rapid wheels. The task before him is a great and glorious 
one, and we know of no author of whom there is so much rea- 
son to expect its successful accomplishment. 

856 Short BevUum and Notice9. [Juney 


1. — Madonna PiOy and Other JPbems. By Jambs Gregob 
Grant. In two volumes. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 
CornhilL 1848. pp. x. 320, xir. 350. 

These volumes indicate a strong and genuine tendency to the 
poetic form, rather than the possession of any very rich or rare 
vein of the native ore of poetry, on the part of the author. A 
large part of a life seems to have gone to rhyme here. Whether 
all the honey was worth hiving, (except as every literary working 
bee must find a comfort in saving up all whatsoever vouchers of 
ite own existence, to prove that it has been productive in some 
sense, that it has at least graced the world, if not made very deep 
marks on it,) is more than we would du^ affirm. But there is 
certainly good poetry, and not a little, stored up with the rest. 
Every piece is rhythmical, and pleasing, and artistically wrought. 
Some are bewitchingly beautiftil. 

Mr. Grant seems to have been early penetrated with a pro- 
found reverence for the character of poet ; his whole collection 
has a little of the air of a continued series of attempts at another 
vindication or " Defence of Poesy." In the upward pathway of 
his aspirations, he at last met with a type of the character, which 
his soul at once accepted as a model, in the poet Wordsworth, 
to whom his volumes are inscribed, while they are filled with 
traces of his influence. Thus, in his lover's rhapsodies, he is very 
careful to mention that the object of his adoration is a thing of 
"flesh and blood/' not destitute of every-day qualities, not a 
nymph, nor a dryad, 

**Nor Might ebe of saperlmmaii, 
But a Toy, very woman ! " 

And he has been andgathered sonnets among the ^ Lakes,** sing- 
ing the praises of *^ Winandermere," and " I^erwent Water," and 
**the river Duddon.** Doubtless, the Wordsworthian example umd 
philosophy have been a good, strengthening thing for him. Tem- 
perament had inclined him, we should fancy, quite another way ; 
for there is an undertone of sadness, a habit of the minor mode, 
and a slight addiction to the Leigh Hunt sentimentality, spontane- 
ously reappearing ever and anon in these poems. His sentiment 
is always pure, his aspiration brave and constant ; yet we cannot 
call him spiritual ; his inspiration is not of the "third heaven ;** 
neither in invention nor in tone does his muse ever transcend the 
higher strata of very current and approved, though very good 
and jnst and liberal thoughts. The inward material is not equal 
to the ambition or the power of shaping. His daieling aims and 

1849.] Short Rmem and Kadeet. 857 

models, therefore, cast him back upon himself; he grows very 
conscious, and writes sonnets " On glancing over some of my own 
poems," lines ^ On being asked for my aatograph," <Scc It is not 
an offensive egotism ; it is only not the consciousness of genius. 

The longest and, as we judge, the best piece in these volumes 
is ^ Madonna Pia." The subject is from Dante's PwrgcUorio, In 
(bur lines, under the lightning flash of his intense imagination, it 
gleams through the night of ages: 

" Ricorditi di me, chi son U Pi a: 
Sienna mi fe*; disfeoeroi Maremma: 
Salsi colni, cfae *nnanellata pria, 
Dtsposando m'area oon la sua gemma.** 

Grant time to bring it nearer and fill out the living detail of its 
beauty and its traginly, as Leigh Hunt has done with the tale of 
^Rimini"; and he is hardly less an adept in the rose-color art. 
He begins thus musically : 

" Madohka Pf a 1 tbou wboM aentle ihade 
In the sad Tntcan^s awful pau arose, 
When in the milder penal realm he strayed,— 
Yet breathed no ronrmor of th^ mortal woes, 
Nor creatare, dead or living, didst upbraid 
With bringing thy sweet me to bitter dose, — 
Sighing but this— -** that the Maremma slew. 
And he, the loved one, thy Pibtra, kmw — ** 

"Madonna Pia! beautiful w«rt thou 
Abore all beantv then upon the earth ! 
And Hope and Joy upon thv Heavenly brow 
Laughea evermore with their dirinest mirth 1 
WeU unto thee all living thiags might bow; 
Thee, in the pride of beauty, «id of birth. 
And youth, and boundless wealth, — which, even then, 
Brew sordid worship from the souls of men: 

" Yet not for wealth did young Pietra seek 
This dazsling Phanix of Sienna's sky — 
He saw an eminre on her lip and cheek, 
An El- Dorado in her glorious eye ! 
He heard sweet music when he heard her speakj 
Wings sprang within him when her step drew nig^ ; 
And the least glance or smile she threw on km 
ICade all of brightness else look cold and dim. 

He then goes on to describe the growing passion and mutual 
eonfession of the lovers, the rapture and the foreboding, in a style 
which shall testify for itself by the production of a stanza or two : 

" Madonna Pia told her viigin love 
To her yonne lover with sweet rirgin pride. 
And blessed the poplar-shadows from aboTe 
That fell her blushes and her joy to hide — 
And panted with her jo^ as a young dove 
Peels its heart pant against its trembling side. 
When some Quick hand hath stolen on its rest, 
And gently clutched it in the quiet nest** 

858 Short Beviewi and Ifatiee^. [June, 

'^ A Htde ebb, within a little boor, 
Came to these lovers: on Pietra*s breast 
Madonna Pia wept the sweetest shower 
That erer calned a stormy joy's unrest 
And then the voice of each, in that calm bower, 
Came back, like happy birds, to their loved nest ; 
And each to each could breathe sweet words anew. 
And talk of lore as happj lovers do.** 

And now for the turning point of the story, which is rendered 
thus : (We quote at length, as a fair specimen of the whole.) 

"^I pass these raptures — for these raptores passed : 
On I then the change ! — and now the change I telL 
Not vainly was the cypress-shadow cast. 
Not without import on the stream it fell : 
The debt to vei^fefol Nemesis amassed 
WiU have its hour — and she exacts it well : 
Thoogh human hearts (let but the goddess wait) 
Are tSeir own Nemesis, or soon or late. 

** Suns rose and set: — The Sire, the Dame, the Priest, 
Had smiled, and prayed, and blessed the nuptial tie. 
Moons waxed and waned : The bridal joy and feast 
Were numbered with the thousand things gone by : 
And in Sienna's marts and squares had ceased 
The eaze, the murmur, and the whisper sly : 
And Buttering gallants sought no more to please 
The wedded wonder of the Siennese. 

" Returning from a revel — the most bright 
And joyous that Sienna since had known, 
Madonna Pia, with a heart more light 
Than lightest rose-leaves by the zephyr blown. 
As down a terrace stair-way'is marble flight 
(By many a torch tokd many a cresset 8m)wn) 
Lightly she stepped, chanced lightly there to smile. 
At some fair thought that cres^ her mind the while. 

** Perchance some flash of light and reckless mirth 
Heard where young careless hearts were flowing oV, 
Some freak of playnil Fancy, taking birth 
From this or that that others said or wore; 
Some transient jest of little blame or worth. 
Some pleasant nothing, smiled at just before : 
When all is cloudless m the heart's zlad sky. 
Smiles wander to the lip we scarce know why. 

''But hast thou never, gentle listener, read 
How, in those olden days, with passion rile, 
£*en for a look — or word at random said. 
There was the secret cell, the secret knife — 
Or poison mixed so subtly, strangely dread. 
That the least touch was deadly bane to liie ? 
Look ! e*en such venom's concentrated might 
Was in Madonna's smile that fatal night ! 

''For at the moment when Pietra's glance 
Fell on that smile (oh ! smile so peerless then !) 
And for the cause shot round, b^ evil chance 
It fell oa one who ietmed to smile again. 

1849.] SObH Iteinewi and Nbtiee9. S5d 

Better had he who smiled, with poiotlest Uaoe 
Have rushed into a hanffnr lion's den! 
Better for that sweet Lady undefiled 
If he had stabbed her, even as she smiled ! 

**Jjo\ the first taint of canker in the rose — 
Lo! the first gall and wormwood in the draught! 
First rankling of a wound no more to close — 
First random piercing of an aimless shaft ! — 
What thoughts within Fietra's breast arose ! 
His Aneel shuddered, and his Denon l aug h ed— 
Laughed to behold the busy hand of sin 
Alr^y shaping its own hell within! 

** Sternly he sullened on their homeward way — 
Sternly he sullened to their chamber^oor — 
Sternly he left Madonna there — a prey 
To many a bitter pang unfelt before : 
Alone he left her — and alone she lay, 
Wondering and weeping all this strangeness o*er— 
Wondering and weeping — pouring sigh on sigh, 
And asking her deaf pillow * Why, oh why % ' 

** Wrong and Remorse her prescient heart foresaw, 
For well her country's "yellow plague" she knew; 
Though, as a gem without a speck or flaw, 
She knew her own clear innocent spirit too : 
Sudden — a hand her curtain strove to draw — 
And, as she sprang to gaze on him who drew, 
A stem voice bade her * rise ! and quick prepare 
To journey with her Lonl — he knew not wnere.* 

** Stem was the bidding — stem ihe bidder's look: 
She gazed upon his race, and read therein 
AU cmel thoughts and deeds, as in a book; 
Little of mercy — much of wrath and sin : 
And while bis parting steps the chamber shook. 
All deadly white she grew, from brow to chin; 
And rose, the fearful mvstery to leara, 
And with dread haste obeyed the bidding stern. 

** As down some dusky stream a dving swan 
Creeps slow, slow down the marble stairs she crept, 
Shivering with icy terror, — and, anon, 
From out the portal's gloomy arch-way atept: 
There sat Pietra, staring spectral-wan. 
And ghastly motionless, as if he slept 
On his dark steed : another neighed before her. 
And to its saddle menial hands upbore her. 

" Why spake he not ? this dreadful silence why 1 
This timeless ride into the starless dark ? 
Vain questions all, that with imploring eye 
Vainly she asked — for there was none to mark; — 
And like to one who under stormiest sky 
Puts forth on ocean in a crazy bark. 
She felt, when, almost ere her lips could say 
'O God !* the dark steeds sprang away — away ! ** 

This is but prelude to a mournful journal of the transfer to 
the tower in the middle of the fatal marsh of Maremma, and the 

960 Short Eem€um and Ifatdcei. [Jnae, 

dow wasting of the imiooent and lovely Vktim under the insidioas 
poison of malaria, and the stonj silence of the preternatural, inhu- 
man vengeance of the husband, who came every day to see her 

** And, while the suppliant wept and prayed apart, 
Held him inexoraDlj silent still : 
Raising her hot and streaming eyes anon, 
The si&nUj-implaoaUe was gone. 

" Oofia-oaad no wocd : and thus, all stemlj dumb, 
Daily, for months, her prison to and fro 
Implacable in sileaoe did he oome, 
Implacable in silence did he go: 
Oh ! list, poor victim ! list the bittern's ham, 
List to the sullen winds without that blow. 
List to whate*er drear voice comes o*er the fen-— 
Pietra's voice thoul't never list agun I ** 

** Oh steraeat gaoler that did ev«r jet 
Gase upon martyred sweetness, valtnre-eyed 1— 
Daily her miserable food he set— 
With his own hand, and trusted none beside: — 
And dailj thus, all wretchedness, they met. 
And daily thus they withered and they died;— 
For soon, on both, the pestilential air 
Of the ^^Euiemma worked like poison there. 

** Chiefly on Air : the oil of her sweet lamp 
With speedier ruin wasted : lip and cheek ' ' 

Hollowed and thinned, — and the eternal damp 
Breathed from that fenny ocean wide and bleak 
Filled her with palsying rheum, and ache and cran^ ; 
Gave to her pallid brow a deathlier streak, 
And to her eye that drear and ominous light 
Which dimly beacons the long ceaseless night I 

" Oh ! then, the banquet of avenging ill 
The aveneer saw and felt was spreading fiut I 
And RetfiDution's fiery hand should fill 
Her ' cup of trembling ' to the brim at last I — 
tU saw ner drooping — withering — sickening still, 
And ghostlier looking every day that passed ; 
And, with a stem vindictive patience, hore 
Himself, disease unfeared, unfelt before." 

All this is very powerfully told, and there is not wanting a halo 
of high spiritual beauty about the portrait of the sufferer, to re- 
lieve the natural horrors of the sacrifice. The poet employs one 
little trick of euphony a great deal, and not without a musical 
effect It is what would be called, in musical composition, the 
imitation of passages or phrases. That is, the echoing in the next 
line of a form of words from the line preceding, or from the first 
to the last half of the same line ; and this sometimes in the direct, 
sometimes in the inverted or reflected order ; which gives a unity 
and compactness to the stanza, rhythmically considered, like the 
continual repetition of the same little motive in a good piece of 

1849.] Short Beviews and Notices. 861 

music I^erfaaps he carries it too far for poetry. Here are in* 

** I pan thai raptwra — for theu rapturtt poMod: 
Oh ! then the cAoiigc/— and now the cnangi I teU." 

" Bat, midway, on the right, like some Umt isle 
In a lone lake, a lonefy tower she saw — 
Lontbf and dark,** &c. 

** Their gloomy pathway ghcmUr shadows cast" 

" And from the bUak sky to the bleaker shore.** 

And so repeatedly. Sometimes the imitation runs all through a 
stanza, as in the following, which is very graphic : 

" Thither she dragged — and saw the fenny grass 
SulUfdy wave o^ all that ndlen lea; 
And heard the bittern boon in the morass, 
And saw the wild-swan harrying to the sea; 
And dreary gleams, and drearier shadows, pass 
O'er lonely wilds that lonelier ooald not be : 
And then she tamed, all kopdeeeneee, within, 
And felt that all was kopdetly akin.''^ 

This is like Spenser: 

** The wretched porter of those wretched stones, 
He who thus opened, was a si^t to see 1 
The flesh had pined so from his starting bonee 
That like a living skeleton was he: 
His breath was a mixed thing of gasps and moans, 
And old ere middle age he seem^ to be: 
Blear-eyed he was, and vext with ache and cramp, 
Fed erermore by that pemidoos swamp.** 

We have not room to go into any critical invoice of the minor 
poems which fill out the volumes. They are of every variety, in 
form and subject, though mostly of the kind called ^ occasional 

S)ems." Amone the best are the ^ fipithalamium," the ^ Lover^s 
hapeody,'' {t^a la Wordsworth,) and ^'Pale Student." Many 
are written for music, but they are not simple enough for that ; 
the words should simply hint the theme, if music is to develop it. 
A tendency to too great copiousness of words is frequently appar- 
ent, as, for instance, in the version of Goethe's *' Das EtumUin 
Wundertchdn** The sonnets are beautifully moulded, and have 
the poetic tone; but there is not always meaning enough in 
them. He justifies the form by prefixing to two separate batches 
of them Wordsworth's two sonnets, one quoting authorities from 
Shakspeare to Milton, and the other likening the sonnet to '* the 
prison, unto which we doom ourselves," and which, therefore, ^ no 
prison is." There is a disposition to support the right side in 
some humanitary questions, here and there, as in the condemna- 
tion of war in the ** Stanzas on Waterloo." We are sorry, how- 
ever, that the author should have deemed it necessary to add an 

862 Short Itetnewi and Nbtieei. [June^ 

apologetic note to prove his patriotic revereoce fbr the ^ Grkat 
Victor," the Duke of Wellington I 

We will end with a specimen of one style of poem, in which 
our author is perhaps as successful as in any other. 


"Pile ye the fa^ot-heap — 

Antamn is dead ! 
Winter, the idded, 

Reigns in his stead: 
Faster and faster 

Come, Ravage and Dearth I 
Winter, your roaster, 

Is lord of the earth ! 

" Spread we the feast— 

Bid the curtains be drawn — 
Twilight hath ceased, 

And *tis long to the dawn — 
Hark to the rising ^nst ! 

Hark to the rain ! 
Hark to the sleety shower 

Horled on the pane ! 

" Heap the hearth's splendour np — 

Hail to the blaze ! 
If we mutt render np 

Homage and pndse 
To the cold frozen one 

Nature obeys, 
Be thou our comforter. 

Shortest of days I 

"With a halo of glory, 

(As though 't were in soom 
Of Winter the hoarv,) 

Up-springeth thy mom ! 
Briefest of brief ones ! 

Thou yieldest a token 
OiM rod of the Tyrant 

Already is broken ! 

** The team to the shed. 

And the flock to the pen ^^ 
They know not the night-ware 

Is ebbing again ; 
But joy, joy, to your pillows, 

O children of men 1 
LiOHT*8 glorious billows 

Are Jlouring again ! 

** Dash the torch, and the taper, 

And the dim lamp, away— 
Through storm and through rapour 

Come, life-giving Day I 
Joy*s glance, with thv morrow, 

i»>r« joyous shall be, 
And the pale cheek of Sorrow 

Grow brighter for thee ! 

1849.] ShoH Bmnewi and Ifotice$. 863 

"ODwr! lovely Day! 

What a joy to perceive 
Thy earlier dawn, 

And thy lingering eve ! 
O L^t I lovely Light 1 

With thy heavenly ray 
Thon shalt scatter the might 

Of bleak Winter away ! "* 

2. — Die Gegenwart. IStes Heft. Leipzig. 1849. (GrafPel- 
legrino Boesi.) 

" Nemo contra Deum nisi Deus ipse.** These are words which 
none should more take to heart than those who undertake to rule 
the destinies of nations. The past year evinced their truth to near- 
ly all the rulers of Europe, and foremost of all to that class of poli- 
ticians and diplomatists, styled Doctrinaires, The man whose 
name we have placed at the head of these words, was the protdg6 
and adopted representative of the founders of this theory, and has 
fallen as its victim with the rest. Theories and systems, invented 
by men, if they do not go hand in hand with the supreme law and 
system, may apparently stand for a time, but it is only to fall the 

The idea of the ^ historical development " of nations is certain- 
ly beautiful to contemplate in the present and to trace in the past ; 
it inspires the beholder with a reverence and admiration propor- 
tionately greater than watching the development of the majestic 
oak from its living germ in the acorn to the extended branches of 
the full-grown tree aspiring to heaven. But if a man would un- 
dertake to guide and regulate the historical or progressive devel- 
opment of the tree, according to his own notion of the propriety 
of growth, he would soon see that his efforts were as ridiculous as 
that of the child we see trying to stop up a current with its tiny 
bands. The doctrinaire party in France and all the rest of Eu- 
rope, under whatever name they may parade their wisdom, were 
no wiser than such a man or such a child would be. 

To trace the life of one of these men who took an important 
part in the affairs of Europe, is of interest in more than one 
respect It must be allowed that men of the greatest talent and 
learning belonged to this school of doctrinaires, and, more than this, 
they behaved with energy, perseverance and sagacity to uphold 
and carry out their system. For this purpose they enlisted able 
men, wi&out distinction of country or nation, to work for their 
cause. Whilst we must admire and laud their zeal and exertions, 
we cannot but infer from this very fact that their system was a 

864 Short Eevietcs and Notieei. [June, 

false one, since it has failed and brought rain upon all its support- 
erS) in spite of the talent, the energy and sagacity enlisted in its 

The sketch of the life of Rossi which we give below, translated 
from the German, shows him to have been a man of transcendent 
talents, of firmness of purpose, and intelligent perseverance. Al- 
though we will not question his honesty in taking up the cause for 
which he labored, still his uprightness of character is made ques- 
tionable by the latter part of his career ; even if we make allow- 
ance for the helpless position in which he was placed through the 
overthrow of the throne of his patron Louis Philippe. To expect 
uprightness of character from a diplomatist and politician seems 
almost to be a paradox, but there is yet a difference between 
shrewd management in public negotiations and double dealing to 
suit the personal interest of a man. It is this last mentioned 
feature which we condemn in Rossi, and which, we think, brought 
his life to a violent end ; and while we execrate the assassin's 
hand that committed the bloody deed, we cannot but be reminded 
of the words of the poet : 

** m for ill waits ever retdy : 
On the g^il^poUated race 
Ketribntion tteals apace ; — 
Jove weighs all with balance steady." 

Among the statesmen, diplomatists and political adventurers 
whom the finger of 1848 has struck from the list of actors, we be- 
hold the figure of an Italian whose fate deserves our interest so mudi 
the more because talents and knowledge, strength of character and 
good will indeed qualified this man to enter in these new times 
npon a new and fruitful career. After having been an advocate 
and professor of law under the dominion of Napoleon, a respected 
professor and statesman in the Calvinist republic of Geneva, after 
the July revolution a prot^g^ of the French Doctrinaires, coun- 
cillor and ambassador of Louis Philippe with the prospect of taking 
the part of a Mazarin, and finally an Italian patriot, this Proteus- 
like character was on the point of recovering for the Pope his 
secular power, and through the ambiguous art of diplomacy of 
restoring to order the fates of Italy, when in the midst of anar- 
chy and political fanaticism, the hired blow of a bandit Imd him 
low. What vicissitudes of life I What a strength and versatility 
of character which came forth out of these phases, unimpaired in 
mind and body and with the capacity to undertake a new task I 

Pellegrino Lodovico Eduardo Rossi, afterwards Count and 
Peer of France, was born on the 18th of July. 1787, at Carrara in 
Modena, of bourgeois parents. He educated himself with extraor- 
dinary success to the learned studies, and in the University at Bo- 

1849.] ShoH RevUum mi N&Uce9. 865 

logna, at the i^ of Dineteen, took the degree of Doctor of Laws, 
and at the same time received the office of secretary to the Procara- 
tor Grenend of the court at that place. When a few years after- 
wards he was established as a practising lawyer, he proved a very 
adroit and successful advocate* His knowledge and his love of the 
French law, which at that time prevailed in the Italian peninsula, 
procured for him the professorship of criminal law and penal {m>- 
cedure at Bologna. At the Restoration in 1814» the new govern- 
ment gave him an office in the Commission of the Reorganization 
of Romagaa. However, in his political sentiments Rossi still ad- 
hered enthrely to the former enlightened French regime, and whea 
in the following year Joachim Murat took possession of the Papal 
state, he accepted from him the office of a civil commissary in the 
conquered provinces. This step was of course considered by the 
party of the Restoration as a political apostasy, so that Rossi, upon 
the expulsion of Murat, abandoned his professor's chair, and with 
many others of his countrymen sought for an asylum in Switzer- 
land, — Greneva. Without property and solely dependent upoa 
himself, he went fVom there to England to seek for a proper 
sphere of action, but in 1816 he returned to Geneva, where he gave 
private lectures on history, law, and political economy. He wrote 
at the same time for the '* Biblioth^ue Universelle," and uniting 
with Sismondi and the learned jurist Bello he edited the ^' Annales 
de legislation, de jurisprudence et d'^conomie politique, ** a work 
which was discontinued in 1821, because its editors would not 
submit to the censorship of the Holy Alliance. Rossi very soon 
gained the confidence and respect of the Greneva aristocracy. His 
enemies have alleged this as a proof of his chameleon-like charac- 
ter ; but Rossi's nature was quite suited to acquire influence in 
this circle without constraint or hypocrisy on his part. His grave, 
simple, but yet adroit deportment, his enlightened rationalism 
in politics, law, administration and religion, suited the Geneva 
bourgeoisie quite well, on whom the French Dootrinaireism of 
Guizot and Royer-Cotlard exercised great influence. 

In the year 1819, Rossi obtained the professor's chair of the 
Roman aad criminal law at Uie Geneva Academy, which gave 
him a much more elevated positton, although his pecuniary cir- 
csmstances were but slightly -improved. He married, at the same 
lime, iato a distiagnished family of the city. It was also at this 
time that he wrote his << Trait^ de droit p^nal," which was pub- 
Hshed at Paris in 1829, (8 vols.) and dedicated to the Duke de 
Broglie, who had various comrnontcations with Greneva, and had 
in this way become aequiunted with Rossi, and learned to esteem 
him. This work, which was intended to be only the introduction 
to a comprehensive work, exi^ains with great clearness the gen* 
eral principles of penal law, according to an enlightened and hiH 
aane system of ethics ; it insists on securing the interest of sode^ 

866 Short Eeviewi and Nbtiee$. [June, 

as well as that of the individual ; it rejects confiscation (as it still 
existed at that time in England) and severe incarceration, (sach 
as was practised in Austria,) but vindicates the right of capital 
punishment in a chapter which is instructive even now. However, 
Rossi confines the right of capital punishment to a few cases, and 
hopes, that with the improved state of morals it may be entirely 
stricken from the penal code. About the year 1820, the respected 
Professor received the right of citizenship of Geneva, and was 
chosen into the Great Council of the Republic, where he soon 
gained predominant infiuence, through his extensive knowledge and 
bis practical schemes of statesmanship. He pointed out, although 
with great moderation, the necessary reforms both of the separate 
Cantonal governments of the Swiss confederation, and of the fed- 
eral compact itself. It was also through his instrumentality that 
Greneva made some concessions to the democratic constitutional 
principle, at the time when the constitutions were revised before 
1830. Afler the French Revolution of 1830, when the political 
movements began to break out more violently also in Switzerland, 
and the liberals insisted upon a thorough reform of the fedend 
compact in favor of a greater federal union, Rossi was sent by 
Geneva as her envoy to the Diet which was to attend to the re- 
vision of the confederation. Here, through his extensive knowl- 
edge, as well as through the moderation with which he represented 
the policy of liberalism, and the idea of centralization, he soon 
gained an extraordinary infiuence, so that he was entrusted with 
making the report on the projected revision. In the scheme 
which Rossi hereupon laid before the Diet in the year 1832, and 
which is known in the political annals of Switzerland by the name 
of " pacte-Rossi," with great forbearance he endeavoured to 
strengthen the Swiss confederation. His plan was adopted by the 
Diet in December of 1832. Rossi had, in his plan of centraliza- 
tion, proceeded from the existing relations of things, and purpose- 
ly avoided all radical interference with the individual interests of 
the separate cantons ; the progressive modulation of the federal 
constitution, upon the basis of this first step, was to be left to the 
future. Notwithstanding this, the law of revision met with the 
greatest opposition on the part of the small cantons where the 
ultramontane party exerted itself to the utmost to retain the old 
cantonal state of things. The radical liberals were likewise dis- 
satisfied with the work of Rossi. Under these auspices the 
revisionary law was submitted to the separate communes for rati- 
fication, and rejected by a majority of the Swiss people, in conse- 
quence of the combined exertions of the ultramontanes, the old 
aristocracy and the radical reformers. 

Rossi had, through his labors at the Diet, learned to know his 
strength ; but, at the same time, contracted a decided aversion to 
the petty party intrigues which pervaded the political life in 

1849.] Short lUmewB and Notices. 867 

Switserland, particalarlj at that time. This, and the circumstance 
that his salary as Professor at Greneva was hardly sufficient to se- 
cure a support for his young family, induced him to think of obtain- 
ing another sphere of action. Being sent by the Diet to Paris to 
regulate the affairs of the Polish emigrants, he came into intimate 
relations with the doctrinaire-ministers, Broglie and Guizot, and 
he made use of this acquaintance to enter into the service of the 
French state. Both parties originally intended to secure for the 
Geneva professor only a French office of instruction, as his views 
and education coincided with the political doctrinaire principles of 
those men. Rossi accordingly emigrated to France in the year 

1883, and established himself at Paris. The ministry intended 
to establish for its prot^g^ a professorship of French constitutional 
law, which was then not taught in the law school ; but Rossi saw 
more clearly than his patrons, what powerful obstacles a foreigner 
must meet with in this field, and how much his success and the 
support of his family in general would be endangered, if the cham- 
ber, in view of the intentions of the government, should reject the 
establishment of this professorship. He, therefore, did not enter 
for the time, upon this project ; he received, however, in August, 

1884, through ministerial intercession^ the chair of the Professor 
of Political Economy at the College de France, which had become 
vacant through the death of Say. He was naturalized at the 
same time, (August 28.) Although Rossi was perfectly able to 
do justice to his science and the office, still there were also obsta- 
cles in his way, which, however, he succeeded in overcoming, by 
extraordinary perseverance and skill. The name of his distin- 
guished predecessor, and his manner of lecturing, which had been 
rather attractive through its brilliancy, than scientifically instruc- 
tive, had rendered the lecture room of political economy in the 
College de France, the rendezvous of a host of scientific dillet- 
tanti, who belonged but in part to the studious youth, and derived 
nothing therefrom but a brilliant entertainment. Rossi, on the 
contrary, who, moreover, had no creative talent for the science, had 
to confine himself — and this was to the great advantage of the 
object of instruction — to the strict explanation of the scientific 
principles of his system ; nor was he able, being a foreigner, to 
lend charms to his subject through a vivid and brilliant style. He 
explained the problems of political economy with great clearness 
and consistency ; but he spoke ader the Italian fashion, methodi- 
cally, slowly, and with a foreign accent Ai\er the very first 
lectures, the crowd of hearers had for ever vanished ; only about 
one ^hundred zealous students remained, who were willing to be 
thoroughly instructed in this science by the able teacher. Among 
them there were some men who have since distinguished them- 
selves as practical and theoretical economists, and who openly 
<leclare, that Rossi's labors at the College de France have put 
this science upon a decidedly firm basis in France. 

868 ShoH Rmew and Nodees. [Jiint, 

After Boss! had entered apon his office as teadier, the mdvei^- 
eitj appointed him, a few months afterwards, temporal^ professor 
of Constitutional Law in the law school of Paris. If his appoinl- 
ment in the CoU^ de France had excited the indignation of the 
opponents of the government, the opposition press now protested 
in full chorus against this second nomination, and the students 
were also drawn into this party strife. Nohodj could dispute 
the capacity of Rossi for this new professorship ; he was disliked 
only because he was a foreigner, and the special prot^g^ of the 
domineering doctrinaires. The students alleged as a special reason 
— his not having taken the academic degree in the University of 
Paris. Numbers of students and others forced their way, several 
times, into the hall of the law school, where the persecuted man 
lectured, and made such a tumult, that the public authority had to 
interfere, and the government was obliged, in December, 1834, to 
discontinue the lectures for some time. It was only after several 
months that the patience and firmness of Rossi sooceeded in ob- 
taining an undisturbed hearing before the students, and in course 
of time in securing, at least in part, even their attachment. How- 
ever, it was not till the dOth of November, 1837, that an ordinance 
made his temporary appointment in the law school permanent. 
A portion of his lectures on political economy in the Coll^ de 
France was published from the notes taken by one of his hearers, 
Torree, under the title of " Cours d'^conomie politique," (Paris, 
1840 ; 2d ed., 1846.) Rossi proves himself by this work to be a 
lucid expounder and clever eclectic in the department of Political 
Economy. He demands a free course for labor, capital, and 
trade. Respecting his views on the land rent, he inclines to 
Ricardo ; but in his theory of population to Malthus. This latter 
view is still more apparent in his other work, elucidating the 
principles of the British economist : ^ Introduction k Tessai sur le 
principe de population de Malthus," which is contained in the 
seventh part of the " Collection des principaux ^nomistee." In 
the year 1838, Rossi, who had now gradually gained considerable 
respect among the scholars at Paris, was chosen member of the 
Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, and he received at the 
same time, the '* grandes lettres de naturalization." Of his works 
in the Academy, a memoir on the relations of political economy to 
the institutes of the civil law is well known. 

The warm recommendations of Guizot and Broglie,a8 well as the 
writings which he had from time to time published in the '* Revue 
des deux mondes," and other government organs, had already 
procured for him the decided favor of the court Louis Philippe 
saw in the adroit and talented Italian a man whom he might use 
for something greater than a teacher of the ministerial doctrine. 
Therefore, in 1839, when many peers were created, Rossi was also 
put upon the list, and this elevation was to be only the prelude to 

1849.] Shcrt Reviewi and Notices. 869 

the new career which the king himself intended to open for his 
favorite. The active influence of Rossi in the chamber of Peers 
was, probably intentionallj, very limited ; he spoke but a few 
times, namely, during the debates on the banking privilege, and 
afterwards during the dispute regarding public instruction. In 
short, after having been created Peer, Bossi resigned the offices of 
instructor in the law school, and the College de France, (where 
Chevalier succeeded him) ; and instead of it, he was at once ad- 
mitted (in 1840) into the council of state, where he was at first 
assigned to the department of instruction, and some time after to 
that of foreign affairs. It is indeed remarkable how soon Rossi, 
in this position, stood in the most confidential relation to the king, 
and how he must have penetrated into all the plans and designs of 
the court, and have been consulted regarding them. His frequent 
and personal intercourse with Louis Philippe displeased even the 
faithful and indefatigable Gnizot, who began to fear, and not with- 
out reason, that the Italian might, sooner or later, overshadow and 
displace him. Notwithstanding his relations to the court and to 
the Doctrinaires, notwithstanding his stiff and uninteresting ex- 
ternal deportment, which still reminded one of Geneva puritan- 
ism, and denoted the party-type of the men who had elevated him, 
Rossi succeeded in putting himself in a tolerably good understand- 
ing with the other public parties and their tendencies. The le- 
gitimists alone reviled and rejected him, called him a renegade 
and similar names, because he did not care to trouble him- 
self about ** these people without a future.** But with the repub- 
licans and radicals he was not out of favor, and was even praised 
several times in the ^ National." The opposition entertained the 
conviction, that the adroitness and perseverance of the Italian 
might perhaps lead to the undermining and overthrow of the hated 
Doctrinaire party, and that according to several expressions, ap- 
parently unguardedly made, he concealed an opinion, the develop- 
ment of which might, one day, undeceive his protectors. The 
clergy did not look upon Rossi with unfavorable eyes. As citizen 
of Geneva, and husband to a Protestant wife, he had had his 
children educated in Calvinism ; but in France the shrewd roan 
cadsed his family to go over to Catholicism. During the dispute 
on the educational question, between the university and clergy, 
Rossi had spoken in the chamber of Peers in such a manner that 
he did not offend, in fact, any party, but to a certain degree satis- 
fied them both. The ultramontane party already fancied that they 
saw in him a possible ally. 

This extreme adroitness which Rossi displayed in the debates 
on ecclesiastical and religious affairs, determined Louis Philippe, 
at last, to make a decided use of the virtuoso powers of his confi- 
dant, intending through his agency to make a final settlement of 
the ecdesiastical questions then pending between France and the 

NO. VII. 26 

870 Shoft Rmm$ and NoUeei. [Jum, 

Papal See, and thus to restore peace between the two parties. Ib 
the beginning of the year 1845, when the breach between the 
Church and State showed itself more dangerous than ever, Ros^ 
was appointed Minister Extraordinary to Rome ; it was given out 
that he was to conduct the embassy at Rome ad interim, in place 
of the sick Count Latour Maubourg. The French legitimists at 
Rome protested against it in vain. Ouizot likewise found him- 
self quite severely treated by the appmntment of Rossi, which had 
been made without his wishes and knowledge. Guizot had selected 
for the post at Rome Count Bois-le-Comte, who was acceptable 
to both the party of legitimists and that of the priests, and he was 
already on his journey to Paris, from Switzerland, where he rep- 
resented the French interest, when Rossi informed the minister 
that he himsdf should go to Rome, according to the will of the 
king. Rossi actually entered upon his mission at the end of Feb- 
ruary, 1845 ; he received an open commission to bring to a definite 
settlement with Gregory XVI. the dispute about the liberty of 
instruction, and the relation of French prelates to the power of the 
state. The latter point had reference to the mandate of Bishop 
Bonald, which encroached dangerously upon the province of the 
state. At Rome Rossi showed his Italian character to its full ex- 
tent ; he spoke like a native, and succeeded in gaining confidence 
for himself. It was, however, asserted that he would have effect- 
ed nothing, in spite of all this, if he had not been aided by the 
storm, (and this was, perhaps, purposely excited,) which Thiers 
called forth in France by his speech in the Chamber against the 
extension of the order of Jesuits on French soil. Rossi shrewdly 
made a handle of it, and succeeded in obtaining in this affair a 
concession, although it was doubtful and disputed. At the begin- 
ning of July the French papers stated that the intelligence, calm- 
ness, and perseverance of Rossi had succeeded in concludiiig the 
preliminaries of a treaty with the Papal See, according to which 
the society of Jesuits was abolished in France, the houses of the 
order must be closed, and the novices absolved. This pretended 
victory occurred at the same time with the negotiations now hap- 
pily finished, regarding the right of search, with the cabinet at 
London, and were made the most of by the court and government, 
to gain favor with the public. The " Constitutionnel," "National," 
and the press of the government united in extolling the talent of 

The ultramontane and legitimist papers only, from revenge, 
pointed at the utter insignificance and even the disgrace of such 
a victory ; they declared that the government, acconding to exist- 
ing laws, had already not only the right but also that it was their 
duty to expel the Jesuits, and that the applications made to Rome 
for the abolition of the order proved the weakness and want of 
conscience of the government. These papers also maintained that 

1849.] ShaH Beview$ and N»tice$. 871 

Sosai himself had not been able to obtain anything from the Pope ; 
and onlj the General of the Jesuits bad, from a consideratioD of 
the circumstances, consented to dissolve the order in France for 
the time. 

Notwithstanding the dispute which at the same time took place 
about the talents and merits of Rossi, his influence was more firmlj 
^established in France, and in the diplomatic world, and every 
body was convinced that a portefeuille as minister awaited the 
adroit and firm Italian at the hands of Louis Philippe. Guizot 
seemed to have broken with him ; but still he enjoyed the sincere 
favor of the Due de Broglie. In spite of the objections of the 
legitimists, Rossi received, in May, 1846, a definite appointment, 
being raised to the rank of ambassador at the Vatican and to that 
of a French count. The death of Gregory XVI., (1st of June,) 
the election of Pius IX., towards which he had contributed a great 
deal, according to his own statement, the reform movements and 
the new political constellation which began with this election — all 
these increased the importance of Rossi*s position, and the value 
which his adroit mind had in the eyes of the king of the French. 
And certainly none of the ministers of Louis Phi&ppe was so well 
fitted as he, through the virtuoso skill of diplomatic intrigue, to 
manage the so-called ^ juste milieu " of the master, now at the right 
time to go onward, and now at the decisive turning point to stop, 
and, without being noticed, to take a new direction ; Rossi, who at 
first boasted of having led the papal state upon the path of reform, 
understood how to interfere with skill when the consequences of 
these first steps of Pius IX. were developed, and to bring France 
nearer to the policy of Austria. This ambiguous deportment, 
adapted to the plan of Louis Philippe, brought upon him, even 
then, the hatred of the Italian patriots. But besides this, he gave 
the Vatican moderate counsels and succeeded in inducing a court 
to delay its action in the Swiss disturbances. This was indeed 
well adapted to the policy of peace and compromise, but it did 
not at all satisfy the ultramontane party. Although in these 
extremely intricate relations Rossi sustained his reputation as a 
subtle and extremely clever diplomatist, /yet neither his art nor 
the general policy of Louis Philippe could arrest the natural 
course of things in Italy and in Switzerland. It has been said 
that Rossi had been selected by Louis Philippe to take the part 
of a Mazarin in France after the death of the king, and at the 
head of the regency to guide his grandson and the Orleans dynas- 
ty through the storm of internal insurrection. Rossi was no doubt 
possessed of the pliability, subtleness, and perseverance of that 
Italian. However, it may be doubted whether these qualities 
would have been sufficient to allay the political fermentation of 
France at the present day. The very fact that Rossi was a for- 
eigner would have prevented him from being put at the head of 

872 Short Iteviewt and Noiieei. [Jane, 

a French regency. That Boss! had no firm bold either on the 
public opinion of France or on that of Rome, is shown bj his 
total downfall as soon as the Orleans djnastj in France was over- 
thrown. Immediately after the events of February, 1848, he 
found himself deserted and unnoticed, and was obliged to give 
way at once to D'Acourt, the ambassador of the Republic. 

What was now to be done; whither was R(Msi to go, to 
undertake a new stage-part, that he might secure subsistence 
for a large family ? At Rome, the parties despised him ; there 
was no prospect of a career for him there. He went to Carrara, 
and came out of his chrysalis an Italian patriot His country- 
men received him gladly, naturalized him, elected him, and we 
may, perhaps, believe it is true that the adventurer embraced 
with sincerity the cause of his native country. However, the 
victories of Radetzky, and the return of the Duke of Modena, 
soon drove him from his popular position. He was obliged to 
flee back to Rome, where the parties derided his downfall and his 
fate. Rossi encountered his misfortune with all the perseverance 
and tenacity of his natural disposition. He succeeded in winning the 
ear of the Pope — to whom he had so often given wise counsel — 
and, through the press, in presenting himself to the people as the 
unavoidable future minister, as often as the helpless rulers of the 
papal state changed or were about to change ; one might read in 
the papers, that Rossi was the roan who could save the state out 
of the breakers. This was said when Mamiani was put at the 
head of affairs, and the same was repeated when the ministry of 
Fabbri was formed. But nobody believed that Rossi had been 
selected for that work; on the contrary, his exertions were 
ridiculed in caricatures and pamphlets. In the mean time, the 
embarrassments of Pius IX. and the general distraction of afiairs 
increased from day to day in the papal state. Fabbri had dis- 
solved the chamber, which was to be called together again ; the 
financial distress was great ; entire anarchy prevailed in the north- 
em provinces (Legations) ; Cavaignac refused to interfere and 
restore order in the Papal state; the so-called patriots cried 
Treachery, openly threatened the overthrow of the government, 
and demanded war with Austria. In this distress, the Pope 
sought help from Rossi. The clergy and reactionary party 
acknowledged the great talent of the man, and recollected that as 
minister of Louis Philippe, he had acted with success and mode- 
ration ; but the daily press attacked him vrith revilings and exe- 
crations ; the so-called patriots declared that the ministry of Rossi 
would be fatal to the cause of liberty. Rossi promised the Pope 
to restore order in the Papal state, without force or foreign assist- 
ance, and to bring even Italy out of the crisis, by way of diplo- 
macy. He declared openly, that the independence and greatiiess 
of Italy should be the only aim in his negotiations. 

On the 18th of September, 1848, the ministry of Rossi came 

1849.] Short Bevieios and Notices. 8T8 

into being. Bossi himself took the department of the Interior, 
and then, provisionally, that of the Police and Finance, — a great 
power in the Papal state ; but, at the same time, a still greater 
responsibility. Cardinal Soglia took the Presidency and Foreign 
Affairs; Cardinal Yizzardelli, Instruction; Advocate Cicognani, 
Justice ; Professor Montanari, the Public Works ; and the Duke 
de Rignano, ad interim, the war department. Again the radicals 
raised a cry about reaction, because the clergy was again taking 
part in the administration. Rossi, however, did not suffer himself 
to be disturbed ; he began in connection with his colleagues to 
tighten the reins in all the branches of government, and showed 
that the question was not about one-sided reaction, but about 
restoring order. In order to reanimate trade, the first measure 
was to repeal the prohibition of the exportation of money. Shortly 
after he enforced an old law respecting the freedom of exhibiting 
pictures, by which he suppressed the great nuisance of carica- 
tures. Towards the end of September, he summoned the Prince 
Canino before him, reproved his anarchical conduct, produced be- 
fore him written proofs, and dismissed him with menacing admoni- 
tions. No doubt he had made thereby a mortal enemy. An 
ordinance announced the establishment of telegraphic lines as the 
forerunner of railroads, but it was supposed the principal object of 
it was to accomplish the purposes of the police. Other decrees 
founded professorships of political economy and agriculture in the 
universities at Bologna and Rome. The anarchical little bands of 
volunteers who had returned to Rome after the capitulation at 
Vicenza, were sent to the north and east, and the capital was pro- 
vided with a garrison of troops of the line. However, Rossi induced 
the Pope to ratify the pensions which had before been promised 
to the wounded and disabled volunteers, and to the families of the 
killed. Although the Pope had given his declaration that the war 
against Austria had been undertaken without his consent, Rossi, 
in order to gaip confidence with the radicals, called upon the cler- 
ical and church prebendaries to pay the sum of 200,000 scudi, to 
liquidate the debts made by the liberal ministers for the cause of 
independence. However, Rossi could not deceive the radicals, 
who loudly demanded war against Austria, by this step, nor by 
sending money to Venice, and calling upon the trading classes to 
furnish the government with articles of equipment, drums, etc 
On the contrary, the clergy became alarmed through this demand 
of money. As they generally feared an attack on the part of the 
minister, upon the extensive church property, they voluntarily 
offered the payment of 4,000,000 of scudi, in fifteen yearly in- 
stalments, but on condition that the property of the church should 
remain untouched. But Rossi was too good an arithmetician ; 
he knew that the property of the church amounted to 60,000,000 
of scudi, whilst the State debt was 37,000,000. He received the 
proposition coldly, and thereby confirming hb intentions against 

874 Short RevietJOi and Notices. [June, 

the church property, he brought upon himself the hatred and 
enmity of the only party that had entertained hopes from his rule, 
Rossi acted with great energy in clearing the provinces of the 
many vagabonds and bands of thieves and murderers, who^ 
in the midst of anarchy, had increased to an incredible extent, 
and who did not suffer the people to rest. One province after 
another was cleared by the gensd'armes. 

About the end of October General Zochi took the department 
of War, and he likewise tried to introduce strictness and order into 
the army and military administration. In the mean time bands 
of volunteers had collected on the northern boundary and on their 
own account threatened to commence war with Austria. At Bo* 
logna the disorganization of all public authority continually became 
more and more complete; Zuchi hastened to the scene of anarchy, 
disarmed the volunteers, in the night of the sixth of November 
made search for the arms hidden in the houses at Bologna, and 
threatened the refractory people with military law. These meas* 
nres called forth the bitterest feelings among the radicals and patri- 
ots who had been excited by the tidings of. the events at Vienna ; 
they believed that Rossi, who himself was earnestly engaged in 
reorganizing the body of gensd*armes, intended to disarm the peo- 
ple in order to deliver them defenceless into slavery. The sup- 
position that the minister was treating with Austria and Naples, 
gave reason for the supposition that he had engaged through a 
plot of the cabinet to betray and stifle the general exertions of 
Italy for freedom. The ne plus ultra press at Rome pretended 
that it knew of an alliance even with Russia, and in the " Circolo 
populare,** the most violent and numerous club of the people at 
Kome, they spoke of the denaturalized son of Italy. In this state 
of feeling the chamber was to be reopened on the 13th ofNo- 
Tember. Rossi was indifferent to what was going on, because 
through his 1,000 gensd'armes and 6,000 regular troops he felt 
himself strong against the radicals, and knew full well that the 
credulous and excitable multitude were only wrought up by a few 
fanatics. A few days before the opening of the chamber, the 
representative Sterbini abused him in the " Circolo populare ** 
and in the journal " Contemporaneo " in a manner which had 
heretofore been unheard of in Rome. According to his statement, 
Rossi was said to be still in communication with Guizot and 
Mettemich, and u[)on the expulsion of the Austrian minister from 
Rome, to have taken this mission upon himself and faithfully dis- 
charged the same. He was furthermore charged with arbitrarily 
reducing the number of seats in the public gallery of the chamber 
of deputies from one thousand to a hundred, and this was cer- 
tainly the fact. He was accused of provoking disturbances for 
the purpose of putting Rome and the country in a state of siege. 
On the 13th of November four hundred carabinieri marched from 
the country into Rome, and the minister passed them in review 

1849.] ShoH Reviews and Notieu. 875 

<m Uie following day Id the closed coart of Belvedere, exhorting 
the troops to remain faithful to the Pope; this was likewise 
done with the police soldiers. On the same daj there appeared 
an article in the official " Gazetta de Roma," in which the public 
at least thought that the chamber of deputies and the national 
exertions were laughed at. No doubt anj attack of the govern- 
ment upon the chamber of deputies was very unwise. The ar- 
ticle, together with the charges made by Sterbini and the appear- 
ance of the carabinieri increased the exasperation of the fanatics 
and astounded even the more intelligent. The *' Civica " assem- 
bled and protested against the troops being drawn together. A 
general distrust of Rossi took possession of the public mind ; 
those deputies, also, who had heretofore been on the side of the 
ministers, resolved, in consequence of that article, to strengthen 
the ranks of the opposition. It was intended to compel Rossi to 
retire by withdrawing the support of the chambers from the gov- 
ernment, which was now feared, hated, or at least suspected by all 

However, the minister retained his self-confidence ; he had the 
conviction that he should overcome the distrust of the chamber 
through the development of his policy, and through his personal 
deportment obtain a majority. The opening of the chamber was 
looked forward to with the greatest anxiety. On the 14th of No- 
vember, Rossi was informed of a plot ; he paid no attention to it. 
The chamber assembled at the appointed hour, about one o'clock, 
on the 15th of November, in the palace of the Cancellaria, in a 
part of the upper story to which a staircase led from the court. 
At this same hour Rossi left the Pope, and drove a few minutes 
afterwards into the court of the Cancellaria, where the people 
received him with bowlings and hisses. He alighted, smiled sar- 
donically at this demonstration, and went, swinging his gloves, 
towards the staircase, which was filled with about thirty young 
men belonging to the volunteer corps of the " bersagUerC* (tirail- 
leurs). When Rossi reached the stairs, a passage was opened for 
him, but already on the first steps he was pushed one side. One 
of those that pushed gave him a violent blow upon the shoulder. 
Rossi raised his hand ; by this movement his neck was laid bare 
and extended. At this moment he received two thrusts with a 
dagger in his neck. He covered the wounds with his pocket 
handkerchief, ascended quietly a few more steps, and said to his 
eompanion, Righetti, the substitute of the finance department, '* It 
is nothing.*' Suddenly, however, he sat down, powerless. His 
servant carried him into the upper story, and placed him in an 
ante-chamber of the Cardinal Guzzoli, where, after breathing for a 
few minutes longer, he expired. Several civic guards who were 
on duty before the chamber, were witnesses of the proceeding 
from the top of the stairs, but did not interfere. The murderers 
withdrew sbwly, without any hindrance. The people received 

376 Shfn-t Review and Notices. [June, 

the news of this event coldly aod indifierentlj. The chamber of 
depaties, in which the places on the right were vacant with a few 
exceptions, did not suffer itself to be disturbed bj the news of the 
assassination of the minister, in the reading of the record of the 
last session in August. The roll having been called, the president 
declared that no quorum was present for the transaction of busir 
ness, and all withdrew in silence. 

The bandit who struck the blow, at the instigation of a conspir- 
acy formed a few days before, was named Jergo. It was said that 
he was paid 12,000 scudi for the bloody deed. Great suspicion 
fell upon the deputy Pietro Sterbini ; nobody troubled himself, 
however, to pursue the murderers. The ministry was dissolved^ 
and the director of the police of the city withdrew. At first it 
appeared as if the fanatics would content themselves with the as- 
sassination of Rossi ; a revolution had not been prepared. Hand- 
bilb, quickly spread by the radicals, called for a demonstration in 
the evening against the retrograde party ; and then the tumult 
followed which led, on the following day, to the attack upon the 
Quirinal, and to the popular ministry of Qaletti. On the evening 
of the 24th, Pius IX. fied from Rome to Civita Yecchia, and 
from thence to Gaeta. The French ambassador took care of the 
family of Rossi, his wife, children, and brothers, who had lost then* 
supporter. Only a portion of the Italian press expressed any 
horror at the crime, or lamented the loss of the man to the 
national cause ; the other papers palliated this murderous deed 
with religious and theatrical phrases, and praised it as a victory of 
the good cause of the nation. ^ The deed was done exactly upon 
the spot where Caesar was slain," said the Tuscan " Alba." With- 
in a few months ailer this deed the rumor was spread abroad that 
the murderer of Rossi had fallen by the same hand which paid 
him the price of blood, because it was feared he would disclose his 

8 — 1. Hin Foma logbdk Islendinga, sem ne/nist Jdmsida edr 
Hakonarbok. Codex Juris Mandorum antiquus, qui nomi* 
natur Jamsida seu Liber Haconis. Cum irUerpreUUiane Lati- 
no, etc. Haynls, Sumptibus Legati Amse Magns&anL 1 847. 
4to. pp.xLiY. and 291. 

2. Jslenzkir Anndlar, sive Annales hlandici ah anno Christi 
803 Oil annum 1403. Cum interpretatione LatinUj etc. Hav- 
NL£, Sumptibus Legati Arnss Magn»anl 1847. 4to. pp. l. 
and 478. 

Two new donations from the trustees of Amas Magnnsen's 
fund for the publication of documents relative to ancient Scandi- 
navian history. The first, the Jdrndda^ or '* Ironside,*' is an old 

1849.] Sluni Beviews and Notices 877 

Icelandic code of laws, published there about 1271 ; not the oldest, 
however, for the " Gray-goose," which it succeeded, had been in 
force in the shape in which we now have it, for about a century 
and a half The publication of the Jamsida marks an important 
epoch in the history of Iceland, the epoch, namely, when the 
country, exhausted by the everlasting feuds of the petty chieftains 
among whom the island was parcelled out, fell into the power of 
Haoon the Old, of Norway. The ancient democracy which had 
flourished for 400 years, had become no longer democratic. Theo- 
retically, indeed, the freeholders were still all equal before the 
law, but there had grown up around each of the larger proprietors 
a crew of retainers whose unquestioning adherence enabled him 
to set the laws at defiance. The ancient code, tender of personal 
liberty, could do nothing in the last extremity but withdraw its 
protection from the offender. But if strong in the protection of 
his clan, and secure in his own district, he laughed at the outlaw- 
ry of the tribunals. In this state of things, the stem Norse indi- 
vidualism, unrestrained by the ties of commerce, or of a common 
danger from without, which in modem times, and in other coun- 
tries, have bound men together ; secure in its remote and icy home, 
and encouraged still farther by the isolating tendency of a pasto- 
ral life, received an extreme development, inconsistent with civil 
order. Every principle of cohesion being destroyed, the body pol- 
itic fell to pieces, not from an overwhelming force from without, 
but from an internal, organic disease. 

The name " Ironside," accordingly, (if not derived, as we might 
conjecture, from the binding of the book, as has been supposed in 
the case of the " Gray-goose,") probably betokens not any partic- 
ular severity (for notlung of the kind appears) of the code, but only 
the wincing of the haughty islanders at the first taste of a strong 
central government. Their old laws only regulated the practice of 
private revenge ; thus a murderer was prosecuted to outlawry, by 
the nearest relation of the slain. The inevitable law, that what- 
soever does not govern itself, must be ruled from without, — that 
within or without, a central principle must exist and govern ; this 
law, universal in the material and in the spiritual world, did not 
admit of an exception here. '' Life for life," says Strinnbolm ; 
<* the law could not as yet give, for only the serf could be punished 
in life or limb ; every judgment between free men was only a 
compromise — the law could do nothing except to fix legal forms 
for this." 

But now they heard for the first time, that " God has ordained 
two visible ministers of his divine religion and sacred law, that 
they should cause the good to enjoy justice, but should correct and 
punish the evil. Of these, one is the king, the other the bishop. 
The king is by Grod appointed to the civil command, to manage 
dvil affairs ; the bbhop to the spiritual, to oversee things spirituaL" 

378 Short Eevtews and Notieei. [June, 

Henceforth the transgressor was to be prosecuted by the king's 
attorney, who was to have the sentence executed, and receive 
part of the tines. Moreover, although some of the provisions of 
this code were taken from the " Gray^oose," yet by far the larger 
part is a mere transcript of the Norwegian laws, and thus doubt- 
less appeared more oppressive, merely from being new and foreign. 

Tbe Icelanders, from the first, made a great deal of complaint 
about it, and it was in fact abolished in about ten years, though 
probably rather on account of insufficiency, (for it is very short, 
and evidently a hasty production,) than for any change of policy 
in the Norwegian government, since the Jonsbok, which took its 
place, and which is still mostly in force, is, we believe, not more 
favorable to popular rights. 

Noticeable features, on a hasty perusal, are, the development 
of the jury of twelve sworn men, peers of the defendant, ( 7^/- 
tar eidr,) which is here used more frequently and for causes 
of less moment, and moreover for the assessment of damages 
in civil actions, as well as for criminal cases : — a provision for 
recovering costs in an action of debt ; ^* he shall have six ounces 
for the trouble of getting his due ; " — a prohibition to give cred- 
it to a married woman for goods, ''unless her husband have 
sent her to the ship or into the market to buy for the need of 
both," — it being the custom of the country for the merchants to 
put up booths on the beach, and sell from their ships. Stringent 
provisions are made against thefl, thus, " one who crawleth under 
people's cows, to drink their milk, is out of the protection of the 
law, and so if one shall go into a man's leek garden, or his 
angelica-garden ; though he be beaten, or the clothes taken off from 
him." Nevertheless, an exception is made in the case of extreme 
want. ^ None of us shall steal from another. But this is to be 
observed, that if a man steal meat, being unable to earn his liveli- 
hood, and thus help out his life, for hunger's sake, this is a theft 
which should by no means be punished." It is remarkable, by 
the bye, that the Icelanders long before this had provisions for 
the support of the helplessly poor. '^ Those men who persist in 
coming into companies of men unbidden of him who gives the feast, 
and obstinately sit there, although they be roughly cast out, or in 
anywise mishandled, are half-right men, (can recover but half 
damages,) and shall pay three marks to the King. This is so pro- 
vided, since many good men have taken harm and danger from 
their insolence." 

From a clause in the law of wrecks, &c., it would seem that 
the Icelanders were the first whale-fishers : '' If a dart be found 'm 
a whale, he shall keep the iron who dwells nearest." 

Although by no means so ancient as many of the northern 
codes, the Jdrnsida contains many of those terse alliterative sen- 
tences, which always attest a high antiquity, for instance, this in a 

1849.] ShoH BwiewM and Notices. 379 

provision against obstructing fish in tbeir ascent of rivers : << Free 
gate to Grod's gifts to the fells or to the fiord ;*' and this, in an ex- 
ception to a statute of limitation : '* For in salt lieth a suit when 
the suitors are competent." Elsewhere, " the fence is a peace^ 
maker among neighbours." 

The second in the annals of Iceland, from a. d. 803 to 1430. 
It is very much like the Anglo-Saxon chronicle ; a terse matter- 
of-fact record, kept probably at some monastery, or at all events 
by monks ; as is shown by the scraps of Latin interspersed, and the 
attention to news in the church. Its contents are thus summed up 
by the editor in the preface : *' the births, deaths, journeys, and 
changes in office of bishops, judges, and other public functionaries ; 
natural events, some common to many lands, such as comets, 
eclipses of the sun and moon ; others peculiar to this land, as 
earthquakes, volcanoes, severe or mild winters, scarcity of grain, 
pestilences among men and animals ; matters concerning foreign 
commerce, as shipwrecks, the departure and arrival of vessels ; and 
events in life, or of the common religion, as crimes and mbdeeds, 
dreams, fables of ghosts, and such like." 

On the first pages, mention is made of Ragnar Lodbrok, (Hairy- 
breeches,*) a Scandinavian King Arthur, to whom (as well as to 
Odin,) the origin of the jury of twelve men is ascribed, and many 
other miscellaneous exploits, some historical, some fabulous. Here 
is related the story of his unsuccessful expedition against King 
Helli or Halli of Scotland, in the year 715, in which he was taken 
prisoner, and thrown into a dungeon, where he was destroyed by 
snakes, bearing his fate with invincible stoicism, saying only in 
allusion to his sons at home, '^ the young pigs would squeal if they 
knew the fate of the boar." The news being brought to the sons, 
Ivar the Boneless did not stop playing ; Sigurd Snake-eye, who 
was carving his spear-handle, drove the spear-bead through his 
foot without observing it Biom was playing at dice ; he grasped 
the die with such force, that the blood burst from his hand. Then 
collecting their forces, they took signal revenge for the death of 
their father. 

Another theme is the gradual introduction of Christianity, 
about ▲. D. 1000. How Poppo the Bishop put on hot iron 
gauntlets without injury, whereupon multitudes were baptized, 
and the fiery ordeal substituted for the duel in judicial decisions. 
The old faith, however, still lingered for a long time in comers 
of the land ; in particular, the Icelanders were hard to wean from 
secret sacrifices, and the eating of horse-fiesh, and both continued 
to be practised hiddenly, (as the laws also attest) though for- 

* The Lotroc of the Romance de Ron, and Lothbroc of the EngliBh 

380 Short Beviewa and Notices. [June, 

bidden. Homicide is a frequently recurring item ; not many pages 
are without cases of it. Towards the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, we observe the advances of Norway. Gissur Thorvaldson 
(afterwards the King's lieutenant) comes over and receives a com- 
mand in the northern parts. What he did to make himself ob- 
noxious, unless his being in the Norwegian interest was known 
or suspected, is not discoverable ; but at all events, after the gen- 
uine Norse mode of redressing grievances, his house is surrounded 
and set on fire, and his wife, his three sons, and twenty-five other 
persons burned, he himself narrowly escaping into a butt of sour 
whey in the dailpy. Thereupon he goes to Norway again, but 
soon returns with the title of Jarl, doubtless a recompense for 
losses in the royal service. Soon afterwards, the Norwegian rule 
is acknowledged in the assemblies of one district af)er another. 

Great numbers of men and of cattle die of pestilences, particu- 
larly after hard winters, when the snows are deep, (for tbe cattle 
are kept out all winter,) or in cold summers when the hay crop 
fails. The small-pox appears several times; first in 1240. In 
1289, King £ric sends one Rolf to Iceland, " to seek the new 
land'' (letta NyjcUands). In 1379, it is recorded that "the 
Skrselings attacked the Greenlanders, and slew eighteen, and took 
two boys as slaves." 

Several outbursts of Heda ; as in 1300, when the roofs of houses 
were broken by the falling pumice stones, and ashes fell so thick 
that it was never darker of a ranter's night, and this for two days. 
In 1314, Audfin the Bishop put up the first skwe that had been 
seen in Iceland, and which is mentioned afterwards with respect 
in the annals. The bishops in general, were good to the poor, 
and in all things upright and useful men. Bishop Orm, however, 
was an exception ; he excited the ire of the people by heavy and 
unusual exactions, till they could bear it no longer, and so drove 
him off to Norway; and the other bishop going ofi* too, Iceland 
was for a while without any bishop. Towards the beginning of 
the fifteenth century, we find numbers of English fishermen on 
the Iceland coast. In 1417, twenty-five of their vessels were 
wrecked in one storm. On one oc