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Author: De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859
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Title: Theological Essays and Other Papers v2

Author: Thomas de Quincey

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THEOLOGICAL ESSAYS AND OTHER PAPERS

By THOMAS DE QUINCEY, AUTHOR OF

_'CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER,' ETC. ETC._

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.





CONTENTS



SECESSION FROM THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
TOILETTE OF THE HEBREW LADY
MILTON
CHARLEMAGNE
MODERN GREECE
LORD CARLISLE ON POPE




SECESSION FROM THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.

[1844.]



A great revolution has taken place in Scotland. A greater has been
threatened. Nor is that danger even yet certainly gone by. Upon the
accidents of such events as may arise for the next five years, whether
fitted or not fitted to revive discussions in which many of the
Non-seceders went in various degrees along with the Seceders, depends
the final (and, in a strict sense, the very awful) question, What is
to be the fate of the Scottish church? Lord Aberdeen's Act is well
qualified to tranquillize the agitations of that body; and at an earlier
stage, if not intercepted by Lord Melbourne, might have prevented them
in part. But Lord Aberdeen has no power to stifle a conflagration once
thoroughly kindled. That must depend in a great degree upon the
favorable aspect of events yet in the rear.

Meantime these great disturbances are not understood in England; and
chiefly from the differences between the two nations as to the language
of their several churches and law courts. The process of ordination
and induction is totally different under the different ecclesiastical
administrations of the two kingdoms. And the church courts of Scotland
do not exist in England. We write, therefore, with an express view to
the better information of England proper. And, with this purpose, we
shall lead the discussion through four capital questions:--

I. _What_ is it that has been done by the moving party?

II. _How_ was it done? By what agencies and influence?

III. What were the _immediate results_ of these acts?

IV. What are the _remote results_ yet to be apprehended?

I. First, then, WHAT _is it that has been done?_ Up to the month of
May in 1834, the fathers and brothers of the 'Kirk' were in harmony
as great as humanity can hope to see. Since May, 1834, the church has
been a fierce crater of volcanic agencies, throwing out of her bosom
one-third of her children; and these children are no sooner born into
their earthly atmosphere, than they turn, with unnatural passions, to
the destruction of their brethren. What can be the grounds upon which
an _acharnement_ so deadly has arisen?

It will read to the ears of a stranger almost as an experiment upon
his credulity, if we tell the simple truth. Being incredible, however,
it is not the less true; and, being monstrous, it will yet be recorded
in history, that the Scottish church has split into mortal feuds upon
two points absolutely without interest to the nation; first, upon a
demand for creating clergymen by a new process; secondly, upon a demand
for Papal latitude of jurisdiction. Even the order of succession in
these things is not without meaning. Had the second demand stood first,
it would have seemed possible that the two demands might have grown
up independently, and so far conscientiously. But, according to the
realities of the case, this is _not_ possible; the second demand grew
_out_ of the first. The interest of the Seceders, as locked up in their
earliest requisition, was that which prompted their second. Almost
everybody was contented with the existing mode of creating the pastoral
relation. Search through Christendom, lengthways and breadthways, there
was not a public usage, an institution, an economy, which more
profoundly slept in the sunshine of divine favor or of civil prosperity,
than the peculiar mode authorized and practised in Scotland of
appointing to every parish its several pastor. Here and there an
ultra-Presbyterian spirit might prompt a murmur against it. But the
wise and intelligent approved; and those who had the appropriate--that
is, the religious interest--confessed that it was practically successful.
From whom, then, came the attempt to change? Why, from those only who
had an alien interest, an indirect interest, an interest of ambition
in its subversion. As matters stood in the spring of 1834, the patron
of each benefice, acting under the severest restraints--restraints which
(if the church courts did their duty) left no room or possibility for
an unfit man to creep in--nominated the incumbent. In a spiritual sense,
the church had all power: by refusing, first of all, to '_license_'
unqualified persons; secondly, by refusing to '_admit_' out of these
licensed persons such as might have become warped from the proper standard
of pastoral fitness, the church had a negative voice, all-potential in
the creation of clergymen; the church could exclude whom she pleased.
But this contented her not. Simply to shut out was an ungracious office,
though mighty for the interests of orthodoxy through the land. The
children of this world, who became the agitators of the church, clamored
for something more. They desired for the church that she should become a
lady patroness; that she should give as well as take away; that she should
wield a sceptre, courted for its bounties, and not merely feared for its
austerities. Yet how should this be accomplished? Openly to translate
upon the church the present power of patrons--_that_ were too
revolutionary, that would have exposed its own object. For the present,
therefore, let this device prevail--let the power nominally be
transferred to congregations: let this be done upon the plea that each
congregation understands best what mode of ministrations tends to its
own edification. There lies the semblance of a Christian plea; the
congregation, it is said, has become anxious for itself; the church
has become anxious for the congregation. And then, if the translation
should be effected, the church has already devised a means for
appropriating the power which she has unsettled; for she limits this
power to the communicants at the sacramental table. Now, in Scotland,
though not in England, the character of communicant is notoriously
created or suspended by the clergyman of each parish; so that, by the
briefest of circuits, the church causes the power to revolve into her
own hands.

That was the first change--a change full of Jacobinism; and for which
to be published was to be denounced. It was necessary, therefore, to
place this Jacobin change upon a basis privileged from attack. How
should _that_ be done? The object was to create a new clerical power;
to shift the election of clergymen from the lay hands in which law and
usage had lodged it; and, under a plausible mask of making the election
popular, circuitously to make it ecclesiastical. Yet, if the existing
patrons of church benefices should see themselves suddenly denuded of
their rights, and within a year or two should see these rights settling
determinately into the hands of the clergy, the fraud, the fraudulent
purpose, and the fraudulent machinery, would have stood out in gross
proportions too palpably revealed. In this dilemma the reverend
agitators devised a second scheme. It was a scheme bearing triple
harvests; for, at one and the same time, it furnished the motive which
gave a constructive coherency and meaning to the original purpose, it
threw a solemn shadow over the rank worldliness of that purpose, and
it opened a diffusive tendency towards other purposes of the same
nature, as yet undeveloped. The device was this: in Scotland, as in
England, the total process by which a parish clergyman is created,
subdivides itself into several successive acts. The initial act belongs
to the patron of the benefice: he must '_present_;' that is, he notifies
the fact of his having conferred the benefice upon A B, to a public
body which officially takes cognizance of this act; and that body is,
not the particular parish concerned, but the presbytery of the district
in which the parish is seated. Thus far the steps, merely legal, of
the proceedings, were too definite to be easily disturbed. These steps
are sustained by Lord Aberdeen as realities, and even by the
Non-intrusionists were tolerated as formalities.

But at this point commence other steps not so rigorously defined by
law or usage, nor so absolutely within one uniform interpretation of
their value. In practice they had long sunk into forms. But ancient
forms easily lend themselves to a revivification by meanings and
applications, new or old, under the galvanism of democratic forces.
The disturbers of the church, passing by the act of 'presentation' as
an obstacle too formidable to be separately attacked on its own account,
made their stand upon one of the two acts which lie next in succession.
It is the regular routine, that the presbytery, having been warned of
the patron's appointment, and having 'received' (in technical language)
the presentee--that is, having formally recognised him in that
character--next appoint a day on which he is to preach before the
congregation. This sermon, together with the prayers by which it is
accompanied, constitute the probationary act according to some views;
but, according to the general theory, simply the inaugural act by which
the new pastor places himself officially before his future parishioners.
Decorum, and the sense of proportion, seem to require that to every
commencement of a very weighty relation, imposing new duties, there
should be a corresponding and ceremonial entrance. The new pastor,
until this public introduction, could not be legitimately assumed for
known to the parishioners. And accordingly at this point it was--viz.
subsequently to his authentic publication, as we may call it--that,
in the case of any grievous scandal known to the parish as outstanding
against him, arose the proper opportunity furnished by the church for
lodging the accusation, and for investigating it before the church
court. In default, however, of any grave objection to the presentee,
he was next summoned by the presbytery to what really _was_ a
probationary act at their bar; viz. an examination of his theological
sufficiency. But in this it could not be expected that he should fail,
because he must previously have satisfied the requisitions of the
church in his original examination for a license to preach. Once
dismissed with credit from this bar, he was now beyond all further
probation whatsoever; in technical phrase, he was entitled to
'admission.' Such were the steps, according to their orderly succession,
by which a man consummated the pastoral tie with any particular parish.
And all of these steps, subsequent to the '_reception_' and inaugural
preaching, were now summarily characterized by the revolutionists as
'spiritual;' for the sake of sequestering them into their own hands.
As to the initiatory act of presentation, _that_ might be secular, and
to be dealt with by a secular law. But the rest were acts which belonged
not to a kingdom of this world. 'These,' with a newborn scrupulosity
never heard of until the revolution of 1834, clamored for new
casuistries; 'these,' said the agitators, 'we cannot consent any longer
to leave in their state of collapse as mere inert or ceremonial forms.
They must be revivified. By all means, let the patron present as
heretofore. But the acts of "examination" and "admission," _together
with the power of altogether refusing to enter upon either,_ under a
protest against the candidate from a clear majority of the
parishioners--these are acts falling within the spiritual jurisdiction
of the church. And these powers we must, for the future, see exercised
according to spiritual views.'

Here, then, suddenly emerged a perfect ratification for their own
previous revolutionary doctrine upon the creation of parish clergymen.
This new scruple was, in relation to former scruples, a perfect
linch-pin for locking their machinery into cohesion. For vainly would
they have sought to defeat the patron's right of presenting, unless
through this sudden pause and interdict imposed upon the _latter_ acts
in the process of induction, under the pretext that these were acts
competent only to a spiritual jurisdiction. This plea, by its tendency,
rounded and secured all that they had yet advanced in the way of claim.
But, at the same time, though indispensable negatively, positively it
stretched so much further than any necessity or interest inherent in
their present innovations, that not improbably they faltered and shrank
back at first from the immeasurable field of consequences upon which
it opened. They would willingly have accepted less. But, unfortunately,
it sometimes happens, that, to gain as much as is needful in one
direction, you must take a great deal more than you wish for in another.
Any principle, which _could_ carry them over the immediate difficulty,
would, by a mere necessity, carry them incalculably beyond it. For if
every act bearing in any one direction a spiritual aspect, showing at
any angle a relation to spiritual things, is therefore to be held
spiritual in a sense excluding the interference of the civil power,
there falls to the ground at once the whole fabric of civil authority
in any independent form. Accordingly, we are satisfied that the claim
to a spiritual jurisdiction, in collision with the claims of the state,
would not probably have offered itself to the ambition of the agitators,
otherwise than as a measure ancillary to their earlier pretension of
appointing virtually all parish clergymen. The one claim was found to
be the integration or _sine qua non_ complement of the other. In order
to sustain the power of appointment in their own courts, it was
necessary that they should defeat the patron's power; and, in order
to defeat the patron's power, ranging itself (as sooner or later it
would) under the law of the land, it was necessary that they should
decline that struggle, by attempting to take the question out of all
secular jurisdictions whatever.

In this way grew up that twofold revolution which has been convulsing
the Scottish church since 1834; first, the audacious attempt to disturb
the settled mode of appointing the parish clergy, through a silent
robbery perpetrated on the crown and great landed aristocracy; secondly,
and in prosecution of that primary purpose, the far more frantic attempt
to renew in a practical shape the old disputes so often agitating the
forum of Christendom, as to the bounds of civil and spiritual power.

In our rehearsal of the stages through which the process of induction
ordinarily travels, we have purposely omitted one possible interlude
or parenthesis in the series; not as wishing to conceal it, but for
the very opposite reason. It is right to withdraw from a
_representative_ account of any transaction such varieties of the
routine as occur but seldom: in this way they are more pointedly
exposed. Now, having made that explanation, we go on to inform the
Southern reader--that an old traditionary usage has prevailed in
Scotland, but not systematically or uniformly, of sending to the
presentee, through the presbytery, what is designated a '_call_,'
subscribed by members of the parish congregation. This call is simply
an invitation to the office of their pastor. It arose in the disorders
of the seventeenth century; but in practice it is generally admitted
to have sunk into a mere formality throughout the eighteenth century;
and the very position which it holds in the succession of steps, not
usually coming forward until _after_ the presentation has been notified
(supposing that it comes forward at all), compels us to regard it in
that light. Apparently it bears the same relation to the patron's act
as the Address of the two Houses to the Speech from the Throne: it is
rather a courteous echo to the personal compliment involved in the
presentation, than capable of being regarded as any _original_ act of
invitation. And yet, in defiance of that notorious fact, some people
go so far as to assert, that a call is not good unless where it is
subscribed by a clear majority of the congregation. This is amusing.
We have already explained that, except as a liberal courtesy, the very
idea of a call destined to be inoperative, is and must be moonshine.
Yet between two moonshines, some people, it seems, can tell which is
the denser. We have all heard of Barmecide banquets, where, out of
tureens filled to the brim with--nothings the fortunate guest was
helped to vast messes of--air. For a hungry guest to take this
tantalization in good part, was the sure way to win the esteem of the
noble Barmecide. But the Barmecide himself would hardly approve of a
duel turning upon a comparison between two of his tureens, question
being--which had been the fuller, or of two nihilities which had been
seasoned the more judiciously. Yet this in effect is the reasoning of
those who say that a call, signed by fifty-one persons out of a hundred,
is more valid than another signed only by twenty-six, or by nobody;
it being in the mean time fully understood that neither is valid in
the least possible degree. But if the '_call_,' was a Barmecide call,
there was another act open to the congregation which was not so.

For the English reader must now understand, that over and above the
passive and less invidious mode of discountenancing or forbearing to
countenance a presentee, by withdrawing from the direct 'call' upon
him, usage has sanctioned another and stronger sort of protest; one
which takes the shape of distinct and clamorous _objections_. We are
speaking of the routine in this place, according to the course which
it _did_ travel or _could_ travel under that law and that practice
which furnished the pleas for complaint. Now, it was upon these
'objections,' as may well be supposed, that the main battle arose.
Simply to want the 'call,' being a mere _zero_, could not much lay
hold upon public feeling. It was a case not fitted for effect. You
cannot bring a blank privation strongly before the public eye. 'The
"call" did not take place last week;' well, perhaps it will take place
next week. Or again, if it should never take place, perhaps it may be
religious carelessness on the part of the parish. Many parishes
notoriously feel no interest in their pastor, except as a quiet member
of their community. Consequently, in two of three cases that might
occur, there was nothing to excite the public; the parish had either
agreed with the patron, or had not noticeably dissented. But in the
third case of positive 'objections,' which (in order to justify
themselves as not frivolous and vexatious) were urged with peculiar
emphasis, the attention of all men was arrested. Newspapers reverberated
the fact: sympathetic groans arose: the patron was an oppressor: the
parish was under persecution: and the poor clergyman, whose case was
the most to be pitied, as being in a measure _endowed_ with a lasting
fund of dislike, had the mortification to find, over and above this
resistance from within, that he bore the name of 'intruder' from
without. He was supposed by the fiction of the case to be in league
with his patron for the persecution of a godly parish; whilst in reality
the godly parish was persecuting _him_, and hallooing the world _ab
extra_ to join in the hunt.

In such cases of pretended objections to men who have not been tried,
we need scarcely tell the reader, that usually they are mere cabals
and worldly intrigues. It is next to impossible that any parish or
congregation should sincerely agree in their opinion of a clergyman.
What one man likes in such cases, another man detests. Mr. A., with
an ardent nature, and something of a histrionic turn, doats upon a
fine rhetorical display. Mr. B., with more simplicity of taste,
pronounces this little better than theatrical ostenostentation. Mr.
C. requires a good deal of critical scholarship, Mr. D quarrels with
this as unsuitable to a rustic congregation. Mrs. X., who is 'under
concern' for sin, demands a searching and (as she expresses it) a
'faithful' style of dealing with consciences. Mrs. Y., an aristocratic
lady, who cannot bear to be mixed up in any common charge together
with low people, abominates such words as 'sin,' and wills that the
parson should confine his 'observations' to the 'shocking demoralization
of the lower orders.'

Now, having stated the practice of Scottish induction as it was formerly
sustained in its first stage by law, in its second stage by usage, let
us finish that part of the subject by reporting the _existing_ practice
as regulated in all its stages by law. What law? The law as laid down
in Lord Aberdeen's late Act of Parliament. This statement should,
historically speaking, have found itself under our _third_ head, as
being one amongst the consequences immediately following the final
rupture. But it is better placed at this point; because it closes the
whole review of that topic; and because it reflects light upon the
former practice--the practice which led to the whole mutinous tumult:
every alteration forcing more keenly upon the reader's attention what
had been the previous custom, and in what respect it was held by any
man to be a grievance.

This act, then, of Lord Aberdeen's removes all _legal_ effect from the
'_call_.' Common sense required _that_. For what was to be done with
patronage? Was it to be sustained, or was it not? If not, then why
quarrel with the Non-intrusionists? Why suffer a schism to take place
in the church? Give legal effect to the 'call,' and the original cause
of quarrel is gone. For, with respect to the opponents of the
Non-intrusionists, _they_ would bow to the law. On the other hand, if
patronage _is_ to be sustained, then why allow of any lingering or
doubtful force to what must often operate as a conflicting claim? 'A
call,' which carries with it any legal force, annihilates patronage.
Patronage would thus be exercised only on sufferance. Do we mean then,
that a 'call' should sink into a pure fiction of ceremony, like the
English _conge-d'elire_ addressed to a dean and chapter, calling on
them to elect a bishop, when all the world knows that already the see
has been filled by a nomination from the crown? Not at all; a _moral_
weight will still attach to the 'call,' though no legal coercion: and
what is chiefly important, all those _doubts_ will be removed by express
legislation, which could not but arise between a practice pointing
sometimes in one direction, and sometimes in another, between legal
decisions again upholding one view, whilst something very like legal
prescription was occasionally pleaded for the other. Behold the evil
of written laws not rigorously in harmony with that sort of customary
law founded upon vague tradition or irregular practice. And here, by
the way, arises the place for explaining to the reader that
irreconcilable dispute amongst Parliamentary lawyers as to the question
whether Lord Aberdeen's bill were _enactory_, that is, created a new
law, or _declaratory_, that is, simply expounded an old one. If
enactory, then why did the House of Lords give judgment against those
who allowed weight to the 'call?' That might need altering; _that_
might be highly inexpedient; but if it required a new law to make it
illegal, how could those, parties be held in the wrong previously to
the new act of legislation? On the other hand, if declaratory, then
show us any old law which made the 'call' illegal. The fact is, that
no man can decide whether the act established a new law, or merely
expounded an old one. And the reason why he cannot, is this: the
practice, the usage, which often is the law, had grown up variously
during the troubles of the seventeenth century. In many places political
reasons had dictated that the elders should nominate the incumbent.
But the ancient practice had authorized patronage: by the act of Queen
Anne (10th chap.) it was even formally restored; and yet the patron
in known instances was said to have waived his right in deference to
the 'call.' But why? Did he do so in courteous compliance with the
parish, as a party whose _reasonable_ wishes ought, for the sake of
all parties, to meet with attention? Or did he do so, in humble
submission to the parish, as having by their majorities a legal right
to the presentation? There lay the question. The presumptions from
antiquity were all against the call. The more modern practice had
occasionally been _for_ it. Now, we all know how many colorable claims
of right are created by prescription. What was the exact force of the
'call,' no man could say. In like manner, the exact character and limit
of allowable objections had been ill-defined in practice, and rested
more on a vague tradition than on any settled rule. This also made it
hard to say whether Lord Aberdeen's Act were enactory or declaratory,
a predicament, however, which equally affects all statutes _for removing
doubts_.

The 'call,' then, we consider as no longer recognised by law. But did
Lord Aberdeen by that change establish the right of the patron as an
unconditional right? By no means. He made it strictly a conditional
right. The presentee is _now_ a candidate, and no more. He has the
most important vote in his favor, it is true; but that vote may still
be set aside, though still only with the effect of compelling the
patron to a new choice. '_Calls_' are no longer doubtful in their
meaning, but '_objections_' have a fair field laid open to them. All
reasonable objections are to be weighed. But who is to judge whether
they _are_ reasonable? The presbytery of the district. And now pursue
the action of the law, and see how little ground it leaves upon which
to hang a complaint. Everybody's rights are secured. Whatever be the
event, first of all the presentee cannot complain, if he is rejected
only for proved insufficiency. He is put on his trial as to these
points only: 1. Is he orthodox? 2. Is he of good moral reputation? 3.
Is he sufficiently learned? And note this (which in fact Sir James
Graham remarked in his official letter to the Assembly), strictly
speaking, he ought not to be under challenge as respects the third
point, for it is your own fault, the fault of your own licensing courts
(the presbyteries), if he is not qualified so far. You should not have
created him a licentiate, should not have given him a license to preach,
as must have been done in an earlier stage of his progress, if he were
not learned enough. Once learned, a man is learned for life. As to the
other points, he may change, and _therefore_ it is that an examination
is requisite. But how can _he_ complain if he is found by an impartial
court of venerable men objectionable on any score? If it were possible,
however, that he should be wronged, he has his appeal. Secondly, how
can the patron complain? _His_ case is the same as his presentee's
case; his injuries the same; his relief the same. Besides, if _his_
man is rejected, it is not the parish man that takes his place. No;
but a second man of his own choice: and, if again he chooses amiss,
who is to blame for _that_? Thirdly, can the congregation complain?
They have a _general_ interest in their spiritual guide. But as to the
preference for oratory--for loud or musical voice--for peculiar views
in religion--these things are special: they interest but an exceedingly
small minority in any parish; and, what is worse, that which pleases
one is often offensive to another. There are cases in which a parish
would reject a man for being a married man: some of the parish have
unmarried daughters. But this case clearly belongs to the small
minority; and we have little doubt that, where the objections lay 'for
cause not shown,' it was often for _this_ cause. Fourthly, can the
church complain? Her interest is represented, 1, not by the presentee;
2, not by the patron; 3, not by the congregation; but 4, by the
presbytery. And, whatever the presbytery say, _that_ is supported.
Speaking either for the patron, for the presentee, for the congregation,
or for themselves as conservators of the church, that court is heard;
what more would they have? And thus in turn every interest is protected.
Now the point to be remarked is-that each party in turn has a separate
influence. But on any other plan, giving to one party out of the four
an absolute or unconditional power, no matter which of the four it
be--all the rest have none at all. Lord Aberdeen has reconciled the
rights of patrons for the first time with those of all other parties
interested. Nobody has more than a conditional power. Everybody has
_that_. And the patron, as necessity requires, if property is to be
protected, has, in all circumstances, the revisionary power.

II. _Secondly_, How _were these things don?_? By what means were the
hands of any party strengthened, so as to find this revolution possible?

We seek not to refine; but all moral power issues out of moral forces.
And it may be well, therefore, rapidly to sketch the history of
religion, which is the greatest of moral forces, as it sank and rose
in this island through the last two hundred years.

It is well known that the two great revolutions of the seventeenth
century--that in 1649, accomplished by the Parliament armies (including
its reaction in 1660), and secondly, that in 1688-9--did much to
unsettle the religious tone of public morals. Historians and satirists
ascribe a large effect in this change to the personal influence of
Charles II., and the foreign character of his court. We do not share
in their views; and one eminent proof that they are wrong, lies in the
following fact--viz., that the sublimest act of self-sacrifice which
the world has ever seen, arose precisely in the most triumphant season
of Charles's career, a time when the reaction of hatred had not yet
neutralized the sunny joyousness of his Restoration. Surely the reader
cannot be at a loss to know what we mean--the renunciation in one hour,
on St. Bartholomew's Day in 1662, of two thousand benefices by the
nonconforming clergymen of England. In the same year, occurred a similar
renunciation of three hundred and sixty benefices in Scotland. These
great sacrifices, whether called for or not, argue a great strength
in the religious principle at that era. Yet the decay of external
religion towards the close of that century is proved incontestably.
We ourselves are inclined to charge this upon two causes; first, that
the times were controversial; and usually it happens--that, where too
much energy is carried into the controversies or intellectual part of
religion, a very diminished fervor attends the culture of its moral
and practical part. This was perhaps one reason; for the dispute with
the Papal church, partly, perhaps, with a secret reference to the
rumored apostasy of the royal family, was pursued more eagerly in the
latter half of the seventeenth than even in any section of the sixteenth
century. But, doubtless, the main reason was the revolutionary character
of the times. Morality is at all periods fearfully shaken by intestine
wars, and by instability in a government. The actual duration of war
in England was not indeed longer than three and a half years, viz.,
from Edgehill Fight in the autumn of 1642, to the defeat of the king's
last force under Sir Jacob Astley at Stow-in-the-walds in the spring
of 1846. Any other fighting in that century belonged to mere insulated
and discontinuous war. But the insecurity of every government between
1638 and 1702, kept the popular mind in a state of fermentation.
Accordingly, Queen Anne's reign might be said to open upon an
irreligious people. The condition of things was further strengthened
by the unavoidable interweaving at that time of politics with religion.
They could not be kept separate; and the favor shown even by religious
people to such partisan zealots as Dr. Sacheverell, evidenced, and at
the same time promoted, the public irreligion. This was the period in
which the clergy thought too little of their duties, but too much of
their professional rights; and if we may credit the indirect report
of the contemporary literature, all apostolic or missionary zeal for
the extension of religion, was in those days a thing unknown. It may
seem unaccountable to many, that the same state of things should have
spread in those days to Scotland; but this is no more than the analogies
of all experience entitled us to expect. Thus we know that the instincts
of religious reformation ripened everywhere at the same period of the
sixteenth century from one end of Europe to the other; although between
most of the European kingdoms there was nothing like so much intercourse
as between England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. In both
countries, a cold and lifeless state of public religion prevailed up
to the American and French Revolutions. These great events gave a shock
everywhere to the meditative, and, consequently to the religious
impulses of men. And, in the mean time, an irregular channel had been
already opened to these impulses by the two founders of Methodism. A
century has now passed since Wesley and Whitefield organized a more
spiritual machinery of preaching than could then be found in England,
for the benefit of the poor and laboring classes. These Methodist
institutions prospered, as they were sure of doing, amongst the poor
and the neglected at any time, much more when contrasted with the deep
slumbers of the Established Church. And another ground of prosperity
soon arose out of the now expanding manufacturing system. Vast
multitudes of men grew up under that system--humble enough by the
quality of their education to accept with thankfulness the ministrations
of Methodism, and rich enough to react, upon that beneficent
institution, by continued endowments in money. Gradually, even the
church herself, that mighty establishment, under the cold shade of
which Methodism had grown up as a neglected weed, began to acknowledge
the power of an extending Methodistic influence, which originally she
had haughtily despised. First, she murmured; then she grew anxious or
fearful; and finally, she began to find herself invaded or modified
from within, by influences springing up from Methodism. This last
effect became more conspicuously evident after the French Revolution.
The church of Scotland, which, as a whole, had exhibited, with much
unobtrusive piety, the same outward torpor as the church of England
during the eighteenth century, betrayed a corresponding resuscitation
about the same time. At the opening of this present century, both of
these national churches began to show a marked rekindling of religious
fervor. In what extent this change in the Scottish church had been
due, mediately or immediately, to Methodism, we do not pretend to
calculate; that is, we do not pretend to settle the proportions. But
_mediately_ the Scottish church must have been affected, because she
was greatly affected by her intercourse with the English church (as,
_e.g._, in Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, &c.); and the English
church had been previously affected by Methodism. _Immediately_ she
must also have been affected by Methodism, because Whitefield had been
invited to preach in Scotland, and _did_ preach in Scotland. But,
whatever may have been the cause of this awakening from slumber in the
two established churches of this island, the fact is so little to be
denied, that, in both its aspects, it is acknowledged by those most
interested in denying it. The two churches slept the sleep of torpor
through the eighteenth century; so much of the fact is acknowledged
by their own members. The two churches awoke, as from a trance, in or
just before the dawning of the nineteenth century; this second half
of the fact is acknowledged by their opponents. The Wesleyan Methodists,
that formidable power in England and Wales, who once reviled the
Establishment as the dormitory of spiritual drones, have for many years
hailed a very large section in that establishment--viz., the section
technically known by the name of the Evangelical clergy--as brothers
after their own hearts, and corresponding to their own strictest model
of a spiritual clergy. That section again, the Evangelical section,
in the English church, as men more highly educated, took a direct
interest in the Scottish clergy, upon general principles of liberal
interest in all that could affect religion, beyond what could be
expected from the Methodists. And in this way grew up a considerable
action and reaction between the two classical churches of the British
soil. Such was the varying condition, when sketched in outline, of the
Scottish and English churches. Two centuries ago, and for half a century
beyond that, we find both churches in a state of trial, of turbulent
agitation, and of sacrifices for conscience, which involved every fifth
or sixth beneficiary. Then came a century of languor and the
carelessness which belongs to settled prosperity. And finally, for
both has arisen a half century of new light--new zeal--and, spiritually
speaking, of new prosperity. This deduction it was necessary to bring
down, in order to explain the new power which arose to the Scottish
church, during the last generation of suppose thirty years.

When two powerful establishments, each separately fitted to the genius
and needs of its several people, are pulling together powerfully towards
one great spiritual object, vast must be the results. Our ancestors
would have stood aghast as at some fabulous legend or some mighty
miracle, could they have heard of the scale on which our modern
contributions proceed for the purposes of missions to barbarous nations,
of circulating the Scriptures, (whether through the Bible Society,
that is the National Society, or Provincial Societies,) of translating
the Scriptures into languages scarcely known by name to scholars, of
converting Jews, of organizing and propagating education. Towards these
great objects the Scottish clergy had worked with energy and with
little disturbance to their unanimity. Confidence was universally felt
in their piety and in their discretion. This confidence even reached
the supreme rulers of the state. Very much through ecclesiastical
influence, new plans for extending the religious power of the Scottish
church, and indirectly of extending their secular power, were
countenanced by the Government. Jealousy had been disarmed by the
upright conduct of the Scottish clergy, and their remarkable freedom
hitherto from all taint of ambition. It was felt, besides, that the
temper of the Scottish nation was radically indisposed to all intriguing
or modes of temporal ascendency in ecclesiastical bodies. The nation,
therefore, was in some degree held as a guarantee for the discretion
of their clergy. And hence it arose, that much less caution was applied
to the first encroachment of the non-intrusionists, than would have
been applied under circumstances of more apparent doubt. Hence, it
arose, that a confidence from the Scottish nation was extended to this
clergy, which too certainly has been abused.

In the years 1824-5, Parliament had passed acts 'for building additional
places of worship in the highlands and islands of Scotland.' These
acts may be looked upon as one section in that general extension of
religious machinery which the British people, by their government and
their legislature, have for many years been promoting. Not, as is
ordinarily said, that the weight of this duty had grown upon them
simply through their own treacherous neglect of it during the latter
half of the eighteenth century; but that no reasonable attention to
that duty _could_ have kept pace with the scale upon which the claims
of a new manufacturing population had increased. In mere equity we
must admit--not that the British nation had fallen behind its duties,
(though naturally it might have done so under the religious torpor
prevalent at the original era of manufacturing extension,) but that
the duties had outstripped all human power of overtaking them. The
efforts, however, have been prodigious in this direction for many
years. Amongst those applied to Scotland, it had been settled by
Parliament that forty-two new churches should be raised in the
highlands, with an endowment from the government of [pound symbol]120
annually for each incumbent. There were besides more than two hundred
chapels of ease to be founded; and towards this scheme the Scottish
public subscribed largely. The money was intrusted to the clergy.
_That_ was right, but mark what followed. It had been expressly provided
by Parliament--that any district or circumjacent territory, allotted
to such parliamentary churches as the range within which the incumbent
was to exercise his spiritual ministration, should _not_ be separate
parishes for any civil or legal effects. Here surely the intentions
and directions of the legislature were plain enough, and decisive
enough.

How did the Scottish clergy obey them? They erected all these
jurisdictions into _bona fide_ 'parishes,' enjoying the plenary rights
(as to church government) of the other parishes, and distinguished
from them in a merely nominal way as parishes _quoad sacra_. There
were added at once to the presbyteries, which are the organs of the
church power, two hundred and three clerical persons for the chapels
of ease, and forty-two for the highland churches--making a total of
two hundred and forty-five new members. By the constitution of the
Scottish church, an equal number of lay elders (called ruling elders)
accompany the clerical elders. Consequently four hundred and ninety
new members were introduced at once into that particular class of
courts (presbyteries) which form the electoral bodies in relation to
the highest court of General Assembly. The effect of this change, made
in the very teeth of the law, was twofold. First, it threw into many
separate presbyteries a considerable accession of voters--_all owing
their appointments to the General Assembly_. This would at once give
a large bias favorable to their party views in every election for
members to serve in the Assembly. Even upon an Assembly numerically
limited, this innovation would have told most abusively. But the
Assembly was _not_ limited; and therefore the whole effect was, at the
same moment, greatly to extend the electors and the elected.

Here, then, was the machinery by which the faction worked. They drew
that power from Scotland rekindled into a temper of religious anxiety,
which they never could have drawn from Scotland lying torpid, as she
had lain through the eighteenth century. The new machinery (created
by Parliament in order to meet the wishes of the Scottish nation), the
money of that nation, the awakened zeal of that nation; all these were
employed, honorably in one sense, that is, not turned aside into private
channels for purposes of individuals, but factiously in the result,
as being for the benefit of a faction; honorably as regarded the open
mode of applying such influence--a mode which did not shrink from
exposure; but most dishonorably, in so far as privileges, which had
been conceded altogether for a spiritual object, were abusively
transferred to the furtherance of a temporal intrigue. Such were the
methods by which the new-born ambition of the clergy moved; and that
ambition had become active, simply because it had suddenly seemed to
become practicable. The presbyteries, as being the effectual electoral
bodies, are really the main springs of the ecclesiastical
administration. To govern _them_, was in effect to govern the church.
A new scheme for extending religion, had opened a new avenue to this
control over the presbyteries. That opening was notoriously unlawful.
But not the less the church faction precipitated themselves ardently
upon it; and but for the faithfulness of the civil courts, they would
never have been dislodged from what they had so suddenly acquired.
Such was the extraordinary leap taken by the Scottish clergy, into a
power, of which, hitherto, they had never enjoyed a fraction. It was
a movement _per saltum_, beyond all that history has recorded. At
cock-crow they had no power at all; when the sun went down, they had
gained (if they could have held) a papal supremacy. And a thing not
less memorably strange is, that even yet the ambitious leaders were
not disturbed; what they had gained was viewed by the public as a
collateral gain, indirectly adhering to a higher object, but forming
no part at all of what the clergy had sought. It required the scrutiny
of law courts to unmask and decompose their true object The obstinacy
of the defence betrayed the real _animus_ of the attempt. It was an
attempt which, in connection with the _Veto_ Act (supposing that to
have prospered), would have laid the whole power of the church at their
feet. What the law had distributed amongst three powers, patron, parish,
and presbyter, would have been concentrated in themselves. The _quoad
sacra_ parishes would have riveted their majorities in the presbyteries;
and the presbyteries, under the real action of the _Veto_, would have
appointed nearly every incumbent in Scotland. And this is the answer
to the question, when treated merely in outline--_How were these things
done_? The religion of the times had created new machineries for
propagating a new religious influence. These fell into the hands of
the clergy; and the temptation to abuse these advantages led them into
revolution.

III. Having now stated WHAT was done, as well as HOW it was done, let
us estimate the CONSEQUENCES of these acts; under this present, or
_third_ section, reviewing the immediate consequences which have taken
effect already, and under the next section anticipating the more remote
consequences yet to be expected.

In the spring of 1834, as we have sufficiently explained, the General
Assembly ventured on the fatal attempt to revolutionize the church,
and (as a preliminary towards _that_) on the attempt to revolutionize
the property of patronage. There lay the extravagance of the attempt;
its short-sightedness, if they did not see its civil tendencies; its
audacity, if they _did_. It was one revolution marching to its object
through another; it was a vote, which, if at all sustained, must entail
a long inheritance of contests with the whole civil polity of Scotland.

  'Heu quantum, fati parva tabella vehit!'

It might seem to strangers a trivial thing, that an obscure court,
like the presbytery, should proceed in the business of induction by
one routine rather than by another; but was it a trivial thing that
the power of appointing clergymen should lapse into this perilous
dilemma--either that it should be intercepted by the Scottish clerical
order, and thus, that a lordly hierarchy should be suddenly created,
disposing of incomes which, in the aggregate, approach to half a million
annually; or, on the other hand, that this dangerous power, if defeated
as a clerical power, should settle into a tenure exquisitely democratic?
Was _that_ trivial? Doubtless, the Scottish ecclesiastical revenues
are not equal, nor nearly equal, to the English; still, it is true,
that Scotland, supposing all her benefices equalized, gives a larger
_average_ to each incumbent than England, of the year 1830. England,
in that year, gave an average of [pound symbol]299 to each beneficiary;
Scotland gave an average of [pound symbol]303. That body, therefore,
which wields patronage in Scotland, wields a greater relative power
than the corresponding body in England. Now this body, in Scotland,
must finally have been the _clerus_; but supposing the patronage to
have settled nominally where the Veto Act had placed it, then it would
have settled into the keeping of a fierce democracy. Mr. Forsyth has
justly remarked, that in such a case the hired ploughmen of a parish,
mercenary hands that quit their engagements at Martinmas, and _can_
have no filial interest in the parish, would generally succeed in
electing the clergyman. That man would be elected generally, who had
canvassed the parish with the arts and means of an electioneering
candidate; or else, the struggle would lie between the property and
the Jacobinism of the district.

In respect to Jacobinism, the condition of Scotland is much altered
from what it was; pauperism and great towns have worked 'strange
defeatures' in Scottish society. A vast capital has arisen in the west,
on a level with the first-rate capitalists of the Continent--with
Vienna or with Naples; far superior in size to Madrid, to Lisbon, to
Berlin; more than equal to Rome and Milan; or again to Munich and
Dresden, taken by couples: and, in this point, beyond comparison with
any one of these capitals, that whilst _they_ are connected by slight
ties with the circumjacent country, Glasgow keeps open a communication
with the whole land. Vast laboratories of encouragement to manual
skill, too often dissociated from consideration of character; armies
of mechanics, gloomy and restless, having no interfusion amongst their
endless files of any gradations corresponding to a system of controlling
officers; these spectacles, which are permanently offered by the _castra
stativa_ of combined mechanics in Glasgow and its dependencies (Paisley,
Greenock, &c.), supported by similar districts, and by turbulent
collieries in other parts of that kingdom, make Scotland, when now
developing her strength, no longer the safe and docile arena for popular
movements which once she was, with a people that were scattered and
habits that were pastoral. And at this moment, so fearfully increased
is the overbearance of democratic impulses in Scotland, that perhaps
in no European nation--hardly excepting France--has it become more
important to hang weights and retarding forces upon popular movements
amongst the laboring classes.

This being so, we have never been able to understand the apparent
apathy with which the landed body met the first promulgation of the
_Veto_ Act in May, 1834. Of this apathy, two insufficient explanations
suggest themselves:--1st, It seemed a matter of delicacy to confront
the General Assembly, upon a field which they had clamorously challenged
for their own. The question at issue was tempestuously published to
Scotland as a question exclusively spiritual. And by whom was it thus
published? The Southern reader must here not be careless of dates. _At
present_, viz. in 1844, those who fulminate such views of spiritual
jurisdiction, are simply dissenters; and those who vehemently withstand
them are the church, armed with the powers of the church. Such are the
relations between the parties in 1844. But in 1834, the revolutionary
party were not only _in_ the church, but (being the majority) they
came forward _as_ the church. The new doctrines presented themselves
at first, not as those of a faction, but of the Scottish kirk assembled
in her highest court. The _prestige_ of that advantage has vanished
since then; for this faction, after first of all falling into a
minority, afterwards ceased to be any part or section of the church;
but in that year 1834, such a _prestige_ did really operate; and this
must be received as one of the reasons which partially explain the
torpor of the landed body. No one liked to move _first_, even amongst
those who meant to move. But another reason we find in the conscientious
scruples of many landholders, who hesitated to move at all upon a
question then insufficiently discussed, and in which their own interest
was by so many degrees the largest.

These reasons, however, though sufficient for suspense, seem hardly
sufficient for not having solemnly protested against the _Veto_ Act
immediately upon its passing the Assembly. Whatever doubts a few persons
might harbor upon the expediency of such an act, evidently it was
contrary to the law of the land. The General Assembly could have no
power to abrogate a law passed by the three estates of the realm. But
probably it was the deep sense of that truth which reined up the
national resistance. Sure of a speedy collision between some patron
and the infringers of his right, other parties stood back for the
present, to watch the form which such a collision might assume.

In that same year of 1834, not many months after the passing of the
Assembly's Act, came on the first case of collision; and some time
subsequently a second. These two cases, Auchterarder and Marnoch,
commenced in the very same steps, but immediately afterwards diverged
as widely as was possible. In both cases, the rights of the patron and
of the presentee were challenged peremptorily; that is to say, in both
cases, parishioners objected to the presentee without reason shown.
The conduct of the people was the same in one case as in the other;
that of the two presbyteries travelled upon lines diametrically
opposite. The first case was that of _Auchterarder_. The parish and
the presbytery concerned, both belonged to Auchterarder; and there the
presbytery obeyed the new law of the Assembly; they rejected the
presentee, refusing to take him on trial of his qualifications: And
why? we cannot too often repeat--simply because a majority of a rustic
congregation had rejected him, without attempting to show reason for
his rejection. The Auchterarder presbytery, for _their_ part in this
affair, were prosecuted in the Court of Session by the injured
parties--Lord Kinnoul, the patron, and Mr. Young, the presentee. Twice,
upon a different form of action, the Court of Session gave judgment
against the presbytery; twice the case went up by appeal to the Lords;
twice the Lords affirmed the judgment of the court below. In the other
case of _Marnoch_, the presbytery of Strathbogie took precisely the
opposite course. So far from abetting the unjust congregation of
rustics, they rebelled against the new law of the Assembly, and
declared, by seven of their number against three, that they were ready
to proceed with the trial of the presentee, and to induct him (if found
qualified) into the benefice. Upon this, the General Assembly suspended
the seven members of presbytery. By that mode of proceeding, the
Assembly fancied that they should be able to elude the intentions of
the presbytery; it being supposed that, whilst suspended, the presbytery
had no power to ordain; and that, without ordination, there was no
possibility of giving induction. But here the Assembly had
miscalculated. Suspension would indeed have had the effects ascribed
to it; but in the mean time, the suspension, as being originally
illegal, was found to be void; and the presentee, on that ground,
obtained a decree from the Court of Session, ordaining the presbytery
of Strathbogie to proceed with the settlement. Three of the ten members
composing this presbytery, resisted; and they were found liable in
expenses. The other seven completed the settlement in the usual form.
Here was plain rebellion; and rebellion triumphant. If this were
allowed, all was gone. What should the Assembly do for the vindication
of their authority? Upon deliberation, they deposed the contumacious
presbytery from their functions as clergymen, and declared their
churches vacant. But this sentence was found to be a _brutum fulmen_;
the crime was no crime, the punishment turned out no punishment: and
a minority, even in this very Assembly, declared publicly that they
would not consent to regard this sentence as any sentence at all, but
would act in all respects as if no such sentence had been carried by
vote. _Within_ their own high Court of Assembly, it is, however,
difficult to see how this refusal to recognise a sentence voted by a
majority could be valid. Outside, the civil courts came into play; but
within the Assembly, surely its own laws and votes prevailed. However,
this distinction could bring little comfort to the Assembly at present;
for the illegality of the deposal was now past all dispute; and the
attempt to punish, or even ruin a number of professional brethren for
not enforcing a by-law, when the by-law itself had been found
irreconcilable to the law of the land, greatly displeased the public,
as vindictive, oppressive, and useless to the purposes of the Assembly.

Nothing was gained, except the putting on record an implacability that
was _confessedly_ impotent. This was the very lunacy of malice.
Mortifying it might certainly seem for the members of a supreme court,
like the General Assembly, to be baffled by those of a subordinate
court: but still, since each party must be regarded as representing
far larger interests than any personal to themselves, trying on either
side, not the energies of their separate wits, but the available
resources of law in one of its obscurer chapters, there really seemed
no more room for humiliation to the one party, or for triumph to the
other, than there is amongst reasonable men in the result from a game,
where the game is one exclusively of chance.

From this period it is probable that the faction of Non-intrusionists
resolved upon abandoning the church. It was the one sole resource left
for sustaining their own importance to men who were now sinking fast
in public estimation. At the latter end of 1842, they summoned a
convocation in Edinburgh. The discussions were private; but it was
generally understood that at this time they concerted a plan for going
out from the church, in the event of their failing to alarm the
Government by the notification of this design. We do not pretend to
any knowledge of secrets. What is known to everybody is--that, on the
annual meeting of the General Assembly, in May, 1843, the great body
of the Non-intrusionists moved out in procession. The sort of
theatrical interest which gathered round the Seceders for a few hurried
days in May, was of a kind which should naturally have made wise men
both ashamed and disgusted. It was the merest effervescence from that
state of excitement which is nursed by novelty, by expectation, by the
vague anticipation of a 'scene,' possibly of a quarrel, together with
the natural interest in _seeing_ men whose names had been long before
the public in books and periodical journals.

The first measure of the Seceders was to form themselves into a
pseudo-General Assembly. When there are two suns visible, or two moons,
the real one and its duplicate, we call the mock sun a _parhelios_,
and the mock moon a _paraselene_. On that principle, we must call this
mock Assembly a _para-synodos_. Rarely, indeed, can we applaud the
Seceders in the fabrication of names. They distinguish as _quoad sacra_
parishes those which were peculiarly _quoad politica_ parishes; for
in that view only they had been interesting to the Non-intrusionists.
Again, they style themselves _The Free Church_, by way of taunting the
other side with being a servile church. But how are they any church
at all? By the courtesies of Europe, and according to usage, a church
means a religious incorporation, protected and privileged by the State.
Those who are not so privileged are usually content with the title of
Separatists, Dissenters, or Nonconformists. No wise man will see either
good sense or dignity in assuming titles not appropriate. The very
position and aspect towards the church (legally so called) which has
been assumed by the Non-intrusionists--viz., the position of protesters
against that body, not merely as bearing, amongst other features, a
certain relation to the State, but specifically _because_ they bear
that relation, makes it incongruous, and even absurd, for these
Dissenters to denominate themselves a 'church.' But there is another
objection to this denomination--the 'Free Church' have no peculiar and
separate Confession of Faith. Nobody knows what are their
_credenda_--what they hold indispensable for fellow-membership, either
as to faith in mysteries or in moral doctrines. Now, if they reply--'Oh!
as to that, we adopt for our faith all that ever we _did_ profess when
members of the Scottish kirk'--then in effect they are hardly so much
as a dissenting body, except in some elliptic sense. There is a grievous
_hiatus_ in their own titledeeds and archives; they supply it by
referring people to the muniment chest of the kirk. Would it not be
a scandal to a Protestant church if she should say to communicants
--We have no sacramental vessels, or even ritual; but you may borrow
both from Papal Rome.' Not only, however, is the kirk to _lend_ her
Confession, &c.; but even then a plain rustic will not be able to guess
how many parts in his Confession are or may be affected by the
'reformation' of the Non-intrusionists. Surely, he will think, if this
reformation were so vast that it drove them out of the national church,
absolutely exploded them, then it follows that it must have intervened
and _indirectly_ modified innumerable questions: a difference that was
punctually limited to this one or these two clauses, could not be such
a difference as justified a rupture. Besides, if they have altered
this one or these two clauses, or have altered their interpretation,
how is any man to know (except from a distinct Confession of Faith)
that they have not even _directly_ altered much more? Notoriety through
newspapers is surely no ground to stand upon in religion. And now it
appears that the unlettered rustic needs two guides--one to show him
exactly how much they have altered, whether two points or two hundred,
as well as _which_ two or two hundred; another to teach him how far
these original changes may have carried with them secondary changes
as consequences into other parts of the Christian system. One of the
known changes, viz., the doctrine of popular election as the proper
qualification for parish clergymen, possibly is not fitted to expand
itself or ramify, except by analogy. But the other change, the infinity
which has been suddenly turned off like a jet of gas, or like the
rushing of wind through the tubes of an organ, upon the doctrine
and application of _spirituality_, seems fitted for derivative effects
that are innumerable. Consequently, we say of the Non-itrusionists--not
only that they are no church; but that they are not even any separate
body of Dissenters, until they have published a 'Confession' or a
_revised_ edition of the Scottish Confession.

IV. Lastly, we have to sum and to appreciate the _ultimate_ consequences
of these things. Let us pursue them to the end of the vista.--First
in order stands the dreadful shock to the National Church Establishment;
and that is twofold: it is a shock from without, acting through opinion,
and a shock from within, acting through the contagion of example. Each
case is separately perfect. Through the opinion of men standing
_outside_ of the church, the church herself suffers wrong in her
authority. Through the contagion of sympathy stealing over men _inside_
of the church, peril arises of other shocks in a second series, which
would so exhaust the church by reiterated convulsions, as to leave her
virtually dismembered and shattered for all her great national
functions.

As to that evil which acts through opinion, it acts by a machinery,
viz. the press and social centralization in great cities, which in
these days is perfect. Right or wrong, justified _or not_ justified
by the acts of the majority, it is certain that every public body--how
much more, then, a body charged with the responsibility of upholding
the truth in its standard!--suffers dreadfully in the world's opinion
by any feud, schism, or shadow of change among its members. This is
what the New Testament, a code of philosophy fertile in new ideas,
first introduced under the name of _scandal_; that is, any occasion
of serious offence ministered to the weak or to the sceptical by
differences irreconcilable in the acts or the opinions of those whom
they are bound to regard as spiritual authorities. Now here, in
Scotland, is a feud past all arbitration: here is a schism no longer
theoretic, neither beginning nor ending in mere speculation; here is
a change of doctrine, _on one side or the other_, which throws a sad
umbrage of doubt and perplexity over the pastoral relation of the
church to every parish in Scotland. Less confidence there must always
be henceforward in great religious incorporations. Was there any such
incorporation reputed to be more internally harmonious than the Scottish
church? None has been so tempestuously agitated. Was any church more
deeply pledged to the spirit of meekness? None has split asunder so
irreconcilably. As to the grounds of quarrel, could any questions or
speculations be found so little fitted for a popular intemperance? Yet
no breach of unity has ever propagated itself by steps so sudden and
irrevocable. One short decennium has comprehended within its circuit
the beginning and the end of this unparalleled hurricane. In 1834, the
first light augury of mischief skirted the horizon--a cloud no bigger
than a man's hand. In 1843, the evil had 'travelled on from birth to
birth.' Already it had failed in what may be called one conspiracy;
already it had entered upon a second, viz., to rear up an _Anti-Kirk_,
or spurious establishment, which should twist itself with snake-like
folds about the legal establishment; surmount it as a Roman _vinea_
surmounted the fortifications which it beleaguered; and which, under
whatsoever practical issue for the contest, should at any rate overlook,
molest, and insult the true church for ever. Even this brief period
of development would have been briefer, had not the law courts
interposed many delays. Demurs of law process imposed checks upon the
uncharitable haste of the _odium theologicum_. And though in a question
of schism it would be a _petitio principii_ for a neutral censor to
assume that either party had been originally in error, yet it is within
our competence to say, that the Seceders it was whose bigotry carried
the dispute to that sad issue of a final separation. The establishment
would have been well content to stop short of that consummation: and
temperaments might have been found, compromises both safe and honorable,
had the minority built less of their reversionary hopes upon the policy
of a fanciful martyrdom. Martyrs they insisted upon becoming: and that
they _might_ be martyrs, it was necessary for them to secede. That
Europe thinks at present with less reverence of Protestant institutions
than it did ten years ago, is due to one of these institutions in
particular; viz. to the Scottish kirk, and specifically to the minority
in that body. They it was who spurned all mutual toleration, all
brotherly indulgence from either side to what it regarded as error in
the other. Consequently upon _their_ consciences lies the responsibility
of having weakened the pillars of the reformed churches throughout
Christendom.

Had those abuses been really such, which the Seceders denounced, were
it possible that a primary law of pure Christianity had been set aside
for generations, how came it that evils so gross had stirred no whispers
of reproach before 1834? How came it that no aurora of early light,
no prelusive murmurs of scrupulosity even from themselves, had run
before this wild levanter of change? Heretofore or now there must have
been huge error on their own showing. Heretofore they must have been
traitorously below their duty, or now mutinously beyond it.

Such conclusions are irresistible and upon any path, seceding or not
seceding, they menace the worldly credit of ecclesiastical bodies.
That evil is now past remedy. As for the other evil, that which acts
upon church establishments, not through simple failure in the guarantees
of public opinion, but through their own internal vices of composition;
here undeniably we see a chasm traversing the Scottish church from the
very gates to the centre. And unhappily the same chasm, which marks
a division of the church internally, is a link connecting it externally
with the Seceders. For how stands the case? Did the Scottish kirk, at
the late crisis, divide broadly into two mutually excluding sections?
Was there one of these bisections which said _Yes_, whilst the other
responded _No_? Was the affirmative and negative shared between them
as between the black chessmen and the white? Not so; and unhappily not
so. The two extremes there were, but these shaded off into each other.
Many were the _nuances_; multiplied the combinations. Here stood a
section that had voted for all the changes, with two or three
exceptions; there stood another that went the _whole_ length as to
this change, but no part of the way as to that; between these sections
arose others that had voted arbitrarily, or _eclectically_, that is,
by no law generally recognised. And behind this eclectic school were
grouped others who had voted for all novelties up to a certain day,
but after _that_ had refused to go further with a movement party whose
tendencies they had begun to distrust. In this last case, therefore,
the divisional line fell upon no principle, but upon the accident of
having, at that particular moment, first seen grounds of conscientious
alarm. The principles upon which men had divided were various, and
these various principles were variously combined. But on the other
hand, those who have gone out were the men who approved totally, not
partially--unconditionally, not within limits--up to the end, and not
to a given day. Consequently those who stayed in comprehended all the
shades and degrees which the men of violence excluded. The Seceders
were unanimous to a man, and of necessity; for he who approves the
last act, the extreme act, which is naturally the most violent act,
_a fortiori_ approves all lesser acts. But the establishment, by parity
of reason, retained upon its rolls all the degrees, all the
modifications, all who had exercised a wise discretion, who, in so
great a cause, had thought it a point of religion to be cautious; whose
casuistry had moved in the harness of peace, and who had preferred an
interest of conscience to a triumph of partisanship. We honor them for
that policy; but we cannot hide from ourselves, that the very principle
which makes such a policy honorable at the moment, makes it dangerous
in reversion. For he who avows that, upon public motives, he once
resisted a temptation to schism, makes known by that avowal that he
still harbors in his mind the germ of such a temptation: and to that
scruple, which once he resisted, hereafter he may see reason for
yielding. The principles of schism, which for the moment were
suppressed, are still latent in the church. It is urged that, in quest
of unity, many of these men _succeeded_ in resisting the instincts of
dissension at the moment of crisis. True: But this might be because
they presumed on winning from their own party equal concessions by
means less violent than schism; or because they attached less weight
to the principle concerned, than they may see cause for attaching upon
future considerations; or because they would not allow themselves to
sanction the cause of the late Secession, by going out in company with
men whose principles they adopted only in part, or whose manner of
supporting those principles they abhorred. Universally it is evident,
that little stress is to be laid on a negative act; simply to have
declined going out with the Seceders proves nothing, for it is
equivocal. It is an act which may cover indifferently a marked hostility
to the Secession party, or an absolute friendliness, but a friendliness
not quite equal to so extreme a test. And, again, this negative act
may be equivocal in a different way; the friendliness may not only
have existed, but may have existed in sufficient strength for any test
whatever; not the principles of the Seceders, but their Jacobinical
mode of asserting them, may have proved the true nerve of the repulsion
to many. What is it that we wish the English reader to collect from
these distinctions? Simply that the danger is not yet gone past. The
earthquake, says a great poet, when speaking of the general tendency
in all dangers to come round by successive and reiterated shocks--

  'The earthquake is not satisfied at once.'

All dangers which lie deeply seated are recurrent dangers; they
intermit, only as the revolving lamps of a light-house are periodically
eclipsed. The General Assembly of 1843, when closing her gates upon
the Seceders, shut _in_, perhaps, more of the infected than at the
time she succeeded in shutting _out_. As respected the opinion of the
world outside, it seemed advisable to shut out the least number
possible; for in proportion to the number of the Seceders, was the
danger that they should carry with them an authentic impression in
their favor. On the other hand, as respected a greater danger, (the
danger from internal contagion), it seemed advisable that the church
should have shut out (if she could) very many of those who, for the
present, adhered to her. The broader the separation, and the more
absolute, between the church and the secession, so much the less anxiety
there would have survived lest the rent should spread. That the anxiety
in this respect is not visionary, the reader may satisfy himself by
looking over a remarkable pamphlet, which professes by its title to
separate the _wheat from the chaff_. By the 'wheat,' in the view of
this writer, is meant the aggregate of those who persevered in their
recusant policy up to the practical result of secession. All who stopped
short of that consummation (on whatever plea), are the 'chaff.' The
writer is something of an incendiary, or something of a fanatic; but
he is consistent with regard to his own principles, and so elaborately
careful in his details as to extort admiration of his energy and of
his patience in research.

But the reason for which we notice this pamphlet, is, with a view to
the proof of that large intestine mischief which still lingers behind
in the vitals of the Scottish establishment. No proof, in a question
of that nature, _can_ be so showy and _ostensive_ to a stranger as
that which is supplied by this vindictive pamphlet. For every past
vote recording a scruple, is the pledge of a scruple still existing,
though for the moment suppressed. Since the secession, nearly four
hundred and fifty new men may have entered the church. This
supplementary body has probably diluted the strength of the
revolutionary principles. But they also may, perhaps, have partaken
to some extent in the contagion of these principles. True, there is
this guarantee for caution, on the part of these new men, that as yet
they are pledged to nothing; and that, seeing experimentally how
fearfully many of their older brethren are now likely to be fettered
by the past, they have every possible motive for reserve, in committing
themselves, either by their votes or by their pens. In _their_
situation, there is a special inducement to prudence, because there
is a prospect, that for _them_ prudence is in time to be effectual.
But for many of the older men, prudence comes too late. They are already
fettered. And what we are now pointing out to the attention of our
readers, is, that by the past, by the absolute votes of the past, too
sorrowfully it is made evident, that the Scottish church is deeply
tainted with the principles of the Secession. These germs of evil and
of revolution, speaking of them in a _personal_ sense, cannot be purged
off entirely until one generation shall have passed away. But, speaking
of them as _principles_ capable of vegetation, these germs may or may
not expand into whole forests of evil, according to the accidents of
coming events, whether fitted to tranquillize our billowy aspects of
society; or, on the other hand, largely to fertilize the many occasions
of agitation, which political fermentations are too sure to throw off.
Let this chance turn out as it may, we repeat for the information of
Southerns--that the church, by shutting off the persons of particular
agitators, has not shut off the principles of agitation; and that the
_cordon sanataire_, supposing the spontaneous exile of the
Non-intrusionists to be regarded in that light, was not drawn about
the church until the disease had spread widely _within_ the lines.

Past votes may not absolutely pledge a man to a future course of action;
warned in time, such a man may stand neutral in practice; but thus far
they poison the fountains of wholesome unanimity--that, if a man can
evade the necessity of squaring particular _actions_ to his past
opinions, at least he must find himself tempted to square his opinions
themselves, or his counsels, to such past opinions as he may too
notoriously have placed on record by his votes.

But, if such are the continual dangers from reactions in the
establishment, so long as men survive in that establishment who feel
upbraided by past votes, and so long as enemies survive who will not
suffer these upbraidings to slumber--dangers which much mutual
forbearance and charity can alone disarm; on the other hand, how much
profounder is the inconsistency to which the Free Church is
doomed!--They have rent the unity of that church, to which they had
pledged their faith--but on what plea? On the plea that in cases purely
spiritual, they could not in conscience submit to the award of the
secular magistrate. Yet how merely impracticable is this principle,
as an abiding principle of action! Churches, that is, the charge of
particular congregations, will be with _them_ (as with other religious
communities) the means of livelihood. Grounds innumerable will arise
for excluding or attempting to exclude, each other from these official
stations. No possible form regulating the business of ordination, or
of induction, can anticipate the infinite objections which may arise.
But no man interested in such a case, will submit to a judge appointed
by insufficient authority. Daily bread for his family is what few men
will resign without a struggle. And that struggle will of necessity
come for final adjudication to the law courts of the land, whose
interference in any question affecting a spiritual interest, the Free
Church has for ever pledged herself to refuse. But in the case supposed,
she will not have the power to refuse it. She will be cited before the
tribunals, and can elude that citation in no way but by surrendering
the point in litigation; and if she should adopt the notion, that it
is better for her to do _that_, than to acknowledge a sufficient
authority in the court by pleading at its bar, upon this principle
once made public, she will soon be stripped of everything, and will
cease to be a church at all. She cannot continue to be a depository
of any faith, or a champion of any doctrines, if she lose the means
of defending her own incorporations. But how can she maintain the
defenders of her rights, or the dispensers of her truths, if she
refuses, upon immutable principle, to call in the aid of the magistrate
on behalf of rights, which, under any aspect, regard spiritual
relations? Attempting to maintain these rights by private arbitration
within a forum of her own, she will soon find such arbitration not
binding at all upon the party who conceives himself aggrieved. The
issue will be as in Mr. O'Connell's courts, where the parties played
at going to law; from the moment when they ceased to play, and no
longer 'made believe' to be disputing, the award of the judge became
as entire a mockery, as any stage mimicry of such a transaction.

This should be the natural catastrophe of the case; and the probable
evasion of that destructive consummation, to which she is carried by
her principles, will be--that as soon as her feelings of rancor shall
have cooled down, these principles will silently drop out of use; and
the very reason will be suffered to perish for which she ever became
a dissenting body. With this, however, we, that stand outside, are
noways concerned. But an evil, in which we _are_ concerned, is the
headlong tendency of the Free Church, and of all churches adulterating
with her principle, to an issue not merely dangerous in a political
sense, but ruinous in an anti-social sense. The artifice of the Free
Church lies in pleading a spiritual relation of any case whatever,
whether of doing or suffering, whether positive or negative, as a
reason for taking it out of all civil control. Now we may illustrate
the peril of this artifice, by a reality at this time impending over
society in Ireland. Dr. Higgins, titular bishop of Ardagh, has
undertaken upon this very plea of a spiritual power not amenable to
civil control, a sort of warfare with Government, upon the question
of their power to suspend or defeat the O'Connell agitation. For, says
he, if Government should succeed in thus intercepting the direct power
of haranguing mobs in open assemblies, then will I harangue them, and
cause them to be harangued, in the same spirit, upon the same topics,
from the altar or the pulpit. An immediate extension of this principle
would be--that every disaffected clergyman in the three kingdoms, would
lecture his congregation upon the duty of paying no taxes. This he
would denominate passive resistance; and resistance to bad government
would become, in his language, the most sacred of duties. In any
argument with such a man, he would be found immediately falling back
upon the principle of the Free Church; he would insist upon it as a
spiritual right, as a ease entirely between his conscience and God,
whether he should press to an extremity any and every doctrine, though
tending to the instant disorganization of society. To lecture against
war, and against taxes as directly supporting war, would wear a most
colorable air of truth amongst all weak-minded persons. And these would
soon appear to have been but the first elements of confusion under the
improved views of spiritual rights. The doctrines of the _Levellers_
in Cromwell's time, of the _Anabaptists_ in Luther's time, would exalt
themselves upon the ruins of society, if governments were weak enough
to recognise these spiritual claims in the feeblest of their initial
advances. If it were possible to suppose such chimeras prevailing, the
natural redress would soon be seen to lie through secret tribunals,
like those of the dreadful _Fehmgericht_ in the middle ages. It would
be absurd, however, seriously to pursue these anti-social chimeras
through their consequences. Stern remedies would summarily crush so
monstrous an evil. Our purpose is answered, when the necessity of such
insupportable consequences is shown to link itself with that distinction
upon which the Free Church has laid the foundations of its own
establishment. Once for all, there is no act or function belonging to
an officer of a church which is not spiritual by one of its two Janus
faces. And every examination of the case convinces us more and more
that the Seceders took up the old papal distinction, as to acts
spiritual or not spiritual, not under any delusion less or more, but
under a simple necessity of finding some evasion or other which should
meet and embody the whole rancor of the moment.

But beyond any other evil consequence prepared by the Free Church, is
the appalling spirit of Jacobinism which accompanies their whole
conduct, and which latterly has avowed itself in their words. The case
began Jacobinically, for it began in attacks upon the rights of
property. But since the defeat of this faction by the law courts,
language seems to fail them, for the expression of their hatred and
affected scorn towards the leading nobility of Scotland. Yet why? The
case lies in the narrowest compass. The Duke of Sutherland, and other
great landholders, had refused sites for their new churches. Upon this
occurred a strong fact, and strong in both directions; first, for the
Seceders; secondly, upon better information _against_ them. The _Record_
newspaper, a religious journal, ably and conscientiously conducted,
took part with the Secession, and very energetically; for they denounced
the noble duke's refusal of land as an act of 'persecution;' and upon
this principle--that, in a county where his grace was pretty nearly
the sole landed proprietor, to refuse land (assuming that a fair price
had been tendered for it) was in effect to show such intolerance as
might easily tend to the suppression of truth. Intolerance, however,
is not persecution; and, if it were, the casuistry of the question is
open still to much discussion. But this is not necessary; for the
ground is altogether shifted when the duke's reason for refusing the
land comes to be stated; he had refused it, not unconditionally, not
in the spirit of non-intrusion courts, '_without reason shown,_' but
on this unanswerable argument--that the whole efforts of the new church
were pointed (and professedly pointed) to the one object of destroying
the establishment, and 'sweeping it from the land.' Could any guardian
of public interests, under so wicked a threat, hesitate as to the line
of his duty? By granting the land to parties uttering such menaces,
the Duke of Sutherland would have made himself an accomplice in the
unchristian conspiracy. Meantime, next after this fact, it is the
strongest defence which we can offer for the duke--that in a day or
two after this charge of 'persecution,' the _Record_ was forced to
attack the Seceders in terms which indirectly defended the duke. And
this, not in any spirit of levity, but under mere conscientious
constraint. For no journal has entered so powerfully or so eloquently
into the defence of the general principle involved in the Secession
(although questioning its expediency), as this particular _Record_.
Consequently, any word of condemnation from so earnest a friend, comes
against the Seceders with triple emphasis. And this is shown in the
tone of the expostulations addressed to the _Record_ by some of the
Secession leaders. It spares us, indeed, all necessity of quoting the
vile language uttered by members of the Free Church Assembly, if we
say, that the _neutral_ witnesses of such unchristian outrages have
murmured, remonstrated, protested in every direction; and that Dr,
Macfarlane, who has since corresponded with the Duke of Sutherland
upon the whole case--viz. upon the petition for land, as affected by
the shocking menaces of the Seceders--has, in no other way, been able
to evade the double mischief of undertaking a defence for the
indefensible, and at the same time of losing the land irretrievably,
than by affecting an unconsciousness of language used by his party
little suited to his own sacred calling, or to the noble simplicities
of Christianity. Certainly it is unhappy for the Seceders, that the
only disavowal of the most fiendish sentiments heard in our days, has
come from an individual not authorized or at all commissioned by his
party--from an individual not showing any readiness to face the whole
charges, disingenuously dissembling the worst of them, and finally
offering his very feeble disclaimer, which equivocates between a denial
and a palliation--not until _after_ he found himself in the position
of a petitioner for favors.

Specifically the great evil of our days, is the abiding temptation,
in every direction, to popular discontent, to agitation, and to
systematic sedition. Now, we say it with sorrow, that from no other
incendiaries have we heard sentiments so wild, fierce, or maliciously
democratic, as from the leaders of the Secession. It was the Reform
Bill of 1832, and the accompanying agitation, which first suggested
the veto agitation of 1834, and prescribed its tone. From all classes
of our population, in turn, there have come forward individuals to
disgrace themselves by volunteering their aid to the chief conspirators
of the age. We have earls, we have marquesses, coming forward as
Corn-League agents; we have magistrates by scores angling for popularity
as Repealers. But these have been private parties, insulated,
disconnected, disowned. When we hear of Christianity prostituted to
the service of Jacobinism--of divinity becoming the handmaid to
insurrection--and of clergymen in masses offering themselves as
promoters of anarchy, we go back in thought to that ominous organization
of irreligion, which gave its most fearful aspects to the French
Revolution.

Other evils are in the rear as likely to arise out of the _funds_
provided for the new Seceders, were the distribution of those funds
confessedly unobjectionable, but more immediately under the present
murmurs against that distribution. There are two funds: one subscribed
expressly for the building of churches, the other limited to the
'sustentation' of incumbents. And the complaint is--that this latter
fund has been invaded for purposes connected with the first. The reader
can easily see the motive to this injustice: it is a motive of ambition.
Far more display of power is made by the annunciation to the world of
six hundred churches built, than of any difference this way or that
in the comfort and decorous condition of the clergy. This last is a
domestic feature of the case, not fitted for public effect. But the
number of the churches will resound through Europe. Meantime, _at
present_, the allowance to the great body of Seceding clergy averages
but [pound symbol]80 a-year; and the allegation is--that, but for the
improper interference with the fund on the motive stated, it _would_
have averaged [pound symbol]150 a-year. If anywhere a town parish has
raised a much larger provision for its pastor, even _that_ has now
become a part of the general grievance. For it is said that all such
special contributions ought to have been thrown into one general
fund--liable to one general principle of distribution. Yet again, will
even this fund, partially as it seems to have been divided, continue
to be available? Much of it lies in annual subscriptions: now, in the
next generation of subscribers, a son will possibly not adopt the views
of his father; but assuredly he will not adopt his father's zeal. Here,
however (though this is not probable), there may arise some compensatory
cases of subscribers altogether new. But another question is pressing
for decision, which menaces a frightful shock to the schismatical
church: female agency has been hitherto all potent in promoting the
subscriptions; and a demand has been made in consequence--that women
shall be allowed to vote in the church courts. Grant this demand--for
it cannot be evaded--and what becomes of the model for church government
as handed down from John Knox and Calvin? Refuse it, and what becomes
of the future subscriptions?

But these are evils, it may be said, only for the Seceders. Not so:
we are all interested in the respectability of the national teachers,
whatever be their denomination: we are all interested in the maintenance
of a high standard for theological education. These objects are likely
to suffer at any rate. But it is even a worse result which we may count
on from the changes, that a practical approximation is thus already
made to what is technically known as Voluntaryism.

The '_United Secession_,' that is the old collective body of Scottish
Dissenters, who, having no regular provision, are carried into this
voluntary system, already exult that this consummation of the case
cannot be far off. Indeed, so far as the Seceders are dependent upon
_annual_ subscriptions, and coupling that relation to the public with
the great doctrine of these Seceders, that congregations are universally
to appoint their own pastors, we do not see how such an issue is open
to evasion. The leaders of the new Secession all protest against
Voluntaryism: but to that complexion of things they travel rapidly by
the mere mechanic action of their dependent (or semi-dependent)
situation, combined with one of their two characteristic principles.

The same United Secession journal openly anticipates another and more
diffusive result from this great movement; viz. the general disruption
of church establishments. We trust that this anticipation will be
signally defeated. And yet there is one view of the case which saddens
us when we turn our eyes in that direction. Among the reasonings and
expostulations of the Schismatic church, one that struck us as the
most eminently hypocritical, and ludicrously so, was this: 'You ought,'
said they, when addressing the Government, and exposing the error of
the law proceedings, 'to have stripped us of the temporalities arising
from the church, stipend, glebe, parsonage, but not of the spiritual
functions. We had no right to the emoluments of our stations, when the
law courts had decided against us, but we _had_ a right to the laborious
duties of the stations.' No gravity could refuse to smile at this
complaint--verbally so much in the spirit of primitive Christianity,
yet in its tendency so insidious. For could it be possible that a
competitor introduced by the law, and leaving the duties of the pastoral
office to the old incumbent, but pocketing the salary, should not be
hooted on the public roads by many who might otherwise have taken no
part in the feud? This specious claim was a sure and brief way to
secure the hatefulness of their successors. Now, we cannot conceal
from ourselves that something like this invidious condition of things
might be realized under two further revolutions. We have said, that
a second schism in the Scottish church is not impossible. It is also
but too possible that Puseyism may yet rend the English establishment
by a similar convulsion. But in such contingencies, we should see a
very large proportion of the spiritual teachers in both nations actually
parading to the public eye, and rehearsing something very like the
treacherous proposal of the late Seceders, viz., the spectacle of one
party performing much of the difficult duties, and another party
enjoying the main emoluments. This would be a most unfair mode of
recommending Voluntaryism. Falling in with the infirmities of many in
these days, such a spectacle would give probably a fatal bias to that
system in our popular and Parliamentary counsels. This would move the
sorrow of the Seceders themselves: for they have protested against the
theory of all Voluntaries with a vehemence which that party even
complain of as excessive. Their leaders have many times avowed, that
any system which should leave to men in general the estimate of their
own religious wants as a pecuniary interest, would be fatal to the
Christian tone of our national morals. Checked and overawed by the
example of an establishment, the Voluntaries themselves are far more
fervent in their Christian exertions than they could be when liberated
from that contrast. The religious spirit of both England and Scotland
under such a change would droop for generations. And in that one evil,
let us hope, the remotest and least probable of the many evils
threatened by the late schism, these nations would have reason by
comparison almost to forget the rest.




TOILETTE OF THE HEBREW LADY.

EXHIBITED IN SIX SCENES.

[1828.]



[TO THE EDITOR OF BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.]

Sir,--Some years ago you published a translation of Bottiger's 'Sabina,'
a learned account of the Roman toilette. I here send you a companion
to that work--not a direct translation, but a very minute abstract
from a similar dissertation by Hartmann, (weeded of the wordiness which
has made the original unreadable, and in consequence unread,) on the
toilette and the wardrobe of the ladies of ancient Palestine. Hartmann
was a respectable Oriental scholar, and he published his researches,
which occupy three thick octavos, making in all one thousand four
hundred and eighty-eight pages, under the title of _Die Hebraerin am
Putztische und als Braut_, _Amsterdam_, 1809. (_The Hebrew Woman at
her Toilette, and in her Bridal character_.) I understand that the
poor man is now gone to Hades, where let us hope that it is considered
no crime in a learned man to be exceedingly tedious, and to repeat the
same thing ten times over, or even, upon occasion, fifteen times,
provided that his own upright heart should incline him to think that
course the most advisable. Certainly Mr. Hartmann has the most excellent
gifts at verbal expansion, and at tautology, that ever came within my
knowledge; and I found no particular difficulty in compressing every
tittle of what relates to his subject, into a compass which, I imagine,
will fill about twelve of your pages, or fifty, at the utmost, of the
original work.

It was not to be expected, with the scanty materials before him, that
an illustrator of the Hebrew costume should be as full and explicit
as Bottiger, with the advantage of writing upon a theme more familiar
to us Europeans of this day, than any parallel theme even in our own
national archaeologies of two centuries back. United, however, with
his great reading, this barrenness of the subject is so far an advantage
for Hartmann, as it yields a strong presumption that he has exhausted
it. The male costume of ancient Palestine is yet to be illustrated;
but, for the female, it is probable that little could be added to what
Hartmann has collected; [Footnote 1] and that any clever dress-maker
would, with the indications here given, (especially if you could
persuade Mr. Blackwood to adopt one or two of Mr. Hartmann's seven
outlines,) enable any lady at the next great masquerade in London, to
support the part of one of the ancient daughters of Palestine, and to
call back, after eighteen centuries of sleep, the buried pomps of
Jerusalem. As to the _talking_, there would be no difficulty at all
in that point; bishops, and other 'sacred' people, if they ever go
a-masquing, for their own sakes will not be likely to betray themselves
by putting impertinent questions in Hebrew; and for 'profane' people,
who might like the impertinence, they would very much dislike the
Hebrew; indeed, of uncircumcised Hebrews, barring always the clergy,
it is not thought that any are extant. In other respects, and as a
_spectacle_, the Hebrew masque would infallibly eclipse every other
in the room. The upper and under chemise, if managed properly, (and
either you or I, Mr. North, would be most proud to communicate our
private advice on that subject,) would transcend, in gorgeous display,
the coronation robes of queens; nose-pendants would cause the masque
to be immediately and unerringly recognised; or if those were not
thought advisable, the silver ankle-bells, with their melodious
chimes--the sandals, with their jewelled net-work--and the golden
diadem, binding the forehead, and dropping from each extremity of the
polished temples a rouleau of pearls, which, after traversing the
cheeks, unite below the chin--are all so unique and exclusively
Hebraic--that each and all would have the same advantageous effect,
proclaiming and notifying the character, without putting the fair
supporter to any disagreeable expense of Hebrew or Chaldee. The silver
bells alone would 'bear the bell' from every competitor in the room;
and she might besides carry a cymbal--a dulcimer--or a timbrel in her
hands.

In conclusion, my dear North, let me congratulate you that Mr. Hartmann
is now in Hades (as I said before) rather than in Edinburgh; for, had
he been in this latter place, he would have been the ruin of you. It
was his intention, as I am well assured, just about the time that he
took his flight for Hades, to have commenced regular contributor to
your journal; so great was his admiration of you, and also of the terms
which you offer to the literary world. As a learned Orientalist, you
could not decorously have rejected him; and yet, once admitted, he
would have beggared you before any means could have been discovered
by the learned for putting a stop to him. [Greek Text: Aperantologia]
was his forte; upon this he piqued himself, and most justly, since for
covering the ground rapidly, and yet not advancing an inch, those, who
knew and valued him as he deserved, would have backed him against the
whole field of the _gens de plume_ now in Europe. Had he lived, and
fortunately for himself communicated his _Hebrew Toilette_ to the world
through you, instead of foundering (as he did) at Amsterdam, he would
have flourished upon your exchequer; and you would not have heard the
last of him or his Toilette, for the next twenty years. He dates, you
see, from Amsterdam; and, had you been weak enough to take him on
board, he would have proved that 'Flying Dutchman' that would infallibly
have sunk your vessel.

The more is your obligation to me, I think, for sweating him down to
such slender dimensions. And, speaking seriously, both of us perhaps
will rejoice that even with _his_ talents for telling everything, he
was obliged on this subject to leave many things untold. For, though
it might be gratifying to a mere interest of curiosity, yet I believe
that we should both be grieved if anything were to unsettle in our
feelings the mysterious sanctities of Jerusalem, or to disturb that
awful twilight which will for ever brood over Judea--by letting in
upon it the 'common light of day;' and this effect would infallibly
take place, if any one department of daily life, as it existed in
Judea, were brought with all the degrading minutiae of its details
within the petty finishing of a domestic portrait.

Farewell, my dear North, and believe me to be always your old friend
and admirer,

[Greek Text: Cap Omega, Cap Phi]

SCENE THE FIRST.

I. That simple body-cloth framed of leaves, skins, flax, wool, &c.
which modesty had first introduced, for many centuries perhaps sufficed
as the common attire of both sexes amongst the Hebrew Bedouins. It
extended downwards to the knees, and upwards to the hips, about which
it was fastened. Such a dress is seen upon many of the figures in the
sculptures of Persepolis; even in modern times, Niebuhr found it the
ordinary costume of the lower Arabians in Hedsjas; and Shaw assures
us, that from its commodious shape, it is still a favorite dishabille
of the Arabian women when they are behind the curtains of the tent.

From this early rudiment was derived, by gradual elongation, that
well-known under habiliment, which in Hebrew is called _Ch'tonet_, and
in Greek and Latin by words of similar sound. [Footnote 2] In this
stage of its progress, when extended to the neck and the shoulders,
it represents pretty accurately the modern shirt, or _chemise_--except
that the sleeves are wanting; and during the first period of Jewish
history, it was probably worn as the sole under-garment by women of
all ranks, both amongst the Bedouin Hebrews and those who lived in
cities. A very little further extension to the elbows and the calves
of the legs, and it takes a shape which survives even to this day in
Asia. Now, as then, the female habiliment was distinguished from the
corresponding male one by its greater length; and through all antiquity
we find long clothes a subject of reproach to men, as an argument of
effeminacy.

According to the rank or vanity of the wearer, this tunic was made of
more or less costly materials; for wool and flax was often substituted
the finest byssus, or other silky substance; and perhaps, in the latter
periods, amongst families of distinction in Jerusalem, even silk itself.
Splendor of coloring was not neglected; and the opening at the throat
was eagerly turned to account as an occasion for displaying fringe or
rich embroidery.

Bottiger remarks, that, even in the age of Augustus, the morning dress
of Roman ladies when at home was nothing more than this very tunic;
which, if it sate close, did not even require a girdle. The same remark
applies to the Hebrew women, who, during the nomadic period of their
history, had been accustomed to wear no night-chemises at all, but
slept quite naked, or, at the utmost, with a cestus or zone: by way
of bed-clothes, however, it must be observed, that they swathed their
person in the folds of a robe or shawl. Up to the time of Solomon,
this practice obtained through all ranks; and so long the universal
household dress of a Hebrew lady in her harem, was the tunic as here
described; and in this she dressed herself the very moment that she
rose from bed. Indeed, so long as the Hebrew women were content with
a single tunic, it flowed loose in liberal folds about the body; and
was fastened by a belt or a clasp, just as we find it at this day
amongst all Asiatic nations. But, when a second under-garment was
introduced, the inner one fitted close to the shape, whilst the outer
one remained full and free as before.

II. No fashion of the female toilette is of higher antiquity than that
of dyeing the margin of the eyelids and the eyebrows with a black
pigment. It is mentioned or alluded to, 2 Kings, ix. 30, Jerem. iv.
30, Ezek. xxiii. 40; to which may be added, Isaiah, iii. 16. The
practice had its origin in a discovery made accidentally in Egypt. For
it happens, that the substance used for this purpose in ancient times,
is a powerful remedy in cases of ophthalmia and inflammation of the
eyes;--complaints to which Egypt is, from local causes, peculiarly
exposed. This endemic infirmity, in connection with the medical science
for which Egypt was so distinguished, easily account for their
discovering the uses of antimony, which is the principal ingredient
in the pigments of this class. Egypt was famous for the fashion of
painting the face from an early period: and in some remarkable
curiosities illustrating the Egyptian toilette, which were discovered
in the catacombs of Sahara in Middle Egypt, there was a single joint
of a common reed containing an ounce or more of the coloring powder,
and one of the needles for applying it. The entire process was as
follows:--The mineral powder, finely prepared, was mixed up with a
preparation of vinegar and gall-apples--sometimes with oil of almonds,
or other oils--sometimes, by very luxurious women, with costly gums
and balsams. [Footnote 3] And perhaps, as Sonnini describes the practice
among the Mussulman women at present, the whole mass thus compounded
was dried and again reduced to an impalpable powder, and consistency
then given to it by the vapors of some odorous and unctuous substance.
Thus prepared, the pigment was applied to the tip or pointed ferule
of a little metallic pencil, called, in Hebrew, _Makachol_, and made
of silver, gold, or ivory; the eyelids were then closed, and the little
pencil, or probe, held horizontally, was inserted between them:--a
process which is briefly and picturesquely described in the Bible. The
effect of the black rim, which the pigment traced about the eyelid,
was to throw a dark and majestic shadow over the eye; to give it a
languishing and yet a lustrous expression; to increase its apparent
size, and to apply the force of contrast to the white of the eye.
Together with the eyelids, the Hebrew women colored the eyebrows, the
point aimed at being twofold--to curve them into a beautiful arch of
brilliant ebony--and, at the same time, to make the inner ends meet
or flow into each other.

III. Ear-rings of gold, silver, inferior metals, or even horn, were
worn by the Hebrew women in all ages; and in the flourishing period
of the Jewish kingdom, probably by men: and so essential an ornament
were they deemed, that in the idolatrous times, even the images of
their false gods were not considered becomingly attired without them.
Their ear-rings were larger, according to the Asiatic taste; but whether
quite large enough to admit the hand, is doubtful. In a later age, as
we collect from the Thalmud, Part VI. 43, the Jewish ladies wore gold
or silver pendants, of which the upper part was shaped like a lentil,
and the lower hollowed like a little cup or pipkin. It is probable
also, that, even in the oldest ages, it was a practice amongst them
to suspend gold and silver rings, not merely from the lower, but also
from the upper end of the ear, which was perforated like a sieve. The
tinkling sound, with which, upon the slightest motion, two or three
tiers of rings would be set a-dancing about the cheeks, was very
agreeable to the baby taste of the Asiatics.

From a very early age, the ears of Hebrew women were prepared for this
load of trinketry; for, according to the Thalmud, II. 23, they kept
open the little holes, after they were pierced, by threads or slips
of wood: a fact which may show the importance they attached to this
ornament.

IV. Nose-rings, at an early period, became a universal ornament in
Palestine. We learn, from Biblical and from Arabic authority, that it
was a practice of Patriarchal descent amongst both the African and
Asiatic Bedouins, to suspend rings of iron, wood, or braided hair,
from the nostrils of camels, oxen, &c.--the rope by which the animal
was guided being attached to these rings. It is probable, therefore,
that the early Hebrews who dwelt in tents, and who, in the barrenness
of desert scenery, drew most of their hints for improving their personal
embellishment from the objects immediately about them, were indebted
for their nose-rings to this precedent of their camels. Sometimes a
ring depended from both nostrils; and the size of it was equal to that
of the ear-ring; so that, at times, its compass included both upper
and under lip, as in the frame of a picture; and, in the age succeeding
to Solomon's reign, we hear of rings which were not less than three
inches in diameter. Hebrew ladies of distinction had sometimes a cluster
of nose-rings, as well for the tinkling sound which they were contrived
to emit, as for the shining light which they threw off upon the face.

That the nose-ring possessed no unimportant place in the Jewish
toilette, is evident, from its being ranked, during the nomadic state
of the Israelites, as one of the most valuable presents that a young
Hebrew woman could receive from her lover. Amongst the Midianites, who
were enriched by the caravan commerce, even men adopted this ornament:
and this appears to have been the case in the family to which Job
belonged, [chap. xli. 2.] Under these circumstances, we should naturally
presume that the Jewish courtezans, in the cities of Palestine, would
not omit so conspicuous a trinket, with its glancing lights, and its
tinkling sound: this we might presume, even without the authority of
the Bible: but, in fact, both Isaiah and Ezekiel expressly mention it
amongst their artifices of attraction.

Judith, when she appeared before the tent of Holofernes in the whole
pomp of her charms, and appareled with the most elaborate attention
to splendor of effect, for the purpose of captivating the hostile
general, did not omit this ornament. Even the Jewish Proverbs show how
highly it was valued; and that it continued to be valued in later
times, appears from the ordinances of the Thalmud, II. 21, in respect
to the parts of the female wardrobe which were allowed to be worn on
the Sabbath.

V. The Hebrew women of high rank, in the flourishing period of their
state, wore NECKLACES composed of multiple rows of pearls. The thread
on which the pearls were strung, was of flax or woollen,--and sometimes
colored, as we learn from the Thalmud, VI. 43; and the different rows
were not exactly concentric; but whilst some invested the throat,
others descended to the bosom; and in many cases, even to the zone.
On this part of the dress was lavished the greatest expense; and the
Roman reproach was sometimes true of a Hebrew family, that its whole
estate was locked up in a necklace. Tertullian complains heavily of
a particular pearl necklace, which had cost about ten thousand pounds
of English money--as of an enormity of extravagance. But, after making
every allowance for greater proximity to the pearl fisheries, and for
other advantages enjoyed by the people of Palestine, there is reason
to believe that some Hebrew ladies possessed single pearls which had
cost at least five times that sum. [Footnote 4] So much may be affirmed,
without meaning to compare the most lavish of the ladies of Jerusalem
with those of Rome, where it is recorded of some _elegantes_, that
they actually slept with little bags of pearls suspended from their
necks, that even when sleeping, they might have mementos of their pomp.

But the Hebrew necklaces were not always composed of pearls, or of
pearls only--sometimes it was the custom to interchange the pearls
with little golden bulbs or berries: sometimes they were blended with
the precious stones; and at other times, the pearls were strung two
and two, and their beautiful whiteness relieved by the interposition
of red coral.

VI. Next came the BRACELETS of gold or ivory, and fitted up at the
open side with a buckle or enamelled clasp of elaborate workmanship.
These bracelets were also occasionally composed of gold or silver
thread; and it was not unusual for a series of them to ascend from the
wrist to the elbow. From the clasp, or other fastening of the bracelet,
depended a delicate chain-work or netting of gold; and in some
instances, miniature festoons of pearls. Sometimes the gold chain-work
was exchanged for little silver bells, which could be used, upon
occasion, as signals of warning or invitation to a lover.

VII. This _bijouterie_ for the arms, naturally reminded the Hebrew
lady of the ANKLE-BELLS, and other similar ornaments for the feet and
legs. These ornaments consisted partly in golden belts, or rings,
which, descending from above the ankle, compressed the foot in various
parts, and partly in shells and little jingling chains, which depended
so as to strike against clappers fixed into the metallic belts. The
pleasant tinkle of the golden belts in collision, the chains rattling,
and the melodious chime of little silver ankle-bells, keeping time
with the motions of the foot, made an accompaniment so agreeable to
female vanity, that the stately daughters of Jerusalem, with their
sweeping trains flowing after them, appear to have adopted a sort of
measured tread, by way of impressing a regular cadence upon the music
of their feet. The chains of gold were exchanged, as luxury advanced,
for strings of pearls and jewels, which swept in snaky folds about the
feet and ankles.

This, like many other peculiarities in the Hebrew dress, had its origin
in a circumstance of their early nomadic life. It is usual with the
Bedouins to lead the camel, when disposed to be restive, by a rope or
a belt fastened to one of the fore feet, sometimes to both; and it is
also a familiar practice to soothe and to cheer the long-suffering
animal with the sound of little bells, attached either to the neck or
to one of the fore legs. Girls are commonly employed to lead the camels
to water; and it naturally happened, that, with their lively fancies,
some Hebrew or Arabian girl should be prompted to repeat, on her own
person, what had so often been connected with an agreeable impression
in her mule companions to the well.

It is probable, however, that afterwards, having once been introduced,
this fashion was supported and extended by Oriental jealousy. For it
rendered all clandestine movements very difficult in women; and by
giving notice of their approach, it had the effect of preparing men
for their presence, and keeping the road free from all spectacles that
could be offensive to female delicacy.

From the Hebrew Bedouins, this custom passed to all the nations of
Asia; Medes, Persians, Lydians, Arabs, &c., and is dwelt on with
peculiar delight by the elder Arabic poets. That it had spread to the
westernmost parts of Africa, early in the Christian times, we learn
from Tertullian, who cannot suppress his astonishment, that the foolish
women of his time should bear to inflict such compression upon their
tender feet. Even as early as the times of Herodotus, we find, from
his account of a Lybian nation, that the women and girls universally
wore copper rings about their ankles. And at an after period, these
ornaments were so much cherished by the Egyptian ladies, that, sooner
than, appear in public without their tinkling ankle-chimes, they
preferred to bury themselves in the loneliest apartments of the harem.

Finally, the fashion spread partially into Europe; to Greece even, and
to polished Rome, in so far as regarded the ankle-belts, and the other
ornamental appendages, with the single exception of the silver bells;
these were too entirely in the barbaresque taste, to support themselves
under the frown of European culture.

VIII. The first rude sketch of the Hebrew SANDAL may be traced in that
little tablet of undrest hide which the Arabs are in the habit of tying
beneath the feet of their camels. This primitive form, after all the
modifications and improvements it has received, still betrays itself
to an attentive observer, in the very-latest fashions of the sandal
which Palestine has adopted.

To raw hides succeeded tanned leather, made of goat-skin, deer-skin,
&c.; this, after being accurately cut out to the shape of the sole,
was fastened on the bare upper surface of the foot by two thongs, of
which one was usually carried within the great toe, and the other in
many circumvolutions round about the ankles, so that both finally met
and tied just above the instep.

The laced sole, or sandal, of this form, continued in Palestine to be
the universal out-of-doors protection for the feet, up to the
Christian-era; and it served for both sexes alike. It was not, however,
worn within doors. At the threshold of the inner apartments the sandals
were laid aside; and visitors from a distance were presented with a
vessel of water to cleanse the feet from the soiling of dust and
perspiration. [Footnote 5]

With this extreme simplicity in the form of the foot apparel, there
was no great field for improvement. The article contained two parts--the
sole and the fastening. The first, as a subject for decoration, was
absolutely desperate; coarse leather being exchanged for fine, all was
done that could be done; and the wit of man was able to devise no
further improvement. Hence it happened, that the whole power of the
inventive faculty was accumulated upon the fastenings, as the only
subject that remained. These were infinitely varied. Belts of bright
yellow, of purple, and of crimson, were adopted by ladies of
distinction--especially those of Palestine, and it was a trial of art
to throw these into the greatest possible varieties of convolution,
and to carry them on to a nexus of the happiest form, by which means
a reticulation, or trellis-work, was accomplished, of the most brilliant
coloring, which brought into powerful relief the dazzling color of the
skin.

It is possible that, in the general rage for ornaments of gold which
possessed the people of Palestine, during the ages of excessive luxury,
the beauties of Jerusalem may have adopted gilt sandals with gilt
fastenings, as the ladies of Egypt did. It is possible, also, that the
Hebrew ladies adopted at one time, in exchange for the sandal, slippers
that covered the entire foot, such as were once worn at Babylon, and
are still to be seen on many of the principal figures on the monuments
of Persepolis; and, if this were really so, ample scope would, in that
case, have been obtained for inventive art: variations without end
might then have been devised on the fashion or the materials of the
subject; and by means of color, embroidery, and infinite combinations
of jewellery and pearls, an unceasing stimulation of novelty applied
to the taste of the gorgeous Asiatic.

IX. The VEIL, of various texture--coarse or fine--according to
circumstances, was thrown over the head by the Hebrew lady, when she
was unexpectedly surprised, or when a sudden noise gave reason to
expect the approach of a stranger. This beautiful piece of drapery,
which flowed back in massy folds over the shoulders, is particularly
noticed by Isaiah, as holding an indispensable place in the wardrobe
of his haughty country-women; and in this it was that the enamored
Hebrew woman sought the beloved of her heart.

ADDENDA TO SCENE THE FIRST.

I. Of the Hebrew ornaments for the throat, some were true necklaces,
in the modern sense, of several rows, the outermost of which descended
to the breast, and had little pendulous cylinders of gold, (in the
poorer classes, of copper,) so contrived as to make a jingling sound
on the least motion of the person; others were more properly golden
stocks, or throat-bands, fitted so close as to produce in the spectator
an unpleasant imagination (and in the wearer, as we learn from the
Thalmud, VI. 43, until reconciled by use, an actual feeling) of
constriction approaching to suffocation. Necklaces were, from the
earliest times, a favorite ornament of the male sex in the East; and
expressed the dignity of the wearer, as we see in the instances of
Joseph, of Daniel, &c.; indeed the gold chain of office, still the
badge of civic (and until lately, of military) dignities, is no more
than the outermost row of the Oriental necklace. Philo of Alexandria,
and the other Arabian poets, give us some idea of the importance
attached by the women of Asia to this beautiful ornament, and of the
extraordinary money value which it sometimes bore: and from the case
of the necklace of gold and amber, in the 15th Odyssey, (v. 458,)
combined with many other instances of the same kind, there can be no
doubt that it was the neighboring land of Phoenicia from which the
Hebrew women obtained their necklaces, and the practice of wearing
them.

II. The fashion, however, of adorning the necklace with golden _Suns_
and _Moons_, so agreeable to the Hebrew ladies of Isaiah's time, (chap.
iii. 18,) was not derived from Phoenicia, but from Arabia. At an earlier
period, (Judges, viii. 21,) the camels of the Midianites were adorned
with golden moons, which also decorated the necks of the emirs of that
nomadic tribe. These appendages were not used merely by way of ornament,
but originally as talismans, or amulets, against sickness, danger, and
every species of calamity to which the desert was liable. The particular
form of the amulet is to be explained out of the primitive religion,
which prevailed in Arabia up to the rise of Mahometanism, in the seventh
century of Christianity, viz. the _Sabean_ religion, or worship of the
heavenly host--sun, moon, and stars, the most natural of all modes of
idolatry, and especially to a nomadic people in flat and pathless
deserts, without a single way-mark or guidance for their wanderings,
except what they drew from the silent heavens above them. It is certain,
therefore, that, long before their emigration into Palestine, the
Israelites had received the practice of wearing suns and moons from
the Midianites; even after their settlement in Palestine, it is certain
that the worship of the starry host struck root pretty deeply at
different periods; and that, to the sun and moon, in particular, were
offered incense and libations.

From Arabia, this fashion diffused itself over many countries; [Footnote
6] and it was not without great displeasure that, in a remote age,
Jerome and Tertullian discovered this idolatrous ornament upon the
bosoms of their countrywomen.

The crescents, or _half_-moons of silver, in connection with the golden
suns, [Footnote 6] were sometimes set in a brilliant frame that
represented a halo, and still keep their ground on the Persian and
Turkish toilette, as a favorite ornament.

III. The GOLDEN SNAKES, worn as one of the Hebrew appendages to the
necklace, had the same idolatrous derivation, and originally were
applied to the same superstitious use--as an amulet, or prophylactic
ornament. To minds predisposed to this sort of superstition, the serpent
came specially recommended under the circumstances of the Hebrews,
from the conspicuous part which this reptile sustains in the mythologies
of the East. From the earliest periods to which tradition ascends,
serpents of various species were consecrated to the religious feelings
of Egypt, by temples, sacrifices, and formal rites of worship. This
mode of idolatry had at various periods infected Palestine. According
to 2 Kings, xviii. 4, at the accession of King Hezekiah, the Israelites
had raised peculiar altars to a great brazen serpent, and burned incense
upon them. Even at this day the Abyssinians have an unlimited reverence
for serpents; and the blacks in general regard them as fit subjects
for divine honors. Sonnini (II. 388) tells us, that a serpent's skin
is still looked upon in Egypt as a prophylactic against complaints of
the head, and also as a certain cure for them. And of the same origin,
no doubt, was the general belief of antiquity, (according to Pliny,
30, 12,) that the serpent's skin was a remedy for spasms. That the
golden serpent kept its place as an ornament of the throat and bosom
after the Christian era, we learn from Clement of Alexandria. That
zealous father, so intolerant of superstitious mummery under every
shape, directs his efforts against this fashion as against a--device
of the devil.

IV. To the lowest of the several concentric circles which composed the
necklace, was attached a little box, exquisitely wrought in silver or
gold, sometimes an onyx phial of dazzling whiteness, depending to the
bosom or even to the cincture, and filled with the rarest aromas and
odorous spices of the East. What were the favorite essences preserved
in this beautiful appendage to the female costume of Palestine, it is
not possible at this distance of time to determine with
certainty--Isaiah having altogether neglected the case, and Hosea (who
appears to allude to it, ii. 14) having only once distinctly mentioned
it, (ii. 20.) However, the Thalmud particularizes musk, and the
delightful oil distilled from the leaf of the aromatic _malabathrum_
of Hindostan. To these we may venture to add, oil of spikenard, myrrh,
balsams, attar of roses, and rose-water, as the perfumes usually
contained in the Hebrew scent-pendants. Rose-water, which I am the
first to mention as a Hebrew perfume, had, as I presume, a foremost
place on the toilette of a Hebrew _belle_. Express scriptural authority
for it undoubtedly there is none; but it is notorious that Palestine
availed itself of _all_ the advantages of Egypt, amongst which the
rose in every variety was one. _Fium_, a province of central Egypt,
which the ancients called the Garden of Egypt, was distinguished for
innumerable species of the rose, and especially for those of the most
balsamic order, and for the most costly preparations from it. The
Thalmud not only speaks generally of the mixtures made by tempering
it with oil, (i. 135,) but expressly cites (ii. 41) a peculiar
rose-water as so costly an essence, that from its high price alone it
became impossible to introduce the use of it into the ordinary medical
practice. Indeed this last consideration, and the fact that the
highly-prized _quintessence_ cannot be obtained except from an
extraordinary multitude of the rarest roses, forbid us to suppose that
women of the first rank in Jerusalem could have made a very liberal
use of rose-water. In our times, Savary found a single phial of it in
the place of its manufacture, valued at four francs. As to the _oil
of roses_, properly so called, which floats in a very inconsiderable
quantity upon the surface of distilled rose-water, it is certain that
the Hebrew ladies were _not_ acquainted with it. This preparation can
be obtained only from the balsamic roses of Fium, of Shiras, of Kerman,
and of Kashmire, which surpass all the roses of the earth in power and
delicacy of odor; and it is matter of absolute certainty, and
incontrovertibly established by the celebrated Langles, that this oil,
which even in the four Asiatic countries just mentioned, ranks with
the greatest rarities, and in Shiras itself is valued at its weight
in gold, was discovered by mere accident, on occasion of some festival
solemnity in the year 1612.

V. To what I said, in the first scene of my exhibition, about the
Hebrew ear-ornaments, I may add,

1. That sometimes, as Best remarked of the Hindoo dancing-girls, their
ears were swollen from the innumerable perforations drilled into them
to support their loads of trinketry.

2. That in the large pendants of coral which the Hebrew ladies were
accustomed to attach to their ears, either in preference to jewels,
or in alternation with jewels, they particularly delighted in that
configuration which imitated a cluster of grapes.

3. That, in ear-rings made of gold, they preferred the form of drops,
or of globes and bulbs.

4. That of all varieties, however, of this appendage, pearls maintained
the preference amongst the ladies of Palestine, and were either strung
upon a thread, or attached by little hooks--singly or in groups,
according to their size. This taste was very early established amongst
the Jews, and chiefly, perhaps, through their intercourse with the
Midianites, amongst whom we find the great Emirs wearing pearl ornaments
of this class.

_Mutatis mutandis_, these four remarks apply to the case of the nose
ornaments.

SCENE THE SECOND.

I. THE HAIR.--This section I omit altogether; though with more room
at my disposal, it would be well worth translating as a curiosity. It
is the essay of a finished and perfect knave, who not merely being
rather bare of facts, but having literally not one solitary fact of
any kind or degree, sits down to write a treatise on the mode of
dressing hair amongst Hebrew ladies. Samson's hair, and the dressing
it got from the Philistines, is the nearest approach that he ever makes
to his subject; and being conscious that this case of Samson and the
Philistines is the one sole allusion to the subject of Hebrew hair
that he is possessed of, he brings it round upon the reader as often
perhaps as it will bear--viz. not oftener than once every sixth page.
The rest is one continued shuffle to avoid coming upon the ground; and
upon the whole, though too barefaced, yet really not without ingenuity.
Take, by way of specimen, his very satisfactory dissertation on the
particular sort of combs which the Hebrew ladies were pleased to
patronize.

'COMBS.--Whether the ladies of Palestine had upon their toilette a
peculiar comb for parting the hair, another for turning it up, &c.;
as likewise whether their combs were, as in ancient Rome, made of
box-wood, or of ivory, or other costly and appropriate material, all
these are questions upon which I--am not able, upon my honor, to
communicate the least information. But, from the general silence of
antiquity, prophets and all, [Footnote 7] upon the subject of Hebrew
combs, my own private opinion is, that the ladies used their fingers
for this purpose; in which case, there needs no more to be said on the
subject of Hebrew combs.'

II. PERFUMES.--Before, however, the hair received its final arrangement
from the hands of the waiting maid, it was held open and dishevelled
to receive the fumes of frankincense, aloes-wood, cassia, costmary and
other odorous woods, gums, balsams, and spices of India, Arabia, or
Palestine--placed upon glowing embers, in vessels of golden fretwork.
It is probable, also, that the Hebrew ladies used amber, bisam, and
the musk of Thibet; and when fully arranged, the hair was sprinkled
with oil of nard, myrrh, oil of cinnamon, &c. The importance attached
to this part of the Hebrew toilette may be collected indeed from an
ordinance, of the Thalmud, III. 80, which directs that the bridegroom
shall set apart one-tenth of the income which the bride brings him,
for the purchase of perfumes, essences, precious ointments, &c. All
these articles were preserved either in golden boxes, or in little
oval narrow-necked phials of dazzling white alabaster, which bore the
name of onyx, from its resemblance to the precious stone of that name,
but was in fact a very costly sort of marble, obtained in the quarries
of Upper Egypt, or those of the Libanus in Syria. Indeed, long before
the birth of Christ, alabaster was in such general use for purposes
of this kind in Palestine, that it became the generic name for valuable
boxes, no matter of what material. To prevent the evaporation of the
contents, the narrow neck of the phial was resealed every time that
it was opened. It is probable, also, that the _myrrhine_ cups, about
which there has been so much disputing, were no strangers to the Jewish
toilette.

III. THE MIRROR was not made of glass, (for glass mirrors cannot be
shown to have existed before the thirteenth century,) but of polished
metals; and amongst these, silver was in the greatest esteem, as being
capable of a higher burnish than other metals, and less liable to
tarnish. Metallic mirrors are alluded to by Job, xxxvii. 18. But it
appears from the Second Book of Moses, xxxviii. 8, that in that age,
copper must have been the metal employed throughout the harems of
Palestine. For a general contribution of mirrors being made upon one
occasion by the Israelitish women, they were melted down and recast
into washing vessels for the priestly service. Now the sacred utensils,
as we know from other sources, were undeniably of copper. There is
reason to think, however, that the copper was alloyed, according to
the prevailing practice in that age, with some proportions of lead or
tin. In after ages, when silver was chiefly employed, it gave place
occasionally to gold. Mines of this metal were well known in Palestine;
but there is no evidence that precious stones, which were used for
this purpose in the ages of European luxury, were ever so used in
Palestine, or in any part of Asia.

As to shape, the Hebrew mirrors were always either circular or oval,
and cast indifferently flat or concave. They were framed in superb
settings, often of pearls and jewels; and, when tarnished, were cleaned
with a sponge of hyssop, the universal cleansing material in Palestine.

SCENE THE THIRD.

HEAD-DRESSES.

The head-dresses of the Hebrew ladies may be brought under three
principal classes:--

The first was a NET-WORK CAP, made of fine wool or cotton, and worked
with purple or crimson flowers. Sometimes the meshes of the net were
of gold thread. The rim or border of the cap, generally of variegated
coloring, was often studded with jewellery or pearls; and at the back
was ornamented with a bow, having a few ends or tassels flying loose.

Secondly, a TURBAN, managed in the following way: first of all, one
or more caps in the form of a half oval, such are still to be seen
upon the monuments of Egyptian and Persepolitan art, was fastened round
the head by a ribbon or fillet tied behind. This cap was of linen,
sometimes, perhaps, of cotton, and in the inferior ranks of leather,
or, according to the prevailing fashion, of some kind of metal; and,
in any case, it had ornaments worked into its substance. Round this
white or glittering ground were carried, in snaky windings, ribbons
of the finest tiffany, or of lawn resembling our cambric; and to conceal
the joinings, a silky substance was carried in folds, which pursued
the opposite direction, and crossed the tiffany at right angles. For
the purpose of calling out and relieving the dazzling whiteness of the
ground, colors of the most brilliant class were chosen for the ribbons;
and these ribbons were either embroidered with flowers, in gold thread,
or had ornaments of that description interwoven with their texture.

Thirdly, the HELMET, adorned pretty nearly as the turban; and, in
imitation of the helmets worn by Chaldean generals, having long tails,
or tassels, depending from the hinder part, and flowing loosely between
the shoulders. According to the Oriental taste for perfumes, all the
ribbons or fillets used in these helmets and turbans were previously
steeped in perfumes. Finally, in connection with the turban, and often
with the veil, was a beautiful ornament for the forehead and the face,
which the ladies of this day would do well to recall. Round the brow
ran a brandeau or tiara of gold or silver, three fingers' breadth, and
usually set with jewels or pearls; from this, at each of the temples,
depended a chain of pearls or of coral, which, following the margin
of the cheeks, either hung loose or united below the chin.

SCENE THE FOURTH.

I. The reader has been already made acquainted with the _chemise_, or
innermost under-dress. The Hebrew ladies, however, usually wore two
under-dresses, the upper of which it now remains to describe. In
substance it was generally of a fine transparent texture, like the
muslins (if we may so call them) of Cos; in the later ages it was no
doubt of silk.

The chemise sate up close to the throat; and we have already mentioned
the elaborate work which adorned it about the opening. But the opening
of the robe which we are now describing, was of much larger
compass--being cut down to the bosom; and the embroidery, &c. which
enriched it, was still more magnificent. The _chemise_ reached down
only to the calf of the leg, and the sleeve of it to the elbow; but
the upper chemise or tunic, if we may so call it, descended in ample
draperies to the feet--scarcely allowing the point of the foot to
discover itself; and the sleeves enveloped the hands to their middle.
Great pomp was lavished on the folds of the sleeves; but still greater
on the hem of the robe, and the fringe attached to it. The hem was
formed by a broad border of purple, shaded and relieved according to
patterns; and sometimes embroidered in gold thread with the most elegant
objects from the animal or vegetable kingdoms. To that part which fell
immediately behind the heels, there were attached thin plates of gold;
or, by way of variety, it was studded with golden stars and
filigree-work; sometimes with jewels and pearls interchangeably.

II. On this upper tunic, to confine the exorbitance of its draperies,
and to prevent their interfering with the free motions of the limbs,
a superb GIRDLE was bound about the hips. Here, if anywhere, the Hebrew
ladies endeavored to pour out the whole pomp of their splendor--both
as to materials and workmanship. Belts from three to four inches broad,
of the most delicate cottony substance, were chosen as the ground of
this important part of female attire. The finest flowers of Palestine
were here exhibited in rich relief, and in their native colors, either
woven in the loom, or by the needle of the embroiderer. The belts being
thirty or forty feet long, and carried round and round the person, it
was in the power of the wearer to exhibit an infinite variety of forms,
by allowing any fold or number of folds at pleasure to rise up more
or less to view, just as fans or the colored edges of books with us
are made to exhibit landscapes, &c. capable of great varieties of
expansion as they are more or less unfolded. The fastening was by a
knot below the bosom; and the two ends descended below the fringe;
which, if not the only fashion in use, was, however, the prevailing
one--as we learn both from the sculptures at Persepolis, and from the
costume of the High Priest.


Great as the cost was of these girdles, it would have been far greater
had the knot been exchanged for a clasp; and in fact at a later period
when this fashion did really take place, there was no limit to the
profusion with which pearls of the largest size and jewellery were
accumulated upon this conspicuous centre of the dress. Latterly the
girdles were fitted up with beautiful chains, by means of which they
could be contracted or enlarged, and with gold buckles, and large
bosses and clasps that gradually became the basis for a ruinous display
of expenditure.

In conclusion, I must remark, that in Palestine, as elsewhere, the
girdle was sometimes used as a purse: whether it were that the girdle
itself was made hollow (as is expressly affirmed of the High Priest's
girdle), or that, without being hollow, its numerous foldings afforded
a secure depository for articles of small size. Even in our day, it
is the custom to conceal the dagger, the handkerchief for wiping the
face, and other bagatelles of personal convenience, in the folds of
the girdle. However, the richer and more distinguished classes in
Palestine appear to have had a peculiar and separate article of that
kind. And this was,

III. A PURSE made either of metal (usually gold or silver), or of the
softest leather, &c. which was attached by a lace to the girdle, or
kept amongst its folds, and which, even in the eyes of Isaiah, was
important enough to merit a distinct mention. It was of a conical
shape; and at the broader end was usually enriched with ornaments of
the most elaborate and exquisite workmanship. No long time after the
Christian era, the cost of these purses had risen to such a height,
that Tertullian complains, with great displeasure, of the ladies of
his time, that in the mere purse, apart from its contents, they carried
about with them the price of a considerable estate.

The girdle, however, still continued to be the appropriate depository
for the napkin (to use the old English word), or suclatory--_i. e._
handkerchief for clearing the forehead of perspiration. As to
pocket-handkerchiefs, in our northern use of them, it has been
satisfactorily shown by Bottiger, in a German Journal, that the Greek
and Roman ladies knew nothing of that modern appendage to the pocket,
[Footnote 8] however indispensable it may appear to us; and the same
argument apply with equal force to the climate of Palestine.

IV. The glittering RINGS, with which (according to Isaiah, iii. 21),
the Hebrew ladies adorned their hands, seem to me originally to have
been derived from the seal-rings, which, whether suspended from the
neck, or worn upon the finger, have in all ages been the most favorite
ornament of Asiatics. These splendid baubles were naturally in the
highest degree attractive to women, both from the beauty of the stones,
which were usually selected for this purpose, and from the richness
of the setting--to say nothing of the exquisite art which the ancient
lapidaries displayed in cutting them. The stones chiefly valued by the
ladies of Palestine, were rubies--emeralds--and chrysolithes; and
these, set in gold, sparkled on the middle, or little finger of the
right hand; and in the luxurious times upon _all_ the fingers--even
the thumb; nay, in some cases, upon the great toe.

SCENE THE FIFTH.

UPPER GARMENT.

The upper or outer garments, which, for both sexes under all varieties
and modifications, the Hebrews expressed by the comprehensive
denomination of SIMLAH, have hi every age, and through all parts of
the hot climates, in Asia and Africa alike, been of such voluminous
compass--as not only to envelop the whole person, but to be fitted for
a wide range of miscellaneous purposes. Sometimes (as in the triumphal
entry of Christ into Jerusalem) they were used as carpets; sometimes
as coverings for the backs of camels, horses, or asses, to render the
rider's seat less incommodious; sometimes as a bed coverlid, or
counterpane; at other times as sacks for carrying articles of value;
or finally as curtains, hangings of parlors, occasionally tapestry,
or even as sails for boats.

From these illustrations of the uses to which it was applicable, we
may collect the form of this robe: that it was nothing more than a
shawl of large dimensions, or long square of cloth, just as it came
from the weaver's loom, which was immediately thrown round the person,
without receiving any artificial adjustment to the human shape.

So much for the _form_: with regard to the _material_, there was less
uniformity; originally it was of goats' or camels' hair; but, as
civilization and the luxury of cities increased, these coarse substances
were rejected for the finest wool, and Indian cotton. Indeed, through
all antiquity, we find, that pure unsullied white was the festal color,
and more especially in Palestine, where the indigenous soaps, and other
cleaning materials, gave them peculiar advantages for adopting a dress
of that delicate and perishable lustre.

With the advance of luxury, however, came a love of variety; and this,
added to the desire for more stimulating impressions than could be
derived from blank unadorned white, gradually introduced all sorts of
innovations, both in form and color; though, with respect to the first,
amidst all the changes through which it travelled, the old original
outline still manifestly predominated. An account of the leading
varieties, we find in the celebrated third chapter of Isaiah.

The most opulent women of Palestine, beyond all other colors for the
upper robe, preferred purple--or, if not purple throughout the entire
robe, at any rate purple flowers upon a white ground. The winter
clothing of the very richest families in Palestine, was manufactured
in their own houses; and for winter clothing, more especially, the
Hebrew taste, no less than the Grecian and the Roman, preferred the
warm and sunny scarlet, the puce color, the violet, and the regal
purple. [Footnote 9]


Very probable it is, that the Hebrew ladies, like those of Greece,
were no strangers to the half-mantle--fastened by a clasp in front of
each shoulder, and suffered to flow in free draperies down the back;
this was an occasional and supernumerary garment flung over the regular
upper robe--properly so called.

There was also a longer mantle, reaching to the ankles, usually of a
violet color, which--having no sleeves--was meant to expose to view
the beauty not only of the upper robe, but even of the outer tunic
formerly described. By the way, it should be mentioned, that, in order
to steep them in fine odor, all parts of the wardrobe were stretched
on a reticulated or grated vessel--called by the Thalmud (vi. 77)
_Kanklin_--from which the steams of rich perfumes were made to ascend.

In what way the upper robe was worn and fastened, may be collected
perhaps with sufficient probability from the modern Oriental practice,
as described by travellers; but, as we have no _direct_ authority on
the subject, I shall not detain the reader with any conjectural
speculations.

SCENE THE SIXTH.

DRESS OF CEREMONY.

One magnificent dress remains yet to be mentioned, viz. the dress of
honor, or festival dress--which answers in every respect to the modern
CAFTAN. This was used on all occasions of ceremony, as splendid
weddings, presentations at the courts of kings, sumptuous
entertainments, &c.; and all persons who stood in close connection
with the throne, as favorites, crown-officers, distinguished military
commanders, &c., received such a dress as a gift from the royal
treasury, in order to prepare them at all times for the royal presence.
According to the universal custom of Asia, the trains were proportioned
in length to the rank of the wearer; whence it is that the robes of
the high-priest were adorned with a train of superb dimensions; and
even Jehovah is represented, (Isaiah, vi. 1,) as filling the heavenly
palace with the length of his train, [Footnote 10] Another distinction
of this festival robe, was the ordinary fulness and length of the
sleeves; these descended to the knee, and often ran to the ankle or
to the ground. In the sleeves, and in the trains, but especially in
the latter, lay the chief pride of a Hebrew _belle_, when dressed for
any great solemnity or occasion of public display.




NOTES.


NOTE 1. It is one great advantage to the illustrator of ancient costume,
that when almost everything in this sort of usages was fixed and
determined either by religion and state policy, (as with the Jews,)
or by state policy alone, (as with the Romans,) or by superstition and
by settled climate, (as with both,) and when there was no stimulation
to vanity in the love of change from an inventive condition of art and
manufacturing skill, and where the system and interests of the
government relied for no part of its power on such a condition,--dress
was stationary for ages, both as to materials and fashion; Rebecca,
the Bedouin, was drest pretty nearly as Mariamne in the age of the
Caesars. And thus the labors of a learned investigator for one age are
valid for those which follow and precede.

NOTE 2. _Chiton (*)_ in Greek, and by inversion of the syllables,
_Tunica_ in Latin.

NOTE 3. Cheaper materials were used by the poorer Hebrews, especially
of the Bedouin tribes--burnt almonds, lamp-black, soot, the ashes of
particular woods, the gall-apple boiled and pulverized, or any dark
powder made into an unguent by suitable liquors. The modern Grecian
women, in some districts, as Sonnini tells us, use the spine of the
sea-polypus, calcined and finely pulverized, for this purpose. Boxes
of horn were used for keeping the pigment by the poorer Hebrews,--of
onyx or alabaster by the richer.

NOTE 4.

Cleopatra had a couple of that value; and Julius Caesar had one, which
he gave to Servilia, the beautiful mother of Brutus.

NOTE 5.

Washing the feet was a ceremony of ancient times, adopted not merely
with a view, 1st, to personal comfort, in hotter climates; or, 2d, to
decorum of appearance, where people walked about barefooted; but also,
3d, to the reclining posture in use at meals, which necessarily brought
the feet into immediate contact with the cushions, squabs, &c. of
couches.

NOTE 6.

Chemistry had its first origin in Arabia; and it is not impossible
that the chemical nomenclature for gold and silver, viz. _sol_ and
_luna_, were derived from this early superstition of the Bedouin dress.

NOTE 7.

The Thalmud is the only Jewish authority which mentions such a utensil
of the toilette as a comb, (vi. 39,) but without any particular
description. Hartmann adds two remarks worth quoting. 1. That the
Hebrew style of the _coiffure_ may probably be collected from the
Syrian coins; and, 2. That black hair being admired in Palestine, and
the Jewish hair being naturally black, it is probable that the Jewish
ladies did not color their hair, as the Romans did.

NOTE 8.

Or rather it was required only in a catarrh, or other cases of checked
perspiration, which in those climates was not a case of common
occurrence.

NOTE 9. By which was probably meant a color nearer to crimson, than
to the blue class of purples.

NOTE 10. It has been doubted whether these trains were supported by
train-bearers; but one argument makes it probable that they were not,
viz. that they were particularly favorable to the peacock walk or
strut, which was an express object of imitation in the gait of the
Hebrew women.




FINAL NOTES.


I. The _Syndon_, mentioned by Isaiah, &c. was a delicate and transparent
substance, like our tiffany, and in point of money value was fully on
a level with the Caftan; but whether imported from Egypt, or imitated
in the looms of the Hebrews and Phoenicians, is doubtful. It was worn
next to the skin; and consequently, in the harems of the great, occupied
the place of the under tunic (or _chemise_) previously described; and,
as luxury advanced, there is reason to think that it was used as a
night _chemise_.

II. The _Caftan_ is the _Kalaat_ of the East, so often mentioned by
modern travellers; thus, for example, Thevenot (tom. iii. p. 352)
says--'Le Roi fait assez souvent des presens a ses Khans, &c. L'on
appelle ces presens _Kalaat_.' Chardin. (iii. 101,) 'On appelle _Calaat_
les habits que le Roi donne par honeur.' And lately in Lord Amherst's
progress through the northern provinces of our Indian empire, &c. we
read continually of the _Khelawt_, or robe of state, as a present made
by the native princes to distinguished officers.

The Caftan, or festival robe of the Hebrews, was, in my opinion, the
[Greek Text: Peaelos] of the Greeks, or _palla_ of the Romans. Among
the points of resemblance are these:--

1. The _palla_ was flung like a cloak or mantle, over the _stola_, or
uppermost robe, 'Ad talos stola demissa et _circundata_ palla.'

2. The _palla_ not only descended in flowing draperies to the feet,
(thus Tibullus, I. VII. C. 'Fusa sed ad teneros lutea palla pedes,')
but absolutely swept the ground; 'Verrit humum Tyrio saturata murice
palla.'

3. The _palla_ was of the same wide compass, and equally distinguished
for its splendor.

4. Like the Hebrew festival garment, the _palla_ was a _vestis
seposita_, and reserved for rare solemnities.

With respect to the [Greek Text: Peplos], Eustathius describes it as
[Greek Text: megan xai peoixallea xai poixilon peobolaion]; and it
would be easy in other respects to prove its identity with the _Palla_.

Salmasius, by the way, in commenting upon Tertullian, _de Pallio_, is
quite wrong, where he says--'Palla nunquam de virili pallio dicitur.'
Tibullus, tom. iii. iv. 35, sufficiently contradicts that opinion.




MILTON.

[1839.]



We have two ideas, which we are anxious to bring under public notice,
with regard to Milton. The reader whom Providence shall send us will
not measure the value of these ideas (we trust and hope) by their bulk.
The reader indeed--that great idea!--is very often a more important
person towards the fortune of an essay than the writer. Even 'the
prosperity of a jest,' as Shakespeare tells us, lies less in its own
merit than 'in the ear of him that hears it.' If _he_ should happen
to be unusually obtuse, the wittiest jest perishes--the most pointed
is found blunt. So, with regard to books, should the reader on whom
we build prove a sandy and treacherous foundation, the whole edifice,
'temple and tower,' must come to the ground. Should it happen, for
instance, that the reader, inflicted upon ourselves for our sins,
belongs to that class of people who listen to books in the ratio of
their much speaking--find no eloquence in 32mo., and little force of
argument except in such a folio as might knock him down upon occasion
of his proving restive against its logic--in that case he will despise
our present essay. _Will_ despise it? He _does_ despise it already:
for already he sees that it is short. His contempt is a high _a priori_
contempt: for he measures us by anticipation, and needs to wait for
no experience in order to vindicate his sentence against us.

Yet, in one view, this brevity of an essayist does seem to warrant his
reader in some little indignation. We, the writer, expect to bring
over the reader to our opinion--else wherefore do we write? But, within
so small a compass of ground, is it reasonable to look for such a
result? 'Bear witness to the presumption of this essay,' we hear the
reader complaining: 'It measures about fourteen inches by
two--twenty-eight square inches at the most--and is it within human
belief that I, simply as I stand here, shall be converted in so narrow
an area? Here am I in a state of nature, as you may say. An acre of
sound argument might do something: but here is a man who flatters
himself--that, before I am advanced seven inches further in my studies,
he is to work a notable change in my creed. By Castor and Pollux! he
must think very superbly of himself, or very meanly of me.'

Too true, we reply, too true; but, perhaps, there are faults on both
sides. The writer is too peremptory and exacting; the reader is too
restive. The writer is too full of his office, which he fancies is
that of a teacher or a professor speaking _ex cathedra_: the rebellious
reader is oftentimes too determined that he will not learn. The one
conceits himself booted and spurred, and mounted on his reader's back,
with an express commission for riding him: the other is vicious, apt
to bolt out of the course at every opening, and resolute in this
point--that he will not be ridden.

There are some, meantime, who take a very different view of the
relations existing between those well-known parties to a book--writer
and reader. So far from regarding the writer as entitled to the homage
of his reader, as if he were some feudal superior, they hold him little
better than an actor bowing before the reader as his audience. The
feudal relation of fealty [_fidelitas_] may subsist between them, but
the places are inverted; the writer is the liegeman--the reader it is
who claims to be the sovereign. Our own opinion inclines this way. It
is clear that the writer exists for the sake of the reader, not the
reader for the sake of the writer. Besides, the writer bears all sorts
of characters, whilst the reader universally has credit for the best
possible. We have all heard of 'the courteous reader,' 'the candid
reader,' 'the enlightened reader.' But which of us ever heard of 'the
discourteous reader,' 'the mulish reader,' 'the barbarous reader?'
Doubtless there is no such person. The Goths and Vandals are all
confined to the writers. 'The reader'--that great character--is ever
wise, ever learned, ever courteous. Even in the worst of times, this
great man preserved his purity. Even in the tenth and eleventh
centuries, which we usually account the very noontide of darkness, he
shone like a mould candle amongst basest dips. And perhaps it is our
duty to presume all other virtues and graces as no less essential to
him than his glorious 'candor,' his 'courtesy,' (surpassing that of
Sir Gawain,) and his truly 'enlightened' understanding. Indeed, we
very much question whether a writer, who carries with him a just feeling
of his allegiance--a truly loyal writer--can lawfully suppose his
sovereign, the reader, peccable or capable of error; and whether there
is not even a shade of impiety in conceiving him liable to the
affections of sleep, or of yawning.

Having thus, upon our knees as it were, done feudal homage to our great
_suzerain_, the reader--having propitiated him with Persian adorations
and with Phrygian genuflexions, let us now crave leave to convert him
a little. Convert him!--that sounds '_un pen fort_,' does it not? No,
not at all. A cat may look at a king; and upon this or that
out-of-the-way point a writer may presume to be more knowing than his
reader--the serf may undertake to convert his lord. The reader is a
great being--a great noun-substantive; but still, like a mere
adjective, he is liable to the three degrees of comparison. He may
rise above himself--he may transcend the ordinary level of readers,
however exalted that level be. Being great, he may become greater.
Full of light, he may yet labor with a spot or two of darkness. And
such a spot we hold the prevalent opinion upon Milton in two particular
questions of taste--questions that are not insulated, but diffusive;
spreading themselves over the entire surface of the _Paradise Lost_,
and also of the _Paradise Regained_; insomuch that, if Milton is wrong
once, then he is wrong by many scores of times. Nay, which transcends
all counting of cases or numerical estimates of error, if, in the
separate instances, (be they few or be they many,) he is truly and
indeed wrong--then he has erred, not by the case but by the principle;
and that is a thousand times worse; for a separate case or instance
of error may escape any man--may have been overlooked amongst the press
of objects crowding on his eye; or, if _not_ overlooked, if passed
deliberately, may plead the ordinary privilege of human frailty. The
man erred; and his error terminates in itself. But an error of principle
does _not_ terminate in itself; it is a fountain; it is self-diffusive;
and it has a life of its own. The faults of a great man are in any
case contagious; they are dazzling and delusive by means of the great
man's general example. But his false principles have a worse contagion.
They operate not only through the general haze and halo which invests
a shining example; but even if transplanted where that example is
unknown, they propagate themselves by the vitality inherent in all
self-consistent principles, whether true or false.

Before we notice these two cases of Milton, first of all let us ask--Who
and what _is_ Milton? Dr. Johnson was furiously incensed with a certain
man, by trade an author and manufacturer of books wholesale and retail,
for introducing Milton's name into a certain index thus--'Milton, Mr.
John.' That _Mister_, undoubtedly, was hard to digest. Yet very often
it happens to the best of us--to men who are far enough from 'thinking
small beer of themselves,'--that about ten o'clock, A. M., an official
big-wig, sitting at Bow Street, calls upon the man to account for his
_sprees_ of the last night, for his feats in knocking down lamp-posts
and extinguishing watchmen, by this ugly demand of--'Who and what are
you, sir?' And perhaps the poor man, sick and penitential for want of
soda water, really finds a considerable difficulty in replying
satisfactorily to the worthy _beek's_ apostrophe. Although, at five
o'clock in the evening, should the culprit be returning into the country
in the same coach as his awful interrogator, he might be very apt to
look fierce, and retort this amiable inquiry, and with equal thirst
for knowledge to demand, 'D--your eyes, if you come to _that_, who and
what are _you_?' And the _beek_ in _his_ turn, though so apt to indulge
his own curiosity at the expense of the public, might find it very
difficult to satisfy that of others.

The same thing happens to authors; and to great authors beyond all
others. So accustomed are we to survey a great man through the cloud
of years that has gathered round him--so impossible is it to detach
him from the pomp and equipage of all who have quoted him, copied him,
echoed him, lectured about him, disputed about him, quarrelled about
him, that in the case of any Anacharsis the Scythian coming amongst
us--any savage, that is to say, uninstructed in our literature, but
speaking our language, and feeling an interest in our great men--a man
could hardly believe at first how perplexed he would feel--how utterly
at a loss for any _adequate_ answer to this question, suddenly
proposed-_'Who and what was Milton?'_ That is to say, what is the place
which he fills in his own vernacular literature? what station does he
hold in universal literature?

We, if abruptly called upon in that summary fashion to convey a
_commensurate_ idea of Milton, one which might at once correspond to
his pretensions, and yet be readily intelligible to the savage, should
answer perhaps thus:--Milton is not an author amongst authors, not a
poet amongst poets, but a power amongst powers; and the _Paradise Lost_
is not a book amongst books, not a poem amongst poems, but a central
force amongst forces. Let us explain. There is this great distinction
amongst books; some, though possibly the best in their class, are still
no more than books--not indispensable, not incapable of supplementary
representation by other books. If they had never been--if their place
had continued for ages unfilled--not the less, upon a sufficient
excitement arising, there would always have been found the ability,
either directly to fill up the vacancy, or at least to meet the same
passion virtually, though by a work differing in form. Thus, supposing
Butler to have died in youth, and the _Hudibras_ to have been
intercepted by his premature death, still the ludicrous aspects of the
Parliamentary war, and its fighting saints, were too striking to have
perished. If not in a narrative form, the case would have come forward
in the drama. Puritanical sanctity, in collision with the ordinary
interests of life, and with its militant propensities, offered too
striking a field for the Satiric Muse, in any case, to have passed in
total neglect. The impulse was too strong for repression--it was a
volcanic agency, that, by some opening or, other, must have worked a
way for itself to the upper air. Yet Butler was a most original poet,
and a creator within his own province. But, like many another original
mind, there is little doubt that he quelled and repressed, by his own
excellence, other minds of the same cast. Mere despair of excelling
him, so far as not, after all, to seem imitators, drove back others
who would have pressed into that arena, if not already brilliantly
filled. Butler failing, there would have been another Butler, either
in the same or in some analogous form.

But, with regard to Milton and the Miltonic power, the case is far
otherwise. If the man had failed, the power would have failed. In that
mode of power which he wielded, the function was exhausted in the
man--species was identified with the individual--the poetry was
incarnated in the poet.

Let it be remembered, that, of all powers which act upon man through
his intellectual nature, the very rarest is that which we moderns call
the _Sublime_. The Grecians had apparently no word for it, unless it
were that which they meant by [Greek Text: to ogchodes]: for [Greek
Text: upsos] was a comprehensive expression for all qualities which
gave a character of grace or animation to the composition, such even
as were philosophically opposed to the sublime. In the Roman poetry,
and especially in Lucan, at times also Juvenal, there is an exhibition
of a moral sublime, perfectly distinct from anything known to the Greek
poetry. The delineations of republican grandeur, as expressing itself
through the principal leaders in the Roman camps, or the trampling
under foot of ordinary superstitions, as given in the reasons assigned
to Labienus for passing the oracle of the Lybian Jupiter unconsulted,
are in a style to which there is nothing corresponding in the whole
Grecian literature, nor would they have been comprehensible to an
Athenian. The famous line--'Jupiter est quodcunque vides, quodcunque
moveris,' and the brief review of such questions as might be worthy
of an oracular god, with the summary declaration, that every one of
those points we know already by the light of nature, and could not
know them better though Jupiter Ammon himself were to impress them on
our attention--

'Scimus, et haec nobis non altius inseret Ammon:' all this is truly
Roman in its sublimity; and so exclusively Roman, that there, and not
in poets like the Augustan, expressly modelling their poems on Grecian
types, ought the Roman mind to be studied.

On the other hand, for that species of the sublime which does not rest
purely and merely on moral energies, but on a synthesis between man
and nature--for what may properly be called the Ethico-physical
Sublime--there is but one great model surviving in the Greek poetry,
viz. the gigantic drama of the Prometheus crucified on Mount Elborus.
And this drama differs so much from everything else, even in the poetry
of Aeschylus, as the mythus itself differs so much from all the rest
of the Grecian mythology, (belonging apparently to an age and a people
more gloomy, austere, and nearer to the _incunabula mundi_, than those
which bred the gay and sunny superstitions of Greece,) that much
curiosity and speculation have naturally gathered round the subject
of late years. Laying this one insulated case apart, and considering
that the Hebrew poetry of Isaiah and Ezekiel, as having the benefit
of inspiration, does not lie within the just limits of competition,
we may affirm that there is no human composition which can be challenged
as constitutionally sublime--sublime equally by its conception and
by its execution, or as uniformly sublime from first to last, excepting
the _Paradise Lost_. In Milton only, first and last, is the power of
the sublime revealed. In Milton only does this great agency blaze and
glow as a furnace kept up to a white heat--without intermission and
without collapse.

If, therefore, Milton occupies this unique position--and let the reader
question himself closely whether he can cite any other book than the
_Paradise Lost_, as continuously sublime, or sublime even by its
prevailing character--in that case there is a peculiarity of importance
investing that one book which belongs to no other; and it must be
important to dissipate any erroneous notions which affect the integrity
of that book's estimation. Now, there are two notions countenanced by
Addison and by Dr. Johnson, which tend greatly to disparage the
character of its composition. If the two critics, one friendly, the
other very malignant, but both meaning to be just, have in reality
built upon sound principles, or at least upon a sound appreciation of
Milton's principles--in that case there is a mortal taint diffused
over the whole of the _Paradise Lost_: for not a single book is clear
of one or other of the two errors which they charge upon him. We will
briefly state the objections, and then as briefly reply to them, by
exposing the true philosophy of Milton's practice. For we are very
sure that, in doing as he did, this mighty poet was governed by no
carelessness or oversight, (as is imagined,) but by a most refined
theory of poetic effects.

I. The first of these two charges respects a supposed pedantry, or too
ambitious a display of erudition. It is surprising to us that such an
objection should have occurred to any man; both because, after all,
the quantity of learning cannot be great for which any poem can find
an opening; and because, in any poem burning with concentrated fire,
like the Miltonic, the passion becomes a law to itself, and will not
receive into connection with itself any parts so deficient in harmony,
as a cold ostentation of learned illustrations must always have been
found. Still, it is alleged that such words as _frieze, architrave,
cornice, zenith,_ &c., are words of art, out of place amongst the
primitive simplicities of Paradise, and at war with Milton's purpose
of exhibiting the Paradisaical state.

Now, here is displayed broadly the very perfection of ignorance, as
measured against the very perfection of what may be called poetic
science. We will lay open the true purpose of Milton, by a single
illustration. In describing impressive scenery, as occurring in a hilly
or a woody country, everybody must have noticed the habit which young
ladies have of using the word _amphitheatre_: 'amphitheatre of
woods'--'amphitheatre of hills,'--these are their constant expressions.
Why? Is it because the word _amphitheatre_ is a Grecian word? We
question if one young lady in twenty knows that it is; and very certain
we are that no word would recommend itself to her use by that origin,
if she happened to be aware of it. The reason lurks here:--In the word
_theatre_, is contained an evanescent image of a great audience--of
a populous multitude. Now, this image--half withdrawn, half-flashed
upon the eye--and combined with the word _hills_ or _forests_, is
thrown into powerful collision with the silence of hills--with the
solitude of forests; each image, from reciprocal contradiction,
brightens and vivifies the other. The two images act, and react, by
strong repulsion and antagonism.

This principle we might exemplify, and explain at great length; but
we impose a law of severe brevity upon ourselves. And we have said
enough. Out of this one principle of subtle and lurking antagonism,
may be explained everything which has been denounced under the idea
of pedantry in Milton. It is the key to all that lavish pomp of art
and knowledge which is sometimes put forward by Milton in situations
of intense solitude, and in the bosom of primitive nature--as, for
example, in the Eden of his great poem, and in the Wilderness of his
_Paradise Regained_. The shadowy exhibition of a regal banquet in the
desert, draws out and stimulates the sense of its utter solitude and
remotion from men or cities. The images of architectural splendor,
suddenly raised in the very centre of Paradise, as vanishing shows by
the wand of a magician, bring into powerful relief the depth of silence,
and the unpopulous solitude which possess this sanctuary of man whilst
yet happy and innocent. Paradise could not, in any other way, or by
any artifice less profound, have been made to give up its essential
and differential characteristics in a form palpable to the imagination.
As a place of rest, it was necessary that it should be placed in close
collision with the unresting strife of cities; as a place of solitude,
with the image of tumultuous crowds; as the centre of mere natural
beauty in its gorgeous prime, with the images of elaborate architecture
and of human workmanship; as a place of perfect innocence in seclusion,
that it should be exhibited as the antagonist pole to the sin and
misery of social man.

Such is the covert philosophy which governs Milton's practice, and
which might be illustrated by many scores of passages from both the
_Paradise Lost_ and the _Paradise Regained_. [Footnote: For instance,
this is the key to that image in the _Paradise Regained_, where Satan,
on first emerging into sight, is compared to an old man gathering
sticks 'to warm him on a winter's day.' This image, at first sight,
seems little in harmony with the wild and awful character of the supreme
fiend. No: it is _not in_ harmony; nor is it meant to be in harmony.
On the contrary, it is meant to be in antagonism and intense repulsion.
The household image of old age, of human infirmity, and of domestic
hearths, are all meant as a machinery for provoking and soliciting the
fearful idea to which they are placed in collision, and as so many
repelling poles.] In fact, a volume might be composed on this one
chapter. And yet, from the blindness or inconsiderate examination of
his critics, this latent wisdom--this cryptical science of poetic
effects--in the mighty poet, has been misinterpreted, and set down to
the account of defective skill, or even of puerile ostentation.

II. The second great charge against Milton is, _prima facie_, even
more difficult to meet. It is the charge of having blended the Pagan
and Christian forms. The great realities of angels and archangels are
continually combined into the same groups with the fabulous
impersonations of the Greek mythology. Eve is interlinked in comparisons
with Pandora; sometimes again with Eurynome. Those impersonations,
however, may be thought to have something of allegoric meaning in their
conceptions, which in a measure corrects this Paganism of the idea.
But Eve is also compared with Ceres, with Hebe, and other fixed forms
of Pagan superstition. Other allusions to the Greek mythologic forms,
or direct combination of them with the real existences of the Christian
heavens, might be produced by scores, were it not that we decline to
swell our paper beyond the necessity of the case. Now, surely this at
least is an error. Can there be any answer to this?

At one time we were ourselves inclined to fear that Milton had been
here caught tripping. In this instance, at least, he seems to be in
error. But there is no trusting to appearances. In meditating upon the
question, we happened to remember that the most colossal and Miltonic
of painters had fallen into the very same fault, if fault it were. In
his _Last Judgment_, Michael Angelo has introduced the Pagan deities
in connection with the hierarchy of the Christian heavens. Now, it is
very true that one great man cannot palliate the error of another great
man, by committing the same error himself. But, though it cannot avail
as an excuse, such a conformity of ideas serves as a summons to a much
more vigilant examination of the case than might else be instituted.
One man might err from inadvertency; but that two, and both men trained
to habits of constant meditation, should fall into the same error--makes
the marvel tenfold greater.

Now we confess that, as to Michael Angelo, we do not pretend to assign
the precise key to the practice which he adopted. And to our feelings,
after all that might be said in apology, there still remains an
impression of incongruity in the visual exhibition and direct
juxtaposition of the two orders of supernatural existence so potently
repelling each other. But, as regards Milton, the justification is
complete; it rests upon the following principle: In all other parts
of Christianity, the two orders of superior beings, the Christian
heaven and the Pagan pantheon, are felt to be incongruous--not as the
pure opposed to the impure, (for, if that were the reason, then the
Christian fiends should be incongruous with the angels, which they are
not,)--but as the unreal opposed to the real. In all the hands of other
poets, we feel that Jupiter, Mercury, Apollo, Diana, are not merely
impure conceptions, but that they are baseless conceptions, phantoms
of air, nonentities; and there is much the same objection, in point
of just taste, to the combination of such fabulous beings in the same
groups with glorified saints and angels, as there is to the combination,
by a painter or a sculptor, of real flesh-and-blood creatures with
allegoric abstractions.

This is the objection to such combination in all other poets. But this
objection does not apply to Milton: it glances past him; and for the
following reason: Milton has himself laid an early foundation for his
introduction of the Pagan pantheon into Christian groups:--_the false
gods of the heathen world were, according to Milton, the fallen angels_.
They are not false, therefore, in the sense of being unreal, baseless,
and having a merely fantastical existence, like our European fairies,
but as having drawn aside mankind from a pure worship. As ruined angels
under other names, they are no less real than the faithful and loyal
angels of the Christian heavens. And in that one difference of the
Miltonic creed, which the poet has brought pointedly and elaborately
under his reader's notice by his matchless catalogue of the rebellious
angels, and of _their Pagan transformations_ in the very first book
of the _Paradise Lost_, is laid beforehand the amplest foundation for
his subsequent practice; and at the same time, therefore, the amplest
answer to the charge preferred against him by Dr. Johnson, and by so
many other critics, who had not sufficiently penetrated the latent
theory on which he acted.




CHARLEMAGNE.



[FOOTNOTE: The History of Charlemagne; with a Sketch, and History of
France from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Rise of the Carlovingian
Dynasty. By G.P.R. JAMES, Esq. VOL. II.]

[1832.]


History is sometimes treated under the splendid conception of
'philosophy teaching by example,' and sometimes as an 'old almanac;'
and, agreeably to this latter estimate, we once heard a celebrated
living professor of medicine, who has been since distinguished by royal
favor, and honored with a title, making it his boast, that he had never
charged his memory with one single historical fact; that, on the
contrary, he had, out of profound contempt for a sort of knowledge so
utterly without value in his eyes, anxiously sought to extirpate from
his remembrance,--or, if that were impossible, to perplex and
confound,--any relics of historical records which might happen to
survive from his youthful studies. 'And I am happy to say,' added he,
'and it is consoling to have it in my power conscientiously to declare,
that, although I have not been able to dismiss entirely from my mind
some ridiculous fact about a succession of four great monarchies, (for
human infirmity still clings to our best efforts, and will forever
prevent our attaining perfection,) still I have happily succeeded in
so far confounding all distinctions of things and persons, of time and
of places, that I could not assign the era of any one transaction, as
I humbly trust, within a thousand years. The whole vast series of
history is become a wilderness to me; and my mind, as to all such
absurd knowledge, under the blessing of Heaven, is pretty nearly a
_tabula rasa_.' In this Gothic expression of self-congratulation upon
the extent of his own ignorance, though doubtless founded upon what
the Germans call an _einseitig_ or one-sided estimate, there was however
that sort of truth which is apprehended only by strong minds, and such
as naturally adhere to extreme courses. Certainly the blank knowledge
of facts, which is all that most readers gather from their historical
studies, is a mere deposition of rubbish without cohesion, and resting
upon no basis of theory (that is, of general comprehensive survey)
applied to the political development of nations, and accounting for
the great stages of their internal movements. Rightly and profitably
to understand history, it ought to be studied in as many ways as it
may be written. History, as a composition, falls into three separate
arrangements, obeying three distinct laws, and addressing itself to
three distinct objects. Its first and humblest office is to deliver
a naked unadorned exposition of public events and their circumstances.
This form of history may be styled the purely Narrative; the second
form is that which may be styled the Scenical; and the third the
Philosophic. What is meant by Philosophic History, is well understood
in our present advanced state of society; and few histories are written
except in the simplest condition of human culture, which do not in
part assume its functions, or which are content to rest their entire
attraction upon the abstract interest of facts. The privileges of this
form have, however, been greatly abused; and the truth of facts has
been so much forced to bend before preconceived theories, whereas every
valid theory ought to be abstracted from the facts, that Mr. Southey
and others in this day have set themselves to decry the whole genus
and class--as essentially at war with the very primary purposes of the
art. But, under whatever name, it is evident that philosophy, or an
investigation of the true moving forces in every great train and
sequence of national events, and an exhibition of the motives and the
moral consequences in their largest extent which have concurred with
these events, cannot be omitted in any history above the level of a
childish understanding. Mr. Southey himself will be found to illustrate
this necessity by his practice, whilst assailing it in principle. As
to the other mode of history--history treated scenically, it is upon
the whole the most delightful to the reader, and the most susceptible
of art and ornament in the hands of a skilful composer. The most
celebrated specimen in this department is the Decline and Fall of
Gibbon. And to this class may in part [Footnote 1] be referred the
Historical Sketches of Voltaire. Histories of this class proceed upon
principles of selection, presupposing in the reader a general knowledge
of the great cardinal incidents, and bringing forward into especial
notice those only which are susceptible of being treated with
distinguished effect.

These are the three separate modes of treating history; each has its
distinct purposes; and all must contribute to make up a comprehensive
total of historical knowledge. The first furnishes the facts; the
second opens a thousand opportunities for pictures of manners and
national temper in every stage of their growth; whilst the third
abstracts the political or the ethical moral, and unfolds the philosophy
which knits the history of one nation to that of others, and exhibits
the whole under their internal connection, as parts of one great
process, carrying on the great economy of human improvement by many
stages in many regions at one and the same time.

Pursued upon this comprehensive scale, the study of history is the
study of human nature. But some have continued to reject it, not upon
any objection to the quality of the knowledge gained--but simply on
the ground of its limited extent; contending that in public and
political transactions, such as compose the matter of history, human
nature exhibits itself upon too narrow a scale and under too monotonous
an aspect; that under different names, and in connection with different
dates and regions, events virtually the same are continually revolving;
that whatever novelty may strike the ear, in passages of history taken
from periods widely remote, affects the names only, and circumstances
that are extra-essential; that the passions meantime, the motives, and
(allowing for difference of manners) the means even, are subject to
no variety; that in ancient or in modern history there is no real
accession made to our knowledge of human nature: but that all proceeds
by cycles of endless repetition; and in fact that, according to the
old complaint, 'there is nothing new under the sun.' It is not true
that 'there is nothing new under the sun,' This is the complaint, as
all men know, of a jaded voluptuary, seeking for a new pleasure and
finding none, for reasons which lay in his own vitiated nature. Why
did he seek for novelty? Because old pleasures had ceased to stimulate
his exhausted organs; and that was reason enough why no new pleasure,
had any been found, would operate as such for _him_. The weariness of
spirit, and the poverty of pleasure which he bemoaned as belonging to
our human condition, were not in reality _objective_, (as a German
philosopher would express himself,) or laid in the nature of things,
and thus pressing upon all alike, but _subjective_, that is to say,
derived from the peculiar state and affections of his own organs for
apprehending pleasure. Not the _apprehensibile_, but the _apprehendens_,
was in fault--not the pleasures, or the dewy freshness of pleasures,
had decayed, but the sensibilities of him who thus undertook to appraise
them.

More truly, and more philosophically, it may be said that there is
nothing old under the sun, no absolute repetition. It is the well-known
doctrine of Leibnitz, [Footnote 2] that amongst the familiar objects
of our daily experience, there is no perfect identity. All in external
nature proceeds by endless variety. Infinite change, illimitable
novelty, inexhaustible difference, these are the foundations upon which
nature builds and ratifies her purpose of _individuality_--so
indispensable, amongst a thousand other great uses, to the very elements
of social distinctions and social rights, But for the endless
circumstances of difference which characterize external objects, the
rights of property, for instance, would have stood upon no certain
basis, nor admitted of any general or comprehensive guarantee.

As with external objects, so with human actions; amidst their infinite
approximations and affinities, they are separated by circumstances of
never-ending diversity. History may furnish her striking
correspondences, Biography her splendid parallels, Rome may in certain
cases appear but the mirror of Athens, England of Rome,--and yet, after
all, no character can be cited, no great transaction, no revolution
of 'high-viced cities,' no catastrophe of nations, which, in the midst
of its resemblances to distant correspondences in other ages, docs not
include features of abundant distinction and individualizing
characteristics, so many and so important, as to yield its own peculiar
matter for philosophical meditation and its own separate moral. Rare
is the case in history, or (to speak with suitable boldness) there is
none, which does not involve circumstances capable to a learned eye,
without any external aid from chronology, of referring it to its own
age. The doctrine of Leibnitz, on the grounds of individuality in the
objects of sense, may, in fact, be profitably extended to all the great
political actions of mankind. Many pass, in a popular sense, for pure
transcripts or duplicates of similar cases in past times; but,
accurately speaking, none are such truly and substantially. Neither
are the differences, by which they are severally marked and featured,
interesting only to the curiosity or to the spirit of minute research.
All public acts in the degree in which they are great and comprehensive,
are steeped in living feelings, and saturated with the spirit of their
own age; and the features of their individuality, that is, the
circumstances which chiefly distinguish them from their nearest
parallels in other times, and chiefly prevent them from lapsing into
blank repetitions of the same identical case, are generally the very
cardinal points, the organs, and the depositories which lodge whatever
best expresses the temper and tendencies of the age to which they
belong. So far are these special points of distinction from being
slight or trivial, that in them _par excellence_ is gathered and
concentrated, whatever a political philosopher would be best pleased
to insulate and to converge within his field of view.

This, indeed, is evident upon consideration; and is in some sense
implied in the very verbal enunciation of the proposition; _vi termini_,
it should strike every man who reflects--that in great national
transactions of different ages, so far resembling each other as to
merit the description of _parallels_, all the circumstances of
agreement--all those which compose the resemblance for the very reason
that they are _common_ to both periods of time, specially and
characteristically belong to neither. It is the differential, and not
the common--the points of special dissimilitude, not those of general
similitude--which manifestly must be looked to, for the philosophic
valuation of the times or the people--for the adjudication of their
peculiar claims in a comparison with other times and other people--and
for the appraisement of the progress made, whether positively for its
total amount, or relatively to itself, for its rate of advance at each
separate stage.

It is in this way of critical examination, that comparison and the
collation of apparent parallels, from being a pure amusement of
ingenuity, rises to a philosophic labor, and that the study of History
becomes at once dignified and in a most practical sense profitable.
It is the opinion of the subtlest and the most combining (if not the
most useful) philosopher whom England has produced, that a true
knowledge of history confers the gift of prophecy; or that intelligently
and sagaciously to have looked backwards, is potentially to have looked
forwards. For example, he is of opinion that any student of the great
English civil war in the reign of Charles I., who should duly have
noted the signs precurrent and concurrent of those days, and should
also have read the contemporary political pamphlets, coming thus
prepared, could not have failed, after a corresponding study of the
French literature from 1750 to 1788, and in particular, after collecting
the general sense and temper of the French people from the _Cahiers_,
(or codes of instruction transmitted by the electoral bodies to the
members of the first National Assembly,) to foresee in clear succession
the long career of revolutionary frenzy, which soon afterwards deluged
Europe with tears and blood. This may perhaps be conceded, and without
prejudice to the doctrine just now delivered, of endless diversity in
political events. For it is certain that the political movements of
nations obey everlasting laws, and travel through the stages of known
cycles, which thus insure enough of resemblance to guarantee the general
outline of a sagacious prophecy; whilst on the other hand, the times,
the people, and the extraordinary minds which, in such critical eras,
soon reveal themselves at the head of affairs, never fail of producing
their appropriate and characteristic results of difference. Sameness
enough there will always be to encourage the true political seer; with
difference enough to confer upon each revolution its separate character
and its peculiar interest.

All this is strikingly illustrated in the history of those great
revolutionary events, which belong to the life and times of the Emperor
Charlemagne. If any one period in history might be supposed to offer a
barren and unprofitable picture of war, rapine, and bloodshed--unfeatured
by characteristic differences, and unimproved by any peculiar moral,
it is this section of the European annals. Removed from our present
times by a thousand years, divided from us by the profound gulf of what
we usually denominate the _dark ages_; placed, in fact, entirely upon
the farther [Footnote 3] side of that great barrier--this period of
history can hardly be expected to receive much light from contemporary
documents in an age so generally illiterate. Not from national archives,
or state papers, when diplomacy was so rare, when so large a proportion
of its simple transactions was conducted by personal intercourse, and
after the destruction wrought amongst its slender chancery of written
memorials by the revolution of one entire millenium. Still less could we
have reason to hope for much light from private memoirs at a period when
the means of writing were as slenderly diffused as the motives; when the
rare endowments, natural and acquired, for composing history could so
seldom happen to coincide with the opportunities for obtaining accurate
information; when the writers were so few, and the audience so limited
and so widely dispersed, to which they could then profitably address
themselves. With or without illustration, however, the age itself and
its rapid succession of wars between barbarous and semi-barbarous tribes,
might, if any one chapter in history, be presumed barren of either interest
or instruction, wearisomely monotonous; and, by comparison with any
parallel section from the records of other nations in the earliest
stages of dawning civilization, offering no one feature of novelty
beyond the names of the combatants, their local and chronological
relations, and the peculiar accidents and unimportant circumstances
of variety in the conduct or issue of the several battles which they
fought.

Yet, in contradiction to all these very plausible presumptions, even
this remote period teems with its own peculiar and separate instruction.
It is the first great station, so to speak, which we reach after
entering the portals of modern [Footnote 4] history. It presents us
with the evolution and propagation of Christianity in its present
central abodes; with the great march of civilization, and the gathering
within the pale of that mighty agency for elevating human nature, and
beneath the gentle yoke of the only true and beneficent religion, of
the last rebellious recusants among the European family of nations.
We meet also, in conjunction with the other steps of the vast humanizing
process then going on, the earliest efforts at legislation--recording
at the same time the barbarous condition of those for whom they were
designed, and the anti-barbarous views and aspirations of the legislator
in the midst of his condescensions to the infirmities of his subjects.
Here also we meet with the elementary state, growing and as yet
imperfectly rooted, of feudalism. Here, too, we behold in their
incunabula, forming and arranging themselves under the pressure of
circumstances, the existing kingdoms of Christendom. So far, then,
from being a mere echo, or repetition, of other passages in history,
the period of Charlemagne is rich and novel in its instruction, and
almost (we might say) unique in the quality of that instruction. For
here only perhaps we see the social system forming itself in the mine,
and the very process, as it were, of crystallization going on beneath
our eyes. Mr. James, therefore, may be regarded as not less fortunate
in the choice of his subject, than meritorious in its treatment; indeed,
his work is not so much the best, as the only history of Charlemagne
which will hereafter be cited. For it reposes upon a far greater body
of research and collation, than has hitherto been applied [Footnote
4] even in France to this interesting theme; and in effect it is the
first account of the great emperor and his times which can, with a due
valuation of the term, be complimented with the title of a _critical_
memoir. Charlemagne, 'the greatest man of the middle ages,' in the
judgment of his present biographer, was born A. D. 742--seven years
before his father assumed the _name_ of King. This date has been
disputed: but, on the whole, we may take it as settled, upon various
collateral computations, that the year now assigned is the true one.
The place is less certain: but we do not think Mr. James warranted in
saying that it is 'unknown.' If every thing is to be pronounced
'unknown,' for which there is no absolute proof of a kind to satisfy
forensic rules of evidence, or which has ever been made a question for
debate, in that case we may apply a sponge to the greater part of
history before the era of printing.

Aix-la-Chapelle, Mr. James goes on to tell us, is _implied_ as the
birth-place of one of the chief authorities. But our own impression
is, that according to the general belief of succeeding ages, it was
not Aix-la-Chapelle, but Ingelheim, a village near Mentz, to which
that honor belonged. Some have supposed that Carlsburg, in Bavaria,
was the true place of his birth; and, indeed, that it drew its name
from that distinguished event. Frantzius, in particular, says, that
in his day the castle of that place was still shown to travellers with
the reverential interest attached to such a pretension. But, after
all, he gives his own vote for Ingelheim; and it is singular that he
does not so much as mention Aix-la-Chapelle. Of his education and his
early years, Mr. James is of opinion that we know as little as of his
birth-place. Certainly our information upon these particulars is neither
full nor circumstantial; yet we know as much, perhaps, in these
respects, of Charlemagne as of Napoleon Bonaparte. And remarkable
enough it is, that not relatively, (or making allowances for the age,)
but absolutely, Charlemagne was much more accomplished than Napoleon
in the ordinary business of a _modern_ education; Charlemagne, in the
middle of the 8th century, than Napoleon in the latter end of the 18th.
Charlemagne was, in fact, the most accomplished man of his age; Napoleon
a sciolist for any age. The tutor of Charlemagne was Peter of Pisa,
a man eminent at that time for his attainments in literature (_in re
grammatica_). From him it was that Charlemagne learned Latin and Greek;
Greek in such a degree 'ut sufficienter intelligeret,' and Latin to
the extent of using it familiarly and fluently in conversation. Now,
as to the man of the 18th century, Greek was to him as much a sealed
language as Chinese; and, even with regard to Latin, his own secretary
doubts, upon one occasion, whether he were sufficiently master of it
to translate Juvenal's expressive words of _Panem et Circenses_. Yet
he had enjoyed the benefits of an education in a Royal College, in a
country which regards itself self-complacently as at the head of
civilization. Again, there is a pretty strong tradition, (which could
hardly arise but upon some foundation,) that Charlemagne had cultivated
the Arabic so far as to talk it; [Footnote 6] having no motive to that
attainment more urgent than that political considerations made it
eligible for him to undertake an expedition against those who could
negotiate in no other language. Now, let it be considered how very
much more powerful arguments there were in Napoleon's position for
mastering the German and the English. His continental policy moved
entirely upon the pivot of central Europe, that is, the German system
of nations--the great federation of powers upon the Rhine and the
Danube. And, as to England, his policy and his passions alike pointed
in that direction as uniformly and as inevitably as the needle to the
Pole: every morning, we are told, tossing aside the Paris journals as
so many babbling echoes of his own public illusions, expressing rather
what was desired, than what was probable, he required of his secretary
that he should read off into French the leading newspapers of England.
And many were the times when he started up in fury, and passionately
taxed his interpreter with mistranslation; sometimes as softening the
expressions, sometimes as over-coloring their violence. Evidently he
lay at the mercy of one whom he knew to be wanting in honor, and who
had it in his power, either by way of abetting any sinister views of
his own, or in collusion with others, to suppress--to add--to
garble--and in every possible way to color and distort what he was
interpreting. Yet neither could this humiliating sense of dependency
on the one hand, nor the instant pressure of political interest on the
other, ever urge Napoleon to the effort of learning English in the
first case, German or Spanish in the second. Charlemagne again
cultivated most strenuously and successfully, as an accomplishment
peculiarly belonging to the functions of his high station, the art and
practice of eloquence; and he had this reward of his exertions--that
he was accounted the most eloquent man of his age: 'totis viribus ad
orationem exercendam conversus naturalem facundiam ita roboravit studio,
ut praeter [l. _propter_] promptum ac profluens sermonis genus _facile
aevi sui eloquentissimus crederetur.'

Turn to Bonaparte. It was a saying of his sycophants, that he sometimes
spoke like a god, and sometimes worse than the feeblest of mortals.
But, says one who knew him well,--the mortal I have often heard,
unfortunately never yet the god. He who sent down this sneer to
posterity, was at Napoleon's right hand on the most memorable occasion
of his whole career--that cardinal occasion, as we may aptly term it,
(for upon _that_ his whole fortunes hinged,) when he intruded violently
upon the legislative body, dissolved the Directory and effected the
revolution of the 18th Brumaire. That revolution it was which raised
him to the Consular power; and by that revolution, considered in its
manner and style, we may judge of Napoleon in several of his chief
pretensions--courage, presence of mind, dignity, and eloquence; for
then, if ever, these qualities were all in instant requisition; one
word effectually urged by the antagonist parties, a breath, a gesture,
a nod, suitably followed up, would have made the total difference
between ruler of France and a traitor hurried away _a la lanterne_.
It is true that the miserable imbecility of all who should have led
the hostile parties, the irresolution and the quiet-loving temper of
Moreau, the base timidity of Bernadotte, in fact, the total defect of
heroic minds amongst the French of that day, neutralized the defects
and more than compensated the blunders of Napoleon. But these were
advantages that could not be depended on: a glass of brandy
extraordinary might have emboldened the greatest poltroon to do that
which, by once rousing a movement of popular enthusiasm, once making
a beginning in that direction, would have precipitated the whole affair
into hands which must have carried it far beyond the power of any party
to control. Never, according to all human calculation, were eloquence
and presence of mind so requisite: never was either so deplorably
wanting. A passionate exposition of the national degradations inflicted
by the imbecility of the Directors, an appeal to the Assembly as
Frenchmen, contrasting the glories of 1796 with the humiliating
campaigns that had followed, might, by connecting the new candidate
for power with the public glory, and the existing rulers with all the
dishonors which had settled on the French banners, have given an
electric shock to the patriotism of the audience, such as would have
been capable for the moment of absorbing their feelings as partisans.
In a French assembly, movements of that nature, under a momentary
impulse, are far from being uncommon. Here, then, if never before, and
never again, the grandeur of the occasion demanded--almost, we might
say, implored, and clamorously invoked, the effectual powers of
eloquence and perfect self-possession. How was the occasion met? Let
us turn to the actual scene, as painted in lively colors by a friend
and an eye-witness: [Footnote 7]--'The accounts brought every instant
to General Bonaparte determined him to enter the hall [of the Ancients]
and take part in the debate. His entrance was hasty and in anger--no
favorable prognostics of what he would say. The passage by which we
entered led directly forward into the middle of the house; our backs
were towards the door; Bonaparte had the President on his right; he
could not see him quite in front. I found myself on the General's
right; our clothes touched: Berthier was on his left.

'All the harangues composed for Bonaparte after the event differ from
each other;--no miracle that. There was, in fact, none pronounced to
the Ancients; unless a broken conversation with the President, carried
on without nobleness, propriety, or dignity, may be called a speech.
We heard only these words--"_Brothers in arms--frankness of a soldier_."
The interrogatories of the President were clear. Nothing could be more
confused or worse enounced, than the ambiguous and disjointed replies
of Bonaparte. He spoke incoherently of volcanoes--secret
agitations--victories--constitution violated. He found fault even
with the 18th Fructidor, of which he had himself been the prime
instigator and most powerful upholder.' [Not, reader, observe, from
bold time-serving neglect of his own principles, but from absolute
distraction of mind, and incoherency of purpose.] 'Then came
_Caesar_--_Cromwell_--_Tyrant_'--[allusions which, of all others, were
the most unseasonable for that crisis, and for his position.] 'He
repeated several times--_I have no more than that to tell you_; and
he had told them nothing. Then out came the words,--_Liberty, Equality:_
for these every one saw he had not come to St. Cloud. Then his action
became animated, and we lost him--comprehending nothing beyond _18th
Fructidor, 30 Prairial, hypocrites, intriguers; I am not so; I shall
declare all; I will abdicate the power when the danger which threatens
the Republic has passed_.' Then, after further instances of Napoleon's
falsehood, and the self-contradictory movements of his disjointed
babble, the secretary goes on thus: 'These interruptions, apostrophes,
and interrogations, overwhelmed him; he believed himself lost. The
disapprobation became more violent, and his discourse still more wanting
in method and coherence. Sometimes he addressed the representatives,
quite stultified; sometimes the military in the court,' [_i. e._
outside,] 'who were beyond hearing; then, without any transition, he
spoke of the thunder of war--saying, _I am accompanied by the god of
war and fortune_. The President then calmly observed to him that he
found nothing, absolutely nothing, upon which they could deliberate;
that all he had said was vague. _Explain yourself, unfold the plots
into which you have been invited to enter_. Bonaparte repeated the
same things; and in what style! No idea in truth can be formed of the
whole scene, unless by those present. There was not the least order
in all he stammered out (to speak sincerely) with the most inconceivable
incoherence. Bonaparte was no orator. Perceiving the bad effect produced
upon the meeting by this rhapsody, and the progressive confusion of
the speaker, I whispered (pulling his coat gently at the same
time)--'Retire, General, you no longer know what you are saying.' I
made a sign to Berthier to second me in persuading him to leave the
place; when suddenly, after stammering out a few words more, he turned
round, saying, 'Let all who love me follow.' So ended this famous
scene--in which, more than in any other upon record, eloquence and
presence of mind were needful. And if it should be said that vagueness
was not altogether the least eligible feature in a speech whose very
purpose was to confuse, and to leave no room for answer, we reply--true;
but then it was the vagueness of art, which promised to be serviceable,
and that of preconcerted perplexity, not the vagueness of incoherence,
and a rhapsody of utter contradiction. [Footnote 8]

What a contrast all this to the indefeasible majesty of Charlemagne--to
his courage and presence of mind, which always rose with the occasion,
and, above all, to his promptitude of winning eloquence, that _promptum
ac praftuens genus sermonis_, which caused him to be accounted _evi
sui eloquentissimus!_

Passing for a moment to minor accomplishments, we find that Charlemagne
excelled in athletic and gymnastic exercises; he was a _pancratiast_.
Bonaparte wanted those even which were essential to his own daily
security. Charlemagne swam well; Bonaparte not at all. Charlemagne was
a first-rate horseman even amongst the Franks; Napoleon rode ill
originally, and no practice availed to give him a firm seat, a graceful
equestrian deportment, or a skilful bridle hand. In a barbarous age
the one possessed all the elegances and ornamental accomplishments of
a gentleman; the other, in a most polished age, and in a nation of
even false refinement, was the sole barbarian of his time; presenting,
in his deficiencies, the picture of a low mechanic--and, in his positive
qualities, the violence and brutality of a savage. [Footnote 9] Hence,
by the way, the extreme folly of those who have attempted to trace a
parallel between Napoleon and the first Caesar. The heaven-born Julius,
as beyond all dispute the greatest man of ancient history in moral
grandeur, and therefore raised unspeakably above comparison with one
who was eminent, even amongst ordinary men, for the pettiness of his
passions--so also, upon an intellectual trial, will be found to
challenge pretty nearly an equal precedency. Meantime, allowing for
the inequality of their advantages, even Caesar would not have disdained
a comparison with Charlemagne. All the knowledge current in Rome,
Athens, or Rhodes, at the period of Caesar's youth, the entire cycle
of a nobleman's education in a republic where all noblemen were from
their birth dedicated to public services, this--together with much and
various knowledge peculiar to himself and his own separate objects--had
Caesar mastered; whilst, in an age of science, and in a country where
the fundamental science of mathematics was generally diffused in
unrivalled perfection, it is well ascertained that Bonaparte's knowledge
did not go beyond an elementary acquaintance with the first six books
of Euclid; but, on the other hand, Charlemagne, even in that early
age, was familiar with the intricate mathematics and the elaborate
_computus_ of Practical Astronomy.

But these collations, it will be said, are upon questions not primarily
affecting their peculiar functions. They are questions more or less
extra-judicial. The true point of comparison is upon the talents of
policy in the first place, and strategies in the second. A trial between
two celebrated performers in these departments, is at any rate
difficult; and much more so when they are separated by vast intervals
of time. Allowances must be made, so many and so various; compensations
or balances struck upon so many diversities of situation; there is so
much difference in the modes of warfare--offensive and defensive; the
financial means, the available alliances, and other resources, are
with so much difficulty appraised--in order to raise ourselves to that
station from which the whole question can be overlooked, that nothing
short of a general acquaintance with the history, statistics, and
diplomacy of the two periods, can lay a ground for the solid
adjudication of so large a comparison. Meantime, in the absence of
such an investigation, pursued upon a scale of suitable proportions,
what if we should sketch a rapid outline [Greek Text: os en tupo
pexilabeln] of its _elements_, (to speak by a metaphor borrowed from
practical astronomy)--_i. e._ of the principal and most conspicuous
points which its path would traverse? How much these two men, each
central to a mighty system in his own days, how largely and essentially
they differed--whether in kind or in degree of merit, will appear in
the course even of the hastiest sketch. The circumstances in which
they agreed, and that these were sufficient to challenge an inquiry
into their characteristic differences, and to support the interest of
such an inquiry, will probably be familiar to most readers, as among
the common places of general history which survive even in the daily
records of conversation. Few people can fail to know--that each of
these memorable men stood at the head of a new era in European history,
and of a great movement in the social development of nations; that
each laid the foundations for a new dynasty in his own family, the one
by building forwards upon a basis already formed by his two immediate
progenitors, the other by dexterously applying to a great political
crisis his own military preponderance; and finally, that each forfeited
within a very brief period--the one in his own person, the other in
the persons of his immediate descendants--the giddy ascent which he
had mastered, and all the distinctions which it conferred; in short,
that 'Time, which gave, did his own gifts confound ;' [Footnote 10]
but with this mighty difference--that Time co-operated in the one case
with extravagant folly in the individual, and in the other with the
irresistible decrees of Providence.

Napoleon Bonaparte and Charlemagne were both, in a memorable degree,
the favorites of fortune. It is true, that the latter found himself
by inheritance in possession of a throne, which the other ascended by
the fortunate use of his own military advantages. But the throne of
Charlemagne had been recently won by his family, and in a way so nearly
corresponding to that which was afterwards pursued by Napoleon, that
in effect, considering how little this usurpation had been hallowed
by time, the throne might in each case, if not won precisely on the
same terms, be considered to be held by the same tenure. Charlemagne,
not less than Napoleon, was the privileged child of revolution; he was
required by the times, and indispensable to the crisis which had arisen
for the Franks; and he was himself protected by the necessities to
which he ministered. Clouds had risen, or were rising, at that era,
on every quarter of France; from every side she was menaced by hostile
demonstrations; and, without the counsels of a Charlemagne, and with
an energy of action inferior to his, it is probable that she would
have experienced misfortunes which, whilst they depressed herself,
could not but have altered the destinies of Christendom for many ages
to come. The resources of France, it is true, were immense; and, as
regarded the positions of her enemies, they were admirably concentrated.
But to be made available in the whole extent which the times demanded,
it was essential that they should be wielded by a first-rate statesman,
supported by a first-rate soldier. The statesman and the soldier were
fortunately found united in the person of one man; and that man, by
the rarest of combinations, the same who was clothed with the supreme
power of the State. Less power, or power less harmonious, or power the
most consummate, administered with less absolute skill, would doubtless
have been found incompetent to struggle with the tempestuous assaults
which then lowered over the entire frontier of France. It was natural,
and, upon the known constitution of human nature, pretty nearly
inevitable, that, in the course of the very extended warfare which
followed, love for that glorious trade--so irritating and so
contagious--should be largely developed in a mind as aspiring as
Charlemagne's, and stirred by such generous sensibilities. Yet is it
in no one instance recorded, that these sympathies with the pomp and
circumstance of war, moved him to undertake so much as a single
campaign, or an expedition which was not otherwise demanded by his
judgment, or that they interfered even to bias or give an impulse to
his judgment, where it had previously wavered. In every case he tried
the force of negotiation before he appealed to arms; nay, sometimes
he condescended so far in his love of peace, as to attempt purchasing
with gold rights or concessions of expediency, which he knew himself
in a situation amply to extort by arms. Nor where these courses were
unavailing, and where peace was no longer to be maintained by any
sacrifices, is it ever found that Charlemagne, in adopting the course
of war, suffered himself to pursue it as an end valuable in and for
itself. And yet _that_ is a result not uncommon; for a long and
conscientious resistance to a measure originally tempting to the
feelings, once being renounced as utterly unavailing, not seldom issues
in a headlong surrender of the heart to purposes so violently thwarted
for a time. And even as a means, war was such in the eyes of Charlemagne
to something beyond the customary ends of victory and domestic security.
Of all conquerors, whose history is known sufficiently to throw light
upon their motives, Charlemagne is the only one who looked forward to
the benefit of those he conquered, as a principal element amongst the
fruits of conquest. 'Doubtless,' says his present biographer, 'to
defend his own infringed territory, and to punish the aggressors,
formed a part of his design; but, beyond that, he aimed at civilizing
a people whose barbarism had been for centuries the curse of the
neighboring countries, and at the same time communicating to the cruel
savages, who shed the blood of their enemies less in the battle than
in the sacrifice, the bland and mitigating spirit of the Christian
religion.'

This applies more particularly and circumstantially to his Saxon
campaigns; but the spirit of the remark is of general application. At
that time a weak light of literature was beginning to diffuse
improvement in Italy, in France, and in England. France, by situation,
geographically and politically speaking, by the prodigious advantage
which she enjoyed exclusively of an undivided government, and
consequently of entire unity in her counsels, was peculiarly fitted
for communicating the benefits of intellectual culture to the rest of
the European continent, and for sustaining the great mission of
civilizing conquest. Above all, as the great central depository of
Christian knowledge, she seemed specially stationed by Providence as
a martial apostle for carrying by the sword that mighty blessing,
which, even in an earthly sense, Charlemagne could not but value as
the best engine of civilization, to the potent infidel nations on her
southern and eastern frontier. A vast revolution was at hand for Europe;
all her tribes were destined to be fused in a new crucible, to be
recast in happier moulds, and to form one family of enlightened nations,
to compose one great collective brotherhood, united by the tie of a
common faith and a common hope, and hereafter to be known to the rest
of the world, and to proclaim this unity, under the comprehensive name
of _Christendom_. Baptism therefore was the indispensable condition
and forerunner of civilization; and from the peculiar ferocity and the
sanguinary superstitions which disfigured the Pagan nations in Central
Europe, of which the leaders and the nearest to France were the Saxons,
and from the bigotry and arrogant intolerance of the Mahometan nations
who menaced her Spanish frontier, it was evident that by the sword
only it was possible that baptism should be effectually propagated.
War, therefore, for the highest purposes of peace, became the present
and instant policy of France; bloodshed for the sake of a religion the
most benign; and desolation with a view to permanent security. The
Frankish Emperor was thus invited to indulge in this most captivating
of luxuries--in the royal tiger-hunt of war--as being also at this
time, and for a special purpose, the sternest of duties. He had a
special dispensation for wielding at times a barbarian and exterminating
sword--but for the extermination of barbarism; and he was privileged
to be in a single instance an Attila, in order that Attilas might no
more arise. Simply as the enemies, bitter and perfidious of France,
the Saxons were a legitimate object of war; as the standing enemies
of civilization, who would neither receive it for themselves, nor
tolerate its peaceable enjoyment in others, they and Charlemagne stood
opposed to each other as it were by hostile instincts. And this most
merciful of conquerors was fully justified in departing for once, and
in such a quarrel, from his general rule of conduct; and for a paramount
purpose of comprehensive service to all mankind, we entirely agree
with Mr. James, that Charlemagne had a sufficient plea, and that he
has been censured only by calumnious libellers, or by the feeble-
minded, for applying a Roman severity of punishment to treachery
continually repeated. The question is one purely of policy; and it may
be, as Mr. James is disposed to think, that in point of judgment the
emperor erred; but certainly the case was one of great difficulty; for
the very infirmity even of maternal indulgence, if obstinately and
continually abused, must find its ultimate limit; and we have no right
to suppose that Charlemagne made his election for the harsher course
without a violent self-conflict. His former conduct towards those
very people, his infinite forbearance, his long-suffering, his monitory
threats, all make it a duty to presume that he suffered the acutest
pangs in deciding upon a vindictive punishment; that he adopted this
course as being virtually by its consequences the least sanguinary;
and finally, that if he erred, it was not through his heart, but by
resisting its very strongest impulses.

It is remarkable that both Charlemagne and Bonaparte succeeded as by
inheritance to one great element of their enormous power; each found,
ready to his hands, that vast development of martial enthusiasm, upon
which, as its first condition, their victorious career reposed. Each
also found the great armory of resources opened, which such a spirit,
diffused over so vast a territory, must in any age ensure. Of
Charlemagne, in an age when as yet the use of infantry was but
imperfectly known, it may be said symbollically, that he found the
universal people, patrician and plebeian, chieftain and vassal, with
the left foot [Footnote 11] in the stirrup--of Napoleon, in an age
when the use of artillery was first understood, that he found every
man standing to his gun. Both, in short, found war _in pro-cinctu_--both
found the people whom they governed, willing to support the privations
and sacrifices which war imposes; hungering and thirsting for its
glories, its pomps and triumphs; entering even with lively sympathy
of pleasure into its hardships and its trials; and thus, from within
and from without, prepared for military purposes. So far both had the
same good fortune; [Footnote 12] neither had much merit. The enthusiasm
of Napoleon's days was the birth of republican sentiments, and built
on a reaction of civic and patriotic ardor. In the very plenitude of
their rage against kings, the French Republic were threatened with
attack, and with the desolation of their capital by a banded crusade
of kings; and they rose in frenzy to meet the aggressors. The Allied
Powers had themselves kindled the popular excitement which provoked
this vast development of martial power amongst the French, and first
brought their own warlike strength within their own knowledge. In the
days of Charlemagne the same martial character was the result of ancient
habits and training, encouraged and effectually organized by the energy
of the aspiring mayors of the palace, or great lieutenants of the
Merovingian kings. But agreeing in this--that they were indebted to
others for the martial spirit which they found, and that they turned
to their account a power not created by themselves, Charlemagne and
Napoleon differed, however, in the utmost possible extent as to the
final application of their borrowed advantages. Napoleon applied them
to purposes the very opposite of those which had originally given them
birth. Nothing less than patriotic ardor in defence of what had at one
time appeared to be the cause of civil liberty, could have availed to
evoke those mighty hosts which gathered in the early years of the
Revolution on the German and Italian frontiers of France. Yet were
these hosts applied, under the perfect despotism of Napoleon, to the
final extinction of liberty; and the armies of Jacobinism, who had
gone forth on a mission of liberation for Europe, were at last employed
in riveting the chains of their compatriots, and forging others for
the greater part of Christendom. Far otherwise was the conduct of
Charlemagne. The Frankish government, though we are not circumstantially
acquainted with its forms, is known to have been tempered by a large
infusion of popular influence. This is proved, as Mr. James observes,
by the deposition of Chilperic--by the grand national assemblies of
the Champ de Mars--and by other great historical facts. Now, the
situation of Charlemagne, successor to a throne already firmly
established, and in his own person a mighty amplifier of its glories,
and a leader in whom the Franks had unlimited confidence, threw into
his hands an unexampled power of modifying the popular restraints upon
himself in any degree he might desire.

--'Nunquam libertas gratior exit, Quam sub rege pio'--

is the general doctrine. But as to the Franks, in particular, if they
resembled their modern representatives in their most conspicuous moral
feature, it would be more true to say, that the bribe and the almost
magical seduction for _them_, capable of charming away their sternest
resolutions, and of relaxing the hand of the patriot when grasping his
noblest birthright, has ever lain in great military success, in the
power of bringing victory to the national standards, and in continued
offerings on the altar of public vanity. In _their_ estimate for above
a thousand years, it has been found true that the harvest of a few
splendid campaigns, reaped upon the fields of neighboring nations, far
outweighs any amount of humbler blessings in the shape of civil and
political privileges. Charlemagne as a conqueror, and by far the
greatest illustrator of the Frankish name, might easily have conciliated
their gratitude and admiration into a surrender of popular rights; or,
profiting by his high situation, and the confidence reposed in him,
he might have undermined their props; or, by a direct exertion of his
power, he might have peremptorily resumed them. Slowly and surely, or
summarily and with violence, this great emperor had the national
privileges in his power. But the beneficence of his purposes required
no such aggression on the rights of his subjects. War brought with it
naturally some extension of power; and a military jurisdiction is
necessarily armed with some discretionary license. But in the civil
exercise of his authority, the emperor was content with the powers
awarded to him by law and custom. His great schemes of policy were all
of a nature to prepare his subjects for a condition of larger political
influence; he could not in consistency be adverse to an end towards
which he so anxiously prepared the means. And it is certain, that,
although some German writers have attempted to fasten upon Charlemagne
a charge of vexatious inquisition into the minor police of domestic
life, and into petty details of economy below the majesty of his
official character, even _their_ vigilance of research--sharpened by
malice--has been unable to detect throughout his long reign, and in
the hurry of sudden exigencies natural to a state of uninterrupted
warfare and alarm, one single act of tyranny, personal revenge, or
violation of the existing laws. Charlemagne, like Napoleon, had bitter
enemies--some who were such to his government and his public purposes;
some again to his person upon motives of private revenge. Tassilo, for
example, the Duke of Bavaria, and Desiderius, the King of the Lombards,
acted against him upon the bitterest instigations of feminine
resentment; each of these princes conceiving himself concerned in a
family quarrel, pursued the cause which he had adopted in the most
ferocious spirit of revenge, and would undoubtedly have inflicted death
upon Charlemagne, had he fallen into their power. Of this he must
himself have been sensible; and yet, when the chance of war threw both
of them into his power, he forbore to exercise even those rights of
retaliation for their many provocations which the custom of that age
sanctioned universally; he neither mutilated nor deprived them of
sight. Confinement to religious seclusion was all that he inflicted;
and in the case of Tassilo, where mercy could be more safely exercised,
he pardoned him so often, that it became evident in what current his
feelings ran, wherever the cruel necessities of the public service
allowed him to indulge them.

In the conspiracy formed against him, upon the provocations offered
to the Frankish nobility by his third wife, he showed the same spirit
of excessive clemency,--a clemency which again reminds us of the first
Caesar, and which was not merely parental, but often recalls to us the
long-suffering and tenderness of spirit which belong to the infirmity
of maternal affection. Here are no Palms, executed for no real offence
known to the laws of his country, and without a trial such as any laws
in any country would have conceded. No innocent D'Enghiens murdered,
without the shadow of provocation, and purely on account of his own
reversionary rights; not for doing or meditating wrong, but because
the claims which unfortunately he inherited might by possibility become
available in his person; not, therefore, even as an enemy by intention
or premeditation; not even as an apparent competitor, but in the rare
character of a competitor presumptive; one who might become an ideal
competitor by the extinction of a whole family, and even then no
substantial competitor until after a revolution in France, which must
already have undermined the throne of Bonaparte. To his own subjects,
and his own kinsmen, never did Charlemagne forget to be, in acts, as
well as words, a parent. In his foreign relations, it is true, for one
single purpose of effectual warning Charlemagne put forth a solitary
trait of Roman harshness. This is the case which we have already noticed
and defended; and, with a view to the comparison with Napoleon,
remarkable enough it is, that the numbers sacrificed on this occasion
are pretty nearly the same as on the celebrated massacre at Jaffa,
perpetrated by Napoleon in council. [Footnote 13] In the Saxon, as in
the Syrian massacre, the numbers were between four and five thousand;
not that the numbers or the scale of the transaction can affect its
principle, but it is well to know it, because then to its author, as
now to us who sit as judges upon it, that circumstance cannot be
supposed to have failed in drawing the very keenest attention to its
previous consideration. A butchery, that was in a numerical sense so
vast, cannot be supposed to have escaped its author in a hurry, or to
be open to any of the usual palliations from precipitance or
inattention. Charlemagne and Napoleon must equally be presumed to have
regarded this act on all sides, to have weighed it in and for itself,
and to have traversed by anticipation the whole sum of its consequences.
In the one case we find a general, the leader of a _soi-disant_
Christian army, the representative of the 'most Christian' nation,
and, as amongst infidels, specially charged with the duty of supporting
the sanctity of Christian good faith, unfortunately pledged by his own
most confidential and accredited agents, officers bearing on their
persons the known ensigns of his _aides-de-camp_, to a comprehensive
promise of mercy to a large body of Turkish troops, having arms in
their hands, and otherwise well-disposed and well able to have made
a desperate defence. This promise was peculiarly embarrassing;
provisions ran short, and, to detain them as prisoners, would draw
murmurs from his own troops, now suffering hardships themselves. On
the other hand, to have turned them adrift would have insured their
speedy re-appearance as active enemies to a diminished and debilitated
army; for, as to sending them off by sea, that measure was
impracticable, as well from want of shipping as from the presence of
the English. Such was the dilemma, doubtless perplexing enough, but
not more so than in ten thousand other cases, for which their own
appropriate ten thousand remedies have been found. What was the issue?
The entire body of gallant (many, doubtless, young and innocent)
soldiers, disarmed upon the faith of a solemn guarantee from a Christian
general, standing in the very steps of the noble (and the more noble,
because bigoted) Crusaders, were all mowed down by the musketry of
their thrice accursed enemy; and, by way of crowning treachery with
treachery, some few who had swum off to a point of rock in the sea,
were lured back to destruction under a second series of promises,
violated almost at the very instant when uttered. A larger or more
damnable murder does not stain the memory of any brigand, buccaneer,
or pirate; nor has any army, Huns, Vandals, or Mogul Tartars, ever
polluted itself by so base a perfidy; for, in this memorable tragedy,
the whole army were accomplices.

Now, as to Charlemagne, he had tried the effect of forgiveness and
lenity often in vain. Clemency was misinterpreted; it had been, and
it would be, construed into conscious weakness. Under these
circumstances, with a view, undoubtedly, to the final extinction of
rebellions which involved infinite bloodshed on both sides, he permitted
one trial to be made of a severe and sanguinary chastisement. It failed;
insurrections proceeded as before, and it was not repeated. But the
main difference in the principle of the two cases is this, that
Charlemagne had exacted no penalty but one, which the laws of war in
that age conferred, and even in this age the laws of allegiance. However
bloody, therefore, this tragedy was no murder. It was a judicial
punishment, built upon known acts and admitted laws, designed in mercy,
consented to unwillingly, and finally repented. Lastly, instead of
being one in a multitude of acts bearing the same character, it stood
alone in a long career of intercourse with wild and ferocious nations,
owning no control but that of the spear and sword.

Many are the points of comparison, and some of them remarkable enough,
in the other circumstances of the two careers, separated by a thousand
years. Both effected the passage of the Great St. Bernard; [Footnote
14] but the one in an age when mechanical forces, and the aids of art,
were yet imperfectly developed; the other in an age when science had
armed the arts of war and of locomotion with the fabulous powers of
the Titans, and with the whole resources of a mighty nation at his
immediate disposal. Both, by means of this extraordinary feat, achieved
the conquest of Lombardy in a single hour; but Charlemagne, without
once risking the original impression of this _coup d'eclat_; Napoleon,
on the other hand, so entirely squandering and forfeiting his own
success, that in the battle which followed he was at first utterly
defeated, and but for the blunder of his enemy, and the sudden aid of
an accomplished friend, irretrievably. Both suffered politically by
the repudiation of a wife; but Charlemagne, under adequate provocation,
and with no final result of evil; Bonaparte under heavy aggravations
of ingratitude and indiscretion. Both assumed the character of a patron
to learning and learned men; but Napoleon, in an age when knowledge
of every kind was self-patronized--when no possible exertions of power
could avail to crush it--and yet, under these circumstances, with utter
insincerity. Charlemagne, on the other hand, at a time when the
countenance of a powerful protector made the whole difference between
revival and a long extinction--and what was still more to the purpose
of doing honor to his memory, not merely in a spirit of sincerity, but
of fervid activity. Not content with drawing counsel and aid from the
cells of Northumberland, even the short time which he passed at Rome,
he had 'collected a number of grammarians (that is _litterateurs_) and
arithmeticians, the poor remains of the orators and philosophers of
the past, and engaged them to accompany him from Italy to France.'

What resulted in each case from these great efforts and prodigious
successes? Each failed in laying the foundations of any permanent
inheritance to his own glory in his own family. But Bonaparte lived
to lay in ruins even his personal interest in this great edifice of
empire; and that entirely by his own desperate presumption,
precipitance, and absolute defect of self-command. Charlemagne, on
_his_ part, lost nothing of what he had gained: if his posterity did
not long maintain the elevation to which he had raised them, _that_
did but the more proclaim the grandeur of the mind which had reared
a colossal empire, that sunk under any powers inferior to his own. If
the empire itself lost its unity, and divided into sections, even thus
it did not lose the splendor and prosperity of its separate parts; and
the praise remains entire--let succeeding princes, as conservators,
have failed as much and as excusably as they might--that he erected
the following splendid empire:--The whole of France and Belgium, with
their natural boundaries of the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Ocean, the
Mediterranean; to the south, Spain, between the Ebro and the Pyrenees;
and to the north, the whole of Germany, up to the banks of the Elbe.
Italy, as far as the Lower Calabria, was either governed by his son,
or tributary to his crown; Dalmatia, Croatia, Liburnia, and Istria,
(with the exception of the maritime cities,) were joined to the
territories, which he had himself conquered, of Hungary and Bohemia.
As far as the conflux of the Danube with the Teyss and the Save, the
east of Europe acknowledged his power. Most of the Sclavonian tribes,
between the Elbe and the Vistula, paid tribute and professed obedience;
and Corsica, Sardinia, with the Balearic Islands, were dependent upon
his possessions in Italy and Spain.

His moral were yet greater than his territorial conquests: In the
eloquent language of his present historian, 'he snatched from darkness
all the lands he conquered; and may be said to have added the whole
of Germany to the world.' Wherever he moved, civilization followed his
footsteps. What he conquered was emphatically the conquest of his own
genius; and his vast empire was, in a peculiar sense, his own creation.
And what, under general circumstances, would have exposed the hollowness
and insufficiency of his establishment, was for him, in particular,
the seal and attestation of his extraordinary grandeur of mind. His
empire dissolved after he had departed; his dominions lost their
cohesion, and slipped away from the nerveless hands which succeeded;
a sufficient evidence--were there no other--that all the vast resources
of the Frankish throne, wielded by imbecile minds, were inadequate to
maintain that which, in the hands of a Charlemagne, they had availed
to conquer and cement.




NOTES


NOTE 1.

_In part_ we say, because in part also the characteristic differences
of these works depend upon the particular mode of the narrative. For
narration itself, as applied to history, admits of a triple
arrangement--dogmatic, sceptical, and critical; dogmatic, which adopts
the current records without examination; sceptical, as Horace Walpole's
Richard III., Laing's Dissertation on Perkin Warbeck, or on the Gowrie
Conspiracy, which expressly undertakes to probe and try the unsound
parts of the story; and critical, which, after an examination of this
nature, selects from the whole body of materials such as are coherent.
There is besides another ground of difference in the quality of
historical narratives, viz. between those which move by means of great
public events, and those which (like the Caesars of Suetonius, and the
French Memoirs), referring to such events as are already known, and
keeping them in the background, crowd their foreground with those
personal and domestic notices which we call anecdotes.

NOTE 2.

Leibnitz, (who was _twice_ in England,) when walking in Kensington
Gardens with the Princess of Wales, whose admiration oscillated between
this great countryman of her own, and Sir Isaac Newton, the
corresponding idol of her adopted country, took occasion, from the
beautiful scene about them, to explain in a lively way, and at the
same time to illustrate and verify this favorite thesis: Turning to
a gentleman in attendance upon her Royal Highness, he challenged him
to produce two leaves from any tree or shrub, which should be exact
duplicates or facsimiles of each other in those lines which variegate
the surface. The challenge was accepted; but the result justified
Leibnitz. It is in fact upon this infinite variety in the superficial
lines of the human palm, that Palmistry is grounded, (or the science
of divination by the hieroglyphics written on each man's hand,) and
has its _prima facie_ justification. Were it otherwise, this mode of
divination would not have even a _plausible_ sanction; for, without
the inexhaustible varieties which are actually found in the combinations
of these lines, and which give to each separate individual his own
separate type, the same identical fortunes must be often repeated; and
there would be no foundation for assigning to each his peculiar and
characteristic destiny.

NOTE 3.

According to the general estimate of philosophical history, the _tenth_
century (or perhaps the tenth and the eleventh conjointly) must be
regarded as the meridian, or the perfect midnight, of the dark ages.

NOTE 4.

It has repeatedly been made a question--at what era we are to date the
transition from ancient to modern history. This question merits a
separate dissertation. Meantime it is sufficient to say in this
place--that Justinian in the 6th century will unanimously be referred
to the ancient division, Charlemagne in the 8th to the modern. These
then are two limits fixed in each direction; and somewhere between
them must lie the frontier line. Now the era of Mahomet in the 7th
century is evidently the exact and perfect line of demarcation; not
only as pretty nearly bisecting the debatable ground, but also because
the rise of the Mohammedan power, as operating so powerfully upon the
Christian kingdoms of the south, and through them upon the whole of
Christendom, at that time beginning to mould themselves and to knit,
marks in the most eminent sense the birth of a new era.

NOTE 5.

Or, in fact, than is likely to manifest itself to an unlearned reader
of Mr. James's own book; for he has omitted to load his margin with
references to authorities in many scores of instances where he might,
and perhaps where he ought, to have accredited his narrative by those
indications of research.

NOTE 6.

'Arabice loquutum esse Aigolando Saracenorum regulo, Turpinus (the
famous Archbishop) auctor est; nec id fide indignum. Dum enim in
expeditione Hispanica praecipuam belli molem in illum vertit, facile
temporis tractu notitiam linguae sibi comparare potuit.' FRANTZ. _Hist.
Car. Mag._ That is, he had time sufficient for this acquisition, and
a motive sufficient.

NOTE 7.

Not having the French original of Bourrienne's work, we are compelled
to quote from Dr. Memes's translation, which, however, is everywhere
incorrect, and in a degree absolutely astonishing; and, where not
incorrect, offensive from vulgarisms or ludicrous expressions. Thus,
he translates _un drole_, a droll fellow--wide as the poles from the
true meaning, Again, the verb _devoir_, in all tenses, that eternal
stumbling-block to bad French scholars, is uniformly mistranslated.
As an instance of ignoble language, at p. 294, vol. I., he says,
'Josephine was delighted with the disposition of her _goodman_,' a
word used only by underbred people. But of all the absurdities which
disfigure the work, what follows is perhaps the most striking:--'Kleber,'
he says, 'took a _precognition_ of the army,' p. 231, vol. I. A
precognition! What Pagan ceremony may that be? Know, reader, that this
monster of a word is a technical term of Scotch law; and even to the
Scotch, excepting those few who know a little of law, absolutely
unintelligible. In speaking thus harshly, we are far from meaning any
thing unkind to Dr. M., whom, on the contrary, for his honorable
sentiments in relation to the merits of Bonaparte, we greatly respect.
But that as nothing to do with French translation--the condition of
which, in this country, is perfectly scandalous.

NOTE 8.

Some people may fancy that this scene of that day's drama was got up
merely to save appearances by a semblance of discussion, and that in
effect it mattered not how the performance was conducted where all was
scenical, and the ultimate reliance, after all, on the bayonet. But
it is certain that this view is erroneous, and that the final decision
of the soldiery, even up to the very moment of the crisis, was still
doubtful. Some time after this exhibition, 'the hesitation reigning
among the troops,' says Bourrienne, 'still continued.' And in reality
it was a mere accident of pantomime, and a clap-trap of sentiment,
which finally gave a sudden turn in Napoleon's favor to their wavering
resolutions.

NOTE 9.

We have occasionally such expressions as--'When wild in woods _the
noble savage_ ran.' These descriptions rest upon false conceptions;
in fact, no such combination anywhere exists as a man having the
training of a savage, or occupying the exposed and naked situation of
a savage, who is at the same time in any moral sense at liberty to be
noble-minded. Men are moulded by the circumstances in which they stand
habitually; and the insecurity of savage life, by making it impossible
to forego any sort of advantages, obliterates the very idea of honor.
Hence, with all savages alike, the point of honor lies in treachery--in
stratagem--and the utmost excess of what is dishonorable, according
to the estimate of cultivated man.

NOTE 10.

Shakespeare's Sonnets.

NOTE 11.

Or perhaps the _right_, for the Prussian cavalry (who drew their custom
from some regiments in the service of Gustavus Adolphus; and they again
traditionally from others) are always trained to mount in this way.

NOTE 12.

It is painful to any man of honorable feelings that, whilst a great
rival nation is pursuing the ennobling profession of arms, his own
should be reproached contemptuously with a sordid dedication to
commerce. However, on the one hand, things are not always as they seem;
commerce has its ennobling effects, direct or indirect; war its
barbarizing degradations. And, on the other hand, the facts even are
not exactly as _prima facie_ they were supposed; for the truth is,
that, in proportion to its total population, England had more men in
arms during the last war than France. But, generally speaking, the
case may be stated thus: the British nation is, by original constitution
of mind, and by long enjoyment of liberty, a far nobler people than
the French. And hence we see the reason and necessity that the French
should, with a view to something like a final balance in the effect,
be trained to a nobler profession. Compensations are every where
produced or encouraged by nature and by Providence; and a nobler
discipline in the one nation is doubtless some equilibrium to a nobler
nature in the other.

NOTE 13.

_In council_, we say purposely and in candor; for the only pleas in
palliation ever set up by Napoleon's apologists, are these
two--_necessity_, the devil's plea, in the first place; secondly, that
the guilt of the transaction, whether more or less, was divided between
the general and his council.

NOTE 14.

And from the fact of that corps in Charlemagne's army, which effected
the passage, having been commanded by his uncle, Duke Bernard, this
mountain previously known as the _Mons_ Jovis, (and, by corruption,
Mont le Joux,) very justly obtained the name which it still retains.




MODERN GREECE.

'Journal of a Tour in Greece and the Ionian Islands.' By WILLIAM MURE,
of Caldwell.

[1842.]



What are the nuisances, special to Greece, which repel tourists from
that country? They are three;--robbers, fleas, and dogs. It is
remarkable that all are, in one sense, respectable nuisances--they
are ancient, and of classical descent. The monuments still existing
from pre-Christian ages, in memory of honest travellers assassinated
by brigands of klephts, (Kleptai,) show that the old respectable calling
of freebooters by sea and land, which Thucydides, in a well-known
passage, describes as so reputable an investment for capital during
the times preceding his own, and, as to northern Greece, even during
his own, had never entirely languished, as with us it has done, for
two generations, on the heaths of Bagshot, Hounslow, or Finchley. Well
situated as these grounds were for doing business, lying at such
convenient distances from the metropolis, and studying the convenience
of all parties, (since, if a man were destined to lose a burden on his
road, surely it was pleasing to his feelings that he had not been
suffered to act as porter over ninety or a hundred miles, in the service
of one who would neither pay him nor thank him); yet, finally, what
through banks, and what through policemen, the concern has dwindled
to nothing. In England, we believe, this concern was technically known
amongst men of business and 'family men,' as the 'Low Toby.' In Greece
it was called [Greek: laeseia]; and Homericaliy speaking, it was perhaps
the only profession thoroughly respectable. A few other callings are
mentioned in the Odyssey as furnishing regular bread to decent men--viz.
the doctor's, the fortune-teller's or conjurer's, and the armorer's.
Indeed it is clear, from the offer made to Ulysses of a job, in the
way of hedging and ditching, that sturdy big-boned beggars, or what
used to be called 'Abraham men' in southern England, were not held to
have forfeited any heraldic dignity attached to the rank of pauper,
(which was considerable,) by taking a farmer's pay where mendicancy
happened to be 'looking downwards.' Even honest labor was tolerated,
though, of course, disgraceful. But the Corinthian order of society,
to borrow Burke's image, was the bold sea-rover, the buccaneer, or,
(if you will call him so) the robber in all his varieties. Titles were,
at that time, not much in use--honorary titles we mean; but had our
prefix of 'Right Honorable' existed, it would have been assigned to
burglars, and by no means to privy-councillors; as again our English
prefix of 'Venerable' would have been settled, not on so sheepish a
character as the archdeacon, but on the spirited appropriator of church
plate. We were surprised lately to find, in a German work of some
authority, so gross a misconception of Thucydides, as that of supposing
him to be in jest. Nothing of the sort. The question which he represents
as once current, on speaking a ship in the Mediterranean--'Pray,
gentlemen, are you robbers?' actually occurs in Homer; and to Homer,
no doubt, the historian alludes. It neither was, nor could be conceived,
as other than complimentary; for the alternative supposition presumed
him that mean and well-known character--the merchant, who basely paid
for what he took. It was plainly asking--Are you a knight grand-cross
of some martial order, or a sort of costermonger? And we give it as
no hasty or fanciful opinion, that the South Sea islands (which
Bougainville held to be in a state of considerable civilization) had,
in fact, reached the precise stage of Homeric Greece. The power of
levying war, as yet not sequestered by the ruling power of each
community, was a private right inherent in every individual of any one
state against all individuals of any other. Captain Cook's ship, the
Resolution, and her consort, the Adventure, were as much independent
states and objects of lawful war to the islanders, as Owyhee, in the
Sandwich group, was to Tongataboo in the Friendly group. So that to
have taken an Old Bailey view of the thefts committed was unjust, and,
besides, inefectual; the true remedy being by way of treaty or
convention with the chiefs of every island. And perhaps, if Homer had
tried it, the same remedy (in effect, regular payments of _black-mail_)
might have been found available in _his_ day.

It is too late to suggest _that_ idea now. The princely pirates are
gone; and the last dividend has been paid upon their booty; so that,
whether he gained or lost by them, Homer's estate is not liable to any
future inquisitions from commissioners of bankruptcy or other sharks.
He, whether amongst the plundered, or, as is more probable, a
considerable shareholder in the joint-stock privateers from Tenedos,
&c., is safe both from further funding and refunding. We are not. And
the first question of moment to any future tourist is, what may be the
present value, at a British insurance office, of any given life risked
upon a tour in Greece? Much will, of course, depend upon the extent
and the particular route. A late prime minister of Greece, under the
reigning king Otho, actually perished by means of one day's pleasure
excursion from Athens, though meeting neither thief nor robber. He
lost his way: and this being scandalous in an ex-chancellor of the
exchequer having ladies under his guidance, who were obliged, like
those in the Midsummer Night's Dream, to pass the night, in an Athenian
wood, his excellency died of vexation. Where may not men find a death?
But we ask after the calculation of any office which takes extra risks:
and, as a basis for such a calculation, we submit the range of tour
sketched by Pausanius, more than sixteen centuries back--that [Greek:
Pansapachae periodos], as Colonel Leake describes it, which carries
a man through the heart of all that can chiefly interest in Greece.
Where are the chances upon such a compass of Greek travelling, having
only the ordinary escort and arms, or having _no_ arms, (which the
learned agree in thinking the safer plan at present,) that a given
traveller will revisit the glimpses of an English moon, or again embrace
his 'placens uxor?' As with regard to Ireland, it is one stock trick
of Whiggery to treat the chances of assassination in the light of an
English hypochondriacal chimaera, so for a different reason it has
been with regard to Italy, and soon will be for Greece. Twenty years
ago it was a fine subject for jesting--the English idea of stilettos
in Rome, and masqued bravos, and assassins who charged so much an inch
for the depth of their wounds. But all the laughter did not save a
youthful English marriage party from being atrociously massacred; a
grave English professional man with his wife from being carried off
to a mountainous captivity, and reserved from slaughter only by the
prospect of ransom; a British nobleman's son from death or the
consequences of Italian barbarity; or a prince, the brother of Napoleon,
from having the security of his mansion violated, and the most valuable
captives carried off by daylight from his household. In Greece
apparently the state of things is worse, because absolutely worse under
a far slighter temptation. But Mr. Mure is of opinion that Greek robbers
have private reasons as yet for sparing English tourists.

So far then is certain: viz. that the positive danger is greater in
poverty-stricken Greece than in rich and splendid Italy. But as to the
valuation of the danger, it is probably as yet imperfect from mere
defect of experience: the total amount of travellers is unknown. And
it may be argued that at least Colonel Leake, Mr. Dodwell, and our
present Mr. Mure, with as many more as have written books, cannot be
among the killed, wounded, or missing. There is evidence in octavo
that they are yet 'to the fore.' Still with respect to books, after
all, they may have been posthumous works: or, to put the case in another
form, who knows how many excellent works in medium quarto, not less
than crown octavo, may have been suppressed and intercepted in their
rudiments by these expurgatorial ruffians? Mr. Mure mentions as the
exquisite reason for the present fashion of shooting from an ambush
first, and settling accounts afterwards, that by this means they evade
the chances of a contest. The Greek robber, it seems, knows as well
as Cicero that 'non semper viator a latrone, nonnunquam etiam latro
a viatore occiditur'--a disappointment that makes one laugh exceedingly.
Now this rule as to armed travellers is likely to bear hard upon our
countrymen, who being rich, (else how come they in Greece?) will surely
be brilliantly armed; and thus again it may be said, in a sense somewhat
different from Juvenal's--

   Et _vacuus_ cantat coram latrone viator;

_Vacuus_ not of money, but of pistols. Yet on the other hand, though
possibly sound law for the thickets of Mount Cithaeron, this would be
too unsafe a policy as a general rule: too often it is the exposure
of a helpless exterior which first suggests the outrage. And perhaps
the best suggestion for the present would be, that travellers should
carry in their hands an apparent telescope or a reputed walking-cane;
which peaceful and natural part of his appointments will first operate
to draw out his lurking forest friend from his advantage; and on closer
colloquy, if this friend should turn restive, then the 'Tuscan artist's
tube,' contrived of course a double debt to pay, will suddenly reveal
another sort of tube, insinuating an argument sufficient for the
refutation of any sophism whatever. This is the best compromise which
we can put forward with the present dilemma in Greece, where it seems
that to be armed or to be unarmed is almost equally perilous. But our
secret opinion is, that in all countries alike, the only absolute
safeguard against highway robbery is--a railway; for then the tables
are turned; not he who is stopped--incurs the risk, but he who stops:
we question whether Samson himself could have pulled up his namesake
on the Liverpool railway. Recently, indeed, in the Court of Common
Pleas, on a motion to show cause by Sergeant Bompas, in Hewitt v.
Price, Tindal (Chief-Justice) said--'We cannot call a railway a public
[Footnote 1] security, I think,' (_laughter:_) but _we_ think otherwise.
In spite of 'laughter,' we consider it a specific against the Low Toby.
And, _en attendant_, there is but one step towards amelioration of
things for Greece, which lies in summary ejecting of the Bavarian
locusts. Where all offices of profit or honor are engrossed by needy
aliens, you cannot expect a cheerful temper in the people. And,
unhappily, from moody discontent in Greece to the taking of purses is
a short transition.

Thus have we disposed of 'St. Nicholas's Clerks.' Next we come to fleas
and dogs:--Have we a remedy for these? We have: but as to fleas,
applicable or not, according to the purpose with which a man travels.
If, as happened at times to Mr. Mure, a natural, and, for his readers,
a beneficial anxiety to see something of domestic habits, overcomes
all sense of personal inconvenience, he will wish, at any cost, to
sleep in Grecian bedrooms, and to sit by German hearths. On the other
hand, though sensible of the honor attached to being bit by a flea
lineally descended from an Athenian flea that in one day may possibly
have bit three such men as Pericles, Phidias, and Euripides, many quiet
unambitious travellers might choose to dispense with 'glory,' and
content themselves with the view of Greek _external_ nature. To these
persons we would recommend the plan of carrying amongst their baggage
a tent, with portable camp-beds; one of those, as originally invented
upon the encouragement of the Peninsular campaigns from 1809 to 1814,
and subsequently improved, would meet all ordinary wants. It is
objected, indeed, that by this time the Grecian fleas must have
colonized the very hills and woods; as once, we remember, upon
Westminster Bridge, to a person who proposed bathing in the Thames by
way of a ready ablution from the July dust, another replied, 'My dear
sir, by no means; the river itself is dusty. Consider what it is to
have received the dust of London for nineteen hundred years since
Caesar's invasion.' But in any case the water cups, in which the
bed-posts rest, forbid the transit of creatures not able to swim or
to fly. A flea indeed leaps; and, by all report, in a way that far
beats a tiger--taking the standard of measurement from the bodies of
the competitors. But even this may be remedied: giving the maximum
leap of a normal flea, it is always easy to raise the bed indefinitely
from the ground--space upwards is unlimited--and the supporters of the
bed may be made to meet in one pillar, coated with so viscous a
substance as to put even a flea into chancery.

As to dogs, the case is not so easily settled; and before the reader
is in a condition to judge of our remedy, he ought to know the evil
in its whole extent. After all allowances for vermin that waken you
before your time, or assassins that send you to sleep before your time,
no single Greek nuisance can be placed on the same scale with the dogs
attached to every _menage_, whether household or pastoral. Surely as
a stranger approaches to any inhospitable door of the peasantry, often
before he knows of such a door as in _rerum natura_, out bounds upon
him by huge careering leaps a horrid infuriated ruffian of a
dog--oftentimes a huge _moloss_, big as an English cow--active as a
leopard, fierce as a hyena but more powerful by much, and quite as
little disposed to hear reason. So situated--seeing an enemy in motion
with whom it would be as idle to negotiate as with an earthquake--what
is the bravest man to do? Shoot him? Ay; that was pretty much the
course taken by a young man who lived before Troy: and see what came
of it. This man, in fact a boy of seventeen, had walked out to see the
city of Mycenae, leaving his elder cousin at the hotel sipping his
wine. Out sprang a huge dog from the principal house in what you might
call the High street of Mycenae; the young man's heart began to
palpitate; he was in that state of excitement which affects most people
when fear mingles with excessive anger. What was he to do? Pistols he
had none. And, as nobody came out to his aid, he put his hand to the
ground; seized a _chermadion_, (or paving-stone), smashed the skull
of the odious brute, and with quite as much merit as Count Robert of
Paris was entitled to have claimed from his lucky hit in the dungeon,
then walked off to report his little exploit to his cousin at the
hotel. But what followed? The wretches in the house, who never cared
to show themselves so long as it might only be the dog killing a boy,
all came tumbling out by crowds when it became clear that a boy had
killed the dog. '_A la lanterne!_' they yelled out; valiantly charged
_en masse_: and among them they managed to kill the boy. But there was
a reckoning to pay for this. Had they known who it was that sat drinking
at the hotel, they would have thought twice before they backed their
brute. That cousin, whom the poor boy had left at his wine, happened
to be an ugly customer--Hercules _incog_. It is needless to specify
the result. The child unborn had reason to rue the murder of the boy.
For his cousin proved quite as deaf to all argument or submission as
their own foul thief of a dog or themselves. Suffice it--that the royal
house of Mycenae, in the language of Napoleon's edicts, ceased to
reign. But here is the evil; few men leave a Hercules at their hotel;
and all will have to stand the vindictive fury of the natives for their
canine friends, if you should pistol them. Be it in deliverance of
your own life, or even of a lady's by your side, no apology would be
listened to. In fact, besides the disproportionate annoyance to a
traveller's nerves, that he shall be kept uneasy at every turn of the
road in mere anxiety as to the next recurrence of struggles so
desperate, it arms the indignation of a bold Briton beforehand--that
a horrid brute shall be thought entitled to kill _him_; and if he
_does_, it is pronounced an accident: but if he, a son of the mighty
island, kills the brute, instantly a little hybrid Greek peasant shall
treat it as murder.

Many years ago, we experienced the selfsame annoyance in the north of
England. Let no man talk of courage in such cases. Most justly did
Marechal Saxe ask an officer sneeringly, who protested that he had
never known the sensation of fear, and could not well imagine what it
was like, had he never snuffed a candle with his fingers? 'because in
that case,' said the veteran, 'I fancy you must have felt afraid of
burning your thumb.' A brave man, on a service of known danger, braces
up his mind by a distinct effort to the necessities of his duty. The
great sentiment that it is his duty, the sentiments of honor and of
country, reconcile him to the service while it lasts. No use, besides,
in ducking before shot, or dodging, or skulking; he that faces the
storm most cheerfully, has after all the best chance of escaping--were
that the object of consideration. But, as soon as this trial is over,
and the energy called forth by a high tension of duty has relaxed, the
very same man often shrinks from ordinary trials of his prowess. Having,
perhaps, little reason for confidence in his own bodily strength,
seeing no honor in the struggle, and sure that no duty would be hallowed
by any result, he shrinks from it in a way which surprises those who
have heard of his martial character. Brave men in extremities are many
times the most nervous, and the shyest under perils of a mean order.
We, without claiming the benefit of these particular distinctions,
happened to be specially 'soft' on this one danger from dogs. Not from
the mere terror of a bite, but from the shocking doubt besieging such
a case for four or five months that hydrophobia may supervene. Think,
excellent reader, if we should suddenly prove hydrophobous in the
middle of this paper, how would you distinguish the hydrophobous from
the non-hydrophobous parts? You would say, as Voltaire of Rousseau,
'sa plume apparemment brulera le papier.' Such being the horror ever
before our mind, images of eyeballs starting from their sockets, spasms
suffocating the throat--we could not see a dog starting off into a
yell of sudden discovery bound for the foot of our legs, but that
undoubtedly a mixed sensation of panic and fury overshadowed us; a
[Greek: Chermadion] was not always at hand; and without practice we
could have little confidence in our power of sending it home, else
many is the head we should have crushed. Sometimes, where more than
one dog happened to be accomplices in the outrage, we were not
altogether out of danger. 'Euripides,' we said, 'was really torn to
pieces by the dogs of a sovereign prince; in Hounslow, but a month
since, a little girl was all but worried by the buck-hounds of a greater
sovereign than Archelaus; and why not we by the dogs of a farmer?' The
scene lay in Westmorland and Cumberland. Oftentimes it would happen
that in summer we had turned aside from the road, or perhaps the road
itself forced us to pass a farm-house from which the family might be
absent in the hayfield. Unhappily the dogs in such a case are often
left behind. And many have been the fierce contests in which we have
embarked; for, as to retreating, be it known that there (as in Greece)
the murderous savages will pursue you--sometimes far into the high
road. That result it was which uniformly brought us back to a sense
of our own wrong, and finally of our rights. 'Come,' we used to say,
'this is too much; here at least is the king's highway, and things are
come to a pretty pass indeed, if we, who partake of a common nature
with the king, and write good Latin, whereas all the world knows what
sort of Latin is found among dogs, may not have as good a right to
standing-room as a low-bred quadruped with a tail like you.' Non usque
adeo summis permiscuit ima longa dies, &c. We remember no instance
which ever so powerfully illustrated the courage given by the
consciousness of rectitude. So long as we felt that we were trespassing
on the grounds of a stranger, we certainly sneaked, we seek not to
deny it. But once landed on the high-road, where we knew our own title
to be as good as the dog's, not all the world should have persuaded
us to budge one foot.

Our reason for going back to these old Cumbrian remembrances will be
found in what follows. Deeply incensed at the insults we had been
obliged to put up with for years, brooding oftentimes over

  'Wrongs unredress'd, and insults unaveng'd,'

we asked ourselves--Is vengeance hopeless? And at length we hit upon
the following scheme of retribution. This it is which we propose as
applicable to Greece. Well acquainted with the indomitable spirit of
the bull-dog, and the fidelity of the mastiff, we determined to obtain
two such companions; to re-traverse our old ground; to make a point
of visiting every house where we had been grossly insulted by dogs;
and to commit our cause to the management of these new allies. 'Let
us see,' said we, 'if they will speak in the same bullying tone _this_
time.' 'But with what ulterior views?' the dispassionate reader asks.
The same, we answer, which Mr. Pitt professed as the objects of the
Revolutionary war--'Indemnity for the past, and security for the
future.' Years, however, passed on; Charles X. fell from his throne;
the Reform Bill passed; other things occurred, and as last this change
struck us--that the dogs, on whom our vengeance would alight, generally
speaking, must belong to a second generation, or even a third, in
descent from our personal enemies. Now, this vengeance 'by procuration'
seemed no vengeance at all. But a plan which failed, as regarded our
own past wrongs, may yet apply admirably to a wrong current and in
progress. If we Englishmen may not pistol Greek canine ruffians, at
any rate we suppose an English bulldog has a right to make a tour in
Greece, A mastiff, if he pays for his food and lodgings, possesses as
good a title, to see Athens and the Peloponnesus as a Bavarian, and
a better than a Turk; and, if he cannot be suffered to pass quietly
along the roads on his own private affairs, the more is the pity. But
assuredly the consequences will not fall on _him_; we know enough of
the sublime courage bestowed on that heroic animal, to be satisfied
that he will shake the life out of any enemy that Greece can show. The
embassy sent by Napoleon to the Schah of Persia about the year 1810,
complained much and often of the huge dogs scattered over all parts
of Western Asia, whether Turkish or Persian; and, by later travels
amongst the Himalayas, it seems that the same gigantic ruffians prevail
in Central Asia. But the noble English bull-dogs, who, being but three
in number, did not hesitate for one instant to rush upon the enormous
lion at Warwick, will face any enemy in the world, and will come off
victors, unless hyperbolically overweighted; a peril which need not
be apprehended, except perhaps in Laconia or Messenia.

Here, therefore, we should be disposed to leave the subject. But, as
it is curious for itself, is confessedly of importance to the traveller,
and has thrown light upon a passage in the Odyssey that had previously
been unintelligible--we go on to one other suggestion furnished by the
author before us. It is really a discovery; and is more worthy of a
place in annotations upon Homer than nine in ten of all that we read;--

'Among the numerous points of resemblance with which the classical
traveller cannot fail to be struck, between the habits of pastoral and
agricultural life as still exemplified in Greece, and those which
formerly prevailed in the same country, there is none more calculated
to arrest his attention than the correspondence of the shepherds'
encampments, scattered on the face of the less cultivated districts,
with the settlements of the same kind whose concerns are so frequently
brought forward in the imagery of the Iliad and Odyssey. Accordingly,
the passage of Homer to which the existing peculiarity above described,'
(viz. of pelting off dogs by large jagged stones,) 'affords the-most
appropriate commentary, is the scene where Ulysses, disguised as a
beggar, in approaching the farm of the swineherd, is fiercely assaulted
by the dogs, but delivered by the master of the establishment. Pope's
translation, with the exception of one or two expressions,' (amongst
which Mr. Mure notices _mastiff_ as "not a good term for a sheep-dog,")
'here conveys with tolerable fidelity the spirit of the original:--

  '"Soon as Ulysses near the enclosure drew,
    With open mouths the furious mastiffs flew;
    Down sate the sage; and, cautious to withstand,
    Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand.
    Sudden the master runs--aloud he calls;
    And from his hasty hand the leather falls;
    With show'rs of stones he drives them far away;
    The scatter'd dogs around at distance bay."'
    ODYSS. xiv. 29.

First, however, let us state the personal adventure which occasions
this reference to Homer, as it illustrates a feature in Greek scenery,
and in the composition of Greek society. In the early part of his
travels, on a day when Mr. Mure was within a few hours of the immortal
Mesolonghi, he (as better mounted) had ridden a-head of his suite.
Suddenly he came upon 'an encampment of small, low, reed wigwams,'
which in form resembled 'the pastoral capanne of the Roman plain;' but
were 'vastly inferior in size and structure.' Women and children were
sitting outside: but finally there crawled forth from the little
miserable hovels two or three male figures of such gigantic dimensions
as seemed beyond the capacity of the entire dwellings. Several others
joined them, all remarkable for size and beauty. And one, whose air
of authority bespoke his real rank of chief, Mr. Mure pronounces 'a
most magnificent-looking barbarian,' This was a nomad tribe of
Wallachian shepherds, descended (it is supposed) from the Dacian
colonies, Romans intermingled with natives, founded by the later
Caesars; the prevalent features of their faces are, it seems, Italian;
their language is powerfully veined with Latin; their dress differing
from that of all their Albanian neighbors, resembles the dress of
Dacian captives sculptured on the triumphal monuments of Rome; and
lastly, their peculiar name, _Vlack Wallachian_, indicates in the
Sclavonic language pretty much the same relation to a foreign origin,
as in German is indicated by the word _Welsh_: an affinity of which
word is said to exist in our word _Walnut_, where _wall_ (as the late
Mr. Coleridge thinks) means _alien_, _outlandish_. The evidence
therefore is as direct for their non-Grecian descent as could be
desired. But they are interesting to Greece at this time, because
annually migrating from Thessaly in the summer, and diffusing themselves
in the patriarchal style with their wives, their children, and their
flocks, over the sunny vales of Boeotia, of Peloponnesus, and in general
of southern Greece. Their men are huge, but they are the mildest of
the human race. Their dogs are huge, also; so far the parallel holds.
We regret that strict regard to truth forbids us to pursue the
comparison.

'I found myself on a sudden,' says Mr. Mure, 'surrounded by a fierce
pack of dogs, of size proportioned to that of their masters, and which
rushed forth on every side as if bent on devouring both myself and
beast: being altogether unprovided with any means of defence but the
rope-end of the same halter that supplied my stirrups, I was (I confess)
not a little disconcerted by the assault of so unexpected an enemy.'
From this he was soon delivered at the moment by some of the gentle
giants, who 'pelted off the animals with the large loose stones that
lay scattered over the rocky surface of the heath.' But upon the
character of the nuisance, and upon the particular remedy employed--both
of which are classical, and older than Troy, Mr. Mure makes the
following explanations:--

'The number and ferocity of the dogs that guard the Greek hamlets and
sheepfolds, as compared with those kept for similar purposes in other
parts of the world, is one of the peculiarities of this country which
not only first attracts the attention of the tourist, but is chiefly
calculated to excite his alarm, and call into exercise his prowess or
presence of mind. It is also amongst the features of modern Greek life
that supply the most curious illustrations of classical antiquity.
Their attacks are not confined to those who approach the premises of
which they are the appointed guardians;' they do not limit themselves
to defensive war: 'in many districts they are in the habit of rushing
from a considerable distance to torment the traveller passing along
the public track; and when the pastoral colonies, as is often the case,
occur at frequent intervals, the nuisance becomes quite intolerable.'
But in cases where the succession is less continuous, we should imagine
that the nuisance was in the same proportion more dangerous; and Mr.
Mure acknowledges--that under certain circumstances, to a solitary
stranger the risk would be serious; though generally, and in the case
of cavalcades, the dogs fasten chiefly upon the horses. But endless
are the compensations which we find in the distributions of nature.
Is there a bane? Near it lies an antidote. Is there a disease? Look
for a specific in that same neighborhood. Here, also, the universal
rule prevails. As it was destined that Greece in all ages should be
scourged by this intestine enemy, it was provided that a twofold
specific should travel concurrently with the evil. And because the
vegetable specific, in the shape of oaken cudgels, was liable to local
failure, (at this moment, in fact, from the wreck of her woods by means
of incendiary armies, Greece is, for a season, disafforested,) there
exists a second specific of a mineral character, which (please Heaven?)
shall never fail, so long as Greece is Greece. 'The usual weapons of
defence, employed in such cases by the natives, are the large loose
stones with which the soil is _everywhere_ strewed--a natural feature
of this region, to which also belongs its own proper share of classic
interest.' The character of the rocks prevailing in those mountain
ridges which intersect the whole of Greece is, that whilst in its
interior texture 'of iron-hard consistency,' yet at the surface it is
'broken into detached fragments of infinitely varied dimensions.'
Balls, bullets, grape, and canister shot, have all been 'parked' in
inexhaustible magazines; whilst the leading feature which strikes the
mind with amazement in this natural artillery, is its fine _retail_
distribution. Everywhere you may meet an enemy: stoop, and everywhere
there is shot piled for use. We see a Leibnitzian preestablished harmony
between the character of the stratification and the character of the
dogs. Cardinal de Retz explains why that war, in the minority of Louis
XIV., was called the _Fronde_; and it seems that in Greece, where an
immortal _fronde_ was inevitable, an immortal magazine was supplied
for it--one which has been and will continue to be, under all
revolutions, for the uncultured tracts present the missiles equally
diffused; and the first rudiments of culture show themselves in
collections of these missiles along the roads. Hence, in fact, a general
mistake of tourists. 'It is certain,' says Mr. Mure, 'that many of the
circular mounds, which are noticed in the itineraries under the rubric
of _ancient tumulus_, have been heaped up in this manner. It is to
these stones that travellers, and the population at large instinctively
have recourse, as the most effectual weapon against the assaults of
the dogs.' The small shot of pebbles, however, or even stones equal
to pigeon's eggs, would avail nothing: 'those selected are seldom
smaller than a man, exerting his whole force, can conveniently lift
and throw with one hand.' Thence, in fact, and from no other cause,
comes (as Mr. Mure observes) the Homeric designation of such stones,
viz. _chermadion_, or handful; of which he also cites the definition
given by Lucian, [Greek text: lithos cheiroplaethaes], a _hand-filling
stone_. Ninety generations have passed since the Trojan war, and each
of the ninety has used the same bountiful magazine. All readers of the
_Iliad_ must remember how often Ajax or Hector, took up _chermadia_,
'such as twice five men in our degenerate days could barely lift,'
launching them at light-armed foes, who positively would not come
nearer to take their just share of the sword or spear. 'The weapon is
the more effectual, owing to the nature of the rock itself, broken as
it is in its whole surface into angular and sharp-pointed inequalities,
which add greatly to the severity of the wound inflicted. Hence, as
most travellers will have experienced, a fall amongst the Greek rocks
is unusually painful.' It is pleasing to find Homer familiar not only
with the use of the weapon, but with its finest external 'developments.'
Not only the stone must be a bouncer, a _chermadion_, with some of the
properties (we believe) marking a good cricket-ball, but it ought to
be [Greek Text: ochxioeis]--such is the Homeric epithet of endearment,
his caressing description of a good brainer, viz. _splinting-jagged_.

This fact of the chermadic weight attached to the good war-stone
explains, as Mr. Mure ingeniously remarks, a simile of Homer's, which
ought to have been pure nonsense for Pope and Cowper; viz. that in
describing a dense mist, such as we foolishly imagine peculiar to our
own British climate, and meaning to say that a man could scarcely
descry an object somewhat ahead of his own station, he says, [Greek
Text: tosson tis t'ep leussel oson t'epi laan iaesi]: _so far does man
see as lie hurls a stone_. Now, in the skirmish of 'bickering,' this
would argue no great limitation of eyesight. 'Why, man, how far _would_
you see? Would you see round a corner?' 'A shot of several hundred
yards,' says Mr. Mure, 'were no great feat for a country lad well
skilled in the art of stone-throwing.' But this is not Homer's
meaning--'The cloud of dust' (which went before an army advancing, and
which it is that Homer compares to a mist on the hills perplexing the
shepherd) 'was certainly much denser than to admit of the view extending
to such a distance. In the Homeric sense, as allusive to the hurling
of the ponderous _chermadion, the figure is correct and expressive.'
And here, as everywhere, we see the Horatian parenthesis upon Homer,
as one, _qui nil molitur inepte_, who never speaks vaguely, never wants
a reason, and never loses sight of a reality, amply sustained. Here,
then, is a local resource to the British tourist besides the imported
one of the bull-dog. And it is remarkable that, except where the dogs
are preternaturally audacious, a mere hint of the chermadion suffices.
Late in our own experience too late for glory, we made the discovery
that all dogs have a mysterious reverence for a trundling stone. It
calls off attention from the human object, and strikes alarm into the
caitiff's mind. He thinks the stone alive. Upon this hint we thought
it possible to improve: stooping down, we 'made believe' to launch a
stone, when, in fact, we had none; and the effect generally followed.
So well is this understood in Greece that, according to a popular
opinion reported by Mr. Mure, the prevailing habit in Grecian dogs,
as well as bitches, of absenting themselves from church, grows out of
the frequent bowing and genuflexions practised in the course of the
service. The congregation, one and all, simultaneously stoop; the dog's
wickedness has made him well acquainted with the meaning of that act;
it is a symbol but too significant to his conscience; and he takes to
his heels with the belief that a whole salvo of one hundred and one
_chermadia_ are fastening on his devoted 'hurdies.'

Here, therefore, is a suggestion at once practically useful, and which
furnishes more than one important elucidation to passages in Homer
hitherto unintelligible. For the sake of one other such passage, we
shall, before dismissing the subject, pause upon a novel fact,
communicated by Mr. Mure, which is equally seasonable as a new Homeric
light, and as a serviceable hint in a situation of extremity.

In the passage already quoted under Pope's version from Odyssey, xiv.
29, what is the meaning of that singular couplet--

  'Down sate the sage; and cautious to withstand,
  Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand.' [Footnote 2]

Mr. Mure's very singular explanation will remind the naturalist of
something resembling it in the habits of buffaloes. Dampier mentions
a case which he witnessed in some island with a Malay population, where
a herd of buffaloes continued to describe concentric circles, by
continually narrowing around a party of sailors; and at last submitted
only to the control of children _not too far beyond the state of
infancy_. The white breed of wild cattle, once so well known at Lord
Tankerville's in Northumberland, and at one point in the south-west
of Scotland, had a similar instinct for regulating the fury of their
own attack; but it was understood that when the final circle had been
woven, the spell was perfect; and that the herd would 'do business'
most effectually. As respects the Homeric case, 'I,' (says Mr. Mure,)
'am probably not the only reader who has been puzzled to understand
the object of this manoeuvre' (the sitting down) 'on the part of the
hero. I was first led to appreciate its full value in the following
manner:--At Argos one evening, at the table of General Gordon,' (then
commanding-in-chief throughout the Morea, and the best historian of
the Greek revolution, but who subsequently resigned, and died in the
spring of 1841, at his seat in Aberdeenshire,) 'the conversation
happened to turn, as it frequently does where tourists are in company,
on this very subject of the number and fierceness of the Grecian dogs;
when one of the company remarked that he knew of a very simple expedient
for appeasing their fury. Happening on a journey to miss his road, and
being overtaken by darkness, he sought refuge for the night at a
pastoral settlement by the wayside. As he approached, the dogs rushed
out upon him; and the consequences might have been serious had he not
been rescued by an old shepherd, (the Eumeus of the fold,) who after
pelting off his assailants, gave him a hospitable reception in his
hut. The guest made some remark on the zeal of his dogs, and on the
danger to which he had been exposed from their attack. The old man
replied 'that it was his own fault, from not taking the customary
precaution in such an emergency; that he ought to have stopped, and
_sate down_ until some person came to protect him.' Here we have the
very act of Ulysses; with the necessary circumstance that he laid aside
his arms; after which the two parties were under a provisional treaty.
And Adam Smith's doubtful assumption that dogs are incapable of
exchange, or reciprocal understanding, seems still more doubtful. As
this expedient was new to the traveller, 'he made some further
inquiries; and was assured that, if any person in such a predicament
will simply seat himself on the ground, laying aside his weapon of
defence, the dogs will also squat in a circle round him; that, as long
as he remains quiet, they will follow his example; but that, as soon
as he rises and moves forward, they will renew their assault. This
story, though told without the least reference to the Odyssey, at once
brought home to my own mind the scene at the fold of Eumeus with the
most vivid reality. The existence of the custom was confirmed by other
persons present, from their own observation or experience.' Yet, what
if the night were such as is often found even in Southern Greece during
winter--a black frost; and that all the belligerents were found in the
morning symmetrically grouped as petrifactions? However, here again
we have the Homer _qui nil molitur inepte_, who addressed a people of
known habits. Yet _quare_--as a matter of some moment for Homeric
disputes--were these habits of Ionian colonies, or exclusively of
Greece Proper?

But enough of the repulsive features in Greek travelling. We, for our
part, have endeavored to meet them with remedies both good and novel.
Now let us turn to a different question. What are the positive
attractions of Greece? What motives are there to a tour so costly?
What are the _Pros_, supposing the _Cons_ dismissed? This is a more
difficult question than is imagined: so difficult that most people set
out without waiting for the answer: they travel first and leave to
providential contingencies the chance that, on a review of the tour
in its course, some adequate motive may suggest itself. Certainly it
may be said, that the word Greece already in itself contains an adequate
motive; and we do not deny that a young man, full of animal ardor and
high classical recollections, may, without blame, give way to the mere
instincts of wandering. It is a fine thing to bundle up your traps at
an hour's warning, and fixing your eye upon some bright particular
star, to say--'I will travel after thee: I will have no other mark:
I will chase thy rising or thy setting: that is, on Mr. Wordsworth's
hint derived from a Scottish lake, to move on a general object of
_stepping westwards_, or _stepping eastwards_. But there are few men
qualified to travel, who stand in this free 'unhoused' condition of
license to spend money, to lose time, or to court peril. In balancing
the pretensions of different regions to a distinction so costly as an
_effectual_ tour, money it is, simply the consideration of cost, which
furnishes the chief or sole ground of administration; having but 100
pounds sterling disposable in any one summer, a man finds his field
of choice circumscribed at once: and rare is the household that can
allow twice that sum annually. He contents himself with the Rhine, or
possibly, if more adventurous, he may explore the passes of the
Pyrenees; he may unthread the mazes of romantic Auvergne, or make a
stretch even to the Western Alps of Savoy.

But, for the Mediterranean, and especially for the Levant--these he
resigns to richer men; to those who can command from three to five
hundred pounds. And next, having submitted to this preliminary
limitation of radius, he is guided in selecting from what remains by
some indistinct prejudice of his early reading. Many are they in England
who start with a blind faith, inherited from Mrs. Radeliffe's romances,
and thousands beside, that, in Southern France or in Italy, from the
Milanese down to the furthest nook of the Sicilies, it is physically
impossible for the tourist to go wrong. And thus it happens, that a
spectacle, somewhat painful to good sense, is annually renewed of
confiding households leaving a real Calabria in Montgomeryshire or
Devonshire, for dreary, sunburned flats in Bavaria, in Provence, in
Languedoc, or in the 'Legations' of the Papal territory. 'Vintagers,'
at a distance, how romantic a sound! Hops--on the other hand--how
mercenary, nay, how culinary, by the feeling connected with their use,
or their taxation! Arcadian shepherds again, or Sicilian from the 'bank
of delicate Galesus,' can these be other than poetic? The hunter of
the Alpine ibex--can he be other than picturesque? A sandalled monk
mysteriously cowled, and in the _distance_, (but be sure of _that!_)
a band of robbers reposing at noon amidst some Salvator-Rosa-looking
solitudes of Calabria--how often have such elements, semi-consciously
grouped, and flashing upon the indistinct mirrors lighted up by early
reading, seduced English good sense into undertakings terminating in
angry disappointment! We acknowledge that the English are the only
nation under this romantic delusion; but so saying, we pronounce a
very mixed censure upon our country. In itself it is certainly a folly,
which other nations (Germany excepted) are not above, but below: a
folly which presupposes a most remarkable distinction for our
literature, significant in a high moral degree. The plain truth is--that
Southern Europe has no romance in its household literature; has not
an organ for comprehending what it is that we mean by Radcliffian
romance. The old ancestral romance of knightly adventure, the
_Sangreal_, the _Round Table_, &c., exists for Southern Europe as an
antiquarian subject; or if treated aesthetically, simply as a subject
adapted to the ludicrous. And the secondary romance of our later
literature is to the south unintelligible. No Frenchman, Spaniard, or
Italian, at all comprehends the grand poetic feeling employed and
nursed by narrative fictions through the last seventy years in England,
though connected by us with their own supposed scenery.

Generally, in speaking of Southern Europe, it may be affirmed that the
idea of heightening any of the grander passions by association with
the shadowy and darker forms of natural scenery, heaths, mountainous
recesses, 'forests drear,' or the sad desolation of a silent sea-shore,
of the desert, or of the ocean, is an idea not developed amongst them,
nor capable of combining with their serious feelings. By the evidence
of their literature, viz. of their poetry, their drama, their novels,
it is an interest to which the whole race is deaf and blind. A Frenchman
or an Italian (for the Italian, in many features of Gallic
insensibility, will be found ultra-Gallican) can understand a state
in which the moving principle is sympathy with the world of conscience.
Not that his own country will furnish him with any grand exemplification
of such an interest; but, merely as a human being, he cannot escape
from a certain degree of human sympathy with the dread tumults going
on in that vast theatre--a conscience-haunted mind. So far he stands
on common ground; but how this mode of shedding terror can borrow any
alliance from chapels, from ruins, from monastic piles, from Inquisition
dungeons, inscrutable to human justice, or dread of confessionals,--all
this is unfathomably mysterious to Southern Europe. The Southern
imagination is passively and abjectly dependent on _social_ interests;
and these must conform to modern types. Hence, partly, the reason that
only the British travel. The German is generally too poor. The Frenchman
desires nothing but what he finds at home: having Paris at hand, why
should he seek an inferior Paris in distant lands? To an Englishman
this demur could seldom exist. He may think, and, with introductions
into the higher modes of aristocratic life, he may know that London
and St. Petersburg are far more magnificent capitals than Paris; but
_that_ will not repel his travelling instincts. A superior London he
does not credit or desire; but what he seeks is not a superior, it is
a different, life;--not new degrees of old things, but new kinds of
experience are what he asks. His scale of conception is ampler; whereas,
generally, the Frenchman is absorbed into one ideal. Why else is it,
that, after you have allowed for a few Frenchmen carried of necessity
into foreign lands by the diplomatic concerns of so vast a country,
and for a few artists travelling in quest of gain or improvement, we
hear of no French travellers as a class? And why is it that, except
as regards Egypt, where there happens to lurk a secret political object
in reversion for France, German literature builds its historic or
antiquarian researches almost exclusively upon English travellers? Our
travellers may happen or not to be professional; but they are never
found travelling for professional objects. Some have been merchants
or bankers, many have been ecclesiastics; but neither commercial nor
clerical or religious purposes have furnished any working motive,
unless where, as express missionaries, they have prepared their readers
to expect such a bias to their researches. Colonel Leake, the most
accurate of travellers, is a soldier; and in reviewing the field of
Marathon, of Plataa, and others deriving their interest from later
wars, he makes a casual use of his soldiership. Captain Beaufort,
again, as a sailor, uses his nautical skill where it is properly called
for. But in the larger proportions of their works, even the professional
are not professional; whilst such is our academic discipline, that all
alike are scholars. And in this quality of merit the author before us
holds a distinguished rank. He is no artist, though manifesting the
eye learned in art and in landscape. He is not professionally a soldier;
he is so only by that secondary tie, which, in our island, connects
the landed aristocracy with the landed militia; yet though not, in a
technical sense, military, he disputes, with such as _are_, difficult
questions of Greek martial history. He is no regular agriculturist,
yet he conveys a good general impression of the Greek condition with
relation to landed wealth or landed skill, as modified at this moment
by the unfortunate restraints on a soil handed over, in its best parts,
by a Turkish aristocracy that had engrossed them, to a Bavarian that
cannot use them. In short, Mr. Mure is simply a territorial gentleman;
elevated enough to have stood a contest for the representation of a
great Scottish county; of general information; and, in particular, he
is an excellent Greek scholar; which latter fact we gather, not from
anything we have heard, but from these three indications meeting
together;--1. That his verbal use of Greek, in trying the true meaning
of names, (such as Mycene, the island of Asteris, &c.,) is original
as well as accurate. 2. That his display of reading (not volunteered
or selected, but determined by accidents of local suggestion) is ample.
3. That the frugality of his Greek citations is as remarkable as their
pertinence. He is never tempted into trite references; nor ever allows
his page to be encumbered by more of such learning than is severely
needed.

With regard to the general motives for travelling, _his_ for Greece
had naturally some relation to his previous reading; but perhaps an
occasional cause, making his true motives operative, may have been his
casual proximity to Greece at starting--for he was then residing in
Italy. Others, however, amongst those qualified to succeed him, wanting
this advantage, will desire some positive objects of a high value, in
a tour both difficult as regards hardships, costly, and too tedious,
even with the aids of steam, for those whose starting point is England.
These objects, real or imaginary, in a Greek tour, co-extensive with
the new limits of Greek jurisdiction, let us now review:--

I. _The Greek People_.--It is with a view to the Greeks personally,
the men, women, and children, who in one sense at least, viz., as
occupants of the Greek soil, represent the ancient classical Greeks,
that the traveller will undertake this labor. Representatives in one
sense! Why, how now? are they not such in all senses? Do they not trace
their descent from the classical Greeks?' We are sorry to say _not_;
or in so doubtful a way, that the interest derived from that source
is too languid to sustain itself against the opposing considerations.
Some authors have peremptorily denied that one drop of genuine Grecian
blood, transmitted from the countrymen of Pericles, now flows in the
veins of any Greek subject. Falmereyer, the German, is at the head (we
believe) of those who take that view. And many who think Falmereyer
in excess, make these unpleasant concessions; viz., 1st, that in Athens
and throughout Attica, where, by special preference, one would wish
to see the Grecian cast of face predominating, _there_, to a single
family almost, you may affirm all to be Albanian. Well; but what is
Albanian? For the Albanian race, as having its headquarters in regions
once undoubtedly occupied by a Greek race. Epirus, for instance,
Acarnania, &c., may still be Grecian by descent: but unfortunately it
is not so. The Albanians are no more Grecian, and notoriously no more
represent the old legitimate Greeks, who thumped the Persians and whom
the Romans thumped, than the modern English represent the Britons, or
the modern Lowland Scotch represent the Scoti, of the centuries
immediately following the Christian era. Both English and Lowland
Scotch, for the first five centuries after the Christian era, were
ranging the forests of north Germany or of southern Sweden. The men
who fought with Caesar, if now represented at all, are so in Wales,
in Cornwall, or other western recesses of the island. And the Albanians
are held to be a Sclavonic race--such at least is the accredited theory;
so that modern Greece is connected with Russia not merely by the bond
of a common church, but also by blood, since the Russian people is the
supreme branch of the Sclavonic race. This is the first concession
made which limits any remnant of the true Greek blood to parts of the
ancient Hellas not foremost in general interest, nor most likely to
be visited.

A second is, that if any claim to a true Grecian descent does exist
extensively, it must be looked for amongst Mahometan clans, descended
from renegades of former days, now confounded with our Mussulmans
ejected from Greece, and living in Thrace, or other regions under the
Sultan's sceptre. But even here the purity of the descent is in the
last degree uncertain.

This case is remarkable. From the stationary character of all things
in the East, there was a probability beforehand, that several
nations--as in particular, four that we will mention: the Greeks, the
Egyptians, the Persians, the Affghans--should have presented the same
purity of descent, untainted by alien blood, which we find in the
children of Ishmael, and the children of his half-brother the patriarch
Isaac. Yet, in that case, where would have been the miraculous unity
of race predicted for these two nations exclusively by the Scriptures?
The fact is, the four nations mentioned have been so profoundly changed
by deluges of foreign conquest or foreign intrusion, that at this day,
perhaps, no solitary individual could be found whose ancestral line
had not been confounded with other bloods. The Arabs only, and the
Jews, are under no suspicion of this hybrid mixture. Vast deserts,
which insulate one side of the Arabian peninsula; the sea, which
insulates the other sides, have, with other causes, preserved the Arab
blood from all general attaint of its purity. Ceremonies, institutions,
awful scruples of conscience, and through many centuries, misery and
legal persecution, have maintained a still more impassable gulf between
the Jews and other races. Spain is the only Christian land where the
native blood was at any time intermingled with the Jewish; and hence
one cause for the early vigilance of the Inquisition in that country
more than elsewhere; hence also the horror of a Jewish taint in the
Spanish hidalgo; Judaism masquing itself in Christianity, was so keenly
suspected, or so haughtily disclaimed, simply because so largely it
existed. It was, however, under a very peculiar state of society, that,
even during an interval, and in a corner, Jews _could_ have intermarried
with Christians. Generally, the intensity of reciprocated hatred, long
oppression upon the one side, deep degradation upon the other,
perpetuated the alienation, had the repulsion of creeds even relaxed.
And hence, at this day, the intense purity of the Jewish blood, though
probably more than six millions of individuals.

But with respect to the Grecians, as no barrier has ever existed between
them and any other [Footnote 3] race than the Turks, and these only
in the shape of religious scruples, which on one side had the highest
political temptation to give way, there was no pledge stronger than
individual character, there could be no national or corporate pledge,
for the maintenance of this insulation. As therefore, in many recorded
cases, the strongest barrier (viz., that against Mahometan alliances)
is known to have given way, as in other cases innumerable, but
forgotten, it must be presumed to have given way? this inference
follows, viz., that if anywhere the Grecian blood remains in purity,
the fact will be entirely without evidence; and for us, the result
will be the same as if the fact had no existence. Simply as a matter
of curiosity, if our own opinion were asked as to the probability,
that in any situation, a true-blooded population yet survives at this
day, we should answer that, if anywhere, it will be found in the most
sterile of the Greek islands. Yet, even there the bare probability of
such a result will have been open to many disturbances; and especially
if the island happen to be much in the way of navigators, or the harbors
happen to be convenient, or if it happen to furnish a good stage in
a succession of stages, (according to the ancient usages of
Mediterranean seamanship), or if it possessed towns containing
accumulations of provisions or other stores, or offered good
watering-places; under any of these endowments, an island might be
tempting to pirates, or to roving adventurers, or to remote overpeopled
parts of Italy, Africa, Asia Minor, &c.; in short, to any vicious city
where but one man amongst the poorer classes knew the local invitations
to murderous aggressions. Under so many contingencies operative through
so many centuries, and revolutions so vast upon nations so multiplied,
we believe that even a poor unproductive soil is no absolute pledge
for non-molestation to the most obscure of recesses.

For instance, the poorest district of the large island Crete, might
(if any could) be presumed to have a true Greek population. There is
little to be found in that district beyond the means of bare
subsistence; and (considering the prodigious advantages of the ground
for defensive war) little to be looked for by an invader but hard
knocks, 'more kicks than halfpence,' so long as there was any indigenous
population to stand up and kick. But often it must have happened in
a course of centuries, that plague, small-pox, cholera, the
sweating-sickness, or other scourges of universal Europe and Asia,
would absolutely depopulate a region no larger than an island; as in
fact, within our brief knowledge of the New Hollanders, has happened
through small-pox alone, to entire tribes of those savages, and, upon
a scale still more awful, to the American Indians. In such cases, mere
strangers would oftentimes enter upon the lands as a derelict. The
Sfakians, in that recess of Crete which we have noticed, are not
supposed by scholars to be a true Grecian race; nor do we account them
such. And one reason of our own, superadded to the common reasons
against allowing a Greek origin, is this:--The Sfakians are a
large-limbed, fine-looking race, more resembling the Wallachians whom
we have already noticed, than the other races of Crete, or the other
Greek islanders, and like the Wallachians, are often of colossal
stature. But the classical Greeks, we are pretty certain, were a race
of little men. We have more arguments than one for this belief. But
one will be sufficient. The Athenian painter who recorded the battle
of Marathon in fresco upon the walls of a portico, was fined for
representing the Persians as conspicuously taller than the Greeks. But
why?--why should any artist have ascribed such an advantage to the
enemy, unless because it was a fact? What plausible motive, other than
the notoriety of the fact, can be imagined in the painter? In reality,
this artist proceeded as a general rule amongst the Greeks, and a rule
strictly, if not almost superstitiously observed, and of ancient
establishment, which was, that all conquerors in any contest, or at
any games, olympic, or whatsoever they might be, were memorialized by
statues exactly representing the living man in the year of victory,
taken even with their personal defects. The dimensions were preserved
with such painful fidelity, as though the object had been to collect
and preserve for posterity, a series from every generation, of those
men who might be presumed by their trophies to have been the models
by natural prefiguration for that particular gymnastic accomplishment
in which they had severally excelled. [See the _Acad. des Inscriptions_,
about the year 1725.] At the time of Marathon, fought against the
Lieutenant of Darius, the Olympic games had existed for two hundred
years, _minus_ thirteen; and at the closing battle of Plataea, fought
against the Lieutenant of Xerxes, for two hundred, _minus_ only two.
During all this period, it is known for certain, perhaps even from far
older times, that this rule of exact _portraiture_, a rigid demand for
duplicates or fac-similes of the individual men, had prevailed in
Greece. The enormous amount of Persian corpses buried by the Greeks,
(or perhaps by Persian prisoners,) in the Polyandrium on the field of
battle, would be measured and observed by the artists against the
public application for their services. And the armor of those select
men-at-arms, or [Greek Text: oplitai], who _had_ regular suits of
armor, would remain for many centuries suspended as consecrated
anathaeyata in the Grecian temples; so that Greek artists would never
want sure records of the Persian dimensions. Were it not for this rule,
applied sternly to all real conflicts, it might have been open to
imagine that the artist had exaggerated the persons of the enemy by
way of exalting to posterity the terrors which their ancestors had
faced; a more logical vanity than that inverse artifice imputed to
Alexander, of burying in the Punjaub gigantic mangers and hyperbolical
suits of armor, under the conceit of impressing remote ages with a
romantic idea of the bodily proportions in the men and horses composing
the _elite_ of the Macedonian army. This was the true secret for
disenchanting the martial pretensions of his army. Were you indeed
such colossal men? In that case, the less is your merit; of which most
part belongs manifestly to a _physical_ advantage: and in the ages of
no gunpowder the advantage was less equivocal than it is at present.
In the other direction, the logic of the Greek artist who painted
Marathon is more cogent. The Persians were numerically superior, though
doubtless this superiority has been greatly exaggerated, not wilfully
so much as from natural mistakes incident to the Oriental composition
of armies; and still more on the Grecian side, from extreme inaccuracy
in the original reports, which was so great that even Herodotus, who
stood removed from Plataea at the time of commencing his labors, by
pretty much the same interval as we in 1842 from Waterloo, is rightly
observed by Colonel Leake (_Travels in Greece_) to have stated to him
the Greek numbers on the great day of Plataea, rather from the basis
of fixed rateable contingents which each state was bound to furnish,
than of any positive return that he could allege. However, on the
whole, it seems undeniable that even at Platsea, much more at Marathon,
the Persians had the advantage in numbers. If, besides this numerical
advantage, they had another in qualities of bodily structure, the
inference was the greater to the Grecian merit. So far from slighting
a Persian advantage which really existed, a Greek painter might rather
be suspected of inventing one which did not. We apprehend, however,
that he invented nothing. For, besides that subsequent intercourse
with Persians would have defeated the effect of his representation had
it reposed on a fiction, it is known that the Greeks did not rightly
appreciate tallness. 'Procerity,' to use Dr. Johnson's stately word
in speaking of the stately Prussian regiment, was underrated in Greece;
perhaps for this reason, that in some principal gymnastic contests,
running, leaping, horsemanship, and charioteering, it really _was_ a
disadvantage. And hence possibly arose a fact which has been often
noticed with surprise; viz. that the legendary Hercules was never
delineated by the Greek artists as more than an athletic man of the
ordinary standard with respect to height and bulk. The Greek imagination
was extravagantly mastered by physical excellence; this is proved by
the almost inconceivable value attached to gymnastic merit. Nowhere,
except in Greece, could a lyrical enthusiasm have been made available
in such a service. But amongst physical qualities they did not
adequately value that of lofty stature. At all events, the rule of
portraiture--the whole portrait and nothing but the portrait--which
we have mentioned as absolute for Greece, coerced the painter into the
advantageous distinction for the Persians which we have mentioned. And
this rule, _as servile to the fact_, is decisive for the Greek
proportions of body in comparison with the Persian.

But were not some tribes amongst the Greeks celebrated for their
stature? Yes; the Daulians, for instance, both men and women: and in
some modern tourist we remember a distinction of the same kind claimed
for the _present_ occupants of Daulis. But the ancient claim bad
reference only to the Grecian scale. Tall, were they? Yes, but tall
for Grecians. The Romans were possibly a shade taller than the Greeks,
but they also were a little race of men. This is certain. And, if a
man were incautious enough to plead in answer the standard of the
modern Italians, who are often both tall and athletic, he must be
reminded that to Tramontanes, in fact, such as Goths, Heruli, Scyrra,
Lombards, and other tribes of the Rhine, Lech, or Danube, Italy is
indebted for the improved breed of her carcasses. [Footnote 4] Man,
instead of degenerating according to the scandalous folly of books,
very slowly improves everywhere; and the carcasses of the existing
generation, weighed off, million for million, against the carcasses
of any pre-Christian generation, we feel confident would be found to
have the advantage by many thousands of stones [the butchers' stone
is eight pounds] upon each million. And universally the best _prima
facie_ title to a pure Greek descent will be an elegantly formed, but
somewhat under-sized, person, with a lively, animated, and intelligent
physiognomy; of which last may be said, that, if never in the highest
sense rising to the noble, on the other hand, it never sinks to the
brutal. At Liverpool we used to see in one day many hundreds of Greek
sailors from all parts of the Levant; these were amongst the most
probable descendants from the children of Ion or of OEolus, and the
character of their person was what we describe--short but symmetrical
figures and faces, upon the whole, delicately chiselled. These men
generally came from the Greek islands.

Meantime, what is Mr. Mure's opinion upon this much-vexed question?
Into the general problem he declines to enter; not, we may be sure,
from want of ability to treat it with novelty and truth. But we collect
that he sees no reason for disputing the general impression, that an
Albanian or hybrid population is mainly in possession of the soil, and
that perhaps he would say, _lis est de paupere regno_; for, if there
is no beauty concerned in the decision, nor any of the quality of
physical superiority, the less seems the value of the dispute. To
appropriate a set of plain faces, to identify the descent of ordinary
bodies, seems labor lost. And in the race now nominally claiming to
be Grecian, Mr. Mure evidently finds only plain faces, and ordinary
bodies. Those, whom at any time he commends for beauty or other
advantages of person, are tribes confessedly alien; and, on the other
hand, with respect to those claiming to be Greek, he pronounces a
pointed condemnation by disparaging their women. It is notoriously a
duty of the female sex to be beautiful, if they can, with a view to
the recreation of us males--whom Lily's Grammar affirms to be 'of the
worthier gender.' Sitting at breakfast, (which consisted 'of red
herrings and Gruyere cheese,') upon the shore of Megara, Mr. Mure
beheld the Megarensian lasses mustering in force for a general ablution
of the Megarensian linen. The nymphs had not turned out upon the usual
principles of feminine gatherings--

    'Spectatum venit, venit spectentur it ipsae;'

and yet, between them, the two parties reciprocated the functions.
Each to the other was a true spectacle. A long Scotchman,

    'Qui sicca solus secum spatiatur arena,'

and holding in his dexter mauley a red herring, whilst a white
table-cloth (the centre of his motions) would proclaim some mysterious
rite, must to the young ladies have seemed a merman suddenly come up
from the sea, without sound of conch; whilst to him the large deputation
from female Megara furnished an extra theatre for the inspection of
Greek beauty. 'There was no river mouth visible, the operation being
performed in the briny sea itself;' and, so far from this being unusual,
Mr. Mure notices it as a question of embarrassment to the men of
Plutarch's age, why the Phoeacian princess in the Odyssey did _not_
wash in the sea, but mysteriously preferred the river, (_Sympos, I.
qu._ 9;) but as to beauty, says Mr. Mure, 'I looked in vain for a
figure, which either as to face or form could claim even a remote
resemblance to Nausicaa. The modern Greek woman indeed appeared to me,
upon the whole, about the most ill-favored I have met with in any
country.' And it attests the sef-consistency of Mr. Mure, that in
Aracova, the only place where he notices the women as having any
pretensions to beauty, he and others agree that their countenances are
not true to the national type; they are generally reputed to offer
something much nearer to the bloom and the _embonpoint_ of female
rustics in Germany; and accordingly, it is by the Bavarian officers
of King Otho's army that these fair Aracovites have been chiefly raised
into celebrity. We cannot immediately find the passage in Mr. Mure's
book relating to Aracova; but we remember that, although admitting the
men to be a tolerably handsome race, he was disappointed in the females.
Tall they are, and stout, but not, he thinks, beautiful.

Yet, in dismissing this subject of personal appearance, as the most
plausible test now surviving for the claim of a pure Greek descent,
we must not forget to explain--that it is far from our design to
countenance the hypothesis of any _abrupt_ supercession, at any period
or by any means, to the old Grecian blood. The very phrase of 'national
type,' which we used in the last paragraph, and the diffusion of a
language essentially Greek, argue at once a slow and gradational
transition of the population into its present physical condition. Mr.
Mure somewhere describes, as amongst the characteristics of the present
race, swarth-iness and leanness. These we suspect to have been also
characteristics of the old original _ton d'apameibomenoi_ Greeks. If
so, the fact would seem to argue, that the changes, after all, had not
been on a scale sufficient to obliterate the primitive type of Hellenic
nature; whilst the existence of any _diffused_ type marks a tendency
to national unity, and shows that some one element has so much
predominated as to fuse the rest into a homogeneous whole. Indeed, it
is pretty certain that a powerful cross in any human breed, whatever
effects it may have in other respects, leaves the intellect improved--if
not in the very highest qualities, yet in mobility, activity, and
pertinacity of attention. The Greek nation has also shown itself morally
improved; their revolutionary war evoked and tried, as in a furnace,
the very finest qualities of courage, both adventurous and enduring;
and we heartily agree in the sentiment delivered so ably by Mr. Mure,
that the struggles of these poor shepherds and herdsmen, driven into
caves and thickets, and having no great rallying principle but the
banner of the Cross against the Crescent, were as much more truly
sublime in suffering and in daring, than the classical struggles against
the Persians, as they are and will be more obscure in the page of
general history. We do not at all question great stamina and noble
elements in the modern Greek character--generations of independence
will carry this character to excellence; but still we affirm, that he
who looks for direct descendants from the race of Miliades, Pericles,
or Epaminondas, is likely to be disappointed; and most disappointed
in that Athens, which for all of us alike (as appealing to our
imaginative feelings) still continues to be what it was for Cicero--true
and very Greece; in which, therefore, of all cities locally recalling
the classical times, we can least brook a disappointment.

If not the people of Greece, is it then the NATURAL SCENERY of Greece
which can justify the tourist in this preference? Upon this subject
it is difficult to dispute. What a man is likely to relish in
scenery--what style or mode of the natural picturesque; and secondly,
what weight or value he will allow to his own preferences--are questions
exceedingly variable. And the latter of these questions is the more
important; for the objection is far less likely to arise against this
mode of scenery or that, since every _characteristic_ mode is relished
as a change, than universally against all modes alike as adequate
indemnifications for the toils of travelling. Female travellers are
apt to talk of 'scenery' as all in all, but men require a social
interest superadded. Mere scenery palls upon the mind, where it is the
sole and ever-present attraction relied on. It should come unbidden
and unthought of, like the warbling of birds, to sustain itself in
power. And at feeding-time we observe that men of all nations and
languages, _Tros Tyriusve,_ grow savage, if, by a fine scene, you
endeavor to make amends for a bad beef-steak. The scenery of the
Himalaya will not 'draw houses' till it finds itself on a line of good
hotels.

This difference, noted above, between the knowledge and the power of
a scenery hunter may be often seen illustrated in the fields of art.
How common is the old sapless connoisseur in pictures, who retains his
learned eye and his distinguished skill, but whose sensibilities are
as dry as summer dust to the interests of the art. On the other hand,
daily you see young people whose hearts and souls are in the forests
and the hills, but for whom the eye is perfectly untutored. If, now,
to the differences in this respect you add the extensive differences
which prevail as to the kinds of scenery, it is easy to understand how
rich in the materials for schism must be every party that starts up
on the excitement of mere scenery. Some laud the Caucasus; some the
northern and eastern valleys of Spain; some the Alpine scenery; some
the Pyrenean. All these are different; and from all alike differs again
what Mr. Mure classes as the classical character of scenery. For this,
he thinks a regular education of the eye requisite. Such an education
he himself had obtained from a residence in Italy. And, subject to
that condition, he supposes the scenery on the Eurotas (to the eastern
side of the Peloponnesus) the most delightful in Europe. We know not.
It may be so. For ourselves, the obscure sense of being or moving under
a vast superincumbency of some great natural power, as of a mighty
forest, or a trackless succession of mountainous labyrinths, has a
charm of secret force far better than any distinct scenes to which we
are introduced. Such things ought not to be. But still so it is--that
tours in search of the picturesque are peculiarly apt to break up in
quarrels. Perhaps on the same principle which has caused a fact
generally noticed, viz. that conchologists, butterfly-fanciers, &c.,
are unusually prone to commit felonies, because too little of a human
interest circulates through their arid pursuits. The morbid irritation
accumulates until the amateur rushes, out with a knife, lets blood in
some quarter, and so restores his own connection with the vitalities
of human nature. In any case, we advise the Greek tourist to have at
least two strings to his bow besides scenery.

III.--Is it, then, the monuments of the antique, the memorials of
Pericles and Phidias, which a man should seek in Greece? If so, no
great use in going beyond Athens. Because, though more solemn images
survive in other places, associated with powers more mysterious and
ages more remote, as the gate of Lions at Mycense, or the relics yet
standing (and perhaps to stand for ever) of Cyclopian cities, forms
of art that for thousands of years have been dying away through dimness
of outlines and vegetable overgrowth into forms of nature--yet in
Athens only is there a great open museum of such monuments. The Athenian
buildings, though none of them Homeric in point of origin, are old
enough for us. Two-and-a-half millennia satisfy our grovelling
aspirations. And Mr. Mure himself, whilst insisting on their too
youthful character, admits that they are 'superior in number, variety,
and elegance to those which the united cities of Greece can now show.'
Yet even these pure monuments have been combined with modern
aftergrowths, as in the case of the Propylyoea, of which multitudes
doubt [Mr. Mure in particular] whether they can now be detached from
the connection with effect. For more reasons than one, it will, perhaps,
be advisable to leave them in their present condition, and that is as
hybrid as the population. But, with respect to Athenian buildings, it
strikes our feelings--that finish and harmony are essential conditions
to their effect. Ruins are becoming to Gothic buildings--decay is there
seen in a graceful form; but to an Attic building decay is more
expressive of disease--it is scrofula; it is phagedoenic ulcer. And
unless the Bavarian government can do more than is now held out or
hoped, towards the restoration and _disengagement_ of the public
buildings surmounting the city, we doubt whether there will not be as
much of pain as of an artist's pleasure in a visit to the Athenian
capital, though now raised to the rank of metropolis for universal
Greece.

IV.--There are, however, mixed monuments, not artificial in their
origin, but which gradually came to act upon the feelings as such from
their use, and habitual connection with human purposes. Such for
instance is the Acro-Corinthus, of which Mr. Mure says--that it 'is
by far the most striking object that I have ever seen, either abroad
or at home. Neither the Acropolis of Athens, nor the Larissa of Argos,
nor even Gibraltar, can enter into the remotest competition with this
gigantic citadel.' Indeed, when a man is aware of the impression
produced by a perpendicular rock over six hundred feet high, he may
judge of the stupendous effect from a citadel rising almost insulated
in the centre of a plain, sloping to the sea, and ascending to the
height of nineteen hundred feet.

Objects of this class, together with the mournful Pelasgic remains,
the ruins or ruined plans which point back to Egypt, and to Phoenicia,
these may serve as a further bribe to the tourist in Greece. If a
collection of all the objects in every class, according to the best
order of succession for the traveller, were arranged skilfully, we
believe that a maritime circuit of Greece, with a few landings and
short excursions, would bring the whole of what is first-rate within
a brief period of weeks and an easy effort. As to the people, they
will become more or less entitled to a separate interest, according
to the improvement and improved popularity of their government. And
upon that will depend much of the comfort, much even of the safety,
to be looked for by tourists. The prospects at present are not
brilliant. A government and a court, drawn from a needy aristocracy
like the Bavarian, are not suited to a needy people, struggling with
the difficulties of a new colony. However, we will hope for the best.
And for the tourist in _Greece as it is_, perhaps Mr. Mure's work is
the best fitted for popularity. He touches all things sufficiently,
but exhausts none. And we add, very sincerely, this antithesis, as due
to him, that of what may be called personal guides, or those who
maintain a current of personal interest in their adventures, or in the
selecting from their private experience, he is the most learned; whilst
of learned guides he is, in the sense explained, the most amusingly
personal.




NOTES.


NOTE 1.

Chief Justice squinted probably at the Versailles affair, where parties
were incinerated; for which, in Yorkshire, there is a local
word--_crozelled,_ applied to those who lie down upon a treacherous
lime-pit, whose crust gives way to their weight. But if he meant
security in the sense of public funds, Chief-Justice was still more
in error, as he will soon learn. For the British Railways now yield
a regular income of three millions per annum--one tenth of the interest
of the national debt; offer as steady an investment as the 3 per cent
consols; and will soon be quoted in other securities.

NOTE 2.

As respects the _elegance_ of this translation, there is good reason
to warn the reader--that much of the Odyssey was let off by-contract,
like any poor-house proposal for 'clods' and 'stickings' of beef, to
low undertakers, such as Broome and Fenton. Considering the ample
fortune which Pope drew from the whole work, we have often been struck
by the inexplicable indulgence with which this scandalous partition
is treated by Pope's biographers. It is simply the lowest act of self-
degradation ever connected with literature.

NOTE 3.

Some will urge the intolerance of the Greeks for Christians of the
Latin Church. But that did not hinder alliances, and ambitious attempts
at such alliances, with their Venetian masters in the most distinguished
of the Greek houses. Witness the infernal atrocities by which the
Venetian government avenged at times what they viewed as unpardonable
presumption. See their own records.

NOTE 4.

It may be remarked, as a general prevailing tendency amongst the great
Italian masters of painting, that there is the same conspicuous leaning
to regard the gigantic as a vulgar straining after effect. Witness St.
Paul before Agrippa, and St. Paul at Athens; Alexander the Great, or
the Archangel Michael. Nowhere throughout the whole world is the
opposite defect carried to a more intolerable excess than amongst the
low (but we regret to add--and in all but the very highest) of London
artists. Many things, which the wretched Von Raumer said of English
art, were abominable and malicious falsehooods; circulated not for
London, but for Berlin, and Dresden, where English engravers and
landscape-painters are too justly prized by the wealthy purchasers nor
to be hated by the needy sellers. Indeed to hear Von Raumer's account
of our water-color exhibitions, you would suppose that such men as
Turner, Dewint, Prout, and many others, had no merit whatever, and no
name except in London. Raumer is not an honest man. But had he fixed
his charges on the book-decorators amongst us, what an unlimited field
for ridicule the most reasonable! In most sentimental poems, the musing
young gentlemen and ladies usually run to seven and eight feet high.
And in a late popular novel connected with the Tower of London, by Mr.
Ainsworth, [which really pushes its falsifications of history to an
unpardonable length, as e.g. in the case of the gentle victim lady
Jane Grey,] the Spanish ambassador seems to us at least fourteen feet
high; and his legs meant for some ambassador who happened to be
twenty-seven feet high.




LORD CARLISLE ON POPE.

[1851.]



Lord Carlisle's recent lecture upon Pope, addressed to an audience of
artisans, drew the public attention first of all upon himself--_that_
was inevitable. No man can depart conspicuously from the usages or the
apparent sympathies of his own class, under whatsoever motive, but
that of necessity he will awaken for the _immediate_ and the first
result of his act an emotion of curiosity. But all curiosity is allied
to the comic, and is not an ennobling emotion, either for him who feels
it or for him who is its object. A second, however, and more thoughtful
consideration of such an act may redeem it from this vulgarizing taint
of oddity. Reflection may satisfy us, as in the present case it _did_
satisfy those persons who were best acquainted with Lord Carlisle's
public character, that this eccentric step had been adopted, not in
ostentation, with any view to its eccentricity, but _in spite_ of its
eccentricity, and from impulses of large prospective benignity that
would not suffer itself to be defeated by the chances of immediate
misconstruction.

Whether advantageous, therefore, to Lord Carlisle, or disadvantageous
(and in that case, I believe, most unjust), the first impressions
derived from this remarkable lecture pointed themselves exclusively
to the person of the lecturer--to his general qualifications for such
a task, and to his possible motives for undertaking it. Nobody inquired
_what_ it was that the noble lord had been discussing, so great was
every man's astonishment that before such an audience any noble lord
should have condescended to discuss anything at all. But gradually all
wonder subsides--_de jure_, in nine days; and, after this collapse of
the primary interest, there was leisure for a secondary interest to
gather about the _subject_ of the patrician lecture. Had it any
cryptical meaning? Coming from a man so closely connected with the
government, could it be open to any hieroglyphic or ulterior
interpretations, intelligible to Whigs, and significant to ministerial
partisans? Finally, this secondary interest has usurped upon what
originally had been a purely personal interest. POPE! What novelty was
there, still open to even literary gleaners, about _him_, a man that
had been in his grave for one hundred and six years? What _could_ there
remain to say on such a theme? And what was it, in fact, that Lord
Carlisle _had_ said to his Yorkshire audience?

There was, therefore, a double aspect in the public interest--one
looking to the rank of the lecturer, one to the singularity of his
theme. There was the curiosity that connected itself with the assumption
of a troublesome duty in the service of the lowest ranks by a volunteer
from the highest; and, secondly, there was another curiosity connecting
itself with the choice of a subject that had no special reference to
this particular generation, and seemed to have no special adaptation
to the intellectual capacities of a working audience.

This double aspect of the public surprise suggests a double question.
The volunteer assumption by a nobleman of this particular office in
this particular service may, in the eyes of some people, bear a
philosophic value, as though it indicated some changes going on beneath
the surface of society in the relations of our English aristocracy to
our English laboring body. On the other hand, it will be regarded by
multitudes as the casual caprice of an individual--a caprice of vanity
by those who do not know Lord Carlisle's personal qualities, a caprice
of patriotic benevolence by those who do. According to the construction
of the case as thus indicated, oscillating between a question of
profound revolution moving subterraneously amongst us, and a purely
personal question, such a discussion would ascend to the philosophic
level, or sink to the level of gossip. The other direction of the
public surprise points to a question that will interest a far greater
body of thinkers. Whatever judgment may be formed on the general fact
that a nobleman of ancient descent has thought fit to come forward as
a lecturer to the humblest of his countrymen upon subjects detached
from politics, there will yet remain a call for a second judgment upon
the fitness of the particular subject selected for a lecture under
such remarkable circumstances. The two questions are entirely
disconnected. It is on the latter, viz., the character and pretensions
of Pope, as selected by Lord Carlisle for such an inaugural experiment,
that I myself feel much interest. Universally it must have been felt
as an objection, that such a selection had no special adaptation to
the age or to the audience. I say this with no wish to undervalue the
lecture, which I understand to have been ably composed, nor the services
of the lecturer, whose motives and public character, in common with
most of his countrymen, I admire. I speak of it at all only as a public
opportunity suddenly laid open for drawing attention to the true
pretensions of Pope, as the most brilliant writer of his own class in
European literature; or, at least, of drawing attention to some
characteristics in the most popular section of Pope's works which
hitherto have lurked unnoticed.

This is my object, and none that can be supposed personal to Lord
Carlisle. Pope, as the subject of the lecture, and not the earlier
question as to the propriety of any lecture at all, under the
circumstances recited, furnishes my _thesis_--that thesis on which the
reader will understand me to speak with decision, not with the decision
of arrogance, but with that which rightfully belongs to a faithful
study of the author. The editors of Pope are not all equally careless,
but all are careless; and, under the shelter of this carelessness, the
most deep-seated vices of Pope's moral and satirical sketches have
escaped detection, or at least have escaped exposure. These, and the
other errors traditionally connected with the rank and valuation of
Pope as a classic, are what I profess to speak of deliberately and
firmly. Meantime, to the extent of a few sentences, I will take the
liberty of suggesting, rather than delivering, an opinion upon the
other question, viz., the prudence in a man holding Lord Carlisle's
rank of lecturing at all to any public audience. But on this part of
the subject I beg to be understood as speaking doubtfully,
conjecturally, and without a sufficient basis of facts.

The late Dr. Arnold of Rugby, notoriously a man of great ingenuity,
possessing also prodigious fertility of thought, and armed with the
rare advantage of being almost demoniacally in earnest, was, however
(in some sort of balance to these splendid gifts), tainted to excess
with the scrofula of impracticable crotchets. That was the opinion
secretly held about him by most of his nearest friends; and it is
notorious that he scarcely ever published a pamphlet or contribution
to a journal in which he did not contrive to offend all parties, both
friendly and hostile, by some ebullition of this capricious character.
He hated, for instance, the High Church with a hatred more than
theological; and _that_ would have recommended him to the favorable
consideration of many thousands of persons in this realm, the same who
have been secretly foremost in the recent outbreak of fanaticism against
the Roman Catholics; but unfortunately it happened that, although not
hating the Low Church (the self-styled Evangelicals), he despised
them so profoundly as to make all alliance between them impossible.
He hated also many individuals; but, not to do him any injustice, most
(or perhaps all) of these were people that had been long dead; and
amongst them, by the way, was Livy, the historian; whom I distinguish
by name, as furnishing, perhaps, the liveliest illustration of the
whimsical and all but lunatic excess to which these personal hatreds
were sometimes pushed; for it is a fact that, when the course of an
Italian tour had brought him unavoidably to the birthplace of Livy,
Dr. Arnold felicitated himself upon having borne the air of that
city--in fact, upon having survived such a collision with the local
remembrances of the poor historian, very much in those terms which Mr.
Governor Holwell might have used on finding himself 'pretty bobbish'
on the morning after the memorable night in the Black Hole of Calcutta:
he could hardly believe that he still lived. [Footnote 1] And yet, how
had the eloquent historian trespassed on his patience and his weak
powers of toleration? Livy was certainly not very learned in the
archaeologies of his own country; where all men had gone astray, _he_
went astray. And in geography, as regarded the Italian movements of
Hannibal, he erred with his eyes open. But these were no objects of
Livy's ambition: what he aspired to do was, to tell the story, 'the
tale divine,' of Roman energy and perseverance; and _he so_ told it
that no man, as regards the mere artifices of narration, would ever
have presumed to tell it after him. I cite this particular case as
illustrating the furnace-heat of Dr. Arnold's antipathies, unless where
some consideration of kindness and Christian charity interposed to
temper his fury. This check naturally offered itself only with regard
to individuals: and therefore, in dealing with institutions, he
acknowledged no check at all, but gave full swing to the license of
his wrath. Amongst our own institutions, that one which he seems most
profoundly to have hated was our nobility; or, speaking more generally,
our aristocracy. Some deadly aboriginal schism he seems to have imagined
between this order and the democratic orders; some predestined feud
as between the head of the serpent and the heel of man.

Accordingly, as one of the means most clamorously invoked by our social
position for averting some dreadful convulsion constantly brooding
over England, he insists upon a closer approximation between our highest
classes and our lowest. Especially he seems to think that the peasantry
needed to be conciliated by more familiar intercourse, or more open
expressions of interest in their concerns, and by domiciliary visits
not offered in too oppressive a spirit of condescension. But the close
observer of our social condition will differ with Dr. Arnold at
starting, as to the facts. The ancient territorial nobility are not
those who offend by _hauteur_. On the contrary, a spirit of parental
kindness marks the intercourse of the old authentic aristocracy with
their dependants, and especially with the two classes of peasants on
their own estates, and their domestic servants. [Footnote 2] Those who
_really_ offend on this point, are the _nouveaux riches_--the
_parvenus_. And yet it would be great injustice to say that even these
offend habitually. No laws of classification are so false as those
which originate in human scurrility. Aldermen, until very lately, were
by an old traditional scurrility so proverbially classed as gluttons
and cormorants, hovering over dinner-tables, with no other
characteristics whatever, or openings to any redeeming qualities, that
men became as seriously perplexed in our days at meeting an eloquent,
enlightened, and accomplished alderman, as they would have been by an
introduction to a benevolent cut-throat, or a patriotic incendiary.
The same thing happened in ancient days. Quite as obstinate as any
modern prejudice against a London alderman was the old Attic prejudice
against the natives of Boeotia. Originally it had grown up under two
causes--first, the animosities incident to neighborhood too close;
secondly, the difference of bodily constitution consequent upon a
radically different descent. The blood was different; and by a wider
difference, perhaps, than that between Celtic and Teutonic. The
garrulous Athenian despised the hesitating (but for that reason more
reflecting) Boeotian; and this feeling was carried so far, that at
last it provoked satire itself to turn round with scorn upon the very
prejudice which the spirit of satire had originally kindled. Disgusted
with this arrogant assumption of disgust, the Roman satirist reminded
the scorners that men not inferior to the greatest of their own had
been bred, or might be bred, amongst those whom they scorned:--

   'Summos posse viros, et magna exempla daturos,
   Vervecum in patria, crassoque sub are nasci.'

Now, if there is any similar alienation between our lowest classes and
our highest, such as Doctor Arnold imagined to exist in England, at
least it does not assume any such character of disgust, nor clothe
itself in similar expressions of scorn. Practical jealousy, so far as
it exists at all, lies between classes much less widely separated. The
master manufacturer is sometimes jealous of those amongst his
ministerial agents who tread too nearly upon his own traces; he is
jealous sometimes of their advances in domestic refinement, he is
jealous of their aspirations after a higher education. And on _their_
part, the workmen are apt to regard their masters as having an ultimate
interest violently conflicting with their own. In these _strata_ of
society there really _are_ symptoms of mutual distrust and hostility.
Capital and the aristocracy of wealth is a standing object of suspicion,
of fear, and therefore of angry irritation to the working-classes. But
as to the aristocracy of rank and high birth, either it is little known
to those classes, as happens in the most populous hives of our
manufacturing industry, and is regarded, therefore, with no positive
feeling of any kind, or else, as in the more exclusively agricultural
and pastoral districts, is looked up to by the peasantry with blind
feelings of reverence as amongst the immemorial monuments of the past--
involved in one common mist of antiquity with the rivers and the hills
of the district, with the cathedrals and their own ancestors. A
half-religious sentiment of reverence for an old time-out-of-mind
family associated with some antique residence, hall, or abbey, or
castle, is a well-known affection of the rural mind in England; and
if in one half it points to an infirmity not far off from legendary
superstition, in the other half it wears the grace of chivalry and
legendary romance. Any malignant scoff, therefore, against the peerage
of England, such as calling the House of Lords a Hospital of Incurables,
has always been a town-bred scurrility, not only never adopted by the
simple rural laborer, but not even known to him, or distinctly
intelligible supposing it were.

If, therefore, there are great convulsions lying in wait for the
framework of our English society; if, and more in sorrow than in hope,
some vast attempt may be anticipated for recasting the whole of our
social organization; and if it is probable that this attempt will
commence in the blind wrath of maddened or despairing labor--still
there is no ground for thinking, with Dr. Arnold, that this wrath,
however blind (unless treacherously misled), would apply itself
primarily to the destruction of our old landed aristocracy. It would
often find itself grievously in error and self-baffled, even when
following its first headlong impulses of revenge; but these are the
impulses that it would follow, and none of these would primarily point
in that direction. Suppose, however, that the probabilities were
different, and that a policy of conciliation were become peculiarly
needful to the aristocracy--which is what Dr. Arnold does suppose--in
that case might not the course indicated by Lord Carlisle, viz.,
advancing upon a new line of _intellectual_ communication with the
laboring classes, be the surest mode of retrieving their affections,
as most likely to flatter their self-esteem in its noblest aspirations?

One swallow, it is true, cannot make a summer; and others of the
aristocracy must repeat the experiment of Lord Carlisle before any
ground can be won for the interest of the order. Even in Lord Carlisle,
it might be added, the experiment, if it were not followed up, would
not count for more than a caprice. But, on the other hand, think as
we may of the probable results, in reference to the _purposes_ of its
author, we ought to regard it as a sufficient justification that _thus_
the ice has been broken, that _thus_ a beginning has been made, and
_thus_ a sanction established under which no man, if otherwise free
to enter upon such a path, needs ever again to find an obstacle in
rank the highest or in blood the most ancient. He is authorized by a
Howard; and though doubts must still linger about the propriety of
such a course, when estimated as a means to a specific end, yet for
itself, in reference to the prudery of social decorum, we may now
pronounce that to lecture without fee or reward before any audience
whatever is henceforth privileged by authentic precedent; and, unless
adulterating with political partisanship, is consecrated by its own
noble purposes.

Still, if it be urged that these noble purposes are not ratified and
sealed by a solitary experiment, I should answer that undoubtedly Lord
Carlisle has placed himself under a silent obligation to renew his
generous effort; or, in the event of his failing to do so, will have
made himself a debtor to public censure, as one who has planned what
he has not been strong enough to accomplish, and has founded a staircase
or a portico to a temple yet in the clouds. _Had_ he the ulterior
purposes assumed? Then, by deserting or neglecting them, he puts on
record the instability of his own will. Had he _no_ these ulterior
purposes? Then, and in that confession, vanishes into vapor the whole
dignity of his bold pretensions, as the navigator who first doubled
the Cape of Storms [Footnote 3] into an untried sea.

But against a man dealing presumably with a noble purpose we should
reckon nobly. Mean jealousies have no place in circumstances where,
as yet, no meanness has been exhibited. The exaction would be too
severe upon Lord Carlisle, if, by one act of kindness, he had pledged
himself to a thousand; and if, because once his graciousness had been
conspicuous, he were held bound over, in all time coming, to the
unintermitting energies of a missionary amongst pagans. The laboring
men of Yorkshire have not the clamorous necessities of pagans; and
_therefore_ Lord Carlisle has not assumed the duties of a working
missionary. When, by personally coming forward to lecture, he
inaugurated a new era of intellectual prospects for the sons of toil,
implicitly he promised that he would himself, from time to time, come
forward to co-operate with a movement that had owed its birth to his
own summons and impulse. But if he cannot honorably release himself
from engagements voluntarily assumed, on the other hand he cannot
justly be loaded with the responsibility of a continued participation
in the Details of the work which he has set in motion. By sympathy
with the liberal purposes of an intellectual movement, he gives to
that movement its initial impulse. Henceforward it suffices if at
intervals he continues to it such expressions of the same sympathy as
may sustain its original activity, or at least may sustain the credit
of his own consistency. It cannot be expected that any person in the
circumstances of Lord Carlisle should continue even intermittingly to
lecture. It is enough if, by any other modes of encouragement, or by
inciting others to follow the precedent which he has set, he continues
to express an unabated interest in the great cause of intellectual
progress amongst poor men.

A doubt may be raised, meantime, whether literature is the proper
channel into which the intellectual energies of the poor should be
directed. For the affirmative it may be urged, that the interest in
literature is universal, whilst the interest in science is exceedingly
limited. On the other hand, it may truly be retorted that the scientific
interest may be artificially extended by culture; and that these two
great advantages would in that case arise: 1. That the apparatus of
means and instruments is much smaller in the one case than the other;
2. That science opens into a progression of growing interest; whereas
literature, having no determined order of advance, and offering no
regular succession of stages to the student, does not with the same
certainty secure a self-maintaining growth of pleasureable excitement.
Some remedy, however, will be applied to this last evil, if a regular
plan of _study_ should ever be devised for literature, and perhaps
that may be found not impossible.

But now, coming to the second question, namely, this question, _If any
lecture at all, why upon Pope?_ We may see reason to think that Lord
Carlisle was in error. To make a choice which is not altogether the
best, will not of necessity argue an error; because much must be allowed
to constitutional differences of judgment or of sensibility, which may
be all equally right as against any philosophic attempts to prove any
one of them wrong. And a lecturer who is possibly aware of not having
made the choice which was absolutely best, may defend himself upon the
ground that accidental advantages of a personal kind, such as previous
familiarity with the subject, or preconformity of taste to the
characteristic qualities of the author selected, may have qualified
him to lecture on that theme with more effect and with more benefit,
than upon a theme confessedly higher but less tractable for himself
with his own peculiar preparations. Here, however, the case is
different. What might be no error _per se_, becomes one if the special
circumstances of the situation show it to have rested upon a deep
misconception. Given the audience which Lord Carlisle had before him,
the audience which he anticipated, and which he proposed to himself
as the modulating law for the quality and style of his lecture, that
same choice becomes a profound error which, for a different audience,
more refined or more miscellaneous, would have been no error at all.
I do not fear that I shall offend Lord Carlisle, so upright as he has
always shown himself, so manly, and so faithful to his own views of
truth, by repeating firmly that such a choice in such a situation
argues a deep misconception of the true intellectual agencies by which
Pope acts as a power in literature, and of the moral relations to
general human sensibilities or _universal_ nature which such agencies
involve. My belief is, that, if a prize had been offered for a bad and
malappropriate subject, none worse could have been suggested; unless,
perhaps, it had been the Letters of Madame de Sevigne, or the Fables
of La Fontaine; in both of which cases the delicacies and subtle
felicities of treatment are even more microscopic, more shy, and more
inapprehensible without a special training and culture, than in Pope,
And in this point they all agree, with no great difference amongst the
three, that the sort of culture which forms the previous condition for
enjoying them (a _conditio sine qua non_) is not of a kind to be won
from study. Even of _that_ a mechanic artisan, whose daily bread depends
upon his labor, cannot have had much. But the dedication of a life to
books would here avail but litttle. What is needed must be the sort
of culture won from complex social intercourse; and of, this the
laboring artisan can have had none at all. Even the higher ranks,
during those stages of society when social meetings are difficult, are
rare, and consequently have their whole intellectual opportunities
exhausted in forms and elaborate ceremonials, are not able to develope
what may be called the social sense, that living, trembling sensibility
to the expressions and the electric changes of human thought and
feeling, so infinite as they are potentially, and as they will show
themselves to be when the intercourse is free, is sudden, is
spontaneous, and therefore has not leisure to be false, amongst all
varieties of combination as to sex, age, rank, position, and personal
accomplishments. Up to the time of James the First, society amongst
ourselves wore a picturesque and even a scenical exterior: but the
inner life and its pulsations had not then been revealed. Great passions
were required to stir the freezing waters; so that certain kinds of
comedy, in which such passions are inappropriate, could not then exist.
And partly to this case it was amongst the early Romans, united with
the almost Asiatic seclusion from social meetings of female influence
or in any virtual sense even of female presence, that we must ascribe
the meagreness of the true social interest, and of the dialogue
exhibited by Plautus. Two separate frosts, during a century otherwise
so full of movement as the sixteenth in England, repressed and killed
all germinations of free intellectual or social intercourse amongst
ourselves. One was the national reserve;' and this was strengthened
by concurring with a national temperament--not phlegmatic (as is so
falsely alleged), but melancholic, dignified, and for that reason, if
there had been no other, anti-mercurial. But the main cause of this
reserve lay in the infrequency of visits consequent upon the
difficulties of local movement. The other frost lay in the Spanish
stateliness and the inflexibility of our social ceremonies. Our social
meetings of this period, even for purposes of pleasure, were true
_solemnities_. With usage of politeness that laid a weight of silence
and delay upon every movement of a social company, rapid motion of
thought or fancy became in a literal sense _physically_ impossible.
Not until, first, our _capital_ city had prodigiously expanded; not
until, secondly, our representative system had so unfolded its
tendencies as to bring _politics_ within the lawful privilege of
ordinary conversation; not until, thirdly, the expansions of _commerce_
had forced us into the continual necessity of talking with strangers;
fourthly, not until all these changes, gradually breaking up the
repulsion which separated our ungarrulous nation, had been ratified
by continual improvements applied to the construction of _roads_ and
the arts of _locomotion_, could it be said that such a state of social
intercourse existed as would naturalty prompt the mind to seek food
for its own intellectual activity in contemplating the phenomena of
that intercourse. The primary aspects and the rapid changes of such
an object could not arise until the object itself arose. Satire, which
follows social intercourse as a shadow follows a body, was chained up
till then. In Marston and in Donne (a man yet unappreciated) satire
first began to respire freely, but applying itself too much, as in the
great dramatists contemporary with Shakspeare, to the exterior play
of society. Under Charles II. in the hands of Dryden, and under Anne
in those of Pope, the larger and more intellectual sweep of satire
showed that social activities were now appreaching to their culmination.
Now, at length, it became evident that a new mode of pleasure had been
ripened, and that a great instinct of the intellect had opened for
itself an appropriate channel. No longer were social parties the old
heraldic solemnities [Footnote 4] enjoined by red letters in the
almanac, in which the chief objects were to discharge some arrear of
ceremonious debt, or to ventilate old velvets, or to _apricate_ and
refresh old gouty systems and old traditions of feudal ostentation,
which both alike suffered and grew smoke-dried under too rigorous a
seclusion. By a great transmigration, festal assemblages had assumed
their proper station, and had unfolded their capacities, as true
auxiliaries to the same general functions of intellect--otherwise
expressing themselves and feeding themselves through literature, through
the fine arts, and through scenic representations. A new world of
pleasures had opened itself, offering new subjects of activity to the
intellect, but also presupposing a new discipline and experience for
enjoying them.

Precisely at this point starts off what I presume to think the great
error of Lord Carlisle. He postulates as if it were a mere gift of
inevitable instinct, what too certainly is the gift, and the tardy
gift, of training; which training, again, is not to be won from efforts
of study, but is in the nature of a slow deposition--or sediment, as
it were--from a constant, perhaps at the moment, an unconscious,
experience. Apparently the error is twofold: first, an oversight, in
which it is probable that, without altogether overlooking the truth,
Lord Carlisle allowed to it a very insufficient emphasis; but, secondly,
a positive misconception of a broad character. The oversight is probably
his own, and originating in a general habit of too large and liberal
concession; but the misconception, I suspect, that he owes to another.

First, concerning the first. It is evidently assumed, in the adoption
of Pope for his subject, that mechanic artists, as a body, are capable
of appreciating Pope. I deny it; and in this I offer them no affront.
If they cannot enjoy, or if often they cannot so much as understand
Pope, on the other hand they can both enjoy and understand a far greater
poet. It is no insult; but, on the contrary, it is often a secret
compliment to the simplicity and the _breadth_ of a man's intellectual
nature that he cannot enter into the artificial, the tortuous, the
conventional. Many a rude mind has comprehended to the full, both
Milton in his elementary grandeur and Shakspeare in his impassioned
depths, that could not have even dimly guessed at the meaning of a
situation in comedy where the comic rested upon arbitrary rules and
conventional proprieties. In all satiric sketches of society, even
where the direct object may happen to have a catholic intelligibility,
there is much amongst the allusions that surround and invest it which
no man will ever understand that has not personally mixed in society,
or understand without very disproportional commentaries; and even in
that case he will not enjoy it. This is true of such compositions as
a class; but Pope, in reference to this difficulty, is disadvantageously
distinguished even amongst his order. Dryden, for instance, is far
larger and more capacious in his satire, and in all the genial parts
would approach the level of universal sympathies; whereas Pope, besides
that the basis of his ridicule is continually too narrow, local, and
casual, is rank to utter corruption with a disease far deeper than
false refinement or conventionalism. Pardon me, reader, if I use a
coarse word and a malignant word, which I should abhor to use unless
where, as in this case, I seek to rouse the vigilance of the inattentive
by the apparent intemperance of the language. Pope, in too many
instances, for the sake of some momentary and farcical effect,
deliberately assumes the license of a _liar_. Not only he adopts the
language of moral indignation where we know that it could not possibly
have existed, seeing that the story to which this pretended indignation
is attached was to Pope's knowledge a pure fabrication, but he also
cites, as weighty evidences in the _forum_ of morality, anecdotes which
he had gravely transplanted from a jest-book. [Footnote 5] Upon this,
however, the most painful feature amongst Pope's literary habits, I
will not dwell, as I shall immediately have occasion to notice it
again. I notice it at all only for its too certain effect in limiting
the sympathy with Pope's satiric and moral writings. Absolute truth
and simplicity are demanded by all of us as preconditions to any
sympathy with moral expressions of anger or intolerance. In all
conventionalism there is a philosophic falsehood; and _that_ would be
more than sufficient to repel all general sympathy with Pope from the
mind of the laboring man, apart from the effect of direct falsification
applied to facts, or of fantastic extravagance applied to opinions.
Of this bar to the popularity of Pope, it cannot be supposed that Lord
Carlisle was unaware. Doubtless he knew it, but did not allow it the
weight which in practice it would be found to deserve. Yet why? Suppose
that the unpopular tendency in Pope's writings were of a nature to be
surmounted--upon a sufficient motive arising, suppose it not absolutely
impossible to bring Pope within the toleration of working-men, upon
whom, however, all that is bad would tell fearfully, and most of Pope's
peculiar brilliancy would absolutely go for nothing--this
notwithstanding, suppose the point established that by huge efforts,
by pulling and hauling, by coaxing and flattering, and _invita Minerva_,
the working-man might at length be _converted_ to Pope; yet, finally,
when all was over, what object, what commensurate end, could be alleged
in justification of so much preternatural effort? You have got your
man into harness, that is true, and in a sullen fashion he pulls at
his burden. But, after all, why not have yoked him according to his
own original inclinations, and suffered him to pull where he would
pull cheerfully? You have quelled a natural resistance, but clearly
with so much loss of power to all parties as was spent uponthe
resistance; and with what final gain to any party?

The answer to this lies in the second of the errors which I have imputed
to Lord Carlisle. The first error was, perhaps, no more than an
undervaluation of the truth. The second, if I divine it rightly, rests
upon a total misconception, viz., the attribution to Pope of some
special authority as a moral teacher. And this, if it were really so,
would go far to justify Lord Carlisle in his attempt to fix the
attention of literary students amongst the working-classes upon the
writings of Pope. Rightly he would judge, that some leading classic
must furnish the central object for the general studies. Each man would
have his own separate favorites; but it would be well that the whole
community of students should also have some _common_ point of interest
and discussion. Pope, for such a purpose, has some real advantages.
He is far enough from our own times to stand aloof from the corroding
controversies of the age--he is near enough to speak in a diction but
slightly differing from our own. He is sparkling with wit and brilliant
good sense, and his poems are all separately short. But if Lord Carlisle
count it for his main advantage that he is by distinction a _moral_
poet, and this I must suppose in order to find any solution whatever
for the eagerness to press him upon the attention of our most numerous
classes, when is it that this idea has originated? I suspect that it
is derived originally from a distinguished man of genius in the last
generation, viz., Lord Byron. Amongst the guardians of Lord Byron, one
was the late Lord Carlisle; and Lord Byron was, besides, connected by
blood with the House of Howard: so that there were natural reasons why
a man of such extraordinary intellectual power should early obtain a
profound influence over the present Earl of Carlisle. And the prejudice,
which I suppose to have been first planted by Lord Byron, would very
easily strengthen itself by the general cast of Pope's topics and
pretensions. He writes with a showy air of disparaging riches, of doing
homage to private worth, of honoring patriotism, and so on, through
all the commonplaces of creditable morality. But in the midst of this
surface display, and in defiance of his ostentatious pretensions, Pope
is _not_ in any deep or sincere sense a moral thinker; and in his own
heart there was a misgiving, not to be silenced, that he was not. Yet
this is strange. Surely, Lord Carlisle, a man of ability and experience,
might have credit given him for power to form a right judgment on such
a question as that--_power_ undoubtedly, if he had ever been led to
use his power, that is, to make up his opinion in _resistance_ to the
popular impression. But to this very probably he never had any motive;
and the reason why I presume to set up my individual opinion in this
case against that of the multitude is, because I know experimentally
that, until a man has a sincere interest in such a question, and sets
himself diligently to examine and collate the facts, he will pretty
certainly have no title to give any verdict on the case.

What made Lord Byron undertake the patronage of Pope? It was, as usually
happened with _him_, a motive of hostility to some contemporaries. He
wished to write up Pope by way of writing down others. But, whatever
were the motive, we may judge of the style in which he carried out his
intentions by the following well-known _mot_. Having mentioned the
poets, he compares them with the moralists--'the moralists,' these are
his words, 'the moralists, their betters.' How, or in what sense that
would satisfy even a lampooner, are moralists as a class the 'betters'
in a collation with poets as a class? It is pretty clear at starting
that, _in order_ to be a moralist of the first rank, that is, to carry
a great moral truth with heart-shaking force into the mind, a moralist
must begin by becoming a poet. For instance, 'to justify the ways of
God to man.' _That_ is a grand moral doctrine; but to utter the doctrine
authentically a man must write a 'Paradise Lost.' The order of
precedency, therefore, between poets and moralists, as laid down by
Lord Byron, is very soon inverted by a slight effort of reflection.

But without exacting from a man so self-willed as Lord Byron (and at
that moment in a great passion) any philosophic vigor, it may be worth
while, so far as the case concerns Pope, to ponder for one moment upon
this invidious comparison, and to expose the fallacy which it conceals.
By the term _moralist_ we indicate two kinds of thinkers, differing
as much in quality as a chestnut horse from horse chestnut, and in
rank as a Roman proconsul from the nautical consul's first clerk at
a seaport. A clerical moralist in a pulpit, reading a sermon, is a
moralist in the sense of one who applies the rules of a known ethical
system, viz., that system which is contained in the New Testament, to
the ordinary cases of human action. Such a man pretends to no
originality--it would be criminal in him to do so; or, if he seeks for
novelty in any shape or degree, it is exclusively in the quality of
his illustrations. But there is another use of the word _moralist_,
which indicates an intellectual architect of the first class. A Grecian
moralist was one who published a new _theory_ of morals--that is, he
assumed some new central principle, from which he endeavored, with
more or less success, to derive all the virtues and vices, and thus
introduced new relations amongst the keys or elementary gamut of our
moral nature. [Footnote 6] For example, the Peripatetic system of
morality, that of Aristotle, had for its fundamental principle, that
all vices formed one or other of two polar extremes, one pole being
in excess, the other in defect; and that the corresponding virtue lay
on an equatorial line between these two poles. Here, because the new
principle became a law of coercion for the entire system, since it
must be carried out harmoniously with regard to every element that
could move a question, the difficulties were great, and hardly to be
met by mere artifices of ingenuity. The legislative principle needed
to be profound and comprehensive; and a moralist in this sense, the
founder of an ethical system, really looked something like a great man.

But, valued upon that scale. Pope is nobody; or in Newmarket language,
if ranked against Chrysippus, or Plato, or Aristotle, or Epicurus, he
would be found 'nowhere.' He is reduced, therefore, at one blow to the
level of a pulpit moralist, or mere applier of moral laws to human
actions. And in a function so exceedingly humble, philosophically
considered, how could he pretend to precedency in respect of anybody,
unless it were the amen clerk, or the sexton?

In reality, however, the case is worse, If a man did really bring all
human actions under the light of any moral system whatever, provided
that he _could_ do so sternly, justly, and without favor this way or
that, he would perform an exemplary service, such as no man ever _has_
performed. And this is what we mean by casuistry, which is the
application of a moral principle to the _cases_ arising in human life.
A _case_ means a genuine class of human acts, but differentiated in
the way that law cases are. For we see that every case in the law
courts conforms in the major part to the genuine class; but always,
or nearly always, it presents some one differential feature peculiar
to itself; and the question about it always is, Whether the differential
feature is sufficient to take it out of the universal rule, or whether,
in fact, it ought not to disturb the incidence of the legal rule? This
is what we mean by casuistry. All law in its practical processes is
a mode of casuistry. And it is clear that any practical ethics, ethics
applied to the realities of life, ought to take the professed shape
of casuistry. We do not evade the thing by evading the name. But because
casuistry under that name, has been chiefly cultivated by the Roman
Catholic Church, we Protestants, with our ridiculous prudery, find a
stumbling-block in the very name. This, however, is the only service
that _can_ be rendered to morality among us. And nothing approaching
to this has been attempted by Pope.

What is it, then, that he _has_ attempted? Certainly he imagines himself
to have done something or other in behalf of moral philosophy. For in
a well-known couplet he informs us--

'That not in Fancy's maze he lingered long, But stooped to Truth, and
_moralized_ his song.'

Upon these lines a lady once made to me this very acute and significant
remark. The particular direction, she said, in which Pope fancied that
he came upon Truth, showed pretty clearly what sort of truth it was
that he searched after. Had he represented Fancy, as often is done,
soaring aloft amongst the clouds, then, because Truth must be held to
lie in the opposite direction, there might have been pleaded a necessity
for _descending_ upon Truth, like one who is looking for mushrooms.
But as Fancy, by good luck, is simply described as roaming about amongst
labyrinths, which are always constructed upon dead levels, he had left
it free for himself to soar after Truth into the clouds. But _that_
was a mode of truth which Pope cared little for; if _she_ chose to go
galavanting amongst the clouds, Pope, for _his_ part, was the last
person to follow her. Neither was he the man to go down into a well
in search of her. Truth was not liable to wet feet--but Pope _was_.
And he had no such ardor for Truth as would ever lead him to forget
that wells were damp, and bronchitis alarming to a man of his
constitution.

Whatever service Pope may have meditated to the philosophy of morals,
he has certainly performed none. The direct contributions which he
offered to this philosophy in his 'Essay on Man,' are not of a nature
to satisfy any party; because at present the whole system may be read
into different, and sometimes into opposite meanings, according to the
quality of the integrations supplied for filling up the chasms in the
chain of the development. The sort of service, however, expected from
Pope in such a field, falls in better with the style of his satires
and moral epistles than of a work professedly metaphysical. Here,
however, most eminently it is that the falseness and hypocrisy which
besieged his satirical career have made themselves manifest; and the
dilemma for any working-man who should apply himself to these sections
of Pope's writings is precisely this: Reading them with the slight and
languid attention which belongs to ordinary reading, they will make
no particular discoveries of Pope's hollowness and treacherous
infidelities to the truth, whether as to things or persons; but in
such a case neither will they reap any benefit. On the other hand, if
they so far carry out Lord Carlisle's advice as to enter upon the study
of Pope in the spirit of earnest students, and so as really to possess
themselves of the key to his inner mind, they will rise from their
labors not so much in any spirit of gratitude for enlarged and
humanizing views of man, as in a spirit of cynical disgust at finding
that such views can be so easily counterfeited, and so often virtually
betrayed.

[The paper of last month, [Footnote 7] on Lord Carlisle's lecture,
having been written under the oppression of a nervous illness,
accompanied by great suffering, may probably enough have been found
heavy. Another objection to that paper is, that it too easily _assumes_
the radical falseness, of Pope, as a notorious fact needing no evidence
or illustration. To myself it _did_ not need either. But to any casual
reader, whose attention had never been attracted to the
circumstantialities of Pope's satiric sketches, this assumption would
be startling; and it would have done him a service to offer a few
exemplifications of the vice attributed to Pope, both as substantiating
the charge, and as investing it with some little amusement. This it
had been my intention to do at the moment; but being disabled by the
illness above-mentioned, I now supply the omission.]

Whom shall we pronounce a fit writer to be laid before an auditory of
working-men, as a model of what is just in composition--fit either for
conciliating their regard to literature at first or afterwards for
sustaining it? The qualifications for such a writer are apparently
these two: first, that he should deal chiefly with the elder and
elementary affections of man, and under those relations which concern
man's grandest capacities;--secondly, that he should treat his subject
with solemnity, and not with sneer--with earnestness, as one under a
prophet's burden of impassioned truth, and not with the levity of a
girl hunting a chance-started caprice. I admire Pope in the very highest
degree; but I admire him as a pyrotechnic for producing brilliant and
evanescent effects out of elements that have hardly a moment's life
within them. There is a flash and a startling explosion, then there
is a dazzling coruscation, all purple and gold; the eye aches under
the suddenness of a display that, springing like a burning arrow out
of darkness, rushes back into darkness with arrowy speed, and in a
moment all is over. Like festal shows, or the hurrying music of such
shows--

'It _was_, and it is not.'

Untruly, therefore, was it ever fancied of Pope, that he belonged by
his classification to the family of the Drydens. Dryden had within him
a principle of continuity which was not satisfied without lingering
upon his own thoughts, brooding over them, and oftentimes pursuing
them through their unlinkings with the _sequaciousness_ (pardon a
Coleridgian word) that belongs to some process of creative nature,
such as the unfolding of a flower. But Pope was all jets and tongues
of flame; all showers of scintillation and sparkle. Dryden followed,
genially, an impulse of his healthy nature. Pope obeyed, spasmodically,
an overmastering febrile paroxysm. Even in these constitutional
differences between the two are written and are legible the
corresponding necessities of 'utter falsehood in Pope, and of loyalty
to truth in Dryden.' Strange it is to recall this one striking fact,
that if once in his life Dryden might reasonably have been suspected
of falsehood, it was in the capital matter of religion. He _ratted_
from his Protestant faith; and according to the literal origin of that
figure he _ratted_; for he abjured it as rats abjure a ship in which
their instinct of divination has deciphered a destiny of ruin, and at
the very moment when Popery wore the promise of a triumph that might,
at any rate, have lasted his time. Dryden was a Papist by apostasy;
and perhaps, not to speak uncharitably, upon some bias from
self-interest. Pope, on the other hand, was a Papist by birth, and by
a tie of honor; and he resisted all temptations to desert his afflicted
faith, which temptations lay in bribes of great magnitude prospectively,
and in persecutions for the present that were painfully humiliating.
How base a time-server does Dryden appear on the one side!--on the
other, how much of a martyr should we be disposed to pronounce Pope!
And yet, for all that, such is the overruling force of a nature
originally sincere, the apostate Dryden wore upon his brow the grace
of sincerity, whilst the pseudo-martyr Pope, in the midst of actual
fidelity to his Church, was at his heart a traitor--in the very oath
of his allegiance to his spiritual mistress had a lie upon his lips,
scoffed at her whilst kneeling in homage to her pretensions, and
secretly forswore her doctrines whilst suffering insults in her service.

The differences as to truth and falsehood lay exactly where, by all
the external symptoms, they ought _not_ to have lain. But the reason
for this anomaly was, that to Dryden sincerity had been a perpetual
necessity of his intellectual nature, whilst Pope, distracted by his
own activities of mind, living in an irreligious generation, and beset
by infidel friends, had early lost his anchorage of traditional belief;
and yet, upon an honorable scruple of fidelity to the suffering church
of his fathers, he sought often to dissemble the fact of his own
scepticism, which yet often he thirsted ostentatiously to parade.
Through a motive of truthfulness he became false. And in this particular
instance he would, at any rate, have become false, whatever had been
the native constitution of his mind. It was a mere impossibility to
reconcile any real allegiance to his church with his known irreverence
to religion. But upon far more subjects than this Pope was habitually
false in the quality of his thoughts, always insincere, never by any
accident in earnest, and consequently many times caught in ruinous
self-contradiction. Is that the sort of writer to furnish an
advantageous study for the precious leisure, precious as rubies, of
the toil-worn artisan?

The root and the pledge of this falseness in Pope lay in a disease of
his mind, which he (like the Roman poet Horace) mistook for a feature
of preternatural strength; and this disease was the incapacity of
self-determination towards any paramount or abiding _principles_.
Horace, in a well-known passage, had congratulated himself upon this
disease as upon a trophy of philosophic emancipation:

   'Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri,
   Quo me cunque rapit tempestas, deferor liospes:'

which words Pope thus translates, and applies to himself in his English
adaptation of this epistle:--

  'But ask not to what doctors I apply--
  Sworn to no master, of no sect am I.
  As drives the storm, at any door I knock;
  And house with Montaigne now, or now with Locke.'

That is, neither one poet nor the other having, as regarded philosophy,
any internal principle of gravitation or determining impulse to draw
him in one direction rather than another, was left to the random control
of momentary taste, accident, or caprice; and this indetermination of
pure, unballasted levity both Pope and Horace mistook for a special
privilege of philosophic strength. Others, it seems, were chained and
coerced by sertain fixed aspects of truth, and their efforts were
overruled accordingly in one uniform line of direction. But _they_,
the two brilliant poets, fluttered on butterfly-wings to the right and
the left, obeying no guidance but that of some instant and fugitive
sensibility to some momentary phasis of beauty. In this dream of drunken
eclecticism, and in the original possibility of such an eclecticism,
lay the ground of that enormous falsehood which Pope practised from
youth to age. An eclectic philosopher already, in the very title which
he assumes, proclaims his self-complacency in the large liberty of
error purchased by the renunciation of all controlling principles.
Having severed the towing-line which connected him with any external
force of guiding and compulsory truth, he is free to go astray in any
one of ten thousand false radiations from the true centre of rest. By
his own choice he is wandering in a forest all but pathless,

   ---'ubi passim.
   Pallantes error recto de tramite pellit;'

and a forest not of sixty days' journey, like that old Hercynian forest
of Caesar's time, but a forest which sixty generations have not availed
to traverse or familiarize in any one direction.

For Horace, as I have endeavored to explain in the note, the apology
is so much the readier as his intrusions into this province of
philosophy are slighter, more careless, and more indirect. But Pope's
are wilful, premeditated, with malice aforethought; and his falsehoods
wear a more malignant air, because they frequently concern truth
speculative, and are therefore presumably more deliberate in their
origin, and more influential in the result. It is precisely this part
of Pope's errors that would prove most perplexing to the unlearned
student. Beyond a doubt the 'Essay on Man' would, in virtue of its
subject, prove the most attractive to a laboring man of all Pope's
writings, as most of all promising a glimpse into a world of permanence
and of mysterious grandeur, and having an interest, therefore,
transcendent to any that could be derived from the fleeting aspects
of manners or social conventionalisms, though illuminated and vivified
by satire. _Here_ would be the most advantageous and _remunerative_
station to take for one who should undertake a formal exposure of
Pope's hollow-heartedness; that is, it would most commensurately reward
the pains and difficulties of such an investigation. But it would be
too long a task for this situation, and it would be too polemic. It
would move through a jungle of controversies. For, to quote a remark
which I once made myself in print, the 'Essay on Man' in one point
resembles some doubtful inscriptions in ancient forms of Oriental
languages, which, being made up elliptically of mere consonants, can
be read into very different senses according to the different sets of
vowels which the particular reader may choose to interpolate. According
to the choice of the interpreter, it may be read into a loyal or a
treasonable meaning. Instead of this I prefer, as more amusing, as
less elaborate, and as briefer, to expose a few of Pope's _personal_
falsehoods, and falsehoods as to the notorieties of _fact_. Truths
speculative oftentimes, drives its roots into depth so dark, that the
falsifications to which it is liable, though detected, cannot always
be exposed to the light of day--the result is known, but not therefore
seen. Truth personal, on the other hand, may be easily made to confront
its falsifier, not with refutation only, but with the visible _shame_
of refutation. Such sharoe would settle upon _every_ page of Pope's
satires and moral epistles, oftentimes upon every couplet, if any
censor, armed with an adequate knowledge of the facts, were to prosecute
the inquest. Apd the general impression from such an inquest would be,
that Pope never delineated a character, nor uttered a sentiment, nor
breathed an aspiration, which he, would not willingly have recast,
have retracted, have abjured or trampled under foot with the curses
assigned to heresy, if by sueh an act he could have added a hue of
brilliancy to his coloring, or a new depth to his shadows. There is
nothing he would not have sacrificed, not the most solemn of his
opinions, nor the most pathetic memorial from his personal experiences,
in return for a sufficient consideration, which consideration meant
always with _him_ poetic effect. It is not, as too commonly is believed,
that he was reckless of other people's feelings; so far from _that_,
he had a morbid _facility_ in his kindness; and in cases where he had
no reason to suspect any lurking hostility, he showed even a paralytic
benignity. But, simply and constitutionally, he was incapable of a
sincere thought or a sincere emotion. Nothing that ever he uttered,
were it even a prayer to God, but he had a fancy for reading it
backwards. And he was evermore false, not as loving or preferring
falsehood, but as one who could not in his heart perceive much real
difference between what people affected to call falsehood and what
they affected to call truth. Volumes might be filled with illustrations;
I content myself with three or four.

I. Pope felt _intellectually_ that it was philosophic, and also that
it wore an air of nobility, _not_ to despise poverty. _Morally_,
however, he felt inversely: nature and the accidents of his life had
made it his necessity to despise nothing so heartily. If in any one
sentiment he ever was absolutely sincere, if there can be cited one
insulated case upon which he found it difficult to play the hypocrite,
it was in the case of that intense scorn with which he regarded poverty,
and all the painful circumstances that form the equipage of poverty.
To look at a pale, dejected fellow-creature creeping along the highway,
and to have reason for thinking that he has not tasted food since
yesterday--what a pang would such a sight, accompanied by such a
thought, inflict upon many a million of benign human hearts! But in
Pope, left to his spontaneous nature, such a sight and such a thought
would have moved only fits of laughter. Not that he would have refused
the poor creature a shilling, but still he would have laughed. For
hunger, and cold, and poverty, appeared to _him_ only in the light of
drolleries, and too generally of scoundrelisms. Still he was aware
that some caution was requisite in giving public expression to such
feelings. Accordingly, when he came forward in gala-dress as a
philosopher, he assumed the serene air of one upon whom all such idle
distinctions as rich and poor were literally thrown away. But watch
him: follow his steps for a few minutes, and the deep realities of his
nature will unmask themselves. For example, in the first book of the
'Dunciad' he has occasion to mention Dennis:--

  'And all the mighty mad in Dennis raged.'

Upon this line (the 106th) of the text he hangs a note, in the course
of which he quotes a few sentences about Dennis from Theobald. One of
these begins thus: 'Did we really know how much this poor man suffers
by being contradicted,' &c.; upon which Pope thinks proper to
intercalate the following pathetic parenthesis in italics: _I wish
that reflection on POVERTY had been spared._' How amiable! how pretty!
Could Joseph Surface have more dexterously _improved_ the occasion:
'The man that disparages poverty, is a man that--' &c. It is manifest,
however, at a glance, that this virtuous indignation is altogether
misplaced; for '_poor_' in the quotation from Theobald has no reference
whatever to _poverty_ as the antithesis to _wealth_. What a pity that
a whole phial of such excellent scenical morality should thus have
been uncorked and poured out upon the wrong man and the wrong occasion!
Really, this unhappy blunder extorts from me as many tears of laughter
as ever poverty extorted from Pope. Meantime, reader, watch what
follows. Wounded so deeply in his feelings by this constrained homage
to poverty, Pope finds himself unable to resettle the equilibrium in
his nervous system until he has taken out his revenge by an extra
kicking administered to some old mendicant or vagrant lying in a ditch.

At line 106 comes the flourish about Dennis's poverty. Just nine lines
ahead, keeping close as a policeman upon the heels' of a thief, you
come up with Pope in the very act of maltreating Gibber, upon no motive
or pretence whatever, small or great, but that he (the said Gibber)
was guilty of poverty. Pope had detected him--and this is Pope's own
account of the assault--in an overt act of poverty. He deposes, as if
it were an ample justification of his own violence, that Gibber had
been caught in the very act--not of supping meanly, coarsely, vulgarly,
as upon tripe, for instance, or other offal--but absolutely in the act
of not supping at all!

    'Swearing and _supperless_ the hero sate.'

Here one is irresistibly reminded of the old story about the cat who
was transformed into a princess: she played the _role_ with admirable
decorum, until one day a mouse ran across the floor of the royal saloon,
when immediately the old instinct and the hereditary hatred proved too
much for the artificial nature, and her highness vanished over a
six-barred gate in a furious mouse-chase. Pope, treading in the steps
of this model, fancies himself reconciled to poverty. Poverty, however,
suddenly presents herself, not as a high poetic abstraction, but in
that one of her many shapes which to Pope had always seemed the most
comic as well as the most hateful. Instantly Pope's ancient malice is
rekindled; and in line 115 we find him assaulting that very calamity
under one name, which under another, at line 106, he had treated with
an ostentatious superfluity of indulgence.

II. I have already noticed that some of Pope's most pointed examples
which he presents to you as drawn from his own experience of life, are
in fact due to jest-books; and some (offered as facts) are pure coinages
of his own brain. When he makes his miser at the last gasp so tenacious
of the worldly rights then slipping from his grasp as that he refuses
to resign a particular manor, Pope forgot that even a jest-book must
govern its jokes by some regard to the realities of life, and that
amongst these realities is the very nature and operation of a will.
A miser is not, therefore, a fool; and he knows that no possible
testamentary abdication of an estate disturbs his own absolute command
over it so long as he lives, or bars his power of revoking the bequest.
The moral instruction is in this case so poor, that no reader cares
much upon what sort of foundation the story itself rests. For such a
story a lie may be a decent basis. True; but not so senseless a lie.
If the old miser was delirious, there is an end of his responsibilities;
and nobody has a right to draw upon _him_ for moral lessons or warnings.
If he was _not_ delirirous, the case could not have happened. Modelled
in the same spirit are all Pope's pretended portraitures of women; and
the more they ought to have been true, as professing to be studies
from life, the more atrociously they are false, and false in the
transcendent sense of being impossible. Heaps of contradiction, or of
revolting extravagance, do not verify themselves to our loathing
incredulity because the artist chooses to come forward with his arms
akimbo, saying angrily, 'But I tell you, sir, these are _not_
fancy-pieces! These ladies whom I have here lampooned are familiarly
known to me--they are my particular friends. I see them every day in
the undiess of confiding friendship. They betray all their foibles to
me in the certainty that I shall take no advantage of their candor;
and will you, coming a century later, presume to dispute the fidelity
or the value of my contemporary portraits?' Yes, and upon these two
grounds: first (as to the fidelity), that the pretended portraits are
delineations of impossible people; and secondly (as to the value),
that, if after all they could be sworn to as copies faithful to the
originals, not the less are they to be repelled as abnormal, and so
far beyond the intelligibilities of nature as practically to mean
nothing, neither teaching nor warning. The two Duchesses of Marlborough,
for instance, Sarah and Henrietta, are atrocious caricatures, and
constructed on the desperate principle of catching at a momentary stare
or grin, by means of anarchy in the features imputed, and truculent
antithesis in the expression. Who does not feel that these are the
fierce pasquinades, and the coarse pasquinades, of some malignant
electioneering contest? Is there a line that breathes the simplicity
and single-heartedness of truth? Equal disgust settles upon every word
that Pope ever wrote against Lady Mary W. Montagu. Having once come
to hate her rancorously, and finding his hatred envenomed by the
consciousness that Lady Mary had long ceased to care two straws for
all the malice of all the wits in Christendom, Pope labored at his own
spite, filing it and burnishing it as a hand-polisher works at the the
blade of a scymitar. For years he had forgotten to ask after the
realities of nature as they existed in Lady Mary, and considered only
what had the best chance of stinging her profoundly. He looked out for
a 'raw' into which he might lay the lash; not seeking it in the real
woman, but generally in the nature and sensibilities of abstract woman.
Whatever seemed to disfigure the idea of womanhood, _that_, by
reiterated touches, he worked into his portraits of Lady Mary; and at
length, no doubt, he had altogether obliterated from his own remembrance
the true features of her whom he so much detested. On this class of
Pope's satiric sketches I do not, however, wish to linger, having
heretofore examined some of the more prominent cases with close
attention.

My last paper on Pope has been taxed with exaggeration. This charge
comes from a London weekly journal (_The Leader_) distinguished by its
ability, by its hardihood of speculation, by its comprehensive candor,
but, in _my_ eyes, still more advantageously distinguished by its deep
sincerity. Such qualities give a special value to the courtesies of
that journal; and I in particular, as a literary man, have to thank
it for repeated instances of kindness the most indulgent on any occasion
which has brought up the mention of my name. Such qualities of necessity
give a corresponding value to its censures. And accordingly, as a point
of duty, I directed my attention immediately to _this_ censure. Whatever
was still unprinted I reviewed; and whatever struck me as open to
objection I removed. And if the result after all has been that I do
not altogether concur in the criticism of _The Leader_, the reason is
because, as upon re-examination it strikes me, in the worst cases Pope
has not left room for exaggeration. I do not see any actual
exaggeration, simply because I do not see that any exaggeration is
possible. But though I thus found myself unable sincerely to make the
sacrifice of my own opinion, another sacrifice of a different kind I
_have_ made, viz., that of half my paper. I cancelled one half--viz.,
that half which was occupied with cases in Pope of disingenuousness,
and perhaps of moral falsehood or collusion with other people's
falsehood, but not of falsehood atrociously literal and conscious;
meaning thus to diminish by one half the penance of those who do not
like to see Pope assaulted, although forced by uneasiness to watch the
assault;--feeling with which I heartily sympathize; and meaning, on
the other hand, in justification of mylelf, to throw the reader's
attention more effectively, because more exclusively, upon such cases
of frantic and moonstruck falsehood as could allow no room for suspense
or mitigation of judgment. Of these I have selected two, one relating
to the Duke of Buckingham, and the other to the history and derivation
of English literature. Generally, I believe, that to a just appreciation
of Pope's falseness, levity, and self-contradiction, it is almost
essential that a reader should have studied him with the purpose of
becoming his editor. This at one time was my own purpose; and thus it
was that I became acquainted with qualities prevailing in Pope which,
in the midst of my great admiration for him, would have made such a
purpose difficult of execution. For in the relation between author and
editor, any harshness of reproach on the part of the latter, or any
expression of alienation and imperfect sympathy, seems unbecoming in
one who has spontaneously assumed the office of a _patronus_ to a
_client_, and are uniformly painful to the reader. On this account it
is that the late Mr. Roscoe figures amongst all editors of Pope as by
far the most agreeable. He has a just tenderness for the memory and
merits of the great writer whom he undertakes to edit; this feeling
keeps his annotations clear from the petulance of Joseph Warton and
the malice of Bowles; whilst, not having happened to see Pope's errors
in the same light as myself, he suffers from no conflict between his
natural indulgence to intellectual splendor and his conscientious
reverence for truth.

But if the reader is shocked with Pope's false reading of phenomena,
where not the circumstances so much as the construction of the
circumstances may be challenged, what must he think of those cases in
which downright facts, and incidents the most notorious, have been
outrageously falsified only in obedience to a vulgar craving for effect
in the dramatic situations, or by way of pointing a moral for the
stimulation of torpid sensibilities? Take, for instance, the death of
the second Villiers, Duke of Buckingham--a story which, in Pope's
version of it, has travelled into a popularity that may be called
national; and yet, the whole is one tissue of falsehoods--and of
falsehoods that must have been known for such by Pope not less than
to most of his contemporary readers. Suppose them _not_ known, and the
whole must have wanted all natural interest. For this interest lay in
the Duke's character, in his superb accomplishments and natural
advantages, in his fine person, in his vast wealth, and in the admirable
versatility of his intellectual powers, which made him alternately the
idol and the terror of all circles that he approached, which caused
Lord Clarendon to tremble with impotent malice in his chancellor's
robes, and Dry den to shiver with panic under his laureate crowns.
Now, wherever these features of the case were _not_ known, the story
was no more than any ordinary death arising out of a fox-chase. But
those to whom they _were_ known must, at the same time, have known the
audacious falsehood which disfigures the story in Pope's way of telling
it. _Without_ the personal interest, the incidents were nothing; and
_with_ that interest, at starting, Pope's romance must have defeated
itself by its fabulous coloring. Let me recall to the reader the
principal lines in this famous description:--

  'In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung,
   The floors of plaster and the walls of dung,
   On once a flock-bed, but repaired with straw,
   With tape-tied curtains never meant to draw,
   The George and Garter dangling from that bed
   Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red,
   Great Villiers lies! Alas! how changed from him,
   That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim,
   Gallant and gay in Cliveden's proud alcove,
   The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love;
   _There_, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
   And fame, the lord of useless thousands ends.'

Without stopping to examine these famous lines as to thought and
expression (both of which are scandalously vicious), what I wish the
reader to remark is, the one pervading falsehood which connects them.
Wherefore this minute and purely fanciful description of the road-side
_cabaret_, with its bedroom and bed? Wherefore this impertinent and
also fraudulent circumstantiality? It is, as Pope would tell you, for
the sake of impressing with more vivacity the abject poverty to which
the Duke's follies had brought him. The wretched bed, for instance,
is meant to be the exponent of the empty purse which could purchase
no better. And, for fear that you might miss this construction of the
passage, Pope himself tells you, in a prose note, that the Duke 'died
in a remote inn in Yorkshire, _reduced to the utmost misery_.' Being
engaged in the business of dying, it could hardly be expected that the
Duke should be particularly happy. But what Pope means you to understand
by 'misery' is _poverty_; the prose note simply reiterates the words,
'victor of _fortune_,' in the text. Now, had the truth been really so,
what moral would such a story exemplify beyond the vulgar one of
pecuniary improvidence? And yet surely this was not the cause of the
Duke's being thrown from his horse. Meantime, Pope well knew that the
whole was a ridiculous fable. The Duke had the misfortune to be fatally
injured in a fox-chase. In such an extremity, naturally, his servants
carry him into the house nearest at hand, which happens to be an
alehouse--not 'the worst,' since there was no other; nor was it possible
that, to a man of his distinction, once the lord-lieutenant of that
very East Riding, any room would be offered worse than the very best
that contained a bed. In these dreadful circumstances, it is not easy
to measure the levity which can linger upon the description of such
exquisite impertinences as the housewifely defects of the walls, the
curtains, the flock-bed, &c. But Pope was at his wit's end for a
striking falsehood. He needed for a momentary effect some tale of a
great lord, once fabulously rich, who had not left himself the price
of a halter or of a pauper's bed. And thus, for the sake of extorting
a stare of wonderment from a mob of gaping readers, he did not scruple
to give birth and currency to the grossest of legendary lies. The
Duke's death happened a few months before Pope's birth. But the last
of the Villiers family that wore a ducal coronet was far too memorable
a person to have died under the cloud of obscurity which Pope's
representation presumes. He was the most interesting person of the
Alcibiades class [Footnote 9] that perhaps ever existed; and Pope's
mendacious story found acceptance only amongst an after-generation
unacquainted with the realities of the case. There was not so much as
a popular rumor to countenance Pope. The story was a pure, gratuitous
invention of his own. Even at the time of his death, the Duke of
Buckingham was generally reputed to have sixty thousand per annum, and
chiefly from land; an income at that period absolutely without precedent
or parallel in Europe. In this there might be some exaggeration, as
usually there _is_ in such cases. But the 'Fairfax Papers' have recently
made it manifest that Pope's tale was the wildest of fictions. The
Duke of Buckingham had, to some extent, suffered from his loyalty to
the Crown, though apparently sheltered from the main fury of the storm
by the interest of his Presbyterian father-in-law; and in his own
person he had at one time been carelessly profuse. But all this was
nothing. The sting of Pope's story requires him to have been a pauper;
and yet--O heaven and incredulous earth!--a pauper hunting upon
blood-horses, in a star and garter, and perhaps in a collar of SS! The
plain, historical truth, meanwhile, survives, that this pauper was
simply the richest man in Christendom; and that, except Aladdin (Oh,
yes; always except Aladdin of the Arabian Nights!) there never had
been a richer. And thus collapses the whole fable, like a soap-bubble
punctured by a surgeon's probe.

II. Yet even this specimen of Pope's propensity to falsehood is far
from being the worst. Here were facts scandalously distorted. Falsehoods
they were; but, if it had pleased God, they might have been truths.
Next, however, comes a fiction so maniacally gross, so incoherent, and
so rife with internal contradictions, as to involve its own exposure,
literally shrinking from its own intelligible enunciation, burrowing
in sentences kept aloof from the text, and calling upon foot-notes to
cover it. The case will speak for itself. Pope had undertaken to
translate the well-known epistle of Horace to Augustus Caesar; not
literally, but upon the principle of adapting it to a modern and English
treatment of its topics. Caesar, upon this system, becomes George the
Second--a very strange sort of Caesar; and Pope is supposed to have
been laughing at him, which may be the color that Pope gave to the
travesty amongst his private circle; otherwise there is nothing in the
expressions to sustain such a construction. Rome, with a little more
propriety, masquerades as England, and France as Greece, or, more
strictly, as Athens. Now, by such a transformation, already from the
very beginning Pope was preparing for himself a dire necessity of
falsehood. And he must have known it. Once launched upon such a course,
he became pledged and committed to all the difficulties which it might
impose. Desperate necessities would arise, from which nothing but
desperate lying and hard swearing could extricate him. The impossibility
of carrying through the parallel by means of _genuine_ correspondences
threw him for his sole resource upon such as were extravagantly
spurious; and apparently he had made up his mind to cut his way through
the ice, though all the truths that ever were embattled against Baron
Munchausen should oppose his advance. Accordingly about the middle of
the Epistle, a dilemma occurs from which no escape or deliverance is
possible, except by an almighty falsehood. Take the leap Pope must,
or else he must turn back when half-way through. Horace had occasion
to observe that, after Rome had made a conquest of Greece by force of
arms, captive Greece retaliated upon her conqueror by another kind of
victory, namely, by that of arts: [Footnote 10]--

    'Graecia capta ferum ietorera cepit, et artes
    Intulit agresti Latio.'

Now, in the corresponding case (as Pope had arranged it) between England
and France, the parallel certainly held good as far as the military
conquest. England, it was undeniable, had conquered France in that
sense, as completely as ever Rome had conquered Greece or Macedon. Two
English kings had seated themselves in succession upon the throne of
France--one virtually, one formally. So far all was tight, and held
water. Nothing could disturb _that_ part of the case. But next came
the retaliatory conquest, by means of arts and letters. How was this
to be dealt with? What shadow or dream of a correspondency could be
made out _there_? What impudence could face _that_? Already, in Pope's
ears, sounded the trumpet of recall; and Pope mused a, little: but
'No,' he said in effect, 'I will not turn back. Why should I? It is
but one astounding falsehood that is wanted to set me free.' I will
venture to say that Mendez Pinto, the Portuguese liar, that Sir John
Mandeville, the traveller, that Baron Munchausen, the most philosophic
of bold adventurers into the back settlements of lying, never soared
into such an aerial bounce, never cleared such a rasper of a fence,
as did Pope on this occasion. He boldly took it upon his honor and
credit that our English armies, in the times of Agincourt and the
Regent Bedford, found in France a real, full-grown French literature,
packed it up in their baggage-wagons, and brought it home to England.
The passage from Horace, part of which has been cited above, stands
thus in the translation of Pope:--

   'We conquered France, but felt our captive's charms--
    Her arts victorious triumphed o'er our arms;
    Britain to soft refinements less a foe,
    Wit grew polite, and numbers learned to flow.'

Ten years then, before Joan of Arc's execution, [Footnote 11] viz.,
about 1420 (if we are to believe Pope), or even fifteen years, France
had a great domestic literature; and this unknown literature has
actually furnished a basis to our own. Let us understand clearly what
it is that Pope means to assert. For it is no easy matter to do that
where a man dodges behind texts and notes, and shuffles between verse
and prose, mystifying the reader, and designing to do so. Under the
torture of cross-examination let us force Pope to explain what
literature _that_ is which, having glorified France, became the
venerable mother of a fine English literature in an early stage of the
fifteenth century? The reader, perhaps, fancies that possibly Pope may
have expressed himself erroneously only from being a little hurried
or a little confused. Not at all. I know my man better, perhaps, than
the reader does; and I know that he is trying to hoax us. He is not
confused himself, but is bent upon confusing _us_; and I am bent upon
preventing him. And, therefore, again I ask sternly, What literature
is this which very early in the fifteenth century, as early as
Agincourt, we English found prospering in France, and which, for the
benefit of the English intellect, such men as Ancient Pistol, Nym,
Bardolph, Fluellen, Capt. Macmorris, Jamy, and other well-known literati
in the army of Henry V., transplanted (or, 'as the wise it call,'
_conveyed_) to England? Agincourt was fought in 1415; exactly four
centuries before Waterloo. That was the beginning of our domination
in France; and soon after the middle of that same fifteenth century,
viz., about 1452, our domination was at an end. During that interval,
therefore, it must have been, then, or not at all, that this great
intellectual revolution worked by France upon England was begun and
completed. Naturally, at this point, the most submissive and
sycophantish of Pope's friends would feel moved by the devil of
curiosity, if not absolutely by the devil of suspicion, humbly to ask
for a name or two, just as a specimen, from this great host of
Anglo-Gallic wits. Pope felt (and groaned as he felt) that so reasonable
a demand could not be evaded. 'This comes of telling lies,' must have
been his bitter reflection: 'one lie makes a necessity for another.'
However, he reflected that this second lie need not be introduced into
the text, where it would have the fatal effect of blowing up the whole
bubble: it might be hidden away in a foot-note. Not one person in
twenty would read it, and he that did might easily suppose the note
to be some unauthorized impertinence of a foolish commentator. Secretly
therefore, silently, stealthily--so as to draw as little attention
as possible--Pope introduced into a note his wicked little brazen
solution of his own wicked and brazen conundrum. France, such was the
proposition, had worked a miracle upon English ground; as if with some
magician's rod, she had called up spawn innumerable of authors, lyric,
epic, dramatic, pastoral, each after his kind. But by whom had France
moved in this creation as the chief demi-urgus? By whom, Mr. Pope?
Name, name, Mr. Pope! 'Ay,' we must suppose the unhappy man to reply,
'that's the very question which I was going to answer, if you wouldn't
be so violent.' 'Well, answer it then. Take your own time, but answer;
for we don't mean to be put off without some kind of answer.' 'Listen,
then,' said Pope, 'and I'll whisper it into your ear; for it's a sort
of secret.' Now think, reader, of a _secret_ upon a matter like this,
which (if true at all) must be known to the antipodes. However, let
us have the secret. 'The secret,' replied Pope, 'is, that some time
in the reign of Charles the Second--when I won't be positive, but I'm
sure it was after the Restoration--three gentlemen wrote an
eighteen-penny pamphlet.' 'Good! And what were the gentlemen's names?'
'One was Edmund Waller, the poet; one was Mr. Go-dolphin; and the other
was Lord Dorset.' 'This trinity of wits, then, you say, Mr. Pope,
produced a mountain, price eighteen-pence, and this mountain produced
a mouse.' 'Oh, no! it was just the other way. They produced a mouse,
price eighteen-pence, and this mouse produced a mountain, viz., the
total English literature.' O day and night, but this is wondrous
strange! The total English literature--not the tottle only, but the
tottle of the whole, like an oak and the masts of some great amiral,
that once slept in an acorn--absolutely lying hid in an eighteen-penny
pamphlet! And what, now, might this pamphlet be about? Was it about
the curing of bacon, or the sublimer art of sowing moonshine broadcast?
It was, says Pope, if you _must_ know everything, a translation from
the French. And judiciously chosen; for it was the _worst_ (and surely
everybody must think it proper to keep back the _best_, until the
English had earned a right to such luxuries by showing a proper sense
of their value)--the _worst_ it was, and by very much the worst, of
all Corneille's dramas; and its name was 'Pompey.' Pompey, was it? And
so, then, from Pompey's loins we, the whole armies of English
_litterateurs_, grubs and eagles, are lineally descended. So says Pope.
So he _must_ say, In obedience to his own line of argument. And, this
being the case, one would be glad to have a look at Pompey. It is hard
upon us _literati_, that are the children of Pompey, not to have a
look at the author of our existence. But our chance of such a look is
small indeed. For Pompey, you are to understand, reader, never advanced
so far as to a second edition. That was a poor return on the part of
England for Pompey's services. And my too sceptical mind at one time
inclined to doubt even Pompey's _first_ edition; which was wrong, and
could have occurred only to a lover of paradoxes. For Warton (not Tom,
but Joe) had actually seen Pompey, and records his opinion of him,
which happened to be this: that Pompey was 'pitiful enough.' These are
Joe's own words. Still, I do not see that one witness establishes a
fact of this magnitude. A shade of doubt, therefore, continues to
linger over Pompey's very existence; and the upshot is, that Pompey
(not the great, but confessedly) the doubtful, eighteen-penny Pompey,
but, in any case, Pompey, 'the Pitiful,' is the Great overriding and
tutelary power, under whose inspiration and inaugurating impulse our
English literature has blossomed and ripened, root, stem, and branch,
through the life-struggles of five centuries, into its present colossal
proportions.

Here pause, reader, and look back upon the separate reticulations--so
as, if possible, to connect them--in this network of hideous
extravagance; where as elsewhere it happens, that one villany, hides
another, and that the mere depth of the umbrage spread by fraudulent
mystifications is the very cause which conceals the extent of those
mystifications. Contemplated in a languid mood, or without original
interest in the subject, that enormity of falsehood fails to strike,
which, under circumstances personally interesting, would seem absolutely
incredible. The outrage upon the intellect actually obscures and
withdraws the outrage upon the facts. And, inversely, the affronts to
historical accuracy obscure the affronts to good sense. Look steadily
for a moment at the three points in the array of impeachments :--

I. In the Red-rose invasion of France, Pope assumes, as a matter of
notoriety, that the English invading force went from a land of
semi-barbarism to a land of literature and refinement: the simple fact
being so conspicuously the other way, that, whilst France had no
literature at all, consequently _could_ have nothing to give (there
being no book extensively diffused in the France of that period, except
the 'De Imitatione Christi,') [Footnote 13] England, on the other hand,
had so bright a jewel to offer, that to this hour the whole of
Christendom has not matched it or approached it. Even at present, in
the case so often supposed, that a man were _marooned_, that is,
confined (as regarded his residence) to one desert island, and marooned
also as to books, confined I mean (as regarded his reading) to one
sole book, his choice (if he read English) would probably oscillate
between Shakspeare and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Now, the Canterbury
Tales had been finished about thirty-five years before Agincourt; so
exquisitely false, even in this point, is Pope's account. Against the
_nothing_ of beggarly France was even then to be set a work which _has_
not been rivalled, and probably _will_ not be rivalled, on our planet.

II. In this comparison of the France and England then existing,
historically Pope betrays an ignorance which is humiliating. He speaks
of France as if that name, of course, covered the same states and
provinces that it now covers. But take away from the France of this
day the parts then possessed by Burgundy--take away Alsace, and
Lorraine, and Franche Compte--take away the alien territories adjacent
to Spain and Navarre--take away Avignon, &c.--take away the extensive
duchy of Britanny, &c.--and what remains of that which constituted the
France of Pope's day? But even that which _did_ remain had no cohesion
or unity as regarded any expanded sentiment of nationality, or the
possibilities of a common literature. The moral anachronisms of Pope
in this case are absolutely frightful--and the physical anachronisms
of Pope also; for the simple want of roads, by intercepting all peaceful
and pleasurable intercourse, must have intercepted all growth of
nationality, unless when a rare community of selfish interest happened
to arise, as when the whole was threatened with conquest or with famine
through foreign aggression upon a part.

III. That particular section of the French literature through which,
Pope pretends to think (for think he does _not_) that France absolutely
created our own, was the drama. Eighteen-penny Pompey belongs to this
section. Now, most unhappily, these two broad facts are emblazoned
beyond all power of impudence to darken them. The first is, that our
English drama was closing,' or actually _had_ closed, just about the
time when the French was opening. Shakspeare notoriously died in 1616,
when Corneille [Footnote 14] was yet a child of ten, and the last of
Shakspeare's great contemporary dramatists died, according to my
remembrance, in 1636; and, in 1635, one year earlier, was first
performed the first successful tragedy (the 'Medea') of Corneille.
About seven or eight years after _that_, the Puritans officially
suppressed the English drama by suppressing the theatres. At the opening
of the Parliamentary war, the elder (that is, the immortal) English
drama had finished its career. But Racine, the chief pillar of the
French, did not begin until Cromwell was dead and gone, and Charles
II. was restored. So, here we have the Asopian fable of the lamb
troubling the waters for the wolf; or, in the Greek proverb, _ano
potamon_. The other fact is, that, as no section whatever of the French
literature has ever availed to influence, or in the slightest degree
to modify, our own, it happens that the dramatic section in particular,
which Pope insists on as the galvanizing force operating upon our
seers, has been in the most signal repulsion to our own. All the other
sections have been simply inert and neutral; but the drama has ever
been in murderous antagonism to every principle and agency by which
our own lives and moves. [Footnote 15] And to make this outrage upon
truth and sense even more outrageous, Pope had not the excuse of those
effeminate critics, sometimes found amongst ourselves, who recognise
no special divinity in our own drama; _that_ would have been one great
crime the more, but it would have been one inconsistency the less. For
Pope had been amongst the earliest editors of Shakspeare; he had written
a memorable preface to this edition. The edition, it is true, was
shocking; and if the preface even was disfigured by concessions to a
feeble system of dramatic criticism, rhetorically it was brilliant
with the expression of a genuine enthusiasm as to Shakspeare, and a
true sympathy with his colossal power.

IV. Yet even this may not be the worst. Even below this deep perhaps
there opens a lower deep. I submit that, when a man is asked for a
specimen of the Agincourt French literature, he cannot safely produce
a specimen from a literature two hundred and fifty years younger without
some risk of facing a writ _de lunatico inquirendo_. Pompey the Pitiful
(or, if the reader is vexed at hearing him so called, let us call him,
with Lord Biron, in 'Love's Labor's Lost,' 'more than great, great
Pompey--Pompey the Huge') was not published, even in France, until
about two centuries and a quarter had elapsed from Agincourt. But, as
respects England, eighteen-penny Pompey was not revealed; the fulness
of time for his _avatar_ amongst us did not arrive until something
like two hundred and sixty years had winged their flight from Agincourt.
And yet Pope's doctrine had been that, in the conquest of France, we
English first met with the Prometheus that introduced us to the
knowledge of fire and intellectual arts. Is not this ghastly? Elsewhere,
indeed, Pope skulks away from his own doctrine, and talks of
'_correctness_' as the particular grace for which we were indebted to
France. But this will not do. In his own 'Art of Criticism,' about
verse 715, he describes 'us brave Britons' as incorrigibly rebellious
in that particular. We _have_ no correctness, it seems, nor ever had;
and therefore, except upon Sir Richard Blackmore's principle of stealing
a suit of clothes 'from a naked Pict,' it is hard to see how we need
to thank France for that which, as to us, has no existence. Then,
again, Pope acquiesced at other times in an opinion of his early
friends, that not Pompey, but himself, was the predestined patriarch
of 'correctness.' Walsh, who was a sublime old blockhead, suggested
to Pope that 'correctness' was the only tight-rope upon which a fresh
literary performer in England could henceforth dance with any advantage
of novelty; all other tight-ropes and slack-ropes of every description
having been preoccupied by elder funambulists. Both Walsh and Pope
forgot ever once to ask themselves what it was that they meant by
'correctness;' an idea that, in its application to France, Akenside
afterwards sternly ridiculed. Neither of the two _literati_ stopped
to consider whether it was correctness in thought, or metrical
correctness, or correctness in syntax and idiom; as to all of which,
by comparison with other poets, Pope is conspicuously deficient. But
no matter what they meant, or if they meant nothing at all. Unmeaning,
or in any case inconsistent, as this talk about 'correctness' may be,
we cannot allow Pope so to escape from his own hyperbolical absurdities.
It was not by a little pruning or weeding that France, according to
his original proposition, had bettered our native literature--it was
by genial incubation, by acts of vital creation. She, upon our crab-tree
cudgel of Agincourt, had engrafted her own peaches and apricots--our
sterile thorn France had inoculated with roses. English literature was
the Eve that, in the shape of a rib, had been abstracted from the side
of the slumbering Pompey--of unconscious Pompey the Huge. And all at
the small charge of eighteen-pence! O heavens, to think of _that!_ By
any possibility, that the cost, the total 'damage' of our English
literature should have been eighteen-pence!--that a shilling should
actually be coming to us out of half-a-crown!

  'Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem.'




NOTES.


NOTE 1.

A similar instance of a craze beyond the bounds of perfect physical
sanity may be found in Dr. Arnold's nervous paroxysm of horror on
hearing St. Paul placed on a level with St. John the Evangelist.

NOTE 2.

And by the way, as to servants, a great man may offend in two ways:
either by treating his servants himself superciliously, or secondly,
which is quite reconcilable with the most paternal behavior on his own
part, by suffering them to treat the public superciliously. Accordingly,
all novelists who happen to have no acquaintance with the realities
of life as it now exists, especially therefore rustic Scotch novelists,
describe the servants of noblemen as 'insolent and pampered menials.'
But, on the contrary, at no houses whatever are persons of doubtful
appearance and anomalous costume, sure of more respectful attention
than at those of the great feudal aristocracy. At a merchant's or a
banker's house, it is odds but the porter or the footman will govern
himself in his behavior by his own private construction of the case,
which (as to foreigners) is pretty sure to be wrong. But in London,
at a nobleman's door, the servants show, by the readiness of their
civilities to all such questionable comers, that they have taken their
lessons from a higher source than their own inexperience or unlearned
fancies.

NOTE 3.

'_Cape of Storms_,' which should _primae facie_ be the Cape of Terrors.
But it bears a deep allegoric sense to the bold wrestler with such
terrors, that in English, and at length to all the world, this Cape
of Terrors has transfigured itself into the Cape of _Good Hope_.

NOTE 4.

   '_Heraldic solemnities_'--
    'Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare;
    Since seldom coming in the long year set,
    Like precious stones they thinly placed are,
    Or captain jewels in the carcanet.'
     _Shakspeare, 52d Sonnet_.

NOTE 5.

'_I give and I bequeath, old Euclio said_'--and the ridiculous story
of the dying epicure insisting upon having his luxurious dish brought
back to his death-bed (for why not? since at any rate, eating or not
eating, he was doomed to die) are amongst the lowest rubbish of
jest-books--having done duty for the Christian and the Pagan worlds
through a course of eighteen centuries. Not to linger upon the nursery
silliness that could swallow the legend of epicureanism surviving up
to the very brink of the grave, and when even the hypocrisy of _medical_
hope had ceased to flatter, what a cruel memento of the infirmity
charged upon himself was Pope preparing whilst he intended nothing
worse than a falsehood! He meant only to tell a lie; naturally, perhaps,
saying to himself, What's one lie more or less? And behold, if his
friends are to be believed, he was unconsciously writing a sort of
hieroglyphic epitaph for his own tomb-stone. Dr. Johnson's taste for
petty gossip was so keen, that I distrust all his anecdotes. That Pope
killed himself by potted lampreys, which he had dressed with his own
hands, I greatly doubt; but if anything inclines me to believe it,
chiefly it is the fury of his invectives against epicures and gluttons.
What most of all he attacked as a moralist was the particular vice
which most of all besieged him.

NOTE 6.

Upon this principle I doubt not that we should interpret the sayings
attributed to the seven wise men of Greece. If we regard them as
insulated aphorisms, they strike us all as mere impertinences; for by
what right is some one prudential admonition separarately illuminated
and left as a solemn legacy to all posterity in slight of others equally
cogent? For instance, _Meden agan_--nothing in excess--is a maxim not
to be neglected, but still not entitled to the exclusive homage which
is implied in its present acceptation. The mistake, meantime, I believe
to be, not in the Grecian pleiad of sages, but in ourselves, who have
falsely apprehended them. The man, for instance (Bias was it, or who?),
who left me this old saw about excess, did not mean to bias me in favor
of that one moral caution; this would have argued a craze in favor of
one element amongst many. What he meant was, to indicate the _radix_
out of which his particular system was expanded. It was the key-note
out of which, under the laws of thorough-bass, were generated the whole
chord and its affinities. Whilst the whole evolution of the system was
in lively remembrance, there needed no more than this short-hand memento
for recalling it. But now, when the lapse of time has left the little
maxim stranded on a shore of wrecks, naturally it happens that what
was in old days the keystone of an arch has come to be compounded with
its superfluous rubbish.

NOTE 7.

It is no matter of wonder or complaint that a paper written by a
correspondent a distance of four hundred miles, or something more,
from the press, requiring, therefore, a _diaulos_ of above eight hundred
miles for every letter and its answer, a distance which becomes strictly
infinite in the case when the correspondent sends no answer at all,
should exhibit some press errors. These, having now done their worst,
I will not vex the reader or the compositor by recalling. Only with
respect to one, viz., the word _genuine_, which is twice printed for
the true word _generic_, I make an exception, as it defeats the meaning
in a way that may have perplexed a painstaking reader. Such readers
are rare, and deserve encouragement. [The same _diaulos_ which Mr. De
Quincey laments is also the cause of his present paper appearing
incomplete. It will be resumed in the next number.--Ed.]

NOTE 8.

'_The two brilliant poets._' As regards Horace, it is scarcely worth
while to direct the reader's attention upon inconsistency of this
imaginary defiance to philosophic authority with his profession
elsewhere of allegiance to Epicurus; for had it even been possible to
direct the poet's own attention upon it, the same spirit of frank
simplicity which has converted his very cowardice, his unmitigated
cowardice (_relicta non bene parmula_), into one of those amiable and
winning frailties which, once having come to know it, on no account
could we consent to forego--would have reconciled us all by some
inimitable picturesqueness of candor to inconsistency the most shocking
as to the fulfilment of some great moral obligation; just as from the
brute restiveness of a word (Equotuticum), that positively would not
come into the harness of hexameter verse, he has extracted a gay,
laughing _alias_ (viz., '_versu quod dicere non est_'); a pleasantry
which is nowhere so well paralleled as by Southey's on the name of
Admiral Tchichakoff:--

    'A name which you all must know very well,
    Which nobody can speak, and nobody can spell.'

Vain would it be to fasten any blame upon a poet armed with such
heaven-born playfulness that upon a verbal defect he raises a triumph
of art, and upon a personal defect raises a perpetual memento of smiling
and affectionate forgiveness. We 'condone' his cowardice, to use
language of Doctors' Commons, many times over, before we know whether
he would have cared for our condonation; and protest our unanimous
belief, that, if he did run away from battle, he ran no faster than
a gentleman ought to run. In fact, his character would have wanted its
amiable unity had he _not_ been a coward, or had he _not_ been a rake.
Vain were it to level reproaches at _him_, for whom all reproaches
become only occasions of further and surplus honor. But, in fact, for
any serious purposes of Horace, philosophy was not wanted. Some slight
pretence of that kind served to throw a shade of pensiveness over his
convivial revels, and thus to rescue them from the taint of plebeian
grossness. So far, and no farther, a slight coloring of philosophy was
needed for his moral musings. But Pope's case is different. The moral
breathings of Horace are natural exhalations rising spontaneously from
the heart under the ordinary gleams of chance and change in the human
things that lay around him. But Pope is more ambitious. He is not
content with _borrowing_ from philosophy the grace of a passing sanction
or countersign, but undertakes to _lend_ her a systematic coherency
of development, and sometimes even a fundamental basis. In his
'Essay on Man,' his morals connect themselves with metaphysics. The
metaphysics had been gathered together in his chance eclectic rambles
amongst books of philosophy, such as Montaigne, Charron, and latterly
amongst the fossil rubbish and _debris_ of Bayle's Dictionary. Much
also had been suggested to his piercing intellect in conversation,
especially with Lord Bolingbroke; but not so exclusively by any means
with _him_ as the calumniators of Pope would have us suppose. Adopt
he did from all quarters, but Pope was not the man servilely to beg
or to steal. It was indispensable to his own comfort that he should
at least understand the meaning of what he took from others, though
seldom indeed he understood its wider relations, or pursued its ultimate
consequences. Hence came anguish and horror upon Pope in his latter
days, such as rarely can have visited any but the deathbed of some
memorable criminal. To have rejected the _verba magistri_ might seem
well, it might look promising, as all _real_ freedom is promising, for
the interests of truth; but he forgot that, in rejecting the master,
he had also rejected the doctrine--the guiding principle--the unity
of direction secured for the inquirer by the master's particular system
with its deep internal cohesion. Coming upon his own distracted choice
of principles from opposite angles and lines of direction, he found
that what once and under one aspect had seemed to him a guiding light,
and one of the buoys for narrowing the uncertainties of a difficult
navigation, absolutely under another aspect, differently approached
and differently associated, did the treacherous office of a _spanselled_
horse, as in past days upon the Cornish and the South Irish coast it
was employed--expressly for showing false signals, and leading right
amongst breakers. That _hortus siccus_ of pet notions, which had won
Pope's fancy in their insulated and separate existence, when brought
together as parts and elements of the same system in the elaborate and
haughty 'Essay on Man,' absolutely refused to cohere. No doctoring,
no darning, could disguise their essential inter-repulsion. Dismal
rents, chasms, hiatuses, gaped and grinned in a theory whose very
office and arrogant pretension had been to harmonize the dislocated
face of nature, and to do _that_ in the way of justification for God
which God had forgotten to do for himself. How if an enemy should come,
and fill up these ugly chasms with some poisonous fungus of a nature
to spread the dry rot through the main timbers of the vessel? And, in
fact, such an enemy _did_ come. This enemy spread dismay through Pope's
heart. Pope found himself suddenly shown up as an anti-social monster,
as an incendiary, as a disorganizer of man's most aspiring hopes. 'O
Heavens! What is to be done? what _can_ be done?' he cried out. 'When
I wrote that passage, which now seems so wicked, certainly I meant
something very good; or, if I didn't, at any rate I meant to mean it.'
The case was singular; if no friend of the author's could offer a
decent account of its meaning, to a certainty the author could _not_.
Luckily, however, there are two ways of filling up chasms; and
Warburton, who had reasons best known to himself for cultivating Pope's
favor, besides considerable practice during his youth in a special
pleader's office, took the desperate case in hand. He caulked the
chasms with philosophic oakum, he 'payed' them with dialectic pitch,
he sheathed them with copper and brass by means of audacious dogmatism
and insolent quibbles, until the enemy seemed to have been silenced,
and the vessel righted so far as to float. The result, however, as a
permanent result, was this--that the demurs which had once been raised
(however feebly pressed) against the poem, considered in the light of
a system compatible with religion, settled upon it permanently as a
sullen cloud of suspicion that a century has not availed to dissipate.

NOTE 9.

'_The most interesting person of the Alcibiades class._' But it is
thoroughly characteristic of Pope, that the one solitary trait in the
Duke's career which interested _him_, was the fact that a man so
familiar with voluptuous splendor should have died on a flock-bed
patched with straw. How advantageously does Dryden come forward on
this occasion! _He_, as Mr. Bayes, had some bitter wrongs to avenge;
and he was left at liberty to execute this revenge after his own heart,
for he survived the Duke by a dozen years. Yet he took no revenge at
all. _He_, with natural goodness and magnanimity, declined to kick the
dead lion. And in the memorable lines, all alive and trembling with
impassioned insight into the demoniac versatility of the Duke's
character, how generously does he forbear every expression of scorn,
and cover the man's frailties with a mantle of comprehensive apology,
and, in fact, the true apology, by gathering them together, one and
all, as the united results of some secret nympholepsy, or some sacred
Pythian inspiration:--

    'Blest madman! that could every hour employ
    In something new to wish or to enjoy;

    Now all for rhyming, wenching, fiddling, drinking;
    Beside ten thousand freaks that died in thinking'

Strangely enough, the only Duke of Buckingham that interested Pope was
not the Villiers that so profoundly interested Dryden and his own
generation, but in every sense a mock Duke of Buckingham, a pantomimic
duke, that is known only for having built a palace as fine as gilt
gingerbread, and for having built a pauper poem. Some time after the
death of the Villiers duke, and the consequent extinction of the title,
Sheffield, Lord Mulgrave, obtained a patent creating him, not Duke of
Buckingham, but by a pawnbroker's dodge, devised between himself and
his attorney, Duke of Buckingham_shire_; the ostensible reason for
which, as alleged by himself, was, that he apprehended some lurking
claim to the old title that might come forward to his own confusion
at a future time, and in that case he was ready with this demur: 'You
mistake, I am not _ham_, but ham_shire_.' Such was _his_ account of
the matter. Mine is different: I tell the reason thus. He had known
the Villiers of old, he knew well how that lubricated gladiator had
defied all the powers of Chancery and the Privy Council, for months
after months, once to get a 'grip' of him, or a hawk over him. It was
the old familiar case of trying to catch a pig (but in this instance
a wild boar of the forest) whose tail has been soaped. (See _Lord
Clarendon_, not his History but his Life.) What the Birmingham duke
therefore really feared was, that the worst room, the tawdry curtains,
the flock-bed, &c., were all a pyramid of lies; that the Villiers had
_not_ been thrown; had probably _not_ died at all; but was only 'trying
it on,' in readiness for a great demonstration against himself; and
that, in case the title of Buckingham were ever finally given away,
the Villiers would be heard clattering on horseback up the grand
staircase of the new-built Buckingham House, like the marble statue
in 'Don Juan,' with a double commission against the false duke and the
Government as joint-traders in stolen goods. But if Pope were callous
to the splendor of the true Buckingham, what was it that drew him to
the false one? Pope must have been well aware that, amongst all the
poetic triflers of the day, there was not one more ripe for the
'Dunciad.' Like the jaws of the hungry grave (_Acherontis avari_), the
'Dunciad' yawned for him, whilst yet only in dim conception as a remote
possibility. He was, besides, the most vain-glorious of men; and, being
anxious above all things to connect himself with the blood royal, he
had conceived the presumptuous thought of wooing Queen Anne (then the
unmarried Princess Anne). Being rejected, of course, rather than have
no connection at all with royalty, he transferred his courtship to a
young lady born on the wrong side of the blanket, namely, the daughter
of James II. by Miss Sedley. Her he married, and they reigned together
in great pomp over Buckingham House. But how should this have attracted
Pope? The fact, I fear is, that Pope admired him, in spite of his
verses, as a man rich and prosperous. One morning, in some of his own
verses, he lodged a compliment to the Duke as a poet and a critic:
immediately the Duke was down upon him with an answering salute of
twenty-one guns, and ever afterwards they were friends. But I repeat
that, in Pope's own judgment, nine out of ten who found their way into
that great _menagerie_ of the 'Dunciad,' had not by half so well
established their right of entrance as the Duke.

NOTE 10.

Even this is open to demur. The Roman literature during the main Punic
War with Hannibal, though unavoidably reached by some slight influence
from the literature of Greece, was rich in native power and raciness.
Left to itself, and less disturbed by direct imitation applied to
foreign models, the Roman literature would probably have taken a wider
compass, and fulfilled a nobler destiny.

NOTE 11.

'_Joan of Arc's execution_'--viz., not by any English, but virtually
by a French tribunal, as _now_, at last, is satisfactorily established
by the recent publication, at Paris, of the judicial process itself
in its full official records.

NOTE 12.

The notes are _now_ (_i. e._, in all modern editions) assigned to their
separate authors; though not always in a way to prevent doubts. For
instance, Roscoe's notes, except that they are always distinguished
by kindness and good sense, are indicated only by the _absence_ of any
distinguishing signature. But in the early editions great carelessness
prevailed as to this point, and, sometimes, intentional dissimulation.

NOTE 13.

Which was probably not of French origin. Thomas-a-Kempis, Gerson, and
others, have had the credit of it; but the point is still doubtful.
When I say that it was _extensively_ diffused, naturally I mean so far
as it was possible before the invention of printing. One generation
after Agincourt this invention was beginning to move, after which--that
is, in two generations--the multiplication of copies, and even of
separate editions and separate translations, ran beyond all power of
registration. It is one amongst the wonders of the world; and the
reason I have formerly explained. Froissart belongs to the courts of
England and of Burgundy much more than to that of France.

NOTE 14.

Hardi, it is scarcely necessary to mention; as he never became a _power_
even in France, and _out_ of France was quite unknown. He coincided
in point of time, I believe, most nearly with Francis Beaumont.

NOTE 15.

Italian, Spanish, and finally German poetry have in succession exercised
some slight influence, more or less, over our English poetry. But I
have formerly endeavored to show that it is something worse than a
mere historical blunder, that, in fact, it involves a gross
misconception and a confusion in the understanding, to suppose that
there ever has been what has been called a _French school_ in our
literature, unless it is supposed that the unimpassioned understanding,
or the understanding speaking' in a minor key of passion, is a French
invention.




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