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I. 1. Geschichte der neu-manichseischen Ketzer, u. s. w. 

(History of the new Manichsean Heretics. By Dr. 
Christoplier Ulrich Hahn.) Stuttgart, 1845. 

2. (Review of the foregoing Work, by Schmidt, in the 

Jena) Allgemeine Litteratur-Zeitung. March, 1846. 

3. Histoire et Doctrine de la Secte des Cathares on Albi- 

geois. (History and Doctrine of the Sect of the 
Cathari or Albigenses. By C. Schmidt, Professor in 
the Protestant Faculty of Theology at Strasburg. 
Two Vols. Paris and Geneva, 1849.) 

4. (Review of the foregoing by Hahn, in the) Studien 

und Kritiken (for 1852. Part IV.) 

5. Ein Katharisches Ritual. (Catharic Ritual. Edited 

by Professor Cunitz, in Vol. IV. of Miscellanies 
published by the Theological Society of Strasburg, 

6. (Articles by Professor Reuss, on the Vaudois and 

Catharic Versions of the Bible, in the Strasburg) 
Revue de Theologie. (December, 1852, and Febru- 
ary, 1853.) 

7. Histoire du Pape Innocent III. (Hurter's History of 

Pope Innocent III. Translated from the German 
by M. de Saint-Cheron.) Bruxelles. 

8. Histoire de la Croisade contre les Heretiques Albigeois. 

(History of the Crusade against the Albigenses, in 
Proven9al Poetry. By William of Tudela. Edited 

II. 1. The Life of Sir Astley Cooper, Bart., interspersed 
with Sketches from his Note-Books, &c. By 
Bransby Blake Cooper, Esq., F.R.S. In Two 
Volumes. London : John W. Parker. 1843. 
2. Memoirs of John Abernethy, F.R.S., with a View of 
his Lectures, Writings, and Character. By George 
Macilwain, F.R.C.S., &c. Second Edition. " In Two 

Volumes. London : Hurst and Blackett. 1854 ... 44 

by Fauriel. Paris, 1837.) 




Art. Page. 
III. Kevue cle Legislation et de Jurisprudence. Nouvelle 
Serie. Redigee par M. L. Wolowski et autres. 
Paris, 1845-54 : 67 

IV. Johnson's Lives of the English Poets. (Murray's 
British Classics.) Edited by Peter Cunningham, 
F.S.A. Murray 99 

V. 1. Costume in England. By F. W. Fairholt, F.S.A. 
London : Chapman and Hall. 
2. History of British Costume. By J. R. Blanche. 
London : Charles Knight. 
, 3. Dress, as a Fine Art. By Mrs. Merrifield. London : 
Arthur Hall, Virtue, and Co. 1854. 
4. The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours. 

By M. E. Chevreul. London : Longmans. 1854.... 122 

VI. 1. History of Latin Christianity, including that of the 
Popes, to the Pontificate of Nicholas V. By Henry 
Hart Milman, D.D., Dean of St. Paul's. Three 
Vols. Murray, 1854. 

2. Hippolytus and his Age ; or, The Beginnings and Pro- 

spects of Christianity. By Christian C. J. Bunsen, 
D.D., D.C.L., D.Ph. Second Edition. Two Vols. 
London : Longman and Co. 1854. 

3. St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome in the earlier 

Part of the third Century. From the newly- 
discovered Philosophumena. By Christopher "Words- 
worth, D.D., Canon of Westminster, &c. London : 
Rivingtons.* 1853 142 

VII. 1. A Third Gallery of Portraits. By George GilfiUan. 
Edinburgh, 1854. 
2. The Bards of the Bible. By George GilfiUan. Third 

Edition. Edinburgh, 1852 179 

VIII. 1. The Conduct of the War. A Speech in the House of 
Commons. By the Right Honourable Sydney 
Herbert, M.P. 8vo. London : John Murray. 

2. The Prospects of the War. A Speech in the House of 
Commons. By A. H. Layard, M.P. 8vo. London : 
John Murray. 1855. 



Art. • i'age- 

3. The War ; Who 's to Blame ? Being a complete 

Analysis of the whole Diplomatic Correspondence 
regarding the Eastern Question, and showing from 
these and other Authentic Sources the Causes which 
have produced the present War. By James Mac- 
queen, Esq., F.K.Gr.S., Author of " Greography of 
Africa," &c. London: Madden. 1854. 

4. A Month before the Camp at Sebastopol. By a Non- 

Combatant. London: Longman and Co. 1855.... 203 

Brief Literary Notices : — 

Coulthard's Sphere and Duties of Government. Translated 
from the German of Baron Wilhelm Von Humboldt — 
Kii'kus's Christianity, Theoretical and Practical — 
Clark's Outlines of Theology; or, The General Prin- 
ciples of Pevealed Beligion briefly stated. Vol. I. — 
Earl of Carlisle's Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters. 
Second Edition — Rear- Admiral Smyth's Mediterranean : 
a Memoir, Physical, Historical, and Nautical — Le Re- 
' dempteur. Discours par Edmond de Pressense, Pasteur 
— Histoire des Doctrines morales et politiques des trois 
derniers Siecles. Par M. J. Matter — Hand-Book of 
French Literature, Historical, Biographical, and Critical 
— Amerika. Die politischen, socialen, und kirchlich- 
religiosen Zustande der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord- 
Amerika, mit besonderer Riicksicht auf die Deutschen, 
aus eigener Anschauung dargestellt von Dr. Philipp 
SchafF — Die Verhandlungen des Siebenten Deutschen 
Evangelischen Kirchentages zu Frankfurt am Main im 
September, - 1854 — Miss Tatham's Dream of Pytha- 
goras, and other Poems. Second Edition — Matthew 
Arnold's Poems. Second Series — Ruther's Haymakers' 
Histories — Gouge's Golden Age, and other Poems — 
Miss Dent's Thoughts and Sketches in Verse — 
Blakey's History of Political Literature, from the 
earliest Times — Marquis de Custine's Russia — Spen- 
cer's Turkey, Russia, the Black Sea, and Circassia — ■ 
The Englishwoman in Russia. By a Lady — Leech's 
Pictures of Life and Character — Doyle's Foreign Tour 
of Messrs. Brown, Jones, and Robinson — The Restora- 
tion of Belief — Rippon's Capital Punishment Unlawful 
and Inexpedient. An Essay on the Punishment of 
Death — Procter's History of the Book of Common 
Prayer, with a Rationale of its Offices — Miss Farmer's 
Tonga and the Friendly Islands ; with a Sketch of their 
Mission History. Written for Young People — Boner's 
Cain — Forbes's Literary Papers — Fabiola ; or. The 
Church of the Catacombs — Montgomery's Popery as it 
Exists in Great Britain and Ireland : its Doctrines, Prac- 
tices, and Arguments ; exhibited from the Writings of its 
Advocates, and from its most popular Books of In^struc- 

tion and Devotion — Kingsmill's Chapters on Prisons 
and Prisoners, and the Prevention of Crime. Third 
Edition — On the Study of Language : an Exposition of 
" ETrea Urcpoevra, OY tho Diversions of Purley, By John 
Horne Tooke." By Charles Eichardson — Bartlett's 
Jerusalem Revisited — A Dictionary of Terms in Art. 
Edited and Illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, F.S.A.— 
Sharpe's Historic Notes on the Books of the Old and 
New Testaments — Excelsior: Helps to Progress in 
Religion, Science, and Literature. Vol. II. — Memoir 
of the Rev. Joseph Entwisle, Fifty-four Years a Wes- 
ley an Minister. By his Son. Second Edition — Ful- 
lom's Marvels of Science, and their Testimony to Holy 
Writ — Headley's Historical and Descriptive Sketches 
of the Women of the Bible, chronologically arranged, 
from Eve of the Old, to the Marys of the New, 
Testament — Robson's Constructive Exercises, for teach- 
ing the Elements of the Greek Language on a System 
of Analysis and Synthesis ; with Greek Reading Les- 
sons and copious Vocabularies — Robson's Constructive 
Exercises, for teaching the Elements of the Latin 
Language on a System of Analysis and Synthesis ; with 
Latin Reading Lessons and copious Vocabularies 260 


Art. Page. 
I. 1. D'Aubigne's History of the Keformation of the Six- 
teenth Century. Vol. V. — The Keformation in 
England. Edinburgh : Oliver and Boyd. 1853. 

2. Hallam's History of the Literature of Europe during 

the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries. 
London: Murray. 1847. 

3. Writings of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canter- 

bury. Cambridge : Printed at the University Press. 

4. The Works of Nicholas Ridley, D.D., sometime Lord 

Bishop of London. Cambridge : Printed at the 
University Press. 1841. 

5. The Works of Thomas Becon, S.T.P., Chaplain to 

Archbishop Cranmer, Prebendary of Canterbury, &c. 
Cambridge : Printed at the University Press. 1843. 

6. The Works of Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter. 

Cambridge : Printed at the University Press. 1844. 289 

II. The Life of the Rev. Robert Newton, D.D. By Thomas 

Jackson. Post 8vo. London : John Mason. 1855. 329 

111. 1. Lectures on the Anatomy and Physiology of the In- 
vertebrate Animals. By Richard Owen, F.R.S. 

2. On the Archetypes and Homologies of the Vertebrate 

Skeleton. By Richard Owen, F.R.S. 1848. 

3. On the Nature of Limbs. By Richard Owen, F.R.S. 


4. Principles of Physiology, General and Comparative. 

By William B. Carpenter, M.D., F.R.S. Fourth 
Edition. 1854 351 



Art. Page. 
IV. 1. A Letter to Dr. Merle D'Aubigne on the Principle of 
Religious Liberty as it is understood in Germany. 
(La Libert e Eeligieuse telle qu'on I'entend en Alle- 
magne.) By a Member of the Deputation to 
Tuscany. Neachatel, 1854. 

2. Religious Liberty from Christian Points of View. 

(Die Religiose Freiheit vom Christlichen Stand- 
punkte.) A Letter to M. de Bethmann Hollweg. 
By Dr. Merle D'Aubigne. Frankfort-on-the-Mayne, 

3. Letter from M. de Bethmann Hollweg, Privy Coun- 

cillor of the King, Vice-President of the Second 
Chamber of the Prussian Parliament, and President 
of the Kirchentag, to Dr. Merle D'Aubigne. 
("EvangeUcal Christendom," February, 1855.) 377 

V. 1. Lectures on Ancient Art. By Raoul-Rochette. Trans- 
lated by H. M. Westropp, Esq. London : A. Hall, 
Virtue, and Co. 1854. 
2. The Poetry of Christian Art. Translated from the 

French of A. F. Rio. London: Bosworth. 1854.. 403 

VI. 1. The Chemistry of Common Life. By James F. W. 

Johnston, M.A., F.R.SS. London and Edinburgh, 
Author of " Lecbures on Agricultural Chemistry and 
G-eology," " A Catechism of Agricultural Chemistry 
and Greology," &c. In Two Vols. 8vo. Edinburgh 
and London: WiUiam Blackwood and Sons. 1855. 
2. Household Chemistry: or, Rudiments of the Science 
applied to Everyday Life. By Albert J. Bernays, 
, Ph.D., F.C.S., Author of "Lectures on Agricul- 
ture," &c. Third Edition, considerably enlarged. 
12mo. London: Sampson Low and Son. 1854.... 425 

VII. 1. The History of the Protestants of France, from the 
Commencement of the Reformation to the present 
Time. Translated from the French of Gr. de Felice, 
D.D., Professor of Theology at Montauban. In 
Two Vols. London : Longmans. 1853. 
2. The History of the French Protestant Refugees, from 
the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the present 
Time. By Charles Weiss, Professor of History at | 
the Lycee Buonaparte. Edinburgh and London: 
Blackwood and Sons. 1854 448 

VIII. 1. The West Indies before and since 'Emancipation. By 
John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., &c. London: W. and 
F. a. Cash. 

2. Papers relating to the Affairs of the Island of Jamaica. 

Blue Books. 1854. 

3. Papers and Reports of the Anti-Slavery Society 478 



Art. Pajje" 
IX. The Colonization Herald. Conducted by the Pennsylvania 
Colonization Society, Philadelphia. January to April, 
1855 507 

Brief Literary Notices : — 

Alison's History of Europe from the Fall of Napoleon in 
1815, to the Accession of Louis Napoleon in 1852 — 
L'Eglise et les Philosophes au 18"" Siecle. Par M. Lanfrey 
— Cours de Litterature Dramatique. Par M. Saint- 
Marc Grirardin — Real-Encyclopadie, fiir Protestantische 
Theologie und Kirche. Herausgegeben von Dr. J. J. 
Herzog. Drittes Band, Erste Hiilfte — Der Weg zu 
Christ 0. Vortrage im Dienst der Innern Mission vor 
Gliedern der evangelischen Christenheit aus den ge- 
bildeten Standen gehalten und herausgegeben von Dr. 
Karl Bernhard Hundeshagen — Hay's Harmonic Law of 
Nature applied to Architectural Design — Miss Tucker's 
Southern Cross and Southern Crown : or, The Grospel 
in New Zealand — Brock's Twenty-seven Sermons, 
preached in St. George's Church, Barnsley, Yorkshire 
—The Irish Industrial Exhibition of 1853. Edited by 
John Sproule and others — Pirret's Ethics of the Sab- 
bath — The Collected Works of Dugald Stewart, edited 
by Hamilton. Vols. II.-YI. — Roget's Thesaurus of 
English Words and Phrases — Bayne's Christian Life, 
Social and Individual — M'Burnie's Errors of Infidelity : 
or. An Abridgment of various Facts and Arguments 
urged against Infidelity — Bland's Kepi}'- to Dr. Gum- 
ming' s Lectures on "The End of the World " — Maury's 
Physical Geography of the Sea — Calderwood's Philo- 
sophy of the Infinite — Remains of Hon. and Rev. 
Somerville Hay — Arthur's People's Day — Treatise on 
Practical Mathematics — Bouchier's Manna in the 
Heart : or, Daily Comments on the Book of Psalms — • 
Gumming' s Urgent Questions — Cornwell and Fitch's 
Science of Arithmetic — AUiot's Psychology and Theo- 
logy — Mackenzie's Bible Teaching — Champion's Life's 
Holidays illuminated — A Refutation, recently dis- 
covered, of Spinoza by Leibnitz. Translated by Owen 
— Ogilvie's Imperial Dictionary, English, Technological, 
and Scientific — Spencer's Pastor's Sketches : or. Con- 
versations with anxious Inquirers respecting the Wa}^ of 
Salvation — Tennent's Wine : its Use and Taxation — The 
British Workman, and Friend of the Sons of Toil — 
Kingsley's Glaucus : or, The Wonders of the Shore — 
Douglass's Passing Thoughts — Constable's Miscellany 
of Foreign Literature : — Wanderings in Corsica. Trans- 
lated from Gregorovius by Muir. Vols. I. and 11. — 
Chronicles of Wolfert's Roost, and other Papers. By 
Washington Irving. Author's Edition — Ferrier's In- 
stitutes of Metaphysics : the Theory of Knowing and 



Being — Holden's History of the Colony of Natal, South 
Africa. To which is added a Brief History of the 
Orange-River Sovereignty. With Maps and Illustra- 
tions — Tait's Meditationes Hebraicae : or, Doctrinal and 
Practical Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the 
Hebrews, in a Series of Lectures. New and enlarged 
Edition — Guizot's Meditations and Moral Reflections. 
Translated by the late Marquis of Ormonde — Muspratt's 
Chemistry, Theoretical, Practical, and Analytical, as 
applied and relating to the Arts and Manufactures 521 



APEIL, 1855. 

Art. I. — 1. Geschichte der neu-manichmschen Ketzer, u. s. w. 
(History of the new Manichcean Heretics. By Dr. Chris- 
topher Ulrich Hahn.) Stuttgart^ 1845. 

2. (Review of the foregoing Work, by Schmidt, in the Jena) 
Allgemeine Litter atur -Zeitung . March, 1846. 

3. Histoire et Doctrine de la Secte des Cathares ou Albigeois. 
(History and Doctrine of the Sect of the Cathari or Albi- 
genses. By C. Schmidt, Professor in the Protestant Faculty 
of Theology at Strasbnrg. Two Vols. Paris and Geneva, 

4. (Review of the foregoing, by Hahn, in the) Studien und 
Kritiken (for 1852. Part IV.) 

5. Ein Katharisches Ritual. ( C at haric Ritual. Edited by Pro- 
fessor CuNiTz, in Vol. IV. of Miscellanies published by the 
Theological Society of Strasburg, 1852.) 

6. (Articles by Professor Reuss, on the Vaudois and Catharic 
Versions of the Bible, in the Strasburg) Revue de Theologie. 
(December, 1852, and February, 1853.) 

7. Histoire du Pape Innocent HI. (Hurter^s History of Pope 
Innocent III. Translated from the German by M. de 
Saint-Cheron.) Bruxelles. 

8. Histoire de la Croisade contre les Heretiques Albigeois. (His- 
tory of the Crusade against the Albigenses, in Provencal 
Poetry. By William of Tudela. Edited by Fauriel. 
Paris, 1837.) 

The sympathies of every true Protestant are naturally enlisted 
on the side of all the victims of mediaeval Papal persecution, 
without exception. We admire the courage of men who dared 



The Albigenses or Cathari. 

to brave the resentment of tlie Hierarchy, at a time when the 
doing so involved the sacrifice of fortune and life and honour; 
we recognise in the tortm^ed prisoners of the Inquisition the 
champions of our own dearest rights; our every feeling of 
humanity is outraged by the spectacle of the perfidies and 
studied cruelties by which Home achieved her triumphs, — the 
persevering, vigilant, and implacable hatred with which she 
l)ursued her adversaries. Hence, when ecclesiastical historians 
of all parties tell us that some of those persecuted sectaries 
were really heretics, who rejected at once the divinity and the 
real humanity of our Lord, attributed the creation to a malig- 
nant deity, and blasphemed the God of the Old Testament, 
one^s first impression is to reject the accusation as a calumny. 
If Roman Catholic writers do not hesitate frequently to attri- 
bute to the Reformers sentiments they never uttered, though 
their voluminous works are extant to confute the charge, how 
much more readily, may we suspect, has a malignant imagina- 
tion given itself scope in the case of men, from whose ashes 
no voice of rectification or apology can be heard, since their 
writings have perished with their persons ! 

On a first view, many considerations present themselves to 
confirm our doubts. Not only does the Manichseism of the 
Albigenses appear to rest essentially upon the testimony of their 
persecutors ; it must be added, that testimony is not always con- 
sistent with itself. The heretics of the 'South of France are 
accused by some of condemning marriage, and by others of 
marrying within prohibited degrees of kindred ; they are accused 
of rejecting the Old Testament, and yet one of their offences 
was the translating great parts of it into the vidgar tongue, 
and the committing them to memory; they are said to have 
despised sacraments, and yet were detected administering some- 
thing very like the Lord's Supper in their conventicles ; we are 
told, in the same breath, that they would not shed the blood 
of animals, and that they repeatedly assassinated Inquisitors. 
There are, it is true, innumerable confessions of Manichsean 
doctrine attributed to sufferers at their trials, and at the stake ; 
but we know that the torture was generally employed to make 
the accused condemn themselves, and it is easy to conceive that 
unfortunate beings under such circumstances might be brought, 
like Topsy, in " Uncle Tom^s Cabin," to confess any thing that 
came into their own or their interlocutors' heads ; and there 
were certainly instances in which persons were tortured into 
the admission of doctrines which they had at first disavowed. 
A prosecution of Cathari at Arras in 1025 furnishes one such 
case, and that of Yezelay, in 1167, another. 

As early as the year 1595, we find a French Protestant, Jean 
Chassanion, of Monistrol, in Velay, — one of the very regions 
which had been watered by the blood of the Albigenses, — dedi- 

The Albigenses distinct from the Vaudois. 


eating to the Princess Catlierine of Navarre a book^ in wliicli 
he identifies the Albigenses with the Vaudois_, treats them as 
martyrs for the truth^s sake_, and asserts that they had never 
held the errors attributed to them. The learned Basnage, 
and Abbadie,, and Beansobre^ the celebrated author of the " His- 
tory of Manicheeism/^ maintained the same view : so did the 
Vaudois historians of the seventeenth century, Perrin and Leger. 
Even Voltaire_, in his hostility to Popery, tells the readers of his 
Essay Stir les Mceurs et VEsprit des Nations, that the Mani- 
chseans, Vaudois, or Lollards, (!) were the remains of the primi- 
tive Christians of Gaul. In England, Jones, Blair, and most 
other writers on the subject, have assumed both the orthodoxy 
of the Albigenses, and their identity with the Vaudois. Mr. 
Stanley Faber, in particular, so late as 1838, earnestly endea- 
voured to defend them against the accusation of dualistic 

On the other hand, almost all the writers of the Middle Ages 
agree in distinguishing between the two sects, or, rather, groups 
of sects, and in imputing Manichsean principles to that which 
was the most widely spread of the two in South-Eastern Em-ope, 
in Italy, and in France. Bossuet and Fleury urged the unani- 
mity of this testimony against the Protestant writers of their 
own time. The learned Limborch, when editing the Records 
of the Inquisition of Toulouse, which had fallen into his hands, 
confesses its perusal had changed his opinion, and convinced 
him of the Manichsean character of the theology of the Albi- 
genses. Mosheim adopted the same side of the controversy; 
and he has been followed by all the ecclesiastical historians of 
Germany, including Neander, Gieseler, and those especially who 
have devoted their labours to the sects of the Middle Ages, as 
Hahn, Schmidt, Herzog, &c. 

Notwithstanding all our first impressions to the contrary, we 
have been unwillingly obliged to adopt the conclusions of the 
latter class of writers. The monks and Inquisitors of the 
twelfth and thkteenth centuries were under no necessity of 
accusing their victims of Manichj3eism, if the charge were false ; 
for the Church of Rome was all-powerful, and those who resisted 
her claims and her doctrines from the most simple evangelical 
motives, were sent out of the world as readily and as mercilessly 
as those who were accused of departing altogether from the 
ground of Christian theism. Moreover, the decrees of Councils, 
the manuals of Inquisitors, and the polemical treatises of Roman 
CathoHc writers of the Middle Ages, with some exceptions, give 
a tolerably correct idea of the doctrine of the Waldenses, as 
can be ascertained by the still remaining literature of that 
interesting people : it is natural, therefore, to suppose that their 
account of other contemporaneous heresies is faithful in the 
main. Those documents, be it remembered, were many of them 

B 2 

4 The Alhigenses or Cathari. 

intended exclusively for the use of the persecutors themselves : 
the Annals of the Inquisitions of Toulouse and Carcassonne 
are among the most important^ and they were surely never 
meant by their authors to meet any other eyes than those of 
their fellows and successors in the Holy Office. The polemical 
compositions of Magister Alanus^ (close of the twelfth century,) 
Stephen de Bellavilla, (middle of the thirteenth century,) Eckbert 
of Schonau, (close of the twelfth century,) were intended for the 
sole use of the Clergy : even the historical works of Peter of 
Vaux-Cernay, (a.d. 1218,) and William de Puy-Laurens, (a.d. 
1272,) were also at first written in Latin, and of course destined 
for those only who could read that language. Indeed, at that 
period there existed no reading public, except in the South of 
France itself, and no language of modern origin was used for 
literary purposes, except the Provencal; so that it could not 
be the purpose of the ecclesiastical writers to mislead their 
readers. Some of those above mentioned are credulous in the 
extreme; but there is apparently less intentional perversion of 
historical truth than we see among Roman Catholic historians, 
since the development of the several modern languages, the dis- 
covery of printing, and the impulse of the Reformation have 
brought a reflecting public into existence. The most elaborate 
work against the Cathari is that written about the year 1190, 
by Moneta, a Dominican and Inquisitor of Cremona : it was the 
result of his long experience, and intended to direct his brethren 
in their interrogations, and in their discussions with heretics. 
Moneta quotes the writings of some of the principal Catharic 
Doctors, and his detailed and laboured refutations throughout 
five books are ample proof of the real existence of the doctrines 
he combats. 

A treatise, composed in the Provencal dialect by the Trouba- 
dour, Pierre Raimond, of Toulouse, against the errors of the 
Arians, as he called them, would have been a high authority 
on this subject; but it has been unfortunately lost. We still 
possess eight hundred lines of another orthodox Provencal poet, 
Isarn, on the conversion of an heretical teacher, Sicard. It 
is a foolish and violent production, but leaves no room for 
doubt that the sectaries against whom it was directed, asserted 
the unlawfulness of marriage, the transmigration of souls, the 
creation of the material world by a malignant Deity, and the 
other doctrines generally attributed to them. The poetical 
History of the Crusade against the Alhigenses, by a contemporary, 
William of Tudela, printed for the first time by Fauriel, in 1837, 
from the only remaining manuscript, is, in many respects, the 
most remarkable memorial of its times. The author is a par- 
tisan of the Count of Toulouse : he is an ardent adversary of 
the Crusaders, and expresses the most lively indignation at the 
outrages perpetrated upon the population of the South; yet 

Recantations of certain Dualists. 


lie never intimates that the doctrinal views of the Albigenses 
had been either misrepresented or exaggerated. Passing from 
those grave witnesses to another kind of evidence,, it seems 
incontestable that^ both in France and Germany, a popular 
method of detecting faith in the metempsychosis was the 
summoning suspected persons to put to death a chicken, or 
some other domestic animal : those who refused to do so were 
self- convicted, without any further form of trial. This sum- 
mary test was put in practice by the suite of the Emperor 
Henry III., spending his Christmas at Goslar in 1052, and it 
was afterwards adopted by the Inquisition in Languedoc. It evi- 
dently would have been utterly useless, unless there really existed 
some superstitious repugnance to putting animals to death. 

The only known literary relic of the Albigenses is a manu- 
script in the library of the Palais des Arts at Lyons. It consists 
of a translation of the New Testament, in a Provengal dialect 
closely related to the Spanish, and a liturgical Appendix. A 
most interesting description of the former, and extracts from it, 
collated with corresponding passages of the old Waldensian 
version, are to be found in the contributions of Professor Reuss 
to the Strasburg Review. Nothing, it seems, in this translation 
would suggest the heterodoxy of its authors : that it should 
contain the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans, will surprise 
no one who is acquainted with the unsettled state of opinion in 
the mediaeval Church with respect to this Epistle. It is the 
appended Ritual which betrays the Catharic origin of the manu- 
script, and that more by its formulas for certain religious acts, 
than by any positive doctrinal statements. It interprets, 
however, Jude 23 in a dualistic sense, and applies a series 
of passages to the baptism of the Spirit in such a way as tacitly 
to exclude water baptism. The loss of the writings of those 
Cathari who remained faithful to the sect, is in some measure 
compensated by the information obtained through others 
who reconciled themselves with the Church of Rome. Thus 
Bonacursus of Milan, who addressed a tract against heresy to 
the people of that city about the year 1190, had himself been a 
zealous preacher of the doctrines he now refuted. Ermengaud, 
Abbot of Saint Gilles, who wrote a short and purely biblical 
refutation of Dualism towards the close of the twelfth, or begin- 
ning of the thirteenth, century, had also been an heretical leader. 
Reinerius Sacchoni had been seventeen years a teacher among 
the Italian branch of the Cathari before he became their 
persecutor; and his famous Summa,'^ written in 1250, is so little 
intended for the laity, that he exposes the principal points of the 

* A manuscript of this work, found in Bavaria, and published by the Jesuit Gretser 
in 1613, contains a great deal of additional matter, by an anonymous author, who does 
not distinguish his interpolations from the original. This edition is generally quoted 
under the title, " Pseudo-Reinerius." 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

heretical theology, without attempting to refute them. Even 
simple recantations have been handed down from those ages, 
bearing the stamp of sincerity : thus Durand of Huesca, a 
contemporary of Ermengaud, had disbelieved in the Trinity, and 
in the real humanity of Christ. Our information about the 
dualistic heretics is complete enough to enable us to ascertain 
the characteristics of the different schools into which they were 
divided, the phases through which their theology passed at dif- 
ferent times and in different countries, and the arguments, whe- 
ther taken from reason or Scripture, which they were in the habit 
of putting forward ; and it is impossible not to feel that we have 
before us real phenomena in the history of the human mind, 
and earnest attempts to fasten upon the Bible a false view of the 
divine conduct and of human nature. Thus we are told, they 
pleaded the tempter^s offer of the kingdoms of the world to 
Jesus, (Matt. iv. 9,) and the expressions, Prince of this world," 
(John xiv. 30,) " My kingdom is not of this world," (John xviii. 
36,) as proofs that Satan was really lord of this creation. When 
Jesus speaks in another place of plants which his Heavenly Eather 
had not planted, (Matt. xv. 13,) it is clear to them that there must 
be a second creator. The two masters are radically opposed, 
(Matt. vi. 24,) and must therefore be both eternal. When it is 
said, "Ye are of your father the devil," (John viii. 44,) they 
understand it literally and materially. In the same way, they 
found means to establish a perpetual and profound contrast 
between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New. 
The former, said they, began His work by chaos and darkness ; 
while the latter is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." The 
former created man, male and female; while "in Christ Jesus 
there is neither male nor female." The God of the Old Testa- 
ment says, " I will put enmity between thee and the woman ;" 
the God of the New Testament reconciles all things to Himself. 
The one curses, and the other blesses. The one repents of what 
He has made ; the other is the author of nothing but what is 
good and perfect. (Gen. i. 2 ; 1 John i. 5 ; Gen. i. 27 ; Gal. iii. 
28; Gen. iii. 15; Col. i. 20; Gen. vi. 7; James i. 17.) The 
God of the Old Testament puts His creatures in the way of 
temptation; He often betrays a forgetfulness which is incon- 
sistent with omniscience, and is repeatedly cruel and vindictive. 

Contemporaneous writers, synods, and tribunals, not only 
distinguish between the Waldenses, or orthodox sectaries, and 
the Cathari, but tell us that both parties were engaged in con- 
tinual controversy with each other. Stephen de Bellavilla says 
that the Waldenses called the Cathari " demons." It appears 
that some ignorant Priests used even to put the Vaudois forward 
to dispute with the Manichseans, because they were conscious of 
their own incapacity to do so. The remains of Waldensian 
literature still in our hands enable us to substantiate the fact 

The Distinction confirmed by Waldensian Documents. 7 

of their polemical attitude towards Manichsean heretics, and 
furnisli thereby a final proof, if such were needed, of the 
contemporaneous existence of the latter. The poem called " Lo 
Payre eternal^^ (MS. Dublin University, printed in Hahn's 

Waldenses^^) seems to be the confession of one who, after 
trying in vain to find peace and spiritual life among Manichseans, 
had at last embraced the doctrine of the Waldenses : it dwells 
especially on the Trinity, the reality of the Incarnation, and the 
identity of the God of the New and Old Testaments. The 

NoBLA Leyczon," that oldest monument of the faith of the 
Waldenses, and frequently printed, is pervaded by a strain of 
indirect controversy on this order of subjects : it proclaims the 
unity of God, and His creation of the world; it justifies the 
destruction of Sodom and the judgments inflicted upon the 
Egyptians, against those who pretended that God made people 
only to let them perish ; it lays stress on the charitable precepts 
of the Law, on the nine months spent by the Saviour in the 
Virgin^ s womb, on His baptism, and on the liberty of the human 
will. " Li Articles de la fe" (MS. Geneva and Dublin, printed 
by Hahn) is a sort of brief Confession of Faith repeated by the 
Waldensian Ministers at their ordination. It is very positive 
about the creation of all things visible and invisible by the Holy 
Trinity, and on the di\dne character and holiness of the Law 
given to Moses, and adds, " It is a deadly sin to affirm that Christ 
was not born of the Virgin.^^ A remarkable Commentary, in 
verse, on the Song of Solomon, Cantica,^^ (MS. Geneva,) is still 
more explicit : it says, that the true holy Church has to contend 
with both heretics and bad Catholics ; it gives glory to God that 
many had been called to the true faith from the errors of Egypt 
and the darkness of heresy, — " las tenebras de li hereges;^' it speaks 
of using the sword of the word against the errors of heretics, and 
says, that these, " and those whose names ye know,^^ (doubtless 
the Priests and monks,) are the little foxes that spoil the grapes. 
'^^The streets in which the bride seeks her beloved without 
finding him, are the different sects of heretics ; for, as there are 
streets in a town, so in this world there are different sects and 
churches of wicked men,^^ — " gleisas de li malignant.'^ The com- 
parison is carried so far, that the worldly and indifferent are put 
in the open places of the city, while the heretics, leading a more 
ascetic life, — la vita plus streyta'^ — are the narrow streets ! 
The same poem speaks expressly of " the error of those who say 
that Christ is not a real man, and has not taken real flesh ; it 
sweetly applies the language of the bride, " My beloved speaks 
with me,^^ to that close intercourse with the Saviour which a 
true faith in His person alone admits of; and it uses the 
exclamation, " Turn away thine eyes from me,^^ (Cant. vi. 4,) as a 
text for a protestation against the spirit of proud and unhealthy 
speculation in which the heretics indulged. The tract Tribu- 


The Albigenses or Cathari, 

LAciONs/' (MS. Dublin, printed in part by Hahn,) written in 
the thirteenth century, reproaches the Roman Catholics with 
their cruelty towards others as well as the Vaudois themselves, 
and shows, from the parable of the tares, that even the bad are 
not to be exterminated by violence. 

The Waldenses appear to have been constantly in contact 
with the Cathari, to have established themselves frequently in 
the same regions, and to have shared in the same persecutions ; 
but they increased in numbers, in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, in proportion as their fellow- sufferers diminished ; and 
it is remarkable that the French Albigenses, in their adversity, 
never sought refuge in the strongholds of the Waldenses, but in 
other countries rather, — in Lombardy, in Sicily, and in Illyria. 

There exists a natural and, upon the whole, a just prejudice 
in favour of every cause which has been ennobled by martyrdom ; 
but when we consult the records of religious intolerance, we 
find innumerable instances of the Roman Catholic, the Socinian, 
the Jew, and even the Mussulman, sealing their convictions 
with their blood. Such high resolve is never wholly lost. The 
martyr for the worst of faiths proves that, for man's inmost 
being, the claims of religion are paramount to every other ; but 
he does not prove the truth of the particular religion for which 
he died. With the evidence before us, it is impossible to 
maintain the orthodoxy of the Albigenses as a body. We can still 
revere in their persons sufferers for man's dearest and most 
fundamental liberty, — the right to confess and worship God 
according to his conscience. They resisted the most impious 
usurpation that can be perpetrated under heaven, — the attempt 
of a religious corporation to treat mankind as its chattels, and to 
impose its faith with the sword, the rack, and the brand. But 
we cannot believe they made a felicitous use of the liberty they 
so heroically asserted. The inconsistencies we mentioned, that 
strike one on the first perusal of the charges against those 
sectaries, are easily disposed of. Some of them arise from a 
confounding of Waldenses and Albigenses ; others, from the not 
distinguishing between the extreme asceticism which the latter 
required of their formally received members or perfects j and the 
comparative licence allowed to those who were only hearers or 
disciples. A third source of misunderstanding is the fact that, 
while the mitigated Dualists of Illyria and Italy (of whom more 
hereafter) rejected the Old Testament altogether, the absolute 
Dualists of France and Italy only rejected the historical books, 
receiving the Prophets, Psalms, Job, Solomon, and the Wisdom 
of Sirach : this last was in especial favour, because of a passage 
(xlii. 25) which was understood to confirm their doctrine. Even 
the party who represented the Prophets as messengers of the 
evil one, thought that God sometimes constrained them to 
utter true oracles ; and they accounted in this rude way for the 

Origin of the Cathari. 


Messianic prophecies, and in general for all those passages of 
the Old Testament which are quoted in the New. 

While the evangelical dissent of the Middle Ages was of 
indigenous origin_, their Manichseism was imported from the 
East, as is attested by the G reek term Kadapol,^ ^' Puritans/' 
by which its adepts were designated. Some poor creatures who 
were burnt at Cologne in 1146, said that their doctrine had been 
preserved in Greece from the times of the Apostles; and this 
tradition seems to have been general. A trace of the early 
preponderance of Sclavonian Catholicism over that of other 
countries is perceptible in the fact, that the three principal 
orders or schools of the sect were called, respectively, the 
Tragurian, (from Trau, a Dalmatian sea-port,) the Bulgarian, 
and the Sclavonian. At the Council of St. Felix, (near 
Toulouse,) in 1167^ the French and Italians present submitted 
to the decisions of the Catharic Bishop of Constantinople, 
because he was supposed to be more cognisant of the traditions 
of the primitive Church. Schmidt and Reuss observe that the 
use of the Doxology at the end of the Lord^s Prayer by the 
Cathari is a feature of resemblance to the Greek and Sclavo- 
nian Liturgies ; it is wanting in the Vulgate of Matt. vi. 13, and 
is not used by the Church of Rome. However, Schmidt's 
supposition that the Albigensian version of the New Testament 
was not made after the Vulgate, but after an original Greek 
text, has not been confirmed by the examination of the manu- 
script of Lyons. The apocryphal books received in the sect 
were of Greek origin, being the old Gnostic " Vision of Isaiah,'' 
and a pretended conversation between our Lord and St. John. 
The name Bulgare, and by contraction Bougre, frequently given 
to heretics in France, and associated with the foulest calumnies, 
is no certain proof of their Oriental origin ; for it does not occur 
before the thirteenth century, and may have been brought from 
the East by crusaders who had met with Dualists there. The 
same remark applies to another cmTcnt term of reproach, 
Poblicans, which is understood to be a corruption of Paulicians. 

We hope, at a future period, to study the history of the 
Waldenses, but must confine ourselves, for the present, to 
their heterodox contemporaries. The origin of the Cathari is 
shrouded in mystery. Many writers have supposed them to be 
the lineal representatives of the Manichees of the third and 
fourth centuries ; but Schmidt, who is certainly the most judi- 
cious writer on this subject, has shown this opinion to be 
inadmissible. The heresy of the Middle Ages is a much simpler 
and more popular system than the subtle religious philosophy 
of Manes ; it is altogether devoid of the mythological elements 

* Hence, by corruption, the German Ketzer, applied to all heretics. 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

which that heresiarch borrowed from the religion of Persia,, 
and contains no astronomical or cosrnogonical fables as the 
envelope of metaphysical ideas. According to the Manichees, 
the creation is the result of the union of the soul of the world 
with matter ; while the Cathari taught that the whole material 
creation was exclusively the work of the evil principle. Above 
all, there is among them no trace of the profound personal 
reverence for Manes, and worship of his memory, which was 
one essential characteristic of the genuine Manichees, who 
looked upon their founder as the Paraclete promised by Jesus 
to His disciples. The Priscillianists succeeded the Manichees 
in the West, and the Paulicians in the East; yet these latter, 
properly Syrian Gnostics, execrated Manes. The Paulicians 
were thought by Mosheim, Gibbon, and Maitland, to have 
been the immediate religious ancestors of the Cathari. It is 
well known that numbers of those religionists were transplanted 
into Thrace by Constantine Copronymus, about the middle of 
the eighth century ; and Petrus Siculus, who visited the Pauli- 
cians of Armenia about 870, was informed of an intended 
mission to strengthen their exiled brethren, and to tempt the 
infant faith of the Bulgarians. Yet the Paulicians had no rites 
or ceremonies whatever, no ecclesiastical or hierarchical orga- 
nization; they were strangers to ascetic abstinence from 
animal food, and did not condemn marriage. Such radical 
differences as these will not allow us to suppose the heterodox 
movement of southern and western Europe to have been a 
simple transplantation of Asiatic Paulicianism, though this 
sect may have contributed in some measure — more or less 
directly — to the formation of Catharism. The fact seems to 
be, that Dualism manifested itself in Christendom at different 
periods, under various successive and independent forms. 
Imperfect and superficial reflection on the relation of the world 
to God, and on the origin of evil, can so naturally arrive at the 
doctrine of two opposite principles, — one, the Father of spirits 
and Author of all good; the other, the author of matter and 
of evil, — that we are not obliged to suppose the doctrine was 
transmitted ready-made from pre-existing sects. There is a 
strong tendency in human nature to transfer sin from the 
real self — from the moral man — to a something else immedi- 
ately without and around him : the physical laws of his own 
material nature and of the world are treated as intrinsically 
evil, or leading to evil, while the true culprit — ^his selfish and 
rebellious will — escapes detection. This is the principle of 
all the austerities of Paganism. A dark instinct of a state of 
abnormal and dangerous antipathy to God leads the devotee 
to take vengeance in time upon that part of himself which is 
outside, and which may be hardly treated, and even tortured, 
at far less cost than the renewal of the spirit of his mind, and 

Spread of Dualism amongst the Sclavonians. 11 

the bringing of his whole inner man back to gravitate towards 
God_, instead of turning upon itself. Manes endeavoured to 
unite Christianity and the noblest form of Oriental Paganism 
in his brilliant and elaborately constructed speculative system. 
The Church repulsed the heresiarch because of his personal 
pretensions^ his rival Hierarchy^ and his too open importations 
from the religion of Persia ; but it was not the less profoundly 
modified by the tendencies which it nominally rejected. Monas- 
ticism in Syria and Egypt was the direct result of the contact 
of degenerating Christianity with Pagan habits of thought. 
The idea that abstinence from food was meritorious in itself, 
the notion of impurity attached to the sexual relation, the 
growing tendency to look upon marriage as a state less holy 
than celibacy, — these were so many triumphs of the invading 
Pagan conception. The errors and extravagancies of the 
ascetic life were especially prevalent in the Eastern Church. 
Schmidt quotes authorities to show that remembrances of 
Manichseism were long kept up in Oriental convents, and also 
that sundry Greek monks, in their solitude, imagined they had 
constantly to struggle with the devil, whose power they 
magnified until they put him almost on a rank with God. Here 
were incoherent beginnings of Dualism, which only required 
favourable conditions to become a regularly developed and 
proselytizing system ; and those conditions were presented by 
the state of the southern Sclavonic population, during the 
ninth and tenth centuries. The Christians of Moravia, Bo- 
hemia, Croatia, and Dalmatia, were then upon the frontier 
between the Greek and Latin Churches. The majority had 
connected themselves with Rome, and their Apostles, Metho- 
dius and Cyril, had obtained for them, from Pope John VIII., 
permission to use the Liturgy in their native tongue, instead 
of Latin : but this permission was soon recalled, edicts were 
made by several successive Popes against the use of the Scla- 
vonic tongue and peculiar national rites, and those Priests 
who persisted in their use were driven into Bulgaria, where they 
were received as martyrs. Many convents long persisted in 
secret in the use of the national Liturgy, and underwent 
persecution when the practice was discovered : thus the monks 
of Sasawa, near Prague, were twice expelled from their convent 
during the course of the eleventh century, and were accused 
of heresy as well as of inordinate attachment to their language. 
We can easily conceive that communities at once forcibly 
separated from the East and irritated against the West, with 
a foreign and domineering Clergy as the representatives of 
orthodoxy, must have been peculiarly susceptible of originating 
or entertaining heretical speculations. 

We know that, during the Middle Ages, when the real 
attractive power of the Gospel was so little understood, the 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

rude missionary endeavoured to lay hold of the imagination of 
his auditors by images of terror, and the devil was frequently 
the principal subject of his preaching. This abuse led some 
of the Sclavonian Pagans, during the interval between their 
undisturbed faith in their national mythology and their 
conversion to Christianity, to add to the worship of a 
supremely good being that of a supremely evil one, under the 
name of Czernebog, (Black God,) or Diabol. They actually 
borrowed the devil, before they received the Saviour, of 
Christian theology ! When people under such impressions 
abandoned their old idolatry, and became outwardly attached 
to the Christian Church, they must have offered a propitious 
soil for the dualistic scheme. 

However originated, Catharic Dualism found its way through 
Bosnia and Dalmatia into Italy, and thence into France, towards 
the close of the tenth century. A small current also reached 
North Germany through Hungary. We know little about its 
success in Greece, except that, in 1097, the Crusaders of the 
army of Bohemond, Prince of Tarentum, when passing through 
Macedonia, were told that the population of Pelagonia was 
entirely composed of heretics. They surprised the city, and 
butchered its inhabitants, without even acquainting themselves 
with the nature of the errors they punished so fearfully. The 
presumption that this ill-fated people were Cathari, is strength- 
ened by the fact, that, in the following century, a Bishopric of 
the sect existed in Macedonia. The first public appearance of 
the Dualists in Italy was between the years 1030 and 1035. The 
Countess of Monteforte, near Turin, protected for many years 
one Girard, an enthusiastic teacher, who reckoned many noble 
families of Lombardy among his partisans; but the castle of 
Monteforte being besieged and taken by Heribert, Archbishop 
of Milan, Girard and his brethren were burnt to death upon an 
immense pile at Milan. In France there was an earlier indirect 
intimation of their presence, in a paragraph of a Confession of 
Faith published by Gerbert, so far back as 991, upon his election 
to the Archbishopric of Rheims : " I believe that the devil is 
not bad by nature, but by an act of his will ; that the Old and 
New Testaments have one and the same Author; that Jesus 
Christ has really suffered, did really die and rise again ; that 
neither marriage nor the use of meat are to be condemned.^' 
We find Girald, Bishop of Limoges, endeavouring to stop the 
progress of the new Manichseans in 1012. Many of them were 
put to death at Toulouse in 1022. The chronicles of the time 
attribute the first diffusion of the error to strangers from Italy, 
and complain that it was spread through all the provinces of 
Gaul. In this same year (1022) an execution of heretics at 
Orleans attracted the attention of the whole kingdom. Almost 
all the Canons of the CoUegial Church of Sainte-Croix in that 

Religious Excitement in the Twelfth Century. 13 

city had adopted Manichsean notions, which were propagated in 
secret by Lisoi and Etienne, two zealous, able, and popular 
Priests. King Robert, having had secret information about 
their doings, sent an emissary to Orleans, a Norman Knight, 
who, by pretending to become a proselyte, procured admission 
into the nocturnal meetings of the heretics, and afterwards 
denounced them. A Synod was then held before the Arch- 
bishop of Sens, with the King and Queen in person. The 
assembled Prelates having condemned the heretics. Queen Con- 
stance struck Etienne — who had once been her own Confessor — 
with her cane upon the face, and put out his eye ; then the two 
leaders, with Herbert, Chaplain to the before-mentioned Norman 
Knight, and ten Canons, w^ere burned to death outside the gate 
of the city. Three years later there were similar executions of 
Italian Missionaries and their adherents at Arras. During the 
rest of the eleventh century, the menaces and excommunications 
of local Councils, and passing records of the zeal of particular 
Bishops, indicate from time to time the existence of proscribed 
religionists in the South of France. We may notice an order 
of Pope Alexander II. to the Prior of the Hospital at Beziers, to 
refuse sepulture to the bodies of persons dying out of the com- 
munion of the Church, and to have those who were abeady buried 
dug up, — a disgusting exhibition of sacerdotal vengeance, which 
was afterwards exercised towards the remains of Protestants, 
and has only got into disuse within the last hundred and fifty 

The beginning of the twelfth century was marked by an 
increase in the opposition to the Church of Rome. Pierre de 
Bruys, who began to preach in 1106, and his disciple Henri 
after him, filled the whole South with their doctrine. They 
seem to have been men of God, who preached the study of the 
Scriptures, rejecting the baptism of infants, and the magical 
effect of the sacraments of Rome ; and their labours were con- 
nected with the evangelical party, afterwards called Waldenses, 
rather than with the Cathari ; but their popularity, by weaken- 
ing the influence of the Church, encouraged the resistance of all 
its other enemies to such an extent, that, in 1119, Pope Calixtus 
11. thought it necessary to come to Toulouse in person, and hold 
a Council, which anathematized the various classes of heretics, 
ordered the secular power to proceed against them, and con- 
demned as their accomplices all who should venture to defend 
them. In 1147, Alberic, Cardinal of Ostia and Legate of Euge- 
nius III., accompanied St. Bernard through the South of France, 
in order to preach against heretics : they found the churches 
deserted, the Priests dismissed or neglected, the people of the 
towns especially and the nobles given to heresy ; and the latter, 
even when not belonging themselves to any of the reigning 
sects, protected them against the persecution of the higher 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

Clergy. In other parts of France and the neighbouring coun- 
tries there were isolated religious insurrections,, headed by- 
fanatics who advanced extravagant personal pretensions, and 
drew multitudes after them, chiefly because the ignorance and 
vices of the Clergy made earnest minds feel that they could not 
be safe spiritual guides. One Tanquelin, a layman in the 
habit of a monk, heading a troop of enthusiasts, made himself 
practically master of Antwerp, and maintained himself there for 
years in spite of Bishops and Barons, until he fell by the hand 
of a Priest in 1125. One Eudes de Sella, who said that he was 
a chosen instrument to judge the living and the dead, encamped 
with his followers in the forests of Brittany, until, driven from 
place to place by the troops sent against him, he was at last 
shut up as a madman in the archiepiscopal prison of Rheims 
(1148). Evidently there was a spirit of religious excitement 
abroad, an instinctive search after a something better than 
existing forms ; but the elements which favoured the enlightened 
piety of the real Reformation, four hundred years later, were 
then wanting. There was no restoration of learning, no general 
development of the intellect, and, above all, there were no means 
of popular diflusion of the Scriptures, no presses to print the 
Bible, and few able to read the limited number of MSS. that 

The last half of the twelfth century is termed by Schmidt 
" the period of organization,^^ during which the then widely- 
spread Cathari propagated their doctrines openly, increased 
their communications with each other, and parcelled out the 
districts in which they laboured into bishoprics with determined 
limits, and a regular jurisdiction. In France they were generally 
called Albigenses," because they abounded in the diocese of 
Alby, which was one of their own five dioceses in the South. 
They were also called " Weavers," because they were popular 
among the artisans of the cities. The Italians called them 
" Patarini," a local term of contempt, invented at Milan, from 
the quarter inhabited by rag-sellers, called " Patari," and other 
low trades, and which was at first applied to advocates for the 
celibacy of the Clergy, apart from all considerations of heresy or 
orthodoxy. The spirit of religious and political reformation 
awakened by Arnold of Brescia (1130) was favourable to the 
extension of the sect, and its adherents were very numerous in 
the north of Italy. In 1166, Galdinus, Archbishop of Milan, 
asserted — with some exaggeration, doubtless — that there were 
more heretics than Catholics in that city. In 1173 they were 
numerous enough at Florence to determine a change in the 
magistracy. They flourished at Viterbo and Orvieto, under the 
very sceptre of the Pope. In 1184 the presence at Verona of 
Pope Lucius III., of the Emperor, and of very many Princes 
and Prelates, did not hinder the continuance of their nightly 

Hostility to Rome in the South of France. 


meetings. The Council held on this occasion was the first to 
use the expression, " secular arm/' so appropriate to a power 
which only executes a sentence that it is not allowed to control. 
Most of the Clergy of Verona at this period could not repeat 
the Apostles' Creed ; and their immorality was, if possible, yet 
greater than their ignorance. Death-fires kindled at Cologne 
and at Bonn, in 1163, announced at once the presence of here- 
tics upon the Rhine, and the vigilance of their persecutors. At 
the former city the crowd who witnessed the execution were 
horror-struck at the sight of a young girl, who, though the 
judges wished to spare her, broke from the grasp of the officers, 
and threw herself into the flames, that she might perish with 
her teachers. One Gerard, with thirty Flemish disciples, men 
and women, tracked from place to place, tried to find an asylum 
in England (1159); but it was refused them. They were 
arrested at Oxford, branded with a hot iron key, — Rome's 
substitute for Peter's, — and turned abroad in an inclement 
winter to perish of cold and hunger ; for no man dared relieve 

However, it was essentially in Provence, Dauphine, and 
Languedoc that all forms of hostility to Rome found encourage- 
ment. France had first received the doctrine of the Cathari 
from Italy ; but she repaid the debt with such interest, that, at 
a time when there was but one Bishop on the south of the Alps 
for the indigenous members of the sect, there was another, for 
those of Provencal extraction, stationed at Verona. The sway 
of Arianism among the Visigoths, for some generations after 
they had settled at the foot of the Pyrenees, may have perpetu- 
ated some faint traditional antagonism to Rome ; but there can 
be no doubt that the comparatively advanced civilization of those 
provinces was the great determining cause of the spread of both 
the evangelical and the Manichsean doctrines. In no other part 
of the world, at that time, was there such general prosperity, 
and so much literary culture. As has been weU said, there every 
stately castle was a royal court in miniature. The spirit of 
chivalry, laying aside its terrors, had assumed a humane and 
graceful form; the vernacular dialect of Provence was already 
the language of the learned and polite, rich in all the lighter 
kinds of poetry; the citizens of the towns, generally emanci- 
pated from feudal domination, or at least from its evils, and 
enriched by commerce and manufactures, imitated the manners 
of the nobles, patronized, with equal zeal, the wandering Trou- 
badour, and jealously guarded their municipal liberties against 
the encroachments of the Prelates. The very frivolity that pre- 
vailed, and in which the Clergy largely shared, disposed serious 
minds all the more to embrace the austere life of the Cathari ; 
and even the worldly-minded looked with benevolence on the 
bons hommeSy as the heretical Doctors were called; compared 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

their humility and self-denial with the pride, avarice, and sen- 
suality of the Clergy ; and determined that, in their dying hour, 
they would address themselves to those apostolic men for the 
consolamentum, or "imposition of hands,^^ which was the rite 
of introduction into the sect, and by which the Cathari claimed 
to confer the Holy Ghost, and secure for the recipient eternal 
life. There reigned, among those alternately frivolous and 
devout children of the South, a spirit of tolerance which was 
altogether unknown to their contemporaries. The Mahometan 
and the Jew, as well as the Christian sectary, shared its bene- 
fits. The Arab physician or mathematician was welcome to 
Provence : it had its own Hebrew poets and philosophers. 

The primitive doctrine of the Cathari was the most absolute 
Dualism, the authors of good and evil being looked upon as both 
eternal, and the struggle between them eternal. It was believed 
that some souls had been created by the evil being, and, of 
course, would never be saved. Such were all atrocious crimi- 
nals, tyrants, persecutors, enemies of God and of His Church. 
Others, created by the good God, had been seduced from the hea- 
venly world above by Satan, who disguised himself, for the pur- 
pose, as an angel of beauty and light. These were condemned 
to expiate their offence in earthly bodies, and to pass from 
one body to another, sometimes even, as an additional punish- 
ment, assuming the shape of animals, until, at last, they should 
obtain deliverance from their terrestrial hell by being admitted 
into the true Church. The consolamentum re-unites the exiles 
to their guardian angels, (called " Holy Ghost,^-* or " Paraclete,") 
of whom there is a distinct one for every soul of heavenly crea- 
tion. St. Paul, in particular, had successively inhabited thirty- 
two bodies. Of course, there was to be no real resurrection. 
Jesus Christ, the highest of created beings, was sent from hea- 
ven to teach the captive spirits the secret of setting themselves 
free from the chains of matter and of evil. He came in an 
ethereal body, which had only the appearance of the human 
form ; for, as He said of Himself, He is " from above," (J ohn 
viii. 23,) or, as St. Paul said, "from heaven." (1 Cor. xv. 47.) 
He expressly denied having inherited any thing from his mother. 
(John ii. 4.) He had but the likeness of flesh. (Rom. viii. 3 ; 
Phil. ii. 8.) It was for this reason that He could walk upon the 
water ; and this was the glory revealed on the Mount of Trans- 
figuration. His death, not being real, was but an apparent 
triumph of the evil one. 

A tendency to mitigate this extreme Dualism showed itself in 
Bulgaria as early as the middle of the eleventh century. The 
Bogomiles, or "Friends of God," held the existence of one 
Supreme Being, whose eldest son, Satanael, transported by 
pride, became the author of evil ; while His younger son, Jesus, 
became the champion of good. The principal seat of this branch 

Insidious Nature of Manichceism. 


of the sect was at Philippopolis, where they were vei7 numerous 
in the twelfth eentmy, notwithstanding the persecutions of the 
Greek Emperors; but^ from this period forward, we hear no 
more of them. A kindred sect, or a variety of the same, having 
the same speculative ideas, but under a less mythological form, 
after absorbing most of the Cathari in Bulgaria, spread into 
Italy, where its adherents wefe called the " Order of Bulgaria " 
or " Concorezo," the Italian corruption of Coriza, in Dalmatia. 
The adherents of the primitive system were called the " Order 
of Tragurium,'^ from Trau, one of its oldest centres, and 
whence it had been first propagated in Italy. The Order of 
Concorezo held the doctrine of one only eternal and almighty 
God, who existed before the w^orld, and before evil. He created 
rudimentary matter, which was cast into its present shape, and 
made the vehicle of evil, by a fallen, but exceeding niighty, 
angel, who seduced a third of the heavenly host. While the 
absolute Dualists supposed all human souls had descended simul- 
taneously upon the earth, the mitigated Dualists made all man- 
kind descend, soul as well as body, from the primitive couple ; 
and so the doctrine of the metempsychosis disappeared from the 
system. The former could only hope for a partial triumph of 
good, when the Supremely Benevolent should succeed in with- 
drawing to Himself the souls of heavenly creation, and leave the 
world to the uncontrolled sway of its Prince ; the latter, on the 
contrary, hoped for a definitive triumph of good, and a final 
restitution of all things. Notwithstanding those elements of the 
mitigated system which should, apparently, have been more 
attractive, and, in a speculative point of view, more satisfactory, 
most of the Italian, and all the French, Cathari remained faith- 
ful to the rival and original conception, the predominance of 
w^hich was finally established at the Conference of St. Felix de 
Caraman, in 1167, in which Nicetas of Constantinople took 
part. A third, but less important, branch of the Cathari had 
its centre at Bagnolo, a little Lombard town. There were 
minor varieties, one of which held the immaculate conception 
of the Virgin, and so anticipated the decision which Pius IX. 
has just promulgated. Other schools shaded ofi" into various 
degrees of pantheistic spiritualism, remaining in external con- 
nexion with the Church, but carried away, by a sort of reaction 
against its lifeless, formalistic objectivity, into making Christ 
Himself a symbol, and His work an allegory. The Lueiferians, 
a sect of Germany V and of the East, thought Satan had been 
unjustly turned out of heaven. 

If any reader thinks it incredible that such strange theories 
of the universe should have exercised a mighty influence upon 
numbers of minds, and for a considerable period, we would refer 
him to the spread and duration of Gnosticism at first, and Mani- 
chseism afterwards, in a more intellectual age than that of the 

VOL. IV. NO. vii. c 


The Albigenses or Cathari 

Cathari. We would call his attention, further, to the astonish- 
ing extent to which the conceptions and practices of the primi- 
tive Catholic Church were modified by the heresies it professedly- 
rejected. Finally, we would ask him if there be no overt Mani- 
chaeism displayed, in our own day, in the false asceticism of the 
Puseyite ; and if there be no latent Manichseism in the views of 
the extremely opposite section of Protestants. Whence the 
tendency to treat human nature as intrinsically evil, not as 
merely subjected to evil ; to make human powers, physical and 
mental, evil in their use, and not merely in their abuse; to 
identify society and its institutions with '^'"the world," against 
which the Christian is forewarned ? No ; however it may dis- 
guise itself, and however its manifestations may be varied, that 
has ever been one and the same instinct of self-justification, 
hidden in the recesses of the heart, which treats sin as a some- 
thing external to the will, and, to a certain extent, inevitably 
imposed ; which makes holiness and faithfulness to God consist 
in something easier than the abdication of the idol, self. This 
insidious instinct stops at no sacrifices, provided it can maintain 
itself. It inspired the stern, " Touch not, taste not, handle not," 
of the earliest Gnostics of the apostolic times ; (Col. ii. 21 ;) and 
it has worked, with more or less intensity, in every age of the 
Christian Church. 

Though differing in their speculative views, and frequently 
hostile to each other, the practical part of Catharism was 
nearly identical in all its sects. Those who received the conso- 
lavnentum, and thereby became formally members of the com- 
munity, were called Perfects. They renounced all property and 
possession of worldly goods whatever. They engaged themselves 
to abstinence from animal food, and to non-resistance against 
violence. Above all, making no distinction between marriage 
and fornication, or concubinage, they looked upon all intercourse 
of the sexes as a continuation of Adam's sin. The use of fish 
was allowed, because it was thought to be procreated in a less 
unholy manner than the creature of the dry land. They had 
three fasts in the year, of forty days each ; and, on the last week 
of those Lents, no food was allowed but bread and water. No 
wonder that they were often detected by their paleness. Even 
St. Bernard reproaches them with it : ^' Pallent insuper orajeju- 
niis and Joachim, Abbot of Flora: ^' Tristes sunt omni tem- 
pore et fades eorum pallor e perpetuo deprimuntur." . They 

rejected the baptism of the Church of Rome, both because the 
hierarchy was not the true one, and because water was created 
by the evil god ; and yet, with some inconsistency, they substi- 
tuted the blessing and breaking of bread, without wine, for the 
Homish eucharist. Females who had received the consolamen- 
tum frequently retired into convents, where they occupied them- 
selves in the education of the young, or in the instruction of 

The recently discovered Ritual. 


women of riper years^ who prepared themselves for the same rite. 
The men were under obligation to travel from place to place, in 
order to spread their doctrines. They generally wore black rai- 
ment, and always kept about their persons a copy of the New 
Testament in a leathern bag. Their houses of prayer surprised 
the Roman Catholics, by the absence of all ornaments and 
images. Instead of the altar, there was a plain table, with a 
white cloth, and upon it a New Testament, always open at the 
first chapter of St. John^s Gospel. 

Even vrithin the last five years, when Schmidt wrote his 
excellent History, it was supposed that not a single page, penned 
by the Albigenses themselves, had escaped the diligent search 
of the Inquisition, and the general destruction of heretical 
books. Hence the discovery of the Hitual in the Lyons Manu- 
script is equally welcome and unexpected. It begins with the 
Lord^s prayer, the Doxology, and the first seventeen verses of St. 
John^s Gospel in Latin. Then follow in Proven9al : First, an 
act of confession; Secondly, an act of reception among the 
number of believers ; Thirdly, an act of reception among the 
number of Christians or Perfects ; Fourthly, some special direc- 
tions for the faithful ; and. Lastly, an act of consolation in case 
of sickness. The formula for the act of confession terminates 
with the following prayer : — 

" O thou holy and good Lord, all these things which happen to 
us, in our senses and in our thoughts, to thee we do manifest them, 
holy Lord ; and all the multitude of sins we lay upon the mercy of 
God, and upon holy prayer, and upon the holy Gospel ; for many are 
our sins. O Lord, judge and condemn the vices of the flesh ; have 
no mercy on the flesh born of corruption, but have mercy on the 
spirit placed in prison, and administer to us days and hours, and 
genuflexions, and fasts, and orisons, and preachings, as is the custom 
of good Christians, that we may not be judged nor condemned in the 
day of judgment with felons. 

The first degree of initiation, or the act of reception into the 
number of believers, is called "the delivery of the orison,^^ 
because a copy of the Lord^s Prayer was given to the neophyte. 
It begins thus : — 

"If a believer is in abstinence, and the Christians are agreed to 
dehver him the orison, let them wash their hands, and the believers 
present likewise. And then one of the hons Jiommes^ the one that 
comes after the Elder, is to make three bows to the Elder, and then 
to prepare a desk, (desc,) then three more bows, and then he is to put 
a napkin (touala) upon the desk, and then three more bows, and then 
he is to put the book upon the napkin, and then let him say the 
Benedicte, parcite nobis. And then let the believer make his salute, 
and take the book from the hand of the Elder. And the Elder must 
admonish him, and preach from fitting testimonies (that is, texts). 
And if the believer's name is Peter, he is to say : ' Sir Peter, you must 
understand that when 3'ou are before the Church of God, you are 

c 2 


The Alhigenses or Cathari. 

before the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. For the 
Church is called ' assembly ;' and where are the true Christians, there 
is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.'" 

The final initiation^ or consolamentum, is called " the baptism 
of the Spirit/^ Here is an extract from the formula of its 
celebration : — 

" Jesus Christ saj^s, in the Acts of the Apostles, that ' John surely 
baptized with water ; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.' 
This holy baptism of imposition of hands wrought Jesus Christ, 
according as St. Luke reports ; and He said that His friends should, 
work it, as rei)orts St. Mark : ' They shall lay hands on the sick, and 
they shall receive good.' And Ananias wrought this baptism on St. 
Paul when he was converted. And afterwards Paul and Barnabas 
wrought it in many places. And St. Peter and St. John wrought it 

on the Samaritans This holy baptism by which the Holy Spirit 

is given, the Church of God has had it from the Apostles until now. 
And it has come down from ho7is homines to hons hommes, and will do 
so to the end of the world." 

As might have been expected from the opposite geniuses of the 
East and the West, Oriental Catharism was the more subtle and 
mythological of the two. Gnostic and cosmogonic dreams 
occupied more room, and moral precepts were left in the second 
rank. Among the populations of the West, on the contrary, 
a practical tendency was dominant from the outset. Ascetic 
precepts, and opposition to the customs and to the hierarchy of 
the Church, exercised a greater influence than the speculative 
parts of the system, and a severe morality reigned. Thus the 
Bogomiles did not scruple telling lies to deceive their persecu- 
tors, while the Albigenses prescribed the most stern and unde- 
viating adherence to truth under all circumstances. It must not 
be forgotten, moreover, that the adversaries of those religionists 
necessarily fixed their attention upon those elements of their 
faith which were most opposed to common traditional Chris- 
tianity ; so that the heterodoxy of the Cathari takes up more 
space in the works of controversy which have come down to us, 
than it did in their own religious experience. Doubtless very 
many persons were sincerely attached to the sect, and found in 
its observances a sort of satisfaction for instinctive religious 
needs, without ventm'ing into the region of its metaphysics, 
or appropriating its deleterious principles. 

The natural efffect of a false and exaggerated spirituality is 
certainly to weaken the sensibility of the conscience with 
respect to those things toward which it ought to be exerted ; for 
when men put upon the same level gross sin and the legitimate 
use of God^s creatures, they are as likely to fall into the former, 
as to abstain from both. Hence we might expect a priori to 
see the professed austerity of the Cathari accompanied by a 
humiliating contrast in their moral conduct. And, indeed, one 

Why the attempted Reformation failed. 21 

of the sixteen dogmas attributed by the Inquisition at Carcas- 
sonne to the heretics of the neighbourhood^ would seem to con- 
firm our expectation : " Dicunt quod simplex fornicatio non est 
peccatum aliquodJ' This note_, made for the private use of the 
Inquisitors, had probably some foundation in fact : we may 
suppose that some one among the many sects into which the 
heretics of the South were divided, had fallen into immoral and 
antinomian tendencies. But this certainly was not the case 
with the Cathari as a body. Their contemporaries, friends, and 
enemies are unanimous in ascribing to them generally a purity 
of life, which stood in striking contrast with the manners of the 
age, and with the disorders of the Clergy in particular. The 
movement owed its strength, in a great measure, to a sincere 
horror of prevalent licentiousness ; and the number of persons 
who made full profession, by enrolling themselves among the 
Perfect, was so small, that we can understand that it was limited 
to those who were capable of living up to their austere calling. 
The strict morality of the sectaries was sometimes actually the 
means of their detection. Thus, at Rheims, in 1170, a Priest 
who made base proposals to a beautiful young girl, discovered, 
by the terms in which she repelled his addresses, that she 
belonged to a society who had bound themselves to perpetual 
chastity. Such was the temper of the times, that this wretch 
was not ashamed or afraid to give information of his discovery 
to his ecclesiastical superiors, knowing that, in their eyes, his 
zeal against heresy would more than counterbalance the crime 
he had contemplated. The innocent girl was burnt at the stake, 
becoming the victim of priestly cruelty for having refused to be 
that of priestly lust. 

The great practical evil resulting from the theoretical errors 
of the Cathari, was not so much any wrong they did, as *he good 
they left undone. It was an attempt at reformation or religious 
revival, which failed for want of pure Christian principle in its 
promoters. They were unconsciously borne by the same current 
as the Church that persecuted them; and they tried to raise 
Christendom from its religious and moral degradation, by exag- 
gerating the very influences which had produced the evil, — by 
yet more false views of human nature, and a sterner asceticism, 
and a stronger distinction between the spiritual man and 
the secular, rendering what they represented as Christianity 
unattainable by the great mass of mankind. With them, quite 
as much as with the Roman Catholics, salvation was made to 
depend upon adhesion to a given religious community ; and, as 
the auditors generally put off receiving the consolamentum to 
the hour of death, this ceremony became invested with a magical 
virtue, like the sacraments of the dominant Church ; and the hope 
of receiving it in their last moments encouraged the people to live 
in fatal secmity, without feeling the necessity of a moral change 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

and real reconciliation with God. The movement so far resem- 
bled the Reformation of the sixteenth century, that their formal 
principle was the same : the New Testament was in honour, and 
was made much more use of than in the Church of Rome. But the 
method of interpretation and the material principle were not the 
same : there were no forgotten truths recovered, no deep springs 
of spiritual life laid open. They believed themselves more anti- 
Catholic than they were ; and when the two mendicant orders 
were instituted, and the Church thereby diverted into its own 
channels the spirit of austerity which was abroad, it proved to 
be an effectual blow to the power and progress of the sectaries. 
Men predisposed to an ardent, but gloomy and unenlightened, 
piety, became Dominicans and Franciscans, instead of becoming 
heretics ; and persecuted to death those with whom they would 
have been associated, but for this skilful manoeuvre of the ever- 
vigilant and dexterous hierarchy. 

Reinerius Sacchoni supposes the number of the Perfect of both 
sexes in his time, throughout the whole of Europe, amounted 
to four thousand persons only. It is true, he writes after the 
Crusade against the Albigenses, and after great severities of the 
Inquisition in Italy; still his estimate shows that the effective 
members of the sect must have been very few, in proportion to 
the number of auditors or followers who were under their 
influence. This, as it has been already intimated, was one reason 
why they did not succeed in working any moral change in the 
bulk of the population ; it was also the reason of their weakness 
in the hour of danger. The immense majority of the multitudes 
who perished by the arms of Simon de Montfort and his Cru- 
saders, were not themselves Cathari, but only respected and 
favoured the heretics ; they had religious sympathies, but it was 
not ihew own faith that they defended. The King of Arragon, 
who died fighting their battles, was a Catholic. The Princes and 
nobles, who headed them in their heroic resistance, remained 
Catholics all through : they defended their own temporal inter- 
ests in the first place, and they tried indirectly to tolerate 
the convictions of their subjects, but never went so far as to 
claim openly the right to do so. The Fourth Lateran Council 
saw the Counts of Toulouse, father and son, with the Counts of 
Comminges and Foix, on their knees at the feet of Innocent III. 
The very historian of the Albigenses, William of Tudela, writes 
as a Catholic : he execrates the cruelty and perfidy of the Cru- 
saders ; he accuses them of advisedly treating Catholic Princes 
and populations as heretical, in order to have an excuse for 
massacre and spoil ; but he is evidently sustained in his indig- 
nation by no religious principle of his own. The Church of 
the Cathari was that of a select few, not that of the people. 

Towards the close of the twelfth contury, the Albigenses were 
so powerful in the south of France that, in 1 1 65, we find 

Character of Innocent III. 


Roman Catliolic Prelates engaging in a free discussion with 
their leaders before all the leading nobles of the country, at 
Lombers, near Alby. Twelve years afterwards Raimond V., 
Count of Toulouse, being at war with the Viscount of Beziers, 
who protected the sectaries, addressed himself to the Kings of 
France and England for help to extirpate heresy in his own 
dominions, and in the neighbouring regions. This demand 
brought about the mission of a Papal Legate to Toulouse, fol- 
lowed by some severities in that city. The Bishop of Bath, and 
Henri, Abbot of Clairvaux, also ineffectually visited Beziers. 
The attention of the Papal See was by this time thoroughly 
roused, and the Third Lateran Council, held under Alexander III. 
in 1179, and at which many Prelates of the south of France 
were present, issued a terrible edict against the heretics of 
Languedoc and Gascony. All men were forbidden, under pain 
of excommunication, to receive them into their houses, or to 
have any dealings with them ; church sepulture was to be 
refused to those who died impenitent ; Princes were exhorted to 
seize the property of those who favoured heresy, and to reduce 
their persons to slavery. The result of this sentence was the 
short Crusade of 1181, headed by the Abbot of Clairvaux, — 
bloody prelude of the horrors that were afterwards to be enacted 
in the same cause. The Viscount of Beziers was reduced 
to apparent submission, after his country had been crueUy 

Great as was the amount of suffering inflicted upon the 
Cathari during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it had been 
always, more or less, local and partial persecution. There had 
been no general, persevering, systematic attempt to exterminate 
them. Meantime they had spread from Constantinople to 
Spain; they were masters in the Sclavonic Provinces, which 
now form the north-east of Turkey ; they were formidable in 
Lombardy ; they had audaciously insinuated themselves into 
the Pontifical city itself; above all, the only transalpine nation 
that had emerged from barbarism, had almost thrown off its 
allegiance to Rome; heresy sat enthroned in a central region, 
whence, in one generation, it could spread over France, Spain, 
and Italy. The Church was in peril; but the year 1198 
witnessed the beginning of a pontificate, in which an iron will 
was to put forth in her service all the resources of rare intre- 
pidity, unremitting vigilance, and far-seeing sagacity. Inno- 
cent III. was the very incarnation of the idea of the Papacy ; 
he was distinguished by precisely the sort of character and 
talents which were qualified to effect the purposes of the 
hierarchy of which he was the head. Inspired by a lofty 
ambition, to which inferior temptations were sacrificed, he was 
above the grosser vices ^which had so often discredited the 
Papacy. Nor was his the vulgar ambition of personal aggran- 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

dizement. Sincerely convinced that God had appointed the See 
of Rome to exercise supreme authority over the universal Chris- 
tian worldj in temporal matters as well as in spiritual_, so that 
its empire should constitute the unity of society, he pursued the 
realization of this ideal with the most prodigious energy and 
success, clothing himself meanwhile with the moral grandeur 
that always attends intense devotion to any great purpose. 
Innocent exercised severe control over himself; for, as he 
expressed it, he who was not to be judged by men, would be 
the more severely judged by Almighty God. He exercised 
an equally stern control over the other members of the hierar- 
cliy, endeavouring to render them worthy of the superhuman 
dignity which he attributed to them. He completed the work 
of Gregory VII., by rendering the celibacy of the Clergy 
universally obligatory, — a violent remedy for their then preva- 
lent licentiousness, but a means of procuring them consideration 
in the eyes of the people, of severing them from ordinary human 
interests, and of disciplining them into entire devotedness to 
their order. He won respect and sympathy for the Church, 
by the unflinching courage with which he maintained the 
sanctity of marriage against the caprices of powerful Princes, 
and in general by taking the side of the oppressed and wronged ; 
yet none knew better how to stoop to compromise when success 
seemed impossible, and how to leave impenitent great men 
room for apparent reconciliation. Alternately inflexible and 
supple, with the ardour of a fanatic and the tact of a diplo- 
matist, he piloted with penetrating glance between conflicting 
parties, choosing his instruments, friends, or clients, or giving 
them up again, with a single view to the great purpose of his 
life. This Pontiff was, far more than any contemporaneous 
Sovereign, the prominent great man of his age. He made his 
word respected in half-savage Scandinavia, cowed England^s 
weak and brutal John, and then protected him against all his 
enemies, received England and Arragon as fiefs of the Apostolic 
See, reconciled, for a time at least, Bulgaria and Armenia with 
the Latin Church, bestowed the title of King repeatedly, and had 
his right to do so recognised by the world, made and unmade 
Emperors, protested against the Magna Charta, acted as Regent 
over Naples and Sicily with vigour, sustained the Crusaders in 
the conquest of Constantinople, founded the order of the Knights 
S word-Bearers to extend the Churches frontiers, completed the 
edifice of her doctrines, destroyed the last vestiges of the inde- 
pendence of the city of Rome; and, with all this, took cogni- 
zance of innumerable public and domestic questions. No quarrel 
of an obscure Baron with a neighbouring monastery could 
escape unnoticed. His Legates were every where, making peace 
or scattering anathemas. , 

^' 0\'^ exclaimed he, in his discourse on the day of his conse- 

Severities of Innocent III. in his oion Dominions. 25 

cration^ " O ! how I need prudence in order to be able to sepa- 
rate the leprous from the clean^ good from evil, light from dark- 
ness, salvation from perdition that I may not condemn to 

death the souls that ought to live, nor judge worthy of life those 

that should die ! Who am I, that I should be set above Kings, 

and occupy the seat of honour ? for it is of me that it is said by 
the Prophet: have this day set thee over the nations and 
over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to 
destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant/ (Jer. 
i. 10.)^^ Such words as these were the ominous utterance of a 
man, capable of persecuting to death the enemies of his idol, 
and thinking that he thereby did God service. Three years 
later, he said, in a letter to Otho, the one among the pretenders 
to the empire whom he then favoured, " At the beginning of the 
world, God put two great lights in the vault of Heaven, one to 
shine during the day, the other to give light by night. It is 
thus that he has established in the firmament of the Church two 
great dignities ; one to shine by day, — that is, to illumine 
intelligences on spiritual things, and deliver from their chains 
souls held fast in error ; the other to give light by night, — that 
is, to punish hardened heretics and enemies of the faith, for the 
insult oflPered to Christ and His people, and to hold the temporal 
sword for the chastisement of malefactors, and the glory of the 
faithful.^^ No language could better express the system partially 
acted upon in the Middle Ages, and which every energetic Pope 
tried to realize completely, — the unity of Christian society in a 
theocracy, with the Bishop of Rome at its head, and the civil 
power occupying the place of executioner. This conception is 
the key of Innocent^ s conduct towards the thousands for whose 
blood he made himself responsible, doubtless, without one 
moment^s hesitation or remorse. No sooner had he been chosen 
Pope, than he proceeded to prepare for the extermination of the 
heretics, — those scorpions and locusts of the Apocalypse, — as one 
of the great ends of his reign. 

Hurter, who held the office of Antistes or Chief of the Pro- 
testant Clergy of Schafhausen, when he wrote the Life of 
Innocent, but who has since thrown off the mask, and professed 
himself a Roman Catholic, asserts that the Pontiff he idolizes 
was at first disposed to act mildly towards the recusants ; and 
this idea is apparently countenanced by his artful show of 
moderation, as far as the Count of Toulouse was concerned ; but 
it is abundantly refuted by his severity from the very outset to 
the Italian Cathari, who were under his own jurisdiction. At 
Orvieto, for instance, he appointed as Governor a young Roman 
nobleman, Peter Parentio, who wielded the scourge and the axe 
without mercy, until he was himself murdered by some of the 
townspeople driven to desperation. The possibility of such a 
catastrophe had suggested itself to Parentio and his master ; and 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

tlie Pope had, by anticipation, granted him remission of all his 
sins, if he should be killed in the service of the Church. This 
first agent of the great systematic persecution of the thirteenth 
century has since been canonized in memory of his zeal. 

But it was the south of France which especially attracted 
the attention of Innocent. Menaces and excommunications 
of Papal Legates made Eaimond VI. humble himself, and 
promise, again and again, to exterminate his heretical subjects ; 
but he was both unwilling and unable to keep his promise, and 
the preaching of the monks of Citeaux and others was found to 
produce no effect. After more than one useless mission of 
monks and Legates, some with almost regal pomp, and others 
barefooted, the Pope came to the resolution of proclaiming a 
Crusade against the heretics, with the same spiritual indulgences 
as that against the Saracens, and with leave for the champions 
of the Church to appropriate the lands of those Barons who 
should protect the guilty, or even show themselves indifierent. 
The first attempt to get up this Crusade was made in 1204, and 
failed, Philip Augustus turning a deaf ear to the solicitations of 
the Pope, and the cupidity of the Barons of the north not being 
yet sufficiently aroused. But, early in 1208, the assassination, 
by two unknoAvn men-at-arms, of the Friar Pierre de Castel- 
nau, a zealous and indefatigable preacher and agent of the Pope, 
exasperated Innocent to the utmost, and furnished the Catholic 
Barons with a pretext for measures, to the idea of which they 
had been for some years accustoming themselves. Arnauld, 
Abbot of Citeaux, and his monks, dispersed themselves through 
all France to preach the Crusade, the Clergy every where joining 
them, and telling the people, that no crime was of so deep a dye 
as not to be washed out by the merits of the holy war ; that if 
the very damned in Hell had but the opportunity of fighting 
the heretics, it were penitence sufficient. The ruder and poorer 
Barons of the north, jealous of the rich, gay, and more civilized 
south, took the cross in such numbers, that the Abbot of Citeaux 
was soon enabled to put himself at the head of more than a 
hundred thousand men, ready to execute the vengeance of the 
Church, and to glut their own passions. The unfortunate Count 
of Toulouse tried to avert the storm by the most humiliating sub- 
mission; he went to meet the Papal Legate Milo at Valence, 
put seven castles into his hands, engaged to take the cross 
himself, swore solemnly to treat as heretics such of his subjects 
as the Bishops would at any time designate, and finally con- 
sented to appear at the threshold of the Cathedral, naked to the 
waist, to be scourged with rods by the Legate, and in this plight 
to receive absolution in the name of the Pope. He little knew 
that, in the instructions of Innocent to his Legates, they were 
recommended by prudent dissimulation to separate him from 
his allies, to crush the latter when deprived of his assistance. 

The Massacre at Beziers. 


and then to turn upon him, since he would be found an easier 
prey. In the letter which unfolds this scheme of dark and 
relentless perfidy, the Pope complacently quotes the language of 
St. Paul, " Being crafty I caught you with guile/^ as if this were 
a confession of the Apostle, instead of being an accusation of 
adversaries which he indignantly denies ! 

All our readers are familiar with the events of the Crusade 
against the Albigenses, but the tale cannot be told too often ; it 
ought to be, far more than hitherto, one of the early lessons 
of every child in Britain. Raimond Roger, Viscount of Beziers, 
endeavoured to obtain the same conditions as the Count of 
Toulouse ; but, faithful to their instructions, the Legates refused 
to give him so much as a hearing. They had no confidence in 
the promises that the nobles of the south would make ; and only 
pretended to accept the submission of the one who was the most 
powerful, in order that they might the more easily destroy them 
all. Thus repulsed, the chivalrous young Viscount prepared to 
defend himself with the courage of despair : he threw himself into 
Carcassonne, and placed a strong garrison at Beziers. The 
immense army of the Crusaders appeared before the latter, in 
July, 1209, after laying waste a wide extent of country, and 
burning numbers of real or supposed heretics. "There shall 
not one hfe be spared, not one stone left upon another,^' said 
the Abbot of Citeaux, when the Catholic inhabitants refused 
to deliver up the heretics, or to accept a safe-conduct for 
themselves. After a short, but vigorous, resistance, the devoted 
city was taken by storm, the besiegers chanting, as they 
marched to the assault, the fine old hymn, " Come, Holy 
Ghost,^^ &c. Of what is fanaticism not capable, when it could 
invoke the presence of the Dove over such a scene? The 
Crusaders, masters of the .walls, and seeing a procession of 
Priests in their robes coming out of a street to meet them, 
hesitated for a moment to begin the work of indiscriminate 
butchery ; but they were goaded on by the ferocious Arnauld. 
" Kill them all," he shouted : " God will be able to find out His 
own and he was but too well obeyed; neither age nor sex was 
spared, and the Legates, in a triumphant letter to the Pope, 
calculate the number of victims to have been at least 20,000. 
Roman Catholics of a milder generation have suspected the 
authenticity of the words of blood and blasphemy attributed to 
the Abbot of Citeaux ; but we owe the fact to a monk of his own 
order, himself an ardent adversary of the heretics, and it is 
repeated, without hesitation, by Manrique, the annalist and 
panegyrist of the Cistercians. The siege of Beziers was followed 
by that of Carcassonne, most of the inhabitants of which, after 
a heroic resistance, succeeded in making their escape, — the Papal 
army being so busily employed in plunder, as to let slip the 
opportunity of massacre ; four hundred prisoners, however, were 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

burned to death, and fifty hung. The unfortunate young 
Viscount soon perished in prison, and Simon de Montfort, Earl 
of Leicester, was put into possession of his territories, towns, 
and castles, on condition of being for the future the instrument 
of the Church's vengeance, — a task for which this nobleman was 
eminently qualified by his energy, his ignorance, his supersti- 
tion, and his ambition. Regardless of the Count of Toulouse's 
formal reconciliation with the Church, Arnauld and Simon next 
turned their arms against him, according to the primitive secret 
plan of operations, upon the pretext that he had not fulfilled his 
promise of expelling all heretics from his dominions. In vain 
Raimond proceeded to Rome, to try to obtain justice from 
Innocent in person. The Pope received him graciously, gave 
him relics to kiss, called him his dear son, but eluded every 
request to pronounce upon the matter in debate between him 
and his persecutors, and sent him home dispirited. Meantime, 
most of the Crusaders, having finished their stipulated time of 
service, returned to their homes, and Simon was only able to 
wage that sort of cruel and partial warfare which was fatal to 
the flourishing civilization of the south, without materially 
advancing his own purposes. When he took a castle, he muti- 
lated or burned its defenders by hundreds, and when his soldiers 
fell into the hands of the southerns, they were treated with 
almost equal barbarity. 

Raimond ought to have seen, from the first, that there was no 
safety for him, except in determined resistance ; but it was his 
weakness to recur constantly to negotiation, and to appeals, which 
were utterly lost upon the inexorable temper of his adversaries. 
They cannot be accused of dissembling any longer with him ; for 
the conditions proposed as an ultimatum by the Legates, Arnauld 
and Theodice, at a conference at Aries, early in 1211, are so 
outrageous that they must have been intended to drive him to 
extremity. The Count of Toulouse, was not only to give up all 
persons whom any of the Clergy should designate as heretics, but 
he was to raze the fortifications of every one of his castles and 
towns ; his nobles were to be clad in frieze, and interdicted from 
living in towns ; every head of a family was to pay the Legates an 
annual tax of fourpence ; the Count de Montfort was to travel 
where he pleased, and to take what he pleased out of the country, 
without opposition ; Raimond himself was to take the cross, go 
to Palestine, and not return until he should have the Legate's 
permission ; his lands were to be restored to him only when it 
should seem fit to Arnauld and Simon de Montfort ! The 
iniquity of those proposals roused the indignation of the Knights 
and cities of Languedoc, and even Catholic Prelates disap- 
proved of the rigour of the Legates ; but the Pope deposed the 
over-patriotic dignitaries, confirmed the excommunication of 
Raimond, and disposed of his dominions in favour of the first 

Fourth Lateran Council. 


invader who should occupy them. It should be added, in 
justice, that Innocent afterwards blamed his agents for their 
cupidity, and made some remonstrances in favour of the unfor- 
tunate Count. He was actuated by no hostility to llaimond's 
person, nor cared who was master of Toulouse, provided the 
interests of the Church were secured. 

A noted burner of heretics at this time, and a deadly enemy 
of the Count of Toulouse, was Foulques, Bishop of that city, 
formerly a licentious Troubadour, but noAV a stern devotee, and 
who was not the only example of such a change. The preaching 
of a ne^y Crusade, in 1211, by Arnauld and Foulques, enabled 
Simon to prosecute the war that year with vigour. He took 
the strong castle of Lavaur, reputed impregnable, putting to 
death, in one day, eighty Knights of the garrison, and burning 
four hundred Perfects, — " to the great joy of the army,^^ adds the 
monkish historian. He also besieged, but unsuccessfully, the 
city of Toulouse, which was defended by the Counts of Toulouse, 
Foix, and Comminges ; and he systematically excluded from 
their fiefs the native Languedocian nobles, putting in their 
places strangers from the north. The spirit in which the war 
was carried on, may be gathered from the language of a Council 
of Bishops assembled at Lavaur, who besought Innocent, by the 
bowels of Jesus Christ, with all humility and tears, to decree the 
absolute and utter extermination of the perverse city of Toulouse. 

Peter II. of Arragon, supreme feudal Lord of part of the 
countries so cruelly devastated, had from the first secretly 
encouraged his subjects in their resistance, and at last, losing 
all patience, he came with an army to the assistance of the 
Toulousans. The King of Arragon was celebrated for his 
knightly accomplishments, and he had fought the Saracens in 
fifteen battles ; but his help proved fatal to himself and to his 
friends; for it tempted them to try their fortune in the open 
field against the iron valour of the northern warriors. Peter 
was killed in the disastrous battle of Muret, fought on the 12th 
of September, 1213. The Roman Catholic annalists tell us, 
that Simon laid his sword upon the altar, before the battle, and 
took it up again, sure of victory, though he had but 800 horse 
and 700 foot, while the allies mustered 2,000 horse and 40,000 
foot ; but it is possible that the disproportion between the two 
armies was exaggerated, in order to make the victory of the 
Church assume a more miraculous character. The patriotic 
resistance of the Languedocians was paralysed by the defeat of 
Muret, and Simon was soon master of Toulouse. 

The assembling an oecumenical Council had long been an 
ardent wish of Innocent, and he was gratified beyond his 
expectations by the imposing character of the Fourth Lateran 
Council, held under his auspices in 1215. Tlie whole Catholic 
world was, indeed, represented in this assembly, which defi- 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

nitively fixed the most objectionable parts of Roman Catholic 
doctrine and practice. There were present. Ambassadors from 
all the Princes of Europe, 412 Bishops, 900 Abbots and heads 
of orders; in all 2,283 persons having a right to vote. The 
doctrine of transubstantiation, and the duty of detailed auricular 
confession, now received, for the first time, the seal of infalli- 
bility. The Council, in its horror of bloodshed, ordained that 
no Ecclesiastic should be a physician, — it was not fitting that the 
knife or lancet should be seen in holy hands, even for a 
benevolent purpose ; yet these humane and reverend fathers 
united in one decree the measures ordained at Verona, in 1184, 
for the prosecution of the Italian Cathari, and those made by 
Innocent against the Albigenses; they definitively consecrated 
the use of the secular arm, rendered obligatory upon the whole 
Church what had hitherto been local and partial, and laid the 
basis of that exorbitant legislation which has caused so much 
suffering and crime. The Council expressed its partial appro- 
bation of the two religious orders founded this same year by 
Dominic Guzman and Francis of Assisi. The former, a fanatical 
Spaniard, protected by Bishop Foulques and Simon de Montfort, 
established his first monastery at Toulouse. The Dominican 
order was regularly constituted, five years later, by Honorius III., 
and appropriated, as its peculiar task, the refutation, the con- 
version, and the punishment of heretics. 

The Lateran Council confirmed all the usurpations of Simon 
de Montfort, but the bloody struggle was not yet over. The 
King of England furnished Raimond with money, and the people 
of the south, driven to fury by the violence and rapacity of Simon 
and his auxiliaries, took arms, once more, for the Prince under 
whose house they had enjoyed religious toleration and tem- 
poral prosperity. Innocent III. died in the midst of the 
calamities he had brought about, but his successor continued his 
measures. Simon was driven out of Toulouse, September 13th, 
1217, after perpetrating great cruelties on the inhabitants, and 
trying in vain to burn the town. He returned to besiege it 
with a new army of Crusaders, but was killed by a stone hurled 
from the ramparts, June 25th, 1218, leaving his son Amalric to 
inherit his claims, and the favour of the Church. The new Pope, 
Honorius III., persuaded Prince Louis, the heir apparent of 
France, to lead an army to the help of Amalric. They took the 
town of Marmande, where 5,000 persons of all ages and sexes 
were massacred by order of the Bishops of Beziers and Saintes ; 
and had it not been for the interference of the Prince and some 
of the more eminent nobles, none of the wretched inhabitants 
would have escaped with their lives. Louis and Amalric next 
laid siege to Toulouse, but were repulsed victoriously by the 
heroic citizens. 'After this, Raimond VL dying, was succeeded 
by his son of the same name, and Amalric, discouraged, made 

The Inquisition established. 


over his claims to his royal ally. In 1226_, the latter^ now 
reigning as Louis VIII. of France, undertook a fifth Crusade, in 
hope of uniting to his crown one of its most considerable fiefs. 
The expedition, at first, met with success ; and St. Anthony of 
Padua, who accompanied it, had the pleasure of committing 
great numbers of heretics to the flames, until, the King dying of 
a pestilence, the greater part of his army was disbanded. This 
was the last time, for three centuries at least, that these once 
happy and flourishing regions were exposed to the horrible 
desolation of a religious war. Louis IX., and Raimond VIL, 
made a treaty at Meaux, which prepared the definitive destruc- 
tion of the independence of the south, and its incorporation 
with the rest of France. The Count of Toulouse promised to 
exterminate heretics, to maintain the privileges of the Clergy, to 
raze the walls of his towns and castles, and to give his daughter 
and only child in marriage to one of the King^s brothers. On 
the 12th of April, 1229, Raimond appeared barefooted before 
the gate of Notre Dame at Paris, there solemnly swore to those 
conditions, was introduced into the church, and received abso- 
lution. The other great feudataries of the south followed his 
example, but with extreme reluctance. Roger Bernard, the 
chivalrous Count of Foix, only yielded to the wishes of his 
subjects. "As to my religion," said he to the Papal Legates, 
"the Pope has nothing to meddle therein, since every man^s 
religion should be free. My father always recommended this 
liberty to me, that in such posture, were the heavens to fall, I 
might look on with a steady eye, knowing they could not harm 
me. It is not fear that moves me as your passions list, and 
constrains me to lay my will in the dust, and make it litter for 
your appetite ; but, impelled by a kind and generous concern for 
the wretchedness of my subjects, and the ruin of my whole 
country, desiring not to be thought the disturber, the reckless 
firebrand of France, I yield me in this extremity : otherwise I 
were a wall without a breach, and that no enemy could scale." 
Noble words; yet they betray the absence of settled religious 
conviction. Roger Bernard remained all his life a secret or 
open favourer of heretics, and died a Cathohc. The Count of 
Comminges and the Viscount of Bearn were the last to come to 
terms. Then the south was completely humbled, and the 
tribunals of the Inquisition replaced the Courts of Love. The 
feelings of the vanquished populations appear in the spirit of 
grief, and rage, and vengeance, which animated the last gene- 
ration of Troubadours. 

So far were the Cathari from being exterminated, or even 
disheartened, by the fearful events of the last twenty years, 
that, on the very eve of the final destruction of their most 
powerful protector, they held a Synod at which more than a 
hundred Perfects attended, and erected the district of Rasez 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

into a new bishopric. Tlie people were still their friends ; and 
such native Knights as had not lost their possessions were 
always ready to receive the travelling bons hommes at their 
hearth and board. Raimond VII., however, proved the sincerity 
of his reconciliation with the Church by his vigorous perse- 
cution of the sectaries : a reward of two silver marks was given 
to whoever delivered a heretic into the hands of justice ; cellars 
and forests were ransacked in search of them, and apostates 
led the messengers of blood into all their hiding-places. The 
Dominicans monopolized the Inquisition, and, from the very 
first, violated, in their fanatical zeal, all the laws of ordinary 
justice. Simple suspicions, vague denunciations, were enough 
to deprive men of property and life. The accused were never 
told the names of their denouncers, and never confronted with 
them : both Innocent IV. and Urban lA^. expressly forbade 
it, lest informers should be discouraged. They were entrapped 
into condemning themselves by insidious questions, or forced 
to do so by the torture. The two characters of secresy and 
implacable vengeance marked the whole proceedings. Innocent 
III., indeed, interdicted the old judicial ordeals. Heretics were 
no longer tried by exposure to the hot iron, or by being 
thrown into water to see whether they would sink or swim ; but 
those simple, antiquated barbarities were amply compensated 
by the varied physical and moral tortures that were put in 
their place. Jurisdiction over heretics was withdrawn from 
the Prelates and secular Clergy, lest they should prove too 
merciful. Proceed summarily,^^ wrote Alexander IV., " and 
without the importunate bustle of lawyers and judicial forms 
(summarie, absqve judicii et advocatorum strepitu). Gregory 
IX. made an Edict, in 1231, that persons accused of heresy 
should have no right of appeal, and that any Judges, Advocates, 
or Notaries who acted for them should be deprived of their 
situations. The Synod of Narbonne, in 1233, determined that 
no protestation of innocence, however vehement, should 
procure the acquittal of persons against whom witnesses posi- 
tively deposed. The wife, the children, the servants of the 
accused could not be received as witnesses in their favour, but 
could be valid evidence against them; nay, because of the 
enormity of the crime of heresy, all criminals and ill-famed 
persons, (omnes criminosi et infames,) and even the partners of 
the crime itself, may be admitted to accuse or to give 
evidence ! " (Canon 24.) 

The vengeance of the Church extended itself to the very 
dwellings of comicted heretics. They were ordered to be razed 
to the ground, and converted into dung-heaps, and no human 
habitation was to be ever erected on the spot : and this not 
only in the first heat of the persecution ; we find such sentences 
renewed and executed for a century and a half, until, in 1378, 

The remedial Measures of the Inquisition. 


the secular arm refused to obey the orders of the Inquisition 
any longer in this particular. The confiscation of the property of 
the condemned was a matter of course : at first a third of it was 
devoted either to the crown or to secular purposes^ but it came 
gradually to be divided altogether between the Bishops and the 
Inquisitors. The children and grandchildren of convicted heretics 
were incapable of all civil honours or employments, of being wit- 
nesses before any tribunal, or of maldng a will; the only 
exception being in favour of those who had themselves denounced 
their parents. The stake was the usual punishment; but in 
cases where it might be thought expedient to let the guilty 
live, as an example, it was ordered that their tongues should 
be cut out ; and, in any case, the torture preceded the final 
punishment, in order, if possible, to procure information for 
the detection of others. Of course the administration of the 
torture belonged to the Familiars of the Inquisition ; the more 
\Tilgar office of bm-ning to death was alone intrusted to the 
secular arm. Heretics who confessed, and wished to be recon- 
ciled to the Church, escaped with perpetual imprisonment, which 
was technically called immuratio. Those who came to confess 
and abjure of their own accord, were, of course, treated more 
mildly; yet St. Dominic recommended even to this class 
perpetual chastity, and abstinence, all their life long, from 
animal food, milk, and eggs, except on Christmas- day, Easter, 
and Pentecost, when they were to partake of those sorts of 
food, in order to show they had renounced their Manichsean 

At an earlier period, som.e of the Clergy, more humane than 
their fellows, or really influenced by Christian principle, had 
contended for the employment of persuasion, instead of force, in 
dealing with heretics. Thus Wazon, Bishop of Liege, in the 
first half of the eleventh century, denied the right of the 
Church to put her adversaries to death. Even Gregory VIL, 
in a letter to the Archbishop of Paris, (1077,) treats the 
tumultuous burning of a heretic, by the people of Cambray, 
as cruel and impious : he did not approve of Lynch auta da 
fe. St. Bernard, in the first half of the twelfth century, said 
that the execution of heretics was contrary to the will of Him 
who would have all men to be saved. Other illustrious excep- 
tions might be mentioned. But, in the thirteenth century, all 
traces of these milder views had disappeared; and there was 
not one dissentient voice against the cry of the hierarchy for 
blood. Among the many Doctors who tried to sanction the 
practice of the Inquisition by a scholastic theory, Thomas 
Aquinas was pre-eminent. He demonstrated, to the satisfaction 
of the age, that, in the parable of the tares, the Saviour forbids 
the destruction of the false plant only where there was danger 
of rooting up the true plant along with it, and that this danger 



The Albigenses or Cathari. 

was now obviated by the careful examination of the Holy 

The Magistrates of Toulouse_, after the submission of their 
Prince^ tried to put as many obstacles as possible in the way 
of the ministry of the Dominicans ; and these latter, by their 
cruelty to the livings and their insults to the dead, exasperated 
the people more and more. Every day witnessed fresh execu- 
tions, or else dead bodies dug up and burned; sometimes the 
living and the dead were burned on the same pile. One day, in 
1234, while mass was being celebrated in honour of the canoni- 
zation of St. Dominic, word was brought to the officiating 
Bishop, that several Cathari had just administered the conso- 
lamentum to a dying woman in a neighbouring house. Hurry- 
ing to the spot, the Bishop and his assistants endeavoured to 
convert the poor woman ; and when they could not succeed, they 
had a fire kindled in the street, and threw the dying heretic 
with her bed into the flames. Once the Capitouls, as the Chief 
Magistrates of this ancient city were called, ventured to expel 
the Inquisitors from the limits of their jurisdiction ; but they 
soon got back again. The inhabitants of Narbonne expelled 
other Inquisitors, delivering the prisoners who were in their 
hands ; and many of the Albigenses retaliated upon such of their 
persecutors as they could get into their power. A short period 
of respite from persecution took place between the years 1239 and 
1242, because Raimond VII. and his old allies, impatient of the 
dependence to which they had pledged themselves, renewed the 
struggle with the Crown. It was like an ordinary civil war, 
comparatively free from the atrocities of religious hate, and 
interrupted by frequent negotiations. While hostilities lasted, 
the proscribed teachers re-appeared in public, and were treated 
with as much veneration as ever; but Louis IX. proved once 
more too strong for the refractory nobles. It was the last com- 
bined effort of the south, and the Count of Toulouse had to 
become, for the remainder of his days, the degraded instrument 
of cruelties with which he had no sympathy. He was bound by 
his treaty with Louis to destroy the castle of Montsegur, which 
had been for many years the last refuge and stronghold of 
liberty of conscience, and which he had himself already unsuc- 
cessfully besieged. This stipulation was carried into effect in 
1244. Baimond de Perelle, Lord of the castle, was brother of a 
heretic Bishop, and he had seen his own daughter burned by the 
Inquisitors. He defended the castle with great bravery ; but it 
was taken at last, and two hundred of its inmates burned to 
death without a trial. The siege of Montsegur, and its fall, 
excited the most intense interest through all the south of 
France. One of the last acts of the Count of Toulouse was the 
burning of twenty-four heretics at Agen. His death, in 1249, 
accelerated the fusion of the north and the south, and the 

Persecution in the South of France. 


language of the Troubadours^ after a generation or two, became 
for many centuries an unnoticed and unhonoured patois. Yet 
it is not extinct ; and in our own day, at the very time that the 
labours of Fauriel and Raynouard were devoted to the restora- 
tion and elucidation of its ancient monuments, J asmin, a hair- 
dresser of Agen, the seat of one of the old Catharic bishoprics, 
astonished and delighted France by his simple and pathetic 
tales in the idiom of his fathers. 

Raimond VII. was succeeded by Alphonse, a Prince of the 
Royal Family, who had married his only daughter ; and, on the 
death of Alphonse without issue, his extensive possessions 
reverted to the Crown (1270). The change was marked by an 
increase in the vigilance and activity of the Inquisition: 
Louis IX. merited his canonization. At the same time, the 
state of opinion in the south had undergone a revolution. 
Among the higher ranks, new families had in a great measure 
replaced the native Provengals ; and, moreover, the theology of 
the sectaries must have been found less and less satisfactory 
with the progress of intelligence : even amongst the lower ranks 
that generation had passed away which could remember the 
good old times before the Papal invasion. Lastly, as we have 
repeatedly had occasion to notice, the ill-directed spirit of reli- 
gious excitement could now spend itself in the channels pro- 
vided by the Church of Rome itself. The remnant of the 
Cathari were utterly discouraged ; and, during the course of the 
years 1273 and 1274, all the Perfects in France emigrated to 
Lombardy, the more intrepid only returning from time to time, 
to make rare and perilous visits. Henceforward, the fury of the 
Inquisition wreaked itself chiefly on mere disciples, or else on 
the Waldenses, who increased in number, and gradually filled 
up the place of the Cathari. During the last few years of the 
thirteenth, and the beginning of the fourteenth, century, there was 
a momentary reaction. The extreme unpopularity of the Inquisi- 
tion, and the preaching of certain Franciscans, who proclaimed 
that the degenerate Church approached its dissolution, encou- 
raged the refugee leaders to send their agents into all th6 dis- 
tricts where they still had adherents, and they made many 
proselytes; but Philip the Fair protected the Inquisitors, and, 
notwithstanding the humane intervention of Pope Clement V., 
who rebuked the fierce zeal of the Dominicans of Alby and Car- 
cassonne, more than a thousand victims were burned to death 
within a few years. Suicide, at this period, became of awful 
frequency in the dungeons of the Inquisition ; so much so, that 
a peculiar name, Vendura, was invented for it. When no other 
means of putting an end to their lives was in their power, many 
poor wretches even allowed themselves to die of hunger. The 
resistance of the south of France to Rome was now broken 
effectually, and, as far as the Cathari were concerned, for ever. 

D 2 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

The very penitents reconciled to the Church had to wear a red 
cross as a mark of infamy, and to transmit it to their descend- 
ants ; and this is believed to be the origin of the reprobation 
to which the Roman Catholic population, until a late period, 
devoted certain families under the names cagots and Chrestians. 

After attempting to follow, however imperfectly, the terrible 
tragedy of which the south of France was the theatre, the history 
of similar persecutions in other places is comparatively tame. 
In the NORTH OF France, the Dominican Brother Robert, him- 
self an apostate from the Cathari, was the most celebrated and 
successful hunter-out of heretics. In 1239, he detected the 
extensive community belonging to the castle of Montwimer in 
Champagne, which had been, for more than a century, a metro- 
polis of heresy without awakening the suspicions of the Churcli. 
One hundred and eighty-three persons, men and women, with 
their Bishop, Moranis, at their head, were burned on one pile 
under the castle walls. Brother Robert afterwards became 
literally excited to madness in his work of blood, and had to be 
kept in perpetual confinement. In Spain, both the Waldenses 
and the Cathari had spread, before the end of the twelfth century, 
into the provinces of Arragon, Leon, Catalonia, and Navarre, 
which were nearest the French Albigenses, and whose language 
was nearly the same. The means of extirpation were the same 
on both sides of the Pyrenees, and, in 1233, Ferdinand III. of 
Arragon actually threw wood with his own hand on the pile 
where heretics were writhing, — a royal Fire-the-faggot ! • In 
Germany, there were a few Catharic communities in Bavaria, in 
Austria, and on the Rhine. They almost escaped notice until 
Gregory IX., in 1231, armed Conrad, a monk of Marburg, with 
extraordinary powers, which he abused to such an extent, that, 
for more than two years, all Germany was filled with terror. 
He used to accuse real or supposed heretics of the most horrible 
and absurd crimes, and leave them no alternative, but confession 
or the stake. This monster perished by the dagger of the 
assassin, but persecution did not die with him. 

In Italy the conflict was more serious. Innocent III. actually 
menaced the citizens of Milan with a Crusade like that which he 
had armed against the Albigenses. Under his successor, Hono- 
rius, the young Emperor, Frederick 11. , on the day of his coro- 
nation at Rome, November 22nd, 1220, raised the persecuting 
canon of the Lateran Council to the rank of a law of the 
Empire ; and, four years later, we find him issuing at Padua a 
most sanguinary edict. It was the policy of Monarchs in those 
ages, when in amity with the Pope, to persecute heretics as a 
graceful return for his favour ; when in conflict with the Pope, 
to persecute still more, as a proof of their orthodoxy. St. 
Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi distinguished them- 
selves at this time by their effbrts for the conversion of the 

An heretical Candidate for Canonization. 


Cathari ; yet^ notwithstanding the use of both material and spi- 
ritual weapons^ the heretics of Brescia were numerous enough 
in 1225 to beat the Catholics in a conflict in the streets, and 
to burn to the ground several churches. This outbreak was fol- 
lowed by a renewal of severities at Brescia, Milan, Florence, 
and other cities of the peninsula, including Rome itself, whose 
inhabitants were gratified with a grand auto da fe, in 1231, 
before the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Gregory IX. 
introduced the Inquisition into the cities of Lombardy in 
1233, and he endowed with special privileges the Association 
of Knights of Jesus Christ, formed at Parma for the extermina- 
tion of heretics ; yet that did not hinder Frederick from after- 
wards accusing him of winking at the heresy of the cities of 
Lombardy from political motives. The people of Milan, finding 
their city represented by the Emperor as the chief seat of 
heresy, were at last roused to crush the sectaries they had so 
long tolerated; and the Podesdat, Oldrado de Tresseno, burned 
so many victims in the year 1240, that his zeal was commemo- 
rated by an equestrian statue, with the inscription, "Catharos 
ut debuit urit.^^ After a fierce conflict, they were also driven 
out of Florence in 1245. Yet, towards the middle of the cen- 
tury, the ex-heretic and Inquisitor Reinerius estimated the 
Perfects of Italy to be about 2,350 souls, which were thus dis- 
tributed : mitigated Dualists, 1,500 ; absolute Dualists, 500 ; 
branch of Bagnolo, 200; French bishopric of Verona, 150; with 
a multitude of disciples. The jealousy with which the Govern- 
ment of Venice monopolized despotism over its people, hindered 
the Inquisition from doing much in that city or its territory. 
The heretics that remained at Milan were protected for more 
than seventy years by Eccelino de Romano, Uberto Pallavicini, 
and Matthew Visconti, — by the two former for political reasons, 
and by the latter from religious sympathy. On the whole the 
sect was not really extirpated by the sword : it died out rather 
before the increase of intelligence, and the diversion of religious 
impulses into other channels. Not but that there were from 
time to tim.e scenes calculated to strike terror into the people : 
thus, in 1277, the inhabitants of the little town of Sermione, 
near Novarra, were convicted, in a body, of favouring the here- 
tics, and more than seventy of them were sentenced to the 

The secrecy with which the unfortunate Dualists were obliged 
to surround themselves during their lingering existence, was 
near being the occasion of a singular event in the annals of 
canonization. In 1269 there died at Ferrara a wealthy citizen, 
Armanno Pungilovo, whose extraordinary charities endeared 
him to the poor, while his austere and exemplary life procured 
him a general reputation of sanctity. He was buried in the 
cathedral, in presence of an immense crowd, who lamented 


Hie Albigenses or Cathari. 

their benefactor ; and such was the public veneration, that 
miracles were soon wrought, or appeared to be, on the spot 
where he was buried. An altar was built over his remains, and 
statues were erected in his honour throughout the churches 
of the diocese. The Bishop and Chapter of Ferrara proceeded 
to an investigation of the miracles wrought at his tomb, as a 
preliminary step to applying for his canonization, and professed 
themselves satisfied of the veracity of persons who testified that 
they had themselves been cured, — some of blindness, others 
of paralysis. What was the general consternation when the 
Dominican, Aldobrandini, Inquisitor- General of Lombardy, 
brought forward irresistible evidence that the deceased was a 
member of the Catharic community; that his house had been 
for years the asylum of their teachers; and that he had both 
received and administered the consolamentum ! The Clergy 
of Ferrara were slowly and unwillingly convinced, the people 
not at all ; but, after repeated investigations, and a delay of more 
than thirty years, those remains which had well-nigh been pro- 
posed to the adoration of the faithful, were dug up with igno- 
miny, and burned to ashes. 

Innocent III. did not confine his exertions against the 
Cathari to Italy and France. His influence was exerted on the 
eastern shore of the Adriatic and on the borders of the Danube, 
as earnestly as at the foot of the Pyrenees and the Alps. Com- 
plaining that the Sclavonic Clergy had discredited their order 
by their dissolute conduct, he reproached one Bishop with 
simojiy, another with open licentiousness, and a third with 
incest. He summoned the King of Hungary to oblige his 
vassal, the Ban of Bosnia, to extirpate heresy in that country. 
The Ban, Kulin, himself a disciple of the Cathari, was terrified 
into apparent submission in 1202 : his successor Ninoslas, how- 
ever, once more protected the Dualists ; and, while their bre- 
thren in the south of France were perishing by the sword and 
the brand, they were actually more numerous than the Catholics 
in Bosnia. Honorius III. found a docile instrument of Papal 
severities in Andrew II. of Himgary ; and, in 1221, the recently 
established order of the Dominicans sent many of its members 
into that country and its dependencies ; but thirty-two of those 
monks were drowned in one day by the fierce Bosnians. 
Ninoslas submitted, and gave his son as a hostage into the 
hands of the Dominicans ; but a tacit toleration continued to 
exist in his dominions, and the various attempts made by Gre- 
gory IX. to institute a regular Crusade against the Manichseans 
were always unsuccessful, doubtless because the Bosnians were 
too poor to offer much inducement to crusading hordes. The 
invasion of Hungary by the Mongols, with the long time of suf- 
fering, confusion, and anarchy, and the intestine and foreign wars 
that followed, was unfavourable to the views of the Popes; 

Resistance of the Ban of Bosnia. 


and, during the latter half of the thirteenth century, many 
French and Italian refugees found a safe asylum among their 
Sclavonian brethren. It was only in the very last year of the 
century, that the Inquisition was established in Bosnia, Croatia, 
and Dalmatia; and, in 1322, John XXII. introduced it into 
Bohemia and Poland. In 1359, the Ban, Stephen Thuartko, 
having been roused to open resistance by the violent proceed- 
ings of the Inquisitors toward his subjects, Louis, King of Hun- 
gary, marched against Bosnia, to re-establish at once his own 
authority and that of the Church. The expedition was mo- 
mentarily successful, and great numbers of Franciscans were 
sent to the field thus opened for their labours; but the Ban 
afterwards succeeded in rendering himself independent. The 
long schism between the Popes of Rome and Avignon paralysed 
the arm of the Inquisition ; and Dualism became so completely 
the established religion in Bosnia, that, when the Council of 
Constance was convoked, Stephen Thuartko 11. had the hardi- 
hood to prevent the departure of the Catholic Bishop, who was 
about to attend the Council, and to send, as deputies in his 
stead, four heretical Bishops. The Council, of course, refused 
to receive them. This Monarches successor, Thomas, consented 
to receive Roman Catholic baptism in 1445. It is supposed he 
did so merely in order to obtain assistance from the Emperor 
against the Turks. He afterwards persecuted such of his rich 
subjects as did not follow his example, driving them into exile, 
and seizing their lands. The principal teachers fled to the 
Herzegowina, whose Duke, Stephen Cosaccia, was the last 
Prince in Europe who protected the remains of their sect. 
Thomas's son having refused to pay the stipulated tribute to the 
Turks, in 1463, Bosnia was invaded and conquered. Be-taken, 
for a time, by the Hungarians, it fell definitively into the power 
of the Turks in the sixteenth century. From the moment of 
the Turkish conquest, we hear no more of the Catharic heresy. 
It had subsisted longer than elsewhere in this region, partly 
because of the inferior character of its civilization, — which 
remained foreign to the progress of the human mind elsewhere, 
— and partly because of a fierce national antagonism to Rome. 
There is every reason to believe, with Schmidt, that the Bosnian 
Cathari,"^ having no sympathy with either the Greek or Latin 
Churches, and being brought into contact with a new fanaticism, 
generally ended by embracing the faith of their conquerors. At 
least, among the many conquests of the Turks in Europe, Bosnia 
and Albania are the only provinces in which the majority of the 
inhabitants have become Mussulmen. 

* Here, and frequently elsewhere, we use this term improperly for that part of the 
population which was favourable to the heretical teachers, and whose religious ideas were 
vuisettled by their intluence, without being actually members of the community. It is 
not likely that many Perfects embraced Mahometanism, 


The Albigenscs or Cathari. 

Thus tlie Manichseism of the Middle Ages was extirpated 
only half a century before the Reformation. After four hundred 
and fifty years of bloody executions, Rome could celebrate the 
final disappearance of this obstinate and once menacing enemy. 
The first impression felt upon a superficial glance at the history, 
is that of a victory of force over erroneous conviction. But is 
this impression correct? Was it really by the cord and the 
stake that the dominant Church triumphed? We have wit- 
nessed the vitality of the sect, in the south of France, after the 
great Crusade, that is to say, after the most tremendous exertion 
of force that the hierarchy ever put forth, and the most merciless 
execution that can be conceived. We have seen the Inquisition 
itself incapable of hunting down the heretics, until it was sus- 
tained by a certain measure of public opinion. We have seen 
Dualism, on the east of the Adriatic, escaping comparatively 
unharmed by the temporal weapons of Rome, and melting away 
silently into Islamism. We may add a more decisive instance. 
The Cathari of Bulgaria were never much persecuted, and not 
at all from the thirteenth century forward ; yet they, too, had 
dwindled into nothing by the middle of the sixteenth, because 
their religious principle was worn out. No; as it has been 
already said, the institution of the Mendicant Orders was the 
real mean of putting down ultra-ascetic sects, by absorbing the 
tendencies which had created or sustained them. It is remark- 
able that, at the Reformation, Protestantism found easy access 
in all the places where Catliarism had been deeply rooted. The 
spirit of dissatisfaction with Rome remained, as it were, latent 
in the minds of the people, until it found a form which it could 
adopt with confidence. We are persuaded that it is not in the 
power of the sword to destroy any form of spiritual might 
which can maintain itself against resistance in its own sphere. 
Moral agency is not only the sole legitimate in moral causes ; it 
is also the sole eff'ectual. In the day of retribution, when Rome 
will have lost for ever her influence over the nations, and the 
various phases of past history can be interpreted in the light 
of their final results, the whole world will feel that the cruelties 
of the Middle Ages were as useless as they were iniquitous. 
Persecutors, of every name, shall confess it in that greater day 
when God shall make inquisition for blood, and the earth shall 
uncover her slain. 

Mr. Macaulay, in his well-known " Essay on Rankers Lives 
of the Popes,^' confesses that, when he reflects on the tremendous 
assaults which Rome has survived, he cannot conceive in what 
way she is ever to perish; and he proceeds to picture, in his 
brilliant and graphic manner, the four great rebellions of the 
human intellect which have taken place since her yoke was 
established in Western Christendom, — memorable conflicts, 
from two of which she has come forth unscathed, and, from all 

Mr, Macaulay exaggerates the Resources of Rome. 41 

four^ victorious. He reminds us that, after the destruction of 
the Albigenses, the Church, lately in danger of utter subversion, 
appeared stronger than ever in the love, the reverence, and the 
terror of mankind : again, that, in the next generation after the 
Council of Constance, scarcely a trace of the revolt of Wyclifle 
and Huss could be found, except among the rude population 
of the mountains of Bohemia. The third and most formidable 
struggle for spiritual freedom had dispossessed her, in less than 
fifty years, of half Europe, and thrown her back upon the Medi- 
terranean; but, when fifty years more had elapsed, she had 
secured or reconquered France, Belgium, Bavaria, Bohemia, 
Austria, Poland, and Hungary ; and Protestantism could scarcely 
maintain itself on the Baltic. Her fourth peril was from the 
infidel philosophy and revolutionary movements of the eighteenth 
century. Every where throughout continental Europe her influ- 
ence over the upper classes was apparently lost ; and the reve- 
rence of the people seemed departing from her. Yet, when a 
new order of things rose out of the confusion, when the waters 
of the great inundation had abated, the unchangeable Church 
re-appeared, unshaken in its deep foundations ; and, during the 
nineteenth century, it has been gradually rising from its 
depressed state, and reconquering its old dominion. 

We must accuse this accomplished writer of not having 
reflected upon the consequences of the idea of the indestruc- 
tibility of the Papacy, which, without positively affirming, he 
seems inclined to admit, from a superficial view of the course 
of history hitherto. Mr. Macaulay tells us, that the north 
of Europe and America owe their superiority in arms, arts, 
sciences, letters, commerce, and agriculture, to their Pro- 
testantism; and that the only Boman Catholic countries which 
have made any considerable progress for the last three centu- 
ries, — nay, the only ones which have not decayed, — are those in 
which Protestantism maintained a long struggle, and left per- 
manent traces. It is his ^^firm belief,^' that the moral effect 
of the Protestant Reformation is the great source of civiliza- 
tion and prosperity. Then how can he, for a moment, enter- 
tain a doubt of its final supremacy? How confess the moral 
inferiority of Popery, and yet suppose that it may exist in 
undiminished vigour, when some traveller from New Zealand 
shall survey the ruins of the metropolis of Protestantism? Is 
the Almighty Pi,uler of the kingdoms of the earth to be sup- 
posed indifferent to their civilization and prosperity ? But, more 
than this, Mr. Macaulay loudly expresses his conviction that 
Scripture, as well as reason, are on the side of Protestantism : 
are reason and Scripture, then, not destined to prevail ? Is the 
future of the truth not to be taken into account in our anticipa- 
tions ? It is the height of inconsistency to admit the existence 
of a God who takes interest in His creatures, and then forget 


The Albigenses or Cathari. 

that there is a divine purpose in human history; to admit — 
as we are sure Mr. Macaulay does sincerely — the divinity of 
revelation^ and yet suppose the possibility of revelation failing 
in accomplishing its end. If no genuine philosophy can sup- 
press the essential element of the subject with which it deals, 
surely that is a mistaken philosophy of history in which Provi- 
dence is left out. 

With a sort of paternal fondness for the paradox which he 
has taken under his protection, Mr. Macaulay exaggerates the 
present power and resources of the Church of Rome. The mem- 
bers of her communion barely equal — they do not exceed by 
thirty millions — those of the other Christian sects united. If 
the number of her children is, perhaps, greater than in any 
former age, that of other Christians, whether Protestant or 
Greek, increases in a far more rapid proportion. Her acquisi- 
tions in the New World are so far from compensating her for 
what she has lost in the Old, that it is in America she will first 
be found in a position of even numerical inferiority. But, 
leaving statistics, let us return to history. We think the review 
of the four great rebellions alluded to is any thing but proper 
to confirm the sceptical conclusion of the great essayist. It 
would have been a misfortune for the world, if the semi-Paganism 
of the Albigenses had supplanted even the low materialist Chris- 
tianity of Rome. Again, it was as impossible as it was 
undesirable, that the cruel atheistic infidelity of the eighteenth 
century, or its chilling Deism, should attain any permanent 
ascendency. Neither the first rebellion, then, nor the fourth, 
ought to have succeeded. The second and the third have all 
our sympathies, as far as they were religious, and in this point 
of ^dew they are properly but one ; for the labours of Wyclifi'e 
and Huss were not lost, — they certainly helped to prepare the 
Reformation. Unfortunately the religious movement of the 
fifteenth century did not maintain its purity; it connected itself 
with, and finally allowed itself to be absorbed into, the national 
feeling of the Bohemians, and their half-savage hostility to the 
Germans. It is but too easy, then, to account for the failure 
of the Hussites ; and there only remains one great question : 
Why was not the success of the Reformation more complete?" 
But this Mr. Macaulay has himself most satisfactorily answered. 
As long as the Reformation was the work of faith, — the conflict 
of living piety with a degenerate form of Christianity, — it spread 
over the face of Christendom with a rapidity to which nothing 
in man^s moral history can be compared, no, not even the first 
difiusion of Christianity; but, when a second generation of 
heads of the Reformation had become lukewarm and worldly, 
when the Protestant Princes, getting into entire possession 
of the movement, used it for their own selfish purposes, then 
the Popish reaction could set in and prevail. The combatants, 

Experience and Hope. 43 

to use Macaulay^s picturesque expression, had changed rapiers : 
the intensity of religious zeal was on the side of the Catholics. 
Their Church was universal in a very real, though low and 
materialistic, sense : it had no frontiers ; the operations of its 
strongly organized and united hierarchy took in the whole 
world; the energies, vigilance, and sympathies of the entire 
body were called forth wherever its interests were at stake, 
no matter in how remote a corner. Protestantism, on the 
contrary, had for aggressive purposes no organization at all; 
parcelled into mere national Churches, isolated from each other, 
and under the absolute control of their respective civil govern- 
ments ; their ministry a local militia, useful, indeed, in case of 
invasion, but incapable of carrying the war into the enemy's 
quarters. A century after the Reformation, while Rome exhi- 
bited to the world the spectacle of a vast society essentially 
held together by a religious principle, or at least religious 
claims, in our several Protestant societies, alas ! the national 
and political element was predominant ; and yet they all, without 
exception, retained much of the theory and practice of com- 
pulsory religion. Under those circumstances, is it strange that 
the progress of the Reformation should have been suspended? 
We will even dare to ask, is it to be regretted that the whole of 
Christendom was not divided into the set of hard, dry, formal- 
istic, worldly, intolerant Csesareo-Papacies, which the Protestant 
Churches would certainly have become, if the prolonged exist- 
ence of the original Papacy had not maintained something 
of the first evangelical spirit within them, by forcing them 
to keep up an attitude of antagonism ? 

The experience of the past shows the invincible strength of 
Rome against a certain amount of gross an ti- Christian error, 
against infidelity, and against secularized religion ; but it should 
also teach us the weakness of Rome against earnest, unshackled 
evangelical religion. And, when we look abroad upon the real 
Catholicism that is growing up among vitally religious members 
of our Protestant Churches, renewing the controversy throughout 
Europe and the British Isles in the genuine spirit of the 
Reformation, winning souls individually, and resting its con- 
quests on the sure basis of personal conviction, we trust we 
are authorized to hope that word has gone forth from on high 
for a final and successful struggle with this great and ancient 
corruption of Christianity. 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

Art. II. — 1. The Life of Sir Astley Cooper, Bart., interspersed 
with Sketches from his Note-Books, ^c. By Bransby Blake 
CooPER_, EsQ.^ F.R.S. In Two Volumes. London : John W. 
Parker. 1843. 

2. Memoirs of John Abernethy, F.R.S., with a View of 
his Lectures, Writings, and Character. By George Mac- 
iLWAiN, F.R.C.S.^ &c. Second Edition. In Two Volumes. 
London : Hurst and Blackett. 1854. 

The career of the medical man is emphatically one of private 
life. He has to do with the sufferings and griefs of the individual ; 
and^ although he may kindle the warmest emotions of admiration 
and of attachment in the minds of a great number of isolated 
persons, his calling is unfitted to excite the plaudits of public 
enthusiasm, even when the qualifications exhibited are of the 
highest order. The ministrations of the Church are addressed 
to the public; and, therefore, when marked by pre-eminent 
merit, they are simultaneously recognised as such by the public. 
The Law attracts a full share of popular attention, and more than 
a full share of public rewards ; not because, in its nature, of higher 
worth or tending to nobler ends, but because it declares the rights 
and guards the interests of the community, as well as those of 
individuals, and its functions are carried on in the presence of 
associated numbers. The Physician or Surgeon, on the contrary, 
has no dealings with the community as such, and his claims upon 
its component parts cannot be recognised or felt in common. 

It is thus unusual for a member of the medical profession to 
occupy a prominent place in the public eye. Nor, even when 
such publicity does occur, is it always to be taken as a proof of 
extraordinary merit, either professional or otherwise, since, like 
popularity in other spheres, it may arise from meretricious causes, 
and possess none of the elements of worth or permanency. In 
modern times many specimens of the professional character could 
be produced, in whom nothing seems wanting in natural gifts, 
scientific attainments, or practical aptitude, — but only a larger and 
more conspicuous field for their exercise, — to justify a bold com- 
parison with the most famous names in the annals of medicine. 

The greatness that impresses the popular mind is seldom, 
if ever, recognised in a member of the healing profession. If 
Esculapius was really received among the number of the gods, 
living or dead, the Greeks must have cherished sentiments that 
form no part of modern natures. Many men have existed, and 
many still live, whose entrance into a company elicits the spon- 
taneous expression of universal regard and interest, — the token of 
general appreciation of services, real or imagined, which they 
have rendered to their species. The leading statesman, the success- 
ful soldier, and the eloquent lawyer, commonly receive these and 

Qualifications for Medical Practice. 


yet more substantial marks of public appreciation ; but when was 
the world^s enthusiasm ever excited to a like extent by a career, 
however able_, long-continued, or arduous, devoted to the develop- 
ment and application of principles whose results can be exhibited 
only in the welfare of the individual ? There may be plausi})le 
reasons assigned, and even principles of our nature adduced, 
which may partially account for this neglect ; but it may be 
doubted whether the fact be not a reflection upon the estimate 
formed by mankind of their benefactors, and upon the justness 
of their scale of recompense. 

And yet the qualities required in those who deservedly obtain 
the laurel in medicine, are among the highest that can be found 
in any sphere of exertion. Being both a science and an art, it 
equally requires the possession of reflective and practical talents. 
The treatment of each case of disease is a piece of reasoning ; 
a large amount of general principles, each of these the result of 
induction from a vast number of instances, is brought to bear 
upon the facts of a particular case, which may not, in all its cir- 
cumstances, resemble any other case whatever ; and by the daily 
and hourly repetition of the process, the reasoning faculty must 
necessarily acquire both acuteness and vigour. Foresight in the 
detection of danger, and ingenuity in the adaptation of means to 
ward it off*, are essentially requisite. Promptness of action, saga- 
city, discrimination, and the power to influence the wavering 
minds of others in moments of peril, — these and other qualifica- 
tions might be instanced, and would form materials for a com- 
parison with the requirements of the Pleader at the bar or the 
General in the field. If to these qualities be added the subordi- 
nation of personal feelings and objects to the good of others, 
and the kindly sympathy with sufiering , which have generally 
characterized the medical profession, there will appear ample 
claims upon the respect of the public towards it as a whole, and 
a just call for a sympathizing interest in those whom its members 
acknowledge as their chiefs. 

Notwithstanding, however, the general rule which thus exists, 
— tending directly to exclude the hope of fame as a powerful 
motive of the medical practitioner, — the last half- century pre- 
sents, in this country, two remarkable exceptions, in the persons 
of John Abernethy and Sir Astley Cooper. The names of these 
men have spread far beyond the limits of the profession to which 
they belonged, and have originated numerous popular legends, 
which have alternately interested and amused the public. The 
recent appearance of '^'^ Memoirs of Abernethy presents a favour- 
able opportunity for passing in review the principal events in the 
career of both ; nor is there wanting, as a further inducement, a 
certain curiosity, that seeks its gratification in looking behind 
the curtain which ordinarily veils the thoughts and acts of those 
engaged in a somewhat fearful and mysterious calling. 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

AsTLEY Cooper was the fourth son of the Rev. Dr. Samuel 
Cooper^ of Yarmouth^ in the county of Norfolk. His mother was 
a daughter of Mr. Bransby^ of Shottisham, a co-heiress descended 
from the family of Paston; a lady of considerable intellectual 
attainments, and the authoress of several works of fiction, which 
had much popularity in their day. Astley was born at Brooke, 
in Norfolk, on the 23rd of August, 1768. The classical part of 
his education was superintended by his father, but does not ap- 
pear to have extended very much beyond the rudimentary stages 
of Latin and Greek ; nor do we find, at any subsequent part of 
his life, any reference to classical tastes or acquirements. 

According to a well known principle, when he afterwards 
became celebrated, it was the custom to refer his first attach- 
ment to the medical profession to the accidental circumstance 
of his ha\dng had the presence of mind to compress a wounded 
artery, and thus to save the life of a young friend, imperilled by 
a serious accident. However this may have been, he was appren- 
ticed, at the age of fifteen years, to a Mr. Turner, a general prac- 
titioner, of Yarmouth. His residence with this gentleman was 
short, as we soon find him availing himself of that which formed 
the first great facility of his early professional life, and, in all 
probability, constituted his chief inducement to the particular 
walk which he adopted. 

His uncle, Mr. William Cooper, was at that time one of the 
Surgeons to Guy^s Hospital, and Astley was taken by him into 
his house, as a pupil. This arrangement, according to the 
exclusive system, prevailing then as now, of confining the 
surgical offices of the Hospital to those who have been articled 
pupils to the Surgeons attached, opened the way to his ultimate 
appointments of assistant, and then full. Surgeon to Guy's. His 
uncle appears to have been somewhat old-fashioned in his views ; 
and Astley, in those days, was high-spirited, frolicsome, and idle. 
The consequence was, that disagreeable discussions became so 
frequent, as ultimately to lead to a transfer of his indentures to 
Mr. Cline, at that time the more eminent colleague of Mr. 
William Cooper. This transfer, which was in all probability 
brought about by Astley in consequence of Cline' s superior 
reputation, was attended by the best professional results. From 
that time, he became conspicuously industrious, and seemed to 
find his chief pleasure in the hospital and dissecting-room ; and 
so rapid and marked was his progress in professional acquire- 
ments, that, in 1791, after a short time spent in Edinburgh, he 
was appointed to give a portion of the anatomical lectures in 
conjunction with Mr. Cline. From this period, his progress in 
knowledge, and consequent reputation, was rapid and uninter- 
rupted. His boyhood and youth had been marked by great 
energy of character and unbounded animal spirits. This seem- 
ingly exhaustless energy he now directed, with uninterrupted 

London fifty Years since. 


industry, to a life-long pursuit of anatomical and surgical 
knowledge; presenting, to the eye of one who shall scan his 
w hole career, the spectacle of an enthusiasm apparently too ardent 
to be continuous, persisted in, to the end, with all the regularity 
and constancy of a law, even after the ordinary motives to exer- 
tion were weakened by success. 

At this time, no distinct courses of lectures on surgery were 
giA^en in London, the maxims of the day being included in the 
anatomical course. Mr. Cooper, however, having gained the 
sanction of the Surgeons of St. Thomas' and Guy's, commenced a 
course on surgery, and laid the foundation of the class to which 
were delivered, in a regular series, for very many years, those 
lectures which have so far been unrivalled, whether we look to 
the information they contain, the gracefulness of their delivery, 
or the popularity which they achieved. 

Towards the close of 1791, he married Miss Cook, of Totten- 
ham, a relative of Mr. Cline ; and the next year, after a short 
visit to Paris, during which he attended the lectures of Dessault 
and Chopart, he commenced practice in Jeffery's Square, St. 
Mary Axe, where he resided six years. 

It was during this period that he laid the foundation of that 
vast private practice, which continued to increase, throughout 
his residence in New Broad-street, until, in the year 1805, it 
had attained an extent and remimeration exceeding any thing 
known in the records of professional success. Sir Astley has 
himself, in some slight biographical fragments, indicated some 
of the favourable circumstances, peculiar to the period, which 
partly account for this success. At the time referred to, — the end 
of the last, and the commencement of the present, century, — the 
city presented a different aspect, at the close of business hours, 
to what we see at present. The streets of lofty warehouses and 
large rambling offices, which now make the central parts of the 
city look so sad in the evening, were then filled with noble houses, 
in which the merchant-prince and his family were content to live, 
— often beneath the humble roof of his counting-house. Here 
he exercised a generous hospitality, and superintended, with patri- 
archal simplicity, the clerks and servants who ministered to his 
wealth. At this time, before it became the fashion to imitate 
the style of the upper classes by a western or suburban resi- 
dence, perhaps there was a greater concentration of wealth 
within a small space, in these parts of London, than was ever 
known in the history of any other commercial city. Under such 
circumstances, the medical man, who was so fortunate as to gain 
the confidence of these influential families, had immense advan- 
tages, both in the number and compact position of his patients, 
and in the more liberal scale of remuneration for his services, 
which the expensive habits of recent times have tended to 
curtail. Sir Astley states that, for attendance upon the family 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

of one of these magnates^ he received, for several years, upwards 
of £Q00 per annum. 

In reference to Mr. Cooper^ s professional position during the 
latter period of his city residence, his biographer remarks : — 

" The peculiar position in which Mr. Cooper stood during his resi- 
dence in Broad-street, was such as no one seems ever to have exactly 
filled. It appeared as if he had by some magic gained the confidence 
of every medical practitioner who had access to him ; and this insured 
an extension of his fame over a very large portion of England. This 
influence did not arise from his published works, nor from his being 
a lecturer, nor, indeed, from any public situation which he held, 
although each of these circumstances had its share in producing the 
result ; but it seemed to originate more from his innate love of his 
profession, his extreme zeal in all that concerned it, and his honest 
desire, as weU as great power, to communicate his knowledge to ano- 
ther, without, at the same time, exposing the ignorance of his listener 
on the subject, even to himself. This must be looked upon as one 
cause why his public character became so much diffiised by his pro- 
fessional brethren ; for he owed little of his advancement in life to the 
patronage of Court favour. Another peculiar quality, which proved 
always a great source of advantage to him, M^as his thorough confi- 
dence in himself, in respect to his professional knowledge, so that, 
after he had once examined a case, he cared but little who v/as to give 
a further surgical opinion upon it. This must inevitably have instilled 
an equal degree of confidence into those consulting him." 

The extended reputation and large practice of Mr. Cooper at 
this time, led some adventurers to make a surreptitious use of 
his name, an amusing instance of which may be given. A gang 
of designing knaves established themselves in a house in 
Charlotte- street, Blackfriars-road, and were known, by those 
conversant with their proceedings, as the "Ashley Cooper set.^' 
This appellation was derived from the fact of the advertisements 
commencing with the name of " Dr. Ashley Cooper in large let- 
ters, whilst the names of the other Doctors, who were represented 
as his assistants, were printed in smaller type. These names were 
those of Drs. ^lunro, Daniells, and Duncan, the word ^' Com- 
pany always terminating the list. Daniells had been a small 
chemist in Wapping ; Munro was an obscure practitioner from 
Scotland; and Duncan was believed to be the black servant- 
man who played an important part in the proceedings. The 
plan of operations was, to advertise largely in provincial papers, 
so as to attract a portion of those persons from the country who 
were continually coming to town for surgical advice. The 
" Board,^^ as they styled themselves, sat in consultation during 
certain specified hours every morning. The black man-servant, 
who was in livery, had been tutored never to give a direct reply 
to any question which might be put to him ; but to induce any 
applicant, by evasive answers, to enter the waiting-room. Thus, 
when asked, " Is Dr. Ashley Cooper at home?^' the reply would 

The " Ashley Cooper " Impostors, 49 

be either, "Walk in, Sir," or, "The Doctor is at home. Sir;'' 
and so ingeniously was this system carried out, that it would 
have been difficult for any one to prove that he had been 
induced to enter the establishment by a direct falsehood, under 
the impression that he was to see Mr. Astley Cooper, the Sur- 
geon. There were always two or three persons in the waiting- 
room, sometimes really patients applying for advice ; and there 
was generally one person in league with the party, whose duty 
it was to remove objections, or to lull any suspicion that might 
arise in the mind of a visitor, or otherwise prepare him for his 
appearance before the fraternity. The plan of proceeding was 
this : — 

" If it were a simple case, and the patient was not likely to ' bleed 
freely,' one of the Doctors only would see him ; his case would be 
heard, quickly dispatched, and the patient dismissed without any further 
ceremony. If, however, the applicant were found to be a person from 
the country, and appeared likely to pay a large fee, whether his disorder 
was simple or not, it was always represented to be very serious, and 
a statement made that it was necessary to consult the Board. 

" The visitor was then ushered into this room : and he suddenly 
found himself in the midst of a very imposing scene. Around a table, 
covered with green cloth, on which were carelessly lying heaps of papers 
and books, were seated three, four, or sometimes five grave-looking 
persons ; the President, the so-called Dr. Ashley Cooper, being distin- 
guished from the rest by being seated in a raised chair at the head of 
the table. They were all habited in robes and wigs, which last arti- 
cles of attire had the two-fold effect of giving an importance to their 
assumed position and character, and, at the same time, of concealing their 
features, which appeared to be not an unimportant point with them. 
On entering the room, the visitor was usually directed to a seat by 
the President, who was the chief organ of communication, the rest 
of the party being apparently engaged in taking notes of his queries, 
and the replies of the patient. As soon as the examination and 
remarks were concluded, the dupe was requested to withdraw, while 
the consultation was taking place. He was soon afterwards recalled, 
and the important document, the result of their united wisdom, was 
then handed to him. The patient, who had perhaps intended only to 
pay the usual fee of a guinea, struck with awe at all this unexpected 
ceremony, then, probably, inquired the amount of his fee. The sum 
mentioned in reply was often exorbitant, frequently more than he had 
about his person ; but he seldom left the house until they had obtained 
a considerable amount from him." 

Shame at their folly, and fear of the laughter of their friends, 
would often prevent the dupes fi'om publicly exposing the 
scoundrels. Occasionally, however, some indignant dupe would 
threaten to expose them ; and, in one case, a sum of ten 
guineas was recovered by a countryman walking in front of the 
house for two mornings, loudly relating the circumstances to all 
who would listen. Notwithstanding these occasional drawbacks_, 
the Ashley Cooper Doctors continued to exist for several years. 



Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

Biography, as well as History_, admits of episode : the variety 
and relief afforded are often as grateful in the one case as the 
other ; and as it is a rule in this branch of composition, that the 
narrative introduced should have some obvious relation (though 
more or less remote) to the main design, it will be admitted that 
the story of the resurrectionist is not unsuitable to the biogra- 
phy of an eminent surgeon of the age gone by. Such, at 
least, is evidently the opinion of the author of this Life of Sir 
Astley Cooper; and we are tempted to give our readers an 
epitome of this interesting portion of the work. Besides gratify- 
ing an innocent curiosity, it may suggest an useful lesson, and 
afford especially a timely hint to those who sigh for the pic- 
tm'csqueness and simplicity of former days. The same facts 
which bring into bold relief the former quality, will serve 
effectually to dissipate our impressions of the latter. Let us 
look for a moment at some of the dark deeds that not long since 
took place between " the glimpses of the moon,^^ and rejoice 
that no such hideous outrage now dares to interrupt the repose 
of the grave. 

In the course of his professional pursuits, Sir Astley came in 
contact, more perhaps than any of his contemporaries, with the 
exception of Joshua Brookes, with those outcasts of society, the 
resurrectionists, or body-snatchers. The necessity for this 
intercourse with the most degraded and reckless of mankind was 
most painfully felt ; but the credit of English surgery, and the 
welfare of the whole community through its individual members, 
were at stake. This was well understood by the Statesmen and 
Magistracy of the time ; and although loud in their expressions 
of indignation when some discovery which roused the anger of 
the populace took place, in general they winked at the for- 
bidden, but unavoidable, offence. Had the law, indeed, as it 
then stood, been strictly enforced, the progress of this country 
in one grand department of applied science, and that the most 
intimately connected Avith the welfare of mankind, would have 
been effectually checked ; and English surgeons must have 
resorted to the schools of Paris and Vienna for the necessary 
instruction denied to them in their own country. Fortunately, 
however, the occupation of the body-snatcher was nearly 
wholly confined to the period of which we write, or the first 
quarter of the present century ; for previously little Anatomy 
was taught in England, and subsequently legal provision was 
made for its due and proper exercise. 

The followers of this revolting traffic were almost invariably 
men of the worst character, — bold, hardy, and of wonderful low 
cunning. They formed a small community, isolated from all 
other classes of labourers by the disgusting nature of their 
employment, and generally working in small companies or 
partnerships, under the guidance of some man eminent for hia^ 

The Resurrectionists. 


courage^ cunning, or experience. Jealousy of each other's 
success seems to have been one of the most remarkable features 
of these gangs, and is shown in the extraordinary perseverance 
and sagacity with which they discovered, and then made known 
to the authorities, the professional labours of their rivals. They 
were constantly quarrelling and betraying each other, and not 
unfrequently encountered much risk to themselves, rather than 
refrain from enjoying a sweet morsel of revenge. 

The best allies of the resurrectionist were the old watchmen 
employed to guard the various burial-grounds of the metropolis ; 
the great majority of whom, it is believed, were in the habit of 
recei\ a per-centage of the proceeds, as the price of their 
connivance. The public being aware that graveyards were often 
robbed, it was not unusual to employ special watchmen to sit 
up by the grave, or the friends of the deceased would watch by 
turns. But the unwonted nature of the occupation, and the 
gloom and stillness of all around, frequently caused them to 
stay only a part of the night ; and even when otherwise, such 
was the skill and rapidity of the resurrectionist, that a slumber 
or short absence of half an hour was sufficient to defeat the 
object of the hireling guardian or the worn-out mourner. 

On the principle of setting a thief to catch a thief, and that 
poachers make the best gamekeepers, resurrectionists were occa- 
sionally employed, by those who had some knowledge of their 
proceedings, to watch a grave. Where the remuneration offered 
was large, and the man really desired to execute his trust faith- 
fully, and thwart the schemes of his companions, he was gene- 
rally outwitted by some among them more active or cunning 
than himself. One mode adopted was to plan some other under- 
taking, connected with exhumation, in which he was associated ; 
and then, during his absence, some part of the gang " raised 
the coveted body. Another way was, for some friend or two to 
enter into conversation with him, and ultimately to ply him with 
drink, to which nearly all the class were addicted, until he was 
rendered too helpless to interfere with the design in hand. 

It was well known that bodies were "raised^' with great 
rapidity ; but how it was done, remained to the last a mystery, 
known to few. The general impression was, that all the soil 
covering the coffin was removed, and the hd forcibly broken off 
by suitable tools. Now this plan, erroneously described by the 
author of the "Diary of a late Physician as that usually 
adopted, would frequently have led to detection, in consequence 
of the length of time required, and the noise of so much 
digging. The true mode of proceeding was this. The body- 
snatcher first carefully examined any peculiarities of the ground, 
his keen eye detecting any little piece of slate or wood, or other 
mark. These he carefully removed, in order to their replace- 
ment when all was over, — to avoid creating suspicion. He then 

E 3 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

dug down over the head of the coffin^ leaving the other portions 
as little disturbed as possible. Wlien about a third of the 
length was thus cleared away^ a strong crow-bar, of a peculiar 
form, was introduced between the end of the coffin and the lid. 
On raising the latter, owing to the superincumbent weight upon 
the lower portion, it usually snapped across at about one third of 
the distance from the top. As soon as this happened, the body 
was drawn out by the shoulders, the burial clothes were removed 
and replaced in the coffin, and the corpse tied up in a sack and 
conveyed to its destination. This plan seldom failed, unless 
the lid proved unusually strong, — a circumstance which not 
often happened in the coffins of the poor, to which class the 
operations of the resurrectionists were usually directed. 

But the body-snatcher did not always practise as a resurrec- 
tionist. By a horrible dexterity in his work of sacrilege, he 
as frequently forestalled, as plundered, the grave of its appointed 
prey. In the years 1825 and 18.26, there seems to have been 
an understanding between men of this class and the undertakers 
of the metropolis ; brick-bats and earth were substituted for the 
' bodies of deceased persons ; and over many a plundered coffin 
resounded the solemn service for the dead, or the sob of a 
broken heart, that was mocked, as well as utterly bereaved. 
Even the bodies of unfortunate creatures awaiting the judgment 
of a coroner's jury suddenly vanished, and to the mystery of 
their death — destined never to be cleared up in any earthly 
court — was now strangely added the mystery of their disappear- 
ance. Of this latter kind is the adventure described in the 
following story, which may serve to illustrate some of the 
incidents of this nefarious traffic : — 

" Patrick was strolling in the neighbourhood of Sydenham, when he 
heard that the body of a female had been found in the canal, and 

taken to the public-house, on the preceding evening. Ever 

alive to business, he at once went to the inn, ordered some beer, and 
soon contrived to enter into conversation with the pot-boy. From 
him he learned, that the body in the stable was suspected to be that 
of a pauper, who had escaped from the Woolwich workhouse, and 
seemed to be without friends to claim it for burial. He also dis- 
covered that his informant, on some previous occasion, had been 
employed for two nights in watching a body placed there under 
similar circumstances, but had been subsequently so ill repaid by the 
parish officer for his trouble, that he had determined not to sit up 
with any other again. This was sufficient for Patrick : carefully 
examining, as far as his position would allow, the size and form of the 
key-hole of the stable door, he soon left, and went on his way to 

" At a late hour on the same evening, Patrick returned to Sydenham 
with a companion, and, after prowling about for an hour and a half, 
reconnoitring, proceeded to try if any of the keys he had brought 
with him would unlock the door of the stable, which was so placed as 

Aneurism of the Aorta, 


to be easily got at from the road. To their delight, the first they 
used opened it at once, and the rest of their operations within the 
stable were soon concluded. Having obtained the prize, they turned 
down a narrow lane, and were soon far away from Sydenham : so that 
they succeeded in depositing the subject at its destination in London 
before day-break. The next afternoon, Patrick was sitting in a room 
at the Elephant and Castle Inn, when a coachman, with whom he 
was slightly acquainted, came in, and commenced giving an account of 
a tremendous disturbance which had occurred that morning at 
Sydenham ; telling him that a jury had met to sit on a body, but, on 
going into the stable to inspect it, they found that the body had dis- 
appeared in the course of the night. He little thought how readily 
the man he was addressing could have explained the matter, had he 
chosen, or that he had, at that very time, in his waistcoat pocket, half 
the money the missing body had produced." — Vol. i., pp. 383, 384. 

The scene of this hideous theft recalls us to the pleasing 
recollection that we live in brighter days. Sydenham is now 
the seat and symbol of all that is ennobling in science and the 
liberal arts ; and we cherish^ amid some solicitude and doubt, 
a persuasion, that, though Art has no power to transform the 
moral life, it is able steadily to improve and humanize the aspect 
of Society. 

In May, 1816, Astley Cooper signalized himself by perform- 
ing one of the most difficult operations in the whole compass of 
surgery, — that of placing a ligature upon the aorta. Aneurism 
of the aorta, from the nature, and still more from the position, 
of the disease, as Well as the magnitude of that great trunk-artery, 
is one of the most perilous, and apparently hopeless, of all com- 
plaints to which the body of man is liable. The disease may 
occur in any of the arteries, and consists in a rupture of the 
inner coat of the vessel, forming a fissure, in which a small 
portion of blood becomes lodged and coagulates. The outer 
elastic coat yields to the pressure, and becomes gradually 
enlarged by fresh deposits of coagulum, until a tumour is 
formed. This gradually becomes thinner, till it bursts either 
from the pressure of the blood, or from some sudden exertion. 
In order to prevent this catastrophe. Surgeons are in the habit 
of performing an operation, the object of which is to cut off the 
communication between the diseased blood-vessel and the heart, 
and thus prevent any further flow into the aneurismal swelling. 
The circulation is then thrown upon the small collateral vessels, 
which gradually enlarge and adapt themselves to the new duties 
they are thus called upon to fulfil, while the former channel 
becomes contracted to a cord. 

The aorta being the great channel through which all the blood 
passes from the heart, nature has taken every means to protect 
it from injury ; and thus we find it placed in front of the spine, 
defended by soft, yielding organs, and surrounded by and closely 
connected with various other important structures ; so that to 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

reach tlie vessel,, without inflicting injury upon other important 
parts, requires the most minute anatomical knowledge. But, 
supposing the vessel reached, and a ligature applied, will the 
circulation be carried on, when thus cut off in full career? 
Will the comparatively few and small arteries given off between 
the heart and the ligature be sufficient to supply the place of the 
main trunk ? 

Fortified by the study of some rare forms of disease in which 
the aorta had become unnaturally constricted, and by experi- 
ments upon animals, Mr. Cooper felt justified in giving a chance 
of life to a patient thus perilously situated ; and although in the 
first case life was prolonged but a short time, subsequent attempts, 
in the hands of himself and others, have met with such success 
as to justify the procedure. 

Deferring, for the present, the consideration of the intellectual 
and professional qualifications of Astley Cooper, as well as some 
circumstances of the time which had a bearing upon his unpa- 
ralleled success, we will proceed rapidly to sketch the chief 
remaining points of his personal history. 

In the year 1815, he migrated westward, and thus closed the 
busiest and most lucrative portion of his practice. For many 
years after this, during his residence in New-street, Spring-gar- 
dens, he carried on the leading surgical practice in the metropo- 
lis ; but he never su])sequently reached a point equal to the last 
year of his residence in the city. For several years his profes- 
sional receipts averaged c€ 1 5,000 jt?er annum; but in the year 
alluded to, they exceeded the enormous sum of <£2 1,000. 

In 1821, he was created a Baronet by George IV., to whom he 
had previously been appointed Surgeon, and, during the remainder 
of his professional life, had under his care several members of the 
Royal Family, and many of the great officers of state, as well as 
illustrious persons from all parts of Europe. His biographer 
gives numerous extracts from his memoranda, relating to Lord 
Liverpool and other eminent indi\dduals, which are interesting 
records of their habits and characters, though somewhat too 
courtier-like in their tone and expressions. The highest honours, 
and every possible mark of public respect, were now showered upon 
him by the scientific corporations of England and France, which 
vied with each other in their tokens of regard ; whilst his opinion 
upon a disease was considered by the public at large as the final 
estimate of human help, decisive of its present limitation or success. 
Louis Philippe conferred upon him the Cross of the Legion of 
Honour ; he was elected Corresponding Member of the National 
Institute of France, and of most of the learned Societies of Ger- 
many and America ; and from William IV. he received the dis- 
tinction of Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order. 

In 1827, he retired from the profession, intending to spend the 
remainder of his life, in the enjoyment of well-earned retirement. 

Cooper's Scientific Services. 


at liis estate near Hemel-Hempstead. A short experience^ liow- 
ever_, soon convinced him that he was unfitted for a life of inglo- 
rious ease ; and_, with characteristic decision, he resolved to re- 
turn, to practise his profession anew. In 1826, and again in 1837, 
he occupied the honourable position of President of the College 
of Surgeons, and continued his practice and pathological labours 
until his last illness. The first symptoms of disease came on him 
when walking to church at Strathfieldsaye, with the Duke of 
Wellington, when he was seized with violent and irregular action 
of the heart, accompanied with great difficulty of breathing. After 
an illness of a few weeks^ duration, he died of diseased heart, 
February 12th, 1841, in his seventy- third year. 

Sir Astley Cooper's scientific character can only be glanced ^it, 
in these pages, in the most cursory manner. His fame is not sim- 
ply that of a good practical Surgeon, but is based upon original 
discoveries, the value of which is attested by the fact, that they 
still continue to influence the daily practice of the Surgeon. A 
comparison of the surgery of the present day with that of fifty 
years since would at once establish his claims to rank high among 
the benefactors of mankind, while it would exhibit a striking 
proof of the immense influence which may be exerted over a class 
or a nation, by the labours and talents of a single individual. 
Not half a century since, it was doubted in our schools whether 
the hip-joint was ever dislocated ; and those who admitted the pos- 
sibility of the occurrence doubted the practicability of its reduc- 
tion. Cases were constantly met with in the hospitals, where 
dislocations had been treated as fractures, until the period had 
passed in which reduction could be effected ; and others, perhaps 
equally numerous, in which irreparable injury had been inflicted 
by pulling a fractured limb, under the belief that it was dislo- 
cated. Sir Astley cleared up this cloud of ignorance and error ; 
and now, as a result of his researches, almost every fracture and 
dislocation is readily recognised by the merest tyro, and their 
treatment rendered both simple and efiicacious. 

We turn to hernia, (or rupture, in popular language,) and 
trace similar improvements to the same source. The various 
species of hernia have been distinguished from each other, and 
from the different diseases with which they had been or might be 
confounded. The anatomy of the parts through which a portion 
of the intestines might protrude, and its various coverings after 
protrusion, — for this constitutes hernia, — were carefully investi- 
gated, with the effect of rendering our knowledge of the descent 
far more precise, increasing our means of preventing constric- 
tion of the bowel, or strangulation, and making the operation, 
after strangulation has occurred, far more safe and effectual. 
We have already alluded to his bold attempts for the relief of 
aneurism ; and, indeed, there is scarcely a department of surgery. 


Sir Astley Cooper and Aberneihy. 

which has not been improved by his unwearied industry and 
practical tact. 

Our account of his labours would 'be very incomplete without 
some reference to his important professional writings. These are 
distinguished by tlicir unusually practical character, and by the 
fact that every opinion advanced is the result of personal observa- 
tion. Nothing is taken for granted, little or nothing is borrowed 
from others. The illustrative cases are, with few exceptions^ 
taken from his own practice, and form a running commentary 
upon the doctrines enunciated ; nor must it be forgotten, that the 
whole, amounting to several quartos, were written during the 
busiest part of his career, or at a period of life when the faculties 
are seldom very active. Ilis works on the Anatomy of the Breast, 
and on the Non-Malignant Diseases of the Breast, his Treatise 
on Dislocations and Fractures of the Joints, and his Lectures on 
tlie Theory and Practice of Surgery, are likely long to remain 
the standard authorities on their respective subjects. For 
directness of purpose, solidity of matter, and the absence of 
vague speculation, they are unequalled by any medical works of 
recent times, if we except the writings of Sir Benjamin Brodie. 

The personal qualities of Sir Astley were engaging, and had no 
mean influence on his success. His elasticity of spirit was un- 
failing at all periods of his life, and gave a great charm to his 
intercourse with his friends. Of his graceftd person and kind- 
liness of manner, we retain, in common with very many now 
living, the most vi\id impression. He was tall and well propor- 
tioned, his complexion ruddy, and his whole appearance dignified 
by an ample quantity of silky white hair. His bearing towards 
his professional brethren and pupils was open, candid, and aff"a- 
ble : to the young professional man his manner was such as to 
elicit the most perfect confidence. His opinion upon a case was 
given without any magisterial air, and he would discuss its vari- 
ous bearings with the youngest of his professional brethren, in 
such a manner as showed equally his interest in his profession, 
and his respect for his more youthful co-adjutor. His demeanour 
towards his hospital patients, and the poor in general, was also 
remarkable. Nothing could be more delightful than to witness 
the change, from depression to confidence, which often rapidly 
resulted from a few of his kind and cheerful words. 

But we cannot recognise, in Sir Astley, the qualities that con- 
stitute the truly great man. He brought good common-sense, 
vast powers of exact and careful observation, and an undaunted 
perseverance, to bear upon a practical and noble subject ; and 
these, in connexion with every external advantage, led to 
eminent and deserved success. But the high sympathy with 
nature in all her manifestations, the keen perception of the hid- 
den chain that binds together the varying forms of existence, 
and the glowing interest in human progress which must be 

Youth of Ahernethy. 


founded on a lively faitli in its great destinies^ were wanting. 
His love of money was excessive. His acts of benevolence were 
not few^ but tlieir objects were confined to a narrow circle. His 
sympathy with merit was considerable^ but that merit must 
exhibit itself within a certain range. The obvious and the 
practical were too exclusively the excitants of his admiration. 
He lacked the kindling glow of fellowship with lofty aspirations ; 
and seemed to undervalue the discoveries of science itself, with 
all their beautiful co-aptations to kindred truths^ if unable, at 
once, to recognise in them some utilitarian application. For 
abstract scientific truths he had but little taste ; for the general 
amelioration and progress of his species he evinced no enthu- 
siasm ; but as the practical servant of society around him, — as 
the skilful remover of evils which beset the daily life of his 
fellow-men, — as the assiduous and graceful minister of relief to 
the afflicted in every walk of life, — he is, perhaps, the finest 
example of a class whose merits seldom fail to secure a just 
measure of eminence and success. 

John Abernethy was descended from a family long settled in 
Ireland. His grandfather. Dr. John Abernethy, was the author 
of some volumes of sermons, long held in estimation for clear 
thought and practical piety. His father removed to London 
about the middle of the last century, and established himself in 
the city, as a merchant. The sul)ject of our notice was born in 
the parish of St. Stephen, Coleman-street, on the 3rd of April, 
1764, exactly one year after John Hunter settled in London. 
After some preliminary home tuition, he was sent to the Wolver- 
hampton Grammar School, where he appears to have obtained 
the character of a clever, shy, and passionate boy. 

At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Sir Charles 
Blicke, at that time a Surgeon in large practice, living in Mil- 
dred^s-court. There is evidence that, during his apprenticeship, 
young Abernethy evinced a taste for chemical and physiolo- 
gical researches. He once observed, in reference to a certain 
disease, '^'^When I was a boy, I half ruined myself in buying 
oranges and other things, to ascertain the effects of different 
kinds of diet in this disease.^'' As Sir Charles Blicke was Sur- 
geon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Abernethy would doubtless 
have access to the surgical lectures occasionally delivered there 
by Mr. Pott. There being no regular course of lectures on 
anatomy at that Hospital, he attended the lectures of Sir Wil- 
liam Blizard, at the London Hospital; and his liking for the 
man, and his interest in the subject, awakened the first impulse 
of real love for his profession. Sir William was enthusiastic, 
disinterested, and straightforward ; and contrasted favourably, in 
his young friend's mind, with the more polished but selfish 
character of his master. Thirty years afterwards, when he 


Sir Asiley Cooper and Abernethy, 

delivered the first of liis admirable lectures to the College of 
Surgeons in 1814^ he took the opportunity to pay a handsome 
compliment to his former instructor, — a compliment which must 
have been deeply gratifying to the venerable Surgeon_, who was 

In July, 1787, Mr. Abernethy was elected to the office of 
Assistant- Surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Soon after- 
wards, he took a step which influenced his whole future fortunes. 
His intercourse with his fellow- pupils at the Hospital had 
already elicited his peculiar talents for communicating know- 
ledge, and he appears early to have resolved upon following out 
his natural bias. Thus, by his own unaided efforts, he laid the 
foundation of the School of Medicine subsequently connected 
with St. Bartholomew's Hospital, which yet retains its high 
status among the medical educational establishments of the 
country. It is impossible to avoid being struck with the coin- 
cidence of the almost simultaneous commencement of the two 
schools of Guy's and St. Bartholomew's, by two young men, 
scarcely past the age of pupilage. It is true that, at Bartholo- 
mew's, Mr. Pott had been in the habit of giving about twenty- 
four lectures on surgery; but where no anatomical lectures are 
delivered, a medical school cannot be said to exist. It is also 
true that, at Guy's, lectures had been given previously to Astley 
Cooper's time ; but it was not until his energy had been thrown 
into the lecture-room, that the full course of subjects received 
their due attention. Abernethy was the actual, Astley Cooper 
the virtual, founder of their respective schools. It may be well 
to pause awhile, to consider the professional influences of the 
period to which they were subjected, and the general circum- 
stances by which they were surrounded. 

At the period when our young aspirants for professional fame 
entered upon their career, surgery had not been quite emanci- 
pated from its alliance with the barbers, and, of course, had yet 
to achieve a proper position in public estimation. Cheselden, 
.Pott, and a few others had, indeed, stood out prominently, and 
been recognised as worthy of public honour ; but the great mass 
of their brethren still held a servile position under the Phy- 
sicians. It was the transition period, between that of a sub- 
missive execution of another's orders, and the self-assertion of 
proved and acknowledged science. They, therefore, became the 
leaders of professional thought and practice, at a time when it 
had just put on its more finished and permanent phase. Equal 
eminence could scarcely have been maintained for any length of 
time at an earlier period, since it would have been imperilled by 
the want of a scientific foundation ; whilst, at a later period, it 
would have been difficult to attain equal superiority in the 
contest with an abler race of competitors^ and amid a more 
general diflPusion of scientific knowledge. 

Influence of John Hunter, 


But we should take a very imperfect view of the circumstances 
which surrounded these young surgeons^ and exerted a potent 
influence over their subsequent fortunes, if we were to omit all 
reference to the vast influence exercised over them by John 
Hunter. This wonderful man, who joined in himself the close 
observation of nature characteristic of Bacon, with the power 
of generalization of Newton, was then near the termination of 
his career. But few of his contemporaries had faith in his 
doctrines ; and from some, including the uncle of young Astley 
Cooper, he received the bitterest opposition; so that it was 
left to the rising generation of medical men to introduce and 
develope the practical doctrines which Hunter had originated. 
Cooper and Abernethy had the advantage of hearing Hunter^s 
lectures, and were early convinced that the principles enunciated 
by him were destined to change, in many respects, the future 
practice of surgery ; and as no important discovery, at least in 
relation to the general physiological doctrines on which the 
science is based, has since taken place, it was not their fate to 
be left behind by the onward progress of professional know- 
ledge. At the same time, they never lost the prestige which 
they derived from being the first to embrace, and publicly 
to teach, the novel doctrines of their illustrious master. Nor 
can we well over-estimate the influence which their great practical 
talents and unflagging industry had, in causing the reception of 
these principles by the profession at large. Gifted with more 
popular talents for public teaching, clearer powers of exposition, 
and greater practical skill in applying his views to the emer- 
gencies of actual life, they may be said to have entered into 
Hunters labours, and to have supplemented him in those very 
particulars wherein he was undoubtedly wanting. It is pleasing 
to reflect that, in all periods of their career, they never failed to 
eulogize the man who may be said to have been the great apostle^ 
as he became the great martyr, of physiological science. 

The early years of Abernethy^ s manhood were years of inces- 
sant toil. He lectured upon Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, 
and Surgery, — subjects which are now divided amongst three or 
four teachers. An attentive observer at the Hospital, he was 
moreover assiduous in seeking information wherever it was to be 
found. Although he had little time at his command, and the dis- 
tance of Mr. Hunter's residence from his own was considerable, he 
sought every opportunity of attending the lectures in Leicester- 
square, and endeavoured, by private interviews, to become 
thoroughly acquainted with his views. But these occupations, in 
addition to the demands of a growing practice, did not prevent 
him from entering into original physiological investigations, the 
results of which were published in the " Philosophical Transac- 
tions'^ and in successive monographs. Some of these, particularly 
his Papers on the Function of the Skin and Lungs, and on Irrita- 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

bility, exhibit a power of reasoning, and a talent for discovering 
the obscure sympathies of the various parts of the human frame, 
quite unusual in medical writings of the time. In 1791, Mr. 
Abernethy^s lectures became adopted, as it were, by the Hospi- 
tal, the Governors having erected a new theatre, in which they 
were subsequently delivered to a constantly increasing class. By 
1796, when he Avas elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, his 
reputation was fully established on a twofold basis, — iis a popu- 
lar teaclier of his profession, and as a skilful practical Surgeon. 
His fame as a lecturer naturally brought his name frequently 
before the public, whilst his numerous pupils, as they began to 
branch off into practice, all impressed with the highest admira- 
tion of their teacher's talents, brought the more efficient blessing 
of numerous consultations. 

In the commencement of 1800, Mr. Abernethy, who had 
shortly before removed to Bedford-row, entered the marriage 
state. His mode of procedure was highly characteristic, and 
would be open to severe remark by the sterner critics of the pro- 
prieties, did we not consider the peculiar disposition of the man, 
as well as tlie circumstances in which he was placed. During a 
professional attendance upon a family at Edmonton, he had met 
with a young lady, Miss Anne Threlfall, the daughter of a retired 
merchant, and had been much impressed by her kindness and 
attention. One of Abernethy's most striking faculties was his 
keen insight into character. Lively, lady-like, and agreeable 
manners came in aid of the moral qualifications, and his choice 
was made. But how bring about the important affair ? He 
v>'as very shy, and extremely sensitive, and wholly absorbed in 
studying, teaching, and practising his profession, so as to have 
no time to carry on a regular siege. He therefore wrote a note, 
stating his wishes, and requesting the lady to take a fortnight to 
consider of her reply. We have only to add, that the answer was 
favourable, and that the marriage was in every respect a happy 
one. It is not a little amusing to find, that both Cooper and 
Abernethy came down to lecture on the evening of their marriage 

Abernethy's Treatise upon the Constitutional Origin of Local 
Diseases, popularly known as " my book,^' was published in 
180^. This is the best known of his works, and has undoubtedly 
exercised much influence upon the modern practice of medicine. 
The general belief is, that it is concerned exclusively with diges- 
tion, and that Abernethy looked to the stomach alone as the great 
fons et origo of all human ailments, and that he had but one 
mode of exorcising the demon. This is a mistake : the object of 
the work is to exhibit the reciprocal influence and mysterious 
sympathy existing between the nervous system and the digestive 
organs, and the power they mutually exert in the causation and 
cure of diseases. The subject was certainly not new^ but the? 

Abernethy as a Lecturer. 


suggestive and scrutinizing quality of his mind, together with his 
talent for clear statement of complicated truths, enabled him to 
carry his inquiries, in this direction, farther, and announce them 
more luminously, than had previously been done. The /«6*/.9, indeed, 
or at least some of them, had been known and commented upon 
since the time of Hippocrates. John Hunter had paid consider^ 
able attention to the subject, and had asserted "that the organ 
secondarily affected (as, for instance, in head-ache from deranged 
stomach) sometimes appeared to suffer more than the organ to 
which the disturbance had first been directed.^^ It was Aberne- 
thy^s function to trace out this sympathy, as it is called, more 
fully, and to add ampler illustrations of its nature, its complica- 
tions, and its range. 

Abernethy' s strong point, after all, was his lecturing. In 
this he was miri vailed. His thorough acquaintance with his 
subject, and wonderful facility in conveying his knowledge, were 
assisted by a combination of physical and intellectual accesso- 
ries, which greatly added to the efiect. His person was grace- 
ful, slender, and delicate-looking, with a pleasing combination 
of benevolence and humour in his eye. He was remarkably free 
from technicality, and unusually rich in illustration. By the 
first he smoothed the rudimentary progress of his pupil, and 
avoided a premature burthening of the memory. The latter 
peculiarity was so prominent as to suggest the possession of no 
small portion of genius, and gave an indescribable charm to 
his discourses. But his chief characteristics were his humour 
and his dramatic power. The combination of these sufficed to 
make him equally entertaining and impressive. He thus could 
rouse the attention, stamp a fact or principle upon the mind, or 
touch the moral sensibilities, at will. In relating a case_, 
particularly when repeating a dialogue with a shrewd or witty 
patient, he was inimitably droll, especially when the recital 
made against himself. But Abernethy' s humour, unlike that of 
Sydney Smith and other wits, was greatly indebted to manner, 
and is not effective on repetition. His directions for making a 
poultice are amusing, as found in his published lectures ; but 
those who heard them, say that nothing could exceed the raci- 
ness with which they Avere given. Parts of his lectures, printed 
exactly as they were delivered, are as amusing as any book of 
light reading ; and in the " Eventful History of a Compound 
Fracture,'^ may be seen how important information may be 
conveyed, upon a subject undoubtedly grave, without a trace 
of dulness. But it was in the more serious portion of his 
discourse, when reciting some act of neglect or cruelty, that 
the better qualities of the lecturer were apparent. His voice 
faltered with emotion, his eye flashed fire, and his whole soul 
seemed stirred within him. His sympathy with poverty in 
distress frequently appeared in his illustrations, and proved, 


Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

when taken in connexion with his many recorded acts of bene- 
volence to the poor, the kindly nature of the man. 

The foundation of Abernethy's character was unswerving 
honesty. He not only abhorred what was absolutely false, but 
detested the exaggeration which is relatively or inferentially so. 
He declined either to say or to do more than the welfare of his 
patient required, even when, owing to the weakness of human 
nature, such abstinence was unfavourable to his interests. Early 
in life he had seen, with indignation and contempt, the means 
by which some men attain success ; and the sight affected his 
whole future career. Beneath the varnish of a courtly manner 
and an elaborate toilet, he had seen the coarse-minded and igno- 
rant man in great prosperity. He had seen the fears of the 
timid invalid coined into ducats by those whose mission it was 
to chase them away. He had seen an extensive machinery 
erected, whose main-spring was self-interest, and whose purposed 
end was to do nothing, though mischief was too often the result. 
Long before Mrs. Wittiterly and her Doctor had been drawn by 
the hand of a master, he had studied their types in the school to 
which that master afterwards resorted. He had seen all this, 
and was resolved that his own relations with his patients should 
be free from all mystery, and based upon a clear understanding 
of their mutual positions. He explained to his patient his 
actual condition, and what was requisite to be done for him, in 
language so simple, as to be easily intelligible, and then consi- 
dered he had done his duty. He no more thought of pretend- 
ing to a power or a prescience which he did not possess, 
than he would to property which did not belong to him. He 
declined to imitate some of his brethren of the gold-headed 
cane, and erect himself into an oracle as awful, as mysterious, 
and as false as that of Delphi. It was not necessary that he 
should grow rich; but it was essential to his comfort, as an 
lionest, upright man, that he should avoid getting money 
under false pretences. So far all was right; had Abernethy 
gone no farther than this, no friend to truthfulness could cast a 
reproach upon him : but alas ! he was to prove another instance 
of the folly of too exclusively directing the attention to one 
truth, or one view of a question. In his endeavour to avoid a 
recognised evil, he fell into another not perceived. From being 
honest in intention, he sank into uncouthness and rudeness of 
manner, and inflicted upon the feehngs of many injuries they 
would rather have suffered in their pockets. 

The question of the proper bearing of the medical man to 
his patient is not without interest; and, strange as it may 
appear, there are different views taken on the subject. Some 
seem to think that it is proper for the Physician to adopt 
a conventional artificial voice and manner, and to infuse a 
degree of empressement into his language and tones; in shorty 

Abernethi/s Faults of Manner. 


that he should have a technical professional manner, as marked 
as the "My Liid," and other peculiarities, of the Bar. We 
cannot assent to this. In addition to the requisite skill, we 
should expect to find in our Physician all the sympathy that 
the case may claim from a feeling man; all beyond that, all 
that is merely called up by art to serve a purpose, we had rather 
be without. By all means let him be natural ; if demonstra- 
tive, let him be demonstrative ; if naturally reserved, let him not 
try to play a part : — in a word, let him be honest. A doubt once 
thrown upon his honesty in one particular, would lead us to fear 
deception in more important things. 

But having said thus much in favour of honesty, we would 
turn again to Abernethy, and protest against the rudenesses in 
which he allowed himself to indulge. We believe he fell into 
this bad habit, primarily, from his thorough honesty of cha- 
racter; and, secondarily, from an irritability arising from phy- 
sical causes, induced by his early and prolonged exertions. But 
whatever explanation be given, it admits of no justification, and 
it is to be lamented as unworthy of a man whose real claims to 
public attention required no factitious aid. But it is to be 
lamented, not only as a serious blot upon the reputation of an 
able and honourable man, but also as a precedent which seems 
to keep in countenance a herd of vulgar imitators, who, devoid 
of his talents and real benevolence, aim at similar celebrity by 
copying his greatest defects. It is to be lamented, moreover, 
since it has served to call away the attention of the public from 
Abernethy^ s true merits, and caused him to appear, in the eyes 
of many, who only know him through the medium of stories, — a 
large number of which are apocryphal, — in the character of a 
savage or a buffoon. 

His uprightness of character, and entire freedom from selfish- 
ness, might be illustrated by many examples. A gentleman had 
the misfortune to meet with a compound dislocation of the 
ancle, (an accident, by the bye, which Abernethy was mainly 
instrumental in redeeming from habitual amputation,) on the 
road between Andover and Salisbury. An able practitioner of 
the former place was called in, and replaced the parts. He then 
said to the patient, "Now, when you get well, and have, as you 
most likely will, a stiff joint, your friends will tell you, ' Ah ! you 
had a country Doctor ;^ so. Sir, I would advise you to send for 
a London Surgeon, to confirm or correct what I have done.^' 
The patient consented, and sent for Abernethy, who reached the 
spot by mail about two in the morning. He looked carefully at 
the limb, saw that it was in a good position, and was told what 
had been done. He then said, " I am come a long way. Sir, to 
do nothing. I might, indeed, pretend to do something; but, 
as any unavoidable motion of the limb must necessarily be 
mischievous, I should only do harm. You are in very good 


Sir Astley Cooper and Aberneihy, 

hands, and I dare say will do very well. You may, indeed, 
come home with a stiff joint, but that is better than a wooden 
leg." He took a eheque for his fee, sixty guineas, and made 
his way back to London. Soon after, a wealthy Clergyman in 
the same neighbourhood had a violent attaek of erysipelas in 
the head and arm. His family, becoming alarmed, wrote up to 
his brother to request Mr. Abernethy to go down and visit the 
patient. Abernethy inquired, Who attends your brother ? " 
"Mr. Davis, of Andover." "Well, I told him all I knew 
about surgery, and I k?iow that he has not forgotten it. You 
may be perfectly satisfied. I shall not go." Here, as the 
narrator says, he might have had another sixty guineas. We 
are aware that these and similar instances in which he combated 
the morbid exaggerations of those who consulted him, and 
endeavoured to reason them into abstaining from undue indul- 
gence in medicine, are looked upon by some as foolish instances 
of abnegation ; but we trust that the claims of honesty and 
conscience will generally (we cannot expect invariably) be held 
paramount by the members of an honourable profession, even 
when self-interest comes backed by a plausible but lax morality. 

But has this subject no bearing upon the present state of the 
profession ? Would the existing prevalence of medical heresies 
have occurred, had the straightforward conduct of Abernethy 
(without, of course, his peculiarities of manner) been more 
general among his bretln-en? We see at present a state of 
things which cannot, we sincerely believe, be altogether 
accounted for by the weakness and creduhty of the public ; 
we cannot but attribute something to the mystery and the 
machinery to which we have referred. The public were greatly to 
blame for the mystery, since they persisted in attributing a power 
to the medical man beyond all reason : they were to blame in lead- 
ing to an undue use of medicine, since they supposed that in that 
alone consisted his power to do them good ; and if one declined 
to prescribe for them, they went to another. But still the 
profession were consenting parties. There was a want of 
confidence in the force of truth, when urged with simple ear- 
nestness. Had the profession been sufficiently alive to the 
danger of reaction in the public mind; had they calculated 
upon the growing intelligence of society ; had they sacri- 
ficed their immediate interests to the permanent welfare of the 
profession, they would have prevented the present discreditable 
state of things. We are not now speaking of vulgar quackery : 
that must always exist while the masses are ignorant and unre- 
flecting, and thus exposed to become the prey of designing men. 
We allude to those fashionable systems which are followed by 
so many otherwise thoughtful and intelligent men and women, 
who are not to be led astray by mere credulity, but require 
some one guiding principle^ of which they must be convinced. 

Modern Medical Heresies. 


This has been witli many the conviction that the former prac- 
tice of over-drugging with medicine was wrong. Satisfied of 
this fact^ they have dwelt upon the discovered truth so long^ as 
to have little thought to exjiend upon the foundations of the 
system they have adopted. They know themselves to be right 
on one point of the inquiry; and they too lightly assume the 
correctness of the rest. Tired of so much physic^ they fix upon 
water_, a remedial agent of good repute^ and erect a temple of 
health in which she is the exclusive goddess. As Hydropaths^ 
they can^ at least theoretically, get rid of the drugs they so 
much detest. Or, if unprepared absolutely and ostensibly to 
"throw physic to the dogs/^ they tamper with their reason so 
far as to substitute a semblance for a reality, and, having 
minutely subdivided the " dummy,^^ swallow it with the greatest 
possible gravity. Prove to them, if they will listen, — which 
they will seldom consent to do, — that their fundamental prin- 
ciple is a falsehood ; remind them that, for the production of 
every positive effect, there is required an exactly adequate 
cause; show them that their great conclusive arguments, 
their reputed cures, are but prime examples of the logic of 
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, and that the same syllogism would 
equally establish all the competing systems of quackery that 
now exist, or have ever existed; do all this, and more, yet 
they fall back upon their first strong conviction, and behind 
that intrenchment stand, till events prove to them the fallacy 
into which a partial truth has led them. 

"We submit the above theory — in explanation of the present 
state of medical belief, and in which the blame is pretty equally 
divided between the public and the profession — for what it may 
be worth, satisfied that it is borne out by all the facts of the case. 

Abernethy's reputation steadily increased, until there were 
few practitioners in London more consulted by the sick of 
all classes. From distant parts of the country they flocked, 
returning, in many cases, with strange tales of his odd and 
brusque manner. These tales added fresh wings to his fame. 
Nor were there wanting traducers, who maintained that the 
rude speeches and uncouth behaviour were adopted as means of 
acquiring notoriety. But his merits were sufficient to support 
his fame. He was no charlatan, collapsing as soon as his trick 
is discovered from very emptiness. The honours of his pro- 
fession were bestowed upon him by his brethren, who have 
more accurate means of judging of scientific and practical 
merit than the public can possess. The fact has recently 
transpired, that it was the intention of the King to create 
him a Baronet, — an honour which he modestly declined, partly 
from indifference to titular honours, and partly from pruden- 
tial reasons connected with his comparatively limited fortune. 
During the last few years of his life, he curtailed his engage- 



Sir Astley Cooper and Abernethy. 

ments on account of declining health, and spent a portion of his 
time in the country. His constitution was never robust, and he 
began to show marks of age at a somewhat early period. In 
1827 he resigned the appointment of Surgeon to St. Bartho- 
lomew's Hospital, under circumstances highly characteristic of 
his disinterestedness and sense of fairness to his juniors. On 
his appointment in 1815, after a service of twenty-eight years 
in the subordinate and unremunerated capacity of Assistant- 
Surgeon, he had expressed his opinion to the Governors, that 
it was not to the advantage of the institution for a Surgeon 
to retain the office after the age of sixty. When that time 
arrived, although his enjoyment of the advantages of the sur- 
geoncy had been short in comparison with his earlier labours, 
and although he might have followed the precedents of his 
predecessors and contemporaries, he resolved to illustrate his 
own precept, and retire; a resolution which the remonstrances 
of the Governors could only postpone one year. In May, 1829, 
he retired from the office of Examiner at the College of Sur- 
geons, on which occasion a Memorial was entered in the Minutes 
of the Court, signed by the leading Surgeons of the day, eulo- 
gizing in high terms his scientific labours, and attributing much 
of the recent advancement of the healing art to his writings. 
The latter part of his life was spent at his house at Enfield_, 
where, after a prolonged period of declining strength^ he 
expired, April 20th, 1831, 

The two works on which we have founded these remarks, 
cannot, we think, be considered as satisfactory biographies of 
the eminent men whom they endeavour to portray. They are 
both remarkably deficient in that literary workmanship, without 
Avhich few writings will long continue to be read. It will be 
obvious to most readers, that the biographers have turned aside 
for a while from more accustomed engagements, to tasks much 
less congenial, though in both cases a labour of love. The 
lamented Bransby Cooper has performed his part in a manner 
which manifests his afiection and regard to the memory of his 
illustrious uncle, but at the same time shows that the pen 
was not the best instrument that could be put into his hands. 
In addition to being too long, the work wants proportion in its 
parts ; details of little importance are dwelt upon far beyond 
their relative value, to the exclusion of topics more attractive j 
and we look in vain for the clear narration, the keen discrimina- 
tion of character, and the artistic treatment of light and shade, 
without which no man can succeed as a biographer. These 
volumes have answered well enough to satisfy the immediate 
interest which Sir Astley' s death excited; but something more 
classical is now required, — something which vrill give another 
generation a just estimate of the man. We are happy to find 

The Prisons of the Continent. 


tliat a Life of the great Surgeon is promised from the pen of Mr. 
Samuel Warren, whose well known talents and early professional 
associations render him peculiarly competent to the task. We 
trust the pledge given will be speedily redeemed, and doubt not 
that the work will gain fresh laurels for the writer, while it 
will form a pleasing tribute to the profession with which his 
early years of promise were connected. 

Mr. Macilwain has been unable to forget himself from the 
beginning to the end of his two volumes. His own peculiar 
views are intruded upon the reader to a tiresome extent. He 
appears to consider himself born to elucidate and complete 
Abernethy^s doctrines, and almost buries his text beneath his 
commentary. Notwithstanding this unhappy egotism, and the 
exceeding want of arrangement perceptible throughout, the 
subject itself, as well as the incidental discussions, are so inter- 
esting, that we can promise our readers much gratification 
from a perusal of the volumes. We would simply advise them 
that the pettishness and assumed tone of unrecognised merit 
which they will perceive, is due to Mr. Macilwain' s idiosyncrasy, 
and are not necessarily found in a medical biographer. 

Art. III. — Revue de Legislation et de Jurisprudence. Nouvelle 
Serie. RediffeeparM.Jj.WoLOWSKiet quires. Paris, 1845-54. 

The management of the prisons, in every country in the world, 
is good or evil, almost without exception, in proportion to its 
liberty. England, Switzerland, and the United States stand 
first in their constant and successful endeavours to resolve this 
most vexed of economical questions. They are closely followed 
by Holland and Belgium. France, as in every other of her 
political institutions, talks, writes, argues with supreme ability ; 
but never can persuade herself to make a decisive movement, — 
always fearful of acting on her own intimate convictions, from 
the dread of some fancied insecurity. The German States — 
theorists in every thing — exhibit scattered instances of improved 
prison management, in which is visible the real benevolence of 
the German character, whose efibrts are weakened, thwarted, 
and localized by the apprehensions of enfeebled and timid 
Governments. Spain, Italy, Russia, Austria, have done about 
as much as they might be expected to do. 

In this country, we have long studied the prison institutions 
of the United States. Those of the Continent of Europe are 
imperfectly known to us ; yet their experiences are not only 
highly interesting, but contain many results of extreme value. 

Switzerland, as we have said, stands, in this respect, at the 
head of the Continent. Not that her prison administration is 

F 2 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

by any means faultless : the small Cantons, trim, close corpora- 
tions, liave resisted all change ; and their prisons are just what 
they were a century ago. The offices connected with the prisons 
are amongst the few morsels of patronage at the disposal of 
these petty Governments ; and, both from interest and prejudice, 
they resist all change. They have, besides, no money to spend ; 
and the extreme smallness of the population prevents all classi- 
fication of the prisoners, and all management on an enlarged scale. 

On the other hand, the three great towns of Geneva, 
Lausanne, and Berne, have attempted the penitentiary system 
of imprisonment, with a zeal and discernment which place 
their prisons almost at the head of all criminal establishments. 
The moderate number of their population has, it is true, 
facilitated their arrangements. Large enough to admit of 
classification, it is not so large as to make that classification 
either too expensive, or too uncertain. 

Yet, even here, a poi'tion of the old leaven remains, and 
vitiates the system. Every traveller whom the scenery of the 
Oberland calls through Berne^ will have witnessed the dis- 
agreeable procession of ill-looking men and women in prison 
dresses, and accompanied by a couple of officers, with rifles, 
pistols, and cutlasses, who saunter in the evening along the road 
of the beautiful environs of the old town. These are persons 
condemned for small offences, who are sent during the day to 
work in the roads or in the fields. They are, of course, imcon- 
fined in their limbs, to enable them to work ; but the least 
appearance of an attempt to escape is followed by a bullet from 
the rifle of their vigilant guardians, who are chosen for their 
skill in the practice of the national weapon. With all this, 
they often run away, and forthwith become necessarily con- 
firmed depredators. The spectacle injures the moral feelings of 
the inhabitants, and ruins the unfortunate culprits, who, con- 
demned to out-of-door work, on account of the smallness of their 
offence, are nevertheless exposed to the gaze of the whole world, 
and lose for ever both character and sense of shame. For a 
century, travellers and statesmen have reprobated this mode of 
treating criminals, which continues, notwithstanding, to the pre- 
sent hour; so inveterate is the force of habit. It becomes all 
the more absurd, by the side of the really admirable mode of 
treating the more depraved class of criminals, adopted in the 
same town. But as the Berne penitentiary is, in some respects, 
inferior to that of Geneva, we give a description of the latter, as 
the best example of Swiss prison institutions. 

In the penitentiary at Geneva, the prisoners are divided into 
four classes. In the first are those condemned to the travaux 
forces, and those condemned to simple seclusion, who, from the 
nature and circumstances of their crime, deserve the severest 
punishment. It includes, likewise, relapsed criminals, and 

Treatment of Prisoners at Geneva. 


those who, originally condemned to a minor punishment, de- 
serve a greater by their conduct in prison. 

In the second class are included all others who are con- 
demned for criminal offences, and those who are condemned 
correctionally under aggravated circumstances. It contains, 
likewise, prisoners, originally of the first class, who by their 
good conduct have deserved a mitigation, and those of the third 
who by their bad conduct have deserved an aggravation, of 

The third class contains those condemned correctionally who 
are not placed in the second, and prisoners from the second and 
fourth who, as before, have deserved mitigation or aggravation 
of punishment. 

The fourth contains all those who are under sixteen, and those 
from sixteen to eighteen who appear to deserve a milder punish- 
ment, or promotion from the other classes. 

This system contains within itself means of reward and 
punishment, which admit, under good management, every 
opportunity of repression. Solitary confinement, in its strictest 
sense, is occasionally inflicted in cases of extreme insubor- 

The prisoners of the first class take their meals in their cells, 
to which they are confined during the hours not devoted to labour, 
excepting for one hour on week-days, and three on Sundays 
and ///e-days, when they are promenaded in the courts of the 
prison for open-air exercise. They are allowed to receive visits 
once only every two months, and can only correspond with their 
friends with the direct permission of the Director, and under his 
inspection. A fourth only of the produce of their labour is 
allowed them, by way of pocket-money, though they may dis- 
pose of a part of the rest for the support of relatives depending 
upon them, or for writing materials. In general the prisoner is 
allowed to choose his own work ; but the prisoners of this class 
are restricted in their choice, and forbidden many kinds of work 
allowed to the rest. 

The prisoners of the second class take their meals together in 
the refectory. They are allowed a longer time in the open air; 
and can receive visits from their friends every six weeks. 

The prisoners of the third class are not confined necessarily 
to their cells during any of the hours of recreation : these they 
may spend either in the court or the refectory, according to the 
orders of the Director. They have the right of spending one- 
fourth of the produce of their labour in improving their prison 
fare, and also a right to one visit in the month. 

The .principal privilege of the fourth class would appear rather 
bizarre, were it not known how great a value those condemned 
to silence set on a single word. They are permitted to speak 
with the turnkey who superintends them. It is to be hoped 


The Prisons of- the Continent. 

that the conversational powers of this class of men are of a 
higher order than those of turnkeys elsewhere, and that they are 
sufficiently sensible of the importance of their words to deal 
them out a little less gruffly than the generality of their 
brethren. In every other case, silence is strictly enforced 
throughout the prison. The fourth class have likewise the 
privilege of working in the prison garden. 

These classes offer, as we have seen, a very simple means of 
reward and punishment. In extreme cases the prisoner is 
not merely confined to his cell, but that cell is darkened by a 
contrivance which excludes the light without excluding the air. 
Sometimes, instead of darkness, the prisoner is condemned to 
a bread and water diet. The Governor arranges these last 
punishments according to the effect they are likely to have, 
from the temper of the prisoner. Notwithstanding the silence 
and the labour of the general rooms, where the prisoners spend 
together their working hours, the solitary confinement, though 
with light and without work, is supremely dreaded. The time 
of its infliction varies from one month to three, for the first 
class ; and from three days to fifteen, for the others. For 
half of this time the prisoner is prohibited from work ; for the 
other half, he can have it if he likes it, — which he always does. 

In the labour rooms are several Jacquard and other looms, 
often worked with great diligence. The prisoners sometimes 
execute prison-born designs of considerable merit. 

All the cells open upon one long corridor, at each extremity 
of which a turnkey sleeps during the night. A full view of 
the whole is commanded from the Governor's room. Escape 
is almost impossible, and very rarely attempted. 

The cost of provisions for each prisoner is about ^\d. 
per day; that of the turnkeys, a franc. The washing and 
mending of linen costs about \\d. per day. The salary of the 
turnkeys is small enough, not 2^. per week : to be sure, they are 
boarded and, in great part, clothed; but their place is onerous 
and difficult, and deserves better pay. On the whole, each 
prisoner is calculated to cost the State a little above \s. daily. 

Since the establishment of the Penitentiary, the number 
of relapsed criminals has faUen from 41 per cent, to 10, on 
culprits criminally condemned; and from 26 to 6, on culprits 
condemned correctionally. This result is, in itself, sufficient 
to establish the character of the system. 

The product of the labour of the prisoners is one of the 
least satisfactory parts of the business. It is worth, on the 
average, little more than 4c?. per day; of which the State gets 
about half. Considering the constant employment of the 
prisoners, and the trouble taken with their work, this is a 
very smaU sum ; but there is no system pursued ; every thing 
is left to chance. The employment varies from day to day. 

Confusion of Moral and Political Offences. 


according to the weather and the general health of the prisoner ; 
and^ like all desultory labour^ produces a feeble result. 

The Penitentiary at Lausanne looks on the Lake, and is one 
of the most healthy in Europe. That of Berne, as if every 
thing criminal in that city was destined to publicity, is 
commanded by the public walks outside the town ; and an 
inhabitant might easily recognise each prisoner, as the whole 
body take their daily promenade round the court. In other 
respects the discipline is much the same ; only with an organ- 
ization somewhat less exact in the minor details of care 
and cleanliness, and less painstaking with the management of 
the prisoner. At Geneva, the promotion of the prisoners 
from one class to another is managed by a Committee of 
Moral Surveillance,^^ and their degradation, by the Inspectors ; 
and every separate case is scrupulously examined. Much greater 
latitude, in the other towns, is left to the Governor. 

The prison management in France is, like most other things 
in that country, full of interest and piquancy, but without its 
proper proportion of practical teaching. No nation has more 
minutely examined, discussed, described, its prisons, with all 
their details of management and all the deficiencies of their 
results. And yet no nation guards them from the prying eyes 
of strangers with more scrupulous rigour. Some time ago a 
Magistrate, now presiding in one of our principal metropolitan 
police-courts, and who is, besides, a criminal Judge in a large 
provincial city, visited Paris, with letters of recommendation 
from influential persons in England, and requested permission 
to inspect the Parisian prisons. The permission was promised, 
but it never came. The Englishman called repeatedly at the 
Prefectm^e, was as often put off with promises, and, after a 
long stay, left the capital without having received it. It was 
sent, he was afterwards told, the day after he left. 

This jealous difficulty arises, not from the character of the 
police in France, but from the circumstances attending French 
crime and punishment, which at the same time complicate and 
perplex the most zealous efforts of the Administration to make 
the criminal system useful to society. From the first step in 
a criminal process to the last, from the denunciation of a 
crime to the criminal's final release from the dungeon to which 
that crime had consigned him, the authority never forgets 
that the crime may have a political importance, or be asso- 
ciated with a political movement. The modes of trial have 
been arranged, altered, manoeuvred, the jury system subjected 
to constant fluctuation, and the decisions of the Courts mystified 
and disorganized, as successive Governments have, one after 
the other, urged their own views for their own personal 
safety, for the repression of disaffection, or for vengeance 
against open or secret hostility. 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

It is for this reason that the stranger is so jealously excluded 
from the indiscriminate entrance to French prisons. He may 
indiscreetly reveal the existence of arrangements not warranted 
by simple judicial considerations. This exclusion of strangers 
would be of little consequence, if the same reason did not 
hamper the movements of French legislators in all their 
attempts for the improvement of prison discipline. They are 
untiring in their endeavours to obtain the experience of others, 
and to found theories upon them. About eighteen years ago, 
a Commission visited the United States, and drew up a 
minute Report of the characteristics, experiences, and re- 
sults of the two great penitentiary systems at work in that 
country. Subsequently, other Commissions have been sent 
to England and Germany. Three or four times a year Reports 
are published on the subject by the Ministry, in the " Moni- 
teur.'' Projects of law have been presented almost yearly. 
A special Minister is charged with the stfperintendence of all 
criminal matters. He has his post in the Cabinet, partly, be it 
observed, because of the connexion, above noticed, between 
prosecution for crime, and prosecution for politics. A special 
Academy, that of Moral and Political Science, (the junction 
is curious and characteristic,) devotes its attention to this 
important matter. And yet nothing is done to purpose. An 
isolated experiment is made now and then ; as, a few years ago, 
at Limoges ; when, a new wing being added to the prison, an 
attempt was made to introduce something like the Swiss and 
American systems. It was tried only upon prisoners sentenced 
to a single year's confinement. They were forbidden to speak 
during the hours of rest or of walking. They were prohibited 
from a liberty allowed to the other prisoners, who could purchase 
provisions at the canteen, and consume them when they 
pleased ; turning the indulgence, not unfrequently, into a 
prison feast. The prisoners under the new rules were 
permitted to purchase provisions, as before; but they were 
compelled to consume them at the refectory, in silence, and 
during the ordinary hours of meals. In return, they were 
sedulously attended, preached to, instructed, by the numerous 
class of Almoners which the Roman Catholic institutions 
attach to each prison. Every effort was made to bring about 
a change in their dispositions ; but all was to no purpose. The 
men were very indignant that they, committed for a short time, 
and for smaller offences, were more rigorously treated than 
their more guilty brethren. They saw no reason why they 
should be deprived of their feasts, their fun, their plots, and 
their mysteries. Hitherto, the licence of purchasing treats 
had been the principal inducement to work. The liberty of 
purchase was left them, lest they should be deprived of this 
incentive ; but it was shorn of all its value by the prohibition 

Classification of Prisoners. 


of enjoying it socially and noisily. So the men refused to 
work. After many difficulties^ the plan was given up, although 
arrangements had been made for applying it in various prisons, 
as they required enlargement or rebuilding, and it had actually 
been introduced into that of Rennes. 

The subdivisions of the actual French law of imprisonment are 
as follows : — 

The first, derived from the Code of Criminal Instruction, dis- 
tinguishes between the treatment of accused and of condemned 

The second, from the Penal Code, distinguishes the con- 
demned prisoners according to the nature, not the degree, of 
their crimes ; and arranges them under three heads : — 

The first, guilty of infractions of order or decency, or of the 
game and forest laws, are condemned by Tribunals of simple 
Police, — as they are called, — and confined in prisons styled 
maisons de correction. The legal term for this punishment 
is simply imprisonment." 

The second, guilty of simple larceny, assaults, defamation, 
and such crimes, are condemned by the Correctional Tribunals, 
composed of Magistrates of a higher class, acting vfithout a jury, 
and are confined in prisons formerly called maisons de force, 
now known as maisons centrales. This punishment is styled 
" seclusion." 

Lastly come the condemned for murder, aggravated robbery, 
treason, and so on. These are tried before the Courts of Assize, 
judged by a jury, stnd condemned to confinement " in a fortress," 
as the place of punishment is still called, out of feudal 
reminiscences. Amongst these are the terrible bagnes of 
Toulon, Eochefort, and Brest. Imprisonment in this category 
is called "detention." 

This arrangement, absolute in theory, is not absolute in prac- 
tice. The habitudes of the French are not even yet fully accus- 
tomed to the use of the jury; and the consequence is, that 
crimes of the second class, vastly the most numerous, are 
judged by tribunals usually consisting of five Judges, holding 
open court, but deciding upon their own judgment, much after 
the fashion of their predecessors before the introduction of the 
jury in 1791. But the feeling of the nation prevented offences 
of the press, or of political sarcasm against the Government, 
from being tried without a jury. During the system of com- 
parative liberty, under which the actual criminal system received 
its later modification, no Ministry dared to propose that these 
offences should be submitted to tribunals composed solely of 
Magistrates nominated and paid by the Crown, and removable 
at its pleasure. Hence the intervention of the jury became 
necessary. On the other hand, it would never do to assimilate 
the punishment of journalists condemned for paragraphs, or 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

republican tradesmen condemned for sneering, to the regime 
of the assassin and the housebreaker. Hence the sentences of 
offenders tried at the Assizes are often expiated in the maisons 
centrales. To the same place are likewise consigned those 
guilty of the higher crimes_, but in whose favour the jury find 
what they call attenuating circumstances." In the same way, 
under the influence of these same attenuating circumstances, the 
correctional tribunal substitutes " imprisonment " for the severer 
sentence of seclusion, carried on under more stringent rules, and 
in more terrible places of confinement. 

The duration of sentences against offenders is regulated 
according to their last consideration. The imprisonment of 
the simple Police," the organization and position of which very 
much resemble those of the Petty Sessions in England, is from one 
to five days. Its correctional imprisonment lasts from six days 
to five years ; seclusion, from five years to ten, which is the 
maximum of punishment allowed by the French law to offences 
not tried before a jury. The ^' detention " lasts either for life, 
or from five to twenty years. It may or may not be accom- 
panied with the sentence of hard labour, or travaux forces, 
which last involve imprisonment in the redoubtable bagnes. 

Besides these forms of positive imprisonment, the French law 
has created a system of gwa^i-imprisonment, which follows the 
culprit after his release. He is not permitted to roam at large 
over the country, but compelled to settle in an assigned dis- 
trict, usually a very limited one, out of which he may not stir 
except under severe penalties. This limitation involves the 
restriction of action and conduct, which, in fact, makes the 
man, if not a prisoner, at least as little free, except in the mere 
action of his limbs, as he was before. This surveillance is of old 
date in the French manners ; but it was not regularly organized 
before the Revolution, since which time it has become at once 
the most characteristic, and the most difficult, part of their 
criminal system. It lasts through a period varying from five 
years to the whole of life. Good conduct will occasionally 
obtain its release. This was provided for with much solemnity 
by the Constituent Assembly. The candidate for emancipation 
was summoned before the Council of the Commune, — all the 
notables of the villages, — who examined into his life since his 
release, and attested his good conduct; he was then taken to 
the criminal tribunal by two Magistrates, who cried with a loud 
voice, " This man has expiated his crime, his conduct is without 
reproach, and we demand, in the name of the country, that the 
stain be effaced." The President replied, ^'^On the demand, 
and at the attestation, of your country, your stain is effaced." 
At present, in the place of this Socratic simplicity, the former 
culprit has to forward papers to the country, publish them in 
the journals, and go through a whole course of preliminary 

Dispatches of Prisoners to Toulon and Brest. 


formalities. We reserve for another occasion the details of 
these various gradations of imprisonment. 

The bagnes of France, the most celebrated of the prisons of 
Europe, were at first four in number. The name is of curious 
derivation. The palaces of the Sultan, in which the slaves were 
confined, contained the imperial baths, from which the word 
bagno, in Italian, was used to denote a place of confinement 
with hard labour ; and from hence the French borrowed their 
term. Of the four bagnes, that of Toulon was destined for pri- 
soners condemned for ten years ; and those of Brest and Roche- 
fort for prisoners condemned for a longer period ; but this 
distinction has been abolished for some time. The fourth, at 

Orient, was used for military prisoners, but was suppressed 
in 1830. 

The prisoners sent to Toulon or Brest were carried to their 
destination, in chains provided by a contractor at so much per 
head. This service des chames, as it was called, was bargained 
for at eighty-seven francs and seventy-five centimes for each 
prisoner; besides which, there was the attendance of a medical 
man, and extra expenses for delays, and other things ; so that 
the bare cost of transmission was about six pounds sterling to 
the Government for each man. The prisoners destined for 
Rochefort are sent under a strong escort of gendarmes, at the 
expense of the departments forming the " inconscription,^^ as 
the division of the country to which each bagne belongs is 
called. This arrangement is now adopted for the other 

All those who when condemned are not on the direct road 
to the bagnes, are sent, in the first instance, to the Paris prison 
called La Roquette, or the New Bicetre. They were formerly sent 
to the Old. Thrice a year they are dispatched to their destina- 
tions. The day of their being put in irons for their journey 
used to be a grand day at the Bicetre. Early in the morning, the 
courts, the corridors, the workshops, the dormitories, are care- 
fully swept from one end to the other. A general holiday is 
given to the inmates, no work whatever is done, the prison 
officers are in full costume, fresh wine and the best provisions 
are supplied to the canteen. The forgats make up their packets, 
and sew the straw hats for their journey, singing provincial airs. 
Their escort, a band of about five-and-twenty men, paid by the 
contractor, arrive with their baggage behind them, which 
baggage is a complete arsenal of chains, collars, handcufis, 
hammers, nails, and the clothing destined for the prisoners on 
their march. The Director of the prison entertains the officials 
to a gay and noisy breakfast, whilst the " toilet of the forgats is 
proceeding. Precisely at noon, the forgats are marched out into 
the court, and ranged along the wall. They are stripped naked, 
and inspected with a scrupulous minuteness, lest even their nude 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

bodies should conceal some instrument for escape. This done, 
the terrible operation of ironing begins. 

They are divided into " cordons/' or parties of twenty or 
thirty men. The " cordon is ordered to march into the 
middle of the court. There is the chain, stretched out at full 
length. " Halt/^ cries the chief of the escort. They halt. 
" Sit/' exclaims the chief. They sit down ; and each takes his 
part of the chain upon his knees. " Caps oif/' and they take off 
their caps, and present their heads to the argousins, as the men 
of the escort are called. The argousin tries on the triangular 
iron which is to go round the neck, to satisfy himself that it 
cannot be passed over the head. Satisfied on this point, the 
argousins join the iron yoke to the chain ; then, opening two of 
the branches, they force between them the neck of the prisoner, 
join the branches, and fasten them wifh a huge bolt driven into 
the iron upon a portable anvil. The back of the prisoner rests 
against this anvil, and, to prevent his head from being broken 
by the hammer at work behind him, an argousin^ holding at the 
same time the collar in front, keeps his head by main force upon 
his chest. All this while, the other prisoners — their heads pressed 
to the bars of the windows — are breaking jests, or talking argot 
with their former comrades. Then, the gestures peculiar to 
the French under all circumstances, the noise of the iron, the 
jocular motions of the men themselves, make up a scene which 
it would be difficult to parallel. All this while, the windows of 
the private rooms of the prison are full of ladies, elegantly 
dressed, who have the good fortune to obtain tickets of admis- 
sion, which are sought after with more frenzy, and granted 
as a greater favour, than the tickets for any spectacle in 

The ironing is over, and there is a dead silence. The chaplain 
of the prison is giving them an address. He offers them his 
paternal adieux, and his exhortation to repentance. He is 
heard with respect ; but the moment he has done, the moral of 
his sermon, and of the affair in general, receives its full exem- 
plification in the shouts and songs which the prisoners set up. 
In preparation for their departure, they go in turn to the 
canteen, where a pint of wine is served out to them. They are 
then placed in long carts, back to back, with the huge chain of 
the " cordon hanging between them ; the carriages of the 
surgeon and of the Government Commissary follow behind, and 
the multitude in hosts throng on their rear. The crowd has 
been known to exceed one hundred thousand persons, and has 
done incalculable injury to property on the line of march. The 
prisoners are well fed on their journey; and the drivers often 
buy the surplus of their bread for their horses. But the cold, 
the heat, and the iron, — which weighs above twenty pounds for 
each prisoner, — reduce them to a terrible state, before they have 

Treatment of Prisoners at the Bagnes. 


arrived at the end of their long and slow journey, which some- 
times lasts for thirty days. 

In this state, arrived at the bagne, each has to undergo the 
operation of being unironed. He is placed with his back to an 
an\dl, and two men with huge hammers drive out the bolts. 
The frame is so shattered in its exhausted state, that men have 
been known to die under the operation. A smaller iron, of two 
or three pounds, is then riveted to the leg. forgat is stripped, 
placed in a bath, supplied with warm wine and wholesome food, 
and actually nursed for some twenty days. During the time, 
the Commissary of the prison informs himself of what is known 
of their character and actions, and makes preparations for 
arranging them for the future. They are numbered, and 
coupled two and two, by means of a chain passed through the 
iron attached to their legs, which is carried up to their waists ; 
thus falling in the segment of a circle, it is known in the prison 
dialect as " the garland.^^ The " garland and the iron together 
weigh about fourteen pounds, and this the prisoner has to bear 
about him, perhaps for life, at all events for many years, unless 
by special ordinance he is permitted to work without it. 

The forgats are divided into three classes, — the inconnus, 
the meritanSj and the indociles. At their entrance, all the 
prisoners are necessarily comprised in the first class. They are 
placed on what are called the '^floating bagnes/' — vessels on 
which they pass the night, and so much of the day as is not 
employed in labour. These men work in couples, heavily 

Their good conduct procures them a translation into the 
second class. The coupling chain is now removed, and the 
prisoner is allowed better food and clothing. From this class 
alone are selected those who are recommended to the clemency 
of the Government, and those who, like Joseph in the prison, 
are appointed to certain official duties to which pay is attached, 
and which are a reward for good conduct. They still carry a 
ring of iron attached to the leg, which is merely a mark of their 
position, and subjects them to no inconvenience. Extremely good 
conduct may procure a dispensation even from this, the last 
remaining mark of severe degradation. They are placed in 
separate chambers, called salles d'epreuve. 

Very different is the treatment of the last class. They are 
looked upon as persons in whom all hope or chance of reforma- 
tion is extinct ; separated from the others, and treated as wild 
animals, of whom the existence is a necessary nuisance, to be 
alleviated by what can be made out of them, without more 
reference to their own feelings than we should have to those of 
a wild boar. Their separation should be understood to exclude 
the hours of labour : as the work at the bagnes is really a most 
important branch of the national service, all ranks, ages. 


Tfie Prisons of the Continent. 

characters, and moralities, are melted down into one vast heap, 
where the only consideration is practical utility. The only dis- 
tinction here is for the military prisoners. As the crimes of 
these last are usually of a very different stamp from those of the 
rest, and denote a different condition of mind, it would be 
unreasonable to expose them to the danger of corruption which 
would be caused by any contact with the hardened villains 
which form the mass of their fellow prisoners. 

The smallest fault is punished on the instant with the whip, 
or a small cord, called the ratin, which is applied to the reins 
or the neck, and causes exquisite torture. The most terrible 
punishment is called the bastonnade ; it is applied on the reins 
with a tarred rope about an inch thick. The first blow tears 
the flesh, multitudes of blisters rise and break, and bloody furrows 
are formed down the body. When the punishment of death is 
inflicted, it is a singular sight. During the execution the other 
forgats are assembled, ordered on their knees, with their caps 
in their hands ; and when it is over, they rise, and pass round 
the body in a solemn parade. All is utter silence. A forgat is 
always selected for the executioner. 

These punishments are inflicted only after a regular judg- 
ment, delivered by the ordinary criminal tribunals. The punish- 
ments permitted to the Commissary of the prison, on his own 
judgment, are of the most simple kind. He can send the offender 
to a solitary dungeon, or keep him, chained to his seat, on bread 
and water, for days together. Further he cannot go. With 
all this, the extreme rigour of the law is, to some extent, 
mitigated. For instance, the penal code orders that an iron 
ball shall be attached to the feet of each prisoner, which is 
very rarely done. The release of the more deserving prisoners 
from the coupling-irons is against the letter of the law. Besides 
this, the necessities of the service have introduced many amelio- 
rations into the general treatment of the unhappy subjects. 
The law only contemplated punishment; but that punishment 
has been turned to such useful account, that its directors are 
forced to violate the literal directions of the legislature, in order 
to keep the workmen in good condition, and to facilitate their 
operations. *Thus the forgats are tolerably well cared for in 
bodily matters. As for the rest, it is utterly neglected : no 
instruction whatever is afforded them; no worship is permitted 
in public ; and the Priest is only to be seen in extreme cases 
within the precincts. This is a reproach which, it must be 
admitted, cannot often be made to French institutions, where 
the superabundance of the Clergy causes their employment in 
all directions. 

The ordinances of former times were yet more severe than 
those of the actual code. Colbert, a man humane beyond his 
age, yet issued a regulation, by which, if a forgat swore by God 

Prison Employment at Toulon. 


or the Virgin, his tongue was to be pierced with a red-hot iron. 
Why another name, more sacred than the last, was permitted 
to be profaned, does not appear. By those old rules, the/or^«^ 
who struck an employer was broken on the wheel; for the 
first attempt to escape his ears were cut off, and his nose for 
the second; for other offences he was burnt alive. The fees 
to the executioners, for each of these operations, were regularly 
tariffed: 22 livres for breaking on the wheel; 15 for hanging, 
or burning alive ; 6 for cutting off the ears ; and 2 for cutting off 
the nose, which last one would suppose a troublesome operation, 
and worth, at least, the fee for a single ear. 

Few scenes are more striking than the interior of the hayne 
of Toulon. The forges, with their hundred workmen, each 
in the red dress of the regulations ; the innate ferocity of their 
countenances, heightened by the pale, strange looks of men 
always working near the fire in a hot country ; their huge iron 
tools ; the reckless audacity of their strokes ; the fires ; the into- 
lerable heat ; all conspire to make up a scene which it would be 
difficult to match elsewhere. The single guardian, who stands 
in the midst of these men habituated to every crime, and 
whom a single stroke from one of the fifty ponderous hammers 
upraised on every side would kill, almost inspires a shudder 
when you look at him. But he is safe enough. No violence 
is ever attempted during the hours of labour; the men have 
not time for ideas, and therefore no incentives to action. 

The scene in the courts outside, less picturesque, is more 
painful. Here the gangs of twenty or thirty, their chains 
clanking with every movement, are conveying huge pieces of 
timber, lifting enormous blocks of stone, or, chained in a circle, 
cutting into shape immense pieces of timber. The variety of 
costume is striking : the red dress of the prisoner temporarily 
condemned, the green cap of the man condemned for life, 
contrast with the white or brown blouse of the ordinary free 
workmen, of whom very many are employed in the hulks. 
Amongst the strangest characteristics is the vivacity of the 
prisoners : instead of the quiet, business-like tone of labom-ers 
elsewhere, these men are shouting, singing, and jesting, with 
a spirit which, under the circumstances, you suppose to be 
assumed to drown thought, but which looks natural enough. 
The infernal clamour of the work is, at least, diversified; and, 
for whatever reason, whether it be excitement, the effect of 
noise and a crowd, or that there is nothing further to fear, 
the animated countenances of these men form the strangest 
possible contrast to the usual dull, heavy wretchedness of the 
inmates of a criminal prison. 

They are guarded by a brigade of safety,^^ known as gardes- 
chiourmes. These men wear a military uniform, though not 
strictly soldiers, and are organized after a military fashion. To 


The Prisons of the Continent, 

these are added the " masters of the marine/' charged with the 
direction and superintendence of the workers; for nothing is 
omitted to make the labour effective and useful. Besides 
these there are the auxiliaries, prisoners whose term is near 
expiring, and whose conduct has been good during the imprison- 
ment. They are chiefly employed as cooks, and in keeping the 
building clean, which they do with a scrupulous care, quite 
foreign to the ordinary habits of the south. In fact, the only 
clean places in all Toulon are its hulks. Some of these Jast are 
even employed as clerks, and intrusted in confidential matters. 
In the slang of the prison they are known as pagols. 

The courts are all commanded by loaded cannon, charged 
with grape-shot. After the termination of the hours of work, 
the guardians rigorously examine the prisoners, strike their 
chains with hammers, and follow them in all their movements. 
Besides this, they have amongst the men themselves well-paid 
spies, known as ^' foxes,'' who give information of the least hint 
of an attempt to escape. The prisoners of the third class are 
not only chained together during the hours of labour, but 
fastened to their beds when they sleep, and to their seats when 
they eat. Notwithstanding all these precautions, which would 
seem to be rigorous to cruelty, and minute to ridicule, such 
is the marvellous instinct of these men, that they actually 
contrive occasionally to escape. Their proximity to the free 
labourers, though closely watched, gives them opportunities; 
their own friends from without introduce themselves, under 
this disguise; a freemasonry of wonderful acuteness is estab- 
lished between them; they manage to secrete wigs, whiskers, 
articles of dress ; a few seconds un watched suffice to enable 
them to free themselves from a chain an inch thick, to change 
their prison-dress, and to disappear. So magical is the pro- 
ceeding, that it has been effected without the knowledge not 
only of the guardian, or of the men assembled around, but 
of the fellow-con \dct to whom the man is coupled; for, after 
a certain residence in the prison, the gangs of twenty or thirty, 
which are highly inconvenient for work, are broken up, and 
the system of coupling substituted in their place. 

The moment the escape is known, three reports of cannon are 
heard from the ramparts, and the gendarmes, the agents of the 
prison, and the peasants who are allured by the prospect of the 
high reward given for the capture of a prisoner, are on the 
alert, rushing through the streets, plunging into the houses, or 
scouring the fields. If the prisoner is secured before the sound 
of the cannon, he is simply subjected to the penalties in the 
power of the Governor of the prison. This is done to avoid 
noise. The authorities are glad to hush up the fact of an 
escape, and to prevent the means used from being known and 
imitated. But after the alarm is given, the mischief is done. 

Prison Work and Food. 81 

j and the prisoner is sent before the tribunal^ to be subjected 

j to the terrible punishments ah'eady alluded to. 

i Amongst these, is tlie punishment of the "double chain/^ 
which the law permits to recalcitrating prisoners for the term of 
three years. Under this sentence the prisoner is fastened to his 
seat, and is only allowed movement for the length of Lis chain 
during the whole time. This sentence is only applied to forcals 
already sentenced for life. As to the others^ the ordinary 
punishment is the prolongation of the sentence. The tribunals 
which judge these offences are known as " Special Maritime 
Tribunals," — a kind of court-martial composed of the Maritime 
Prefect, who acts as President, two naval Captains, a marine 
Commissary, an engineer, and two officials who are charged 
with the strictly legal part of the business. 

forgats rise with the morning gun, at five in the summer, 
and half-past seven in the winter. The more favoured class are 
sent into the workshops; the desperate are ^forced to labour 
without protection under the burning sun. All labour is re- 
munerated : the mason earns about twenty francs per month^ 
the labourer in iron about twenty-five or even thirty, while those 
engaged in the lighter work, such as twisting ropes, or weaving^ 
earn little more than three. It is a great object with the admi- 
nistration to encourage the men to work ; and for this reason the 
prison allowance of food is extremely limited in quantity, and 
comprises no animal food whatever. Bread forms three-fourths 
of the entire allowance : a few vegetables, a little butter and salt, 
make up the rest for the prisoners who do not work ; cheese and 
wine are added gratuitously for those who do, and they can 
purchase meat out of their earnings. A man weak in body, or 
unskilful in the use of his hands, is thus subjected to a terrible 
punishment, — semi- starvation being added to his other miseries. 
To the sick, a ration of meat is allowed in all cases four times 
a week. 

The canteen, known technically as the cambuse, is a grated 
building established in the middle of the courts or dormitories, 
and kept by some favoured prisoner, who has been known to 
leave the prison with a little fortune. 

When they are assembled for dinner, a whistle is heard, and 
every one is silent. The " green" prisoners are then fastened 
to their seats, the " reds" take their places, and those who have 
earned the privilege of serving, instead of labouring, wander 
about, their chains still clanking on their legs. A great bowl is 
pushed down the middle, called the baquet, into which every 
one dips, as it passes, with his wooden spoon. 

The worst class of forgats are not permitted to labour at 
profitable work : they sit day and night in the infirmaries, plaiting 
straw, or making small articles of pasteboard. The servants 
earn fourpence a day. The sums mentioned are those actually 



The Prisons of the Continent. 

given to the men ; but_, besides tliese, a supplement of one-third 
is set aside for those who are only temporarily condemned^ and 
given them when they leave the prison. This regulation, which 
allows a man a chance of an honest livelihood on his re- 
appearance in the world, is one of the best in the whole code. 

At the sound of the evening gun, they assemble and answer to 
their names. An hour afterwards, a whistle is heard, and they 
retire to their immense dormitories, which hold, at Brest, seven 
or eight hundred individuals. They are then left to themselves, 
with as much liberty as their huge chains will allow them. 
Authority and its cannon are without : within is the power of the 
most audacious, the most violent, or the strongest of the 
demoniac band. He lays down his laws, enforces the caprices 
of debauch or fury, denounces the victims of his suspicion or 
anger ; and woe to the wretch who ventures to murmur ! 

The forgat sleeps with his clothes on, upon a bare plank. After 
he has been some time in the prison, if he has earned money enough, 
he is allowed to purchase a mattress. A coverlet is given him, 
which must last him three years. A bar of iron is at the foot 
of the bed, or plank rather, round which the chain is fastened. 

The prison of Toulon, on the regulations of Avhich this descrip- 
tion is chiefly founded, is by much the most popular with the 
convicts. Their establishment is actually the boast of the towns- 
men, who, far from feeling it a disgrace, talk about it with pride : 
the spirit of the prisoners seems to have entered into the popu- 
lation, who always speak of them with consideration, although 
themselves not better or worse than the population of other towns. 
In fact, without this establishment, Toulon would be nothing. 
The glowing sun of the south, and the air of the Mediterranean, 
cheer the prisoners amid all their miseries. Kochefort, situated 
in the midst of a marsh, from whose pestilential vapour arises 
the fatal canicule fever, is the worst of the three ; it is one of the 
most unhealthy spots in all France. Brest, whose port seems 
to have been hewn out of two mountains, with its frowning 
buildings and foggy atmosphere, has, of itself, an air of supreme 
cheerlessness. Free or imprisoned, innocent or criminal, the 
Frenchman never forgets his vivacity, or the external aids to it. 
To the stranger, apart from prison associations, the aspect of 
this last town is amongst the most triste on the Continent. 
Toulon, on the contrary, with its bright sea, its vast vessels 
looming in the view, its huge rocks glittering in the sun, and 
its rich magazine, is one of the most striking ; and its general 
appearance does not lose, as is often the case, its brightness and 
cheerfulness in its force and immensity. 

The maisons centrales contain three categories of prisoners : 
those condemned correctionally to more than a year of im- 
prisonment ; those condemned to the punishment of seclusion ; 
and women condemned to ^' travaux forces.'* 

Arrangements of the Maisons Centrales. 


These establishments are nineteen in number^ distributed 
over the country with but little regularity ; many large districts 
having single ones^ whilst others, equally large, have four or 
five. The largest, at Nismes, holds twelve or thirteen hundred 

The first principle which would seem to prevail at these 
places is a commercial one. Without doubt, both the bagnes 
and the maisons centrales were originally instituted with a sole 
view to punishment. But as the bagnes gradually have become 
state workshops, so the maisons centrales have become a state 
institution of employment. The utmost licence is allowed to the 
prisoners for enjoyment, provided only that they earn the means 
of paying for it. The prison-fare, in itself, is a good one. 
Besides this, a most commodious canteen is erected in the 
courts, to which the prisoners rush the moment they have 
finished their dinner, and give themselves to a bacchanalian 
jollity, which, under all the circumstances, is one of the most 
striking and characteristic scenes conceivable. They are allowed 
four glasses of wine a day, (tumblers, be it understood,) at the 
price of about three-halfpence a pint, which very few are 
without the means of paying. 

The maisons centrales occupy, for the most part, the buildings 
of convents suppressed at the Revolution. These convents, 
from their literary stores, enabled the French to found those 
numberless public libraries in the country towns, to which 
they point as one of the great proofs of their advanced 
civilization. It was in one of these, the other day, that 
some one found a parcel of underground bricks ; and took 
thence occasion to claim for the French the invention of 
subsoil drainage. The circle of utilities of these relics of old 
superstition is completed by the conversion of their shattered 
walls into modern prisons. They began as almshouses, places 
of refuge, schools of morality. The gaoler has now taken 
the place of the monk, for purposes not very dissimilar. 
This is not the most curious of the transmogrifications of 
these houses of sanctity. The chapel of the huge monastery 
of St. Pierre, at Lyons, is now converted into a Bourse, and 
the converters have not been at the pains to remove from the 
walls the statues, emblems, and ornaments of Roman Catholic 
worship. The prices of railways, trade bargains, and mer- 
cantile ofiers, are now thundered forth with the stentorian 
activity peculiar to that famous city, in the ears of marble 
saints, virgins, and angels, who had little bargained for such 
unsanctified discord. Never was God brought into so curious 
a juxtaposition with Mammon. 

The arrangements of the maisons centrales are all carried on 
by private contract. It is the contractor who not only supplies 
food and clothing, but the most ordinary feeding utensils, to 

G 2 


T'he Prisons of the Continent ^ 

the prisoner. The Superintendents of works, dispensers of 
medicine, cooks, bakers, general servants, are all paid by him, 
and appointed at his nomination. In return, the labour of 
the prison is all on his account, and for his profit. He is 
compelled, under pain of forfeiture, to furnish work for every 
prisoner able to perform it ; and the administrators are respon- 
sible to him for every prisoner who refuses to work. A more 
efficient remedy against idleness could not be devised. Tlie 
working arrangements are liable to appeal to the Prefect, who 
regulates, besides, the price of work, by the job or by the day, 
usually upon the advice of the Chambers of Commerce. 

This system has had the advantage of materially reducing 
the prison expenses. And, under this mode of management^ 
the maisons centrales are the cheapest prisons in France. While 
the expense of tlie guardianship of the prisoners in the Paris 
prisons amounts to 78 francs per head yearly, the same service, 
in the maisons centrales, only costs 26 francs. Each prison 
is managed by a single contractor ; this post is adjudged yearly 
by auction, or rather adjudication, in public biddings. 

The guardians are under a military organization, carry 
uniform and the arms of the line. They are commanded by 
a Gardien-chef, nominated directly by the Minister of the 
Interior, and two Premiers Gardiens, recommended by the 
Director of the prison. 

The gains of the workmen are divided into three equal 
parts. The first belongs to the contractor; the second is 
handed over, every -Sunday, to the prisoner; the third is put 
aside for him on his exit from his prison. It is not, however, 
delivered to him at once, but paid when he reaches the place 
of his future residence, for a double object : first, to prevent 
his wasting it in the immediate excitement ; and, secondly, to 
compel his proceeding home with the least possible delay. 

Nothing, as we have already hinted, can be more widely dif- 
ferent than the treatment of the prisoners in the maisons centrales 
and those condemned to the bagnes. The first class, in fact, 
although but one remove from the extreme of punishment, 
although, in the worst cases, only difiering by an imperceptible 
line from the wretches destined to sufier the most rigorous 
cruelties, are treated better than any prisoners in France; we 
might almost say, than any prisoners in Europe. They are 
well clad : the rule is, to allow them three shirts, double- 
breasted coats and waistcoats in winter, light coats and waist- 
coats in summer. Instead of the bare planks, they sleep upon 
canvass, with a mattress, two sheets, a woollen coverlet in 
summer, and a second in winter; while, in all seasons, the 
for gat has but a single coverlet. Their food comprises soup, — 
usually exceedingly good, — a sufficient allowance of bouillon, and 
plenty of vegetables. To those who are acquainted with the 

Partially Nurseries of Crime. 


fare of the French peasant, — ordinarily, brown bread and 
apples, — this bill of fare in the prison will seem the height of 
luxury. When they are ill, the provision made for them far 
exceeds that in the average of hospitals. The strictest civility 
is enjoined to the Guardians towards the prisoners. Amongst 
many regulations on this head, is one highly characteristic. 
The Guardians are forbidden to tutoyer the prisoners. It 
is astonishing how sensitive the French peasant is on this head. 
Nothing is more common than for the police-courts to hear a 
long wrangle of assault and battery, because Pierre would 
persist in theem^g and thouing Jacques, in spite of repeated 
warnings from the said Jacques that he was not inclined to any 
such familiarity. Besides this, the Guardians are forbidden to talk 
to the prisoners, or to use any violence, except for self-defence. 
They are only permitted to report them. 

The men are allowed books ; a circulating library is kept by 
a prisoner, and, although no works are admitted except on the 
special approbation of the Government, there are few of the 
exciting romances of the day which are not at work amongst 
these men, further exciting their already feverish imaginations. 
Victor Hugo^s Notre Dame de Paris " is about the most 
popular work among them. The more direct prison-novels of 
Sue and others are forbidden ; but they find their w^ay amongst 
the men, notwithstanding, without any difficulty. 

The great hour in the prison is that after the dinner. They 
dispatch this meal as quickly as possible, and then rush to the 
canteens. There, after forming parties, they supply themselves 
with wine and liquor, and commence recitals of their adventures 
with the zest and ingenuity seldom absent from a Frenchman, 
and which, of itself, is sufficient to efface all effi)rts of ameliora- 
tion from the minds of the less guilty. But, in fact, these 
efforts amount to nothing at all. A Chaplain belongs to each 
prison, who imparts some spiritual instruction, — such as one man 
may give to five hundred. And even were it possible to 
concentrate the teaching of these good men, it is not by the 
instruction of a person removed from the world, full of his 
Breviary, and knowing little of the motives or procedure which 
influence such men, that much good can be efiected. As a 
positive result of experience, fewer reformations are known 
from the maisons centrales, and more instances occur of 
relapsed criminals, than from any establishment of this kind. 
Besides the influence of the open daylight parties, which invest 
crime and punishment with a halo of enjoyment and eclat y 
there is the excitement of the silent plots for escape, the 
murder of the guardians, or actions of private vengeance for 
offences committed against them by their own comrades. 
Much evil passion is stirred up by the favouritism shown to 
certain prisoners, which renders all favour shown to the better- 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

conducted extremely dangerous to the recipient. In this respect, 
the organized system of rewards for good behaviour, in the hagnes, 
is infinitely preferable. The Directors are compelled to avow 
that they can only enforce order, or preserve common security 
in their establishments, by means of a systematized espionage. 

Visitors of these prisons have been struck with the clever look 
of the men, their sagacious and penetrating physiognomies, and 
even the elegance of their manner. A very large number of 
them are noted escrocs, the very success of whose frauds 
depends upon their extra-gentility. There exists, at the same 
time, a look of unquiet cunning, which it is impossible to 
mistake. The bagne revolts you at first sight, — the spectacle of 
complete slavery, of inveterate toil, of physical sufiering, — too 
much which appals the soul. Yet, as you look on, you become 
more reconciled : you see a chance of reformation for the 
prisoners, a certainty of warning to those incKned to guilt, the 
vengeance of society roused for some good to it for the moment, 
and no especial danger for the future. In the maisons centrales, 
on the contrary, there is nothing at first to appal the spectator; 
there is much even to amuse him. Yet, as he looks on, he 
cannot fail to be struck with terror at the sight of these men 
who are daily improving in crime, with the certainty, at no very 
distant period, of being let loose upon society. He sees no 
reformation to the ofiender, and any thing but a warning to the 
incipient criminal, who is much more likely to be allured than 
dismayed at the sight of these jovial, excited, and clever 
criminals, telling their stories with all the piquancy of reck- 
lessness, all the interest of daring, and all the details of long 
experience. You see around you nothing but evil, without a 
single palliation, a single hope, or even a chance for the future. 
Amongst the other vices, is the villainous hypocrisy prevalent 
every where. Assumed by many of the worst class of offenders, 
not so much to soften their punishment, already sufficiently 
light, as to enable them to prosecute more easily some deep- 
laid scheme, their companions, who are in the secret, affect to 
respect their amelioration ; whilst the man who really wishes to 
reform, the object every where of hatred and mistrust, has the 
charge of hypocrisy added to the other insults to which he is 

As in the bagnes, the prison authorities are forbidden to use 
corporal punishment. Offences are punished by solitary confine- 
ment, on bread and water, unless their aggravation compels a 
regular trial ; in which case the punishments are simply applica- 
tions of the ordinary law. Every year a list of those who have 
merited special favour by their good conduct, and who have at 
least undergone half their punishment, is submitted to the 
Government ; but the number of pardons granted is extremely 
limited, — not more than five or six a year to each prison. 

Defects of the Maisons Centrales. 


The work to which the prisoners are set, is always of a light 
kind : many kinds of employment arc forbidden, for fear of 
interference with free labour. This has long been a vexed 
question in France, and at each Revolution has employed all 
the care of the Government; the out-of-door workmen taking 
advantage of every ferment to endeavour to get rid of prison 
competition. They have occasionally succeeded for a moment ; 
but, the excitement over, things have gone on just as before. 
At the same time, real care is taken not to injure the local 
business of the vicinity of the prison. The men are employed 
in making boots and shoes for exportation, or for the army, sails 
or canvass, or in weaving cotton. It is to this last employment 
that they are set when they can do nothing else. If they do 
any thing in carpentry, cabinet-making, or light ironmongery, 
it is exclusively for the use or repairs of the prison. As to the 
women, they sew gloves, and make up shirts, or shirt-collars, prin- 
cipally for the use of the army, or of the police. The arrange- 
ments for work are perfect in their way. Some prisoners will 
earn as much as seven francs a week, but the usual earnings are 
far under this sum. Three francs a week give the prisoner a 
franc for wine and liquor, — more than enough to enable him to 
do himself a world of harm. 

Notwithstanding the light work, the good fare, the pleasure 
parties, and the excitement of the maisons centrales, it is not 
uncommon to find the prisoners preferring the bagnes them- 
selves. This known phenomenon has been the cause of frequent 
perplexity to the French economists. Amongst the other diffi- 
culties of the maisons centrales, is the constant occurrence of 
offences committed with the direct view of obtaining a trial. 
Men who are discontented with their prison, who have friends 
in another, and who know by long experience that the system of 
the prison in which they are at the moment is less to their 
taste than that of others, commit excesses for the sole purpose 
of being transferred elsewhere. But the heavier crimes involve 
transportation to the bagnes, and even these have been com- 
mitted, singular as it may appear, for this express purpose. In 
fact, the light work of the maisons centrales gives the men time 
for thought, and to many of them this becomes perfectly intole- 
rable. In addition, the excitement of drinking-bouts at the 
canteen is not sufficient for many, inured from their infancy to a 
life of violence. The fierce regulation, the air of determination, 
the reckless exercise of labour, even the cruelty itself, of the 
hulks, has its recommendation in their eyes ; it gives them the 
excitement they want, it prevents the reflections they do not 
want, it falls in with their habitude, and it has something of the 
eclat which is one of the main- springs of their existence, and for 
which they prefer extremes of all kinds, even of their own 
tortures. The politicians of the Continent in vain seek to veil 


The Prisons of the Continent, 

this fact, which comes out every now and then before the 
tribunals with undeniable clearness, to the immense perplexity 
of all admirers of things as they are. It is difficult to conceive 
any argument stronger for tlie efficiency of solitary punishment 
than this startling, fearful, and unexpected phenomenon. 

This is not the only anomaly in the system. Of tlie mildness 
of the punishments of the maisons centrales, compared with those 
of prisons for lighter crimes, we sliall have to speak hereafter. 
But an anomaly of another kind exists in the maisons centrales 
themselves. It has been already noticed that the punishments 
for two separate classes of olfenccs, those called crimes, and those 
called dclits, are provided for in the same prison. Tlie one, tried 
by a jury, involves, as a punisliment, what is called " seclusion 
the other, a matter simply belonging to the Correctional Tribunals, 
is called " imprison aicnt." The first carries with it civil degrada- 
tion : the criminal is liable to public exhibition ; he cannot receive 
any revenues from his property ; a legal interdiction is pronounced 
against him ; a " tutor^^ and a " sub-tutor^^ are appointed over 
him. Nothing of all this is pronounced against the correc- 
tional^ prisoner. And yet not only is the punishment itself 
inflicted under the same rules, and in the same establishments ; 
but the more guilty person finds himself infinitely the better off. 
As he is condemned for the longest period, he becomes the best 
proficient in the peculiar work carried on in the prisons, is more 
interested and experienced in its rules ; and it is he in conse- 
quence who is named to the official positions which can be held 
by prisoners, prcvot de salle, chef atelier, and other positions 
of the same kind. These afford what such men covet most 
earnestly, — power ; and thus while the reclusionnaire often envies 
his more guilty brother of the bagnes, he is himself an object of 
envy on the part of the less guilty " correctional.^^ And thus also 
the several degrees of crime become confounded in the mind ; 
each higher grade, instead of becoming more terrible, presents 
results of greater power, influence, daring, and excitement, and 
therefore of greater attraction. We may now see how much 
further these anomalies are carried, in a brief view of the 
prisons intended for those condemned correctionally for a year 
or less. When the present organization of the prisons was first 
established, during the fever of the Republic and the Empire, in 
their zeal for systematizing, the French legislators decreed that 
every commune should have its prison, — a rule which would have 
created 39,000 prisons in the country. If it was found actually 
impossible to provide a cantonal prison, it was then decreed that, 
at least, each arrondissement should be provided with one. Even 
tliis would have established 2,800 gaols. These last Avere 
actually erected, and serve for temporary imprisonments on 
account of petty offences of simple accusation, or as places of 
safety for the prisoners, in the transport from one regular prison 

Demoralization of the Maisons de Correction. 89 

to anotlier. In addition to these, every caserne of gendarmerie 
in France has its strong chamber, in which prisoners are tem- 
porarily confined. 

At last, all the teri'ible paraphernalia of imprisonment, as 
for as regards other tlian petty olfences, dropped to one pri- 
son per department. It is to this building that the great mass 
of " correctionals" are consigned ; for, beside that the number 
condemned for a year or less forms a great part of the entire 
jnass, others may be taken to these establishments by an order 
from the ]Minister of tlie Interior. These maisons de correction, 
2<.r. they are called, are for the most part old castles of the feudal 
period. The old Barons made their residences strong enough, 
and none of the appareil of justice has been forgotten. Unfor- 
timately, neither in those days was much of tlie modern princi- 
ple, of consideration even for prisoners, attended to ; and as the 
men of old built their castles for their own convenience, and at 
their own cost, the size is very often far from appropriate to the 
wants of a state establishment. In consequence, the generality 
of tliese buildings are close and confined in the extreme. In 
one, the administration were actually obliged to leave to the 
owls the old building, which was tumbling to ruin, and to take 
refuge in the cellars and donjons of the old feudal chief, who 
constructed his donjon for the reception of at most a dozen 
prisoners. From time to time the country has spent vast sums 
in the improvement of these places ; but the original vices of their 
erection remain, in spite of all that can be done. The cachot, or 
place of solitary confinement, to which the refractory are con- 
demned for offences in the prison itself, is usually a hole just large 
enough to hold a single person, literally streaming with damp, 
and with the close, humid, clayey air of a tomb. To many con- 
stitutions a day's confinement in such a place is certain death. 

The administration of the prisons themselves is very little 
better. In fact, it is difficult to say that there is any adminis- 
tration at all. For the other prisons, the length of the punish- 
ment and its importance have excited all the attention of the 
legislature, and we have seen that its arrangements are regulated, 
not always perhaps with perfect wisdom, but always with great 
care. But in the maisons de correction no regulation exists 
worthy of the name. All the prisoners accused or condemned — 
for many of the first category are thrust into these places — are 
huddled together without any distinction of degrees of crime, 
certain or uncertain guilt, age, sex, or previous character. There 
is no surveillance, except to prevent the prisoners from running 
away ; as to the rest, they may do as they please. Worse than 
all, there is no organization of labour. This, by far the best 
feature of the other criminal establishments, is here utterly and 
absolutely wanting. The unhappy victims are not forbidden work, 
if they can get it ; if they are fortunate enough to have connexions 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

outside, Avho will give them a job, or any thing peculiar in their 
professions, — bits of luck, which do not happen to one in a 
hundred of the inmates of a criminal gaol. No beds are allowed 
to the prisoners ; they may buy them, if they have the money ; 
if not, they must lie on the straw. There are no prison clothes ; 
the prisoners must find their own clothing. It has been fearful 
to read the accounts of visitors to these places, who have ap- 
proached a mass of straw and filth, which looked like a dung- 
heap, but from which at last protruded the head of a woman, 
pale, emaciated, and looking as if it had been severed from the 
body. She had been lying without change in the same place 
for weeks, not having clothes to cover her. 

In many of the prisons, much as has been done for their 
amelioration, the walls are still coloured with green ; the floor, 
paved with round stones, has within its interstices the accumu- 
lation of the filth of months; insects of the vilest kind are 
crawling about ; the smell from the necessary houses pervades 
every where : in fact, nothing is wanting to complete the descrip- 
tion of those terrible dungeons of the Middle Ages, their ante- 
cedents and prototypes. The richest departments, as those 
which count Bordeaux and Lyons for their capitals, had, until 
lately, the very worst of these terrible cages. 

The provision of the prisoners is bread and soup, the same 
ration for all sexes and ages. The prisons are scarcely warmed : 
the poor prisoners in the winter have no refuge but their straw. 
In every respect, — in accommodation, in food, in clothing, even 
in moral instruction, these maisons de correction are inferior 
to the maisons centrales ; and when it is added, that in the former 
there exists for the great mass no means of employment what- 
ever, while it is compulsory in the latter, that in the maisons cen- 
trales the prisoners have not only the certain means of earning 
money for necessaries, and even for enjoyment, but are likewise 
assured of a sum to keep them from starvation when they again 
go abroad into the world; while the wretches of the depart- 
mental gaols, after starving and shivering in the cold, moist dun- 
geons for twelve months, are turned at large upon the world 
without a rag or a farthing; it may seem somewhat astonish- 
ing that the lightest crimes should thus entail the most revolt- 
ing, the most debasing, the most unmanly retribution. 

In all the departmental prisons, there exists what is called the 
pistole, a chamber where better accommodation is to be had by 
paying for it. In old times the price was a pistole, whence the 
name. At present the price is under eight francs. As the pri- 
soners here are supposed to be able to pay for every thing, 
nothing is allowed them gratis but bread. As there is, besides, 
the canteen, — and books and games are allowed, — a man who 
has money to spend, or who has managed to secrete his part of 
the last plunder, while his less fortunate comrade was forced to 

Slowness of the Reformatory Process. 


give it up to the gendarmes_, may live in perfect comfort. This 
last institution completes the iniquity of the whole affair. 

It should be remarked^ that many of the maisons de correction 
have no court whatever. The prisoners are compelled to remain 
during the entire sentence within doors, subject to the enjoy- 
ments of such quarters as have been just described, without a 
moment's alteration for the barest necessities of health. 

There are no hours of rising or going to bed, no hours of 
meals fixed by the law ; every thing is left to the discretion of 
the gaoler. He has to take care of a given number of prisoners 
for a given number of months ; and if he accounts for them in 
due time, and can only produce them alive_, Justice expresses 
herself perfectly satisfied. 

As if to complete the disorganization of these establishments, 
the guiding authority which is to regulate them out of doors is 
so loosely appointed, that it leads to no regulation at all. The 
Mayor, the Prefect of Police, or the Commissary- General of 
Police, is ordered by the law to watch over them. As if this 
were not loose enough already, a gratuitous council of five 
persons is likewise provided for the same end. Of course, a 
business which thus belongs to every one is done by no one. 
Other regulations to the same end have been issued from time 
to time, as the central authority received some new exemplifica- 
tion of the striking evils of the system; but the momentary 
attempts at amendment only added to the existing confusion. 

It must at the same time be admitted, in excuse for the ano- 
malies in the French system, that the characters it has to 
deal with are such as to defy all powers of reason, or of cal- 
culation. The prison authorities have frequently taken special 
pains with the insubordinate or idle characters, and have pro- 
mised, when compelled to punish them, to restore them to 
favour, and to place them even in a better condition than that 
of their comrades, on the simple condition of their submitting 
themselves to the rules of the prison. All has been in vain. 
Characters are not wanting, who, the very hour that they 
are released from solitary confinement, and re-instated amongst 
their colleagues, have forthwith proceeded to incite them to 
acts of violence. Transferred from one prison to another, 
their first action, on arriving at their new destination, has been 
to circulate in writing, and even to get printed, the most atro- 
cious calumnies against the administration of their abode; even 
although the means have been furnished them by being placed 
in the bureau des ecritures, as a special favour, in the hope 
of reclaiming them. Even when placed in solitary confinement, 
they have managed to pass their communications with the other 
prisoners ; and, w hen permitted to walk out, even under strict 
guard, have been able to secrete papers underground, in the 
joints of the doors, — any where, in fact ; and the natural \ove of 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

Frenchmen for excitement has caused their comrades to watch 
eagerly for these papers, though containing nothing beyond 
vulgar inflammatory declamation. These men refuse all kinds 
of work_, alleging that tliey cannot do it. Solitary confinement 
does them no good ; it only irritates them, inflames tl\eir brains, 
and makes tliem a trifle more mad than they were before. 

Solitary confinement has little effect on the inveterately idle. 
These men, following the French love of extremes, will even 
stand apart in the crowd, look on vacantly, and do nothing. 
Placed in solitude, they are only in their hum. our, and progress 
somewhat more quickly to tlie insanity which has been, from 
the first, at the bottom of tlieir movements. These, liowever, 
are the rarer class; the insubordinatcs are the most common; 
and their senseless, unprovoked outrages are only to be equalled 
by the extreme eloquence with which they sometimes declaim 
against wliat tliey call their oppression. The advocates for things 
as tliey are in France, declare that the penitentiary system fails 
eminently with the very characters for whom it was intended; 
and those who are cognizant of French experience can quite 
understand, why its reformatory process has been so slow, 
compared with the immensity of thought, inquiry, and writing 
expended upon the subject. 

Russia, destined in so many ways to present a contrast to the 
institutions and progress of the rest of Europe, up to a late 
period, offered a most striking diflPcrence in its application 
of the principle of imprisonment. Its code failed to recognise 
imprisonment as a mode of punishment. In this country, 
until recently, the prison was simply av place of confinement 
for the accused before trial, and, as such, was administered with 
sufficient leniency. There was, necessarily, no pretence for 
harslmess. The question of prison discipline was, in this case, 
wonderfully simplified. With imprisonment as a punishment 
on the one liand, capital punishments were abolished on the 
other. The laws directing executions were, in fact, suspended 
as long ago as the reign of the Empress Elizabeth. From tliat 
time executions, except for political offences, became extremely 
rare. In parts of the empire, as in Finland, they have been 
definitively abolished; elsewhere, as in Poland, invariably com- 
muted. Ultimately they became restricted to two heads of 
offences, singularly characteristic of the country, — infractions 
of the quarantine laws, and military disobedience. This would 
fully parallel the practice of capital punishment for forgery 
amongst om'selves, which excited so much horror and astonish- 
ment amongst the non-commercial nations of the East. 

Meanwhile, the punisliments both of death and of imprison- 
ment are respectably represented; the one by banishment to 
Siberia and by the mutilation of the criminal, the other by 
the kijout. The two last have been abolished ; the latter only 

Russian Punishments. 


since 1845. It has been replaced by wliat is called the pleite, 
a leather-thong whip, not so utterly barbarous as its predecessor, 
but of respectable force. It has been said that, while the knout 
tore away strips of flesh at the second blow_, the pleite performs 
the same duty at the seventh or eighth. 

The pleite was an introduction of Alexander's^ in 1825, 
intended ultimately to suppress the knout, which it did not 
eflfect for twenty years. The Emperor — a real philanthropist in 
his way — proposed to his Council at the same time a plan 
for producing the effect of punishment without its barbarity, 
which was effectually to replace the knout. The criminal was 
to be placed upon a horse, covered with black, preceded and 
followed by detachments of troops, sword in hand, — an idea 
eminently Russian ; and was thus to be exhibited in the most 
public place of the town. He was to be covered with a kind 
of black winding-sheet, with the name of his crime painted 
in large letters upon his breast and back, and then soundly 
flogged with the pleite. This project was never carried out; and 
the knout continued its course, through a part, at least, of its old 
dominion. Yet it was only in 1848 that the National Assembly 
in France abolished the open exposition of the formats, which 
took place in a manner in no way different, as to principle, from 
that proposed by the Muscovite legislator. 

This is the only point of resemblance between the French 
and the liussian modes of punishment. As certain sentences of 
imprisonment in France bring with them civil degradation, dis- 
qualification from the exercise of public offices, and the sur- 
veillance of the police ; so did the Russian sentence of the knout 
entail what was expressively called a civil death.'' The dis- 
qualification and disgrace in Russia were complete ; the offender 
could no longer present himself in society; for the rest of 
his life he was actually isolated from his species. The very 
principle of the Russian law commanded this : it divided all 
offences into two categories, — capital and correctional. The 
first were uniformly attended with this same " civil death.'^ 
The pleite, at least, involves no such terrible consequence. 

It has been another Russian principle, that no sentence 
should be for a perpetual punishment of any kind. The offender 
may be sentenced to Siberia for the most heinous of crimes ; 
the register of his sentence carries with it nothing more grievous 
than that of the most moderate culprit condemned to the same 
punishment. Both are equally liable to the will and pleasure of 
the Emperor, who releases them when in his opinion they ought 
to be released, regard being paid to the original circumstances of 
their crimes. This, say the Russians, is a mode far preferable to 
that of condemning a man for life, and then releasing him after- 
wards for his own good conduct, or the caprice of the governing 
power. The law itself is brought into disrespect, they argue, by 


The Prisons of the Continent. 

tliis violation of its decrees. Besides which, the uncertainty of 
the duration of the sentence has a tendency always to keep the 
offender on his good behaviour; he may at any time receive his 
release, and has neither the recklessness of one who cannot hope, 
nor the carelessness of one who knows that his time is nearly 
out, and that he has little more to fear. 

However, notwithstanding Siberia and the pleite, — two expan- 
sive modes of punishment which may be adapted to every grade 
of offence, — the discipline of the prison, under modern ideas, be- 
comes almost indispensable even for Russia. The present Em- 
peror, who carried away with him so many strange ideas from 
his visit to England in 1844, imbibed at the same time a taste 
for prison discipline. He had scarcely landed in Russia, before 
he issued a commission, first, for the reform of the prisons of 
detention actually established; and, secondly, for the establish- 
ment of new penitentiary prisons, on the basis of that at Penton- 
ville. The Committee decided on the erection of a building 
sufficient for 520 prisoners, with solitary cells; but as the effect 
of perfect isolation upon the Russian constitution was dreaded, 
its mitigation in most cases was recommended. The prisoners 
were in consequence divided into four closes, comprising, 
first, perfect isolation without work ; secondly, perfect isolation 
with work ; thirdly, isolation in the hours of meals, rest, and 
sleep, but labour in common and in silence ; fourthly, the same 
rules as the last, except that the prisoners have permission to 
speak during the hours of work. The exact amount and kind of 
conversation then carried on, in the middle of labour, it would be 
curious to ascertain. 

It is even hinted that banishment to Siberia is to be replaced 
by this punishment. Unfortunately, the economical advantages 
of obtaining labourers for the mines are too great, and the neces- 
sities too stringent, to admit of such a relaxation of the Russian 
discipline, even were it permitted by other circumstances. The 
Government has but little notion of the readiest means of enrich- 
ing the public, by abandoning the gold to the finder. According 
to the Russian authorities, exile to Siberia is no longer clad with 
its former terrors. The workmen in the mines, even when 
criminals, are paid, and, it is said, upon a higher scale than 
that of ordinary workmen in other parts of the empire. M. de 
Zehe stated to the Congress which met in 1847 at Brussels 
for the purpose of effecting prison reform, that the Siberian 
exiles were in the habit of writing to their friends, declaring that 
they were much better off than in their own country. Siberia is 
preferable to Russia, on the authority of a zealous Russian advo- 
cate, who certainly cannot plead as a reason that the old country 
was over-peopled, and that the advantage of the new consisted in 
its freedom from the crowd. 

For the rest, what is a single prison for five hundred persons in 

Russian Repugnance to Prisons. 


the empire of Russia ? If intended for an experiment as to its 
Russian application, it is neither sufficiently large nor sufficiently 
general ; if for an experiment as to the general applicability of 
the system, what could be learned from it when experiments so 
vast and so numerous had been tried elsewhere for a quarter 
of a century? 

Nor does it find much favour in the eye of the Russian legis- 
lator. On the promulgation of a new code in 1846, the attention 
of all the most competent persons in the empire was called to 
assist in the task of perfecting the snody as the Russian code is 
called. In this task many proposals were made for re-introducing 
capital punishment, in cases of parricide, murder, or pillage by 
formats in their places of punishment, — a danger unknown to any 
other system. The chief objection was the want of an inter- 
mediate punishment between death and temporary exile under a 
system which so pointedly excludes exile for life. 

Another proof of the repugnance of the Russians to the prison 
mode of punishment, is to be found in the fact, that in 1813 the 
Emperor Alexander instituted a Committee for the purpose of 
abolishing the knout. After long and serious deliberation, the 
Committee decided against the abolition, on the ground that 
prison discipline would fail of any good effect, either as a mode 
of repression or of amelioration ; and declared that the lower 
classes would see, in the abolition of the knout, full impu- 
nity for every kind of crime. The people, in fact, unaccustomed 
to the pomp and circumstance of capital executions, had concen- 
trated and absorbed all their notions of punishment in this single 
instrument ; and a punishment inflicted in secrecy, and which 
admitted of none of the terrible public exhibitions of pain or 
peril to be found in the knout, would be quite inadequate to 
preserve order in the state. This feeling of the necessity of 
exhibiting chastisement appears rooted in the minds of the Rus- 
sian Government, who may be supposed to know most about 
their own people : witness the notable plan, mentioned above, of 
subjecting the criminal to a quasi-fmieredl procession. Branding 
was of old a favourite punishment ; and if left to themselves, and 
away from the dread of European reprobation, the Russian legis- 
lature would even now adopt it, as the most ready and efficacious 
means of meeting the difficulty. 

Even in the punishment of offenders, Russia meets with inter- 
minable difficulties through its combat with civilization, — its 
regard for the judgment of nations in a totally different position 
of society on the one hand, and the necessities of its own position 
on the other. Where is all this to end ? It is just possible that 
the present struggle may solve the difficult problems which affect 
both of the two great principles, and are, in fact, as great, 
though not as patent, with the Christian Russ, as with the Mus- 
sulman Turk. 


The Prisons of the Continent, 

The principal difficulty in the Swedish system of imprisonment^ 
is the arrangement of places of confinement for persons accused. 
Every parish in Sweden was, not many years since, visited peri- 
odically by an ambulatory Judge, who heard and decided on the 
spot. This system, of course, was subject to great delay, and 
the unfortunate object of suspicion was confined — sometimes 
for more than a year — in a parish lock-up. He was neither 
allowed air nor exercise, but he could be visited by his friends, 
and had the liberty of books, if he was fortunate enough to be 
able to read. In 1847, a proposition was submitted to the Diet, 
to reduce the number of these district prisons to 134, to divide 
the country into the same number of jurisdictions, and to appoint 
a Judge to each. This plan obviates the intolerable delays of 
the old system ; but in a small country like Sweden, justice 
administered by 134 judges wants something of its dignity, and 
still more of its certainty. 

The prisons for the condemned are divided in Sweden into 
three classes, — the first for those condemned in perpetuity ; 
the second for the condemned for a limited period ; and, lastly, 
what are called provincial prisons." In the first, the prisoners 
are confined together, but under strict surveillance, by night as 
well as by day, and with the absolute prohibition of speech. 
The second class, ten in number, are built on the cellular sys- 
tem, and are all of very modern construction. The provincial 
prisons are restricted to prisoners sentenced to terms of fi:om 
two months to two years. Those sentenced for less than two 
months are placed in one of the 134 lock-up houses mentioned 
above. Those sentenced for more than two years are placed in 
the old prisons, where the necessary enforcement of silence is a 
terrible punishment to those condemned for a lengthened period. 

It has been calculated, that, under the new system in 
Sweden, not one-half of the numbers of the former system 
will be confined in the prisons. The encumbrance of prisoners 
waiting for their sentences was terrible. For the greater prisons 
it has been calculated that accommodation for somewhat more 
than 1,000 is necessary, and about 2,000 for the provincial 
prisons. If we estimate the average term of imprisonment at 
three months, (and it should be remembered that a very large 
proportion of sentences are always light,) this would suppose 
12,000 persons annually to pass through the Swedish prisons. 
As above 100,000 annually pass through the prisons of France, 
the morality of Sweden, in proportion to its population, would 
be about the average. 

The system of Denmark is divided into three categories, much 
on the French plan. It has its maisons de force, its inaisons 
de correction, and its communal prisons. It is not calculated 
that above 1,500 persons are under sentence in prison, in 
Denmark, at the samej^time, in the communal establishments ; 

Prisons in Italy. 


and, arguing upon this proportion, the state of crime in 
Denmark would not seem to be alarming. Denmark, in 1846, 
adopted the cellular system, for prisoners sentenced to short 
periods of imprisonment. It is erecting, by degrees, the 
necessary buildings. The Government has long decided, for 
imprisonment for lengthened periods, on the total separa- 
tion of the prisoners during the night ; during the day, they 
are to be allowed to work together. Unfortunately, the smaller 
prisons, and those for accused persons, on which the great 
improvement falls, are in the hands of the Communes, who bear 
the entire expense, and are not always ready with the money. 
A want of organization is, like^vise, the consequence ; and the 
Government will not interfere, lest it should be called upon to 
make new constructions on its own account. 

Holland, about the same time, adopted the cellular system 
without restriction, for every kind of offence and every degree 
of punishment. This system is applied even to women, from 
whom the same danger of plots, or concerted vengeance, is not 
to be apprehended. It is a curious fact in the case, that 
the women confined in the prison at Geneva, when they lived 
in common, actually petitioned to be placed in separate cells. 
It must have been some considerable provocation to have 
induced these people, with all their fondness for gossip and 
conversation, thus to have made a spontaneous movement for 
their own separation. It would seem to prove that women, 
under punishment, are more open to amelioration than men, 
notwithstanding the prevalence of the contrary opinion. It 
should be remembered, that the gnawing terrors of remorse, 
which make solitary confinement so fearful to the male pri- 
soner, are not likely to act to the same extent upon the female, 
who is usually condemned for less heinous offences. Holland 
is, we believe, the only country which has thus adopted the 
cellular system, in its most enlarged and rigorous interpretation. 

The systems of Italy are marked with the good intentions and 
miserable realities, which are the characteristics of that unhappy 
country. Anomalies and abuses exist every where. The Grand 
Duke of Tuscany issued some time ago an order which was 
virtually to suppress the punishment of death and the bagne, 
leaving actually nothing to terrify offenders but inferior punish- 
ments ; but he permits even yet the Director- General of Police at 
Florence to maintain the monstrous privilege, by which, on his 
own sole power and responsibility, and without rendering an 
account to any one, he is empowered to condemn any person he 
pleases to a three years^ imprisonment. It would be difficult to 
find a similar abuse in any part of the civilized world. It is true 
that an appeal lies to the Minister of Justice ; but this appeal is 
surrounded with so many formalities that it is virtually useless. 
In Home, a prison constructed for young offenders, so long ago 



The Prisons of the Continent, 

as the pontificate of Clement XI., has never yet been fairly 
finished, so as to be fit for its purpose ; it is now used for the 
temporary seclusion of a few women. The present Pope has 
issued a Commission of Inquiry, which has done nothing. The 
maison centrale of Mantua is actually used to diminish the 
number of prisoners, when the prisons are overcrowded; they 
perish in a few months in its pestilential atmosphere, and relieve 
the State from the trouble of erecting new buildings at a very 
small expense. It is true this State is Austrian. Perhaps, by 
this time, some reforms have been made in the prison, the 
condition of which was so bad as to create an outcry in Italy 

Piedmont, destined to lead the way in Italian improvements, 
has built two prisons on the American system at Aubun ; they 
hold, together, about five hundred prisoners. 

The present prisons in Italy are mainly old palaces, con- 
structed in the Middle Ages at once for residence and defence ; 
and presenting all the inconvenience of the same appropriation 
of similar buildings as maisons centrales in France. 

The Tuscan system, the most completely organized in Italy, 
comprises four sections; the hagne, the maison de force, the 
maison de detention, and the maison correctionale. It is the 
same system as that in France, with the exception of the inter- 
mediate maison de detention, used for offences between what we 
should call crimes and misdemeanors, and partaking of the 
arbitrary character of all intermediate punishments. These, it is 
said, are to be abolished ; and as the bagnes are supposed to be 
abolished too, the system in Tuscany will be wonderfully simple, 
if it can only be made effectual. Offenders under eighteen are 
subjected to the simple decree of the Director- General of Police, 
whose sentence only imposes a correctional imprisonment ; and 
as all the pomp and circumstance of a trial, so mischievous 
to young criminals, is avoided, this most absurd legislation has its 
good side. The prisons are well examined : those for males, by 
a Commission, composed chiefly of the Clergy, who make regular 
visits ; those for women, by the Sisters of Charity, who are 
constant in their attention. 

The cellular system has been adopted, for some time, in all 
cases of relapsed criminals, who are separated, with laudable 
care, from the fresh offenders. It was, likewise, not long ago, 
about to be adopted for the graver offences, and, perhaps, is 
established by this time. 

Joseph Addison. 


Art. IV. — Johnson's Lives of the English Poets. (Murray's 
British Classics.) Edited by Peter Cunningham^ F.S.A. 

The readers of the biography of Addison in the above col- 
lection, of which as perfect and complete an edition has now 
been laid before the public as care and ability could make it, will 
probably not be sorry to hear that the " Works of Addison '' 
will form a future portion of the series of which " Johnson^s 
Lives '' already constitutes so popular a part. 

The prominent men of Addison^ s day were rendered all the 
more prominent, and have become all the more familiar with 
posterity, because of their alliances, sometimes because of their 
enmities, with one another. As Addison himself said of Virgil 
and Horace, that " neither would have gained so great repu- 
tation, had they not been the friends and admirers of each 
other," so may it be said of Addison himself and some of his 
contemporaries. There are cases in which posterity will gain 
little by this. The intimacy of Addison and Swift, (an intimacy 
which the former kept up at a time when to be faithful to 
friendship with such a man as Swift was to menace the fortunes 
of Addison,) — their intimacy when living is perhaps one of the 
causes why, in the series of the British Classics, the complete 
Works of Swift are to follow the complete works of Addison. 
This is a matter for regret rather than congratulation. Addison 
is welcome to our hearth, as an eloquent and refined visitor, 
from whose conversation there is always something to be learned, 
and who, if he be, indeed, worldly, is ever decent. Swift, on 
the other hand, is a man for the master of the house to see 
privately in his library, if he really need to hold conference at 
all with such a writer; but Swift is not a man to be made 
welcome to the circle at our fireside. Doubtless, even the 
elegant Addison had his faults, and the coarse and selfish Dean 
was not entirely destitute of all the virtues. Never, however, 
can he be esteemed. Christian Minister as he called himself, 
as " the friend of the family." He will be found, in turns, in 
fierce antagonism against all. He is no gentle instructor of the 
young ; he has as little reverence for the feelings of the aged as 
he has respect for the modest fair. Addison raised the character 
of woman, and paid homage to what he had so raised. Swift 
coarsely laughed at the moralist for this act, which was done 
less in a spirit of gallantry than one of civilization. A con- 
sideration, briefly held, of the life of Addison will not, perhaps, 
be accounted as supererogatory, previous to the appearance of 
his Works. We shall not consider the same course necessary in 
the case of the Dean of Saint Patrick^s. 

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, the living of 

H 2 


Joseph Addison. 

Milston, in Wiltshire, worth some £120 per annum, was occupied 
by a learned, not an unwise, and a somewhat eccentric north- 
country Clergyman, named Lancelot Addison. Lancelot was 
himself the son of an exceedingly poor Westmoreland "Parson;" 
and in the character of a " poor child," Avith favourable testi- 
monials from the Grammar School of Appleby, he was received 
into Queen's College, Oxford. This was not the period when 
the wisdom heaped up at the University was satirically said to 
be great, for the alleged reason that most young men brought 
some with them, and were sure to leave it all behind them. It 
was a time when a gigantic labour Avas required to be spent 
before a small, but highly-prized, honour could be achieved, and 

Detur digniori" was the device of the laurel crown. 

Lancelot was as bold as, and a far better man than, his name- 
sake in the old romaunt. He was a strong Church-and-King 
man, at an epoch when the University was governed by autho- 
rities which did not consider the Church as infallible, nor the 
Monarch as necessarily the "Lord's anointed." The chivalrous 
feelings of the young Bachelor of Arts led him to tilt against the 
authorities on the grave questions of monarchical and episcopal 
principles ; and in his privileged character of Terra Filius, — a sort 
of licensed buffoon, who had as much licence at a " Commence- 
ment," as a slave in the Saturnalia, — he bespattered the supporters 
of republican opinions, and the friends of religious reformation 
beyond that accomplished in the Church, with such a shower 
of loyal and orthodox arguments, and sarcasm not very choice 
of epithet, that his privilege was not respected. Very soon after 
we find him, no longer a member of the University, travelling 
from house to house in Sussex, giving private instruction in the 
" humanities," and political lessons, to the sons and daughters 
of orthodox Cavaliers. When Charles 11. " got his own again," 
as it was called, and terribly abased what he so little merited, 
he rewarded the courageous Lancelot, by appointing him as 
Chaplain to the garrison at Dunkirk. This splendid piece of 
preferment was ultimately changed, in 1662, for a similar situa- 
tion at Tangier. 

The good man looked upon the change as a genuine " prefer- 
ment." He was pleased with the novelty of his position, had 
a watchful eye, observed narrowly, and finally wrote a book upon 
Barbary and its inhabitants, which is full of quaint matter, 
knowledge useful and useless, much credulity, and a simplicity 
which endears the author to the reader. The reverend Chaplain 
had been eight years engaged in such duties as Chaplains were 
then expected to perform, when he applied for a " holiday," 
and by Government permission he visited England. He was in 
the full enjoyment of his relaxation when he heard that his post 
had been given to another. There was scant ceremony and 
much despotism employed in those days, and the ex-Chaplain 

Addison^ s Boyhood. 


found himself suddenly destitute, and without redress. It was 
private, not public or official, symi)athy which conferred on 
him the little benefice which he met with in the living at 
Milston, and its .€120 a year. 

This pittance he found a Bishop's daughter willing to share 
with him. The lady was Jane, daughter of Dr. Gulstone, 
Bishop of Bristol. Three boys and three girls were the fruit of 
a union which was happy at the hearth, and productive of 
happiness through the district over which Lancelot presided. 
The modest Divine amused his leisure hours by literary labours ; 
and in the year 1672, he became the author of " The First State 
of Mahometanism,'' and found himself the father of the to-be- 
celebrated Joseph. 

The other children of this union may be dismissed in a 
paragraph. Of the two younger brothers of Joseph, the elder, 
Gulstone, w^as wise enough to believe that a commercial career 
was not unworthy of a poor gentleman; and he flourished 
accordingly. The princely merchant became Governor of Fort 
St. George in India. The youngest son, Lancelot, vegetated as 
" Fellow'^ of Magdalen, at Oxford. Two of the daughters died 
young, and were by so much happier than the Dorothy who 
survived them, and whom Swift describes as " a kind of wit, and 
very like her brother.^' 

As a child, Joseph Addison was remarkable for his reserve, his 
thoughtfulness, and his " sensibility An illustration of the 
latter quality is afforded in the course which he took on being 
threatened by his country schoolmaster, Nash, of whom he w^as 
the youngest pupil, with i^unishment for sbme childish fault. 
He could face neither parent nor pedagogue when lying under 
such disgrace, and the boy fled into the woods, lived upon 
berries, lodged in a hollow tree, and was happily discovered 
before he had continued the course long enough to be pro- 
ductive of irremediable evil. The removal of his father to 
Salisbury, where he was raised to the dignity of Archdeacon 
and " D.D.,'' gave him better chances of receiving a profitable 
education. He was a student both at Salisbury and Lichfield, 
before he proceeded as a private pupil to the Charter- House, 
where he founded his friendship with a very worthless person, 
Mr. Richard Steele, and learned to express himself colloquially 
in Latin, if not in Greek, with a facility that would have 
astonished the young ladies who were trying to attain the 
same in French at Stratford-le-Bow. 

Addison was a Charter- House pupil at what we may call a 
mid-way period between two men of very opposite character, — 
Crashaw the poet, who was Romanist enough in his rhymes to 
induce Henrietta Maria to recommend him (very unsuccess- 
fully) as the successor of Ben Jonson to the honours of the 
Laureateship ; and John Wesley, who laid the foundation not 


Joseph Addison. 

only of his learning, but of his health, at the Charter- House. 
Our readers will assuredly remember that Wesley imputed his 
after health and his lengthened life to his following out the 
paternal injunction to run round the Charter-House play-ground 
three times every morning before breakfast. Addison was even 
more delicate of constitution, as a child, than Wesley. This was 
so much the case, that he was baptized on the day of his birth, 
so great was the fear that he would never see the morrow. 

Addison passed from under the ferule of the learned Dr. Ellis, 
to take up his residence at Queen^s College, Oxford, when he 
was only fifteen years of age. His father was the Dean of 
Lichfield, — a dignity conferred on him in return for his services 
at Tangier. The Dean's son did not cross the threshold of the 
building founded by Queen Philippa's Confessor a " poor child," 
as his father had done. He was a young gentleman of good 
prospects and fine parts. He was, however, fashionable enough 
to sneer at the New- Year's gift and admonition of the Bursar 
made to every member, and consisting of a "needle and 
thread," and a warning to " Take this, and be thrifty." On the 
other hand, he had already Greek enough with him to serve all 
disputants as the old member of Queen's did the wild boar in 
Shotwear Forest. The student, " sicklied o'er with the pale cast 
of thought," was reading Aristotle, when he was set upon by the 
savage swine. The beast came upon him open-mouthed, and 
the scholar, with true logical composure, thrust the volume 
into the animal's throat, and choked him therewith, shouting, 
"Force, Grcecum est Thence the boar's head at the table 
of Queen's on Christmas -Day. 

Between the fifteenth and the eighteenth years of his age, Ad- 
dison spent much time, and gained much reputation, by his Latin 
poems. They were on all subjects, from the wars of Monarchs 
to the feats of Punch. They are of rare elegance, considering 
the early period at which they were composed; and it is 
remarkable that what it took one boy to write, it required three 
men to translate. And, after all, the poems in English have 
none of the raciness, ease, and polish, — speaking of them 
generally, — which distinguish the originals. In the originals, 
indeed, that great art which consists in conceahng art does not 
distinguish them. The smell of the lamp is there, and the 
labour expended on them must have been at the cost of 
health. Addison was unwise enough to apply closest to study 
after dinner, with which study should close for the day. In 
his age, indeed, the repast was taken at an earlier hour than it 
is now ; but still his taxing the brain at a time when less noble 
organs had that to do, which they can do all the better for the 
brain being left in " idle vacuity of repose," was committing an 
onslaught on health, which probably effected both immediate 
harm and permanent injury. 

Addison and Dnjden. 


It should be mentioned that Addison was intended for the 
Church. The T^atin poems of the theological student do not 
betray any predilection for the calling. Of the eight poems, 
one only has any decided reference to religion; and that is 
merely an illustration of the painted window in Magdalen 
Chapel,, which has the Resurrection for its subject. Even in this 
piece, the " Resurrectio delineata," there is less spirit and not 
more genius than may be found in his ^' Sphceristerium,'^ or 
poem on a Bowling- Green." In the mean time, they served 
Addison^s purpose. They helped to secure his election as a Demy 
of Magdalen in 1689. He became Fellow of the same College in 
1697. During the intervening years, he appears to have been 
as much engaged in instructing others as in improving himself. 
His industry was worthy of all praise. " Maudlin's learned 
grove,^^ as Pope calls the Elizabethan water walk,'' which is 
now known by Addison's name, had no more earnest student 
perambulating beneath its leafy shade at evening-tide than the 
accomplished son of the old garrison Chaplain at Dunkirk. 

Four years previous to his becoming a Fellow of Magdalen, 
Addison had tried his wing successfully in an English flight, in 
his eulogistic verses on Dry den. The old bard was pleased with 
the incense offered him by the younger poet, whose translation 
of the Fourth Georgic won the high commendation from Dry den, 
expressed in the congenial phrase, that, " after this, his own hive 
was hardly worth the swarming." Dryden paid him a still 
higher compliment by printing Addison's critical prefatory Essay 
on the Georgics, which was prefixed to Dryden' s own translation 
of the poem. When it is remembered that the last-named 
author was the most accomplished writer of prefaces of whom 
English literature can boast, the compliment may be the 
better appreciated. Johnson truly says of Dryden's prefaces, 
that they were never thought tedious ; and upon them Biu-ke is 
said to have formed his own style. Dryden's critical remarks 
on Polybius the Historian will sufiice to stand for proof of what 
is here asserted. 

J ohnson speaks slightingly of Addison's Greek ; that is, he 
suspects, rather than affirms, that Addison's scholarship in this 
respect was not of a high quality. Yet Addison very early 
projected a translation of Herodotus, — a labour which demands 
a most accomplished scholar for its suitable execution. That 
the project was not realized, appears to have been determined, 
not by Addison's incapacity, — he translated two books, — but by 
Tonson the publisher's caprice. 

Tonson probably conjectured that the public continued to 
prefer the free and comic rendering of ancient authors which 
was still in fashion. We may cite a passage from the transla- 
tion of Herodotus, which was a favourite book in Addison's 
day. Thus one passage in the Euterpe, (169,) which may be 


Joseph Addison. 

literally rendered, — "Apries is reported to have held such a 
high opinion of his power, that he imagined there was not even 
a deity able to dethrone him/^ — is thus given in the translation 
referred to : " Apryes was perswaded that neither God nor the 
divell could have joynted hys nose of the empyre/^ To a young 
scholar of such refined taste as Addison, a translation like this 
must have seemed as an offence which it would be creditable to 
abolish. The booksellers of the day did not, however, think so. 
We have now before us a translation of " The Twelve Csesars by 
Suetonius," published by " Briscoe, over against WilPs Coffee- 
House, 1092 and professedly " done into English by several 
Hands." This translation is full of faults which ought to have 
been exquisite torture to the scholar-wits at "WilFs," and 
which assuredly would have been such to him who founded and 
frequented " Button's." Addison would have hardly described 
the " Grammarians," as cattel which Tiberius chiefly delighted 
in;" nor would he have said of the agents of Tiberius, that 
" they never could pick the least hole in the coat of Caligula :" 
still less would he have described Ctcsar as " hurrying to Rome 
in a Hackney-coach ! " We confess that we regret the aban- 
donment of the translation of Herodotus by Addison ; and this 
in despite of the fact that his translations from Ovid partake of 
a great deal of the freedom and laxity in which translators 
indulged, and which Johnson not unjustly censured. Johnson, 
however, has not failed to render justice to the subtle and 
refined criticism, and the pure taste, which distinguish Addison's 
notes. In these respects, they are often equal to any thing he 
subsequently produced in the Spectator, when treating of the 
subject of True and False Wit. 

Addison's next production, addressed to Mr. Henry — after- 
wards the famous Dr. — Sacheverell, was his metrical " Account 
of the great English Poets, from Chaucer to Dryden." As Miss 
Sacheverell is said to have been the especial object of Addison's 
admiration at this time, the Account" may probably have been 
drawn up for her gratification; a surmise not the less well 
founded, from the fact that the writer thought but little of his 
work. In this the author was not wrong, especially as it is to 
be remembered that he satirized Spenser, without having at the 
time read a line of his poems ! Nevertheless, his comment on 
Spenser is correct. 

" Old Spenser next, warm'd with poetic rage, 
In ancient tales amused a barb'rous age, 
An age that, yet nncultivate and rude, 
Where'er the poet's fancy led, pursued, 
Thro' pathless fields and unfrequented floods, 
To dream of dragons and enchanted woods." 

Had the commentator only added that these enchanted woods 
Airere painted with a truth and beauty hitherto unexampled by 

Mistakes of great Writers. 


those whose office it was to paint in words^ he would have done 
Spenser full justice. That poet was in one respect like Mrs. 
RadcliffCj a magnificent describer of scenery on a large scale. 
In the lady it was the sole merit of books which our grand- 
mothers were foolish enough to read, and that brought with 
them a Nemesis of terror_, which most deservedly descended 
upon the readers. 

Addison's judgment on Milton is less savage than J ohnson's, 
though he equally disliked Milton's politics. Cowley he 
praises for his '^spotless life/' — a praise to which that poet has 
no incontestable right. Pope has been censured for laughing, 
in his Treatise on the Bathos, at a line of Addison's applied 
to Cowley, in which the author says : — 

" He more had pleased us, had he pleased us less." 

This line is akin to the nonsense in the tragic passage of — 

" My wound is great because it is so small." 

But the best writers are not free from such faults. We may 
instance the careful Johnson, who translated Addison's Latin 
poem on the Battle of the Pigmies and the Cranes, and who 
was guilty therein of the following couplet : — 

" Down from the guardian boughs the nests they flung, 
And hilVd the yet unanimated young." 

Johnson subsequently made sense of the last line, by changing 
the word " killed " into " crushed." 

A far greater error was committed by Addison himself, in 
this very critical " Account of the English Poets, from Chaucer 
to Dryden." In it no allusion whatever is made to Shakspeare : 
and this omission occurs in a poem of which the critic-author 
is so careful as to observe that "justice demands'^ that "the 
noble Montagu " should not be left unsung. Posterity has 
been more just; but, a century and more ago, the demoniacal 
pollution of Congreve was in higher estimation than the pure 
morality of him who wrote the lines on the quality of mercy." 
The offence of omitting Shakspeare from a list of English poets 
has a parallel in the error of a recently-published Universal 
Geography, in which the compiler forgot to make mention 
of so insignificant a place as Switzerland ! 

Addison, in the year of his majority, had taken his " Master's 
degree," and had begun to run in debt, — a common concatena- 
tion of things with University men in those days. He, at the 
same time, kept his eye steadily fixed upon his future 
advancement. Within the next four years we find that the 
clerical student had so far progressed in his knowledge of 
theology, as to have praised King William in two ardent 
poems, — English and Latin. He had, also, secured for a 


Joseph Addison. 

patron the great Somers, with an intellect which^ for more 
than one reason_, may be described as Olympian. Addison, 
moreover, had won the friendship of Mr. Montagu; and the 
future Lord Halifax, in return, was determined to win Addison 
from the Church, and attach him to the world. 

But the paternal " Mr. Dean was exceedingly anxious that 
his son should take orders. The blandishments of the world, 
however, worked too seductively on the mind of Joseph, who 
yielded himself thereto without much resistance. If this 
course disappointed the Dean, that good gentleman was, 
probably, not less disappointed at the political views embraced 
by his promising boy. He had hoped to make of him a 
High-Churchman and a Tory. The son, hitherto, had become 
only a fine gentleman and a Whig. The Dean was puzzled 
to account for it. 

Montagu's excuse for counselling Addison not to enter 
the Church, but rather to look towards a political career, 
was founded on the allegation of the immorahty and corruption 
which distinguished most of the men of business of the 
period ; the latter being without a liberal education. Montagu 
was reasonable enough to help the youth onward in the 
career which he had induced him to select. The patron 
procured for the protege a travelling commission to Italy, 
with .€300 a year to defray the expenses. In those times, 
gentlemen who travelled at the cost of the Government, were 
expected to furnish all the information they could which 
might be profitable to Government. Perhaps it was because 
Addison neglected — and neglected because he disliked — the 
duty of espionnage, which no gentleman now undertakes, except 
a Russian "gentleman;" — it was, probably, because of this 
mingled dislike and neglect, that the pecuniary allowance fell 
into arrears after the first year of payment. Addison travelled 
on at his own expense. We wish we could say, that he was 
relieved of the burthen of his debts, before he proceeded to 
travel at the cost of his creditors. His object in travelling 
was to '^'^ complete the circle of his accomplishments.'^ He 
took with him his collected Latin poems, for much the same 
purpose as poor Goldsmith took his flute and his thesis, — to 
obtain for him welcome by the way. A pleasant paper might 
be written on the incidents of the foreign travel of these two 
men, both of whom have attained what the world calls an 
" immortality of fame." We have not space for such a 
parallel here. We must be content to notice that the learning 
of Oliver procured for him a dole at some foreign College; 
his flute, bread and fresh straw in a barn. The elegant 
volume of Addison won for him compliments from a poet like 
Boileau, and condescension from a philosopher like Malebranche. 
Oliver herded with peasants, and Joseph consorted with 

Addison abroad. 


Peers. Goldsmith sank to slumber on the straw of an out-house ; 
Addison courted " Nature's sweet restorer " on a bed of down, 
beneath a palace roof. 

Lord Bacon somewhere remarks, that the man who enters 
upon foreign travel without a knowledge of the language of the 
country wherein he intends to sojourn, goes to school, and not 
to travel. Addison was going to Italy, and accordingly he 
stopped for a year at Blois, to study — French. He had found 
his ignorance of that language a drawback to all social and 
intellectual enjoyment, when he was in Paris ; and he was aware 
that he would experience the same disadvantages in Italy and 
elsewhere. French was the polite universal language; and he 
was right in his resolution to master it. If Cato made himself a 
proficient in Greek at eighty, Addison might laugh at the 
difiiculties of French syntax at six or seven-and-twenty. 

It may be observed of him, that, even at this time, he could 
not pretend to a very correct practical knowledge of that 
English language, which he subsequently wrote vdth such grace 
and purity. The Duke of Marlborough could not have spelt 
Calais with a greater indifference to orthography than Addison, 
who writes it " Callice.^^ He as often makes use of " travail " 
as ^'^travel,^^ when he only means the latter; and Priscian^s head 
is broken, over and over again, with the phrase, " I have went.^' 

If the author of the finest papers in the Spectator was thus 
careless of grammar in his private letters, that great moralist 
was, at the same time, as apparently careless in matters of 
religion. His letters continually afford illustrations of this fact. 
Writing to Montagu, from Paris, in August, 1699, he says, with 
a sneer, " As for the state of learning, there is no book comes 
out at present, that has not something in it of an air of devotion. 
Dacier has been forced to prove his Plato a very good Christian 
before he ventures upon his translation ; and has so far complied 
with the taste of the age, that his whole book is over-run with 
texts of Scripture.^^ It is something new to our ideas to find 
an English theological student ridiculing the grande nation''^ 
for a tendency towards piety. But there were many anomalies 
in France at this period. Dangeau tells us, that in the 
seventeenth century the Parisians were taught to dance by 
English professors ! " And again, the futm^e moral teacher 
of his nation, writing to Edward Wortley Montagu, from Blois, 
in the Lent season of 1700, says: — "News has bin as scarce 
among us as flesh, and I knew you don't much care to hear of 
mortification and repentance, which have been the only business 
of this place for several weeks past." At Chateaudun, addressing 
Mr. Edward Wortley Montagu, he manifests a still worse taste, 
— to use a light term. He is ridiculing the foolish superstition 
of the people ; but, " wit" as he was, he lacked the wit to perceive 
that his own ridicule trenched closely upon blasphemy. He is 


Joseph Addison. 

speaking of a fire which had seriously injured the little town. 
" The inhabitants tell you the fire was put out by a miracle, and 
that, in its full rage, it immediately ceased at the sight of Him 
that, in His lifetime, rebuked the winds and waves with a look. 
He was brought hither in the disguise of* a wafer, and was 
assisted, I don^t question, with several tons of water.'^ The 
occasion warranted rebuke, but not a rebuke in such a tone as 
this ; but there was nothing wliich a " fine gentleman" so much 
affected as a sneer. It was worn with his pouncet-box and his 
clouded cane; and accordingly, Addison having been ill of a 
fever at Blois, at which place, by the way, he used to entertain 
all his masters" at supper, where they surrounded him like 
the professors round the Bourgeois Gentilhomme, — and having 
recovered from this fever, born perhaps of these heavy suppers, he 
remarks, that I have very well recovered, notwithstanding that 
I made use of one of the physicians of this place." Indeed, 
but for this sort of wit, his letters of this period would be as dry 
as Sahara. It is the poor thread of a stream which gives a little 
life to a wide extent of aridity. There is, however, occasionally 
something better than this sort of jaunty wit in his letters, as 
he growls older and more observant. How true is his obser- 
vation, that, in order that Louis XIV. should walk in splendour, 
his subjects were obliged to go barefoot ! And again, when 
contemplating the magnificent despotism of the Doge of Genoa, 
he remarks, in the same incontrovertible spirit, " that the people 
show the greatest marks of poverty, where the governors live in 
the greatest magnificence." 

Addison leaves France with a Parthian dart driven at the 
scholars. Nothing is more usual than to hear ^em at the 
Sorbonne quote the depths of ecclesiastical history and the 
Fathers, in false Latin." He forgets that Shakspeare is not 
blameless in his quantities, and that he forces a pronun- 
ciation of Hyperion, the very sound of which would have been 
anguish to a Sybarite. Ten years subsequent to the time when 
Addison detected the Professors of the Sorbonne in the com- 
mission of that unpardonable fault, a wrong quantity, his 
poetical friend Hughes published his dramatic poem, "The 
Siege of Damascus," wherein Eumenes appears with the pen- 
ultimate long, and Heraclius with his penultimate short ! 

The private letters of Addison written from Italy, are far 
superior to those he penned at Blois. Not that even in these 
he is always correct in his conclusions or his prophecies. Thus, 
he describes Venice, meaning thereby the Government, " as the 
most secure of cities ! " And so indeed it seemed at this time ; 
but the wave of the old French Revolution struck that ancient 
Government, and thereby shivered it to fragments, as though it 
had no more strength than a goblet of Venetian crystal. 

It is curious that, at this time, the Italians appear to have 

Addison's Continental Comments. 


been far more reconciled to a German dominion over tlic great 
peninsula, than they are now. It must be remembered, how- 
ever, that at the period in question the French Monarch was 
endeavouring to establish a French despotic rule over Europe, 
precisely as Russia is aiming at the same object now. The 
battle of Blenheim, which finally crushed the insane and wicked 
attempt, had not yet been foUght. " That,^^ says Addison, 
which I take to be the principal motive among most of the 
Italians for their favouring the Germans above the French, is 
this, that they are entirely persuaded it is for the interest of 
Italy to have Milan and Naples rather in the hands of the first, 
than of the other.'^ He adds, in a truly popular spirit, — and we 
should state that we are now quoting from the volume of his 
" Travels,^^ — " One may generally observe that the body of a 
people has juster views for the public good, and pursues them 
with greater uprightness, than the nobility and gentry, who 
have so many private expectations and particular interests, 
which hang like a false bias upon their judgments, and may 
possibly dispose them to sacrifice the good of the country to the 
advancement of their own fortunes.^^ Here were Whig principles 
to vex the ear of a Tory Dean ; enunciated, too, by a son .of whom 
he felt himself compelled to be proud, in spite of those principles ! 

It may, however, be very well questioned, whether Addison's 
principles, with reference either to politics or religion, were 
very strictly defined at this period. Throughout the record 
of his Italian journey, we find him with an e^ddent leaning 
to republican principles, and yet, as on his passage through 
Switzerland, ridiculing the English Commonwealth refugees, 
and speaking of Charles I. reverentially, as the Royal Martyr.'' 
There is the same inconsistency in matters of religion. He 
loves to draw contrasts and construct parallels ; but he neither 
fixes a moral, nor makes a necessary inference. Thus, when 
he has extended his journey into Germany, and sojourns at 
Hamburg, he notices the vicinity of the Raths-Haus Keller y 
or gigantic Wine-cellar, — which Heyne has so much more 
finely illustrated in poetry, — to the English chm'ch. He is 
rapturous on the Cellar and its exhilarating contents; and 
then adds, in a letter to Lord Wincliilsea, ^^By this Cellar 
stands the little English chapel, which, as your Lordship may 
well suppose, is not altogether so much frequented by our 
countrymen as the other.'' He does not complain of this ; nay, 
he falls into the evil fashion, and writes to Mr. Wyche, 
" My hand, at present, begins to grow steady enough for a 
letter ; so that the properest use I can put it to, is to thank 
the honest gentleman that set it a-shaking. I have had, this 
morning, a desperate design to attack you in verse, which I 
should certainly have done, could I have found out a rhyme 
to ' rummer.' " 


Joseph Addison. 

This was written in 1703 : meanwhile a change had come 
over his fortunes. He had sojourned in Italy in fond com- 
panionship with Hope. He had examined the dead and living 
body of Rome with the eye and the instrument of an anatomist. 
He had explored the valleys^ walked in gladness on the slopes, 
and traversed the vine-clad mountains with a soul attuned to 
nature's beauties, and ever ready to be gratefully affected by 
them. He had, moreover, painted what he saw, in words 
which impressed the scene upon the mental eye of the reader, 
never to fade from the memory, and which, nevertheless, when 
given subsequently in a printed volume to the world, were so 
coldly received by an unappreciating public. In addition to 
this, he had prepared his immortal Dialogue on Medals, the 
first and the best of scientific treatises rendered in a popular 
manner; a work, however, which was not delivered to the 
public, until the hand which drew it lay cold in the grave, 
forgetful of its cunning. A great portion of Cato " was also 
sketched forth during this journey ; and he wrote his " Ode to 
Liberty and Halifax,^' while crossing the Alps, whose beauties 
were all lost to him in his own sensations of uncomfortable 
bodily cold. On the Alps he was as prosaic, save when 
abstractedly employed in building the lofty rhyme, as the 
Boston traveller who stood in presence of Niagara, and saw 
nothing in it but a deplorable waste of water-power. 

We have said that Hope was the companion of Addison in 
Italy. Disappointment, however, soon took her place. He 
had just been designated for the post of Secretary from His 
Majesty to Prince Eugene, then in Italy, when King WiUiam 
died, a change of Ministry ensued, and down sank all Addison's 
immediate hopes into the dust. This was a catastrophe; for 
the calamity assumed that shape in the eyes of an aspiring 
man, who had been living beyond his means, in the expectation 
that a fortune to come would pay for the expensive follies 
of the past. It was for this reason that, instead of repairing 
to England, he travelled as economically as he could through 
Germany, awaiting abroad the advent of better times at home, 
and living as showily as was in his power upon the proceeds 
of his Fellowship, and small and uncertain supplies from his 
father the Dean. 

These supplies ceased, before he reached Holland, by the 
death of his father, in 1703. ^^At my first arrival,'^ writes 
Addison from Holland, in 1703, to Mr. Wyche at Hamburg, 

I received the melancholy news of my father's death, and 
ever since have been engaged in so much noise and company, 
that it was impossible for me to think of rhyming in it, 
unless I had been possessed of such a muse as Dr. Black- 
more's, that could make a couple of heroic poems in a 
hackney-coach and a coflfee-house." 

The proud Duke of Somerset. 


Such was the present epitaph uttered over a father hy his 
son. When the latter, however, was at the summit of his 
short-lived fortunes, he designed that a superb tomb and a 
befitting epitaph should mark the spot where rested, in Liehfield 
Cathedral, his father^s bones and his own. But fashion buried 
the son in Westminster Abbey, and Tickell was left to supply 
the ponderous elegy which lies heavy on all that was mortal 
of honest, simple, and high-minded Lancelot. 

Swift, it will be remembered, when peevishly jotting down, 
in 1728, in slipshod poetry, the incidents of Addison^s career, 
says that — 

" Addison, by Lords caress'd, 

Was left in foreign lands, distress'd, 
Forgot at home, became for hire 
A travelling tutor to a Squire." 

There is here only an approximation to the truth ; and Swift 
cared very little whether he were wide of or near that sacred 
mark at which poetry should aim, quite as carefully as philo- 
sophy. The facts are these : — 

The proud Duke of Somerset," who, like all excessively 
proud people, was excessively mean, required what was then 
called a ^^bear-leader," or travelling tutor for his son, Algernon 
Lord Hertford. His Grace made an ofi'er, through Jacob 
Tonson, then in Holland, to Addison, who was also sojourning 
there, engaged on no more active pursuit than waiting on 
fortune. " I desire," said the proud Duke, " that he may be 
more on the account of a companion in my son^s travels, than 
as a governor; and as such I shall account him. My meaning 
is, that neither lodging, travelling, nor diet shall cost him 
sixpence, and, over and above that, my son shall present him, 
at the year's end, with a hundred guineas, so long as he is 
pleased to continue in the service of that son, by taking great 
care of him, by his personal attendance and advice, in what 
he finds necessary during the time of travelling." 

This was not a very magnificent offer from a grandee so 
proud that, when his Duchess once tapped him on the shoulder 
with her fan, to secure his attention while she was speaking 
to him, he rebuked her for the act, as one of inexcusable 
freedom ! Addison saw the ofi'er in its proper light, but, by 
the same light, he discerned some worldly advantages behind 
it. He therefore wrote to the Duke, more with the simplicity 
of his father's character than the acuteness which generally 
marked his own: — "As for the recompense that is proposed 
to me, I must take the liberty to assure Your Grace, that I 
should not see my account in it, but in the hopes that I have 
to recommend myself to Your Grace's favour and approbation." 
At this hint from a client in want of a patron, the Duke at 
once broke off" all further negociations, after a rough intimation 


Joseph Addison. 

that he would not have Addison come to him on any account. 
" I must look for another/' says this incarnation of pride, — 
" I must look for another, which I cannot be long a-finding." 
And so terminated the episode of " bear-leading/' 

Addison came to England, nevertheless. He was thirty-three, 
dependent on his pen, lodging in a garret over a shop in the 
Haymarket, and a neighbour of the poet and physician. Dr. 
Garth. The fortime of Addison was made on the field of 
Blenheim. The victory rendered the Government ecstatic, but 
they were in want of a poet who could fitly celebrate it. Halifax 
intimated to Godolphin that he knew a minstrel equal to the 
mighty theme, but he would not name him, because Ministers 
were too mean to merit being served by one who could strike 
the lyre with such efiect. The result was as much petty 
bargaining as over a common ware for common purposes, 
chaftered for by common people. The office of celebrating such 
a victory should have been seized upon in a rapt poetic rage 
by the Laureate for the time being. But the tinsel crown of 
Versificator Regalis was then worn by poor Nahum Tate, who 
was then, and remained ever after, totally unequal to the task. 
It was undertaken by Addison, who received a retaining fee, in 
the shape of an appointment as one of the Commissioners of 
Appeal in the Excise, which he was entreated to consider as 
" an earnest only of something more considerable.^^ 

With this encouragement Addison mounted his Pegasus, 
and charged into the realms of rhyme, with a power and 
effect which he had never hitherto equalled, and which he, 
to our thinking, never surpassed. The defect of " The 
Campaign " is its occasional tautology, but it is truthful, 
earnest, impartial, lucid ; uniting simplicity with grandeur, 
and for ever memorable for the simile which compared Marl- 
borough with the angel who — 

" Eides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm." 
Pope ridiculed the poem, and stole the best line in it. We will 
give the two passages : — 

" 'T was then great Marlbro's mighty soul was proved, 

That, in the shock of charging hosts unmoved, 

Amidst confusion, horror, and despair. 

Examined all the dreadful scenes of war ; 

In peaceful thought the field of death survey' d. 

To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid. 

Inspired repulsed battalions to engage. 

And taught the doubtful battle where to rage. 

So, when an angel, by divine command. 

With rising trumpet shakes a guilty land. 

Such as of late o'er pale Britannia pass'd. 

Calm and serene, he drives the furious blast. 

And, pleased the' Almighty's orders to perform. 

Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm." 

Addison and Pope. 


This fine, and yet not entirely faultless, passage is thus marred 
and minced in the " Dunciad — 

" Immortal Eich ! how calm he sits at ease, 
'Mid snows of paper and fierce hail of pease, 
And, proud his mistress' orders to perform, 
Eides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm!" 

It may be said that, in a satire, this is simply a justifiable 
imitation, a mere comic adaptation of a serious phrase. Pope, 
however, has in a serious poem stolen another of Addison's 
lines. He has just faintly disguised it ; but the felony is not 
to be hidden beneath so transparent a covering. Thus, in " The 
Campaign," we are told that — 

" Marlhro's exploits appear divinely bright : 
Eais'd of themselves, their genuine charms they boast ; 
And those that paint them truest, praise them most." 

Pope's metrical translation of passages from the letters of 
Heloise, which he has welded into his " Epistle of Heloise to 
Abelard,'' ends with these lines : — 

" The well-sung woes shall soothe my ghost ; 
He best can paint them who shall feel them most." 

Johnson says of this passage, that Pope did not know how to 
use what was not his own, and that the borrowed thought 
is spoiled by the borrower. "Martial exploits," says the 
Doctor, " may be painted, perhaps woes may be painted, but 
they are surely not painted by being well sung. It is not 
easy to paint in song, or to sing in colours.'' The plagiarisms 
of Pope may be said to be yet an untreated subject. If any 
one be curious to see a proof of his skill in what may be 
tenderly called " adapting," the curiosity may be gratified by 
comparing Pope's " Essay on Man " with that portion of the 
"Pense'es'' of Pascal which is devoted to a discussion of the 
same subject. 

Let us add, with regard to " The Campaign," that if the 
Pegasian pony of Nahum Tate was not equal to ambling over 
such a field, a future Laureate — heavy, drinking Eusden — boldly 
mounted the genuine winged steed, and was rewarded for his 
daring by being kicked off, and very undignifiedly rolled in 
what mud there may be about Helicon and the Hippocrene. 
Pleasant Phillips also attempted the same martial theme. His 
treatment of it is as the " Battle of Prague " played on a 
Jew's-harp, with a penny-trumpet accompaniment. 

Addison wore his honours with his usual silent dignity. His 
habitual taciturn reserve, at least in the presence of strangers, 
was remarked in him even at Blois. It increased with him 
subsequently; but, as D'lsraeH observes, after allowing his 
defi^jiiency in conversational powers, " If he was silent, it was 



Joseph Addison. 

the silence of meditation. How often at that moment he 
laboured some future ' Spectator ! ' " 

Nor was empty honour the minstrel's sole award. With 
the golden profits of "The Campaign" he relieved himself 
from a burden that had clung to him up to this time_, — the 
burden of his College debts. Such relief it may have been, 
which helped to make of him what Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu describes him to have been, — "the best company in 
the world.'^ This was still only with his familiars. He was 
as bashful and reserved as ever before strangers. But if he 
had not the ease and self-possession which mark the well- 
bred man on all occasions, neither had he, in the slightest 
degree, the presumption and vulgarity which ill-bred men 
employ in order to cover their lack of refinement. 

From this time Addison was conscious of being a man of 
note. In 1706 he was raised to the office of Under-Secretary 
of State, and was a welcome man in coffee-house circles, where 
Steele clung to him more ostentatiously than Boswell to 
Johnson, and Swift was but too happy to claim as a friend 
a man from whom he yet so dificred in every respect. As for 
Addison's labours, they partook of something of the contra- 
dictory character which marked those of past times, in con- 
nexion with his position. When he was an ecclesiastical 
student, he wrote poems on bowling-greens and barometers; 
and now tliat he was an Under-Secretary of State, he became 
the author of " Rosamond," a ballad opera, to which Clinton 
set very indifferent music. " Rosamond " ranks, in a literary 
point of view, as much above the usual productions of the 
class to which it belongs, as Metastasio's pieces of a similar 
sort rank above those of all his competitors in the same style. 
As may be supposed, however, there is much trash even in a 
ballad opera by Addison. Such as it was, it was too refined 
for the public of his day; and perhaps the most satisfactory 
result arising from it was, that the praise of it by Tickell 
made true and fast friends of that gentleman and Addison. 

If "Rosamond" was a mistake, it was not the only one 
which Addison made. In 1708, he published his weU-known 
pamphlet on the War. In this he commits two errors, which 
then wore the guise of incontrovertible truths, but at which 
we may now smile with a species of good-natured commiseration 
for the unhappy gentleman guilty of the double delusion. The 
first portion of Addison's error is, that the French nation must 
necessarily be for ever fixed in their animosity and aversion 
against England. The second lies in the assertion, that "the 
Strait's mouth," meaning thereby Gibraltar, "is the key of 
the Levant, and will be always in the possession of those 
who are Kings of Spain." The Anglo-French alliance, and 
the English flag above the Rock of Gibraltar, are sufficient 

Addison as a political Prophet. 


replies to these unlucky vaticinations. It may be addcd_, liow- 
ever, that what Addison predicted of the French has been 
asserted^ as a thing to be desired, by other statesmen. Thus 
General Oglethorpe, in the reign of George II., declared that 
nothing was to be so little desired as a friendship between 
England and France; and, in the reign of George III., 
that eminent diplomatist. Sir James Harris, asserted not only 
that the two countries were hostile by nature, but that it was in 
the eternal fitness of things, that they should remain so. Let 
us remember with humility, that the natm'al enmity, as it is 
called, was aroused by ourselves. When Edward carried on 
an unjust war with France, to establish a claim which he 
professed to hold from the Princess who never had it to 
bequeath to lier heir, — then v/ere sown the seeds of a disunion 
which English triumphs only embittered. We say again, it ever 
becomes us to be humble and self-accusing, when mention 
is made, as by Addison in his War pamphlet, of the hostility of 
Gaul, as being fixed and unalterable. 

This pamphlet, as also the correspondence of the Under- 
Secretary of State, presents us with matters which we may 
consider in connexion with the present times, and their 
terrible incidents. In a letter addressed by Addison to the 
Earl of Manchester, July 23rd, 1708, there is the folio v/ing 
passage: — "We had an unlucky business that befel two days 
ago the Muscovite Ambassador, who was arrested going out 
of his house, and rudely treated by the bailifls. He was then 
upon departure for his own country ; and the sum, under ,£100, 
that stays him ; and what makes the business the worse, he 
had been punctual in his payments, and had given orders 
that this very sum should be paid the day after.^^ The angry 
Muscovite declared that his injured honour could be appeased 
by nothing less than the sacrifice of the lives of the bailiffs ! 

But we have to shift the scene, and to exhibit Addison in 
a higher character and holding a more responsible position than 
any which he had hitherto attained. This was the Secretary- 
ship of Ireland, to which office he was appointed in 1708. He 
accompanied the Earl of Wharton, when the latter proceeded to 
Dublin as Viceroy. 

We have already remarked how curiously some of the occu- 
pations of Addison contrasted with his profession or position 
for the time being. We have here an additional instance. 
When we speak now of Addison as Secretary for Ireland, and 
Member for Malmesbury, we have really little or nothing to say 
of him in either capacity. As Secretary, a post which he held 
conjointly with that of Keeper of the Records in the Birming- 
ham Tower, (Dublin Castle,) he performed the routine business 
of his office no better than less gifted men would have done. 
He resided in London nearly as much as before, leading a 

I 2 


Joseph Addison. 

"coffee-house life/' and, save when he sojourned at his suburban 
residence, Sandy End, Fulham, keeping rather late hours and 
mixed company ; and, though not an intemperate man, com- 
pared with his contemporaries, yet drinking far more than was 
profitable for either mind or body. The moderation of Addison 
would be excess in these days. 

As Member of Parliament, he may be dismissed in a few 
words. He utterly failed in the part, and was as physically 
incapable of addressing a large assembly, as poor Cowper him- 
self. When the luckless literary M.P, made the attempt, he 
was overwhelmed with confusion, and the encouraging cheers 
of his friends only rendered him the more confused, and made 
his painful incapacity the more remarkable. 

But Addison distinguished the era of his Irish Secretaryship 
by his contributions to the " Tatler,^' a serial started by Steele, 
and upheld by the co-operation of such able men as Addison. 
On looking through these once celebrated papers, we have been 
struck with their general want of correctness of style. There 
are brilliant exceptions, but for the most part the " manner 
of this professed improver of men was what may be designated 
as " slip-shod." But this penny paper was nothing the less 
popular. Its rapidity of illustration, if one may so speak, its 
worldly good nature, and its sparkling fluency, rendered it 
generally welcome. King Tath or Tat, who invented hiero- 
glyphic ideas and conversation for the early and taciturn 
Egyptians, must have felt his very mummy warmed with a 
sense of delight, at seeing his name and vocation revived in 
barbarous England, — but in the most pleasant of manners. 

There would be small profit in studying the " Tatler " now ; 
but it was not without its uses when it first appeared. At that 
period, literature — such literature as was cared for by the large 
portion of society which arrogates to itself the not very flatter- 
ing appellation of the world " — was of an uncleanness now 
happily inconceivable. Dramatic literature, the most popular, 
was of all the most infamous. The severe Milton even could 
advocate "the well trod stage anon;" but in Addison's days 
there was no such thing as what Milton so designates. To furnish 
to the " world," therefore, a semi-didactic paper thrice a week, 
in which there should be a regard for decency, such as even 
most of its readers did not care for, was to do the latter especied 
good, and to lay the seeds of a greater good to come. The 
period of that greater good arrived when Addison founded the 
" Spectator " for readers at home, and wrote " Cato " for those 
who knew of no more profitable way of spending their time, than 
within a theatre. The consequent improvement, if slow, was 
sure. Many a lady whose orthoepy was in so feeble a state, 
that she thought Augustus began with a G, learned spelling 
as well as morality from the " Tatler " and " Spectator." 

Addison as a Reformer of Manners. 


Many a gallant Captain came to relish tlie didactic essays, 
which at first appeared to them as unmtelligible as a Peruvian 
quipo to a puzzled Spaniard. 

We speak of these papers only as the " schooling admi- 
nistered by moral philosophers. Epictetus gave good instruc- 
tion in his day, and was not without his uses. The Heathen 
had to be made clean, before he could comprehend or long 
for the after " dear delights/' Addison was not yet the man 
to teach more. If we needed a proof of this, we should call in 
unbiassed Tonson, who deposes that the book which he usually 
found open on Addison's table was Bayle's Dictionary. Our 
moralist, refined and gentle as he was, yet, despite his being the 
professed reformer of the morals and manners of domestic life, 
was, according to the " Journal to Stella,'' now drinking deeper 
than the Dean of St. Patrick's, now dining at hedge-taverns 
with Swift and Garth, anon banqueting too profusely with 
Lords, going home late and a little disordered, and up early to 
reform manners, with hand somewhat unsteady, and intellect 
somewhat confused. 

The "Spectator" first appeared in 1711. A change in the 
Ministry afforded Addison a leisure by which he profited, 
though he did not covet it ; and into the new paper he threw 
all his energy and talent, and upon it he has reared the reputa- 
tion which remains bright and unassailable as ever. With it 
the name of Addison is inseparably connected : — Addison and 
the " Spectator," Johnson and the " Rambler." If these be 
compared, Addison will still bear the examination, and issue 
from it triumphantly. Addison's aim was alike to improve, not 
only morals, but language. In the latter respect the papers by 
C, L., I., or O., in the " Spectator," will still be found models of 
good taste, grace, and expression. Johnson Latinized our "well 
of English, pure and undefiled." Addison sought to recover 
for it beauties which had been marred by a succession of bad 
writers. A greater praise than is due to either may be fairly 
awarded to a man very different in most respects from both 
Johnson and Addison: we allude to William Cobbett. What- 
ever opinion may be formed of that remarkable individual 
as citizen, politician, demagogue, or Christian, only one opinion 
can be entertained of his services in behalf of the English 
language. No writer that we can remember ever expressed 
himself in such purely harmonious Saxon-English, as Cobbett. 
He, for instance, would never have used the term " felicity," 
when he had the better, and the native, term " happiness " ready 
for his use. If Cobbett had been as careful for the preservation 
of other matters worth cherishing, as he was of Anglo-Saxon 
terms and phrases, he would have won a larger meed of praise 
and acknowledgment from posterity. As it is, he is almost for- 
gotten. Addison would have looked at him with an inclination 


Joseph Addison. 

divided between patronage and raillery ; Johnson would have been 
more savage against Cobbett than he has been against Milton. 

Comparing Johnson with Addison, as essayists and instruct- 
ors of men, the former may be said to awe, while the latter 
charms. Johnson is the stern disciplinarian, crushes errors as 
well as vices beneath the masses of hard objurgation which he 
hurls at them, and is as sesquipedalian and pompous upon trifles, 
as upon matters of life and death. Addison is your true ludi- 
magister ; " master as he is, he is also a boy with the boys." 
He corrects failings by showing their absurdity : he does not 
smite the erring with a flail; he takes them cordially by the 
hand, puts them in the straight path of morals, and sends 
them on their way with a compliment. Johnson^ s compliments, 
on the other hand, are as the precious balsam which bruised the 
head it was made to heal. Addison has more pity for, than 
wrath against, great offenders. Johnson smites them with 
thunderbolts. Addison gleams out with playful summer 
lightning ; and while offenders admire, they yet look up. Their 
eye is not on the earth, their gaze is on heaven ; and Avhen the 
moral philosopher has got them there, he leaves them to the 
chances of finding a Christian Missionary who may do what he 
was unequal to, — lead them to something more profitable than 

Let us add that Johnson himself has done full justice to the 
merits of Addison as a writer. " Whoever wishes to attain an 
English style," says the philosopher of Bolt-court, " familiar, 
but not coarse ; elegant, but not ostentatious ; must give his days 
and nights to the study of Addison." The end may be attained 
without the double sacrifice here mentioned ; but J ohnson's 
assertion, on the whole, remains indisputable : it is applicable 
not only to the serious papers and to the apologues of Addison, 
but also to his incomparable criticisms, and to his inimitable 
series in which he delineates our good old friend Sir Roger de 
Coverley, through whom the author made human beings of 
bestial English Squires, by simply showing to them the picture 
of a brother who was attractive because he was virtuous. 

The finish and neatness of Addison^s writings are as remark- 
able as their elegance. He has nothing that is rudely sketched. 
With him you walk on sunny slopes, in trim gardens, by 
pleasant streams, and with a sound of melody ever in the air. 
Johnson, on the other hand, drags you with him through scenes 
of Scandinavian grandeur, majestic pines, and thundering cas- 
cades. The edifices of Addison are like the villas in ancient 
Tempe, — matchless for grace, purity, and perfection. Those of 
Johnson have, with all their splendour, something rough about 
them, and something short of a graceful perfection. They are 
like the gorgeous palaces of the Incas, — of pure and solid gold, 
but roofed with straw. 

Addison^s " Cato. 


Our waning space warns us that we must be brief in our 
future remarks ; nor is it necessary that we should do more than 
add a note or two to the well known details of the years of 
Addison's life which yet remain to be noticed. It is not 
necessary that we should recount their history. 

The production on the stage of Addison's ^^Cato/' in 1713, 
marks the period at which his reputation as a writer was at its 
culminating point. This piece^ formed on the severe model of 
Racine, and so regardful of the unities of time and place, as to 
be guilty of more absurdities than if the same time-honoured 
matters had been treated with some degree of liberty, had the 
good fortune to appear at a period when society — a society 
which lived very much, like that of the old Athenians, in the 
theatre — was split into two great factions, rather than parties. 
The poem — for it is more of a dramatic poem than an actual drama 
— is full of political allusions. These were applauded by one 
party as aj)plying to the other, and the applause was repeated to the 
echo by the adverse faction, to prove that the application was not 
accepted in the sense implied. No wonder, then, that this piece 
of dull grandeur was triumphant. In our days, we suspect that it 
is not often read, and we suppose that it is still less frequently 
acted. It is, nevertheless, more full of terse sayings, which we 
are every day quoting familiarly, (and perhaps without knowing 
the parentage of the citation,) than any English poem with which 
we are acquainted, except Gray's "Elegy;" — not a line of which 
has escaped being turned into what Johnson (very incorrectly) 
styles " the watch-word of literary men,'^ namely, quotations. 

Johnson notices a number of foreign languages into which 
" Cato " was very speedily translated. Since the period in which 
he wrote the biography of Addison, the tragedy in question has 
been translated into Russian ! We may strongly suspect, how- 
ever, that the passages in favour of liberty and against the 
despotism of a single man, although that man be not a Czar, 
have been, according to the German term for translating, " over- 
set " into Russian, rather than faithfully rendered. 

Let us add a trait of the times nearer home. The Church of 
England gave its testimony of approval to this stage-play. Dr. 
Smalridge, Dean of Carlisle, and Canon of Christ-church, Oxford, 
witnessed the representation of the piece in the last-named city ; 
and the reverend gentleman writes of it to the author, " I 
heartily wish all discourses from the pulpit were as instructive 
and edifying, as pathetic and affecting, as that which the 
audience was then entertained with from the stage." Poor 
man ! And yet at this time the pulpits of England were not all 
echoless of certain sounds. If the " Established " pulpits were 
not all mute, neither was there silence in another quarter. Pom- 
fret, as enthusiastic as Whitefield, was then awakening souls. 
Matthew Clarke was giving a better instruction than " Cato." 


Joseph Addison. 

Bradbury, that clieerful-minded Patriarch of the Dissenters^ 
was then at least as edifying as Dr. Smalridge's theatrical hero. 
Neal was then pathetic and earnest in Aldersgate-street, and 
John Gale affecting and zealous amid his little circle of hearers 
in Barbican. Had Dr. Smalridge been required to listen to 
learned, but careless, Lowman, he might have been puzzled at that 
good man's discourses; but there was matter in them as in- 
structive as any thing uttered by Mr. Booth in Cato.'^ There 
was a better instruction still to be had under Dr. Williams and 
his assistant, honest John Evans, in Petty France. Simon 
Browne had not yet come to London ; but Samuel Wright had 
already had his pulpit shattered by a Sacheverell mob, whose 
leaders applauded Mr. Addison's tragedy. Leland could then 
have uttered a better comment on Plato's dissertation on 
Immortality, than the pseudo-(>ato of the stage; and there 
were besides numberless Ministers equally gifted, then pre- 
paring to take their places, and teach men a richer wisdom than 
that which the Dean of Carlisle found in the measured lines of a 
perhaps unbelieving tragedian. Indeed, as we have intimated, 
the Dean's own Church was less ill-provided for in this respect 
than he himself seems to have suspected. 

We may not pause to detail the story of Addison's quarrels 
with Pope and Steele. We must not, however, omit to notice 
his elevation to the post of Secretaiy of State. This occurred in 
1717. The new Secretary not only was unable to speak in 
Parliament on behalf of the Government he did not serve, but 
his very niceness in choice of expression, when called upon to 
write a state-paper, made him of less use than a common clerk, 
who did, indeed, perform the task to which the nice " Addison 
was unequal. 

By resigning his post, he escaped from the difficulty with 
some loss of reputation, covered in part by a plea of ill health, 
and compensated by a pension of fifteen hundred a year. He 
had now, too, been for a year the husband of the widowed 
Countess of Warwick, a lady who may have had many faults, 
but who has been very unjustly treated by posterity. Addison 
had long known her, had been a sort of Mentor to her son, and 
had gained her hand by power of persuasion and a few sacri- 
fices. She was a very proud woman, doubtless; but she can 
hardly be charged with making the home of Addison unhappy. 
That gentleman himself was far from being a domestic person. 
He did, indeed, employ the opportunities and leisure he enjoyed 
at Holland House in commencing a work on the " Evidences of 
Christianity " which he never finished, and in projecting a trans- 
lation of the Psalms which he never began. But he was still a 
man addicted to the too free use of wine. He reigned supreme 
at " Button's," as Dryden had done at " Will's," and as Aken- 
gide vainly attempted to do at Tom's." But he kept late 

Addison^s last Moments. 


hours at the coffee-house presided over by the Countesses old 
servant^ and it was a long way home from Russell-street to 

With respect to the work commenced and the one projected, 
Tonson remarked, that he always thought that Addison was a 
Priest at heart ! and that he undertook them because he had some 
idea of entering the Church, and some intention of becoming a 
Bishop. Upon this Johnson very well remarks, " that a man 
who had been Secretary of State in the Ministry of Sunderland, 
knew a nearer way to a bishopric, than by defending religion or 
translating the Psalms. 

We will not discuss the merits of Addison^s political papers 
written at this period. When his Works come before the public 
duly edited and annotated, they will be more enjoyed and 
better understood, than they could be here by description, within 
the limited space at our disposal. 

We come then to the last scene, — a scene preceded by much 
suffering, but endured with much patience. Addison had long been 
labouring under a painful difficulty of breathing, which was now 
attended with dropsy. At the last moment, he is said to have 
called to his bed-side the youthful and dissipated Earl of Warwick, 
that he might see how a Christian could die. The story has been 
accepted by Walpole, for no better purpose than that he might 
declare that Addison was tipsy at the time of the incident. But 
not only is this notoriously untrue, but the incident itself has 
doubtless been much exaggerated. The expression would not 
have been creditable to Addison, nor was it in accordance with 
his humility of spirit. During his latter years he had, no doubt, 
grown a wiser and a better man, and his last hours may 
have been made profitable to a young libertine like Lord 
Warwick. The '^^egend,^^ however, will probably stand accepted 
for ever. To our thinking it misrepresents Addison. He had 
been throughout life a worldly man, yet not without thoughts 
that were above the world. He had never let go his hold, if we 
may so speak, of the mantle of God ; and in his declining health 
he clung more tenaciously than ever to that, and to a hope of 
mercy through the merits of the Saviour. The story, however, 
by which he is made to speak of himself as exemplifying the 
Christian in death, gives to him the arrogance of the Egyptian 
soul which, on appearing before the Tribunal of Life and Death, 
commenced its string of self-laudations by the humble assertion 
that it had never committed evil. Addison died on the 17th of 
June, 1719, at what may not be inappropriately called the 
premature age of forty- seven. Whiston fancies he is highly 
eulogistic of his "great friend,^^ when he expresses his admi- 
ration of a Secretary of State who " retained such a great regard 
for the Christian religion, that he began to read the ancient 
Fathers of the first three centuries before he died.^^ Before a 

122 British Costume, Mediaeval and Modern. 

quarter of a century had passed, some of the " household of 
Cresar" were listening to as competent interpreters of good 
tidings as the ancient Fathers ; and the era was coming when 
even Secretaries of State made their duty to Caesar subservient 
to that which they owed to God. 

As a pioneer in this great work, Addison will always obtain a 
full share of the respect of posterity. It was something to drag 
society out of the mire in which it wallowed, and give it a 
position on the raft of morality. He was not altogether alone 
in this work ; but had he been aided by a thousand colleagues, 
the work would have been little profitable, and the raft would 
soon have been wrecked, but for those who went forth upon the 
waters of life in the only vessel that could afford salvation, and 
that could bring the weary to a haven of rest. 

It was Madame de Stael, we think, who said, that if all men 
of superior minds do not exhibit a perfect morality, it is only 
among men of sui)erior minds that perfect morality is to be 
found. The morality at which this good lady hinted could no 
more make men religious, than the daily association of the 
Athenians with all that was refined in art could make them 
pure in soul. The morality which is the only true morality is 
that pointed out by Locke, who says, that " in morality there 
are books enough written both by ancient and modern philoso- 
phers ; but the morality of the Gospel doth so exceed them all, 
that, to give a man a full knowledge of true morality , I shall 
send him to no other book than the New Testament.^' 

Art. V. — 1. Costume in England. By F. W. Fairholt, F.S.A. 
London : Chapman and Hall. ^ 

2. History of British Costume. By J. R. Planche. London : 
Charles Knight. 

3. Dress, as a Fine Art. By Mrs, Merrifield. London : 
Arthur Hall, Virtue, and Co. 1854. 

4 The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours. By 
M. E. Chevreul. London : Longmans. 1854. 

The earliest and most natural display of personal taste is 
in dress ; and it has, therefore, in all ages and among all people, 
received peculiar attention. The demands of necessity and 
propriety are soon met ; the ^' coats of skins of which we 
read in the most ancient history, formed a suitable and sufficient 
covering. But the vanity of fallen human nature would soon 
display itself ; and if the sons of Adam were content with the 
simplicity of the original design, undoubtedly the daughters 
of Eve contrived some ornamental additions. During the 
infancy of nations this vanity has but limited, means for its 

Dress an Index of Character. 


display; but invention is early tasked to produce diversity of 
shape or colour, in order to secure individual pre-eminence_, as 
well as for personal recognition. Required diversity soon 
improves the taste of the designer ; ^nd some varieties^ from 
their appropriateness and beauty, establish themselves as a 
sort of standard; while new forms are continually evolved, 
which, at length, in a highly civilized state of society, elevate 
di'css to the dignity of an art; while the multiform fabrics 
and the multitudinous designs which crowd the market make 
it positively a labour and a difficulty to decide "wherewithal 
we shall be clothed." 

As the highest skill of the artisan has always been pressed 
into this service, the costume of any given period indicates the 
nation^ s position as to wealth, taste, the state of mechanical 
art, and so forth. The style of a button is often as significant 
as the reverse of a coin; and there are chronological tables 
in other than printers^ types :--in fact, between fig-leaves and 
flounces there lies the history of the world. We find, too, that 
phases of national character are reflected in costume. To take 
familiar English examples : the prudish constraint of one 
Court is seen in the severe and jealous dress of Elizabeth; and 
the unbridled licence of another in the voluptuous undress 
of the time of Charles II. The gay silks and rich point-lace 
of the Cavalier, the plain cloth suit of the Roundhead, the 
Dutch fashions introduced by William of Orange, the numerous 
changes resulting from the last war, all illustrate the action 
of political and religious influences upon social life. 

But if dress, when viewed retrospectively, is an index of 
national character, when viewed contemporaneously it is equally 
significant of individual character. We may judge of a man 
otherwise than by reading the lines of his face. His hand- 
writing, his walk, his mode of action, his manners, every thing 
he does, betrays some peculiarity ; and so true is this, that a 
telegraph clerk can tell by the working of the needles, whether 
his respondent two hundred miles away is nervous and unde- 
cided, or prompt and energetic. Character greatly influences 
the toilet, and there finds a natural expression. Some people 
can no more help having finery in their dress than they 
can help a florid style of speech; and there are others, besides 
Quakers, who, by the same sort of necessity, are undeniably 
plain in both. It is not difficult to discern whether prudence 
or extravagance, vanity or modesty, refinement or vulgarity, 
predominate, — whether men and women are precise or negli- 
gent, superficial or thorough, without making their personal 

Dress exerts, too, a powerful influence upon ourselves as 
well as upon observers. Every one has experienced a sense 
of more than discomfort, — of humiliation, when unusually 

124 British Costume , Mediceval and Modern. 

shabby ; and everybody knows how disgraceful the livery 
of the prison is considered by its wearers. Slaves have always 
had a distinctive garb^ which it was death for them to ex- 
change for that of free citizens. The vestments of the Jewish 
Priest, the Bishop's gown, and the Judge's robe, are familiar 
examples of the dignity which appropriate dress confers. It 
would be difficult to say how far the peculiar feeling which* 
attaches to the Sabbath may be attributed to our Sabbath 
clothes, or" how far a gala-day would be shorn of its attractions 
if we could not don a little extra finery. 

Unfortunately, the rules of taste are rudely violated by a 
large proportion of society ; and it is to the correction of some 
of the most egregious and ridiculous of these errors that, with 
the free use of the works before us, we wish to direct attention. 

Many ladies, and a few gentlemen, have an instinctive per- 
ception of what constitutes harmony of colour. It is not a 
problem, a subject of thought with them, but an instinct. 
Incongruity and in appropriateness offend their eye, as a discord 
in music grates upon another's ear. But these are exceptional 
cases. The finery which is often displayed by the fairer 
sex is something quite curious to behold. We see gentianella 
bonnets trimmed with pink, and either a little parterre of 
brilliant flowers within, or perhaps a patch of ribbon on one 
side and black velvet on the other, or even two discordant 
colours, one on either side; — light-blue shawls barred with 
crimson worn over dresses in which maroon is shot with amber, 
and many other extraordinary combinations. Ladies very rarely 
study what colours harmonize with their complexion, or what 
style of pattern is best suited to their figure. One lady who is 
undoubtedly sallow, orders a light blue bonnet, because it looks 
so well on the head of another lady who is fair. And Miss 
who is above the middle height, appears some day in a pretty 
dress, having strongly marked horizontal stripes, which, of 
course, have the efiect of dwarfing her one or two inches ; but 
another Miss who is both short and stout, thoughtlessly buys a 
similar dress, and is not a little startled at the unexpected effect. 

The gentlemen are not a whit better. The colossal figure of 
Mr. A. appears to advantage in a full, wide-sleeved cape, which 
hangs about his person in goodly folds ; whereupon Mr. B., who 
is a pudgy little man, hides himself in a garment that looks much 
like a Chobham tent. Mild-featured individuals look unhappy 
in discordant neck-ties, and insignificant creatures look self- 
complacent in clothes of conspicuous pattern. In fact, there is 
so little congruity between people and the dress they wear, that 
half the town might be going about in hired wardrobes. In- 
doors, and for evening dress, it is customary for ladies to display 
the figure so freely, that it becomes a question not so much of 
taste as of decency ; and if the custom is barely tolerable when 

Dress less an Art than an Artifice. 


assisted by the budding freshness of youth^ it is absolutely 
intolerable afterwards. Ladies who are no longer young, think 
to compensate for the ravages of time ^y a fuller display of their 
I charms, and by brighter-coloured drapery, and more excessive 
ornament, than they would ever have ventured upon in days 
when such indiscretions are easily pardoned. This is a class of 
errors common to both sexes. In this age of shams — of false 
hair, artificial teeth, rouge, padding, and straps — to be honestly 
genuine is to be singular, if not ridiculous ; yet surely to be 
natural and true is consistent and correct. How flatly the grey 
whisker contradicts the curly brown wig above it ! And how 
the eye that has lost its fire mocks the rouge upon the faded 
cheek! We are surely not so blind, that any old woman 
can deceive us with a mouth over-full of brilliant teeth ! This 
sort of patchwork is much like the modern paint and stucco 
upon the lower story of an old house, which draws attention to 
the gaping chinks above, and makes the little, narrow, diamond- 
paned lattice look more antiquated by contrast. No, if youth is 
lovely, age is lovely too, as well as honourable. We gaze with 
pleasure on the countenance full of repose and quiet dignity ; 
the gentle eye speaking benevolence, the sunken but healthy 
cheek, and the snowy hair setting off the pale flesh-tints to 
such advantage. There is grace and dignity here, to which we 
render involuntary homage. But that other thing which is 
more of Art than of Nature, too proud to seem what Time has 
made it, we can neither love, reverence, nor pity. 

Time, however, works other changes than those of material 
decay. The mechanical ingenuity employed with doubtful suc- 
cess in the art of deception, has been more worthily employed 
at the mill; and if the Cleopatras^^ and "Cousin Feenixes^^ of 
society think the history of manufacturing enterprise a subject 
much too vulgar for their notice, they are willing enough to 
participate in the benefit of its results. If it would not fatigue 
them too much to carry their memory back forty or fifty years, 
they would recollect silks at double and treble their present 
price ; velvets, of necessity, an occasional luxm7 ; cotton prints 
at more per yard than would now furnish an entire dress ; and 
laces, considered desirable investments for spare guineas, scraps 
of them hoarded up as rich treasures, only worn at rare intervals, 
and then looking, we are bound to say, undeniably yellow and 
dirty. The poorer classes had small opportunities for display. 
Sally went to place in the carrier's cart, her scanty wardrobe 
contained in a small box, and a smaller bundle. When there, 
she wore all day long a species of frilled night-cap on her head, 
a blue print bed-gown on her back, and list slippers on her feet. 
Hodge, the ploughman, made his choice between a blue tail-coat 
with brass buttons, or a drab one with broad skirts and bountiful 
pockets; and he w'as sorely puzzled in deciding between a 

126 ^British Costume, Mediceval and Modern, 

waistcoat to matcli^ or a double-breasted crimson twill. But 
Sally's niece^ what with Manchester prints^ cheap ribbons, and 
penny lace, is on the whole rather smarter than her mistress; 
while Hodge's son pauses bewildered over broadcloths, doe- 
skins, beavers. Tweeds, mixtures of silk, hair, cotton, shoddy, 
and wool, each in endless varieties of colour, quality, and 
character. The vestings and trouserings are in equal diversity, 
and the inventive genius of the tailor has contrived a dificrent 
style of garment for every variety of cloth. 

Trade of late years would seem to have been completely revo- 
lutionized. Manufacturers have discovered that it is better to 
work for the million at a small profit, than for " the upper ten 
thousand'' at an extravagant one; and they have taxed their 
ingenuity to produce a sightly article at a moderate price. That 
they have succeeded, all must admit ; that their success will be 
yet more complete, few can doubt who have opportunities of 
judging. But something beyond mere material is necessary. 
A fabric may be very beautiful as to texture, but, if of unsuitable 
colour or eccentric pattern, it will be rejected for an inferior 
quality which has been more judiciously treated. Thus care 
on the part of the buyer in his selection, compels equal care in 
every stage of the production ; and the tastes of producer and 
consumer act and re-act upon each other, generally with mutual 
benefit. The improvement that has taken place in our manu- 
facturing designs, especially during the last fifteen years, cannot 
be fully appreciated without an actual comparison with previous 
results ; though no one can have failed to observe how much of 
elegance often characterizes even the inferior productions of the 
present day. Not only is the actual workmanship superior, but 
the patterns are selected with more regard to the proposed uses 
of the material, and are more in accordance with the principles 
of art. Brilliant colom's have given place to subdued and neutral 
tints; variety, to harmony of colour; large and complicated 
designs, to studied simplicity ; so that, instead of attracting atten- 
tion principally to itself, the pattern is now not only subordinate 
to the fabric, but is adapted to display that fabric to the best 
advantage. It would be evidently useless to bring out superior 
designs, if the popular taste were not sufficiently educated to 
appreciate and prefer them. The manufacturer cannot afford to 
be ahead of his age, although he must be abreast of it. The 
question is to him purely one of market value, and the increas- 
ing attention which he devotes to this department is highly 

A¥hether this extraordinary improvement in the public taste 
will continue, depends upon the neutrality or interference of 

fashion ; and fashion depends upon ! Who or what is this 

mysterious power, to whose decrees all yield implicit obedience ? 
Where are the fashions for next season ? and what extremity of 

Old Clothes and New. 


foUy may they not propound ? And yet whoever would break 
away from these trammels must expect to be (juietly dropped by 
his friends; and should he commit the further imprudence of 
venturing on some original and comfortable device^ he may thirds 
himself happy in escaping with a volley of small witticisms_, more 
or less good-natured^ as the case may be. Nevertheless^ a man 
who should indulge in any freak of extravagance^ however 
extraordinary^ might justify himself by precedents of undoubted 
authority. There is no part of our costume^ either male or female, 
that has not already passed from one extreme of absurdity to 
another, and been most admired at its highest point. Coats 
have been w^orn with voluminous skirts dangling about the 
wearer^s heels, and with scanty lapels descending six inches 
below the waist. Coat-sleeves at one time fitted skin-tight ; and 
more than once have been so wide as to sweep the ground. 
Flapped waistcoats, which, in the time of George I., reached 
nearly to the stocking, were soon cut so short as to be 
nearer the arm- pits than the thigh. The close-fitting, tightly- 
strapped trouser contrasts ludicrously enough with the trunk- 
hose of the sixteenth century, stuffed out with five or six pounds 
of bran to such an extent that, as an Harleian manuscript tells 
us, alterations had to be made in the Parliament-House, so as 
to afford additional accommodation for the Members^ seats ! 
The form of the shoe has undergone numberless changes. In 
the time of Henry A^I., it was worn with points two feet long, 
which required to be attached to the knee; while fifty years 
later it was twelve inches broad at the toe, to the great damage 
of the public shins ; and in the following century the shoe seems 
to have been discarded for the pantoufiie, or slipper, which, 
refusing to fit the foot, went flap, flap, up and down, in the 
dirt,^^ in a manner essentially Turkish. The cravat, which, on 
its introduction, was worn unstiffened and so loose that the chin 
was comfortably buried in its folds, has been until lately so stiff 
and tight as to compress the throat within a trifle of strangula- 
tion. The hat once had the appendage of a long tippet, or 

* It is related that a fast man of the time, on rising to conclude a visit of ceremony, 
had the misfortune to damage his nether integuments by a protruding nail in his chair, 
so that, by the time he gained the door, the escape of bran was so rapid as to cause a 
state of complete collapse ! It may have been that similar mishaps caused the substi- 
tution of wool or hair for bran, which afterwards became common. Holme, in his 
" Notes on Dress," says, "A law was made against such as did stuflPe their 'brycbes' 
to make them stand out ; whereas, when a certain prisoner (in these tymes) was accused 
for wearing such breeches contrary to law, he began to excuse himself of the offence, 
and endeavoured by little and little to discharge himself of that which he did weare 
within them : he drew out a pair of sheets, two table-cloaths, ten napkins, four 
shirts, a brush, a glasse, a combe, and nightcaps, with other things of use, saying, 
* Your Lordship may understand that because I have no safer storehouse, these pockets 
do serve me for a roome to lay my goods in ; and though it be a strait prison, yet it 
is a storehouse big enough for them ; for I have many things more yet of value \Ndthin 
them.' And so his discharge was accepted and well laughed at." 


British Costume, Medi(Bval and Modern, 

" liripipe,.^^ varying in width from a mere streamer to a heavy- 
piece of drapery falling down in ample folds, and which either 
trailed on the ground, was tucked into the girdle, or was wrapped 
round the neck. Sometimes the hat has stood up a foot above 
the crown of the head, and sometimes fitted close to it : it has 
been flat and broad, cocked, steep, and pointed ; plain and party- 
coloured ; simple and elaborate : it has been tasselled, plumed, 
and richly jewelled; triangular, square, oval, and round; — often 
very picturesque, and generally very comfortable, neither of 
which can be predicated of the Parisian canister to which we 
seem indissolubly wedded. As to hirsute appendages, the beard 
was for a long time cherished with the utmost care ; every hair 
was sacred, and the necessary periodical trimming was matter of 
grave consideration. So curious were some in their manage- 
ment, that they had pasteboard cases to put over the beard at 
night, lest it should be rumpled in their sleep ! Referring to the 
barbers, — the artists in hair of that day, — Stubbs says, in his 
"Anatomic of Abuses," 1583: — 

" They have invented such strange fashions of monstrous manners 
of cuttings, trimmings, shavings, and washings, that you would 
wonder to see. They have (for the beard) one manner of cut called 
the French cut, another the Spanish cut ; one the Dutch cut, another 
the Italian ; one the new cut, another the old ; one the gentleman's 
cut, another the common cut; one cut of the Court, another of 
the country ; with infinite the like vanities, which I overpasse. They 
have also other kinds of cuts innumerable ; and therefore, when you 
come to be trimmed, they will ask you whether you will be cut 
to look terrible to your enemy,* or amicable to your friend ; grim 
and stern in coimtenance, or pleasant and demure ; for they have 
divers kinds of cuts for all these purposes, or else they lie." 

From this class of vanities we are happily free, the razor 
having made a clean sweep of the whole. The moustache only 

* The barbers flourished in spite of Stubbs's abuse; for a song, dated 1610, says : — 

" Now of beards there be 
Such a companie. 

Of fashions such a throng. 
That it is very hard 
To treat of the beard, 

Though it be ne'er so long. 

" The soldier's beard 
Doth match in this herd 

In figure like a spade, 
With which he will make 
His enemies quake. 

To think their grave is made. 

" The stiletto beard— 
O, it makes me afeared ! 

It is so sharp beneath ; 
For he that doth place 
A dagger in his face, 

"What wears he in his sheath ? " 

Mediceval Barber-ism. 


existed on sufferance_, and never seems to have flourislicd 
luxiu'iantly since the time of the ancient Britons, whom 
Strabo describes as having immense tangled moustachios, 
hanging down upon their breasts like wings. In the twelfth 
century men wore their hair in long ringlets,, reaching down 
to the waist, — a fashion which came under the ecclesiastical ban. 
We read that a certain Bishop preached at Court with such 
eloquence on the sinfulness of the practice, that his hearers 
were affected to tears, when the wily Prelate, perceiving his 
advantage, whipped out a pair of scissors from his sleeve, and 
cropped the penitent congregation. Fashion, however, was 
too strong even for the Bishops, and long hair grew still 
longer. Thirty years later a young soldier dreamed that one 
of the enemy strangled him with his own locks, — a project 
so very feasible that he at once reduced them to a safe length. 
The hint was taken by the army, and the alteration was 
gradually made by all ranks. Tlie beaux of a later day made 
free use of curling-irons and gay ribbons; and, in Henry the 
Seventh^ s time, enclosed their hair in a gold net or caul, 
according to the custom of the ladies of the period ; and for 
the better display of this ornament, the plumed cap, instead 
of being in its accustomed place, was slung behind the back, — 
an idea to which the ladies of our own time are evidently 

These are not the only examples of effeminacy which have, 
from time to time, disgraced the exquisites of the sterner sex. 
They have carried pocket-mirrors to reflect their own vanity, 
and pocket-combs with which to dress their periwigs at the 
play. They have worn stays to give an unnatural slimness to 
the waist, and adopted a peculiarly feminine expedient to fill 
out the cloth skirts beneath it. They have displayed ear-rings 
in their ears, brooches in their bosoms, and feathers on 
their heads. Gay knights have hidden their steel armour 
under silk mantles, and trusty squires have exceeded their 
dames in a weakness for embroidery. 

On all such vagaries we now look with a smile of complacency, 
which says plainly, " How much superior are we to our fore- 
fathers We laugh at a fop of Henry the Sixth^s time, with 
his pointed shoes full two feet long; his embroidered doublet 
with sleeves nearly a yard wide ; and on his head an irregularly 
shaped hat, from the crown of which depends a train reaching 
to his heels. But have we really made such progress in the art 
of dress, that an exquisite of the nineteenth century can afford 
to laugh at him of the fifteenth? Is his costume more classical, 
more commodious, more graceful ? Let us sketch it as it was 
a year or two since. Head — surmounted by a covering in shape 
like a garden-pot, as tall, and, if not quite so heavy, yet almost 
as hard, having a brim too narrow to shade the eyes effectually, 



British Cosiume, Mediaeval and Modern. 

and leaving the rest of the face unprotected ; coloured black to 
a})sorb the sun^s rays ; mi ventilated ; and ingeniously contrived 
that it must either fit so tightly as to endow its wearer with a 
chronic headache, or so easily as to occasion him cheerful exer- 
cise in gusty weather. Neck — immoveably fixed in a deep, stiff, 
circular collar, above which a helpless-looking countenance smiles 
feebly, as though striving, but failing, to express satisfaction 
with the arrangement. Chest — exposed to all weathers by an 
open vest, which is generally of some wild and impracticable 
design. Back — and the back only — covered by a coat of such 
scanty proportions as to be a very slight protection, and of a 
hard, angular outline. The remainder of his person is enclosed 
in pantaloons, sometimes of outlandish material, and often 
displaying a pattern of such startling magnitude, that one leg 
reveals but two-thirds of it, and the imagination, or the other 
leg, supplies the rest. Feet — imprisoned in tight boots of most 
unnatural shape, but which arc regarded with greater satisfac- 
tion than any other part of the costume. It is quite possible 
that the ancient representative of our Bond-street dandy was 
the greater fool of the two; but in the matter of dress the 
evidence against him is not overwhelming. 

As to the ladies, it is an open question whether they have 
been the leaders or the led, in the various absurdities which 
have marked the history of British costume. The truth seems 
to be, that there has been a sort of rivalry between the sexes ; 
any new folly on the one side being quickly surpassed by the 
ready ingenuity of the other. The men, being less favoured by 
Nature, may perhaps be excused for having anxious recourse to 
Art ; but the ladies — we should be the last to enter any similar 
plea in favour of their extravagances ; and therefore leave them 
without excuse, though they seem greatly to need it. At one 
time we find them adding eighteen inches to the height of their 
head-dress ; at another, four or five inches to the heel of their 
shoe ; and at a third, not inches merely, but feet, to the circum- 
ference of their waist. ^ A volume might be written on their 
elaborate head-dresses. Stubbs describes their hair as curled, 
frisled, and crisped, laid out in wreathes and borders, from one 
ear to another. And, lest it should fall down, it is under- 
propped with forks, wires, and I cannot tell what, rather like 
grim, stern monsters, than chaste Christian matrons. At their 
haire, thus wreathed and crested, are hanged bugles, ouches, 
rings, gold, silver, glasses, and such other childish gewgawes.^' 
Nearly two centuries later we find that the evil has increased, 

* Soon after fardingales came into vogue, Lady Wych, the wife of our Ambassador at 
Constantinople, liad a private audience of the Sidtana, during which the latter inquired, 
with evident concern, if all Englishwomen were afflicted with a similar enlargement of 
the h\])s—Plaiic/ie, p. 280. 

Heads of the People. 


and heads look up two feet higher, at the very least. These 
structures of .natural and artificial hair were built round a 
centre of wool or tow ; and, being well plastered with flour and 
pomatum, and fastened tightly with pins and ties into curious 
shapes, varying with the taste and skill of the operator, were 
ready to receive plumes of feathers, chains of pearls, or beads. 
"Bunches of flowers were also stuck about the head, sur- 
mounted with large butterflies, caterpillars, &c., in blown glass, 
as well as models, in the same brittle material, of coaches and 
horses, and other absurdities.^^ ^ This fashion had its draw- 
backs. Such complicated designs were not to be hastily de- 
stroyed; and accordingly we read of grey powder being freely 
used to hide the accumulation of dust, and of poisonous com- 
pounds which were found useful in keeping down the insect 
population. A hairdresser is represented on the stage as 
asking a lady, how long it is since her head had been " opened 
and repaired.^^ She answers, "Not above nine weeks to 
which he replies, " That is as long as a head can well go in 
summer ; and therefore it is proper to deliver it now, as it begins 
to be a little hazarde'' Cleanliness was in no better repute 
than godliness in those days ! 

Of course the hats to cover these towers were on a propor- 
tionate scale. To our irreverent imagination, one of them looks 
like a clothes-basket inverted ; another not only retains the 
basket shape, but mounts a sort of terra-eotta chimney-pot 
above it ; a third is neither more nor less than a very elegant 
pair of stays, decorated with flowers and lace ; while a fourth is 
on the same principle as the hood of a carriage, and can be put 
up or let down at pleasure. The ladies have always been careful 
in adorning the outside of the head ; but in these cases pictorial 
representations can alone do justice to their taste. 

The immense ruff of Elizabeths time is keenly satirized by 
Stubbs ; also, — 

" The devil's hquor, I mean starche, with which they strengthen 
these pillars of pride." And " beyond all this they have a further 
fetche, nothyng inferior to the rest, as, namely, three or four degrees 
of minor ruffes placed gradatim one beneath another, and all under 
the maister devil ruf^e ! each of them every Avay pleated and crested 
full curiously, God wot. Then last of all, they are either clogged 
with gold, silver, or silk lace of stately price, wrought all over with 
needle-worke, speckeled and sparkeled here and there with the sunne, 
moone, and starres, and many other antiques strange to behold." 

Then our belles have rejoiced in sleeves so wide as to require 
tying up in knots to prevent their trailing on the ground, and so 
rigid as to stand up on the shoulder like enormous epaulettes ; 
so long as to fall over the hand, and so short as to be a mere 
loop over the shoulder ; in long-waisted dresses, short- waisted 

* Fairholt, p. 392. 
K 2 


British Costume J Mediaeval and Modern. 

dresses, and waistless dresses or sacques; in skirts limp and 
straight, stiff and baggy ; in the wheel fardingale, and the still 
more monstrous hoop petticoat ; in aprons that covered the feet, 
and in aprons that might have better served for babies' bibs ; in 
scarlet stockings; in red-heeled, green-heeled, and lace-covered 
shoes; in heel -less shoes, and shoes with nine-inch heels ;'^ in 
knitted hoods, in beaver hats, and in chip bonnets : and if 
they have appeared at all times irresistible, they have also 
displayed their consciousness of it, and manifested a wayward- 
ness and love of change most trying to the paternal and marital 
purse. Their ornaments have been as immerous as fleeting. 
A writer in the year 1631 thus catalogues the apparatus of a 
fashionable lady of his time : — 

" Chains, coronets, pendans, bracelets, and ear-rings ; 
Pins, girdles, spangles, embroyderies, and rings ; 
Shadowes, rebatoes, ribbons, ruffs, cuffs, falls, 
Scarfes, feathers, fans, maskes, muffs, laces, cauls, 
Thin tiffanies, cobweb lawn, and fardingals, 
Sweet fals, vayles, wimples, glasses, crisping- pins, 
Pots of ointment, combes, with poking-sticks and bodkines, 
Coyfes, gorgets, fringes, rowles, fillets, and hair-laces, 
Silks, damasks, velvets, tinsels, cloth of gold, 
Of tissues with colours of a hundred fold. 
But in her tyres so new-fangled is she. 
That which doth with her humour now agree, 
To-morrow she dislikes." 
No wonder that another writer should pettishly declare, that " a 
ship is sooner rigged by far than a gentlewoman made ready ! " 
This charge of extravagant display is, we are sorry to see, of still 
longer standing. Even so far back as the time of Edward III., 
an old chronicler describes the women as " passing ye men in 
all mannare of arraies and curious clothing.'^ 

It appears, too, that the ^' fast young people have not always 
been of the ruder sex. Stubbs says (1583) : — 

" The women have doublets and jerkins, as the men have, buttoned 
up to the breast, and made with wings, welts, and pinions on the 
shoulder-points, as man's apparel in all respects ; and although this be 
a kind of attire proper only to a man, yet they blush not to wear it." 
Pepys records (June, 1666) : — 

" Walking in the galleries at Whitehall, I find the ladies of honour 
dressed in their riding-garbs, with coats and doublets with deep skirts, 
just for all the world like mine ; and buttoned their doublets up their 
breasts ; with periwigs, and with hats. So that only for a long petti- 
coat dragging under their men's coats, nobody could take them for 
women in any point whatever ; which was an odd sight, and a sight 
that did not please me." 

* This high heel was a tolerably substantial fashion, and maintained a firm footing 
for more than a century. In the introduction of the Venetian "chopine" — a hoUow 
patten, eighteen inches thick — this folly may be said to have attained its height. 

Result of bad Habits. 


Addison complains (1711) that, when riding on horseback, the 
ladies affected male attire; namely, coat, waistcoat, periwig, cra- 
vat, hat, and feather. About this time the practice of snuff-taking 
had become so prevalent among them, that its natural conse- 
quences, pipes and tobacco, seemed likely to follow. This class 
of absurdities is now exploded ; but it is not very long since the 
equilibrium of the fashionable world was evidently disturbed, 
and no one could guess what extraordinary results might happen 
before it was restored. The Bloomer costume was brought over 
as the latest novelty, but it came from the wrong quarter, and 
was accordingly frowned down as a Transatlantic vulgarity.^ 
But, by way of compensation, gentlemen's waistcoats were in 
eager demand for their wives and sisters, together with fancy 
studs, and an adaptation of the shirt-front ; and ladies of 
title arrayed themselves in rough great-coats, ornamented at 
considerable intervals by enormous horn-buttons, such as 
any member of the extinct order of coachmen might have 

Being an eminently ^^r^c^ic^Z people, it is perhaps hardly to 
be expected that we should give ourselves much trouble about 
the graceful or artistic character of our costume, provided it be 
tolerably comfortable, and leave the body at sufficient ease for 
actual service. But although it is quite possible, especially in 
female apparel, to combine the picturesque with the practical, 
yet we have the taste to reject both, and display an ungainly 
style of dress, which at the same time restrains freedom of action. 
It will surely be admitted, that the general outline of the figure 
ought to be preserved; or that, if the natural form is not to be 
displayed, it is at any rate not to be distorted. What shall we 
say, then, of the universal use of stays among women of every 
rank in life, and of tight-lacing as its natural result ? It has no 
better recommendation than that of antiquated custom. Who 
would suppose that a fine lady of to-day would " twitch," because 
fine ladies, from the time of Edward I. downwards, have 
rejoiced in " a gentyll bodie and middel small? " Our reverence 
for the past is not usually so extreme ; and truly such a relic 
of barbarism is strangely out of place in these days of hyper- 
sensibility and delicate refinement. The Chinese custom of crip- 
pling the feet is not more absurd, is not nearly so injurious, and 
is in reality not more inelegant. It may be somewhat mortifying 

* There may be doubts as to the good taste of the Bloomei- dress, but there can be 
none as to its good sense. Long skirts are perpetually in the way. Can any woman 
run in them ? or walk in them without fatigue, especially against a moderate wind ? or 
walk up-stairs without tripping herself up ? or down-stairs without tripping up other 
people, — that is, if they follow closely ? In dry weather these trailing skirts sweep the 
streets, and all that is in them ; and in wet weather are elevated, whether necessarily or 
not, some inches above the ancle, and, in spite of every care, bcmire both the wearer 
herself, and her companions. 


British Costume, Mediaeval and Modern. 

to learn^ wlien at length a slender waist has been acquired, and 
irreparable mischief been done, that even in appearance nothing 
has been gained, but a very great deal lost ; yet it is nevertheless 
true. Nature's proportions are always harmonious ; and when 
that harmony is broken, the effect is displeasing to a correct 
eye. No part of the figure should appear either large or small 
by comparison with the rest : as soon as a waist appears slender, 
it has ceased to be beautiful, because it is disproportionate." 
If young ladies could only be brought to think thus, the evil of 
tight lacing would be very speedily ended, and, ultimately, the 
lesser evil of artificial supports would be ended too. Milliners 
of every degree encourage their use, and not from disinterested 
motives j for we Icam that — 

" It is so much easier to make a closely fitting body suit over a 
tight stay, than it is on the pliant and yielding natural form, in which, 
if one part be drawn a little too tight, or the contrary, the body of the 
dress is thrown out of shape. Supposing, on the other hand, the fit 
to be exact, it is so difiicult to keep such a tight-fitting body in its 
j)lace on the figure without securing its form by whale-bones, that it 
is in vain to exj^ect the stays to become obsolete, until the tight-fitting 
bodice is also given up." — Mrs. Mcrrijleld, p. 100. 

There is another article of dress to which we do not more 
definitely allude, the abolition of which would be so much gain 
to the real elegance of the female figure."^ They are both glaring 
instances of the thoughtlessness or false taste which accepts, as 
a standard of form, any caricature from a Paris magazine, 
although flatly contradicted by common sense and the rudest 
copies of every statue ever modelled. 

Let us hope that, as a means of improving personal appear- 
ance, regular out-door exercise will obtain more attention. It 
would, also, be wise, on many accounts, if a little of the time 
which is now spent on embroidery and other fancy needle-work, 
were devoted to the more homely duties of the kitchen. There 
cannot be better exercise. By developing the muscles of the arms 
and chest, it improves the figure, and at the same time adds to 
the list of " accomplishments " the most valuable of them all. 

Having sought to free the figure from some of the trammels 
which, much to its detriment. Fashion has so capriciously 
imposed, we may briefly refer to the assistance which the face 
may receive from colour judiciously employed : — not carmine 
and pearl-powder, gentle reader, but coloured draperies and 

It is at once seen that, of the three primary colours, red 
and yellow are not of equal intensity, and that blue is very 

* The article in question is generally supposed to be of recent introduction ; but a 
very knowing monk who flourished in the fourteenth century, says of the ladies, " They 
wered such strait clothes that they had long fox-tails sewed within their garments to 
holde them forth." 

Phenomena of Colon?'. 


much less brilliaut than either : also that the secondary colours 
(orange, purple, and green, each composed of two primaries) 
are weaker still; and that the tertiaries and broken colours 
are lowest of all. Thus we have three distinct classes of 
colours, of three degrees of intensity, and the components 
of each class having proportionate relative values. Each 
colour, too, has a variety of tones when mixed with white, or 
of shades when mixed with black. But any given tone will 
appear lighter than it really is, when contrasted with a darker 
shade of the same colour; or darker, when placed beside a 
lighter tone. When two different colours are placed together, 
not only will the light shade appear still lighter by contrast, 
but the hue of each will be considerably modified ; each will 
become tinged with the complementary colour of the other. 
This requires some explanation. If the eye be for some time 
fixed upon one of the primitives, (say red,) there will be seen 
another colour, (green in this case,) formed of the two remain- 
ing colours, and which will be seen for a few moments, even 
after the exciting cause is removed. Thus, after gazing upon 
a bright yellow, violet will be called up, which is composed 
of blue and red ; blue in its turn creates orange, which results 
from a union of red and yellow. The secondary colours are 
not often vivid enough to create an actual spectrum, though 
their influence is still considerable : thus green produces a ten- 
deticy to see red, and therefore red will look more 1 rilliant when 
seen after, or in contact with, green, than with any other 
colour; and so with the rest. These are said to be "comple- 
mentary^^ or "compensating" colours; and in all cases form 
the most brilliant, as they are the most natural, contrasts. 
We quote from M. Chevreul a few examples of the changes 
produced upon each other by two colours in juxtaposition : — 

" Bed and white. — Green, the complementary of red, is added to 
the white. The red appears more brilliant and deeper. 

" Orange and white. — Blue, the complementary of orange, is added 
to the white. The orange appears brighter and deeper. 

" Green and white. — Eed, the complementary of green, is added 
to the white. The green appears brighter and deeper. 

''Blue and white. — Orange, the complementary of blue, is added 
to the white. The blue appears brighter and deeper." 

The changes are greater when black is substituted for 
white : — 

" Bed and Hack. — G-reen, uniting with the black, causes it to 
appear less reddish. The red appears lighter, or less brown, more 

" Orange and hlack.~mMQ uniting with the black, the latter 
appears less rusty, or bluer. The orange appears brighter and 
yellower, or less brown. 

136 British Costume, Mediaeval and Modern. 

" Green and hlaclc. — Eed uniting with the black, the latter appears 
more violet or reddish. The green inclines slightly to yellow. 

" Blue and Black. — Orange unites with the black, and makes it 
appear brighter. (?) The blue is hghter, — greener, perhaps." 

Let us see the effect of analogous colours upon each other. 

"1. Take red, and place it in contact with orange-red, and the for- 
mer will appear purple, and the latter become more yellow. But if we 
put the red in contact with a purple-red, the latter will appear bluer, 
and the former yellower, or orange. So that the same red will appear 
purple in the one case, and orange in the other. 

" 2. Take yellow, and place it beside an orange-yellow : the former 
will appear greenish, and the latter redder. But if we put the yellow 
in contact with a greenish-yellow, the latter will appear greener, and 
the former more orange. So that the same yellow will incline to 
green in the one case, and to orange in the other. 

" 3. Take blue, and put it in contact with a greenish-blue : the first 
will incline to violet, and the second will appear yellower. But put 
the blue beside a violet-blue, and the former will incline to green, 
and the latter will appear redder. So that the same blue will in 
one case appear violet, and in the other greenish. 

" Thus we perceive that the colours which painters term simple or 
primary, — namely, red, yellow, and blue, — pass insensibly, by virtue of 
their juxtaposition, to the state of secondary or compound colours. 
For the same red becomes either purple or orange, according to the 
colour placed beside it ; the same yellow becomes either orange or 
green ; and the same blue, either green or violet." 

It must not be supposed that because yellow and violet look 
well together, therefore any face will look well beside them; 
or that because blue is a cool colour, it will harmonize with 
unimpassioned features. On the contrary, the idea is, that in 
every type of complexion some tint predominates, and with 
this tint the drapery must either contrast or harmonize. M. 
Chevreul instances the two extreme classes, — the light-haired, 
and the dark-haired. In the former, the blue eyes are the only 
parts which form a contrast with the ensemble; the hair, eye- 
brows, and flesh-tints being all of one general hue, so that the 
harmonies of analogy prevail. In the latter, not only do the 
white and red tints of the skin contrast with each other, but 
with the hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyes; so that here the 
harmonies of contrast prevail. Now as orange is the basis of 
the tint of blondes, sky-blue, which is the complementary of 
orange, w4U be found the most suitable colour ; and, for a similar 
reason, yellow and orange-red accord well with dark hair, while 
blue is the most unsuitable colour that can be chosen. But we 
quote further examples, verbatim : — 

" Bose-red cannot be put in contact with the rosiest complexions 
without causing them to lose some of their freshness. It is necessary, 
therefore, to separate the rose from the skin in some manner ; and the 
simplest manner of doing this, without having recourse to coloured 

Bonnets in endless Variety. 


materials, is to edge the draperies with a border of tulle, which 
produces the effect of grey, by the mixture of white threads which 
reflect light, and the interstices which absorb it. A delicate green is 
favourable to all fair complexions which are deficient in rose, and 
which may have more imparted to them without inconvenience. But 
it is not as favourable to complexions that are more red than rosy, 
nor to those that have a tint of orange mixed with brown, because 
the red they add to this tint will be of a brick-red hue. In the 
latter case a dark-green will be less objectionable than a delicate 
green. Violet is one of the least favourable colours to the skin, at 
least when it is not sufficiently deep to whiten it by contrast of tone. 
Blue imparts orange, which is susceptible of allying itself favourably 
to white, and the light flesh-tints of fair complexions, which have 
already a more or less determined tint of this colour. Orange is too 
brilliant to be elegant : it makes fair complexions blue, whitens those 
which have an orange tint, and gives a green hue to those of a yellow 
tint. Drapery of a lustreless ivhite, such as cambric muslin, assorts 
well with a fresh complexion, of which it relieves the rose colour ; but 
it is unsuitable to complexions which have a disagreeable tint, because 
white always exalts all colours. Blach draperies, lowering the tone 
of the colom's with which they are in juxtaposition, whiten the skin ; 
but if the vermilion or rosy parts are to a certain point distant from 
the drapery, it will follow that, although lowered in tone, they appear, 
relatively to the white parts of the skin contiguous to this same 
drapery, redder than if the contiguity to the black did not exist." — 
Chevreul, pp. 274i-277. 

Our author then takes up the bonnet, — a delicate subject, and 
one that requires to be handled with care; but a subject also of 
such consideration that he has very properly " given his whole 
mind to it." And first, of the fair-haired type : — 

"A black bonnet with white feathers, with white, rose, or red 
flowers, suits a fair complexion. A lustreless white bonnet does not 
suit well with fair and rosy complexions. It is otherwise with bonnets 
of gauze, crape, or lace ; they are suitable to all complexions. The 
white bonnet may have flowers, either white, rose, or particularly 
blue. A light blue bonnet is particularly suitable to the light-haired 
type ; it may be ornamented with white flowers, and in many cases 
with yellow and orange flowers, but not with rose or violet flowers. 
A green bonnet is advantageous to fair or rosy complexions. It may 
be trimmed with white flowers, but preferably with rose. A rose^ 
coloured bonnet must not be too close to the skin ; and if it is found 
that the hair does not produce sufiicient separation, the distance 
from the rose-colour may be increased by means of white, or green, 
which is preferable. A wreath of white flowers in the midst of their 
leaves, has a good effect." 

Secondly, of the dark-haired type : — 

" A black bonnet does not contrast so well with the ensemble of the 
type with black hair, as with the other type ; yet it may produce a 
good effect, and receive advantageously accessories of white, red, rose, 
orange, or yellow. A white bonnet gives rise to the same remarks as 

1 38 British Costume, Medieval and Modern. 

those which have been made concerning its use in connexion with 
the blonde type, except that for brunettes it is better to give the 
preference to accessories of red, rose, orange, and also yellow, rather 
than to blue. Bonnets of rose, red, and cerise, are suitable for 
brunettes, when the hair separates as much as possible the bonnet 
from the complexion. White feathers accord well with red; and 
white -flowers with abundance of leaves have a good effect with rose. 
A yellow suits a brunette very well, and receives with advantage 
violet or blue accessories ; the hair must always interfere between the 
complexion and the head-dress. It is the same with bonnets of an 
orange colour more or less broken, such as chamois. Blue trimmings 
are eminently suitable with orange and its shades. Whenever the 
colour of a bonnet does not realize the intended effect, even when the 
complexion is separated from it by large masses of hair, it is advanta- 
geous to place between the latter and the bonnet certain accessories, 
such as ribbons, wreaths, or detached flowers, &c., of a colour 
complementary to that of the bonnet ; the same colour must also be 
placed on the outside of the bonnet." — Pp. 280-282. 

Of course, the remarks here applied to bonnets furnish many 
hints for general application. It is not wise to wear more than 
two decided colours at the same time_, and they must be not 
only harmonious contrasts, but well balanced as to strength or 
intensity; and a "startling effect must be always avoided. 
Broken and semi-neutral shades will be found very effective as a 
sort of ground-work for brighter tints, which should be used 
sparingly, as in nature. The proportion of red and yellow in a 
landscape is very small, the prevalent hues being varieties of 
green, and the neutral tint of hills and distant objects; while 
the cool, calm, ethereal blue bends gratefully over all. Or you 
have the yellow broom and purple heather at your feet, but there 
is little colour elsewhere ; the few trees visible wear sober russet; 
above are the grey rocks with their deep, dark rifts, and beyond, 
in the blue distance, are ^' the everlasting hills,^^ the heavy clouds 
dragging wearily against their summits. It is the same through- 
out the scale ; the brightness of a flower is relieved by a pro- 
portionately large mass of leaf, and that again by the brown soil 
on which it rests ; the bright tinting of the sea-shell is toned off 
to a colourless edge, and is relieved by the sombre hue of 
the outer side; and in the rainbow, — unique in its brilliant 
colouring, — the tints blend into each other so gradually, that it is 
impossible to say where one ends and another begins. Mr. Ruskin 
goes so far as to say, that " colour cannot at once be good and 
gay. All good colour is in some degree pensive, the loveliest is 
melancholy. Without venturing quite so far, we confess to a 
partiality for sober tinting. But to return* Grey has the 
i^eculiarity of looking well in any contrast, giving something of 
brightness to more sombre colours, and subduing the glare of 
those more brilliant. Black and white are considered neutral, 
and, as we have seen, are seriously affected, when brought in 

Beauty of Simplicity. 


contact with other colours. The effect of black drapery is to 
diminish objects^ and of white to enlarge them; so that the 
former ought to be avoided by persons_, especially ladies, of 
diminutive stature, and the latter by those who are specially 
favoured in measures of length and breadth. 

As to ornament, young people especially cannot dress with 
too much simplicity. A pretty face looks best, devoid of orna- 
ment, just as a jewel sparkles brightest in a plain setting; and a 
face that is not pretty will gain nothing from bedizenment, but 
may gain much from a tasteful arrangement of the hair, &c. In 
this question of hair, fashion allows unusual latitude, every one 
being at liberty to employ the style that best becomes her, 
whether curls, braids, or their endless combinations and varieties, 
by which the oval of the face may be assisted, more or less of 
the forehead and cheek displayed, apparent breadth given, or 
height added : — in all this, individual taste has free scope. 
Flowers are appropriate. Sashes have always a graceful effect, 
that is, of course, when the body and skirt are of one colour. 
Jackets are inadmissible on the score of taste, but are favoured 
by considerations of economy. J ewellery is only suitable to the 
middle-aged, and even by them should be worn in moderation ; 
nothing looks worse than an excessive display of rings, chains, 
and baubles. All studs and coloured buttons are inappropriate ; 
these belong exclusively to male attire. The hanging (inner) 
sleeves now so much worn are exceedingly elegant, both in their 
shape and the designs generally worked upon them. Embroidered 
and other white trimmings serve to mark the borders or edges 
of the various parts of the dress, and may be used freely with 
good effect, provided the several portions correspond with each 

Dress ought to be so contrived as to set off the person to the 
best advantage; but in many cases this becomes a secondary 
consideration, and the person mainly serves to set off the dress. 
Some people carry their clothes, and some wear them ; just as 
some men feed at dinner-time, and gentlemen quietly dine. 
Others seem to think that in order to dress well, it is necessary 
to follow closely every change in the fashions ; whereas the best- 
dressed people follow these changes at just sufficient distance to 
escape singularity, and rather object to a faultless perfection" 
in their outfit. A gentleman is as remote from the fop as from 
the sloven ; and a true lady will see that she is neither over, nor 
under, nor tastelessly dressed. Herrick says prettily : — 

" A sweet disorder in the dress 
Kindles in clothes a playfulness. 
A lawn about the shoulder thrown 
Into a fine distraction ; 
An erring lace, which here and there 
Enthrals the crimson stomacher ; 


British Costume, Medmval and Modern. 

A cuff neglectful, and thereby 

Ribbons to flow confusedly ; 

A winning wave, deserving note, 

In the tempestuous petticoat ; 

A careless shoe-string, in whose tie 

I see a wild civility ; 

Do more bewitch me than when art 

Is too precise in every part." 

It is not to be supposed that this is an apology for a slattern ; 
it is merely the poetical way of expressing a preference for 
graceful simplicity over a too rigid perfection. 

Perhaps we owe some apology to the ladies for picking their 
dress to pieces so completely. The alterations we have suggested 
are modifications of the prevailing mode rather than sweeping 
changes : the general design — outline — of modern female cos- 
tume leaves little to be desired. But with regard to matters of 
detail, — appropriateness of colour, pattern, and general ornament, 
— in short, all that is left to individual taste, there is undoubtedly 
much to be learned. There is always some style of dress more 
suitable than any other, and in which a woman appears to the 
best advantage. This style she ought to know, and not for her 
own sake only. Across the Channel they understand these things 
perfectly, and the toilet almost supplies the place of personal 
attractions. What an effect would be produced, if one result of 
the new alliance should be the union of French taste with 
English beauty ! — though, so far as the sterner sex is concerned, 
the effect wovild be perfectly heart-rending, and the words of 
Prior would find a universal echo : — 

" The' adorning thee with so much art 

Is but a barbarous skill : 
'Tis but the poisoning of a dart, 

Too apt before to kill." 

Pending their slaughter, the gentlemen may be dismissed vei^ 
briefly. First of all, if we can discover nothing that is pic- 
tiu'esque, and but little that is graceful, in the present style of 
their costume, we may at least congratulate them on having 
attained perfect ease and comfort in their dress. It is not many 
years since they were emancipated from the miseries of a tight 
fit, when the difficulty of getting a coat on was only equalled by 
the apparent impossibility of ever getting it off again : consider- 
ing, moreover, the straps, and buckles, and lacings, and paddings 
of t riple thickness connected with it, there must have been quite 
as much comfort in a suit of plate armour. But now we see 
every where roomy coats, that Avill button, that display a liberal 
allowance of skirt, that protect the knees and chest as well as 
the back, that are altogether better proportioned, and do not 
describe an impossible waist a few inches under the shoulder ; 
hi short, sensible coats, in sufficient variety of shape and material 

Collars— shall theij ''stand'' or ''fall? 141 

for every possible want. But we protest against the extravagance 
of those fast men who think they cannot have too much of a 
good thing. Hugh Miller relates that a witless tailor of 
Cromarty^ being commissioned to make a coat^ succeeded per- 
fectly well with his task^ until he got to the second sleeve, which 
he stitched to the pocket-hole. Some of the coats that meet our 
eye appear to be of Cromarty manufacture, with the legs of a 
pair of breeches by some mistake stitched in at the arm-holes. 

There is better taste displayed in the style of waistcoatings 
and trouserings ; also in the shape of some of the outer 
garments; the sleeved cape, for instance, which, if ample 
enough, is a great improvement on the ancient Spanish cloak. 
Boots and shoes, too, are made on a much more sensible plan, 
being wider, so that the sole of the foot is firmly supported, 
instead of overhanging at the sides whenever a step is taken ; 
longer, so as to allow more play to the foot ; and stronger, which 
is a double advantage, since it shortens, not only the shoe- 
maker's, but the doctor's, bill. Some people think that a 
slovenly chaussure may pass muster under voluminous skirts or 
a well-fitting trouser : but this is a great mistake. The condi- 
tion of the boot and the glove are quite as important as any 
other part of the equipment — we had almost said, more so ; for 
if these are at all shabby, they reduce every thing else to the 
same level ; while a well-fitting boot will give an air of neatness 
and respectability to a suit that is rather passe. 

As to the collar, notwithstanding its present dimensions, 
which point in the direction of the ruff, it is more seemly 
and more sensible than the " lay-down '' collar, which^ with 
its accompanying strip of black ribbon, was so much in vogue 
a few years since, and is still popular in America : — a most 
unpleasant and unwholesome fashion, which medical men do 
well to denounce. Mr. Wendell Holmes gives the following 
sound professional advice : — 

" Choose for yourself. I know it cuts your ear : 
I know the points will sometimes interfere : 
* * * * 

But, 0, my friend ! my favourite fellow-man ! 
If Nature made you on her modern plan, 
Sooner than wander with your windpipe bare, 
The fruit of Eden ripening in the air. 
With that lean head-stalk, that protruding chin, 
Wear standing collars — were they made of tin! " 

Those who suppose that we would inculcate a love of dress, 
greatly mistake; though we wish to direct attention to a subject 
that is imperfectly studied, and much misunderstood. As a rule, 
every thing is left to the milliner and tailor, and we helplessly 
acquiesce in their decisions. We should like to see more of inde- 
pendent judgment, and less direct imitation. Why should half 


Latin Christianity. 

the world go into livery, because one year blue cloaks are said to 
be in fashion, or scarlet cloaks in another? The same faces 
cannot look well in both. In most other matters we proceed 
upon some principles or rules of action, but in this we are 
guided by mere fancy or caprice. Not one lady in ten who 
enters a draper's shop has previously made up her mind as to 
the colour of the dress she is about to purchase; and is only 
confused by the number and variety displayed : whereas a little 
attention and study would save much valuable time, and, in 
many cases, not a little annoyance. If it is difficult to know 
what colours are most suitable, it is not difficult to learn wliat 
colours are un^mi-ahXc ; which would narrow the question, and 
simplify the process of choice. Dress should be appropriate, 
as regards personal physique; harmonious, as regards its com- 
ponent parts; comfortable, for the sake of health ; and consistent, 
as regards social position. Those who neglect the first three 
rules do less than justice to themselves ; those who neglect 
the last, ofiend other people. If they dress above their station, 
they exert an evil influence upon their equals, and excite the 
contempt of their superiors ; if they dress below their station, 
they presume upon their social position, and transgress the laws 
of good taste and good breeding. 

Art. VI. — I. History of Latin Christianity, including that of 
the Popes, to the Pontificate of Nicholas V. By Henry 
Hart Milman, D.D., Dean of St. PauFs. Three Vols. 
Murray, 1854. 

2. Hippolytus and his Age ; or, The Beginnings and Prospects 
of Christianity. By Christian C. J. Bunsen, D.D., D.C.L., 
D.Ph. Second Edition. Two Vols. London: Longman 
and Co. 1854. 

3. St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome in the earlier Part of 
the third Century. From the newly -discovered Philosophu- 
mena. By Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of West- 
minster, &c. London : Rivingtons. 1853. 

In his Preface to a former work,^ of which the work 
above-mentioned is to be regarded as " a continuation," Dean 
Milman observes, " The history of the Jews (Judaism) was that 
of a nation ; the history of Christianity is that of a religion." 
But the latter of these propositions will vary in its meaning, 
according as, in the use of the terms Christianitif and religion, 
that which is merely nominal in each case is supposed to be 

* "The History of Chi'istianity, from the Birth of Christ to the Abolition of 
Paganism in the Roman Empire." 3 vols. 1840. 

External and Internal History. 


corapreliended or excluded. The history of a Christianity^ or a 
religion, which blandly, or indifferently, permits the sanction 
of its venerable name to every thing that claims the privilege 
of u earing it, — and the history of the Christianity which " has 
no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but ratlier 
reproves them,''^ must, in the nature of the case, differ from each 
other, as widely as do the main subjects to which they respect- 
ively refer. The one is the history of what is often either little 
or nothing more than a name, or simply an external and 
visible system. The other is the history of that which is always 
a reality, an economy essentially spiritual and divine; and which 
may, or may not, according to circumstances, be found in con- 
nexion with what is external and apparent, yet still retains, 
under all possible conditions, an existence and operation of its 
own, independent of all names, and of all systems merely con- 
ventional, and has also a separate, though it may be, in great 
part, an unwritten and undiscoverable history. Undiscoverable 
history, we say; for where are the materials from which this 
deeper history, of that which can alone deserve the name of 
Christianity, may be composed? The antecedent and pre- 
paratory system of ancient Judaism has its history, with ample 
illustrations, in the Scriptures of the Old Testament ; from 
which, especially with the advantage of the lights thrown back 
upon it from various parts of the New Testament, and impart- 
ing a transparency to all its symbols, we may readily inform 
ourselves of its inherent import and original design ; and may 
perceive, also, very much of its internal and spiritual working, 
down to the time of its ceasing to exist as a divinely-perpetuated 
and availing institution. The writers of the New Testament^ 
in like manner, under an authority inherited, by a divine com- 
mission, from the Fathers of the Old,' present us with a history 
of Christianity, down to a date of several years after the ascen- 
sion of its Author, from which the true character, and the 
specific objects of this completed revelation of divine 
" grace and truth,^^ are distinctly ascertainable. But is there 
any " continuation of that history, already existent, or 
hereafter practicable, on which any true disciple of genuine 
Christianity would seriously undertake the responsibility of 
advising any "anxious inquirer^' to place his dependence, as 
being likely to conduct him to a more comprehensive, or more 
exact, acquaintance, either with its intrinsic character as a 
divine religion, or with its legitimate and all-important primary 
results, in the great matter of human salvation ? With refer- 
ence to such continuation, there has been no lack of ingenuity 
or labour. Inquirers of all classes, from all sorts of motives, 
"have considered the days of old, and the years of ancient 
times,'^ and " have accomplished a diligent search.'' All acces- 
sible writings and records, ecclesiastical and pagan, have been 


Latin Christianity. 

thoroughly sifted for whatever might serve to make up a credit- 
able history of the times which witnessed the transition of 
Christianity from its apostolical into its post-apostolical condi- 
tion ; but to very little purpose. On this subject pagan writers 
in general, with few exceptions, observe a silence scarcely less 
marvellous to us, than was, to them, the strange dumbness of 
their silenced oracles. And, what is still more remarkable, 
amongst Christians themselves, the true history of Christianity 
below the date to which it is brought in the New Testament, 
although its ^' effectual working may be fairly regarded as 
having been, at so early a period, very nearly commensurate 
with its nominal diffusion, does not appear to have been made, 
except within narrow limits, and often under circumstances 
exceedingly suspicious, — and under what would appear to have 
been almost a destiny to speedy obli\ion, — the subject of either 
witten record, or very prevalent tradition. 

On this point, however, a very little consideration may suffice 
to establish the conclusion, that there is much less reason for 
regret than what might, under the first impression of our 
surprise and disappointment, appear to be reasonable and 
becoming. And, as in other cases in which apparent loss turns 
out on fair examination, and still more on actual experience, to 
be in reality a positive advantage, this very early and somewhat 
abrupt hiatus in the succession of accredited materials for the 
earlier years of post -Apostolical Church history, so often and so 
gravely lamented, is, in one most important view of the whole 
case, rather a benefit than a calamity; and shows, plainly 
enough, how much more of advantage there may be to us, 
concealed in the negation of the things which we desiderate, 
than there is of wisdom exhibited in our vain utterances of 
regret at their absence. "The means of information, as to the 
character and doings of very early Christianity, are scanty 
enough; so scanty as very naturally to suggest, to those who 
have any thing to gain thereby, no inconsiderable motives to the 
fabrication of all sorts of legends. But what then ? This very 
dearth of authentic record as to the period in question, imposes 
upon us, in the outset of our inquiry, the very merciful and 
admirably protective necessity of learning our Christianity, if 
we would learn it msely and well, from records which not only 
make us, with reference to that object, most happily independent 
of any other sources of instruction that might have appeared to 
be desirable, but which also place us, at once, and without any 
obligation to the task of any very long or difficult inquiry, in a 
clearer light and upon higher ground than we could reasonably 
hope to gain, or even to approach, by any historical records or 
doctrinal " developments,^^ which a more recent but less demon- 
strably authenticated Christianity might proffer in their stead. 
Nothing more to our advantage, for the purpose of our study- 

Historical Basis of Christianity. 


ing Christianity to good effect, could have been provided for u.s, 
than that we should thus be, as it were, shut up to the para- 
mount excellence, as well as to the supreme authority, of the 
unambiguous and infallible " oracles of God/' 

There is another aspect of this matter, to which the following 
remarks of M. Bunsen are, in part, (as indicated by Italics) 
eminently pertinent : — 

"Christianity," he says, "is a histori/ and a philosophy. This it 
has, to a certain degree, in common with all religions, and, in par- 
ticular, with those founded upon written records. But the peculiarity 
of Christianity is, that it alone possesses a true historical basis, whose 
character is neither mythical nor doubtful, but at once spotless and 
universal ; and a true philosophical basis, the principles of which are 
identical with the intuitions of reason and conscience, to which they 
perpetually appeal, above all constitutional or ritual authorities or 
usages. The historical basis of Christianity is the life of Christ and 
the teaching of His Apostles, as contained in Scripture^ — Hippolytus 
and his Age, vol. i., p. 303. 

This being admitted, not only is it essential to the divine 
character and stability of Cliristianity, that its basal history, 
^' as contained in Scripture," should be, as it is, so strictly true 
to fact as to involve nothing in the least degree mythical or 
doubtful. It is, farther, almost equally important, for the 
purpose of its being entirely free from the taint, or even the 
suspicion, of those imperfections, that such history should by 
some means, in the peculiarity of its intrinsic character and in 
the pre-eminence of its position, stand off distinctly apart from 
all other histories whatever. In short, to exhibit its full use and 
value as a " basis'^ for a fabric so important as that of Chris- 
tianity, it was required that it should be so unmistakably 
isolated in its character, as to be incapable of being confounded 
with any history out of itself; and, at the same time, so clearly 
definite in its outline, that, throughout all time, it should be 
incapable of suffering any addition on one hand, or any abate- 
ment on the other, which might not, on a fair inspection of the 
original basis, be readily discovered. 

The very simple and safe criterion established for that purpose 
is that of divine inspiration. The history of Christianity, as 
contained in Scripture, having been written under that sanction, 
is sacred history; while other histories of it, usually called 
" ecclesiastical," stand in the lower position of something inter- 
mediate between that which is sacred and that which is known 
by the somewhat uncourteous epithet of " pagan " or " profane." 
On one hand, from the similarity of their subject, they claim 
affinity to the former ; but, on the other hand, the imperfections 
and errors which are almost inevitably incidental to them, stamp 
upon them a resemblance to the latter, immeasurably nearer 



Latin Christianity. 

than tliat wliicli tliey bear to tlie former. The descent, even as 
to style and spirit^ which has been so often noted, in the compo- 
sitions of the earliest and most esteemed of the " Fathers/' as 
compared with those of their immediate predecessors, the writers of 
the New Testament, is sufiiciently remarkable to strike the atten- 
tion of the most heedless observer. The lan^iage is immediately, 
and even painfully, felt to be no longer that of a divine oracle, — 
" vox hominem sonat.^^ And he who wants a sure historical basis 
for his Christianity, must, for that purpose, go back beyond the 
" Fathers," to that foundation of the Apostles and Prophets," 
of which "Jesus Christ Himself," not any "Vicar," either in 
heaven or on eartli, is " the chief Corner-stone." The rather, 
because the descent, in point of credibility, from the Apostles 
and Evangelists of the New Testament, to other writers after 
them, is, in many cases, almost equally remarkable and monitory. 
In particular, like the profane histories, to which we have already 
stated them to bear, in some respects, so near a resemblance, 
the early annals of ecclesiastical history, in the form in which 
they have come down to us, abound in fables and legends, 
invented some centuries later than the periods to which they 
refer. And thus, though perhaps unintentionally on the part of 
the original authors or more recent inventors, we are intelligibly, 
though not expressly, warned, that, on leaving the divine record, 
we no longer w alk on sacred, nor even on safe, ground. Dean 
Milman accordingly remarks, on his arriving at the date (a.d. 53) 
at which the Scripture history of St. Paul so suddenly breaks 
off, "We pass, at once, from the firm and solid ground of 
authentic and credible history upon the quacking and insecure 
footing of legendary tradition." 

We have only to remember this diidnely settled ne plus ultra 
as to the historical basis of our faith, and we are at once put 
upon our guard against the various additions, w^hich, under the 
several forms of monasticism, papal supremacy, the power of 
absolution, indulgence by purchase or penance, and other 
innovations, have been, not built upon, but attempted to be 
laid beside, the scriptural basis of our holy religion, as being of 
equal authority vdth Scripture itself, and therefore an essential 
part of the entire foundation. There is an awkwardness in even 
seeming to supplement that which is divine, by human additions ; 
and therefore the figure is changed, the facts remaining precisely 
the same. These neiv things — new, as not being " contained in 
Holy Scripture," and, some of them, not even in the earliest 
Christian history to be found after the latest date of the New 
Testament — are not "additions," but "developments," for- 
sooth, of the embryo, or at the best youthful, Christianity (as it 
is assumed to be) of our Saviour and His Apostles. Tertullian 
well earned the distinction he enjoys in Latin Christianity for 
the large service which his notion of development enabled him 

Developments of Christianity. 


to render^ in support of some of its nascent corruptions."^ And 
Dr. Newman will, doubtless, hereafter share the triumph and 
partake the gale/^ for having so well followed in his train. The 
Protestantism which he has repudiated, may hear, without 
any alarming emotion, that, in his judgment, t it " is not the 
Christianity of history;" whether by "history'' he means the 
post-Tridentine, the mediseval, or the ante-Nicene records of the 
Church, after the close of the scriptural canon. At that point 
its "historical basis is in a position of severance from all 
succeeding history. It refuses, therefore, and, to be consistent 
with itself, must needs refuse, to be tested, absolutely, by even 
the earliest of the three. It will not, as Dr. Newman assumes, 
" dispense with historical Christianity altogether.''' But neither 
will it consider history witten under a divine inspiration, as 
being merely on a level with history not so authenticated. 
Moreover, independently of this indestructible distinction, be- 
tween that which is sacred and that which is not, there is the 
fact, stated by Dean Milman, that, at the best, — 

"Early Christianity cannot be justly estimated from its writers. 
The Greeks were mostly trained in the schools of philosophy, the 
Latins in the schools of rhetoric ; and polemic treatises could not but 
form a great part of the earliest Christian literature," — Latin Christi- 
anity^ vol. i., p. 58. 

M. Bunsen also holds the idea of a gradual "development 
of Christian doctrine," and so regards it as a part of " the great 
miracle of the last fifteen hundred years, that the fundamental 
records and ideas of Christianity have been saved and, although 
very imperfectly, developed and preserved for future develop- 
ment in the whole of Christendom, as it exists at present, in 
the East and in the West." We are not prepared to agree with 
him entirely in all the views which he expresses on this 
subject. But at present, with particular reference to Latin 
Christianity, we shall only say, that he differs from Dr. Newman 
and from the Romanists in general, on the important question 
of the locus of the developing authority. This authority Dr. 
Newman supposes to be vested in the infallibility of the 
Church in continuance. J M. Bunsen places it in "the uni- 
versal conscience," which he assumes to be " God's highest 
interpreter." Only, he will have it distinctly understood, that 
" the Divine Spirit is infused into the universality of the human 
conscience, which," says he, " is identical with the God-fearing 
and God-loving reason, and answers, in those sublime regions, 
to what, in things connected with the visible world, is called 
' common sense.' "§ And, further, against the pretensions of all 

* Be Virffifiibus Velandis, cap. i. 

t "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," pp. 5, 6. 
X Ibid., chap, ii., sect. 2. 

§ "Hippolytus and his Age," vol. i., pp. 409, 410. 

L 2 


Latin Christianity. 

ecclesiastical formularies to be rules of faith, he limits his assent 
to the condition of their clear concordance, not only with 
Scripture^ but also the earlier Fathers and Decrees/^ 

In histories bordering? on early antiquity, a scarcity of facts 
is usually compensated by a commensurate abundance of legend 
and fiction. And that the general history of early Christianity 
is not wholly an exception to that practice, is a fact familiarly 
known, though often tardily admitted. Dean Milman, however, 
puts in a demurrer in favour of Home, when he says, " that 
the mythic or imaginative spirit of early Christianity has either 
respected, or was not tempted to indulge its creative faculty 
by the primitive annals of Rome." This statement takes us 
somewliat by surprise, as we have always held to the general 
persuasion, that, to do justice to herself, the Church of Home 
should add to the other illustrations, in which she glories, 
of the analogy subsisting between the ancient Pagan and the 
modern Papal city, that the early history of both is somewhat 
fabulous and legendary. Our surprise, however, at the Dean's 
compliment to Home, on the score of her freedom at the outset 
from a mythical and imaginative spirit, is turned into amuse- 
ment, Avhen we perceive that, after all, it is simply a compliment 
paid to her gravity, or to her wit, at the expense of her honesty. 
For, in the very same paragraph, — to say nothing of " the embel- 
lishment, if not the invention, of St Peter^s Pontificate, his con- 
flict with Simon Magus in the presence of the Emperor, and the 
circumstance of his martyrdom," of which the Dean would 
appear to make small account, — we read of "spurious decrees 
and epistles inscribed, centuries later, with their names," and of 
" martyrdoms ascribed with the same lavish reverence to those 
who lived under the mildest of Emperors, as well as those 
(who lived) under the most merciless persecutors." We 
read, also, on the very same page, of the " worthlessness of 
the traditions " on which a certain " list of Popes " was 
composed, and of the weakness, or rather the utter destruc- 
tion, of the authority of "all the old Roman martyr- 
ologies." t 

The Dean yet farther makes it appear that if the Church of 
Rome was ever, in her earlier history, iimocent of imagination 
and myth, yet by the time that Latin Christianity was begin- 
ning to assume a separate and independent condition, she had 
either caught that soft infection, or had greatly improved in her 
art of lying invention. For, with reference to that time, he 
observes : — 

" Sylvester (Pope, a.d. 314) has become a kind of hero of religious 
fable. But it was not so much the genuine mythic spirit which 
unconsciously transmutes history into legend ; it was rather dehberate 

* "Hippolytus and his Age," vol. i., p. 412. 
f " Latin Christianity," vol. i., pp. 22, 23. 

Attempt at an impossible Basis. 


invention, with a specific aim and design, which, in direct defiance 
of history, accelerated the baptism of Constantine, and sanctified a 
porphyry vessel as appropriated to, or connected with, that holy use ; 
and, at a later period, produced the monstrous fable of the Dona- 
tion, — a forgery as clumsy as audacious." — Latin Christianity, 
vol. L, pp. 56, 57. 

And if she was slow in contracting what the Dean would 
consider the comparatively venial fault of mythical invention, she 
acquired it most thoroughly at last. For, as he says, "at the 
height of the Middle Ages, Christian mythology w^as as much 
a part of Latin Christianity as the primal truths of the 
Gospel.^^"^ Observant of these blemishes in the post- Apostolicj; 1 
histories of Christianity, but not equally observant, or less reve- 
rent, of the higher character and claims of the earlier and sacred 
history of the New Testament, or ignoring those claims 
altogether, and confounding all distinctions between "the pre- 
cious and the vile,^^ writers of the class now represented by the 
school of Tiibingen have attributed to that history, also, a 
character so largely mythical and legendary, as to leave to Chris- 
tianity no better "historical basis than that of a fable or a 
dream, or what Dean Milman calls " a historical impossibility.^^ 

We wish them joy of the conclusion upon which their rea- 
soning has landed them, and proceed to remark that such 
histories as we have of times subsequent to those of the Apostles, 
so far as they are to be trusted, possess the value which is 
common to all true history, enhanced by the peculiar interest 
which necessarily attaches to them from their intimate relation 
to the sublime and sacred subject which equally underlies 
them all ; although, since " Christianity has more faithfully 
recorded her dissensions than her conquests,^^ it may not often, 
in its genuine character, display itself upon the surface. A 
" Universal History " of Christianity, however, even though 
limited to the most notorious of its external manifestations, 
is, like a universal or very comprehensive secular history, 
a work of which the various parts cannot, without a damaging 
compression and confusion, be made to go abreast, or pari 
passu, even in a tabulated form, to any considerable distance. 
Hence, most ecclesiastical writers, soon after passing from 
the Scriptural records to the literary and documentary remains 
of later ages, find themselves compelled to parcel out their 
work into " divisions and " chapters on distinct subjects, 
often so numerous as to render the observance of historical 
continuity, at least in the minds of their readers, a task 
even more difficult tban that which Julius C?esar is said to 
have been in the habit of accomplishing, — the task of reading, 
writing, and dictating, at one and the same time, — or, at the 

* " Latin Christianity," vol. i., p. 4Gfi. 


Latin Christianity. 

leasts as tedious as that of plaiting, by hand, a great number 
of cords into one uniform thread. Otherwise, they contract their 
scope, and select some portion of the general subject for sepa- 
rate and — saving a moderate amount of occasional indulgence 
in digression and episode — continuous consideration. And so 
Dean Milman, after having woven, out of innumerable details, 
a history of Christianity at large, to the extent of four 
centuries, finds it convenient, for the present, to restrict himself 
to such matters as belong, directly or indirectly, to Latin 
Christianity. It will, no doubt, be generally satisfactory, that 
he has thus facilitated, to himself, and still more to his readers, 
Avho are even more concerned than himself to consider quid 
valeant humeri, quid ferre recusent,^' the task of mastering the 
leading points in the religious liistory of the Middle Ages. 
For, as he justly observes, " the great event in the history 
of our religion and of mankind, during many centuries,^^ (after 
the concluding date of the last of his three preceding volumes,) 
" is the development and domination of Latin Christianity." 

In this division of the general subject of Christianity into 
Greek, and Latin, and — as he now proposes — Teutonic Chris- 
tianity, the appellation of Catholic," as expressive of what 
belongs to an all-comprehending and visible Unity of " all who 
profess and call themselves Christians," is very quietly, but for 
that reason most emphatically, ignored. The Christianity of 
which " the Roman Pontificate is the centre," — would the Dean 
only adhere, as surely he might have done, to the terms of his own 
choice, — is no longer, with the implied consent or connivance 
of general Christendom, to flaunt in the arrogant and false 
distinction which it has assumed, as though it were Catholic 
Christianity. It is to be simply "Latin," from its well-known 
historical connexion with that language ; just as the Christianity, 
of which Constantinople was so long the reputed centre, and 
the Christianity, which at so early a period found a home 
amidst the wilderness of nations and tribes northward of Italy, 
have received the names of Greek and Teutonic Christianity, 
from the language which in each of these two cases, respectively, 
was sanctified by Christianity, as the depository of its holy 
mysteries, and the channel of its heavenly teaching. There is, 
indeed, a Catholic or Universal Church, and therefore a Uni- 
versal Christianity. But to assert that the Unity implied in the 
conjunction of these terms is, and must be, a visible Unity, is, 
in a word, to give the lie to all Church history, both Greek and 
Latin, from a date almost immediately sequent on the Apostolic 
age. And neither Greek, nor Latin, nor Teutonic Christianity, 
nor all of them together, can be Catholic Christianity, any more 
than a part of any thing can be equal to the whole. It thus 
appears that the palmary argument for one visible ecclesiastical 
head of Christianity as the Body of Christ on earth, resting, as 

Early Christianity Greek. 


it does^ upon the assumption of an actually visible Unity — which 
3^et, excepting for a very short period after the rise of Cliris- 
tianity, never has been seen ! — turns out to be a mere imagina- 
tion^ or^ rather_, an invention^ to serve the mere purpose of 
bolstering up a system, which cannot stand without it, but 
which, in the judgment of its interested votaries, despite of 
the facts of uncontested history, and all the power of arguments 
unanswered, must at all hazards be maintained. 

With respect to Dean Milman^s limitation of his subject, it 
should also be borne in mind, that (according to an intimation 
given in what may now be called his Introduction to the present 
work) while, in writing the History of Christianity, it is not his 
intention to decline altogether the examination of religious 
doctrines, with their development and variations, his " leading 
object is, to trace the ejfect of Christianity on the individual and 
social happiness of man ; its influence on the laws and institu- 
tions, the opinions, the manners, and even the arts and lite- 
rature of the Christian world;" and, with a view to this object, 
to write " as a historian, rather than as a religious instructor." 
He has chosen this particular course, the rather because he is 
of opinion that ^'^ nothing acts so extensively, even though 
perhaps indirectly, on the formation of religious opinions, and 
on the speculative and practical belief or rejection of Chris- 
tianity, as the notions that we entertain of its influence on the 
history of man, and its relation to human happiness and social 
improvement;" and because, moreover, he believes that, in so 
doing, he " enters upon ground not pre-occupied by any writer 
of established authority, at least in this country."^ He has 
thus adopted an intelligible rule in the selection and treatment 
of his topics, which will serve equally to explain his omission of 
some things usually to be found in works on ecclesiastical 
history, and his insertion of others, of which there is elsewhere, 
in connexion with that subject, little or no mention. And it is 
this peculiarity of the object aimed at by the Dean, throughout 
the entire vfork, and the new abridgment of his scope to the 
particular field of Latin Christianity, which constitute, in con-- 
j unction, the distinctive character of the three volumes of his 
History now more immediately before us. 

So long as Christianity, on its expansion from Judea and the 
countries immediately round it into the Heathenism beyond 
them, could be considered to be Catholic, in the sense of its 
possessing something like a visible unity, and for many years 
afterwards, that is, for a considerable part of the first three 
centuries, the Dean very clearly shows it to have been scarcely 
at all a Latin, — much less a Eoman, — but, with comparatively 
few exceptions, a Greek, Christianity. 

* "History of Christianity," vol. i., pp. vi., vii., 47-50. 


Latin Christianity. 

" Their language was Greek, their organization Greek, their writers 
Greek, their Scriptures Greek ; and many vestiges and traditions show 
that their ritual, their Liturgy, was Greek. Through Greek the com- 
munication of the Churches of Rome and the West was constantly 
kept up with the East ; and through Greek every heresiarch propa- 
gated his peculiar doctrines. The Greek Old Testament was read in 
the synagogues of the foreign Jews. The Churches, formed sometimes 
on the foundation, to a certain extent on the model, of the synagogues, 
would adhere, for some time, no doubt, to their language. The 
Gospels and the Apostolic writings, so soon as they became part of the 
public worship, would be read, as the Septuagint was, in their original 
tongue. All the Christian extant writings, which appeared in Ilome 
and in the West, are Greek, or were originally Greek ; the Epistles 
of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Clementine Recognitions 
and Homilies, the Works of Justin Martyr, down to Caius and Hip- 
polytus, the author of the ' Refutation of all Heresies.' The Octavius of 
Minucius Felix, and the Treatise of Novatian on the Trinity, are the 
earliest known works of Latin Christianity which came from Rome. 
In Gaul, the first Christians were settled chiefly in the Greek cities, 
wliich owned Marseilles as their parent, and retained the use of Greek 
as their vernacular tongue. Irena^us wrote in Greek ; the account of 
the martyrs of Lyons and Vienna is in Greek. Vestiges of the old 
Greek ritual long survived, not only in Rome, but also in some of the 
Gallic Churches. The Kyrie eleison still lingers in the Latin service." 
— Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 27-29. 

It is not easy — rather, it is impossible — to determine, with 
any thing approaching to absolute exactness, the period at which 
that wliich had previously been wholly Greek, or very nearly so, 
began to exhibit, in the Western Churches of Africa and Europe, 
its new phase, as Latin (not, even yet, Roman) Christianity. 
The Dean observes, that " in Africa Latin Christianity began to 
take its proper form in the writings of TertuUian/^"^ But he 
has elsewhere assigned ingenious and fair reasons in favour of 
the conclusion, that, on the whole, the Decian persecution 
(a.d. 250) may be considered as having been its " birth-epoch,^' 
and Cyprian its true parent," about, or soon after, the time 
when Hippolytus, the Bishop of Porto, unconscious of the immi- 
nent or actual change in the name, and position, and language 
of Western Christianity, was writing his "Refutation of all 
Lleresies " in Greek, as being still to a considerable extent, in 
his own neighbourhood at least, the classical or rather the cur- 
rent language, not only of the literati and ecclesiastics, but also 
of the general Christian community, in the Western as well as 
in the Eastern world. It is rather an odd discrepancy, that the 
Dean should afterwards assert, that " Jerome's promulgation of 
the Vulgate Bible was his great and indefeasible title to the 
appellation of ' Father of the Latin Church and a discrepancy 
still more strange, that he should elsewhere inform us, totidem 

* " History of Latin Christianity," vol. i., p. 36. 

t Ibid., vol. i.; p. 74. 

Rise of Latin Christianity. 


verbis, that his great and indefeasible title to the appellation of 
" Father of Latin Christianity^^ was the extension of monasticism. 
However the question of paternity in this case may be settlcd_, as 
between Tertullian^ Cyprian^ and Jerome^ it should be remem- 
bered that Carthage^ of which Cyprian was Bishop, with other 
places in Northern Africa, to the west of Cyrenaica, were among 
the exceptions to the general prevalence of the Greek language ; 
and that Latin was the language he employed in writing, as it 
had been employed for the same purpose by Tertullian half a 
century before, though the latter wrote sometimes also in Greek. 

But the time had arrived when what had been the exception, as 
to the language generally used in the Western Churches, should 
become the rule. The sympathy already created between Rome 
and Carthage by commercial intercourse,^ was now heightened, in 
the case of the Christians of both cities, by their profession of a 
common faith, exposing them, as the objects of imperial perse- 
cution, to common sufferings and perils ; and also by the mutual 
interchange of counsel and protection, each of them being, in turn, 
a friendly asylum to refugees from the other. Concurrent with 
these circumstances of reciprocal attraction, there was on both 
sides a growing tendency to the adoption of a common language, 
the Latin being in the course of re-assuming its ascendancy at 
Rome, whilst, at the same time, it was displacing the old Punic 
from Carthage. 

It will, however, be seen that the connexion thus cemented 
between the ecclesiastical authorities of the two cities, implied no 
claim, on either side, to a superior title or a predominant autho- 
rity. The Carthaginian Bishop of that day was not, indeed, when 
indulging the visions of his Utopian theory on the subject of 
Church Unity, unwilling to place St. Peter at the head of the 
college of co-equal Apostles, as being primus inter pares, on the 
condition of its being admitted that the Bishops inherited from 
them co-equal dignity. He would even admit the Bomish 
Bishop to be, in that character, the successor of Peter, not on the 
ground of lineat succession, — though the succession of the Bishop 
of Bome was now, according to Dean Milman, "an accredited 
tradition,'^-]- — but simply in deference to Bome, as being at that 
time the imperial city. But, withal, he would address the said 
Bishop as his colleague, (collega noster,)X and as co-Bishop (co- 
Episcopus)^ with himself and other Bishops, himself being so 
addressed in return. And, should he misbehave himself, as his 
reputed predecessor did sometimes, the gentle " Cyprian con- 

* " The intercourse between Carthage and Rome, on account of the corn-trade alone, 
was probably more regular and rapid, than with any other part of the empire, mutatis 
mutandis, like that between Marseilles and Algeria." — La,tin Christianity, vol. i., p. 47. 

t AYhy a tradition only ? but that, even at that time, there were no written or 
authentic records to establish tbe succession. 

X Cyprian. Epist., pp. 48, 68. § Id., Epist., p. 67- 


Latin Christianity. 

fronts him, not only as an equal, but — strong in the concurrence 
of the East and of Alexandria/' and of a considerable number 
of the European Churches — " as his superior, too /'f much in 
the same spirit, we may presume, as that in which St. Paul 
^' withstood to the face the Bishop's vaunted prototype, 
" because he was to be blamed/' In such cases, — 

" The primacy of Peter has lost its authority. He condemns the 
perverseness, obstinacy, contumacy of Stephen. He promulgates, in 
Latin, a letter of Firmilian, Bishop of the Cappadocian Ca3sarea, still 
more unmeasured in its censures. Firmilian denounces the audacity, 
the insolence, of Stephen ; scoffs at his boasted descent from St. Peter ; 
declares that, by his sin, he has excommunicated himself : he is the 
schismatic, the apostate from the unity of the Church. A solemn 
Council of eighty-seven Bishops, assembled at Carthage, under Cyprian, 
asserted the independent judgment of the African Churches, repudi- 
ated the title of ' Bishop of Bishops,' or the arbitrary dictation of one 
Bishop to Christendom.";}: — History of Latin Christianity ^ vol. i., 
p. 53. 

These statements are sustained, as is well known, by the 
highest historical authority. And the events to which they 
refer were such as, at the time of their occurrence, to shake that 
Christianity of which " the Pontificate of Home was the centre," 
to its very foundation. § In reference to that Pontificate, with 
a gravity so solemn as to be almost ludicrous in this particular 
case. Dr. Wiseman says, "The authority of Peter must have 
been intended to be perpetual in Christianity, because we find 
that, from the earliest ages, all acknowledged it to exist in his 
successors, as their inherent right. Pope Clement examined and 
corrected the abuses of the Church of Corinth ; Victor, those of 
Ephesus; Stephen, those of Africa.^' \\ The facts stated by Dean 
Milman would have been better disposed of long ago, had they 
not been too stubborn for dismissal.^ Baronius himself does not 
question them. He simply says, that Firmilian wrote his letter 

* Routh's Reliq. Sacr., vol. iii., p. 168. 

t " History of Latin Christianity," vol. i., pp. 52, 53. 

% Dupin inserted these words in his History, to buffet the Pope by the hand of 

§ " Tarn magna, tamque potens ac valida fuit fentatio hac in Ecclesid, ut vehdi 
quodam vehementissimo turbine, etsi non prostrata omninb, magnopere certe exagitatce 
et quassatoi fuerint altissinice at que firmissimce Ecclesice turres, quce inconcussce olim tot 
persecutionum impetus pertulissent, et ad se confugientium factce causa salutis essent ; 
tunc enim toto Catholico orhe, subitd ac improvisd quddam tempestate concusso, de 
Ecclesise Africanse ruind potissimum mirum in modum trepidatum est." — Baron. 
Annal., A.D. 258, c. xiv. 

II " Lectures on the principal Doctrines and Practices of the Catholic Church. By 
N. Wiseman, D.D. Second Edition," p. 281. 

If "The attempt made by Raymond Missorius (a.d. 1733) to get rid of the Acts 
of the Carthaginian Council, of aU Cyprian's Letters on the subject of Baptism, and of 
the celebrated Letter of Firmilian to Cyprian, as being a bundle of forgeries, has long ago 
become a subject for ridicule, rather than argument, even with Romanists themselves." — 
Routh, Reliquia Sacra, vol. iii., p. 151. 

Cyprian^ s Estimate of Romish Supremacy » 155 

under an extraordinary excitement, and afterwards recanted ; 
tliat tlie African Bishops, who had taken part with Cyprian in 
the proceedings of the Council above-mentioned, soon afterwards 
adopted conclusions contrary to their former ones ; and that, 
as to Cyprian himself, he either never entertained the opinions 
expressed in the letter under his name, (assumed of course to be 
a forgery,) or that he also recanted, and was reconciled to the 
Romish communion. But for none of these statements, except- 
ing the second, does this historical champion of that communion 
offer historical proof. The recantation of Firmilian is a fancy. 
Of the counter resolutions of the Bishops, something might 
be said, if our time and space permitted us to enter into it. 
But, as to the case of Cyprian, in particular, Augustine (whose 
authority is cited by Baronius with great respect) admits 
expressly, that " it does not appear fnon invenitu7^J that he ever 
corrected his opinion." And accordingly he contents himself 
with arguing, that it is consistent with his character to suppose 
that such correction was made, and that the fact of such cor- 
rection is placed beyond all reasonable doubt, by the perpetuated 
celebration of his birth-day, in the Western as well as in the 
Eastern Churches." ^ 

In farther illustration of the true state of the question of eccle- 
siastical supremacy in the time of Cyprian, it may be observed, 
that although the Churches of those parts of Gaul and Spain, in 
which Latin Christianity was beginning to prevail more exten- 
sively, might have been expected, from their geographical posi- 
tion, to refer their grievances and difficulties to Rome rather 
than to Carthage ; yet from Aries in Transalpine Gaul, and from 
Leon and Astorga in the North of Spain, there were appeals 
made to Cyprian as well as to Stephen, as Bishops holding, each 
in his own province, — not de jure, but ''pro honor e communi et 
simplice dilectione/'f — " a concurre^it primacy.''^ In the case last 
mentioned, the appeal was to Carthage against Rome. And it 
ended in a hint to Stephen of the weakness into which he had 
been drawn, in having allowed himself to be imposed upon by an 
unworthy suitor, and in an exhortation to the Spaniards, on the 
part of Cyprian and his Synod, to adhere to the Bishops of their 
own selection, — the imperious dictation of Stephen to the con- 
trary notwithstanding. It would gTatify curiosity, and help 
the truth, if one might be permitted to know what was the 
practical issue of the conflicting decisions of Cyprian and 
Stephen. But curiosity must here satisfy itself with probable 
conjecture, as it very easily may. For Baronius informs us that, 
at the time when he wrote, '' through the loss of manuscripts, 
(scriptorum jacturd,) no record remained of what followed." J 

* Baron, ulnnal., A.D. 258, cc. 1., li. 

t These latter words are used by Cyprian in one of his Letters to Stephen. 
X Baron. Amial., A.D. 258, c. v. 


Latin Christianity. 

A little more than half a century afterwards, the removal of the 
seat of empire from the Tiber to the Bosphorus consummated, 
not all at once^ but in its closely-following results, the separation 
of Greek and Latin Christianity. And it is from this point that 
the History of Latin Christianity, as being formally distinct 
from Greek, properly begins. For this distinction, as well as for 
the farther distinction more recently introduced, by the adoption 
of the appellation Teutonic, reason is furnished, not only by the 
facts of history, but also by the philosophy of human nature. 
To some extent, not altogether, — as the yi««A'i-sublimated mate- 
rialism of these times would teach, — man is the creature of 
circumstances. As to his physical constitution, indeed, the 
ultimate conclusion to which we are conducted by the legitimate 
inductions of scientific ethnology, as well as by the oracles of 
God, is that " God has made of one blood all nations of men," 
and that " He fashioneth their hearts alike." And that which 
constitutes the essence of his nature, as man, can no more be 
altered, than it can be destroyed, by any power save that by 
which man was created and fashioned at the first. Still the phe- 
nomenal aspects of humanity are seen to be almost as various as 
the circumstances under which it exists. In like manner, the 
Christianity which is commissioned with a " power from on 
high," to baptize all nations into one name, and, as to essen- 
tials, into one faith, is, in its inherent and characteristic nature, 
one and the same thing, wherever it is found. But the external 
indications of its working are modified, to some extent, by the 
strong force of circumstances. And the result has been the 
exhibition of varieties'' in Christianity (so called), almost as 
numerous as those which characterize the ethnological divisions 
and sub -divisions of our race. " At every period, much more is 
to be attributed to the circumstances of the age, to the collec- 
tive operation of certain principles which grew out of the events 
of the time, than to the intentional or accidental influence of 
any individual or class of men. And to all these modifications 
Christianity necessarily (?) submitted."^ 

On a general comparison of the earlier manifestations of what 
was distinctive in the character and tendencies of Greek and 
Latin Christianity, respectively, the action of this law of cir- 
cumstances is found to be remarkably exemplified, almost as 
much in some of tliose points in which they were agreed, as in 
those in which they differed from each other. And it is par- 
ticularly seen in the oscillations of opinion and practice, which 
distinguish certain periods of their history. The disturling 
forces, by which the regularity and constancy of their profession 
and procedure were sometimes so strangely affected, are to be 
found in the controlling interference of fluctuating circum- 

* "History of Christianity," vol. i., pp. 49, 50. 

Idiosyncrasy of Greek Christianity. 


stances with the unequal power of a corrupted and propor- 
tionably enfeebled Christianity. 

Let us take^ for example^ some of the points in which they 
differed from each other. In the East^ scarcely were the Syrian 
and other Asiatic Churches from under the fostering care of their 
founders, the Apostles, or the Evangelists and Pastors who were 
their fellow -labourers or immediate successors, when, in addi- 
tion to the hostility every where experienced from an effete and 
yet slowly-expiring Judaism, those Churches were brought into 
contact with the Gnosticism of the vicinities in which they were 
established. Degenerate successors of the wise men from the 
East," who " came to Jerusalem," at the commencement of the 
century then waning to its close, the hierophants of that unde- 
finable medley of mystery and moonshine, under the insidious 
mask of a pretended veneration, and chiefly for the purpose of 
promoting the credit and aggrandizement of their own system, 
courted the notice of the yet nascent Christianity, and drew 
away disciples after them. Very soon afterwards, if not at the 
same time, a resuscitated Orientalism, fresh from the remoter 
East, and now rendered more attractive by its combination with 
the Greek philosophy so much in vogue, tried its fascination on 
the new power which was to make its wisdom foolish, and to 
turn the world upside down ; and this it did with such effect as 
to be successful in infusing much of its own character into a 
system, to which, nevertheless, it bore no legitimate affinity, 
either in its form or in its spirit, and with which, therefore, it 
could have nothing more than a simulated sympathy, — except 
upon the modest understanding that Plato and Manes should 
be allowed to take rank with, or even precedence, not of 
Apostles and Prophets only, but also of Him who spake as never 
man spake, before or since. Plato, at least, we are willing to 
believe, would in this matter have been wiser and more reverent 
than either his Alexandrian or Asiatic disciples of that day. 
And, generally, from the circumstance of its having its existence, 
as it were, in an atmosphere of philosophical and mystical quid- 
dities, and in the midst of a people passionately prone to specu- 
lation on all subjects, however difficult or sacred, the spirit of 
Greek Christianity, as it appears from the records of Church 
history, was from an early date insatiably inquisitive and dis- 
putatious. For the same reason, it was scrupulous of hair- 
breadth exactness, and often equally adventurous in search 
of it ; even where, from the very nature of the questions at issue, 
such exactness was scarcely possible, and the attempt to reach it 
might border on the profane. With the knowledge of this 
idiosyncrasy in the habits of Greek Christianity, no one is sur- 
prised to learn that the Trinitarian controversy had Alexandria 
for its birth-place ; and that, together with the whole brood of 
other controversies, of which it was the parent or the nurse, it 


Latin Christianity. 

had the whole field of the Oriental Church, not only at the 
beginning, but for centuries afterwards, as its "joro/?er theatre.'^ 

The commencement and earlier growth of the Western 
Churches took place under circumstances considerably dif- 
ferent from those which influenced the character and fortunes 
of those in the East. In addition to their being "made of 
sterner stuff," and therefore less easily convertible into tinder 
or charcoal, the Gnosticism of Asia, and even that of Alex- 
andria, was too remote to exert any very powerful influence, 
in the early youth of Christianity, on persons so little pre- 
disposed, by circumstances or established habit, to abstruse and 
barren speculations, as they were at that time. It was, there- 
fore, comparatively little known, and still less cared for, except 
as general rumour, or the occasional appeals of conflicting dis- 
putants, burning under the smart of reciprocal anathemas, 
"forced it on their attention." It was in the way last men- 
tioned, that the system of welding Gnosticism into Christianity, 
in its more finished and plausible form, was brought by Valen- 
tinus and Cerdon to Home, (a.d. 140,) at that time still 
imperial in its secular position, and on that account, in con- 
nexion with its continued use of the Greek language, "the 
natural and inevitable centre of Christianity." For, — 

"In Eome," says the Dean, "every feud which distracted the 
infant community, reached its height ; no where do the Judaizing 
tenets seem to have been more obstinate, or to have held so long and 
stubborn a conflict with more full and genuine Christianity. In 
Rome, every heresy, almost every heresiarch, found welcome recep- 
tion. All new opinions, all attempts to harmonize Christianity with 
the tenets of the Greek philosopliers, with the Oriental religions, 
the Cosmogonies, the Theophanies, and Mysteries of the East, were 
boldly agitated, either by the authors of the Gnostic systems, or 
by their disciples." — History of Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 31, 32. 

But the agitation thus created and maintained at this 
" inevitable centre of Christianity," was but little felt in any 
other parts of its wide circle, save those from or through 
which the materials of that agitation had been imported. 
The representation given of this wondrous city, as to the charac- 
ter which it acquired, in connexion with early Christianity, by 
the perpetual influx of corruptions and controversies from the 
East, strongly reminds us of the " Graicam Urbem " and the 
Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes^^ of Juvenal,t or of his 
friend Umbricius, about half a century before; the difference 
being chiefly this, — that the earlier description applies to 

* Neander's " Cliurch History," vol. iv., p. 109. 
t Sat. iii., vv. 71-73. 

" I cannot, Romans, this Greek Town abide ; 
Nor 's all Greek filth, for long since with the tide 
To Tiber Syrian Orontes flow'd." — Stapylion's Translation. 

Differences between the East and West. 159 

morals^ and the latter to theology. Indeed, the Dean's 
description would almost warrant its being said, that Rome 
was at the period in question a sort of sentina, retaining 
within itself and absorbing, to the extent of its capacity, the 
heresies that swept into it from every quarter, and having 
in reality but little overflow. There is, perhaps, a little 
poetry in the description, after all; but it is quite true, that 
''^the Christianity of Africa had no sympathy with the dreamy 
and speculative disposition of the East, and therefore very 
naturally repudiated, with an instinctive distaste, the wild 
impersonations and daring cosmogonies which flourished there.'^ 
And, generally, heresies which might win some degree of fa- 
vour at Rome, — as the Popes at that time of day neither were 
infallible, nor even assumed to be so, — nevertheless, in 
provinces near to Rome, and much more in provinces at a 
remoter distance, would succeed or fail, just as they might 
chance to harmonize with the prepossessions, or the prejudices, 
of those to whose acceptance they were offered. And even in 
Europe, at a time when, according to Burton,^ the Gnostics 
had already established themselves at Rome, were making 
havoc in the Church,^' — if one might only give entire credit 
to the testimony of Hegesippus on the subject, as cited by 
Eusebius,t — there was a "uniformity of faith'"' in all the cities 
visited by Polycarp on his way from Smyrna to Rome. Facts, 
apparently inconsiderable in themselves, are often of great 
value in connexion with history. So here, the facts just 
stated serve to prove, that although Rome might be at this 
time the geometrical or geographical centre, yet she was 
neither the living heart nor the ruling head of even Latin 

A similar regard to difference in antecedent and existing 
circumstances will explain the reason why, though under equal 
obligation to conserve the basis of their common Christianity, 
yet, even upon points which they would equally admit to be 
essential to the integrity of that basis, the Eastern and Western 
Churches respectively should, on comparison, appear to have 
been so differently affected as they were by the controversies 
which were generated thereupon. This difference, especially 
in regard to the interest excited on the subject pf the Trini- 
tarian and Pelagian controversies, is so striking, as to have 
compelled the attention of almost all ecclesiastical historians. 
And it is to be accounted for partly, perhaps, from the division 
which, previously to the occurrence of these controversies, — 
or almost contemporaneously with the commencement of the 
first of them, — had taken place between the Christianity of the 

* Works, vol. v., pp. 124, 125. 

t " Ecclesiastical History," lib. iv., cap. 22. 


Latin Christianity. 

East and that of tlie West ; but, principally, from difference in 
existing circumstances, and in tastes and tendencies previously 
generated, and confirmed by habit in each case respectively. 
From circumstances existing at the time, and as the result of 
inveterate habit, ^' Greek Christianity was speculative ; Latin, 
practical/' Accordingly, — 

" Throughout the religious and civil wars which, almost simul- 
taneously with the conversion of Constantine, distracted the Christian 
world, the Bishops of Rome and the West stood aloof in unimpas- 
sioned equanimity ; they were drawn into the Trinitarian controversy, 
rather than embarked in it by their own ardent zeal. So long as 
Greek Christianity predominated in Rome, so long had the Church 
been divided by Greek doctrinal controversy. There the early dis- 
putes about the Divinity of the Saviour had found ready audience. 
But Latin Christianity, as it grew to predominance in Rome, seemed 
to shrink from these foreign questions, or rather, to abandon them for 
others more congenial. The Quai-to-Deciman controversy related to 
the establishment of a common law of Christendom, as to the time 
of keeping her great festival. So, in Novatianism, the re-admission 
of apostates into the outward privileges of the Church, the 
kindred dispute respecting the re-baptism of heretics, were consti- 
tutional points, which related to the ecclesiastical polity. Donatism 

turned on the legitimate succession of the African Bishops The 

Trinitarian controversy was an Eastern question. It began in Alex- 
andria ; invaded the Syrian cities ; was ready, from its foundation, 
to disturb the Churches and people the streets of Constantinople 
with contending factions. Until taken up by the fierce and busy 
heterodoxy of Constantius, when sole Emperor, it chiefly agitated 
the East. The Asiatic Nicea was the seat of the Council ; all, but a 
very few, of the three hundred and twenty Bishops who formed the 
Council, were from Asiatic or Egyptian sees. There were two Pres- 
byters only to represent the Bishop of Rome." — History of Latin 
Christianity, vol. i., p. 60. 

But Alexandria and Constantinople were the places where 
these controversies raged with the fiercest intensity; and a 
very narrow ellipsis, with these places as its foci, would 
include nearly all the other places which were seriously affected 
by them. And, further, supposing such ellipse to be drawn, 
the well-known property of the ellipse — that all rays from either 
focus are reflected from all parts of the circumference to the 
other — has its analog}^ in the fact, that controversies com- 
menced in Alexandria, were sure to be propagated to Con- 
stantinople, and vice versa; the whole area of this "proper 
field^' of controversy being pervaded meanwhile with reflexions, 
carrying with them heat rather than light, by a perpetual 

At a period somewhat later, the comparative quiet of the 
Western Churches on doctrinal subjects was interrupted by 
the outbreak of the Pelagian controversy, which, turning on 

Distribution of Controversies. 


the practical question of the springs of human action^ and 
the conditions and modus operandi of individual salvation, 
engaged their warmest interest. The Eastern Churches, mean- 
while, took little or no share in it, having still on hand 
unexhausted materials for controversies more congenial to their 
taste, because more purely speculative, on points connected 
with the mysteries of the Godhead, and the Person of Christ. 
The whole Christianity of AVestern Africa rejected, with an 
almost instinctive repugnance, the colder and more philosophic 
reasonings of Pelagius ; and, under the leadership of Augustine, 
as their great oracle and hero, its Churches threw themselves 
into the controversy with their characteristic impetuosity and 
ardour. But, in contrast to all this, in the East the glowing 
writings of Augustine were not understood, probably not known. 
Or, if they were, yet his " predestinarian notions,^^ even with 
the attractive charm of the metaphysical speculations to which 
they have so close an affinity, "never seem to have been 
congenial to the Christianity of the Greeks ; " and neither 
Constantinople nor Alexandria took any interest in these 
questions. It is, indeed, a remarkable fact, and one signally 
illustrative of the characteristic difference existing, ab initio, 
between Greek and Latin Christianity, that, of the two great 
ecclesiastical controversies in the first four centuries, each 
should have had its own heroes and its peculiar battle-field ; 
the Eastern and the Western Churches taking, separately 
and by reciprocal turns, the different parts of champions and 
spectators. But so it was. The Pelagian controversy, maiidy in 
the hands of Western disputants, was carried on in a spirit 
equally earnest, and sometimes by means equally objectionable, 
with those which marked the earlier controversy on the subject 
of the Trinity. But, as in the former case, so in the latter, the 
sympathy with what was going on, was almost wholly restricted 
to that half of the general Church, still reputed, nevertheless, to 
be one and indivisible, in which the controversy had originated. 
While the East stood aloof, serene and unimpassioned, 
throughout the Pelagian controversy, the Nestorian contro- 
versy, which, with its kindred controversies, involved the 
whole East in a continual flame, and made the settlement of 
the dogmatic system of the Church a strife of two centuries, 
was contemplated by Latin Christianity with a retaliatory 
indifference; and, like several other Eastern feuds, made so 
little progress in the West, as scarcely to disturb the equanimity 
of even Rome itself. 

"While Council after Council promulgated, reversed, re-enacted 
their conflicting decrees ; while separate and hostile communities 
were formed in every region of the East, and the fears of persecuted 
Nestorianism, stronger than religious zeal, penetrated for refuge 
remote countries into which Christianity had not yet found its way, 


162 Latin Christianity. 

in the West there was no Nestorian or Eutychian sect. Some 
Councils condemned, but with hardly an audible remonstrance, their 
uncongenial heresies ; the doctrines are condemned, but there appears 
no body of heretics whom it is thought necessary to strike with the 
anathema. The Bishop of Rome, unembarrassed with the intricacies 
of the question, which had no temptation for his more practical 
understanding, with the whole West participating in his compara- 
tive apathy, could sit at a distance, a tranquil arbiter, and interfere 
only when he saw his own advantage, or when all parties, exasperated 
or wearied out, gladly submitted to any foreign and unpledged 
judgment." — Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 137, 138. 

Again, the difference in the characteristic features which, 
on its introduction into the system of external Christianity, 
Monasticism exhibited in the East and in the West, respectively, 
finds its explanation, to a great extent, in local circumstances, 
both contemporaneous and historical. In its principle as a 
system of religious, and not merely philosophical, asceticism, 
it had its origin in the remotest East. But in its expansion 
westward, it was already spreading its insidious and bewitching 
leaven in Egypt and its vicinity at least, if not also in Palestine 
and Syria, wlien Christ appeared. The Eastern Churches were 
thus the earliest to be affected by it. The origin of asceti- 
cism, and especially of that species of it which may be called 
" monasticism proper,^^ as connected with Christianity, is 
referred by Dean Milman and others to the fourth century. 
But if Ricaut is to be credited, Eremites, at least of Christian, 
as well as of other names, were to be found in considerable 
numbers at a much earlier period. Speaking of Mount Athos, 
he observes that, — 

" Though St. Basil was the first author and founder of the order 
of Greek monks, so that before his time there could be none who 
professed the strict way of living in convents and religious societies, 
I mean in Greece ; yet certainly, before this time, the convenience 
of the place, and the situation thereof, might invite Hermites, and 
persons delighted in solitary devotions, of which the world, in the 
Jirst and second century, did abound."* 

At all events, according to Sozomen,t towards the close 
of the third century, there were thousands of tnonks in 
Egypt and its vicinitj^, rivalled in numbers by the monks 
of Palestine, Syria, and the adjoining countries; and numerous 
monasteries had already been established in all these places. J 
Whereas it was not until the time of Athanasius and Jerome, 

* " Present State of the Greek and Armenian Chnrclies/' (a.d. 1678,) p. 218. 
t "Ecclesiastical History," lib. vi., cap. 43. 

:}: '^Aones, according to Sozomen, was reputed to have been the first who led a 
monastic life in Mesopotamia. And, as though he would make his own virtues doubly 
illustrious by contrast with the less (?) saintly of Old Testament worthies, the place 
selected as the //ome, so to speak, of his celibate virtues, was no other than the Padan 
of old, where Jacob made Rachel his wife !" — Ecclesiastical History, lib. vi., cap. 33. 



that is^ about a century later, that Coenobite monasticism was 
adopted in Central and Western Europe, or even in Western 
Africa, to such extent as to have attracted the attention of 
ecclesiastical writers. This appears from Tertullian, who, 
writing in the second century, and specially representing the 
Western Churches, says, ^^We are no Brahmins, or Indian 
Gymnosophists, no dwellers in the woods, no recluses retired 
from the haunts of men/^"^ 

Moreover, the monasticism of the Churches of the East 
affected a severity in its discipline more nearly resembling 
the original type, than did that of the less mystic and more 
practical Western Churches. It were, perhaps, too much out 
of harmony with Dean Milman^s estimate of Latin Christianity, 
and not quite consistent with the facts of the case as to its earlier 
history, to say with Jortin, that " the difference between the 
Eastern and Western monks was, that the first were usually 
the greater fools, and the latter the greater knaves.^ But 
the monasticism of the latter — 

" Was practical more than speculative ; it looked more to the 
performance of rigid duty, the observance of an austere ritual, the 
alternation of severe toil with the recitation of certain sacred offices, 
or the reading appointed portions of books, than to dreamy indolence 
and meditative silence, only broken by the discussion of controverted 
points of theology. It partook of that comparative disinclination 
to the more subtle religious controversy, which distinguished Roman 
from Greek and Oriental Christendom ; and, excepting the school of 
semi-Pelagianism propagated by the Oriental Cassianus, among the 
monasteries in the neighbourhood of Marseilles, the monasteries were 
the seats of submissive, un-inquiring," and — the Dean might have 
added — purblind and gloomy, "orthodoxy." — Vol. i., pp. 409, 410. 

As to external austerities, it is not strictly in accordance, 
either with historical truth, or with the Dean's own state- 
ments elsewhere, to say that " the Roman character embraced 
monastic Christianity in all its extremest rigour, its sternest 
asceticism, with the same ardour and energy," as that with which 
it ^' interworked Christianity in general.^' J He elsewhere gives 
us his own authority for saying, that " the Hermits in the West 
had neither the ingenious nor the ostentatious self-tortures 
which were common in the East; nor had they any men who 
stood for decades of years upon a lofty pillar." To the latter 
statement, indeed, there was a solitary exception, in the case 
of one Vulfilaie, a monk of Lombardy, (a.d. 591,) who had 
a pillar erected for him at Treves, and stood upon it barefoot, 
enduring great hardship in the winter; until the Bishops 
compelled him to come down, and to live like other monks ; 

* Ajiol., cap. 42. 

t " Remarks on Ecclesiastical History," vol. iii., p. 50. 
% " History of Latiu Christianity," vol. i., p. 11. 

M 2 


Latin Christianity. 

telling him that the severity of the climate would not permit 
him to imitate the great Simeon of Antioch.^ But, in general, 
the Western monks were rather tlie disciples of the old Prophet 
Elijah t and of John the Baptist, than of St. Simeon, or any 
other of the sclf-martyrcd lilastcrn fanatics. But what might 
be wanting in outward austerities, was abundantly made up by 
the severity of the restrictions and privations which were 
imposed upon the inner man. Tlie luxurious appetite for 
intellectual and imaginative indulgence, which, according to 
his own statement, was so perilous to Jerome in his cave at 
Bethlehem, as to require stripes, by way of supplement to 
prayer and fasting, for the purpose of its being held in due 
restraint, had small chance of being pampered in "the narrow 
cell or mountain-cloister.^^ Rather, in the solitudes which were 
the homesteads of the Western recluses, its chance, and more 
frequently its certain doom, was that of absolute starvation and 
extinction. Still, these intellectual hardships, as they must 
often have been felt to be in the first instance, found their 
relief, in part, from other circumstances, created by the very 
position into which they were thus so unnaturally thrown. 
In every thing that lives, and especially in every thing that 
has a tendency to growth, or a power of expansion, whether 
it be vegetable or animal, intellectual or spiritual, there is a 
law of nature, irresistible while life continues, in virtue of 
which, if it be hindered or compressed in one direction, it 
will, with a redoubled power, exert itself in another. Thus, in 
the case in question, — 

" If the reason was suppressed with such unmitigated proscription, 
the imagination, while" — still true, so far as might be, to the power 
of habit — " it shrunk from those metaphysical abstractions which 
are so congenial to Eastern mysticism, had full scope in the ordinary 
occurrences of life, which it transmuted into perpetual miracle. The 
mind was centred on itself ; its sole occupation was the watching the 
emotions, the pulsations of the religious life ; it impersonated its 
impulses ; it attributed to external or to foreign, but indwelling 
powers, the whole strife within. Every thin^j fostered — even the 
daily labour, which might have checked, carried on in solitude and in 
silence, encouraged — the vague and desultory dreaminess of the fancy. 
Men plunged into the desert alone, or united themselves with others. 

* Fleury, " Ecclesiastical History," book xxxv., chap. 22. 

t Sozomen and other writers have been pleased to claim Elijah as the founder and 
patron of monasticism. There is a legend to the effect that the hermit St. Paul was fed, in 
his seclusion, after the manner of Elijah. For Eleury informs us, that on the occasion 
of a visit paid to him by St. Anthony, as " they discoursed together, they saw a 
raven perched upon a tree, which, flying gently, came and laid a whole loaf before 
them, then flew away. * Ha ! ' says St. Paul, ' see the goodness of the Lord, who 
has sent us food. For these sixty years have I received half a loaf daily; but, upon 
your, coming, Jesus Christ has doubled the -portion.' "—Ecclesiastical History, 
book xii., chap. 16. 

Extension of Christianity. 


(for there is no contagion so irresistible as that of religious emotion,) 
under a deep conviction that there was a fierce contest taking place 
for the soul of each individual, not between moral influences and 
unseen and spiritual agencies, but between beings palpable, mate- 
rial, or at least having at their command material agents, and con- 
stantly controlling the course of nature." — Latin Christianity, vol. i., 
p. 411. 

Considerable stress is laid by Dean Milman on the superior 
acti^dty of the West, as compared with the East, in the propa- 
gation of their respective forms of Christianity. But it vv^as not 
until the final extinction of Paganism, — at least, not until the 
separation of Greek from Latin Christianity, — that the contrast 
between them, in this respect, was very remarkable. Previously 
to the period last-mentioned, and even so early as the year 300, 
Christianity, under Eastern patronage, had found its way 
among the Goths and some of the German tribes of the 

" The Visigoths first embraced the Grospel, as a nation ; they were 
followed by the Ostrogoths : with these the Vandals and the Gepidse 
were converted during the fourth century. At the close of the fifth 
century the Franks were converted, and at the beginning of the sixth, 
first the Alemanni, then the Lombards ; the Bavarians in the seventh 
and eighth ; the Frisians, Hessians, and Thuringians in the eighth ; 
the Saxons by the sivord (!) of Charlemagne in the ninth. With the 
exception of the latter, the whole of these nations were the conquests 
of Arian Christianity, or embraced it during the early period of their 
belief. But of those early Arian Missionaries, the Arian records, if 
they ever existed, have almost entirely perished. The Chm-ch was 
either ignorant, or disdained to preserve their memory. Ulphilas 
alone, the Apostle of the Groths, has, as it were, forced his way into 
the Catholic records, in which, as in the fragments of his great work, 
his translation of the Scriptures into the Maeso-Grothic language, this 
admirable man has descended to posterity. His ancestors, during a 
predatory expedition of the Goths into Asia, under the reign of Gal- 
lienus, had been swept away with many other captives, some belonging 
to the Clergy, from a village in Cappadocia, to the Gothic settlements 
north of the Danube. These captives, faithful to their creeds, per- 
petuated and propagated among their masters the doctrines of 
Christianity."* — History of Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 269-273. 

But afterwards the contrast is very strongly marked. They 
" ceased,^' in a great degree, in comparison with their brethren 
in the West, " to be creative or aggressive,^' with reference to 
efibrts for the spread of Christianity. This did not, however, 
arise wholly from difference of inherent or acquired character, 

* The Christianity of the Goths, according to Tleury, was not Arian at the first. 
Till the time of the return of Ulphilas from his embassy to Constantinople, a.d. 378, 
" they had followed the apostolical doctrine which they had at first received ; and even 
at that time they did not wholly forsalce it." — Fleiirys Ecclesiastical History, hook 
xvii., chap. 36. 


Latin Christianity, 

as though they were less disposed to practical outgoings for that 
purpose ; but^ partly at leasts from their concentration of whatever 
they possessed of zeal and spirit upon internecine quarrels with 
each other^ in secular as well as in religious matters ; and partly, 
also, from the fierce inroad and crushing domination of an over- 
whelming Mahommedanism, which, after a time, seemed finally 
to close against them those opportunities for Christian enter- 
prise, which they had neglected to embrace, and into which they 
no longer possessed either the fitness or the power to enter. 
It should, however, be mentioned in their favour, that in almost 
the only direction in which Mahommedanism left them the 
power of expansion, they put forth considerable effort, and with 
great and enduring success. About the middle of the ninth 
century, the Mcesians, Bulgarians, and Gazarians, and, after 
them, the Bohemians and Moravians, were converted to Chris- 
tianity by Methodius and Cyril, two Greek monks whom the 
Empress Theodora had sent to dispel the darkness of those 
idolatrous nations. The zeal of Charlemagne and his pious 
Missionaries had been formerly exerted in the same cause, and 
among the same people ; but with so little success, that any 
faint notions which they had received of the Christian doctrine 
were entirely effaced. But the instructions of the Grecian 
Doctors had a better, and therefore a more permanent, effect. 
The warlike nations of the Russians were soon afterwards con- 
verted ; and under Wlademir Greek Christianity became the 
established religion of Russia.^ 

Nor yet can we look with entire complacency on the creative 
and aggressive " action of the Western Churches. The earliest 
illustrations of the first love of the new-born Christianity of 
Clovis (the founder of the Merovingian dynasty) were, first, to 
lay waste the Visigoth kingdom, for the sin of Arianism, with 
his " remorseless sword,'^ — then to suggest to the son of Sige- 
bert. King of the Bipuarian Franks, the murder of his father, 
with the promise that the murderer should be peaceably estab- 
lished on his throne, — next, to order that the murderer should 
be put to death, — and, lastly, to declare solemnly in a full Par- 
liament, that he had had no share in the murder of either. 
These things are related by his Popish historian, Gregory of 
Tours ; of whom, with a smack of the ironical sarcasm, 
which here and there besprinkles his work, Dean Milman 
remarks : — 

" Gregory concludes with this pious observation : — ' For Grod thus 
daily prostrated his enemies under his hands, and enlarged his king- 
dom, because he walked before Him with an upright heart, and did 
that which was well-pleasing in His sight.' Yet Gregory of Tours 

* Mosheim's " Ecclesiastical History." 

Resemblances between the East and West, 167 

was a Prelate, himself of gentle and blameless manners, and of profound 
piety." — History of Latin Christianity, vol. i., p. 279. 

The religious character of the descendants of Clovis^ and even 
that of the Carlovingian hero^ to whom Rome owns itself to 
be so deeply indebted^ is almost too offensive for description ; 
and we are glad to let it pass^ with many other things equally 
disgusting, and yet^ alas ! strongly characteristic of much that 
belongs to the great epoch of Latin Christianity." 

But if, in the particulars which have been mentioned_, Greek 
and Latin Christianity exhibit specific differences^ arising from 
differences of acquired character and modifying circumstances^ — 
in other respects, in which the circumstances were common_, or 
nearly so, and the characters were somewhat approximate, or 
not materially different^ they exhibit a general agreement. 
Thus^ both one and the other^ during the period of their 
common history, were immediately confronted with Paganism 
in all its power and majesty, — a vast system of idolatry, hal- 
lowed, in the superstitious regard of the people, by the venera- 
tion of ages, and not likely, therefore, to be very quietly 
abandoned in favour of the new system, which, with a 
spirit and power of innovation and conversion beyond all 
former example, was now promulgated, with the avowed pur- 
pose of superseding and destroying it altogether. The first 
shock, and still more tlie continued jar and fret, of the 
collision, which was necessitated by the circumstances of the 
case, were very disagreeably felt on both sides. And this very 
naturally created, on one side, a spirit of prejudice and persecu- 
tion ; while, on the other side, they constituted a strong tempta- 
tion, where the true spirit and power of Christianity were 
wanting, to discouragement and compromise. Happily, with 
comparatively few exceptions, considering the fiery trials," and 
the "fights of affliction," which tested the faith of the earlier 
Churches, Christianity, both in its Eastern and Western divi- 
sions, held fast its integrity ; the persecutions to which it was 
subject, with so short intervals of respite, for the first two 
centuries after its establishment, serving but to render more 
conspicuous the brightness of its spiritual aspect, and to conserve 
and intensify the purity, which, in connexion with the ti uth of 
the Gospel, and tlie grace of the Holy Spirit, is, in reality, the 
secret of its enduring and victorious power. 

At a later period, when Christianity was in the ascendant, 
and the deities of Paganism had been expelled from its most 
splendid temples, insensibly many of the usages of the 
heathen worship, and even many vulgar superstitions, crept into 
the more gorgeous and imposing ceremonial and popular belief 
of the Christian Churches. And this compromise, as to 
externals, affected the East and the West very nearly alike. 


Latin Christianity: 

The temples, rites, diversions, and literature, both of the 
Grecian and the Roman polytlieist, were so incongruous with 
the primitive Gospel, that until Christianity had made some 
steps towards their own religion, by the splendour of its cere- 
monial and the incipient paganizing of its popular belief, the 
obstacles to their conversion were both numerous and strong. 
And therefore, in the West as well as in the East, the policy 
of paganizing, about the time of Constantine, began to be some- 
what extensively adopted ; ostensibly for the purpose of facili- 
tating the conversion of Pagans to Christianity, but in reality 
with the eflect of converting Christianity, pro tanto, into Pagan- 
ism. Nor was this species of compromise simply the error and 
infirmity of the Churches of that age, since it has continued to 
have its theoretical advocates and practical imitators, in Romish 
Christianity, down to this day. 

" When Christianity," says a distinguished Romanist writer, 
" became the dominant reHgion, its Doctors perceived that they 
would be compelled to give way equally in respect to the external 
form of worship, and that they would not be sufficiently strong to 
constrain the multitude of Pagans — who were embracing Christianity 
with a kind of enthusiasm, as unreasoning as it was of little duration 
— to forget a system of acts, ceremonies, and festivals, which had an 
immense power over their ideas and manners. The Church admitted, 
therefore, into her discipline many usages evidently pagan. She 
undoubtedly has endeavoured to purify them, but she never could 
obliterate the impression of their original stamp. The principal 
interest of Christianity was to wrest from error the greatest number 
of its partisans : and it was impossible to attain this object, without 
providing for the obstinate adherents of the false gods an easy passage 
from the temple to the church. If we consider that, notwithstanding 
all these concessions, the ruin of Paganism was accomplished only by 
degrees, and imperceptibly ; that during more than two centuries it 
was necessary to combat, over the whole of Europe, an error which, 
although continually overthrown, was ever rising again, we shall 
understand that the conciliatory spirit of the leaders of the Chm-ch 
was true wisdom." * — Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme. Far 
A. Beugnot, Membre de Vlnstitut Franqois. 1835. 

In this way, and in others, there was often an interaction and 
interpenetration between Christianity and other systems, which 
created strange medleys, not very favourable either to its cha- 
racter or progress. With reference to one case, namely, the 
contact of Christianity with the barbarism of the Teutonic races, 
the Dean goes so far as to affirm that — 

" In some provinces it must be acknowledged that the vices, as 
well as the religion, of Rome, assert their unshaken dominion ; or, 
rather, that there is a terrible interchange of the worst parts of evil 

* See Introductory Dissertation, pp. 17, 18, by Count Krasinski, to a recent edition 
of Calvin's " Treatise on Relics." Edinburgh : Johnstone and Hunter. 1854. 

Deteriorations and Corruptions, 


character. In the conflict, or coahtion, of barharism with Koman 
Christianity, barbarism has introduced into Christianity all its 
ferocity, with none of its generosity or magnanimity ; its energy 
shows itself in atrocity of cruelty, and even of sensuality. Christi- 
anity has given to barbarism hardly more than its superstition, and 
its hatred of heretics and unbeHevers. Throughout, assassinations, 
parricides, and fratricides, intermingle with adulteries and rapes. The 
cruelty might seem the mere inevitable result of this violent and 
unnatural fusion ; but the extent to which this cruelty spreads 
throughout the whole society almost surpasses belief. Though Chris- 
tianity found an unexpected ally in the higher (1) moral tone of the 
Teutonic races, the religion, in other respects, and throughout its 
v/hole sphere of conquest, suffered a serious, perhaps inevitable, 
deterioration. With the world Christianity began to barbarize." — 
Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 286, 289. 

The Christianity vrhich was capable of being thus damaged by 
its contact with barbarism^ could have little but what was either 
indifferent, or positively evil^ to offer in return ; and, beyond the 
truth which, at the same time, it professed and belied, in honest 
fairness can scarcely be called Christianity at all. It will relieve 
the reader, to remember that it was the Christianity of Clovis 
and his descendants which suggested the remarks contained in 
this extract. And we pass on to observe, that the attempts 
successively made to fuse true Christianity with the philoso- 
phical, the mystical, the ascetic, the monastic, the ceremonial, 
and even, as in the Crusades and other " religious wars, with 
the military spirit, so far as those attempts were successful, drew 
on, as their inevitable result, the degradation of its name, and the 
enfeeblement of its power; and only by a moral miracle were 
prevented from effecting its destruction altogether. The very 
choicest eclectic philosophy which was to be had, became in 
its meddling and impertinent vocation as a helper of Christi- 
anity, forsooth, — nothing better than a " vain and mischievous 
deceit.^^ Mysticism, Avith its dull opaqueness of thought and 
language, was virtually an eclipse of the truth. Asceticism and 
monkery, though not in original intention, proved, in their 
practical working, often just such contrivances as the prince 
of darkness would desire for placing " light under a bushel,^' 
or for putting knowledge and crime alike beneath the veil. The 
pomp of ceremonial display was virtually a substitution, in no 
small degree, of " the lust of the eye for the contemplations of 
faith. And the spirit which evoked " monks and bishops in 
armour,^^ and Mahommedan Apostles of Christianity,^^ and 
which " gloried in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ as the 
ensign of battle and bloodshed, rather than as the banner of 
salvation, was not merely a spirit of pride or error, but a spirit 
of blasphemy of the coarsest description. Christianity may blush 

* " Latin Christianity," vol. i., p. 289. 


Latin Christianity. 

that she should ever have been seen in such companionship ; and 
has only to thank Him by whose name she is called^ that, in her 
occasional association with some of these forms of anti- Christ, or 
pseudo- Christ, she has not been permitted to become an illus- 
tration of the maxim, that " a companion of fools shall be 

There are few subjects connected with ecclesiastical history 
of more stirring interest than that of the (alleged) Petrine suc- 
cession and monarchical supremacy of the Bishop of Home; 
chiefly, perhaps, for this reason, that it is well known that these 
constitute the sine qua non of the whole Romish system, and 
are, at the same time, the very points in that system which are 
the most easily assailable, and the least capable of any sort of 
defence. The general controversy must be waived at present ; 
but we shall be doing good service to any of our readers who 
may desire satisfaction on the subject, if we can persuade him 
to read Dean Milman's " Latin Christianity with a view to 
this particular question. Let him notice, as he reads, what a 
silence there is, as in the life-time of Peter himself, so for many 
years after his death, on this same matter of " succession and 
supremacy ; " how many Bishops of Rome succeeded each other, 
before any one of them seemed to be bold enough to tell it in 
the ears of another, or even to whisper it to his own heart ; how 
the whole business grew more out of secular, than spiritual 
or ecclesiastical, considerations ; what sort of struggles, and 
manoeu\Tes, and helps they were, which fostered its growth, and 
nursed it to maturity ; and what has been the fruit of this once 
gigantic, but now comparatively stinted and failing, " develop- 
ment " of Latin Christianity. Let him, in like manner, study 
the history of infallibility, image- worship, or any thing else into 
which Latin Christianity, as represented by the Papacy, has 
developed itself. And we are greatly mistaken, or he will find 
himself spared the trouble of farther inquiry, for any other 
purpose than that of confirming his assurance, that these things 
are developments, not of truth, but of falsehood ; not of legiti- 
mate authority, but of human ambition and pride ; not of the 
true religion, but of an idolatrous superstition ; and all for a tenet, 
which, if it could be proved, would be intrinsically valueless. 
The history of these things, though revolting, is curious and 
instructive ; and would probably be more so, if dealt with sepa- 
rately, as the Dean has occasionally dealt with other topics. 
We can promise our friends much entertainment and pleasure 
by the way. The subjects are trite and familiar; but the Dean 
has handled them in a style remarkably brilliant and graphic, 
and often thrown over them such hues that the reader will 
perhaps, in some instances, scarcely recognise, at first, some parts 
of the field over which he may have trodden before. They then 
wore an aspect too dull and monotonous to be very well remem- 

Secondary Effects. 


bered^ or even to be very attentively read. The danger now 
may be^ lest lie should be carried away^ as the Dean himself 
appears to have been sometimes, from the substantial facts to 
the poetical forms in which they are clothed. He possesses the 
art of breaking up large tracts of uninviting and dreary dulness_, 
in the shape of history, into minor patches, in which groups 
of facts, and feathery illustrations, not multiplied so as to weary 
attention, are arranged in tasteful, and yet apparently unstudied, 
order. And, at intervals, — O rare indulgence ! — the reader will 
be treated to the luxury of several pages in succession over which 
he may expatiate, without the misery of stumbling over two or 
three CAPITAL LETTERS in almost every line. 

His notices of the incidental and collateral effects of Latin 
Christianity are very freely scattered, in fractional instal- 
ments, throughout the three volumes. But there are, also, 
some entire chapters, and often several long paragraphs, 
devoted to this purpose. These are written with a spirit and 
vigour, and power of discrimination, which we should have more 
emphatically mentioned, as being remarkably forceful and strik- 
ing, were it not that our acquaintance with his other writings has 
made us familiar with these characteristics of his freer compo- 
sitions, so that they have ceased to impress us in the same 
degree. We have only, in passing, to express our regret, that 
so many excellences should be disfigured by so many literary 
blemishes; that in some parts of his work he should appear 
to have forgotten what he has written in others ; and that 
his marginal dates should not have had the advantage of a 
more careful revision. 

The necessity which has rested upon him, as upon other 
witers of ecclesiastical history, of exhibiting the flaws and 
defects of what has passed under the name of Christianity, 
must be laid to the account, partly of those whose defective 
character and unwarrantable doings created those ineffaceable 
blots on her escutcheon, and partly of the Church historians who 
could scarcely see any thing besides, which they deemed worthy 
to be placed upon record. In their hands, the general picture 
is nearly all back-ground and shadow, except to those who^ 
by confounding Popery with Christianity, "put darkness for 
light;" and it is left for others to throw in the lights as best 
they may. This latter task Dean Milman has, in part, 
attempted ; and so far succeeded, as greatly to relieve the 
picture, and to encourage the hope that it may be still further 
improved; so that true Christianity may appear somewhat 
more in the light, and the Christianity of which Rome is the 
centre, retain its proper place, in the shade. 

The primary effects of Christianity, in connexion with human 
salvation, as we have already noticed, belong to a history whose 
" record is on high." But the secondary and collateral effects 


Latin Christianity. 

of its working on a large scale, fall within the scope of 
general observation. Of these effects, one of the ^first noted 
by Dean Milman is, that if it did not put a period to war, 
it greatly mitigated its horrors. At the third siege and 
capture of Rome by the Goths, Alaric, who then professed 
to be a Christian, in a temper strongly contrasted with what 
might haA^e been expected from the Heathen Khadagaisus, 
if God had abandoned Rome to his fury, issued a procla- 
mation which, while it abandoned the guilty and luxurious city 
to plunder, commanded regard for human life, and especially 
the most religious respect for the churches of the Apostles. 
And, in the person of Leo the Great, Christianity, besides 
conferring other benefits on Rome and the Empire at large, 
was supposed to have saved Rome itself from the most 
terrible of barbarian conquerors, and a second time to have 
mitigated the horrors of her fall before the King of the 

At a later period, Christianity having risen to the high 
position of the established religion of the Roman Empire, its 
beneficial action upon general jurisprudence was a necessary 
consequence; although, in the first instance, that action was 
but slowly and partially admitted. The characteristic rigidity 
of Roman legislation would not submit to be suddenly broken 
by principles hitherto foreign : it would yield only to the pro- 
cess of tardy modifications and gradiial change. Until the 
time of Theodosius and Justinian, laws purely Christian were 
little more than simply accessory and supplementary to the 
general code. Eut — 

" The complete moral, social, and, in some sense, political revolution 
through Christianity, could not be without influence, both as creating 
a necessity for new laws, adapted to the present (new) order of 
things, or as controlling, through the mind of the legislator, the 
general temper and spirit of the legislation. A Christian Emperor 
could not exclude this influence from his mind, either as affecting his 
moral appreciation of certain obligations and transgressions, or as 
ascertainmg and defining the social position, the rights and duties, 

of new classes and divisions of his subjects Certain offences in 

the penal code were now looked on with a milder, or more severe, 
aspect ; a more strict morality had attempted to knit more closely 
some of the relations of life ; vices which had been tolerated became 

crimes against social order The imperial legislation could not 

refuse — it was not inclined to refuse — to take cognizance of the new 
order of things, and to adapt itself to the necessities of the age." — 
History of Latin Christianity, vol. i., pp. 352, 353. 

The change was completed under the auspices of Justinian; 
and that he is a Christian Emperor, appears in the very front of 
his jurisprudence. 

" Before the august temple of the Roman law, there is, as it were, a 
vestibule, in wldch the Emperor seats himself, as the religious legis- 

Its Influence on Jurisprudence. 


lator of the world in its new relation towards God That which 

was accessory in the code of the former Christian Emperors, and in 
the Theodosian code fills two supplementary books, stands in the 
front, and forms the preface to that of Justinian." — History of Latin 
Christianity, vol. i., p. 355. 

On this pleasing representation of the ameliorating influ- 
ences of early Christianity, there is a mournful drawback, in the 
contemporaneous fact, that — 

" An offence absolutely new, in the extent of the odiousness in 
which it was held, and the rigour with which it was punished, 
(namely,) heresy, or dissent from the dominant religion, in all its 
various forms, was introduced into the criminal jurisdiction, not 
of the Church only, but of the empire." — Ibid. 

The effect of Christianity, as might have been expected, was 
still more striking, in the sudden and more extended legislative 
reformation, which it accomplished among the comparatively 
lawless races who peopled the regions of the Rhine and the 
Higher Danube. 

" The Barbaric Codes, which embodied in written statutes the 
unwritten, immemorial, and traditionary laws and usages of the 
Teutonic tribes, (the common law of the German forests,) assuming 
their positive form, after the different races had submitted to 
Christianity, were more completely interpenetrated, as it were, with 
Chiistian influences. The unlettered barbarians willingly accepted 
the aid of the lettered Clergy, still chiefly of Eoman birth, to reduce 
to writing the institutes of their forefathers. Though these codes, 
therefore, in their general character and main principles, are essen- 
tially Teutonic, — in their broad principles are deduced from the free 
usages of the old German tribes, — yet throughout they are modified 
by Christian notions, and admit a singular infusion, not merely 
of the precepts of the New Testament, but of the positive laws of 
the o\d.r—Ihid. 

Slavery alone seem.ed, in those times as in ours, to be proof, 
except up to a certain point, against the solvent and human- 
izing power of Christian principle. In the code of Justinian, 
the slave was regarded as standing in a condition of spiritual 
equality with his master. And this, doubtless, would have large 
effect on the temper of the latter, and the condition of the 
former. He was taken — 

" Out of the class of brute beasts, or inanimate things, to be 
transferred, like cattle or goods, from one master to another, which 
the owner might damage or destroy with as much impunity as any 
other property, and placed in that of human beings, equally under 
the care of Divine Providence, and gifted with the same immortality. 
But the legislation of the Christian Emperor went no further." — 
Ibid. p. 361. 

At a period equally early, " the Anglo-Saxon laws were 
strongly impregnated with the dominant Christianity; and 


Latin Christianity. 

were manifestly the laws of Kings, whose counsellors, if not 
their co-legislators, were Prelates/^ In the matter of slavery, 
ecclesiastical Rulers exceeded all others. For not only did they 
immediately manumit all slaves who came into their possession 
in connexion with grants of estates from their heathen neigh- 
bours, but ^'^the redemption of slaves was one of the objects 
for which their canons allowed the alienation of their lands. 
And among the pious acts by which tlie wealthy penitent 
might buy off the corporal austerities demanded by the dis- 
cipline of the Church, was the enfranchisement of their slaves.^^"^ 
The effect of early Christianity on poetry and general lite- 
rature is less distinctly appreciable. It dawned upon the world 
at a time when both the one and the other were hastening 
to their decline. Poetry in its higher style, both epic and 
lyric, might appear to have retired in disgust from the eccle- 
siastical and civil broils of the times, to the mountains, forests, 
and waters, which were the scenes of its infancy, until circum- 
stances more congenial, and the echoes of new languages formed 
from the fusion of some of those already existing, should invite 
its return. As to other kinds of literature, there are very few 
names, of particular celebrity, connected with Latin Chris- 
tianity, during the first three centuries of its history. And 
of these, all except Clement, whose birth-place is uncertain, 
would appear to have been nurtured in Africa. But that 
Rome itself should have been slow to produce distinguished 
writers, and that the continent which was celebrated as the 
arida nut^'ix of lions and elephants, should also be remarkable 
as the nursery of celebrated writers, was no new thing. 

" Very few of the Roman poets were natives of Rome. Catullus, 
Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Juvenal, Persius, were bom in provincial towns 
of Italy. Manj^, also, of the Roman poets, as they are commonly 
called, were not even natives of the Italian soil. Africa gave birth to 
Terence ; Lucan, Seneca, and Martial, were from Spain. The same is 
true also of the most distinguished orators, philosophers, and his- 
torians, whose names are generally connected with that of Rome." — 
Dr. Wo?'dsworth, p. 27. 

The services rendered by the monks of a later period, on 
behalf of literature, are rated by Dean Milman at a value which 
we cannot assign to them. They were, indeed, to a considerable 
extent during one period, the cm'ators of the literature which 
already existed, — " the guardians of what was valuable, the books 
and the arts of the old world." But, like certain other stewards 
of whom we read, they kept the treasure of which they were in 
charge, " laid up in a napkin," or hidden in the earth." (Luke 
XXV. 10; Matt. xxv. 25.) It was of comparatively small use to 
themselves ; and, for reasons which the whole world is acquainted 

* " Latin Christianity," vol. ii., p. 91. 

Its Connexion with Art. 


with, they took special care that it should be kept so far out of 
general sight and reach, as to be of still less use to others. At the 
best, their occupation in this matter was a grand monopoly. And 
in the resuscitation and spread of general knowledge, they took 
just so much concern as appeared likely to serve their particular 
purpose. As to the arts, doubtless, Christianity, in its more 
genuine and authentic character, exerted an encouraging influ- 
ence upon them, where it was free to do so, and was the nurse 
of superior genius as well as of lofty devotion. But if the 
Christianity of which Popery was the type, fostered the arts of 
painting, sculpture, music, and architecture, it was with a design 
to prostitute their witchery to uses which greatly abated their 
practical value ; and sometimes brought matters to such a pass, 
as to suggest the idea, that it might have been to the Church a 
great negative advantage, if some, at least, of these arts had 
never been born. They might, indeed, almost be said to have 
been in great part her creations. But when she began to offer 
worship (in whatever sense) to the work of her own hands, and 
that, too, '^'^in the temple of God,^^ it was high time for some 
authority to interpose its protest, and for the spirit of Icono- 
clasm to awake to its duty. Not that, in this matter or in any 
other, Satan should be employed to cast out Satan, as was too 
frequently the case with some of its more ancient and notorious 
champions; nor that art should be peremptorily bidden to 
become a recluse and to assume the veil. That were to aim at a 
pure impossibility. From the sheer vigour and elasticity of her 
spirit and nature, she would, of necessity, break bounds and 
re-assert her rightful and illimitable freedom. Let her by all 
means be encouraged to pursue her vocation, and to show herself 
abroad. Wherever true Christianity exists, in connexion with 
high civilization, it must needs be so. For it is in sympathy 
with all that is beautiful, or harmonious, or great, as well as 
with all that is "holy, and just, and good,^^ throughout the 
universe. But whatever of that which is creaturely interposes 
itself between God and the soul, — between the Redeemer and the 
sinner, — is, for the time, an idol and an abomination, which God 
Himself " is weary to bear.^^ It were infinitely better, surely, 
that no imitative or imaginative art should exist at all, than that 
its chief use should be to debauch our faith and to sensualize our 
devotion; even though such deterioration be a corruption only, 
and not a total destruction. It would hardly be tolerated, that 
religion should be taken as an element of art ; and it is equally 
intolerable, — and profane, besides, — that art should be emi)loyed 
as an element of religion. In regard to devotional exercises, 
the two things cannot be commingled, or even brought into 
juxtaposition, with each other, but at the extreme hazard of the 
worshipper's confounding the sesthetic and imaginative with the 
spiritual and religious, and substituting the indulgence of mere 


Latin Christianity. 

admiration or the gratification of taste^ for the adoring worship 
and divine joy of the heart. 

At the close of one of the most brilliant and powerful passages 
contained in his work. Dean Milman observes : — 

" In a lower view, not as a permanent, eternal, immutable, law of 
Christianit}'', but as one of the temporary phases through which 
Christianity, in its self-accommodation to the moral necessities 
of men, was to pass, — the hierarchical, the Papal power of the Middle 
Ages, by its conservative fidelity, as guardian of the most valu- 
able relics of antiquity, — of her arts, her laws, her language ; by its 
assertion of the superiority of moral and religious motives over the 
brute force of man ;* by the safe guardianship of the great primitive 
and fundamental truths of religion, which were ever lurking under the 
exuberant mythology and ceremonial ; above all, by wonderful and 
stirring examples of the most profound, however ascetic, devotion, 
of mortification, and self-sacrifice, and self-discipline, partially, at least, 
for the good of others ; by splendid charities, munificent public works, 
cultivation of letters, the strong trust infused into the mind of man, 
that there was some being, even on earth, whose special duty it was 
to defend the defenceless, to succoiu* the succourless, to be the refuge 
of the widow and orphan, to be the guardian of the poor : all these 
things, with all the poetry of the Middle Ages, in its various forms of 
legend, of verse, of building, of music, of art, may justify, or rather 
command, mankind to look back upon these fallen idols with reve- 
rence, with admiration, and with gratitude. The Hierarchy of the 
Middle Ages counterbalances its vast ambition, rapacity, cruelty, by 
the most essential benefits to human civilization." — Latin Chris- 
tianity, vol. iii., pp. 201, 202. 

The thrilling power of the passages immediately preceding 
this extract has thrown us somewhat ofi" om* guard ; but we are 
still sufiiciently self-possessed to interpose a serious protest 
against several things set forth in this elaborate and sweeping 
peroration, as not being justified by the facts of the case^ and as 
being contradicted by the more sober judgment in which other 
writers generally, not being Popish, have agreed. And now, — on 
what principle it is, that a " power which kept (and still keeps, 
so far as it may) in a " lurking condition the truths required to 
be "preached to every creature/^ should have its unfaithful 
concealment of those truths put down to its account as having 
been a " safe guardianship of the same, — that the " lying 
wonders and pompous ritual under which those truths lay 
hidden, should be complimentarily passed off as having been 
nothing worse than " exuberant mythology and ceremonial,'^ — 

* The following may be accepted as an illustration : — " The Pope had no scruple in 
waging war by secular arms. Neither Gregory nor his successors, nor did the powerful 
churchmen in other parts of the w^orld, hesitate to employ, even to wield, the iron arms 
of Knights and soldiery for spiritual purposes, as they did not spiritual arms for ends 
strictly secular. They put down ecclesiastical delinquents by force of arms ; they ana- 
thematized their political enemies. The swobd of St. Peter was called in to aid the 
keys of St. Peter." — Latin Christianity, vol. iii., p. 125. 

Progress of Real Christianity. 


and that " examples of ascetic devotion should, " above all," 
be pressed on our notice, as the crowning enhancement of the 
claim of that power to be regarded as a benefactor of 
mankind," — we confess ourselves altogether at a loss to under- 
stand. The only reasonable way that seems open for escape 
out of the difficulty is, to conclude that, in this instance, as in 
some others, the Dean has been carried away by the impetuous 
flood of his own thought and language, and by the kindly gene- 
rosity of his genial nature, beyond his original purpose. For, 
even admitting the justice of all that he has said, on behalf of 
Hildebrand, and of the ecclesiastical monarchy of which his pri- 
macy was the culminating point, it is rather too much to expect 
that idols," of any description whatever, whether fallen " or 
standing, should be gravely regarded as having a right to com- 
mand, or even to ask, from any one of mankind," either 
"reverence," or "admiration," or "gratitude." 

In large and deep expanses of water, however, if the surface be 
agitated, there is stillness beneath; and various processes and 
movements are continually going on, which yet cannot be seen 
from above, through the ever-changing refractions of light, occa- 
sioned by the agitation of the superincumbent water. J ust so it 
was with early Christianity. What with the storms of frequent 
persecutions, and the scarcely less disastrous storms of its 
own controversies, its external aspect might be compared to 
that of a sea which knew no rest. But in the depths of its 
being and action it was in comparative quiet, doing its work, 
and making good progress, by the leaven which it spread 
through the various courses of human life. To use the meta- 
phor employed by our Lord, the seed of evangelical truth 
which was sown grew up, men knew not how. Only the 
harvest appeared in due season ; and they who had sown and 
they who reaped rejoiced together. And, in connexion with 
this progress, two things were remarkable : — 

In the first place, it is clear that this progress did not depend 
on the minute and exact adjustment of an entire system of 
dogmatical theology, or even on the concurrence of all theo- 
logical Doctors in any one form of creed. Else, at a very early 
period, Christianity must have halted, and then remained at 
a stand-still for centuries ; or, within a much shorter period, 
have been extinguished altogether. There are some reasons 
for believing that heresies (justly so called) were fewer in 
number, and sometimes less flagrant, than ecclesiastical writers 
have reported them to be. But whether that v/ere the case or 
not, the converts of the places where the " word of God grew 
and prevailed," were not always, except in points which were 
generally agreed to be essential, delivered into the same mould 
of doctrine. There are some doctrines without which a creed 
is nothing worth. And, on the other hand, there may be creeds 



Latin Christianity. 

whicli, with respect to personal salvation^ insist upon more than 
is absolutely necessary. Secondly, it is also sufficiently clear, 
that the progress of Christianity was not dependent on any 
stereotyped form of ecclesiastical arrangement and discipline. 
The truth of this position rests on the fact, that Christianity has 
made progress in connexion with various forms of Church 
discipline, and cannot therefore be dependent for such progress 
on any single one. It may be added, that the instances are 
numerous, in which persons of piety and zeal, though not always 
holding an ecclesiastical commission, were by the power of their 
persuasion, and the still mightier influence of Christian example, 
the first heralds of the truth to many among whom that truth 
had not been previously published. 

What reserves of woe, or of blessing, are in store for Latin, or 
for Greek, Christianity, are questions hardly of deeper interest to 
them, than they are also to the world at large. The doom of 
the former, so far as the term ^' Latin" may, in this case, be 
regarded as synonymous with " Romish," is scarcely a subject for 
inquiry, because the sure word of prophecy " has already deter- 
mined, with a clearness sufficient for all practical purposes, tlie 
things which shall come upon her. And for Greek Christianity, 
resembling so nearly, as she does, her Western rival, the pro- 
spect is far from cheering, though not altogether without hope. 
She is more favourable to the dissemination of the Scriptures, — 
rejects as an impiety the Romish purgatory, — and in the Sacra- 
ment administers the elements in both kinds; but she is a 
worshipper of the Virgin Mary, as the "Mother of God," — 
believes in the mediation of departed souls, and in Transub- 
stantiation and the Real Presence, — and offers homage to 
pictures, as Rome does to statues. And thus partaking so 
largely of her sins, it does not appear how, without a repent- 
ance, of which at present there is slender hope, she can avoid 
" receiving of her plagues." 

Popular Criticism,. 


Art. VII. — 1. A Third Gallery of Portraits. By George Gil- 

FiLLAN. Edinburgh, 1854. 
2. The Bards of the Bible. By George Gilfillan. Third 

Edition. Edinburgh, 1852. 

The spirit which presides over composition of the purest sort, 
is known by the name of taste ; the choice and order of lan- 
guage in which it finds expression, is denominated style. Is 
the former ever a superfluous gift? Is the latter a merely 
superficial quality? These inquiries we propose to answer, 
first by a direct, and then by a more explicit, negative. 

There is the closest possible relation and interaction between 
the form and substance of literary works; and the lightest 
graces of a given production will be found rather characteristic 
than independent of its essential merits. In style we have, 
therefore, an indication as well as an instrument of truth. 
It is a test of the competence, fidelity, and triumph of an 
author, — at least, within certain obvious limits, — as well as a 
guarantee of his legitimate influence in the world of mind. 
Even the slightest product of literary taste, however frail and 
indefinable its graces may appear, is not to be too lightly rated ; 
for if these graces should be closely analysed and observed, 
it would be found that the apposite and the truthful are their 
prevailing elements, and the source alike of their beauty, cha- 
racter, and moral worth. 

It may surprise some readers to speak of the moral worth 
of mere works of taste ; it will surprise them yet more to assert 
the immoral tendency of productions grossly deficient in this 
quality. It seems, indeed, to be very generally unsuspected, 
that weak, presumptuous, and foolish writings, and such as are 
loaded with spurious ornament, or filled with false conclusions, 
are actually demoralizing in their effects upon society ; that 
they gradually, but surely, deprave the moral sense, as well 
as darken the understanding; that too frequently they are 
the source of error and confusion, in regard to some of the 
authoritative doctrines and duties of our sphere. Yet, as a 
fact, the alliance of false taste and unfixed principles is very 
notable in the popular literature of our day. Especially is this 
to be observed in the tendency to indulge in factitious senti- 
ment, or in bold, unwarranted, and profane analogies, — m the 
disposition to remove ancient landmarks, and to confound 
important distinctions. In these respects the cause of virtue 
and religion is often seriously betrayed by its professed ser- 
vants. While infidelity — at least in some quarters — is smitten 
with a fatal love of truth, with a spirit of candour, diligence, 
and strict inquiry ; and is thus induced to bring its monstrous 
features to the light, and scare thereby both wise and simple 

N 2 


Popular Criticism. 

from its embrace ; irreligion, on the other hand, is fostered and 
encouraged by loose statements and florid pictures proceeding 
from the hands of nominally Christian men. It is well that 
we should understand the real danger of our literature; that, 
namely, wherein its worst character begins, and which is most 
swift, though most insidious, in its advances. There is little to 
be dreaded from the pursuits of scientific men, soberly and 
fairly conducted, nor from their conclusions, duly weighed and 
openly stated, even when these men may be suspected of no 
love for truth beyond its material manifestations. But much 
evil is to be apprehended, and, indeed, is daily witnessed, from 
loose and passionate appeals to the imagination and affections ; 
from a style which never deviates from the false heroic pitch, 
leaping from one pit of bathos to another; from a criticism 
which runs riot among follies it was invented to restrain, which 
knows neither discrimination nor temper, which deals out hasty 
and wholesale measures of admiration and disgust, which con- 
founds human genius with divine inspiration, and brackets the 
all-unequal names of holy Prophets and profane and faithless 

The evils we assert and deplore may commonly be traced 
(as will presently be shown) to glaring incapacity and pre- 
sumption in the class of writers we refer to; but they arc 
seriously aggravated by want of common faithfulness and care 
in the discharge of serious duties. The lack of diligent fidelity 
is productive of great mischief in any calling in which man 
may engage. Even a single fault is never isolated in its cha- 
racter, but is propagated in a thousand sad results. The 
neglect of any duty, the most private and personal, — the com- 
mittal of a wong in any sphere, the most limited and tem- 
porary, — is fraught with evils which reach far beyond both our 
estimation and control ; and only that the providence and grace 
of God are continually counteracting this fatal proneness of 
evil to extend and multiply itself, we should see such effects 
springing up from our daily acts of thoughtlessness, frivolity, 
and pride, as we now associate only with crimes of the blackest 
hue. But evil is not less manifestly evil because of this benig- 
nant law. Its effects still extend themselves to the third and 
fourth generation. The spoken lie, the momentary sneer, are 
neither slight nor transient in their influence; they re- appear 
and are re-echoed upon the lips of children's children. But in 
written books falsehood has a charter and dominion still more 
hostile to the interests and authority of truth. And literary 
falsehood is pernicious, not in proportion to its magnitude 
or malice, but to its unsuspected character, to its alliance 
with the semblance of some, and the reality of other, virtues, 
to its appeal to the vain imaginations and idle prejudices of 
the reader. Beginning in the thoughtless misuse of words. 

Pretensions of Mr, Gilfillan. 


it may end in the confusion of all moral truth. The steps of 
this declension may be distinctly traced. Extravagant assertion 
always involves some departure from strict rectitude, as well as 
from the rules of taste. Unwarrantable praise or censure is mis- 
leading from a similar excess. Even the misemployment of 
a word may seriously affect the judgment of a reader in 
reference to some important principle; may confound distinc- 
tions necessary to be duly kept in view, or insensibly create 
a prejudice the most lasting and unjust. It will, therefore, 
commonly happen, that the loss of time incurred, and the 
vacuity or dissipation of mind induced, will be among the 
lightest evils of inferior literature ; false opinions and fatal 
preferences are heedlessly engendered ; the habit of intel- 
lectual and moral discipline is lost in the craving after per- 
nicious stimulus ; and an unconquerable distaste for chaste and 
thoughtful composition cuts off the very hope of future eleva- 
tion or improvement. And hence we may learn the value, 
above all natural gifts and all external acquirements, of that 
careful, diligent, and conscientious spirit of authorship which 
loves truth for its own sake, — truth in substance, in tone, in 
detail, in the lightest word, — and sees no merit in the most 
ingenious and attractive paradox. 

The theme opened up to us by these reflections is of no small 
extent ; but, in the few pages allotted to this article, we can deal 
with it only in one department. We shall proceed to speak, 
then, of the most prevalent and injurious of these existing evils. 
Some nuisances there are which cry out for immediate abate- 
ment, and this is one of them. We hold that both the manifest 
deterioration of the public taste, and the threatening confusion 
of moral truth, are mainly due to the example and encourage- 
ment of our popular critics and fine writers ; and of these the 
most notorious offender is Mr. George Gilfillan. 

Many reasons concur to fix our choice upon the writings of 
this gentleman, and to justify the free handling we propose to 
give them. The popularity of their author we naturally infer, 
both from the frequency with which his name is quoted in the pro- 
vincial newspapers, and the fact that one of his works has been 
encouraged into a third series, and another into a third edition. 
This popularity among a large class of readers involves no small 
amount of influence, and no light measure of responsibility. 
But Mr. Gilfillan has a further claim upon our attention. In 
the pages of no other living writer, at least of equal reputation, 
could we find so many prime examples of so many literary faults. 
He represents very fairly and fully one considerable section of 
the press, with its coarse attractions and many blemishes and 
imperfections ; and we are not surprised to learn from himself, 
that he contributes largely to four or five of the popular serials 
of the day. He will, no doubt, be flattered to learn that traces 


Popular Criticism. 

of his " dashing hand are very visible on their pages ; for there 
he leaves his mark in unmistakable characters. 

We do not scruple at the utmost freedom in dealing with the 
public character of Mr. Gilfillan. His own practice would 
release us from any great restraint of delicacy, and, indeed, 
would justify us in a degree of licence which we decline to use. 
To the judgment of a strict and candid criticism, he is particu- 
larly open. He cannot plead youth in bar of just severity, since 
we learn from his own pages that it is full twenty years since he 
attained the age of manhood. He cannot plead inexperience, since 
he is a voluminous and incessant writer ; and the first volume 
named at the head of this article, is a third series of literary ver- 
dicts deliberately collected and re-issued to the world. He cannot 
plead modesty of pretension, or a desire to shun the observation 
of the public ; for the same volume exhibits him in the character 
of a judge, claiming a wide and comprehensive jurisdiction, — a 
critic of men and alFairs as well as of books and authors, — a critic 
of critics, challenging the judgments of such men as Macaulay 
and Hallam, and approving or condemning, by his own stand- 
ard, the weights and measures long cun-ent in the world of 

Considering our own position, we are not likely to set up too 
high a standard of critical excellence, or to demand perfection from 
Mr. Gilfillan in the exercise of the functions he has assumed. 
We have no idea, for instance, that the talents of a critic must 
needs emulate the genius of his author ; and, indeed, this is one 
of the very grounds of our complaint against Mr. Gilfillan. 
Under an exaggerated notion of the sympathy existing between 
a genial critic and a great orator or poet, he absolutely seems to 
run a race with them, and to dispute their prize. This is not a 
mere occasional sally of our critic ; it is very deliberately defended, 
as well as uniformly practised, by him. He actually says, in so 
many words, " Every criticism on a true poem should be itself 
a poem.^^ We shall presently see what strange follies he is 
betrayed into by these sudden and unchecked impulses of 

We may ask, in passing, what is the value of this " genial 
criticism ? " Surely, as criticism, it is of the least possible sig- 
nificance or value. There are cases, it is readily granted, in 
which the absence of a certain sympathy with the loftiest mood 
and the most delicate fancies of genius, is a disqualification for 
the critical office, at least in so far as these cases are concerned. 
But every critic is not called, nor is any frequently, to give a 
public estimate of these high and peculiar monuments of great- 
ness ; and even when this qualification is plainly desiderated, the 
judgment pronounced will not greatly err, if formed according to 
recognised and important principles. An example may serve to 
make our meaning clear. Dr. Johnson furnishes, in his own 

Character and Sphere of True Criticism. 183 

character^ a striking instance of defective sympathy; but his 
writings are no less striking specimens of masterly criticism. 
He had no very delicate perception of the refined and beautiful, — 
no ear for the most delicious snatches of poetic music. His 
limited taste permitted him only partially to appreciate the airy 
fancies of a Collins, or the superb imagination of a Gray. The 
elements of Milton^s minor poetry were too subtle, and their 
combination too exquisite, to sensibly affect his grosser organi- 
zation, or find an index of sufficient delicacy in that colossal 
mind. Yet even to these he did no positive injustice ; of some of 
them he has said finer things than their most passionate admirers. 
In all the other countless subjects submitted to his discriminating 
power, he stands confessedly the first of critics. And why so ? 
Simply because the most necessary and valuable qualities of the 
critic were possessed by him in plenitude and perfection. For 
these qualities, be it remembered, are not rightly concerned with 
the rarest individual beauties of authorship. When an orator 
or poet snatches a grace beyond the reach of art," the critic 
may duly point it out, and, if need be, defend this occasional 
exercise of the prerogative of genius ; but to the art his duty is 
for the most part properly restricted, and under its generous 
laws he is to see the products of the individual mind most 
happily subdued. 

The character and sphere of true criticism will be better under- 
stood, if we remember that it is deductive in its origin, and 
disciplinary in its application. It is deductive in its origin. 
The highest critics the world has yet seen — from Aristotle down 
to Addison or Johnson — have all deduced the rules of compo- 
sition, and framed its several standards, rather from the examples 
of the poets than from necessary and abstract laws. What the 
grammarian does for ordinary language, that the critic performs 
in respect to the more exalted language of the muse. Aristotle 
himself is the servant rather than the Procrustean tyrant of the 
sons of genius ; for these are a fountain of law unto themselves ; 
and it was the humbler duty of the Stagyrite to translate the art 
of Homer into axioms and rules of science, and to publish them 
as the authorized grammar of poetry thenceforth. And if any 
demur to this restriction, and complain that the chartered rights 
of genius are so confined or forfeited, we beg them to consider 
that the grammar of poetry is not only taken from the masters 
of song themselves, and is therefore substantially and per- 
petually correct, but that, like other grammars, it is capable 
of large additions and improvements from time to time ; that, as 
fresh examples of the language of the muse are suggested and 
given off by the deeper and wider experience of humanity, the 
vocabulary and theory of the critic also will expand, and find 
new illustrations to widen and confirm its ancient laws. So 
we find it in the history of literature : criticism has followed in 


Popular Criticism. 

the wake of the advancing arts/ if at a becoming distance^ yet 
with equal steps. The great principles of criticism, like those 
of universal grammar, are the same in every tongue, and are 
applicable through all time to works in poetry, eloquence, his- 
tory, or the fine arts ; and if it required the genius of an Aristotle 
to formulate these principles in the beginning, it is competent to 
a Wilson or a Dallas to carry tliem further towards perfection, 
and give to his theoria nobler degrees of beauty, majesty, and 

But for all practical purposes, criticism must be considered as 
one of the applied arts ; and, in this character, its action is strictly 
disciplinary. To conserve the purity of language, and maintain 
the dignity of letters ; to restrain the excesses of youthful genius, 
and to point out the models of truest excellence ; to supply the 
defects and counteract the biases of partial education; to encourage 
noble effort ; to reprove unworthy affectation ; to warn against 
the indulgence of a luxuriant fancy, and to cherish the exercise 
of sober thought as the basis of every genuine performance, — 
these are, in brief, the duties to be conscientiously fulfilled. 
For their adequate discharge is demanded, no doubt, some 
natural advantage, — something akin to that excellence which 
the critic is to promote and keep ever before him ; for how 
shall he venture publicly to approve and crown what he does not 
consciously or well appreciate ? But the qualities most essential 
are good judgment and cultivated taste, — a power of discri- 
mination which resides in a strong native understanding, when 
developed by careful exercise, and furnished with considerable 
knowledge. We would not overstate the accomplishments neces- 
sary for the due performance of literary censorship in this age 
of vast literary productiveness. Happily they are not many, nor, 
for the most part, such as may not, with diligence, be almost 
indefinitely improved. They are nearly all included in a loving 
intimacy with the elder masters of composition, combined with 
a readiness to greet the ancient law in its newest manifestation, 
and to recognise both variety and degrees of excellence in the 
kingdom of mind. Perhaps only the self-assertion of ignorance 
and intolerance are absolute disqualifications. Our professional 
critics form now a large and influential body ; but they have no 
legislative function. They are simply an organized police, bound 
to maintain order and decorum in the republic of letters ; or, at 
the most, they are its magistrates, set for the punishment of evil- 
doers, and the praise of them that do well." It is not necessary 
for them to discuss the merits of the laws which they administer ; 
it is still more unseemly to promulge and act upon impromptu 
canons of their own. 

The lesson we would draw from these considerations shall 
be very simply stated. While the positive merits of a critic 
may be of almost any quality and degree, there are certain 

Mr. Gi/f Man's Style of Address to Mr. Neale. 185 

negative ones whicli are indispensable. It is tlie least we can 
expect from a literary censor^ that he should not himself 
infringe the literary proprieties. If he do not sensibty elevate,, 
he must not actually corrupt, the public taste. Any wanton 
experiments upon language, any unseemly affectation or display, 
any indulgence of tawxlry rhetoric or foolish extravagance 
of tone, is not only a dereliction of private duty, but a betrayal 
of the public interest. Above all, or next only to that honesty 
of intention which we will assume to influence, in some 
measure, the most thoughtless and incapable, it is necessary 
that no infirmity of temper should interfere with the deliberate 
mood of justice, or substitute the language of coarse personal 
invective for that of critical displeasure. 

Now all these blemishes are very prominent in the pages 
of Mr. GilfiUan. In effect, if not in intention, he is a cor- 
rupter and misleader of youth. He is not free from faults 
of language which would disgrace the themes of a third-class 
boy. His style is always loose, and very often turgid; 
epithets the least appropriate are chosen only for their supposed 
effectiveness, and yoked together without parity or propriety 
of any kind. His rashness hurries him into assertions of the 
■wildest nature, and his freedom borders closely upon profanity. 
And, as if these w^ere so many virtues which make our author 
impatient of inferior merit, and give to him an unusual licence 
in the language of reproach, he scolds in good set terms, and 
in a style which lacks only discrimination and decency to 
make it positively severe. 

The characteristic last mentioned shall be first exemplified. 
Mr. Neale, a Clergyman of the Church of England, with strong 
Anglican prejudices, undertakes to alter and adapt the Pilgrim^s 
Progress^' for the use of children in the English Church. The 
design was foolish in the extreme, but not dishonest. Neither 
the fame nor the influence of Bunyan is at this time of day at 
the mercy of either Jesuit or Tractarian. His book is so 
thoroughly imbued with the spirit of a true evangelist, that 
it defies perversion. The editor of some particular reprint 
may mar its literary beauties, and even injure its scriptural 
simplicity ; but the improver must be answerable for this 
distortion, and enough of the original will doubtless remain 
to outweigh and counteract its faults. We dare not say the 
attempt was really dishonest, because conscientious men have 
frequently felt justified in exercising a similar liberty, though, 
as we think, generally with much higher wisdom and far truer 
taste. In noticing this book, Mr. GilfiUan loses aU discretion, 
when perhaps he required it most. A judicious estimate of the 
folly involved in the design, and committed in the execution, 
of this book, with a firm and appropriate reproof administered 
to the presumptuous editor, would have been a very seasonable 


Popular Criticism. 

service to the reading world_, and not unlikely to deter other 
zealots from a like offence. But there is no element of persua- 
sion in the style which Mr. Gilfillan has adopted. We have 
as little taste for Mr. Neale's improvement of Bunyan as Mr. 
Gilfillan himself; but why should our critic substitute personal 
abuse for definite exposure ? There is, surely, no more wit than 
charity in his exclamation : " O, J. M. Neale ! thou miserable 
ninny, and bigot of the first magnitude ! ^' Such a pitiful want 
of temper was never aggravated by such a plentiful lack of 
taste. Even the haste and warmth of composition can never 
justify the use of such unworthy language ; but what must we 
think of the judgment which deliberately transfers it from the 
loud oblivion of a popular Scottish serial to the region of serene 
and settled literature? If Mr. Gilfillan could have shown 
his author to be a ninny and a bigot, he might have kept clean 
lips, and spared to insult the criminal whom it was his duty 
only to convict. 

This is not an occasional fault of Mr. Gilfillan. None of 
his faults, indeed, are so. They are repeated with tiresome 
iteration ; and there is as little variety in his actual blemishes 
as in his intended beauties. So thickly do these abusive 
epithets occur in Mr. Gilfillan^s pages, that we grow accustomed, 
if not reconciled, to them. But sometimes a background of 
charming delicacy brings out this favourite figure into strong 
relief. On the very page, for instance, where he rebukes a 
northern journalist for calling the late Mr. Hazlitt " an ass,^^ he 
pronounces a certain living critic, whom he points out by no 
uncertain name, to be an " ape of the first magnitude ! 

When Mr. GilfiUan^s page is unusually free from these rheto- 
rical displays, we are admitted to a glimpse of his ordinary style, 
forming the background of these striking pictures. This level 
composition, as it comparatively is, may be fairly described as 
frivolous in substance, and very loose and feeble in expression. 
What makes this wretched manufacture more contemptible, is 
the contrasted dignity of his pretended theme. We have, for 
example, a series of papers under the title of " A Constellation 
of Sacred Authors.^^ It is rather, however, as sacred orators 
that Mr. GilfiUan treats Chalmers, and Hall, and Ir\ing, 
although, by selecting this method, he is able to furnish only 
second-hand descriptions. It is questionable, we have always 
thought, how far the characteristic and comparative merits of 
great pulpit celebrities, even when they have departed from us, 
may be canvassed with advantage and propriety. But it is 
certain that Mr. Gilfillan's treatment of these subjects is open 
to the strongest objections. His lightest fault is trivial gossip- 
ing, which can have no rational bearing on the theme proposed. 
A sober estimate of the ministerial gifts of the orator, and 
of the peculiar manner of their development and exercise, is 

The Baptist Burke. 


the most removed from the range of our critic^s power ; but it 
is also that which he is least desirous to supply. The paper 
on Robert Hall'^ may be instanced as in striking contrast 
with the dignity and power of that great man^s genius; it 
is weak and unworthy to the last degree. Of the truth of 
this censure we will enable the reader to judge for himself. 
After assuring us that the essay is meant as a ^*^calm and 
comprehensive view^^ of Mr. HalFs "real characteristics, both 
in point of merit, of fault, and of simple deficiency/^ our critic 
proceeds in the manner following : — 

" We labour, like all critics who have never seen their author, under 
considerable disadvantages. ' Knowledge is power.' Still more, 
craving Lord Bacon's pardon, vision is power. Caesar said a similar 
thing when he wrote, ' Vidi, vici.^ To see is to conquer, if you 
happen to have the faculty of clear, full, conclusive sight. In other 
cases, the sight of a man whom you misappreciate, and, though you 
have eyes, cannot see, is a curse to your conception of his character. 
You look at him through a mist of prejudice which discolours his 
visage, and even, when it exaggerates, distorts his stature. Far 
otherwise with the prepared, yet unprepossessed, look of intelligent 

Very curious is the jumble of ideas in this short passage. 
No man accustomed to accuracy of thought or language could 
have so hopelessly confounded ordinary sight with mental 
appreciation. And then, what an improvement of Lord Bacon^s 
apophthegm ! what an interpretation of Caesar^ s famous boast ! 
That Mr. Gilfillan should pronounce the "look of intelligent 
love to be " prepared,'^ yet at the same time " unprepossessed," 
is an attempt at exquisite refinement which we cannot recom- 
mend him to repeat : his forte is quite in the opposite direction. 
After a full page of this material, in which our critic^ s entangle- 
ment is every moment frightfully increased, a sudden effort 
brings him to his immediate theme ; and the character of Robert 
Hall is set forth in this edifying manner : — 

" We have met with some of those who have seen and heard him 
talk and preach, and their accounts have coincided in this, — that he was 
more powerful in the parlour than in the pulpit. He was more at ease 
in the former. He had his pipe in his mouth, his tea-pot beside him, 
eager ears listening to catch his every whisper, bright eyes raining 
influence on him ; and under these various excitements he was sure to 
shine. His spirits rose, his wit flashed, his keen and pointed 
sentences thickened, and his audience began to imagine him a Baptist 
Burke or a Johnson Redivivus, and to wish that Boswell were to 
undergo a resurrection too. In these evening parties he appeared, 
we suspect, to greater advantage than in the mornings, when 
Ministers from all quarters called to see the lion of Leicester, and 
tried to tempt him to roar by such questions as, ' Whether do you 
think, Mr. Hall, Cicero or Demosthenes the greater orator ? ' ' Was 
Burke the author of Junius ? ' ' Whether is Bentham or Wilber- 


Popular Criticism. 

force the leading spirit of the age ?' &c., &c. How Hall kept his 
gravity or his temper under such a fire of queries, not to speak of 
the smoke of the half-putrid incense amid which it came forth, we 
cannot tell. He was, however, although a vehement and irritable, a 
very polite, man ; and, like Dr. Johnsoh, he ' loved to fold his legs, and 
have his talk out.' Many of his visitors, too, were really distinguished 
men, and were sure, when the}^ returned home, to circulate his repar- 
tees, and spread abroad his fame. Hence, even in the forenoons, he 
sometimes said brilliant things, many of which have been diligently 
collected by the late excellent Dr. Balmer and others, and are to 
be found in his Memoirs." 

We have no space for further extract of this sort ; but we can 
assure the reader that there is nothing better than this foolish 
and unprofitable gossip in Mr. Gilfillan's " clear and comprehen- 
sive view^^ of Robert Hall. Equally void of useful knowledge and 
just discrimination are the essays on Dr. Chalmers and Edward 
Irving. They only derive the most transient interest from the 
misappropriation of these great names, which run the greatest 
risk of disenchantment from such popular degradation and abuse. 
Let the reader judge — we alter our resolution to enable him to 
do so — of the qualifications of a critic who could write, and 
print, and publish, and re-publish an estimate of ministerial 
character commencing in this style : — 

" It is now ten years since we, attracted by the tidings that a live 
Leeds lion had reached a norland town, hurried away (breaking an 
engagement on the road) to hear Dr. Hamilton preach. It was 
a Sabbath evening. We had previously read and re-read his first 
volume of sermons, (besides having had the pleasure of often hearing 
him quoted, without acknowledgment, by aspiring sprigs in divinity, in 
academies, pulpits, &c.,) and had heard a great deal that was curious 
and contradictory about his character and habits. There appeared 
before a tolerably large audience a man rather above than under the 
middle size in stature, dressed very carefully in clerical costume, with 
a brow not at all remarkable for either height, breadth, or expression ; 
with eyes completely sunk in spectacles ; with a cheek, like a baker's, 
pale with fat ; and with a huge round Sir- John-Falstaff corporation, — 
so much so, that, like the immortal Will Waddle, — 

' He look'd like a tun. 

Or two single gentlemen roU'd into one.' " 

Nothing but a strong sense of duty to society could possibly 
induce us to transfer this degrading language to our columns ; 
and if it excite an involuntary feeling of disgust, it is all that we 
can either expect or desire. 

We cannot pretend to challenge all the questionable verdicts 
of this book, nor to point out a tithe of its literary faults ; and 
having little hope of Mr. Gilfillan^s improvement, we shall glance 
at some of his more prominent peculiarities rather with a view 
to the reader's profit than his own. If we should not be able to 

Titans, Colossi, Boanerges, Bonaparte, ^c. 189 

preserve throughout a tone of serious remonstrance, the fault 
will not be ours ; and, in the end, we will endeavour to make 
some amends by eliciting the moral of the whole. 

Let us instance, in the first place, our author's style of 
panegyric. Marked though it is by considerable novelty and 
boldness, we cannot bring ourselves to relish it. Always pro- 
fuse, it is often strangely misapplied, and much too frequently 
profane. Other critics think it needful to give praise in detail, 
measure, and proportion; but Mr. GilfiUan finds it more con- 
venient to throw it by the lump, and often it falls upon the 
wrong person, and always it alights with damaging effect. 
Modest, reputable men, who naturally shrink from being forced 
into comparison with famous, lofty, and even sacred worthies, 
may well fear to attract the admiration of our author. Mr. 
Isaac Taylor is here pronounced " a Christian Colossus ; " 
Edward Irving, a " Titan among Titans, a Boanerges among 
the Sons of Thunder.'^ When the latter preaches in the Cale- 
donian chapel, " it is Isaiah or Ezekiel over again, uttering their 
stern yet musical and poetic burdens.^' The imagery and 
language of the former is nothing less than " barbaric pearl 
and gold.'^ Bulwer has made out his claim to be the Milton 
of novelists.'' Disraeli bears a striking resemblance to 
Bonaparte." The poem of Balder" is " a wilderness of thought, 
— a sea of towering imagery and passion." There is much 
more of the same discriminating kind, as we shall presently 
discover. In the meantime we are spared the trouble of 
characterizing this style of panegyric by our author himself, 
who, in two or three sentences of this volume, generously gives 
us the key to all the rest. Thus we read, (on page 237,) " False 
or ignorant panegyric is easily detected. It is clumsy, careless, 
and fulsome ; it often praises writers for qualities they possess 
not, or it singles out their faults for beauties, or, by overdoing, 
overleaps itself, and falls on the other side.'' This is said by 
our author without a remorseful twinge, — with all the oblivious 
calmness of a lucid interval. 

But Mr. Gilfillan tells us, "he is nothing if not critical." 
Unfortunately he cannot qualify his wholesale adulation without 
stultifying himself. In one little sentence he will snatch back 
all the laboured and pompous praise he has bestowed, and slap 
the receiver's face into the bargain. Thus, after having encou- 
raged one of our young poets with outrageous eulogy, he quietly 
lodges this little stone in the other pocket : " Many of his pas- 
sages would be greatly improved by leaving out every third line." 
If this censure be honest, what must be the value of the praise 
that went before ? The fact, of course, is, that the poet did not 
merit either one or the other; and we hope he may be able 
to despise them both. 

Of epithet and expletive there is no lack in Mr. Gilfillan's 


Popular Criticism. 

page. Indeed, it is here more plentiful than choice, and more 
prominent by far than pleasing. It would be very idle, however, 
to regret the absence of that measured nice propriety of phrase — 
the warp of language fixing the woof of thought — which is the 
inwoven and enduring charm of every literary fabric. It is far 
more natural, under the circumstances, to wish that our critic's 
single epithets were a trifle more appropriate, and that their 
combinations did not utterly defy appreciation. AVe can only 
afford to give a solitary specimen of this peculiarity : it must 
therefore be one of the compound kind, and useful as a Chinese 
puzzle on a winter's evening. Who, then, but Mr. GilfiUan 
could have found terms to praise "the glowingly acute, gor- 
geously clear, and dazzlingly deep criticisms of poor Hazlitt?'' 
The reader Avho derives from this description any definite idea 
of Mr. Hazlitt's literary character, is worth knowing; and we 
should be proud to make his acquaintance. 

The language of illustration and metaphor forms a still larger 
element in our author's composition. Perhaps his particular 
admirers — and possibly the hero himself, in an unguarded 
moment of self-dalliance — would say his strength resides in these 
abundant flowers of speech, as Samson's in his profuse and 
curling locks. We do him then peculiar justice in pointing 
attention to a number of these tropes. 

So incongruous are our author's figures — so frequently and 
unaccountably changed in the course of a single sentence — that 
when a really just reflection escapes him, it is either distorted or 
destroyed by the very language intended to give it force. The 
following is a striking instance of this fault : — 

" For too often we believe that high genius is a mystery and a 
terror to itself ; that it communicates with the demoniac mines of 
sulphur as well as the divine sources ; and that only God's grace can 
determine to which of these it is to be permanently connected ; and 
that only the stern alembic of death can settle the question, to which it 
has on the whole turned^ whether it has really heen the radiant angel 
or the disguised fiend y 

We are puzzled to conceive how an author so practised as Mr. 
GilfiUan could have deliberately written the last clause of this 
sentence; and are compelled to conclude that practice alone 
does not certainly make perfect. The " stern alembic " is posi- 
tively a new idea. Yet it is not difficult to match the foregoing 
extract by referring to the same source : — 

" If Mr. Massey comes (as we trust he shall) to a true belief, it will 
corroborate him for every trial and every sad internal and external 
experience ; and he will stand like an Atlas above the ruins of a world, 
— calm, firm, pensive, hut pressing forwards and loohing on highT 

The allusion to Atlas is here peculiarly unfortunate, as that 
mythological personage is supposed to have stood below a world 
which was not in ruins, and in an attitude quite inconsistent 

Milton, JEschylus, and Gilfillan. 


with "looking on high;" and even were it otherwise^ the 
position of "standings calm and firm/^ somewhat militates 
against the notion of his "pressing forwards." A simile is 
commonly employed to assist onr realization of some thought ; 
but it is no wonder that the very opposite effect attends one so 
ill chosen as the above. Indeed, we must absolutely forget it, 
before we can appreciate the literal meaning of our author. 
The reflection is good ; but the figure is a nuisance and a blot. 
The same remark applies to the following : — 

" Byron was miserable because he felt himself an orphan, a sunheam 
cut off" from his source, without hope and without God in the world." 

Any one but Mr. Gilfillan would infallibly have put his pen 
through the middle clause of this hasty and ill-considered 
sentence : though still trite, it would have been at least tolerable. 
But it never occurs to our author, that a miserable sunbeam, 
destitute of hope and of God, is a very absurd and incongruous 
idea ; and he gathers it accordingly into his book of many beauties. 

Our readers will probably be gratified to hear Mr. Gilfillan' s 
"judgment" on Milton and Shakspeare. The oracular volume 
from which we have already learnt so much, is not silent here. 
Of Milton, indeed, we have no formal or deliberate estimate; 
but his genius, character, and works, are made to do various 
duty in isolated sentences throughout the book, furnishing easy 
ready-made comparisons of intellectual and moral greatness. 
In these allusive passages all the distinctive features of the poet's 
character are very innocently forgotten, and prophecies delivered 
by divine inspiration are coupled with poems suggested only 
by human fancy. Thus, in the paper on ^Eschylus, we read of 
"yet loftier regions, such as Job, Isaiah, and the Paradise 
Lost." Between this latter work and the Prometheus, we have 
an elaborate parallel, of which, however, it will probably suffice 
to quote the following sentences : — 

" It was comparatively easy for iEschylus to enhst our sympathies 
for Prometheus, if once he were represented good and injured. But 
first to represent Satan as guilty ; again to wring a confession of this 
from his own lips ; and yet, thirdly, to teach us to admire, respect, 
pity, and almost love him all the while, was a problem which only a 
Milton was able either to state or to solve." 

If this was Milton's problem, — to make us respect and almost 
love the Prince of Darkness, — he has, in our opinion, very 
happily failed: were it otherwise, our respect for the author 
would be inversely proportioned to that which his hero was 
permitted to inspire. But Mr. Gilfillan has fallen into a curious 
mistake. He has evidently in this, and apparently in some other 
points, confounded the Satan of Milton's poem with the Satan 
of Mr. Robert Montgomery, — two characters that are essentially 
different. The Satan of Mr. Montgomery exhibits such candour. 


Popular Criticism. 

penitence, and scorn of evil habits, that it is impossible not to 
"respect and almost love him." 

From the closing article of this interesting volume, we select 
a passage on " the poet of all time/^ It may fitly pair off with 
that just quoted on his great successor. 

" Shakspeare's wit and humour are bound together in general by 
the amiable band of good-nature. What a contrast to Swift! He 
loathes ; Shakspeare, at the worst, hates. His is the slavering and 
ferocious ire of a maniac ; Shakspeare's, that of a man. Swift broods, 
like their shadow, over the festering sores and the moral ulcers of 
mankind ; Shakspeare touches them with a ray of poetry, which 
beautifies if it cannot heal. ' Gulliver ' is the day-book of a fiend ; 
' Timon ' is the magnificent outbreak of an injured angel. His wit, 
how fertile, quick, forgetive ! Congreve and Sheridan are poor and 
forced in the comparison. How long they used to sit hatching some 
clever conceit ! and what a cackling they made when it had chipped 
the shell ! Shakspeare threw forth a Mercutio or a Falstaff* at once, 
each embodying in himself a world of laughter, and there an end. 
His humour, how broad, rich, subtle, powerful, and full of genius and 
geniality it is ! Why, Bardolph's red nose eclipses all the dramatic 
characters that have succeeded. Ancient Pistol himself shoots down 
the whole of the Farquhars, AVycherleys, Sheridans, Goldsmiths, and 
Colmans put together. Dogberry is the prince of donkeys, past, 
present, and to come. When shall we ever have such another tinker 
as Christopher Sly ? Sir Andi-ew Aguecheek ! the very name makes 
you quake with laughter. And, like a vast sirloin of English roast 
beef, rich and dripping, lies along the mighty Falstaff, with humour 
oozing out of every corner and cranny of his vast corporation." 

If the reader thinks that one perusal will suffice for the full 
appreciation of this passage, we assure him he is much mistaken. 
The effect of a single reading is only to confound ; but a repe- 
tition will infallibly add wonder to his confusion, till, lost in 
successive objects of amazement, confusion once more takes the 
place of wonder. Collecting our scattered senses, we may now 
attempt to point out some of the curiosities of this paragraph 
of errors. Not one sentence of the whole is left undistinguished 
either by obscurity, absurdity, or falsehood. Relatives are 
hopelessly divided from their antecedents ; words chosen for 
their force, and mutually confronted, are made to exchange 
meanings, and so become ridiculous by emphasis ; while figures 
the most incongruous are recklessly mixed up with facts the 
most literal, We are not surprised to read of " the slavering 
and ferocious ire of a maniac ; " but quite new to us is " that of 
a man.-*^ We had supposed that loathing was sometimes pardon- 
able, and hatred never; but it seems that while Swift loathes, 
Shakspeare " only hates." The instinctive sensibility of virtue 
is given to the gloomy Irish Dean ; the radical and unamiable 
vice is charged upon our " winsome Willie," — on " sweetest 
Shakspeare, Fancy's child." In his choice of similes our critic 

ilfr. Hallam^s Deficiencies. 


is equally felicitous. Swift broods over an ulcer like its shadow ! 
but Shakspeare beautifies it by a ray of poetry ! We do not 
expect — and hardly wish — to see the match for that compa- 
rison. Its effect is to make us incontinently shut our eyes and 
hold our breath. The remaining curiosities of this passage 
rather puzzle than surprise us. Why is Gulliver a "book/^ and 
Timon only an " outbreak ? ^' Then^ immediately following, 
whose " wit^^ is so " forgetive ? And, not to be too trouble- 
some, what is " forgetive wit ? Perhaps it is that sort which 
makes Ancient Pistol "shoot down^^ the whole of the Farquhars, 
Wycherleys, &c. But the verdict about honest Dogberry is 
probably that which the reader of this precious judgment will 
most confidently dispute. 

A critic like our author is naturally severe upon his imbecile 
contemporaries. When Mr. Hallam discourses about poetry, 
Mr. Gilfilian is " reminded of a blind man discoursing on the 
rainbow ; " and complacently remarks, " The power of criticizing 
is as completely denied him as is a sixth sense ; and worse, he is 
not conscious of the w^ant." In another precious morsel, we 
learn that " HaUam is seldom unduly minute, never unfair, and 
rarely one-sided : his want is simply that of the warm insight 
which ^ loosens the bands of the Orions ' of poetry, and gives a 
swift solution to all its splendid problems. We have nothing 
to remark upon the first clause of this sentence, except that it is 
uimsually intelligible; nor any thing to object to in the second, 
except that it is preternaturally dark. Wanting this "warm 
insight," the " swift solution " of our author remains for us " a 
splendid problem." 

The misfortune of Mr. Hallam is, that he does not belong to 
the " impulsive " school of criticism ; our author, therefore, 
writes him down " mechanical." His paper on Ariosto is pro- 
nounced " cold and creeping ; " and here we may remark, that 
Mr. Gilfilian evidently employs these words as synonymous and 
interchangeable. If you are clear, you are so cold ! if tem- 
perate, you must needs be very tame. The truth is, Mr. 
Gilfilian has acquired a morbid love for the errors of genius ; 
and this passion hurries him so far, that not only does he defend 
and justify the grossest blemishes he can discover, but very 
consistently carries his principles into practice, and makes a 
merit of imitating the " glorious faults " of our great writers ; 
and this is his own title to be counted great. 

We should be very sorry to vindicate the literary character 
of Henry HaUam from the censures of George Gilfilian. It is 
not yet come to that. In one short sentence, — " He has far too 
much tact and knowledge to commit any gross blunders," — our 
I critic himself says more for his author than we could venture to 
I say for our critic. The reader will probably take our word for 
it, that Mr. Hallam's paper on the " Paradise Lost " contains 

VOL. IV. NO. VII. o 


Popular Criticism. 

no such morceau as tliat with which we have presented him 
from Mr. Gilfillan's page. The respective taste of these review- 
ers may^ however, be very briefly illustrated by a single refer- 
ence, in which they are brought to bear upon the same point. 
The author of the " Paradise Lost ^' is an especial favourite with 
Mr. Gilfillan. When, therefore, Mr. Gilfillan interferes to cor- 
rect the judgment of the literary historian on his favourite 
author, we naturally look for critical perfection, — a specimen 
of some literary counterpart to Coke upon Littleton. Let us 
see without delay. " Milton/' says Mr. Hallam, is more a 
musical, than a picturesque, poet. He describes visible things, 
but he feels music." Mr. Gilfillan is instantly up in arms. 
" What does this mean ? or, at least, where is its force ? Had 
he said, * He is, or becomes, music,' it had been a novel and a 
beautiful thought.'' " Novel " indeed ! but nothing so foolish- 
false was ever " beautiful " since God divided the light from the 

If Mr. Hallam is held thus lightly in our author's judgment 
and esteem, the writings of Mr. Macaulay appear to excite only 
his utmost anger and disdain. There is something about them 
which he can neither forget nor forgive. Often trampled down 
by his scorn, they are sure presently to rise in his face, and 
ii'ritate him beyond endurance. This restless and recurring 
enmity is, perhaps, not difficult to be understood. The very 
existence of such a critic as Mr. Macaulay — not to mention his 
popularity and influence— is a perpetual offence to such a writer 
as Mr. GilfJIan ; a silent, but significant, reproach. Our author 
feels that "his genius is rebuked" by the master of a style 
distinguished for accuracy, ease, and fulness, at once so digni- 
fied and so correct ; and more especially as he is unable to 
taunt the Essayist with sacrificing bcputy to correctness, or with 
being cold, uninteresting, or conventional, in deference to 
literary orthodoxy. No doubt it is very iiTitating to observe, 
beyond the possibility of doubt or of denial, that a writer so 
eminently " correct " is, at the same time, very far removed 
from creeping." To be judicious, temperate, and trustworthy, 
yet neither voted dull, nor abandoned by the younger spirits, 
nor shelved in a dusty corner of the reference -library ; to be 
ornate, as well as accurate, in composition; to inspire enthu- 
siasm, yet bear the strictest scrutiny ; to suffer the restraints 
of grammar and propriety, yet achieve a proud, and even popu- 
lar, success, — all this is unpardonable vice in Mr. Macaulay, and 
more than Mr. Gilfillan can well bear. Our author wonders that 
such abject trash" (these are his words) should "gain unchal- 
lenged acceptance, and require his humble pen to dash it into 
exposure and contempt." And " dash it " accordingly he does. 
In the first place, we are invited to the rehearsal of a literary 
parallel, instituted by our critic, between the characters of Burke 

A mental Camelopard. 


and Macaulay. We need hardly say^ that this comparison is not 
more odious than gratuitous. Some points of it are truc_, but 
not pertinent ; while much the greater part is both impertinent 
and untrue. The following sentences are too characteristic, at 
least of their inditer, to be passed unquoted. 

" Burke's digressions are those of uncontrollable power, wantoning 
in its strength ; Macaulay's are those of deliberate purpose and elabo- 
rate effort, to relieve and make his byways increase the interest of his 
highways, Burke's most memorable things are strong, simple sen- 
tences of wisdom, or epithets, each carrying a question on its point, 
or burning coals from his flaming genius ; Macaulay's are chiefly 
happy illustrations, or verbal antitheses, or clever alliterations. 
Macaulay often seems, and, we believe, is, sincere, but he is never in 
earnest ; Burke, on all higher questions, becomes a ' burning one,' — 

earnest to the brink of frenzy Macaulay's literary enthusiasm 

has now a far and formal air, — it seems an old cloak of college-days 
worn threadbare ; Burke's has about it a fresh and glorious gloss, — 
it is the ever -renewed shin of his spirit. Macaulay lies snugly and 
sweetly in the penfold of a party ; Burke is ever and anon bursting it 
to fragments. Macaulay's moral indignation is too laboured and 
antithetical to be very profound ; Burke's makes Tiis heart palpitate, 
his hand clench, and his face kindle, like that of Moses as he came 
down from the Mount." 

Reserving our remarks on this irreverent climax, let us call the 
attention of the reader to the clause we have distinguished by 
italics. When he has fully appreciated the pretty thought that 
the " skin" of Mr. Burke^s " spirit" was periodically cast_, like a 
serpent^s slough, we have another comparison to oflfer to the 
admirers of that statesman, also drawn from natural history, 
and also suggested by the pleasant fancy of our author. It is 
only a little farther on in the volume, that Mr. Burke is 
described as a mental .camelopard," — for the singular reason, 
that he " was patient as a camel, and as a leopard swift and 
richly spotted." Mr. Gilfiillan seemingly forgets, or possibly is 
not aware, that the camelopard is not a hybrid, deriving its 
qualities from these two creatures, though his name happens to 
be a compound of theirs. The most charitable of natural histo- 
rians never ascribed patience to the giraffe : even with reference 
to the camel, it is a long-exploded superstition, which doubtless 
was originally due to the fact that, like ourselves, he stands in 
great need of that passive virtue, and has abundant opportunities 
for bringing it to perfection. 

This depreciatory parallel — for such we suppose it was in- 
tended to be — may be accepted as a specimen of Mr. GilfiUan^s 
skill in a form of composition to which he is peculiarl^^ partial. 
We are treated in this volume to no less than three in honour 
of Edmund Burke, — to wit. Burke and Macaulay, Burke and 
Johnson, and Burke and Brougham ; the latter thrown off 

o 2 


Popular Criticism. 

impromptu, and included in a parenthesis of half a page. 
Indeed^ Burke has the honour of attracting the most dan- 
gerous regards of Mr. Gilfillan, who never speaks of that great 
man without enthusiasm of the most rapturous and incoherent 
sort. This is a very curious and instructive fact ; it shows, 
not only that love may exist with infinite disparity, but that 
the deepest admiration is not necessarily transforming in its 
character. Our author warmly admires the works of Edmund 
Burke, and writes himself like — George GilfiUan. 

With the organ of comparison so strongly developed, our 
critic is hardly fair in laying to Mr. IMacaulay^s charge an 
undue fondness for antithesis and point. It is only too evident, 
that he spares no pains to attain the same dexterity, with what 
success might easily be shown. If we were inclined to follow 
the example of these authorities, — and perhaps it is our turn, — 
tliere could not possibly present itself a more favourable occa- 
sion. One critic handled by another, and both compared by 
a third, — tliere is something unusual at least in that. But 
we must decline the tempting invitation, not because it is a 
little absurd, as well as ungenerous, to compare great things 
witli small — for the epic poets do it without reproach ; — but the 
points of contrast existing between the literary characters of 
Mr. Macaulay and our author are too numerous, as well as 
too obvious, for our rehearsal. There is, indeed, a more sum- 
mary method of comparison, in which some characteristic 
beauty or defect is made inclusive and decisive of all the 
others. Thus we might mutually oppose the chief faults of 
these contending parties. The great fault of Mr. Macaulay^s 
style is its positive uniformity of excellence. Unlike every 
author that we know besides. Homer himself included, he 
never nods. So unflagging his genius, so sleepless his activity, 
so prompt his memory, so available his learning, that the reader 
gains no moment of repose, till attention, fascinated so long, 
suddenly fails, and the mind runs faii-ly ofi' to find relief. 
Invited to an intellectual repast, we have sumptuous viands 
in great variety and matchless profusion set before us ; but one 
luxuiy succeeds another with such rapidity, that taste has barely 
time for perfect satisfaction, and we suddenly quit the still 
groaning table to avoid the evils of excess. This splendid pro- 
fusion is, in some sense, a fault as well as a misfortune ; for lite- 
rature intended to answer human needs, should be more nearly 
adapted to the character and powers of human nature. But we 
submit, that it is a veiy different fault which Mr. GilfiUan com- 
mits, and a very different misfortune which his readers suffer. 
On his part, too, there is a ceaseless profusion ; but it is of 
words instead of thoughts, of colours instead of images; of 
errors, inanities, and absurdities; of great truths miserably 
garbled, and doubtful ones intolerably mouthed. For the mental 

Plato, Bacon, and Gilfillan. 


repast which he serves up he has evidently rifled richer tables, 
gathered a miscellaneous heap of odds and ends, swept them 
into his own dish, added a copious stream of frothy rhetoric, 
and whipped the whole into a towering syllabub. Indulgence 
in such a compound can only be attended by nausea or inflation. 

As it will serve to bring us to the most important part of 
our subject, we must take some further freedom with Mr. 
Macaulay's name, while we briefly mention another exploit of 
our author. Mr. Gilfillan cannot rest till he has broken a lance 
with his "rivaP^ in the critical arena. Challenging Mr. Macau- 
lay's estimate of Lord Bacon's genius and philosophy, he charges 
the reviewer with sacrificing the character of Plato, in order 
the more pointedly to honour the great English sage. Having 
picked this " pretty quarrel,'' — we cannot but admire his bold- 
ness, — our critic at once proceeds to reconstruct the parallel, and 
give Plato the better half of each antithesis. Had our space 
permitted, we should have been glad to offer these rival compo- 
sitions to the reader in collateral columns. As this is not 
convenient, so neither is it quite necessary to an understanding 
of their respective merits. A single sentence, chosen in all 
fairness from either estimate, will suffice to indicate the cha- 
racter of both : — " The philosophy of Plato," says Mr. Mac- 
aulay, "began in words, and ended in words. The philosophy 
of Bacon began in observation, and ended in acts." See now 
how Mr. Gilfillan turns the tables : — " Bacon cured corns, 
and Plato heals consciences ! " It is too late to ask the reader 
to decide between these two ; for he has already done so. If 
both critics sacrifice a share of truth to the love of verbal 
antithesis, it is only Mr. Gilfillan who outrages taste and 
judgment for the sake of a paltry alliteration. If Mr. Macaulay 
has somewhat underrated the influence of Plato in the world, 
he has at least done noble justice to the fruitful philosophy 
of the English sage : but our author has ingeniously contrived 
to wrong both worthies; for, dealing only in extremes, he 
must needs thrust them one upon either horn of his critical 
dilemma, and the victim of his adulation is, as usual, the one most 
deeply wronged. " Most deeply wronged," we say, because the 
mind revolts from an ascription of divine and saving power, 
even to the most illustrious of the Heathen, and is, therefore^ 
apt to become intolerant of his just pretensions. 

If we trouble ourselves or our readers further with Mr. 
Gilfillan' s opinions upon Plato, it is only because something 
more is involved than a point of literary taste. We com- 
menced by asserting the intimate connexion between just criti- 
cism and moral truth, between trashy and unworthy literature 
and falsehood of the most dangerous sort. Not willing to beat 
the air, and have no profit for our pains, we fixed the charge 
of public deterioration upon a writer of no small pretensions ] 


Popular Criticism. 

and that charge we are bound by every proper motive to make 

Mr. Gilfillan^s Quixotic championship of Plato urges him 
into grossly exaggerated statements^ both of the elevation of that 
philosopher's doctrine, and of the extent and value of his influ- 
ence on mankind. Christianity is represented as the mere ful- 
filment of Platonism : the heathen sage is placed but little 
lower than Christ, and generally on a par with the Apostle 
John. The following sentences are among those deserving of 
the strongest reprobation : — 

"And what we demand for Christianity we demand also for the 
Platonic philosophy. Like it, it has done much ; hut not hitherto in 

proportion to the infinite scale it has itself fixed Are Churches, 

Missionary Societies, great religious movements, high spiritual poems, 
and holy lives, not worthy ' fruit ? ' and these, under God, we in this 
nineteenth century owe, not to the school of Bacon, but to that 
comhination of the 'philosophy of Plato and the divine teaching and 
ivorJcinc/ of Jesus, ivhich constitutes the only theology, whether theoretic 
or practical, deserving the name, — the theology of Taylor, Howe, 

Milton, and Coleridge And if it be said that we are unfairly 

adding Christianity as a make-weight to Platonism, we reply, that the 
one is, in our notion, the other fulfilled, — the other deified, yet prac- 
ticalized ; and that we have a right to rate the system we defend at 

its best Bacon sowed the thin soil of the finite and the present; 

Plato, the deep loam of the permanent and the infinite. Bacon 
expected and received the retiirn of an early crop of material results ; 
Plato's harvest lay in the slow yield of souls. Now the things seen 
are temporal ; hut the things unseen are eternal^'' 

If we are rightly informed that Mr. Gilfillan is a Christian 
Minister, and in the habit of exercising the sacred functions 
of his office, we can only express our unfeigned astonishment at 
language so unguarded proceeding from such a source. The 
only apology that suggests itself is a pitiful one at best. We 
are ready to believe that the sentiments quoted' are rather due 
to an inordinate desire of display, and a culpable remissness 
of style, than indicative of a deliberate intention to lower the 
character and claims of our divine religion ; but not the less do 
they call for exposure and reproof. The real meaning and ten- 
dency of the expressions used are probably unsuspected by their 
author himself ; but the effect upon his readers must, neverthe- 
less, be decided and injurious. If it be true that Mr. Gilfillan 
counts a large number of admirers, it is certain that many of 
them will adopt his opinions ; and these can only be estimated 
by the terms in which they are conveyed. 

It is useless, for more reasons than one, to point out to Mr. 
Gilfillan wherein consists the error, so vital and pervading, 
which disfigures his comparative estimate of Christianity and 
Platonism. He does not need to be told the truth, and he is 

Pretension and Profanity. 


incapable of improving by its repetition. It is not from a posi- 
tive ignorance of the distinction which it behoved him to main- 
tain^ that he has written thus defectively; but from a total 
incapacity of keeping that distinction clearly before him_, and 
of expressing it in adequate and proper terms. This is apparent 
from the singular fact that, in this very volume, the author pro- 
fesses the highest admiration for Mr. Henry Rogers' noble essay 
on Plato, and actually quotes the beautiful paragraph in which 
the character of Socrates — the hero of Platonic virtue — is so 
strikingly contrasted with that of our Redeemer. Thus it for- 
tunately happens, that the same blundering indiscretion which 
threatens to produce so much mischief, provides, in some 
measure, for its own correction and rebuke. 

But this is not the only instance in which Mr. Gilfillan is 
betrayed, by his besetting genius, into deluding and unwarrant- 
able language. If the danger is sometimes small, it is only 
because the absurdity is too great, or the obscurity too dense. 
Thus, in the following sentences, the mind is rather shocked by 
the appearance of evil, than assaulted by actual untruth. ^'^A 
new poet, like a new planet, is another proof of the continued 
existence of the creative energy of the Father of spirits. He is 
a new messenger and mediator between the Infinite and the 
race of man.'' The first sentence is nothing but a high-sounding 
truism ; for that only is predicated of poet and planet, which is 
equally true of oyster and pebble. If the latter sentence could 
be proved to mean any thing, it would probably appear as an 
offence against religion ; so we cling to the persuasion of its 
inanity, lest we should be obliged to condemn it as blasphemous 
and profane. In like manner, when Mr. Gilfillan declares that 
" the stars are the developments of God's Own Head," we feel a 
momentary revulsion, but refuse to attribute the expression to 
any deliberate or conscious want of reverence for the Divine 
Majesty. It is simply the natural result of so much ambition, 
hurry, tastelessness, and incapacity. But we did feel, and we 
do, strong indignation and disgust on meeting the passage in 
which our author compares the face of Mr. Burke, after speak- 
ing in the House of Commons, to the countenance of Moses as 
it shone with reflected glory, after forty days' communion with 
his Maker. Any thing more reprehensible than this, conceived 
in worse taste, or uttered in more wantoii defiance of propriety 
and truth, could not readily be found beyond the limits of the 
book in which it is contained. Within those limits it is only 
too often and too nearly approached. 

It was our intention to remark at some length upon "The 
Bards of the Bible," the work in which Mr. Gilfillan appears as 
a critic of sacred literature : but our observations must now be 
limited, and of a general character. 


Popular Criticism. 

As compared with that which we have just put down, this 
volume is agreeable and meritorious, free from many of the 
author's more glaring faults, and of sufficient interest to gratify 
a respectable and numerous class. The subject is itself so great 
and inexhaustible, that lie must be a sorry writer indeed, who 
cannot turn it to advantage. To one who commands a fluent 
pen, and who is moreover unchecked by the spirit of reverence, — 
yes, even for the mere book-maker, — what a quarry is furnislied 
in the Christian Bible ! Its grand old stories of patriarchal life, 
its sublime characters, its gorgeous scenery, its human pathos 
and divine wisdom, its dignity, variety, and universality; and 
these all coloured and endeared by the associations of dawning 
intelligence and early childhood, form a body of material, the 
rudest index of which must needs outvie in interest the most 
finished specimens of human art. As the eastern peasants build 
their rude huts from the ruins of Baalbec, so do such authors 
construct their literary edifices, — woful in their disproportions, 
and clumsy in their poor contrivances, but very costly in their 
material of cedar and gold, of porphyry and brass ; and here a 
sculptured image, not quite effaced, and there a pillar or an altar, 
not yet overthrown, is more than enough to rivet the attention 
and reward the search. 

The faults of this book, we say, are not so glaring as those of 
the author's " Third Gallery of Portraits but they are sub- 
stantially the same in character, however subdued in tone and 
modified in form. There is the same lack of precision, discrimi- 
nation, and sobriety; the same tasteless and tiresome strain 
upon the imagination of the reader. The work throughout is 
vague in its portraitures, unworthy in its allusions, and irreverent 
in its treatment. It is in the Preface to this volume that our 
author enunciates the maxim already quoted, " Every true criti- 
cism on a genuine poem is itself a poem.-^ Accordingly the 
author produces a rhapsody when he imagines he is writing a 
critique. Trying his predecessors by his own warm standard, he 
finds them cold and tame. Lowth is only elegant ; " he " never 
rises to the height of his great argument.-'^ His criticism 
Avants " subtlety, power, and abandonment.^^ (Surely a critic is 
the only species of judge who was ever impeached for this 
deficiency, — this fatal want of " abandonment.^') But Herder, 
it seems, was a man of another spirit ; and his report of the 
good land of Hebrew poetry, compared to Lowth's, is that of 
Caleb or Joshua to that of the other Jewish spies." One 
would naturally suppose, from the allusion of this passage, that 
Bishop Lowth spoke in most disparaging terms of ^'^the good 
land of Hebrew poetry ; " but our author probably means that 
he lived long and familiarly in that ^' good land," explored all 
its vineyards, tasted all its variety of fruits, and gathered more 
than one rich specimen, — which, indeed, is true. 

Bishop Lowth and George Gilfillan. 


It must be granted that Mr. Gilfillan is a critic of a very- 
different stamp to Lowtli. His notion of poetry is so loose 
and general, that he seems to hold that whatever is good in 
literature is poetical. Thus with him all the Bible is true 
poetry, and one bard not essentially distinguished from another. 
We have poetry of the New Testament as well as of the Old ; 
and it is with evident reluctance that our author excepts from 
the same category the argumentative writings of St. Paul. In 
all this Mr. Gilfillan gives evidence of much good feeling and 
many devout associations ; but none of any peculiar fitness for 
the ofnce whose functions he has assumed. 

While the plan of this w^ork is thus radically faulty, the 
style and spirit of its execution conspire to make it really 
dangerous. When he meets with a chapter inscribed '^'^The 
Poetry of the Pentateuch/^ the phrase is sufficiently doubt- 
ful to make the reader pause, or hold himself ready for 
further intimations of the author's meaning. In what sense 
is the Pentateuch to be esteemed as so much poetry? Know- 
ing Mr. GiMllan^s peculiar manner, we are able to acquit 
him of doubting the authenticity and truth of the Mosaic 
record; but the cursory reader of his volume may not be equally 
prepared. He finds a frequent transition from some high- 
sounding praise of Hebrew King or Prophet to a modern and 
perhaps not much respected name. In point of taste, this is an 
obvious blemish, as nothing but disenchantment can result. - 
These allusions are seldom warranted by any real propriety, and 
never sanctioned by any evident advantage; they are gratuitous 
solecisms in a work where a certain dignity of tone is demanded 
by the elevation of its theme. We could spare our author many 
of his grander flights, to escape the humiliation and danger of 
his sudden and perilous descents ; for danger of a certain kind 
there is. The distinctive inspiration of the sacred bards is not^ 
indeed, denied ; but they are forced unceremoniously into profane 
company, and compared at random with modern and even living 
authors ; till the reader is apt to suppose them all of one guild. 
It is of no use to assert a distinction in one place, and then lose 
sight of it in every other. Why should the names of Shelley 
and Coleridge and Byron, — of " Lalla Rookh'' and Macaulay's 
Lays,''— of "Macbeth,'' "Festus," and the "Pilgrim's Pro- 
gress," so frequently appear on pages professedly devoted to the 
Bards of the Bible ? Serving no purpose of useful illustration_, 
their introduction is at best a grave impertinence and an osten- 
tatious folly. 

It is time to bring these strictures to a close ; but it remains 
for us to notice, by anticipation, a remonstrance to which they 
may possibly expose ourselves. We have said much about our 
autlior's faults, but what of his real merits ? Are they absolutely 
nil, or we so injurious as to suppress them ? Let us own that 


Popular Criticism. 

something might have been ingeniously arrayed upon the other 
side. A book may be positively worse than worthless, and yet 
not absolutely void of merit. As there is no popular fallacy 
which does not take rise from some partial or defective view of 
truth, so, perhaps, never was there a literary reputation earned 
without talent of some kind or other. This talent may be 
solitary, and so useless; perverted, and so mischievous; out of 
all pi'oportion, a deformity, an excrescence ; but something there 
will be to extenuate, if not to justify, the public folly. If a 
writer chance to be the reverse of fastidious, he may run on at 
almost any length upon any given subject. If he be, moreover, 
a person of vivid imagination, he can hardly fail to give off some 
striking things, struck out in the impetuosity of his headlong 
course. Mr. Grilfillan is an author of this kind. He has imagina- 
tion, though it be not elevated or enlarged, not cultivated or 
enriched, not trained by intellectual habits, nor subordinated to 
the rule of judgment. It is a somewhat distempered imagination, 
too soon excited, and too far indulged. Our author^s thoughts 
are therefore only fine by accident. His similes are generally 
audacious failures ; but occasionally they are of striking excel- 
lence, and, like a fortunate rebellion, justify themselves by their 
success. When he says of John Sterling, ^' His mental struggles, 
though severe, were not of that earthquaking kind which shook 
the soul of Arnold, and dy^ove Sartor howling through the Ever- 
lasting No, like a lion caught in a forest of fire there is a 
splendour about this final image which makes us wish it were 
not so awkwardly introduced. Still better, because not so 
encumbered, is his description of the policy and power of Russia, 
as " the silent conspiracy of ages, — cold, vast, quietly progressive, 
as a glacier gathering round an Alpine valley These images, 
we say, are fine; and they are so because of their striking 
aptitude and truth ; and a few more of the same kind might, 
doubtless, be gathered from this author's publications. But to 
what good end ? It is certainly not desirable to encourage the 
use of Mr. Gilfillan^s pen on the wide, and high, and solemn, 
and important themes of which he is enamoured, for the sake of 
giving full scope to the indulgence of this gift of doubtful value ; 
and to themes of humbler character and lesser moment he will 
hardly be persuaded. If any consideration could induce Mr. 
Gilfillan to forget, for some short time, the great men of the 
world, — to leave the Mirabeaus and Miltons in their craggy 
heights ; if he would lay aside aU books, and watch the world of 
men and nature with calmer eyes, and never write a line sug- 
gested by one already written, — we should yet have hopes of him. 
But we fear he is too far gone in his love of power to descend 
from his dictatorial eminence. We cannot flatter his pretensions 
to occupy the throne of universal criticism; and while he is 
making his pompous awards in every conceivable direction, we 

The JVar with Russia. 


point to the evidence just given as in very ridiculous contrast. 
He has in truth no single qualification for the office of a critic, 
either of sacred or profane literature, and, in assuming the one 
after the other, he has only added presumption to incompetence, 
and irreverence to presumption. 

Art. VIII. — I. The Conduct of the War. A Speech in the 
House of Commons. By the Right Honourable Sydney 
Herbert, M. P. 8vo. London: John Murray. 1855. 

2. The Prospects of the War. A Speech in the House of 
Commons. By A. H. Layard, M.P. 8vo. London: John 
Murray. 1855. 

3. The War; Who's to Blame ? Being a complete Analysis of 
the whole Diplomatic Correspondence regarding the Eastern 
Question, and showing from these and other Authentic 
Sources the Causes which have produced the present War. 
By James Macqueen, Esq., F.R.Gt.S., Author of " Geography 
of Africa," &c. London : Madden. 1854. 

4. A Month before the Camp at Sebastopol. By a Non-Com- 
batant. London: Longman and Co. 1855. 

The war in the East, in which we are now involved, opens a 
new epoch in our annals, as well as places us on new ground. 
It is the first time that England has drawn the sword against 
Russia ; but it is not likely, now that the contest is begun, that 
it will be the last. Queen Elizabeth and Ivan the Terrible were 
friends, not to say allies ; and the dreaded tyrant contemplated 
becoming a refugee in our country, in case his subjects, in 
revenge for his cruelties, drove him from the Muscovite soil. 
He, however, succeeded in taming their discontents by the atro- 
cities he perpetrated ; and England was not honoured — or dis- 
graced — by the denizenship of the most fearful monster who ever 
dwelt in human form. From the age of Elizabeth to the present 
time, England and Russia have been friends ; and the ties of this 
friendship have become closer, as time has advanced, cemented by 
events. But this union of the two nations never possessed any 
common identity, and had no foundation in national character ; 
the institutions of the two countries were always dissimilar, and 
the elements at work were perfectly antagonistic. The one State 
has always been essentially a military State, and the other com- 
mercial : the one is despotic in its head, and enslaved in its 
members ; the other, constitutional and free : the one has ever 
been Machiavellian, crafty, subtle, overreaching, and fraudulent 
in its policy ; the other, often duped, but never attempting to 
deceive and entrap : the one has all along built her power on 
physical force ; the other, on moral force : the one has constantly 


The War with Russia. 

sough t_, through her wide dominions and her conquered pro- 
vincesj to crush civilization ; the other^ to assert its claims, and 
promote its interest : in fine_, the one has_, to the full extent of 
her means, universally striven to arrest the progress of the 
human race ; the other, to advance it. 

On these accounts it may, at first sight, appear marvellous 
that the contest has been so long delayed. But it has never 
been the policy of our statesmen to interfere in the internal 
affairs of other nations ; so that, though the two systems were 
wide as the poles apart, yet amicable relations were possible, on 
the ground of mutual forbearance. These amicable relations are 
now severed. This places us on the new path above referred to ; 
and is, no doubt, the beginning of a new period in our his- 
tory. A wide and interminable series of political and military 
events will take their date from the moment when Her 
Gracious Majesty declared war against the Czar. It is the 
opening of a new page in the book of fate : it is letting loose 
the waters of a deluge, to overspread many lands, and extend 
through many ages : it is as the reconnaissance of the two nations 
on each otlier^s frontier, prior to a long and desperate campaign. 
These auguries are based on the idea of the strength of each 
nation. When a feeble state is brought into collision with a 
powerful one, the contest will soon be over ; but when the battle 
is betwixt belligerents of equal power, this cannot be the case. 
It is true, the strength of the two countries is different. Russia 
is strong by land, and we are strong by sea ; we cannot drive 
Russia from her frozen regions and boundless steppes, and 
Russia cannot drive us from the ocean. Hence the contest may 
remain for ages undecided; for a peace can only be of the 
nature of a truce, of shorter or longer duration, to be followed 
by new and sanguinary wars, till, in the cycles of time and the 
destinies of nations, other elements spring up, and new combina- 
tions take place. But in the present attitude of aflPairs, Russia 
and Great Britain are found every where ; they confront each 
other ; their policy is different, and their interests are different ; 
they meet in moral collision in every country on the face of the 
earth; and it would require a miracle to prevent, at different 
times, this moral collision becoming physical. We cannot, there- 
fore, help looking along the line of the future with forebodings 
of wars for many years to come ; for, let it be remembered that 
the rivalry betwixt England and Russia is not theoretical and 
fastidious; it is the rivalry of eternal principles, never to be 

. But other novelties arise out of this war. In this contest 
both our naval and military forces occupy a position never 
occupied before. An English fleet never rode triumphantly 
in the Euxine at any former period, and an English army 
never before planted its standards on the shores of the Cri- 

Importance of the Command of the Euxine. 205 

mea. Our ships of war have traversed, we should imagine, 
every latitude and longitude of the ocean; but this one sea 
has been heretofore closed to them. For many years Rus- 
sia has been snugly ensconced in this sea; has been build- 
ing her navy at Sebastopol unseen and unmolested; has rode 
triumphantly over its waters ; has scoured the Circassian coast 
at pleasure, and, by the broadsides of her men-of-war, has 
often committed sad ravages in the ranks of the brave moun- 
taineers ; has by this means built forts, furnished the material 
of war to their garrisons, and carried, or attempted to carry, her 
dominion, and with it slavery, to the fairest portions of the globe. 
By an insane policy, this country permitted the Dardanelles to be 
closed to the ships of war of every country in time of peace ; thus 
shutting Russia up in the possession of the Euxine, to do as she 
pleased. And well she profited by the boon. The sea itself 
became a Russian lake : she was enabled to dominate at the 
mouth of the Danube ; against treaties, to erect fortifications on 
the islands at its mouth, under the pretence of sanitary measures ; 
to levy tolls on the merchantmen of all nations ; to build Sebasto- 
pol with its arsenals and means of aggression ; and constantly to 
hold Turkey in terror; to menace her independence, and to prepare 
for her final overthrow. All that Europe is now encountering 
of injustice and aggression, was stealthily prepared by the con- 
nivance of the Western nations to their own exclusion from these 
waters, without any precautions regarding the ascendancy of the 
Russian navy. 

The entrance of the allied fleets breaks the chain, and lays 
open the Black Sea. This event brings the British navy into a 
new sphere, not likely again to be abandoned. In point of fact, 
the command of the Euxine is the command of Turkey, of the 
Circassian coast, of the commercial road to Persia, of the 
Armenian and Georgian provinces wrung from the Ottoman 
Porte at different times, and annihilates the influence of Russia 
in the East. But the entrance of our fleets into these waters 
can only answer their purpose by their remaining there. Their 
departure would only be the signal for Russia to repeat her old 
policy, to renew her preparations for aggression, to menace 
Turkey, and, taught by the past, to embrace the first opportunity, 
brought about by the complications of Europe, to seize on her 
prey. Nothing can be plainer than that Russian power must 
be arrested on this sea. She is paralysed in all her movements 
in the East by this one event. The entrance of the fleets of the 
Western Powers can only be stopped at the Dardanelles by the 
Porte; but in the present and the probable future posture of 
affairs, this is not likely; and, till she is in a state to defend 
these waters herself, it must be her interest to agree, by treaty, 
that the fleets of England and France should repress, perma- 
nently, the ascendancy of Russia. By a marvellous sagacity. 


The War with Russia. 

the Cabinet of St. Petersburg has been enabled to gain the 
mastery over the two great inland seas of the north and the 
south; and thus to make the Baltic and the Black Sea the 
flanks of her power, and the pivot of her policy. It seems 
strange that, with our naval superiority, up to the period of 
the present war, no English fleet, as far as we recollect, has 
ever appeared in cither of these seas, farther than the expedi- 
tion for the bombardment of Copenhagen by Nelson, and the 
insane and not very successful expedition of Admiral Duckworth 
against Constantinople. 

In addition to the physical effects of powerful arfnaments 
riding triumphantly in these waters, for many years, the moral 
effect must have been much greater. How could the northern 
states see Russia building her enormous fortifications on every 
point of land, every harbour and bay, every creek and river's 
mouth, all around them, frowning upon their coasts, and 
threatening their existence, without misgivings as to her 
designs and their own security ? How could these smaller king- 
doms see, year after year, the gigantic fleets of Cronstadt 
parading their waters, and proudly spreading their sails, within 
sight of their very capitals, without some apprehensions of 
ulterior designs of conquest and dominion? The same must 
have been the case in the Black Sea. Nothing could be more 
menacing, in the imaginations of the Turks, than the port and 
fleet of Sebastopol. The moral influence of which we speak, 
sprang from the isolation of the naval power of Russia in these 
seas; this power was alone, it stood out in the sight of the 
nations around as one and undisputed. The policy of the 
present war is to show these nations that there are other powers 
besides Russia; that she is not alone on the sea. The Russian 
fleets may continue to hide themselves behind the guns of their 
fortresses ; no naval \ictories over them may be gained ; their ships 
may continue in undiminished numbers; but the appearance 
of the fleets of the Allies will diminish the prestige of Muscovite 
power, inasmuch as the fact of their refusing battle will be to 
these nations a sensible proof of the superiority of their antago- 
nists. We imagine, consequently, that the same policy which 
has led to the invasion of these seas, will induce the Western 
Powers henceforward to guard the ascendancy they have 
gained, and to take care that the two flanks of the Russian 
power shall not be rendered impregnable by undisputed pos- 

But the land scene of our military operations is, if possible, 
more novel than even that of the sea. The dominions of Turkey, in 
general, are lands on which the foot of a British soldier, for mili- 
tary purposes, never trod; with the exception, it may be said, of our 
expeditions to Egypt, and Sir Charles Napier's brilliant exploits 
in Syria. But the Crimea was to us a terra incognita^ and the 

The Balance of Powe7\ 


Danubian Principalities almost as little known. We are not, 
except in a secondary degree, a military nation. Our predomi- 
nant characteristic is commercial enterprise ; and, although peace 
and commerce are twin sisters, it so happens that our com- 
mercial transactions carry us to every region, whilst, as it is 
found, out of these transactions spring up political questions, 
demanding the intervention of arms. 

In this Eastern Question, other considerations than com- 
mercial have doubtless weighed with our statesmen; but our 
commercial interests pioneered our way into these countries, 
and have had their influence in bringing our armies upon 
Turkish ground. We cannot afford to have our markets 
wrested from us; and one of the certain consequences of the 
conquest of Turkey by Russia would be to enforce her pro- 
hibitory system, close the Dardanelles, shut our merchants 
out from Trebizond and the route to Persia, as well as 
to render the Danube a sealed river, except in so far as it 
suited her own interests to open its navigation to our 

The " balance of power,^^ indeed, is a sufficient consideration 
to justify the war, without the reason referred to. What is 
involved in this? The technical phrase is sufficiently intel- 
ligible to practical diplomatists and statesmen ; but, we imagine, 
it conveys a very inadequate idea to the uninitiated. The real 
justification of the war, however, turns on this point. The 
" balance of power means, that it would be dangerous for one 
nation to possess so preponderating an influence by territorial 
acquirement, and political and military force, as to threaten 
the liberties of other nations. Would the conquest of Turkey by 
Kussia have this effect ? Certainly it would. No well-informed 
person can doubt this for a moment. Her possession of Con- 
stantinople, in itself a sufficient catastrophe, would not be the 
only effect of this conquest. The seizure of Constantinople 
would, as we have seen, give her the keys of the Dardanelles, 
and this, again, the absolute command of the shores of the Black 
Sea. But, if she would, she could not stop at this point. The 
whole of the territories of the Sultan in Asia Minor and in 
Syria must as certainly follow the capital of the East, as a stone 
gravitates to the earth. But the possession of these countries 
would necessarily carry Russian dominion forward to Egypt, to 
the Holy Land, and to Persia. Under these conditions what 
would become of our empire of India ? Hence our interest in 
preventing the spoliation of Turkey, the preponderance of Rus- 
sia, and the disturbance of the balance of power, is indicated 
by these infallible consequences of the success of her enterprise. 
Commerce is a very secondary matter compared with this. 
To prevent Russia going farther in her march towards the East, 
is a thing essential to our security ; and a policy which should 


The War with Russia. 

connive at this by indecision_, would be treason to our 

Without tlie intention of raising suspicion as to the integrity 
and honour of tlie several administrations of this country for the 
past forty or fifty years^ we have no hesitation in saying, that 
an almost fatal apatliy has been manifested in regard to Russian 
aggression in the East. She has been permitted to despoil 
Persia of great tracts of territory, and plant her power within a 
few miles of the road from Trebizond to that country, — the route 
of our commerce, — and is now in a position to overwhelm that 
kingdom, at her pleasure. She has been allowed to possess and 
fortify the passes of the Caucasus, which opens to her a military 
road to all tlie nations to the south and east of the Euxine. 
And, above all, she has been suffered, without molestation or, 
as far as appears, remonstrance, to carry on a cruel and mur- 
derous assault — no, butchery — against the Circassian triljcs, 
not for any ci'ime, but simply because they refused to submit to 
her hateful rule. This natural barrier against the progress of 
Russian conquest has been left to its fate by all the nations. 
And gloriously the mountaineers have defended their homes, 
and, indeed, more than their own homes ; for had it not been 
for their unconquerable valour, the Allies would have been saved 
the trouble of defending Turkey, — Constantinople and the whole 
East would have been in the possession of Russia long ago. 
Europe owes its safety to these glorious heroes ; and yet, in the 
struggle now raging, we hear nothing of them : no recognition 
of their independence has been proclaimed ; no protection for 
them has been secured by treaty ; no means have been adopted 
to extend to their mountains and beautiful valleys the blessings 
of security and peace. Our statesmen will probably say they 
are not a nation, they have no head, there is no Government with 
which we can enter into diplomatic relations. But Russia is a 
Government ; she is in possession of a head, as he makes the world 
sufficiently understand ; she is not destitute of diplomatic agents, 
as all the earth by this time pretty well knows. Then, if the 
Circassians are so uncivilized as not to possess the counterpart 
of a Nicholas as their chief, but still remain in the primitive 
simplicity of their fathers, governed by the heads of families, 
the chiefs of tribes, and the counsels of their elders ; are these 
reasons why they should be abandoned to the mm'derous bar- 
barism of the Russian Autocrat? Cannot the Western nations 
secure the integrity, the independence, the freedom of these 
indomitable warriors, as well as perform these services for 
Turkey ? And, let us add, the one is essential to the other. 
Turkey would not be safe for a single day, if these people were 
subdued ; and we may safely predict, that the work of the 
Allies will one day be entirely undone, if these mountaineers 
are permitted to fall under the power of the Czar. We have 

Claims of the Circassians. 


loudly affirmed tliat one of our purposes in this war is the 
defence of tlie feeble against the strong. Political codes seldom 
lead statesmen to adopt this principle as a rule ; hut if it is to 
be fairly acted upon, here is a splendid opportunity for the 
display of our moral magnanimity. Circassia never belonged 
to Russia ; — has never been conquered ; the armies of the Czar 
have never occupied the country, and never can. All that 
remains to them is piUage, fire, massacre. We remember well that 
the alleged reason for the interposition of the European Govern- 
ments between the Porte and the Greeks, leading to the battle 
of Navarino, was the impossibility of these Christian nations 
standing by, and seeing two peoples destroy each other. And 
yet the Greeks at the time were the subjects of Turkey, and 
the war was a civil war between a rebellious people and their 
Monarch ; whilst these Circassian tribes are not the subjects 
of Russia ; the war is a razzia carried on from year to year, 
without any cessation of its cruel and iniquitous nature, and, so 
far as Russia is concerned, intended to exterminate the finest race 
of men on earth. Eternal justice demands that they should now 
be protected. Our interference in the strife betwixt Turkey and 
Russia will be an everlasting blot on our fame, fasten the sus- 
picion of hypocrisy on our professions, and, moreover, be insult- 
ing to the God of justice, if we abandon them, — now that we 
are on their very shores, — to the future cruelties of Muscovite 
ambition. Unless we can succeed in driving the Russians from 
the passes of the Caucasus ; in placing the tribes of these moun- 
tains in a state of secure independence, and enabling them to 
defend themselves ; in asserting our naval supremacy in the 
Black Sea, and destroying Sebastopol ; whatever blood and 
treasure we may expend, we shall have done nothing towards 
the safety of Turkey, or the preservation of Europe. Treaties 
can no more bind Russia than the " witlis placed on the limbs 
of Samson could prevent the exertion of his strength. 

It is stated that Lord Palmerston gave it as his opinion, in 
the House of Commons, that " Russia was strong in defensive, 
and feeble in offensive, war,^^ This statement has been adopted, 
we see, by Mr. Cobden. With his views we are not astonished 
that the latter should fall in with this notion ; but for a states- 
man who held the portfolio of the Foreign Office for twenty 
years to be under such an illusion, is indeed a marvel. Is 
his Lordship utterly, ignorant of history? or did he speak 
with the impression that the gentlemen of the House of Com- 
mons were less informed than any school-boy of twelve years 
of age ? What are the facts of the case ? Instead of being 
weak in aggressive war, as every one knows, her successes 
have carried her arms in every direction, and added province 
after province to her enormous empire. What of the north ? 
Has she not despoiled Sweden of Livonia, Esthonia, Ingria^ 

VOL. IV. NO. VII. p 


The War with Russia. 

Carelia^ parts of Poland and Finland ? — provinces which made 
that country, in the time of Gustavus Adolphus, the successful 
champion of Protestantism and liberty. Their loss, moreover, 
has had the effect of reducing that once brave and powerful 
nation to a third or fifth- rate power, and the world is never 
again, in all probability, to hear of a Scandinavian defence 
of eitlier religion or fi'eedom. AVhat, again, of Poland ? After 
subduing some of the outlying provinces of that country, did 
not Russia succeed in partitioning the nation itself, appropriating 
to herself the larger share of the spoil ? It is true, Russia was 
not alone in this infamy. As if in wrath against the happiness 
and freedom of the human race. Providence permitted the two 
most detestable Monarchs to sway the sceptres of Russia and 
Prussia at the same time. It is said that Frederick, misnamed 
^' the Great," first suggested the partition of Poland to Catherine 
II., and this perfidy agTccs with his entire character. This Mon- 
arch was a compound of infidelity, craft, great talents, and fero- 
cious courage ; the incarnation of every base and mean passion ; 
possessed of insatiable ambition ; was far-seeing, audacious, and 
bold in demeanour ; was devoid of honour, truth, and principle ; 
in the administration of affairs, venal and unscrupulous ; and, 
though decorated by the distinction of the term " the Great," was, 
in all the moral qualities that distinguish man, the least and the 
basest of the species. Catherine, his contemporary and partner 
in crime, equalled him in all that we have named ; and added the 
graces peculiar to womanly villainy. She began her reign by 
dethroning and murdering her husband Peter III., and lived, 
before and after his death, the life of a courtezan and a brava. 
These w^ere the spoliators of Poland ; for Maria Theresa of 
Austria signed the treaty of partition with tears, and ominously 
predicted the evils which have sprung out of it. It may be true 
that duplicity and fraud had more to do with this barefaced 
robbery, than arms ; and yet the aggressive jiature of the event 
shows that, even in the matter of war, the Russian power was 
not behind its political scheming. 

Then as to Turkey and the East. Does it appear from the 
history of the progress of Russia in this quarter that she is weak 
in aggressive war ? Let us see. In the various conflicts of the 
two empires, the balance sometimes turned on one side and 
then on the other, till the time of Catherine II., when it effec- 
tually preponderated on the side of Russia ; and this preponde- 
rance has continued to the present time. Indeed, by the Treaty 
of Azof, in 1700, the Russians gained a new position, and terri- 
tory amounting to one hundred and seventy-nine square miles, 
with various commercial advantages ; but this treaty was modi- 
fied in 1711 by the Treaty of Pruth. After a sanguinary battle, 
in which the forces of Peter the Great were completely defeated, 
and himself taken prisoner, the Czar willingly agreed to restore 

Russian Encroachments upon Turkey. 


Azof, demolish his new fortifications^ and resign the Turk- 
ish territories, won from the Porte, into the hands of that 
power. Charles XII. was at the time a refugee in Turkey, and 
earnestly remonstrated against the restoration of Peter to his 
dominions. How much hung on the determination of the 
Grand Vizier on this question ! It was on this occasion that 
the following scene took place. Charles, having heard that the 
Grand Vizier had restored Peter to liberty, " went to him in a 
fury, and in his passion even tore his robe with his spurs. The 
other merely replied, ' And who was to govern his kingdom in 
his absence, if I had detained him prisoner ? It is not good for 
Kings to be away from home.^^^ If Russia was saved by the 
generosity of the Ottoman, how well she has repaid this gene- 
rosity the sequel informs us. 

The former conquests of Russia being thus restored, but little 
advance on Turkey was made till the time of Catherine. By 
the persuasion of the French Ambassador, the Porte began the 
war which led to its greatest humiliation, in order to save 
Poland from the grasp of the Czarina. Turkey had guaranteed 
the security of Poland by the stipulations of a former date ; and, 
being urged by France to arm for its protection against the machi- 
nations of the Empress, took the field. But Catherine hastening 
to make peace with Poland, the whole weight of the empire w^as 
precipitated upon Tm-key. The Russian Generals operated on 
the Danube, the Black Sea, the Crimea, and Kuban ; and 
every where with success. The celebrated Treaty of Kainardji 
followed. By this treaty Russia succeeded in separating the 
Crimea, Bessarabia, and Kuban, from the Turkish Empire, and 
placing them under her own protectorate, and in gaining the ports 
of Kertsch, Jenikalan, and Azof. Russia also by this Treaty 
obtained a footing in Wallachia and Moldavia, by the right of 
interference in the administration; also, the privilege of con- 
structing a Greek church at Pera, and the protection of the Greek 
religion and the sacred edifices. Thus began that system of 
protection which has proved so destructive of the tranquillity 
of the Ottoman Empire, and which, if not now put a stop to, 
must end in its subversion. 

It was at this period that the Baron de Thugut, who had 
assisted at the formation of this celebrated treaty, gave utterance 
to the memorable words so much noticed since. " This treaty,^^ 
he wrote, "is a model of ability on the part of the Russians, 
and a rare example of simplicity on the part of the Turks. By 
the terms of this treaty, Russia will always have the power, 
whenever she thinks fit, to eflect a descent upon the Black Sea. 
From her new frontier of Kertsch, she will be able to conduct, 
in forty-eight hours, an organized army beneath the very walls 
of Constantinople. In this case a conspiracy, concerted with 
the chiefs of the schismatic faith, (the Greeks,) will, no doubt, 

p 2 


The War with Russia. 

break out ; and tlie Sultan will have no alternative but to flee to 
the remotest corners of Asia, after abandoning the throne of the 
Ottoman Empire to a more able successor. The conquest of 
Constantinople by the Russians may be accomplished off-hand, 
and even before the tidings of such an intention could reach tlie 
other Christian Powers/^ 

Such was the Treaty of Kainardii. It did not long remain 
intact. It, no doubt^ was intended but as an instalment 
preparatory to other and ulterior measures. The independence 
of the Crimea, after its separation from Turkey, had been 
guaranteed by the two Powers, and in words the most express 
and binding x^ossible, to the effect that neither Turkey nor 
Russia should assume sovereign rights in the country through 
all time. No sooner had the treaty been signed, than Russia 
commenced a series of intrigues in the Crimea, with a view to 
its annexation to the empire, and in four years accomplished 
her purpose ; thus bringing herself to the very gates of Constan- 
tinople by the construction of Sebastopol, and constituting the 
Crimea the base of her naval and military operations against 
the Turkish Empire and the East. The perfidy manifested in 
this whole transaction surpasses even Russian audacity in the 
line of duplicity and fraud. The Turks resisted these encroach- 
ments ; but being abandoned by their allies^ and even opposed in 
rear by Joseph II. of Austria, — after the loss of Ismail, taken by 
assault, and the people massacred by the tiger Suwarrow, — the 
Treaty of Yassi followed. By this treaty Russia obtained the 
acknowledgment, by Turkey, of the annexed territories of the 
Crimea, the Kuban, and the island of Taman, as an integral 
portion of the empire. 

The Treaty of Yassi was signed in 1 792, and the old intrigues 
continued, chiefly with a view to the possession of Wallachia 
and Moldavia. And in 1812, when Napoleon invaded Russia, 
the war between Turkey and the latter power having this 
object for its stake, so tenacious was the Russian Cabinet 
for territorial aggrandizement, that, even in the hour of her 
utmost peril, Alexander succeeded in securing Bessarabia, 
and a part of Moldavia, and in pushing the frontier of the 
empire to its present limits, making the Pruth the boundary 

By the Treaty of Adrianople, (1829,) Russia obtained still 
further advantages. The mouths of the Danube were con- 
ceded, and the islands adjacent; the formal protectorate of 
Wallachia and Moldavia was obtained, by which event nothing 
was left to Turkey but a nominal sovereignty. We have not, 
in this enumeration, touched upon Russian aggressions in 
Georgia and part of Armenia, nor on the influence obtained over 
Cossacks, Calmucks, and numerous Tartar tribes ; enough, as 
we imagine, having been said to show the aggressive policy 

Natural Defences of Russia. 


of Russia_, whilst her successes indicate the means at her 
disposal to accomplish these objects. 

This, then, is the power which has to be curbed and limited. 
It seems the part of wisdom to look the matter fairly in the 
face. In our vanity we have indulged in an overweening notion 
of our own power, and of the weakness of Russia in aggressive 
war ; whereas the opposite of this idea is evidently the truth. 
Russia is strong in aggressive war, because the state of the 
interior enables her to throw the full weight of her vast resources 
on her frontier. Impregnable in her steppes, her morasses, her 
forests, her frosts and storms; unassailable in consequence of 
these conditions of her empire, it costs her no money, and no 
material of war, in fortifications and ramparts, to guard her 
immense territories, which are sufficiently guarded by nature. 
This leaves her free for aggression. It may, indeed, be true 
that her extended frontier exposes her to the inroads of her 
neighbours; and, moreover, that to defend this frontier-line 
must weaken her power and drain her resources. This is 
unquestionably the case; but, being free from molestation 
within, she has the means of concentrating all her force on any 
point which may be menaced. The whole of Europe in arms 
at the same time might succeed in distracting her councils, 
and dividing her military force ; and little less than this com- 
bination of states, as it appears to us, could succeed in making 
her powerless in aggression. This union of nations may, at 
some time, take place when danger is more imminent ; but 
at present, through various causes, this is little to be expected. 
At the present moment no one knows what Prussia will do ; 
and in case she joins the Czar, which appears most likely, she 
will carry with her several of the minor States ; and for Russian 
purposes, as well as in concert with her armies, will divide 
Germany, and inflict a deadly wound on the freedom of the 
old empire. Sweden and Denmark hesitate, overawed by the 
power of their neighbour, and apparently waiting to see how 
the Western Powers succeed. This is the situation at pre- 
sent; and, in future, the same game of diplomacy may be 
expected, the same vacillation, the same rival interests. In 
the mean time, France and England refuse to attempt to 
resuscitate the nationality of Poland, being hampered by its 
partition, — a portion being in the possession of their ally, 
Austria; and, although the dynasty and Government of both 
nations rest on a revolution as their basis, yet they, apparently, 
refuse to identify themselves with a revolution. Stability 
and order are, undoubtedly, blessings, when their foundation 
is legitimate, national, and just. But the question is very 
different, when it relates to the denationalizing of a people, 
the usurpation of their country, and the overthrow of their 
liberties. To encourage such a people to assert their rights, 


The War with Russia. 

to regain tlieir freedom, and to re-establish their nationality, 
is in itself just, and in this case equally politic. The two 
bari'ier-nations, Poland and Hungary, have been allowed 
to be swept off the face of the earth. Whether the latter 
will coalesce with Austria, or whether she will not some 
day, in despair or in anger, throw herself into the arms 
of Russia, is, at present, uncertain. But the destruction 
of their national character has brought Russia into imme- 
diate contiguity with the German nations; and the loyalty of 
all these nations to the interests of Germany and to their own 
freedom is essential, always, to the safety of Europe. This 
is more than we can expect. As certainly as Prussia now 
vacillates and yields to the star of Nicholas, so certainly will 
some of the German States, in time to come. 

Nothing can avert this danger, but the independence of 
Poland and the loyalty of Hungary. But we despair of the 
first, and the second is most problematical. What, then, are 
we at war about ? To secure, we say, the integrity of Turkey, 
and, with Turkey, the balance of power, or the independence 
of the nations of Europe. Our efforts, however successful for 
the time, will be in vain, unless we lop off some of the limbs 
of the overgrown giant. It is not necessary to follow in the 
footsteps of Charles XII. and Napoleon, and penetrate into 
the interior of Russia, in order to reduce her power for aggres- 
sion and mischief. Her strength for these purposes is in her 
frontier-possessions taken from other nations, and the fortresses 
she has erected. These are within reach : many vulnerable 
points present themselves, and may be easily attacked. But 
if, in deference to dynastic principles, the fear of revolutions, 
and the dread of innovation, the suitable means are not adopted, 
all our zeal, denunciations, and professed love of liberty and 
justice will be, at best, no more than the hurricane of Novem- 
ber 14th : we may succeed in ripping up some Russian tents, 
despoiling some of her wearing gear, uprooting some of her 
long-cared-for plants and trees ; but this is all, and the damage 
will speedily be repaired. 

We may fail in our efforts. War is uncertain. But real 
success is not to be judged of by battles, by routs, by heca- 
tombs of slaughtered men. The question of advantage will turn 
upon the treaties to follow, the ground gained, the strongholds 
demolished, and the means of future assault wrested out of 
the hands of the enemy. The expedition to the Crimea was 
obviously conceived in the spirit of these opinions. Material 
guarantees,^^ to use the words of Nicholas, are wanting to 
insure the peace of the world. This is one. It is a childish 
chimera, to imagine that Turkey can be safe whilst the Crimea 
remains in the hands of Russia ; and it is equally fallacious to 
dream of the security of Germany and of the Western nations, 

Material Guarantees 


whilst she possesses Poland. Her means of assault are con- 
stantly in her hands, whilst she can assemble the hordes of her 
vast dominions on these two points of attack ; and we confess 
that we can have no confidence in the permanent independence 
and the full security of the freedom of nations, whilst these 
points of aggression remain in her occupancy. 

If we judge of the prevalent notions of statesmen and 
diplomatists from the publications constantly emanating from 
the council- chambers of these high functionaries, it would 
appear that the integrity of the Ottoman Empire is the only 
idea entertained. To push Russia back, to keep her within her 
own borders, to compel her to abandon her neighbour's terri- 
tories, and abstain from robbing that neighbour of her goods, 
fulfils the conditions of this ideal. What then ? Her means 
of present and future spoliation are found in the possessions 
gained by past robberies. The strategical operations of those 
armies which threaten the liberties of the world take place on 
ground seized by perfidy, rather than won by war; the guns 
that bristle on ramparts, giving Russia the means of effecting 
her forays into the territories of her neighbours, all stand 
on ground obtained by similar means of stratagem ; the 
waters she navigates, the ports she occupies hj her ships, and 
the ascendancy she has gained, have all passed into her hands 
by similar frauds. Now, if a gang of depredators had robbed a 
portion of the peaceful inhabitants of a city, and then taken 
their abode in the last house which they had despoiled, barricaded 
the doors and windows, filled it with crow-bars, pick-locks, dark- 
lanterns, and the rest of the implements of house-breaking, 
for the purpose of carrying on their trade of robbery against the 
next house, the next street, and gradually to enclose the whole 
city in their scheme of plunder, — what would the citizens do ? 
Would they hesitate to pull down the stronghold of these thieves ? 
Would they feel themselves safe, till they had accomplished 
this ? To lock and bolt their doors, they would instinctively 
perceive, would be no security against a gang of scientific 
robbers ; and to unkennel the beast of prey from his lair would 
be the desire and study of every man. This is exactly the case 
in regard to Russian aggression. Her cupidity is never satis- 
fied ; like the grave, she still cries for more victims : her spolia- 
tions this year only prepare her for new spoliations the next ; the 
occupancy of one province only gives her the means, and excites 
the appetite, to despoil the adjoining one, so soon as the time 
comes ; and her entire frontier is now in such a state of 
strength and efficiency, in all the material of aggressive war, as 
to prepare her to advance on every point. 

The preservation of the independence of Turkey must mainly 
depend on Turkey herself. The Allies may be able to drive back 
the Russian armies, but cannot garrison the country. Here lies 


The War with Russia. 

the real difficulty of the Eastern Question. We have no doubt that 
much progress has, in recent times, been made in reforming the 
abuses of the old system. The European code of military disci- 
pline now established is one of these improvements ; and the pre- 
sent war has shown that this organization is effective. The civil 
ameliorations, in the establishment of equal justice for all ; the 
formation of municipal institutions, with the franchise conferred 
on Christians, in common with Mussulmans ; the establishment 
of academies and schools, where the sciences and arts are 
liberally taught ; the improved condition pf the Rayah popula- 
tion ; and the introduction of a general system of justice and 
law, — are all indications of progress. But many of the vices 
of the old regime still remain, and, for aught that appears, must 
continue to demoralize the nation. From these causes, appa- 
rently fundamental in the Mahommedan religion, the Ottoman 
population is constantly and rapidly decreasing. Either the 
jealousies of the Government, or the bigotry of the people, 
continue to prevent the Christian population from taking part, 
by arms, in the wars of the empire, so that the Mussulman 
population alone is liable to be called out for military service. 
Whilst the ^lahommedan population is decreasing, the Chris- 
tian population is increasing in as great, or even in a greater, 
ratio. And when it is recollected that, in the European pro- 
vinces, the proportion is as twelve to less than four, — the Chris- 
tians being twelve millions, and the Mahommedans betwixt 
three and four millions, — it is easy to see that stability in such 
an anomalous state of things is impossible. Several of the 
provinces already enjoy a pseudo-independence. The two Prin- 
cipalities, as we have seen, possess a Government of their own. 
Servia is in a similar state; and so slightly is she connected 
with the Porte, that, at the breaking out of the present war, 
she resolved to remain neutral, and even refused to allow ten 
thousand Bosnian troops to pass through Servia to reinforce 
Omar Pacha's army on the Danube. Montenegro is more 
independent still ; and, in addition, is prepared now, and on 
all occasions, to join Russia against Turkey. It was only the 
appearance of an Austrian army on the frontier, threatening the 
invasion of the country, that prevented Prince Daniel, and his 
hardy mountaineers, from rushing from their fastnesses upon 
Bosnia, or invading Albania, with a view ultimately to join the 
Greek insurgents. We have no idea that old Turkey can hold 
together. In the loss of its military spirit the state lost its cohe- 
sive force ; and there is not, apparently, sufficient moral power 
in the religion of Turkey to blend society together, and lead to 
civilization. The Christianity — very imperfect, it is true — which 
has stood its ground through so many ages of oppression, is sure 
to vanquish the antagonistic system in the end ; and the people 
who have " multiplied and increased,^' in despite of their miseries 

2%e Religious Aspect of the War. 


and poverty, must, by the pressure of numbers and the force of 
circumstances, become, in the end, the dominant race. 

But this is no justification of the invasion of Russia, no 
reason why Turkey should be permitted to fall into her hands. 
We hold to just the contrary principle. The religious people 
of this country may possibly have some scruples respecting the 
fitness of a Christian nation engaging its resources in support 
of a Mahommedan power. We are not surprised at this, it is 
perfectly natural. The political portion of the case is complete, 
in the apprehension of all ; no one doubts the justice of our cause, 
and no one who understands the matter can doubt its policy. 
But surely Christianity never interferes with eternal justice; 
and what is just in policy must be true in religion. But the 
case may be fairly put even on this ground. What would be 
the prospects of evangelical religion, in case Russia succeeded 
in the conquest of Turkey ? and what are its prospects now, 
under the Sultan's Government? We answer, — in the former 
case, liberty of worship, freedom of conscience, and the pro- 
fession of the evangelical faith by the organization of Christian 
Churches, would be utterly destroyed. We are not disposed 
to do Nicholas an injustice. Let him enjoy all the reputation 
he deserves ; but if we judge of the fate of religious liberty 
in Turkey by what has taken place in his own dominions, — not, 
let it be observed, by the operation of an old and persecuting 
system, but by his own personal acts, enforced by ukases signed 
by his own hand, — then we must believe that he would utterly 
uproot all religious freedom in his new and Turkish provinces, 
adopting, if necessary, a violent course of persecution. 

The ecclesiastical system of Russia is politico-religious, in the 
grossest possible form. Peter the Great put an end to the 
Patriarchate of Moscow, the representative of the Christian 
principle in the Greek form, and substituted in its place what 
is called the " Holy Synod,'' which is a Committee, partly 
consisting of laymen and partly of Priests, the Emperor always 
being the head. All religious matters are under the cognizance 
of this Committee, whilst the Committee itself is as absolutely 
subject to the will of the Emperor, or the civil power, as the 
Police-Courts, the Courts of Admiralty, or the affairs of 
the Military Department. The imperial power is always 
represented in this Holy Synod" by military and naval 
officers of high standing; and the ecclesiastical function- 
aries are entirely subordinate to the will of the Czar, through 
the influence thus exercised. By this arrangement the Chuich 
is made absolutely a machine of the State, and is employed 
to execute its behests in the same way as any other machinery 
of Government. 

It has been the policy of the present emperor to bring all the 
religious bodies in the empire into strict communion with the 


7%e War with Russia. 

State Churcli. He has not hesitated to employ coercive means, 
as well as the cajolery of persuasion and bribes_, to effect this 
purpose. We are told, on good authority, that persecuting 
measures of the vilest nature have been adopted towards all 
nonconforming Churches. Amongst the most interesting 
Churches of this sort, is found a body of nonjurist Greek 
Priests and lay- members, who refused to conform to the 
Church-and- State policy begun by Peter. These nonjuring 
Christians, of the old Greek persuasion, are represented as being 
in character by far the most respectable Christians found in the 
country. Tliese people have been severely persecuted, their 
Priests maltreated, — some sent to Siberia, — and their flocks dis- 
persed, because they would not swallow a State-manufactured 
religion. Most of the Polish people are Romanists. The 
Priests of this Church were required to conform. They 
refused ; and, it is said, men venerable for age and virtue were 
seen marched off for Siberia, under the charge of rude Cossacks, 
to end their days in slavery, or to perish by the way. But 
these aged Priests were, we are told, subjected, many of them, 
to the knout, the instrument of Russian punishment for alleged 
offences against the new Gospel proclaimed by the Emperor for 
the behoof of his erring subjects. The Jews, a numerous body 
in Poland, have been dealt with in a similar spirit, though 
on other grounds ; and their property has been confiscated, 
their trade ruined, their families dispersed, and banishment and 
ruin have been entailed upon them. In like maimer, all the 
Protestant Missions have been broken up through the empire. 
The public of this country had, for years, been led to hope that 
in the outskirts of the empire, where they had chiefly aimed 
at the establishment of Missions, great good was going on 
amongst Tartars, Calmucks, and various Maliommedan and 
heathen tribes. These Missions have all been dispersed by 
the present Czar ; and the expense and labour of many years, 
on the part of the Scotch and London Missionary Societies, 
all scattered to the winds. 

Such having been the policy of Nicholas in his own empire,, 
what is the world to expect if he should succeed in annexing 
Turkey to his dominions ? There can be no question but that a 
similar policy would instantly be adopted in respect to the old 
Greek Church, which he now affects to desire to protect. 
Protect ! Yes, he would protect the Greek religion, just as he 
and his ancestors have protected Poland, the Crimea, Georgia, 
and Armenia. Protection means absorption. It is only the 
first stage on the road to this consummation: the protection 
of a lamb by a boa- constrictor would be as safe as the protec- 
tion of the Greek Church by Russia : in both cases the protec- 
tion would last till the monster was ready for his meal. 

The Greek Church in Turkey is really independent. It is the 

Freedom of Christian Churches in Turkey. 219 

type and representative of the Churcli of Constantine and the 
Lower Empire. The building where Chrysostom poured forth his 
beautiful and goklen eloquence is not^ it is true, now occupied ; 
but the same patriarchate is in the hands of the chief of the old 
faith; and, by a wonderful instance of tolerant magnanimity, 
the Sultans of Turkey have, for four hundred years, allowed 
the Church to exercise all the rights of self-government, and, 
what is still more strange, almost an entirely absolute 
freedom m secular affairs, as well as ecclesiastical. The 
same is the case with the Armenian Church. What would 
Russia do with these bodies? There can be no difficulty in 
supplying the answer. She would certainly destroy their inde- 
pendence, subvert the patriarchate, substitute another " Holy 
Synod in its place, or affiliate the old Greek Church in 
Turkey to the new order of things in St. Petersburg, and absorb 
the religion of the East in the huge centralization at present 
existing, — a centralization which mingles together in one pro- 
miscuous mass heaven and earth, the Gospel and the Govern- 
ment, the spiritual and the temporal, the Covenant of the Son 
of God and the ukases of the Emperor, the morality of the 
Bible and the chicanery of the " Chancery," the bodies and the 
souls, the temporal and the eternal interests, of mankind, and 
then places the whole in the hands of the Czar, to be disposed 
of by his will, and governed by his fiat. Would religion in 
Turkey fare the better by this change? At present all the 
Churches are, in themselves, free. We say, in themselves, 
because we are aware that they have not been free to make 
proselytes from the Mussulman population, or rather, which is 
more accurate, the Mussulmans have not been free to become 
Christians ; the onus not being with the Christian teacher, 
but with the taught; not with the proselyter, but with the 
proselytes. If the Maliommedans of past days had chosen to 
brave martyrdom, they might have become Christians : whilst 
Christian teachers themselves would escape ; except so far as they 
might have been exposed to enraged Pachas and infuriated mobs. 
But this barrier is being broken down ; and we see that an Ar-> 
menian who had turned Mahommedan and then apostatized back 
again to his former faith, being brought before the authorities, was 
told he might ^'^go away:" his head was left on his shoulders, 
and his religious liberty insured. This was the beginning of a 
new principle; and the repetition of a few more cases of this 
nature will secure the right of the Mahommedan people to 
embrace the Christian faith. 

But the Churches themselves are perfectly free. In this, 
Turkey has always been infinitely more tolerant than Christian 
States. The " Holy Shrines," that we have heard so much about, 
are a standing monument of this toleration. Would Popish Italy, 
would Protestant England, have allowed the existence of religious 
convents, churches, and places of resort for Mahommedan pil- 


The War with Russia. 

grims, in the midst of their territories, to be maintained at the 
public expense, and guarded by the soldiers of the State, as has for 
many centuries been the case with the Turks? Would these 
powers have permitted the head of the religion of Mecca to 
have had his seat in the metropolis of their several States, — Home 
or London, — with full power to conduct the ecclesiastical affairs 
of the Moslem religion, to build mosques, to carry on their 
public services, and the Muezzin to call the faithful to prayer, 
at the appointed hour, from the top of the sacred edifice? 
Would these States have tolerated the organization and self- 
government of Moslem congregations, in their chief cities, and 
all over their territories ? All this the Turkish Government has 
done, and is still doing. But we are certain, if Russia obtained 
possession of the country, all this would end. A short process 
would be taken with the Greek, the Armenian, and the Evan- 
gelical Churches; and, in case they refused to merge their 
identity, and pass bodily into the Russian centralization, a fierce 
persecution would instantly follow. 

On these grounds we are led to believe that the Bible, vital 
Christianity, and the progress of the Evangelical Church, would 
fare infinitely worse under the rule of the Czar than under 
that of the Sultan. ]3acked by the power of the state, the 
military force, the bureaucracy, and the wheels and pulleys of 
the entire system, a despotism crushing alike to social freedom, 
commercial activity, the progress of civilization, and the free- 
dom of religion, would be established. Not a voice would be 
heard in testimony of the truth ; not an assembly of Christians 
permitted, except in connexion with the established hierarchy ; 
not an effort would be allowed to promulgate the Holy Scriptures ; 
not a school for religious purposes would be tolerated, save such 
as taught the politico-religious creed of the dominant power; 
not a movement of the mind of the people towards that enlighten- 
ment for which all sigh, would be suffered ; and one black and 
portentous cloud, dark as the regions of Tartarus, would cover 
the land, where, at present, a partial and glimmering light 
shines forth. We do not found these anticipations on conjecture, 
on hypothesis, on theory ; but on what exists, on the well-known 
principles of the Russian system, on the history of the past. 
Russia is not satisfied with the allegiance, the laws of conscrip- 
tion and military service, the material substance forming her 
vast dominions : she demands the soul, the heart, the conscience 
of all her people ; and her object is to reduce all minds to one 
dead level of submission, to a despotism which alike bows the 
soul and the body to her iron domination. 

Considering the prominent place which the Church in Russia 
occupies as an instrument of the State, it is not a matter of 
surprise that the intrig-ues and audacity, which have led to the 
present war, should have had their starting-point in religious ques- 
tions. Our space will not allow us to enter into detail ; but the 

The ''Holy Places r 


fact itself is worth referring to. The '' Holy Shrines arc found 
emblazoned on the programme of Act the First. A " cnpola 
and a " key are seen to be the all-important subjects of dispute, 
in introducing on the stage the tragedy of war. Prince Men- 
schikoft' began his mission with demands on these grave matters. 
A brace of ecclesiastical baubles are found sufficient to agitate 
the sensitive mind of the head of the orthodox faith. Some 
concession had been made to a coxcombical Ambassador, sent by 
Louis Napoleon on the same grave subject; for the Porte, very 
naturally, seems to have cared very little about the Holy Places, 
if the parties concerned could agree amongst themselves. An 
Austrian Ambassador makes his appearance on the same stage ; 
and he also is soon satisfied, obtaining all he sought. The 
Russian Plenipotentiary Extraordinary follows in the wake of the 
other two dignitaries, but with very different credentials, and for 
a very different purpose. The "cupola" and the "key" are 
only the first parallels in the siege just about to open. Lest 
this business should be settled amicably and too soon, he next 
outrageously insults the Turkish Government, and opens up the 
real question of his mission; namely, to demand the protectorate 
of the twelve millions of the Sultanas Greek subjects for his 
master the Czar; in other words, the transfer of the sovereignty 
of the greatest and best portion of the Turkish Empire to the 
sovereignty of Russia. This audacity met with a stern and 
positive refusal. The diplomacy of Europe was evoked, and the 
famous Note of Vienna followed, in the main conceding the 
demands of Russia, and recommending the Porte to submit. To 
her eternal honour, she still refused, thus placing the onus of 
enforcing their interposition upon Turkey on their own head. 
For very shame the four Courts — France, England, Austria, and 
Prussia — nullified their own act, and supported Turkey in her 
resistance. Evasion, shuffling, a change of basis, and some 
modifications were conceded by Prince Menschikoff, but the 
main point, the protectorate, was insisted upon ; and to secure to 
himself, as he said, " material guarantees " for the fulfilment of 
his pretended "rights" on this question, Nicholas ordered his 
forces to cross the Pruth, and occupy the Principalities. 

Thus the war began ; for Turkey did not hesitate to accept 
the challenge, and by a Proclamation, couched in dignified but 
firm and decided language, exposed the perfidy of Russia, and 
announced that, if the Russian troops did not retire from her 
territory by a given time, hostilities would commence. Nicholas 
did not deign any reply to this manifesto ; he, no doubt, antici- 
pated it all, and was prepared for the issue : his army remained 
in Wallachia and Moldavia, awaiting the movements of the 

The brilliant and extraordinary campaign of the Danube soon 
commenced. A¥e may make a remark or two on the general 

222 The War with Russia. 


principles on whicli it was conducted by Omar Pacha^ in illus- 
tration of the result. The unity and simplicity of the entire 
plan will enable us, non-professional as we are in military 
affairs, to comprehend the whole. In the main, then, it is 
obvious that the strategical policy of the Turkish Generalissimo 
was Fabian and defensive. His troops were massed on the 
right bank of the Danube, and the fortifications, to the utmost, 
strengthened and improved. We recollect being anmsed at the 
time with a graphic description, by a traveller, of the workshops 
in the arsenal of Rustchuk, as pointing out the diligence and 
assiduity of the Commander-in-Chief in preparing for the emer- 
gencies of the war. In addition to the more important prepara- 
tion of artillery, and the strengthening of the fortifications, it 
was stated that in the workshops were seen, in the prosecution 
of their respective crafts, Turks, Bulgarians, Greeks, Jews, and 
Gypsies, — all busy in the preparation of some useful implements 
adapted to their genius. The Gypsies were tinkering at tin 
canteens, and other articles essential to camp life; the Bul- 
garians were engaged in iron work, and in making gun-carriages 
and carts ; the Greeks were pursuing lighter crafts, such as 
tailoring, boot-making, and the rest ; the poor Jew seemed ill at 
home in these duties, but was obliged to make himself generally 
useful ; whilst the Turks themselves smoked and worked, as best 
they could, in the midst of the general activity. The scene was, 
in its kind, pictm-esque enough, and, we must say, rather un- 
usual in the regions of Turkey. But these exertions told on the 
general result. The fighting part of war is, in reality, the least 
portion of the dreadful game. The preparations behind the 
scene constitute the arms and sinews of the contest ; and, in case 
these are neglected, disastrous consequences, as we too well 
know, must ensue. That these kinds of preparation were made 
on a judicious and large scale, we have proof in the issue ; for it 
would have been utterly impossible for Omar Pacha to have 
made good his ground, had he not possessed these resources to 
retire upon. His arsenals were full of the material of war, the 
fortresses well armed and manned, provisions prepared and 
supplied in abundance, and the lesser matters of transport, 
forage, and horses, amply provided. A defensive force is oftener 
driven from its lines by the want of means of subsistence, and 
other causes of a like natm^e, than by force of arms. 

The head- quarters of the Turkish army were, at the opening 
of the campaign, at Widdin. This place was chosen with skill, 
as we shall see, though not central. The ulterior purpose of 
Omar Pacha was evidently the formation of the Torres 
Yedras of the war, — the " lines,^^ or fortified camp, at Kalafat. 
But to secure this point, the passage of the Danube, in the 
presence of the Russian army, was necessary. This bold ma- 
noeuvre was accomplished, and the first combat of the war 
followed, — the battle of Oltenitza. The forces were not 

Omar Pacha's Strategy. 


numerous on either side, but pretty equal in numbers, and 
the contest ended in the complete rout of the Russian force. 
An eye-witness described Omar Pacha as seated on a divan, 
cross-legged, in the Turkish fashion, smoking his chibouque, 
and giving his orders with perfect sang froid. He was 
enabled to see every thing from this point of observation, 
and to direct the movements of every battalion of his army; 
and it was said by this witness of the action, that, when 
the Turkish cavalry were rushing forward upon the retreating 
Russians, and in danger of compromising the fortunes of the day 
by their headlong rashness, their sagacious General recalled 
them, by ordering the bugle to be sounded for that purpose. 
The day was won : no sinister counteraction followed ; and the 
Turks remained on the left bank of the Danube. Intrench- 
ments were thrown up; and we presume the Russians were 
deceived with the idea, that the Turkish army was about 
to operate from Oltenitza, as the centre of its movements. 
The General had a greater game to play, a higher prize in 
his eye, a more commanding position to secure. Whilst amus- 
ing the attention, and engaging the exertions of the Russians 
at Oltenitza, Omar Pacha crossed the river at Widdin, and, 
suddenly seizing the high ground of Kalafat, instantly threw up 
intrenchments, which ever after bade defiance to the Russian 
armies. This strong position was occupied by the Russians in 
the war of 1828 and 1829, and very much facilitated their 
operations against the Danubian fortresses, their capture, the 
passage of the Balkan, and march to Adrianople. How they 
came, on this occasion, to neglect to possess themselves of so 
important and essential a position, with the whole country open 
to them, and the example of General Diebitsch in the last war, 
we are unable to divine. 

Be this as it may, it is perfectly clear, that the fate of the 
campaign turned on this successful manoeuvre. Kalafat lies 
opposite to Widdin, and, by a bridge of boats, Omar Pacha was 
enabled to connect the two, — sending reinforcements and ma- 
teriel of war and provisions across the river to the camp, at his 
pleasure. This explains the reason for his head-quarters being, 
at this early date, fixed at Widdin, instead of a more central point 
lower down, as afterwards at Schumla. The position of Kalafat 
became the key of the campaign, and may be said, also, to have 
been the salvation of Turkey. It seems to have been the 
intention of the Emperor of Russia to have turned the Turkish 
defences at this point; to have passed into Servia; to have over- 
thrown the neutrality of that Principality ; and either to have 
forced the people to take sides with her against their lawful 
Sovereign, the Sultan, or to have made this country the base 
of her operations against the Turkish dominions on the right 
bank of the Danube, — probably a march on Constantinople. 
All these schemes were effectually frustrated. The intrenched 


The War with Russia. 

works at Kalafat were from time to time reinforced from "VViddin^ 
strengthened from day to day by additional redoubts^ and bristled 
with so formidable an artillery, as to bid defiance to tlie enemy. 

We are unable to comprehend the reasons for the strategical 
movements of the Russian General. His forces were placed on 
a line of some two hundred miles, from Galatz and I])rail to 
Bucharest, and even farther up than this capital of Wallachia. 
Judging of these movements by the ordinary rules of war, we 
might be led to imagine that the Russians were acting on 
the defensive, rather than the offensive ; that these troops were 
intended to guard and defend the frontier provinces, instead 
of being assembled to invade Turkey. An aggressive war, to be 
successful, must, in the natm^e of things, be carried on by the 
concentration of large masses of troops on one point, so as, like 
a mountain torrent, to break the defensive chain of the enemy. 
All the wars of Napoleon were conducted upon this principle. 
The Austrian armies, under General Mack,- were thus over- 
thrown, leading to the capture of Ulm, the battle of Austerlitz, 
and the humiliation of Germany. In the next year, Prussia, 
after an infinite series of perplexed manoeuvres on the field of 
Avar, just the same as her present perplexed policy on the field 
of diplomacy, shared the same fate. The Prussian army, under 
the command of the old Duke of Brunswick, of sinister fame, 
extended for many leagues, apparently, for the defence of the 
frontier of the kingdom, was pierced by one of Napoleon^s 
masterly movements, and then scattered to the winds and 
utterly annihilated by the great battle of Jena. Had Omar 
Pacha possessed a sufficient force for such a purpose, it would 
have been as easy for him to have scattered the forces of Prince 
Gortschakoff, as for Napoleon to do so in either of these 
instances. But, true to his defensive policy, the Turkish 
Generalissimo could not be tempted to risk the fortunes of war 
by a general action. 

We presume Nicholas became dissatisfied with the war and 
its results. As the time approached for active operations in 
the spring of 1854, he sent Prince Paskiewitsch to supersede 
Gortschakoff, and take the supreme command. This aged 
veteran is considered the first General in the Russian service; 
and he has, on two great theatres, eminently served his country. 
In Asia, — the scene of present operations, — in the last war, by a 
succession of masterly and brilliant operations, he entirely anni- 
hilated the Turkish power, and this at a time when the balance 
seemed to turn against the Russian armies on the Danube. 
And in Poland, in the last heroic struggle for liberty by that 
braA^e nation, Paskiewitsch was the instrument of their humilia- 
tion and subjugation. Having deserved so well of his Sovereign, 
honours were showered upon him. He was created Prince of 
Warsaw, General-in-Chief and Governor of that ill-starred 
country ; and, from the date of his victories^ he has held the 

llie Victory of Citate. 


reins of autliority, and employed his utmost energies — and not 
without success — ^in rendering Poland, what llussia always 
intended it to he, a military position of prodigious strength, to 
defend Russia against aggression, and provide an out-post of the 
empire, threatening to German independence and tlie liberties 
of Europe. The consolidation of Russian power in Poland 
has, unquestionably, been more advanced by Prince Paskiewitsch 
than by any previous satrap. The Polish nobility, if suspected 
of love to their country, have been doomed to the genial climate 
and elegant hospitalities of Siberia ; the peasants and common 
people evincing such sins as patriotism and the love of freedom, 
have been marched off to the army of the Caucasus, to battle 
with pestilence and the Circassians, — esteemed amongst them, 
and Yfith good reason, as tantamount to a sentence of death ; 
and if we add to this decimation of tlie population, confiscations 
of property, temporary imprisonments, the liberal use of the 
knout, espionnage, a universal and crushing police-force, the sale 
of justice, and the everlasting intermeddling of all sorts of 
employ eSy — we may infer thence how well this Prince- General 
deserves of his master. Althousrh it is said that he remonstrated 
against the policy of the war, and manifested great reluctance to 
be personally charged with conducting it ; yet, in obedience 
to the imperial mandate, he made his appearance on the held 
of action. 

The Prince had no sooner assumed the command, than 
extreme activity appeared in the Russian camp ; and we may be 
well assured that new life and confidence inspired all its grades. 
The scattered corps were grouped at, and around, Buch arrest : 
and it became evident that something decisive was contem- 
plated. The object of assault was universally understood to be 
the intrenchments of Kalafat. These were reconnoitred by the 
General-in-Chief, skirmishing parties were incessantly sent out, 
petty rencontres took place, and always in favour of the Turks. 
The strength of the place was not found merely in the heights, 
the trenches, and the cannon of the camp : it was incessantly 
fed across the river from Widdin, as occasion required ; and it 
was found impossible to destroy the Turkish bridge of boats, or to 
cut off the communication with the right bank of the Danube. 
After various delays, manoeuvres, marches, and countermarches, 
it became evident that an attack was imminent. This was anti- 
cipated by Omar Pacha. He ordered a strong force to sally 
from the lines, under the command of Ismail Pacha, one of his 
most trusty and celebrated chiefs, and to assault the Russian corps. 
The battle of Citate ensued. The Russians occupied the village 
of that name in force, with a numerous artillery and powerful 
infantry, flanked and supported l^y a strong body of cavalry. 
The attack of the Turks was irresistible. The village was 
carried at the point of the bayonet, and set on fire ; and the routed 



Tlie War with Russia. 

Russians were seen in full retreat. They met a strong column 
of some fifteen tliousand men, sent by Paskiewitseh to their aid^ 
and the two bodies formed a junction. The victorious Turks 
did not hesitate a m^oment, but flew in fury upon this new 
enemy^ which, by the union of the two bodies, greatly outnum- 
bered their own. A second victory followed, perfectly decisive 
in its results, which would have been much more so, if a cavalry 
chief had not misconceived his orders, or neglected to obey 
them. But this mischance only had the effect of rendering the 
victory less costly and humiliating to the Russians, and not 
wresting it out of the hands of the Turks. The heroism 
of this conflict recalled the best days of Ottoman history. 
Ismail Pacha fought like a lion at the head of his troops, 
exposing himself to shot and sabre every moment ; the officers 
in command were inspired with the spirit of their leader, and 
vied with each other in deeds of valour; and the common 
soldiers were in no wise behind their officers, but every man 
seemed to emulate his fellow in daring and prowess. True to 
the policy of the war, not to hazard any thing by rashness, the 
Turks retired in the evening to their intrenchments, flushed 
with victory, and re- assured in the confidence of being more 
than a match for their enemy. 

This battle decided the question as to the possibility of a 
succcssiiil assault of the intrenchments of Kalafat. No serious 
attempt upon the place was made after this period. Parties 
of Cossacks and cavalry, sometimes accompanied by infantry 
and artillery, approached the place, as near the range of the 
guns as was pradent, apparently for the purpose of reconnais- 
sance, or, perhaps, to tem])t the Turks to abandon their strong- 
hold, and weaken their force by useless encounters in the open 
field. But the sagacity of the Turkish Commander was superior 
to these vulgar bravadoes, and he left the Russians to waste 
their strength in fruitless and abortive efforts against his 
impregnable position. 

The moral effect of the battle of Citate in the Turkish army 
was immense ; and in old times, — indeed, so late as the war of 
1829, — it would, in all probability, have caused the Chief Vizier 
of that day to abandon his intrenchments, and hazard every 
thing in the open field. Had Omar Pacha done so, notwith- 
standing his victory, the war would have ended disastrously to 
his arms. In any thing like equal numbers, this combat proved, 
beyond question, that the Turkish army was more than a 
match for the armies of the Czar; but in other matters the 
contest was fearfully unequal, and the only possibility of Omar 
Pacha maintaining it was in a firm adherence to his defensive 
strategy. In numbers, in organization, in artillery, in their 
cavalry force, in all the munitions of war, in the command of 
the resoorces of the country, and in monetary powQr, tlie 

The Siege of SiU stria. 


Russians were far in advance of tlie Turks. These tilings con- 
sidered, it must be apparent to tlie most superficial observer, 
that a campaign in tlie open field must have terminated disas- 
trously for the Turks. The only chance of being able suc- 
cessfully to resist the unjust aggression of the Czar, lay in a 
persevering persistance in the defensive policy adopted by Omar 
Pacha; and, happily for his country, he had the courage to 
continue it. The world has witnessed many instances, since 
the days of IlannibaFs invasion of Italy, and its defence by 
Fabius, of a comparatively feeble State successfully resisting the 
assaults of its stronger neighbours. But nothing is more 
remarkable in the wars of Turkey with Russia, than the reverse 
of this. Impassible in ordinary life, and difficult to rouse, in 
war the Turk, above all men, is impetuous and fiery. In the 
very last war, the Grand Vizier had the temerity to sally out 
of Schumla at the head of his forces, place himself in an 
untenable position, and allow Diebitsch to interpose himself be- 
tween the Turkish army and the fortress they had quitted, and 
inflict upon them a blow from which they never recovered. It 
was this false move on the chess-board which enabled the 
Russian General to cross the Balkan, and to dictate the Peace of 
Adrianople. Such was the importance of the constancy of 
Omar Pacha in the line of tactics he had adopted. The victory 
of Citate could not deceive him. True genius knows when to 
halt, as well as vv hen to move ; and we look upon the defensive 
policy of the Turkish chief as indicative of profound sagacity. 

Baffled in his attempts to take Kalafat, and being equally 
unsuccessful in his efforts to decoy Omar Pacha from his 
stronghold, nothing was left to Prince Paskiewitsch but to 
take the old route into Turkey proper. He therefore ordered 
General Liiders to cross the Danube into the Dobrudscha, 
from Galatz, whilst the main army manoeuvred on the left 
bank, to support this movement. The Dobrudscha is crossed 
by the remains of the Wall of Trajan; and Europe heard, 
with some anxiety, that this point was to be defended, and 
a great battle was impending. But Mustapha Pacha, undoubt- 
edly by the orders of his chief, left the Wall of Trajan 
undefended, and retreated before the advancing Russians. 
This brought their armies before Silistria, and the cele- 
brated siege of that fortress followed. The fortunes of the 
war turned on this pivot, and the skill and resources of both 
armies were concentrated on this point. To meet the exigen- 
cies of the case, and to be near the new field of operations, 
the head-quarters of Omar Pacha were moved from Widdin 
to Schumla; but his old policy of defensive war was still 
adhered to. Decisive offensive operations were anticipated ; 
but the Turkish Commander was seen calmly, but energetically, 
strengthening his position, and refusing to bo lured from his 

Q 2 


The War with Russia. 

ramparts. The garrison of Silistria was reinforced^ its forti- 
fications put in tlie best condition, and the fearful conflict began. 

By reason of the secrecy observed in all military affairs by 
the Russian Government, it is impossiljle to ascertain the 
exact number of the force engaged in the siege of Silistria; 
but the general belief is, that not less than seventy or eighty 
thousand men were employed in the operation, with a vast 
train of heavy artillery. The approaches were conducted in 
the usual manner, and the Turks met the storm with cool 
intrepidity and unflinching resolution. An incident which 
gave a peculiar interest to this siege took place, apparently, 
from mere accident, — the presence of two of our countrymen. 
In the indulgence of a laudable curiosity to see the place, and 
make themselves acquainted with its defences, Captain Butler and 
Lieutenant Nasmyth entered the town just at the time of its being 
invested, and, either because they had no inclination to make 
the attempt to escape, or because of the hazard of such an under- 
taking, remained in the place. So,'' said Lieutenant Nasmyth 
to the ^' Times," being the correspondent of that paper at the 
period, " So we are in for it, and must make up our minds to 
abide the issue." There they did remain, and nobly they 
acquitted themselves. By day and by night these two gallant 
officers were found at the post of danger; at one time 
ciicouraging the men, and at another directing their measures ; 
at one time rousing the somewhat sluggish energies of the 
Governor, and at another suggesting the best plans of defence ; 
at one time found in the trenches, and at another heading the 
sorties of the garrison ; at one time foreseeing the stratagems 
of the Russians above ground, and at another detecting and 
baffling their mining operations ; at one time suffering the 
want of supplies, and at another devising the means to obtain 
them. These young officers became the animating life of the 
garrison, the objects of universal confidence and admiration, 
the guiding lights of the measures adopted; and, although 
Ave do not intend to depreciate the bravery of the Turks, yet 
it cannot damage their reputation to affirm, that the skill 
and equal valour of these gentlemen contributed largely to the 
success of the defence. England was proud of her sons, and 
took their conduct on this novel occasion as an omen for good. 
It is hardly necessary to say, that poor Captain Butler lost his 
life by the bursting of a shell, and was bitterly lamented by ' 
his brave comrades in arms ; Omar Pacha uniting in the 
universal grief, and rendering a public tribute to the memory 
of the young hero. By an act of justice. Lieutenant Nasmyth 
was, at the termination of the siege, raised to the rank of Major 
in the British army. 

It is a singular feature of the siege of Silistria, that the efforts 
of the Russian army, in all its force, were directed chiefly to but 

Silistria and Sebastopol. 


one fort, — Fort Tabia, which is described as a mere eartliwork. 
Innumerable assaults, by large bodies of men, were made upon 
this work, but invariably without success. With unflinching 
courage the Turks met these attempts to seize their stronghold ; 
their fire produced vast chasms in the ranks of the Russians, 
whose approaches to the works were met by the bayonet, and reso- 
lutely repelled ; with perfect coolness any breaches made in their 
intrenchments were repaired by the spade, in the presence of a 
murderous fire, and the loss of one man in this work was instantly 
supplied by another ; till, in the end, the steadiness and bravery 
of the garrison surmounted all difficulties. The loss of the 
Russians was prodigious. General Schilders, the chief Engineer, 
was killed ; Prince Paskiewitsch was wounded, though, owing to 
the secrecy observed on such subjects by the Russians, the nature 
of the injury has not transpired. Several other general officers, 
as well as many of a lower grade, lost their lives, or received 
serious injuries, whilst many thousand soldiers were put Jiors de 
combat ; when, finally, in the darkness of night, the Russian 
forces retired, carrying with them their artillery. 

The defeat of the Russians must be m^ainly attributed to the 
skill and bravery of the defence. But there were, undoubtedly^ 
other causes, leading to this result. Like Sebastopol, the town 
was never invested, the Russian General contenting himself with 
assaulting one side of the place, and leaving the other open. 
Y\e are at a perfect loss to comprehend the reasons for this 
omission, inasmuch as the Russian force was sufficient for the 
purpose, and there was no army in the field to prevent it. By 
reason of this omission, it remained in the power of Omar Pacha 
to send in supplies and reinforcements at his pleasure ; so that the 
casualties and losses sustained at different times, were constantly 
repaired. The case of both Silistria and Sebastopol reminds us 
of Sydney Smith's humorous description of Dame Partington 
attempting to mop up the encroaching waters of the Atlantic. 
The capture of fortified places is the eflreet of exhaustion ; but 
if their losses can be repaired at pleasure, this exhaustion can 
never take place, and, consequently, the defence can be pro- 
tracted ad infinitum. This, we presume, was the real cause why 
Silistria held out so long, and ultimately baffled all the attempts 
of Prince Paskiewitsch to take it. The case is so clear to non- 
professional men, that we cannot help expressing our surprise, 
that so experienced a General as the Russian Commander-in- 
Chief should have neglected so obvious a precaution. These 
hallucinations of intellect seem to be the instruments of Provi- 
dence in defeating the designs of man. The most important 
and, indeed, to the parties, fatal results in war often spring 
from these momentary blunders. 

The early movements of the Allied armies in the East have 


The War with Russia. 

"been equally open to criticism; and we confess our inability 
to perceive tlie reasons for some of these early movements. 
The first position taken was that of Gallipoli; but why, we 
cannot imagine. The Allied troops began their work by tlirow- 
ing up intrenchments^ preparatory to their being mounted with 
cannon. How this operation stood connected with the cam- 
paign on the Danube,, then fearfully raging, though understood, 
no doubt, by the scientific warriors who planned the best mode 
of assisting the Turks^ yet is a question lying very far from 
our vision. Gallipoli is a point of land^ with the Gulf of 
Saros on one side, and the Dardanelles on the other; and 
these earthworks seem to have been intended to secure 
the other fortifications commanding those celebrated straits. 
In case the Russians had been at Adrianople, were marching 
victoriously on the capital, and threatening the very existence 
of Constantinople, we can understand the importance of making 
the entrance into the Black Sea safe. But they were some 
three hundred miles oft^ were struggling to overpower Omar 
Pacha on the Danube ; and, to all appearance at the time, a 
small weight thrown into the scale would turn the balance in 
favour of the Turks. The moment we are referring to was 
the most critical moment in the entire war; and the most 
sanguine as to the justice of the Turkish cause, and the bravery 
of the troops, must certainly at that period have been visited 
with many apprehensions for the safety of the army, and the 
issue of the campaign. Bystanders must have felt, and we know 
many who said, that this was the time for the Allied forces to 
appear on the field. There vras nothing to prevent it. The sea 
was as open to Varna as it v/as to Gallipoli, and a few hours' sail 
would have carried our forces to the field of action, and at once 
have decided, in conjunction with the Turks, the fate of the 
campaign. But there we remained at Gallipoli, till the idea of 
fortifying the forts of the Dardanelles vfas supplanted by another, 
and the troops were moved to Scutari and the neighbourhood 
of Constantinople. All this time, as we have intimated, 
the Turkish army was fiercely contending for existence, and 
exposed to the utmost peril, and yet no movement took place 
for their succour. We can only account for this on one prin- 
ciple ; namely, that those who had the direction of the Allied 
forces — whether at home, or in the field — entertained the notion 
that Omar Pacha must necessarily be overcome, that the Balkan 
would be passed, that the Russians would soon be seen in full 
march, upon Constantinople, and that it was essential to keep the 
Allied troops in the neighbourhood to defend the capital. But 
here again, we confess, our common sense is sadly perplexed by 
this fresh development of strategic science. We should have 
imagined that the Danube itself, and, in the case of its defences 
becoming untcna'ole, then the Balkan, were the natural lines 

Delays and Mismanafjement. 


of defence ; and, moreover, that Constantinople would Iiavc been 
much more safe, with the Allied armies defending these bul- 
w^arks of the empire, than fighting tlie llussians flushed with 
victory, — which, we must remember, is one of the conditions of 
the case, as anticipated by our rulers, — on the plains of lloumelia, 
in their approach to Constantinople. 

Besides this consideration, an earlier appearance of the Allies 
in Bulgaria would, in all probability, have preserved the troops 
from much of that suflering and mortality which followed 
their late appearance on the scene. In such localities as 
Yarna, a certain amount of pestilence annually recurs, arising 
from malaria, the production of swamps and decaying vegetable 
matter. A previous residence is found the best safeguard, as, 
by a process of acclimatizing, the constitution is gradually pre- 
pared for the intense heats, noxious evaporations, and pestilen- 
tial fevers, which are certain to come. Of course, the cholera 
could not have been foreseen; but cholera was by no means 
the only visitation which cut off so many of our men; and 
it is certain, that every other species of disease by which they 
were visited, might easily have been foreseen and provided 
against by a different arrangement as to time and encamp- 
ment. But the lessons of science, and even of experience, 
are sure to be lost on Englishmen. We are " always learning, 
but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth;" or, 
if we attain to this knowledge in one age, it is certain to 
be forgotten in the next. No nation in the world possesses 
the same means of medical experience as ours, and yet, when 
this is practically tested, it is found that none is more defi- 
cient. Our empire traverses every latitude, and embraces every 
variety of climate, from the Tropics to the Poles. We are found 
every where, and our countrymen can, when rightly treated, 
live every where ; but no hum^an system can bear to be plunged 
at once, and without seasoning, into new and untried regions, 
the absolute contrast of the climate in which their life has 
been developed. We know not whether the medical officers 
of the East India Company, like the military officers of that 
service, are proscribed, refused rank, and treated as non- 
British, — a sort of alien race : if so, of course their experience 
would be unavailable in the expedition. In passing, let us be 
permitted to express our regret, nay, our indignation, at this 
suicidal proscription. India is the school, and, in times of 
European peace, the only school, open to Englishmen for deve- 
loping their military skill ; and we all know that it has trained 
for public service the greatest men of the country. That these 
men should lose rank when they return to their native land, 
and in their association with the dandy officers of the house- 
hold troops or others, who liave never seen any thing beyond 
a birthday review, is an infinite abomination. The amalga- 

232 The War with Russia. 

mation of tlie two services is essential to tlie efficiency of tlie 
British army ; and, in case onr belief is well founded respecting 
the medical department, the same principle must hold good. 
Indian doctors could have given our authorities some informa- 
tion respecting climate and cholera, that, in all probability, would 
have saved hundreds of lives, had their advice been followed. 

And yet it cannot be denied, that though the Allied army 
took no active part in the operations on the Danube, it 
contributed, in no slight degree, to the issue. By acting as a 
reserve, it enabled Omar Pacha to concentrate and employ all 
his forces in support of Silistria : the moral effect of such an 
army being at hand, and ready to act, could not be lost; and 
the certainty of having to encounter them united to the 
Turks, in all probability decided Paskiewitsch to abandon th(^ 
enterprise. Besides this appearance of the Alhes on the field, 
the Austrians had by this time begun to assemble troops in 
force on her Transylvanian frontier. A treaty had, moreover, 
been entered into with the Porte, to the effect that Austria 
would occupy and defend the Principalities, as well as secure 
the neutrality of Servia, and the integrity of the Turkish 
dominions on the side of jNIontenegro. In this latter country 
a Ilussian agent had been busily at work for some time, dis- 
tributing bribes, promising rewards, and inciting Prince Daniel to 
hasten his attack on Bosnia and Albania, and to co-operate with 
the Greek insurgents. Russia has all along been considered the 
very soul of legitimacy, the safeguard of dynastic rights, the 
shield of order against popular movements ; and yet, to serve her 
ambitious purposes, she could now stoop to become revolution- 
ary, and attempt to create revolt in the territories of her 
victim. She found a willing instrument for her purpose in the 
Queen of Greece, a clever and ambitious woman, who, it is 
well known, has long entertained the dream of becoming 
Empress of the Byzantine Empire, reconstructed by the arms of 
Bussia. Plow this petty Queen, with her imbecile husband, could 
imagine that Nicholas would conquer Turkey for their behoof, only 
indicates, in a somew^hat new phase, the blindness of ambition. 

It seems that soon after the discomfiture of the Russians on 
the Danube, the British Cabinet began to 'entertain the idea of 
invading the territories of the Czar, and assaulting Sebastopol. 
For reasons already stated, — namely, the insecurity of Turkey, 
and the utter uselessness of any temporary aid whilst this 
fortress remains, — we cannot but think this resolution was wisely 
taken. But we were not at the time prepared for so formi- 
dable a task. The army was sickly, and great numbers were 
daily carried off by cholera ; the officers and men were 
dispirited by inanition, disease, and, to them, the terrible heat 
of the climate ; siege artillery and material were not in prepara- 
tion j no suitable transport service, on an adequate footing, had 

Slow Movements. 


been organized; the medical department was defectively sup- 
plied with both officers and stores ; and nothing had been done 
to support such an expedition by reserves^ either on the Turkish 
territories, or in Gibraltar, Malta, and Corfu. Hence a long 
and tedious delay took place; and, as the nation could not 
know the determination of Ministers, great anxiety was felt, 
great astonishment expressed, as to why our army had 
gone to the East at all, seeing they had taken no part 
on the Danube, and were now left to melt away in the 
swamps of Bulgaria. Why, it was indignantly asked, did they 
not at once go and take Sebastopol ? The enterprise was con- 
sidered by the people so easy an affair, that they imagined all 
that was necessary was for the Allies to show themselves before 
tlie place, and it would at once capitulate. This illusion was 
brought about by three causes : ignorance of the Crimea, and of 
the strength of the place ; the recent advantages gained over 
the Russians by the Turks ; and then a hasty conclusion that, 
on their own ground, and in defence of their own stronghold, 
the former would be equally feeble. 

Time is every thing in war ; and as the expedition to the 
Crimea, from the causes referred to, would, of necessity, be 
thrown into the autumn, entailing the possibility of a winter 
campaign, we cannot help thinking that it would have been 
more judicious for the Allied Commanders to have united their 
forces with those of Omar Pacha, and finislied the advantages 
gained on the Danube, by the vigorous pursuit of the retreating 
Russians, and the invasion of Bessarabia. A joint attack of 
the combined navies and armies of the Allies could hardly have 
failed to prove succssful. Odessa was then open to assault, 
and might easily have been taken or destroyed by our fleets ; 
and the fall of this place could not have failed to render an 
advance upon the Pruth successful. Besides, there was ample 
time for this operation, though not for the other ; and the dis- 
comfiture of the Russian armies in Bessarabia, and the occupation 
of Odessa, would have cut off the Russian means of succour to 
the Crimea, which has since so fearfully crippled our exer- 
tions before Sebastopol. It was thought in this country, 
that the presence of the Austrian forces, which, about this 
time, entered the Principalities, would have the effect, at 
any rate, of diverting the attention of the Russians, and 
preventing their sending reinforcements to the Crimea. Such, 
however, was not the case. We cannot fathom the diplomacy 
of the Courts of Europe; it is an abyss too deep for our 
plummet to reach; but the facts are clearly before us; and, 
somehow or other, it happened that the presence of the Austrian 
army in the Principalities had the effect of setting the Russians 
at perfect liberty to march for the protection of the threatened 
city. The Turks seemed perfectly paralysed. Omar Pacha 

The War with Russia. 

ceased to advance; inaction, for a long time, took the place 
of activity; and Europe was astonished and appalled at tlie 
presence of an ally in the Provinces, who seemed entirely to tic 
the hands of the power she had gone to aid, and, whether dis- 
gnisedly or not, to serve only the strategical objects of the 
enemy. Compliments passed betwixt Russia and Austria on 
the subject; and, for the nonce, the former proclaimed to the 
world, that the retreat of her armies across the Prutli did not 
take place in consequence of disasters before Silistria, but in 
deference to the Court of Vienna. Not being then exactly 
prepared for a rupture witli so formidable a military power, tliis 
pretext served for the time ; but in a while it was announced 
by the Court of St. Petersburg, that the retreat was effected on 
purely strategical grounds. 

We lament that our first operations did not take place on the 
Pruth, as it seems certain that we should have been in the 
spring in a much better position to invade the Crimea with 
success, — as we think, the primary object of the war in the 
East, — and, moreover, should have avoided the dreadful miseries 
which a winter campaign in such a country could not fail to 
entail. Be this as it may, the expedition was resolved upon, auvd 
preparations made. Early in September, the expedition sailed, 
the most magnificent that ever floated on the bosom of the 
sea. The Spanish Armada, and the Christian fleet that fouglit 
at Lepanto, were each numerous and powerful armaments ; 
but, looking at the size of the men-of-war, the number and 
power of the steamers employed, the transports in both fleets, 
the weight of metal carried by the ships of war, the ofiicer- 
ing and discipline of the crews, and, above all, the glorious 
army this fleet carried, the two cases mentioned, or, indeed, 
any other in history, sink into mere insignificance, compared 
with this. We shall not attempt a description. These are 
amply given by eye-witnesses, in most graphic and glowing 
colours, which are in every body^s hands; and, certainly, 
nothing could exceed the enthusiasm, the hilarity, and the joy 
of both armies, when their inaction ended, and they had the 
prospect of meeting the enemy face to face. The rendezvous, 
at Serpent's Island, of four hundred such ships as there met, 
was such a sight as the sun never looked down upon before. 
The disembarkation was eff'ected at a place called Old Fort, 
without the appearance of an enemy. This was little expected ; 
and it is difficult to conjecture the reasons for this inaction 
in the mind of Prince Menschikoff'. He would not have 
succeeded in preventing the landing, as our steamers could 
have reached his army by their guns ; but still he might lia^ e 
caused much delay, confusion, and loss. He seems, however, to 
have desired to reserve his entire force for a defence of his 
position on the Alma, v^^liich he vainly imagined was, if not 

The Fleet sails from Varna. 


impregnable^ at least capable of defence for some considerable 
time. The night of landing was wet, the rain descending in 
torrents. Our men had no tents^, had left their " kits behind 
them on board ship, and had to lie on the cold ground^ and 
were drenched through and through by the descending rain. 
Thus began those privations which have not yet ended. The 
officers, like the men, had been denied the luxury of tents, had 
been ordered to leave their baggage behind them, and they, as 
well as the common soldiers, were not allowed any thing but 
what they could carry on their backs. That young gentlemen 
unaccustomed to campaigning, and educated in the most delicate 
manner, in the midst of the luxuries of home, or of the mess and 
clubs in their own country, should have been put to this, must 
have startled their sensibilities, and put their fortitude to the test. 
They nobly bore it. Their birth and training, it was soon found, 
had not enervated their minds, or destroyed their stamina, as 
enduring Englishmen. 

We should have wished here to say a few words as to the 
injustice which has of late been done to the behaviour of our 
nobility and gentry in this campaign : but we are prevented 
from dwelling on this subject by want of sj)ace. If, however, 
the assault on the aristocracy in the army is intended to 
remove the injustice of preventing the advance of our non- 
commissioned officers and soldiers to a higher grade, we give 
our suffi-ages to the end sought, but not to the means employed 
to secure it ; holding, as we do, that nothing can be more alien 
to fair dealing, to sound policy_, and to the efficiency of our 
army, in some of its departments^, than the system of purchase. 

We are thoroughly convinced that the country is, under 
the present system, deprived of the national advantage of 
its best talents. V/hat would be the state of our Courts 
of Law, in case the native talent of its brightest ornaments 
had been stopped at the threshold by the principle of pur- 
chase? What kind of a Church should we have, if all the 
Clergy had to lay down some eleven hundred pounds, — as it 
is reported a most brave and deserving Lieutenant in the 
Crimea, on application for a Captaincy, was required to do, — 
before they could enter upon their clerical functions, or be ele- 
vated to a higher grade? What, again, must result from the 
purchase of office in the civil departments of the State, — the 
Excise, the Exchequer, the Customs^ the Post-Office? And 
yet, if possible, there would be even more reason for this in 
these several cases, than in the army. The army is the shield 
of the nation; the representative of our honour, our prowess, 
our national character, in the eyes of the world : it is, in fact, 
the visible embodiment of the power of the English nation. To 
cripple its energies is to lower the country in the sight of the 
v/orld, and, in the end, must reduce us to the status of a third 
or fourth-class State. Why should not the same mind_, the same 


The War with Russia. 

firm will^ the same energy, the same practical good sense,, the 
same high moral qualities, the same capacity to surmount diffi- 
culties — why should not these national characteristics, which 
have made us the first nation in the world in government, com- 
merce, and civilization, also make us the first nation in arms? 
There can be no grounds in nature why this should not be the case. 
The same human material that forms so splendid a social edifice, 
would, if fairly dealt with, give us an army such as the world 
never saw ; but, so long as its life's-blood is restricted from free 
circulation, this is impossible. Remove obstacles, open the path 
of honour and promotion to all alike, and the competition, as in 
other cases, would benefit all alike. 

We return to the Crimea. The battle of the Alma was 
fought on the 20th of September. The characteristics of this 
contest may be easily conceived. We have no intricate manoeu- 
vres, no perplexing combinations, no wise and scientific tac- 
tics ; all is as clear and straightforward, as when two pugilists 
meet on a village-green. We see two armies standing in array 
against each other, till a gun is fired as the signal of battle. 
These two straight lines are pretty equally matched as to 
numbers, the chief difference being in their respective positions. 
The Russian army, forty-five thousand strong, were posted on 
the left bank of the river, on an elevated plateau of some four 
hundred feet, intersected by uneven ground and vineyards, 
presenting the ensemble of a series of hills, rising in some 
places abruptly, and in others gradually sloping up from the 
banks of the river. This ridge of hills extended some three 
miles, and on the left terminated in rocks on the sea- shore : 
the most commanding heights were guarded by the Russian 
batteries, which swept the plain below, and seemed to bid 
defiance to all approach. The right fiank of this position was 
guarded by uneven ground and a numerous cavalry; the left 
by the rocks and the sea. In the contemplated assault on 
this formidable position, the French army took the right of 
the line, and the English the left; this arrangement bringing 
our allies into contact with the left of the Russian position, 
flanked as we have seen it to be, and our own troops into 
collision with the right of the Russian line, defended on its flank 
by its cavalry. A small village lay betwixt the two armies, and 
a bridge crossed the stream ; the latter the Russians destroyed, 
and, on the advance of the English troops, set the village on 
fire. The river was fordable, but the banks precipitous and steep 
on the Russian side, costing our men much exertion to clamber 
up, and make good their footing. By a preconcerted signal the 
two armies simultaneously advanced. The Russian flank on 
their left was shelled by the steamers of the fleet, and was 
soon dislodged from the heights abutting on the sea. The 
Zouaves and Light Infantry were seen climbing the heights like 
goats, driving all before tliem. But a strongly fortified position 

The Battle oj the Alma. 


had to be assaulted^ and a difference betwixt French and English 
tactics is here seen. We are told that the French assaulting 
sharpshooters and light troops, in their approach, suddenly spread 
themselves out like a fan to escape the hre of the artillery, and 
then, with equal quickness, formed into line again : the English, 
on the other hand, went straight up to the guns, never breaking 
their ranks, except when shaken by the fire of the enemy. 
Whilst the ships and the French were thinning the ranks, and 
putting the Russian left wing into inextricable confusion, the 
English passed the river, climbed the banks, formed line, and 
advanced. But here they encountered formidable obstacles. It 
was found that the chief Russian redoubts, surmounted by a 
numerous and well-placed artillery, lay before them. Destruction 
seemed inevitable. Volley after volley rolled amongst our ranks, 
and swept away our men. Nothing daunted, they pressed on. 
The Twenty-Third Welsh Fusiliers were fearfully decimated, 
and for a moment retired to re-form. This called up the Guards 
and Highlanders to their support. The Russians prepared to 
profit by this temporary confusion. A large mass of infantry 
appeared on the brow of the hill in pursuit, as they thought, 
of the flying enemy. The two noble Brigades of Highlanders 
and Guards were by this time rapidly moving up. The Russians 
levelled their muskets, as if to charge ; the two Brigades accepted 
the challenge ; they raised a shout that shook the earth ; they 
pressed on Avith fixed bayonets; the Russians gave way; the 
English were masters of the field. The redoubts were overcome ; 
the enemy threw away their knapsacks to facilitate their flight; 
and, in three hours, a fortified position, considered almost im- 
pregnable by Prince Menschikoft', was in the hands of the Allies. 

Our sketch is necessarily brief and imperfect. Vv^ e wish we 
could stop here ; but there are two or three matters that impress 
our minds, as errors of great magnitude. Where, in the retreat 
of the Russians, were our cavalry? The great use of cavalry 
in war, we are told, is to enable a General to profit by the con- 
fusion of a defeat. The Russians were defeated, and retiring in 
confusion, giving Lord Lucan the opportunity of dashing into their 
retreating columns ; but he was not there. This cavalry force 
had taken no part in the battle ; they were perfectly fresh ; they 
showed at Balaklava what they could do ; and yet, by some strange 
oversight, they did nothing. The natural consequence followed. 
The Russians made good their retreat ; they carried off all their 
guns save two ; and the bloody but glorious battle of the Alma 
was barren of results, except as it opened the road to Sebastopol. 
A victory is only such, in reality, by its fruits ; but here we have 
none, and, as we cannot help thinking, by reason of the inaction 
of our cavalry. The divided command, also, probably had its 
share in this ineffective improvement of a great victory. Had 
the cavalry of the two armies ])een brought together, so as to act 
in concert, the Russian cavalry could not have withstood them 


The War with Russia. 

for a moment ; and the victory would have been crowned with 
the capture of all the Russian artillery, and thousands of their 
troops. In truth, tlie battle of the Alma was two battles, — the 
one fought by the French, and the other by the Englisli ; both 
fought with admirable bravery ; but, as we l^clieve, it would have 
been infinitely more triumphant, had it been but one. 

We imagine another grievous mistake arose at this time. 
Time is every thing in war ; but the allied armies remained on 
the field of battle two days, as it is said, to bury the dead and 
take care of the wounded. No doubt a humane work, but 
others might have done this. AVhy did not the fleet and army 
make one united effort at a coup de main? The greater 
portion of the garrison was in Prince Menschikoff's army, and, 
a great number of these troops were with the Prince in the field. 
Tiie ships had not then been sunk at the mouth of the harbour, 
and the fleet had nothing to contend with, of the nature of an 
obstruction to their entrance. The Russian army was dispirited, 
and the people of the place panic-stricken. No walls or formi- 
dable ramparts stood in the way: Prince Menschikoft' evident^ 
considered his position on the Alma the real defence of 
the city; and, when driven from his intrenchments, he could 
have but slight hopes that Sebastopol could hold out. This, in 
fact, explains his conduct, and nothing else can. Instead of 
hastening within the fortress, he went to Balaklava ; and when 
the Allies were moving on that place, his troops were met going 
into the interior, showing that he considered even the neigli- 
bourhood of that place unsafe. But the opportunity was lost ; 
the fleet remained at sea, looking on the enemy sinking his 
ships and blocking up the mouth of the harbour ; and the army 
leisurely moved towards the south, instead of entering the town, 
— as Oliphant tells us an army might easily do, — " marching 
down the main street, and burning the Russian fleet.^^ 

Instead of Sebastopol being taken, the celebrated " flank 
march,^^ so highly extolled, was effected. And the success of 
this manoeuvre but confirms our notion, that possibly the town 
might have been taken. To allow this march to be prosecuted 
v/ithout molestation, clearly proves hovv utterly the battle of the 
Alma had demoralized the Russian army. For the very same 
reasons that the Allies were permitted to pass the town without 
attack, surely they might have entered it, if not with impunit}^, 
yet with encouraging prospects of securing an effective lodgment. 

The flank march in question brought the Allies to the south 
of the fortress, and gave them Balaklava, Chersonese, and 
Kamiesch, as ports ; the sea thus forming the base of operations. 
Balaklava became the place of rendezvous for the English army, 
and the other two ports for the French. To secure this com- 
munication with the sea and the fleets was clearly necessarj^, 
v/hen the idea of entering Sebastopol was given up : — the one 
arrangement evident^ emanated from the other. 

Aitack upon Scbasiopol. 


We wish we could give a succinct account of what followed. 
Let us make tlie attempt. We must begin by remarking that 
much misapprehension is found in the English mind on the 
subject of Sebastopol itself. We have read again^ and again^ of 
the walls of Sebastopol ; the approaches to these walls ; the 
])rospect of knocking them down^ and of effecting a brcach_, to 
be followed by an assault^ and all the rest. The truth is, 
Sebastopol is not a v»^alled city ; and the defences created, in 
addition to detached forts, are earthworks, thrown up since the 
Allied armies took their ground. So soon as it was perceived that 
the French and English did not intend to enter the town, the 
llussians, with prodigious energy, at once began to throw up 
these earthworks, and place artillery upon them. In the mean 
time, the Allies, after making their position tolerably secure, 
began to drag up their guns, and prepare for a regular siege. Our 
own army was not furnished with siege artillery ; and this defect 
w as supplied, as well as it could be done, by bringing up heavy 
guns from the fleet; and the public were amused by graphic 
accounts of the alacrity and zeal displayed by our " Jack Tars^^ 
in this laborious work. The approaches were commenced as 
soon as possible, and the first parallel occupied about three 
weeks in its preparation. All this time the Russians were 
diligently engaged ; and the very works our batteries were 
intended to silence and destroy, were constructed before the 
eyes of the besieging army. Why this was permitted, we cannot 
tell; but we witness no attempt to molest the enemy in the 
erection of his defences, which we were all the time preparing 
to destroy. It was certainly very civil, on our part, to allow 
the enemy as good a chance as ourselves ! 

The day of trial came, and on October 17th a simultaneous 
attack from our batteries and the fleet took place. It w^as 
utterly abortive. The fleet did nothing, except expend a large 
quantity of powder and ball, thrown against the walls of the 
forts from a distance that secured their perfect impunity ; and, 
on the land side, it was found that the Russian artillery was 
immensely superior to ours, — not in practice, but in calibre. 
By day some of their guns were damaged; but Lord Raglan 
informed the Government that this damage was always repaired 
in the night ; so that the next morning they were as prepared as 
ever. This lasted two or three days, when it was found that no 
impression was being made, and our fire slackened. As to the 
" walls^^ we have referred to, of course they remained, and still 
remain, untouched ; for of what use can it be to fire cannon- 
balls into a great mound of earth ? A railroad embankment will 
give us the best idea we can obtain in this country of these 
earthworks. What would be the effect of hurling cannon-shot 
into one of these embankments? The lodgment would effect 
no broach. The earth would imbed the shot, close in upon it, 
and, in fact, make it a part of itself. This is exactly what has 


The War with Russia. 

been going on at Sebastopol. Millions of shell and sliot have 
been fired; many of the enemy's guns have been destroyed ; but, 
as to a breach in their embankments of earth, this is impossible. 

Emboldened, we may presume, by their successful resistance 
of the besiegers, the Russians prepared to act on the offensive ; 
and on the 25th of October took place the battle of Balaklava. 
The paramount object of the attack was to destroy our base of 
operations, by seizing the port. The forts defended by the 
Turks were assailed with success. Great indignation has been 
expressed at what has been considered the cowardly conduct 
of these troops, in so soon abandoning their position; and, 
indeed, they seem to have manifested but little resolution on 
the occasion. But we must not forget, that they were entirely 
detached from the lines ; that they had no support ; and that, 
in the absence of succour, the question of abandonment or of 
capture could only be a question of time, and that a very short 
time too. It is possible that succour might have arrived, in 
case they had kept their ground ; but none was in view at the 
time of the retreat. Their guns were turned upon themselves ; 
and, as we shall see, were also fatally employed against our 
Light Cavalry. This point secured, the Russian General pushed 
forward a large body of cavalry to assault the position of Sir 
Colin Campbell, placed to defend Balaklava. The heroic High- 
landers reserved their fire till the Russian force was within 
easy range; and then, by one tremendous volley, scattered 
death and disorder in the enemy's column, who at once with- 
drcAv from the deadly conflict. They were met on their return 
by our Heavy Brigade of cavalry, under the orders of General 
Scarlett; assailed, overthrown, and large numbers killed and 

And now followed the most extraordinary event, we should 
imagine, ever witnessed in war. A written order, it is now 
known, was' sent by Lord Raglan to Lord Lucan, to prevent 
the Russians carrying off the guns of the Turkish forts. This 
order was carried by Captain Nolan, a brave officer, known to 
have entertained peculiar notions respecting the capabilities of 
cavalry to storm batteries and break through squares of infantry. 
This order was handed to Lord Cardigan, at the head of the 
Light Division, to be put into execution; and, of course, as is 
always the case with British officers, was obeyed. But it is neces- 
sary, at this point, to add a word of explanation. The marching- 
ground to be traversed by our cavalry, was a valley of con- 
siderable length and of unequal breadth ; the hills on either side 
were in possession of the enemy. Batteries were placed on 
each side of the valley, as well as at the termination. In 
addition to these formidable batteries, the hills were lined with 
sharpshooters and riflemen. This was the furnace of fire which 
our men had to enter. 

It is said that Captain Nolan pointed to the battery in front, 

The Fight of BalaUava. 


as the object of attack. This is plainly a deviation from Lord 
Raglan's order to prevent the Russians carrying away the guns 
of the Turkish forts. It seems now impossible to get at the 
entire truth. Captain Nolan received a ball, on the first move- 
ment, in his breast, and turned his horse, which carried him out 
of the reach of fire; but, though fixed in his saddle, he was 
foimd dead. Lord Cardigan, it is said, remonstrated; and he 
knew, and every man in the noble band of heroes knew, that 
they were marching to destruction. His Lordship led the way 
at the head of his troops. A more extraordinary sight was 
never witnessed. The hills were covered with spectators, French 
and English, and the heroic band passed on with the calmness 
of a manoeuvre on a parade- day. The Russian artillery and 
small arms opened upon the advancing column, and mowed 
them down; but still the undaunted horsemen pushed forward. 
They reached the battery in front, assailed the artillerymen, 
and put them to the sword. Beyond, they beheld a large body 
of Russian cavalry, attacked and dispersed them; further on, 
they beheld numerous battalions of infantry ready to receive 
them. The sight was appalling. To assault this new enemy 
was impossible, and a retreat was ordered. The Russians 
followed, and it is said, on good authority, that the battery, 
being manned again, sent its volleys indiscriminately on friend 
and foe, and swept away many of their own men, mingled 
pell-mell in deadly and hand-to-hand fight with our soldiers. 
How any of Our men escaped is a perfect marvel ; they having 
to retrace their steps in the midst of the same destructive fire 
as in the advance. But the brave and indefatigable French 
General Bosquet appeared on the field at the right time; 
ordered a cavalry attack of one of the hill batteries, and, 
silencing it for the time, enabled our men to pass. 

Lord Cardigan escaped unhurt, — a perfect miracle. But out of 
six hundred men and officers nearly three hundred were put hors 
de combat : many of them killed, and others fearfully wounded. 
Such was this cavalry attack, almost unexampled in war."^ The 
discipline, the heroic spirit, the devotion to duty, the steadiness, 
manifested by this brave body of troops, were never exceeded. The 
brilliancy of the affair is more like a romance than a reality ; a 
tournament in real war ; a matchless spectacle in the presence 
of innumerable observers ; a daring feat of arms, in the spirit 
of the most ancient chivalry. We wish we could stop here. 
But there is something so preposterous, so foolish, in this waste 

* History often repeats itself. At the battle of Eylau, five hundred and forty-eight 
French Cuirassiers, carried away by their enthusiastic ardour, attacked a large body of 
the enemy in position, having cut their way through the infantry: they were immediately 
attacked in front and flank by the Cossacks of the Don, headed by their Hetmau Plat off. 
Only eighteen of those gallant Frenchmen regained their lines, and in less than an hour 
five hundred and thirty Cossacks were clothed in the shining armour of their foes. 



The War with Russia. 

of life, and, moreover, so detrimental to the real objects of war, 
that we cannot help expressing our indignation. How it could 
by possibility have happened, we cannot imagine. That Lord 
Raglan^s order did not contemplate such an assault upon the 
Russian battery at the end of the valley, is perfectly clear; its 
object being to prevent the Russians carrying off our guns, and 
being limited to this point. That it was a misconception, there 
can be no doubt. The moral effect of this bravery, it has been 
said, must have been great. But moral effect is of two kinds ; 
and it seems a difficult problem to resolve, whether admiration 
of the heroism of our troops, or contempt for our wisdom, 
would predominate in the minds of Prince Menschikoff and 
his subordinates. Be this as it may, our brigade of glorious 
Light Cavalry was nearly annihilated ; and the nation had to 
mourn the loss of three hundred of the finest and bravest of her 

The morning of the 5th of November was dark, a dense fog 
lay on the mountains, drizzling rain descended, and all nature 
appeared in tears. This was premonitory. The Russians assem- 
bled in great force in the obscurity, advanced their artillery up 
the ridges, so as to command our position ; riflemen and sharp- 
shooters crept up the hill-sides, and approached our pickets; 
vast bodies of infantry were in readiness to act; and, at the 
dawn of day, the battle of Inkermann commenced. This, like 
the battle of Balaklava, was- a surprise. Lord Raglan and 
his staff were in bed ; the men out in the trenches were getting 
such rest as their exposed huts and mud-floors would allow; 
it was the time for changing the officers and men who had 
been up all night; none had time to kindle their fires, or to 
prepare breakfast; and, weary, hungry, and chilly with cold 
and wet, our soldiers were called to arms. One officer. General 
Codrington, watchful and vigilant, was on the back of his 
pony at five o^ clock, as usual, though not his duty, and visited 
the pickets in advance of his division. ^^All right,^' was the 
report of the men. He turned the head of his pony to return 
to camp, when, after riding a short distance, he heard the 
report of fire-arms from the pickets he had just left. He 
hastily returned to ascertain the facts ; and now the revela- 
tion was made, not suspected before, that the Russians were 
advancing in force to assail our position. General Codrington 
hastened with all speed to give the information. The camp 
simultaneously rose from its slumbers ; the habiliments of war 
were hastily put on by the soldiers ; every man, every company, 
every regiment instinctively took their place; in detached par- 
ties, as they could be formed, they left the camp, and rushed 
up the hill to meet the enemy. It was time. He was ascending 
the slope in powerful masses, and had nearly reached the sum- 
mit, where such feeble defences as we possessed were assailed ; 

The Battle of Inkermann. 243 

and the resistance to the enemy had to be made good or lost, 
and with it the whole British army. 

And now commenced the most sanguinary, the most heroic, 
the most glorious conflict that ever occurred in the annals 
of the world. We cannot enter into its details. All we can 
do, is to refer to a few of its singularities. It has been called 
^'^the battle of the soldiers." The General-in-Chief was not 
present when it began. He arrived an hour and a half after its 
commencement. Hence there was no previous plan, no com- 
bination, no orders. Each division marched up from its encamp- 
ment, as it got ready, to the brow of the hill, and occupied the 
ground nearest to its own huts. The space was limited, and 
admitted of no manoeuvring; and, for the same reason, only 
eight thousand men could be engaged during the action. The 
main point of attack had been imperfectly intrenched; the 
works were feeble, and badly armed. Sir De Lacy Evans 
had repeatedly pointed out the danger, but, for the want of men, 
the defect remained. 

The Russian advance up the hill to the assault was in dense 
columns of infantry, preceded by bodies of riflemen, spreading 
themselves out in parties, and hiding amongst the brushwood in 
the valley and hill-side. Without the science of such a move- 
ment, the narrowness of the ground obliged the enemy to 
follow the favourite principle of Napoleon in all his great 
battles ; namely, to push a dense mass of men against the lines 
of an opposing force, so as to break through, divide the army, 
and then scatter the whole in detail. This was attempted 
at Waterloo against the British position, and failed : it was a 
necessity at Inkermann, and equally failed. It seems that the 
success of such a manoeuvre must depend upon the strength and 
firmness of the resisting force. And, judging by this rule, it 
appears that British infantry possess more of this power of 
resistance than any troops in the world. Napoleon drove his 
human wedge through every other army in Europe ; when he 
attempted it on the adamantine rock of British bravery and 
endurance, his weapon was shivered in his hands, and the 
mighty mass returned, discomfited and broken. 

The battle of Inkermann consisted of a succession of attacks 
on the British position, by these masses of Russian troops, gain- 
ing, at different times, transient successes, and then hurled back 
by the terrible courage of our soldiers. These hand-to-hand 
contests were most extraordinary; and, considering the vast 
disparity of numbers, — the Russians being as six or eight to one, 
— the physical strength, as well as the desperate courage, of our 
men stands out in marvellous prominency. It so happened, that 
the advantage from artillery was altogether on the side of the 
Russians, our guns accomplishing — at any rate, for a long time — 
but little against their powerful fire, and our cavalry took no 

R 2 


The War with Russia. 

part in the contest. These conditions threw the whole burden 
of the contest on the infantry regiments of the British army, 
and tested^ in a manner not to be mistaken, the kind of soul, 
the will, the devotion, the patriotism, of Englishmen. In 
such a pell-mell contest, carried on for nearly the whole day, 
of course a perfect chaos presents itself to view throughout; 
and an attempt to describe a sea-storm would be as successful 
as to exhibit this chaotic contest. 

But one of the most marvellous circumstances witnessed in 
the storm is, the instinct of discipline and coherence displayed 
on the part of our men. The directing eye of the Commander- 
in-Chief, and orders corresponding, were impossible; the 
Generals of Division and Brigade, though somewhere amongst 
their troops, could but imperfectly convey their orders in such a 
tempest; and even regimental officers were often equally em- 
barrassed. And yet the troops stood by each other. Small 
groups of men belonging to different regiments met, they 
knew not how, and, if an officer was present, put themselves 
under his command ; and, if not, they formed in line, and again 
rushed in desperate fury upon the enemy. One ease is singular, 
and ought to be handed down to all time. A medical officer 
named Wilson, in the search for wounded and dying men, and 
the exercise of the healing art, met with a number of men 
without an officer ; they asked him to lead them ; he consented, 
and, for the time giving up his discipleship to Esculapius, and 
swearing fealty to Mars, the Doctor turned General, and led his 
heroic band successfully against the enemy. This kind of contest 
continued for many hours ; the Russians sometimes approach- 
ing, and even getting into our position, and then retiring dis- 
comfited and overthrown. But, recruited by fresh legions, they 
returned again and again to the encounter, and met with a 
similar fate. It happened that in many cases our soldiers had 
exhausted their ammunition, and it could not be replenished; 
they then took to the bayonet, and, when so pressed and sur- 
rounded that they had not room for this, they then employed 
the butt-end of their guns ; but what will appear most singular 
in these scientific times is, that our men rolled and threw stones 
from the high ground upon the approaching enemy. 

Lord Raglan states in his dispatch that there was no room 
for manoeuvring, and yet Sir George Cathcart attempted a 
manoeuvre. This gallant officer collected a portion of his 
division, and assaulted the flank of the Russians. This 
movement seems to have been made without orders from the 
Commander-in-Chief, without combination or support; — for, in 
the circumstances, what combination could be made ? — to have 
been, in point of fact, an isolated attempt of a devoted officer to 
gain an advantage from the confusion of the enemy. His 
attempt failed. Our men soon found themselves inextricably 

The " Soldiers' Battle.'' 


entangled in brushwood^ surrounded by the Russians, and 
apparently cut off from retreat. And here occurred one of the 
greatest feats of valour on this eventful day. The heroic band 
pushed their way up the hill in the midst of incessant volleys 
and charges of the bayonet against many times their own 
numbers. Yet still they pushed on, and continued to gain ground. 
Their brave leader fell, pierced by a ball, and General Goldie also 
was mortally wounded. Their ranks were fearfully thinned; 
but a remnant reached the hill, and escaped further pursuit. 

The battle had raged from dawn. The assault had been 
successfully repulsed at a vast sacrifice of life, and the remainder 
of our poor men, hungry and thirsty, were completely exhausted. 
At length the decisive moment arrived. The faithful, the alert,the 
brave Bosquet again appeared. He brought with him six thousand 
French troops, with artillery and cavalry. He rushed upon the 
flank of the Russian army, now weakened, dispirited, and in 
confusion, by their numerous repulses on the part of the British. 
The overthrow was complete. Nothing could withstand the 
spirited attack of the French ; and the Russians in disorder were 
seen crossing the bridge of the Tchernaya, back to the city, or to 
their encampments on the opposite heights. The slaughter of 
the enemy was fearful. It is now known that some eighteen 
thousand Russians were killed or wounded. Five or six thousand 
dead were left on the field of battle, to be buried by the Allies ; 
a mournful office, which, however, they piously discharged. The 
French and English soldiers were buried together, brothers in 
death, as in battle; but the Russians were laid in graves by 
themselves. We know not that the distinction was worth 
regarding. The strife had ended. There are no conflicts of 
race or of ambition in the grave. 

One great demonstration has been given to the world by the 
war in the Crimea, — the proof that the race of British soldiers 
has by no means degenerated. It has been pre-eminently a war 
of MEN, and the battle of Inkermann only closed the contest 
begun at Alma. In reality, in every thing most national we 
have failed ; and in the point on which the most doubt was enter- 
tained, — the effeminacy of the British people, by a long peace, — 
we have succeeded. We are, of all nations in the world, the most 
mechanical, and the use of artillery is a mechanical art ; but the 
" barbarian Russians,^^ as we proudly call them, are found to be 
far in advance of us in the use of this arm. This is a singular 
circumstance, and shows that the general progress made in 
mechanical science through the nation, by private enterprise, 
has not penetrated the dense cloud of old obsolete prejudices at 
the Horse Guards and Ordnance Department. But we need not 
despair so long as our manhood remains. The defects and errors 
of our material appliances can easily be repaired, but a dead 
nation is irreparably gone; humanity cannot be resuscitated, 


The War tvith Russia. 

The 'English-man never stood higlier than at present; English 
art, as far as war is concerned^ never sank so low. All the 
peculiar characteristics of our race have shown themselves in as 
much vigour as ever, whilst the artificial are wanting. The 
British infantry is seen to be the same as at Cressy and 
Agincourt, — resolute, heroic, immovable. The same mind, 
the same will, the same nerve, that distinguished our redoubt- 
able peasantry with their bill-hook and battle-axe, now dis- 
tinguish our men in the use of the rifle and the bayonet. No 
numbers appal them ; no carnage intimidates them ; no disad- 
vantages cause them to flinch or quail ; no storm of shot or shell 
moves their resolution. They know how to die, but they know 
not how to fear ; they are alert in the advance, the charge, but 
do not comprehend the meaning of the term " retreat;'^ they dare 
look into the face of any enemy, but refuse to present their back 
in flight. Discipline may have done its part in all this; but 
discipline cannot make the man. Cowards, poltroons, imbeciles, 
may be drilled in the manoeuvres of the army ; but none except 
true men can be trained into bravery. The battle of Inkermann 
is unexampled in the history of modern, and was never exceeded 
in ancient, war. Every man appears a hero ; and as every man 
had to act for himself, to a degree never witnessed before, his 
brave and robust manhood appears the more striking. Some 
check may have been necessary to the exultation of the country ; 
but no calamity, no disaster from climate, disease, and death, can 
hide from the mind of Englishmen, from posterity, and from the 
world, that, since the days of Thermopylse, human courage has 
never been exhibited so fine, so glorious, as by the British troops 
at Inkermann. 

Whilst we write this, a new phase appears in the Crimean 
campaign. Omar Pacha has taken his place on the theatre, 
and one new act has folloAved in the eventful drama. On 
February 17th, it is announced, the Russian General Osten- 
Sacken attacked the Turkish position at Eupatoria, and was 
signally defeated. Two objects spring up before our minds 
at the mention of this event, — Eupatoria and Omar Pacha, — 
tempting to our imagination; but we are forbidden by the 
length of this article to say more than a very few words. 
Eupatoria is the place where a small portion of the original 
expedition landed, and is about fifteen miles on the north 
of Sebastopol. It had been occupied by a few hundred men, — 
French, English, and Turks, — from that period. This body of 
men had thrown up slight and rude intrenchments to defend 
themselves ; and they seem to have been kept there chiefly 
for the purpose of obtaining provisions for the army. This 
garrison was gradually increased, as occasion required ; for they 
were constantly exposed to the Cossacks in their duty of 
obtaining provisions. It seems to have occurred, however, to 



somebody^ that this port might be occupied as a military post_, 
and become of great use in the campaign. How it should have 
escaped the attention of the military authorities from the 
beginning, as possessing this importance, we cannot tell ; but 
it probably arose from the delusion which has been the root 
of all our errors, — the easy capture of Sebastopol. Be this as 
it may, it was determined to occupy this place in force, and 
the Turks had it assigned to them. We consider this as the 
most judicious manoeuvre which has taken place in the Crimean 
war, and as destined to affect its course more than any thing 
else. If Sebastopol is captured, it is our belief that Eupatoria 
will be the captor. It is said the Turks occupy this place with 
an army of upwards of forty thousand men. This will be 
worth, to the Allies before Sebastopol, the deduction of an 
equal number of Russians from their main force. This is a 
moderate view of the case ; the probability being that a much 
larger army will be found necessary to keep the Turks shut 
up in their intrenchments. For, in case they are not vigilantly 
blockaded, Simpheropol and the whole country must fall into 
their hands, the supplies for Sebastopol be cut off, and the 
rear of the Uussian army constantly menaced. The whole 
country was in the hands of the Russians from the time of 
the march of the Allies upon Sebastopol; and why they did 
not expel the four or five hundred men who so long occupied 
Eupatoria, is to us a mystery. But the blunders, on all sides, 
in this war, have been most extraordinary ; and, most assuredly, 
the Russians have perpetrated their full share. As to Omar 
Pacha, we confess we rejoice to see him on the field. Take 
away Omar Pacha and General Bosquet, and we defy any one 
to discover a spark of genius in all the rest, on either side. 
We observe that he received from his Sovereign the supreme 
command of his own army; but he is enjoined to act in 
unison with the Allied Generals. Of course this is essen- 
tial in such operations as have a common object; but, we 
imagine, Omar Pacha will have more scope for the exercise 
of his own sound judgment, than the two Commanders before 
Sebastopol. That he will make good use of his opportunities, 
we have no doubt. Whether he will pursue a defensive 
policy, as on the Danube, we cannot tell : if so, he will have 
it in his power to harass the Russians, so as to divert half, 
or more than half, their force from their troublesome vicinity 
in the rear of the French and English lines; and if active 
operations in the field are determined upon, he will be able 
to perform his full share in driving the Russians from their 
present ^ound. We speak with the caution of unprofessional 
persons on these military matters ; but, using om^ best lights 
on the subject, we believe, with Sir Howard Douglas, that 
Sebastopol can only be taken from the north. We hazard 


The War with Russia. 

the conjecture that Eupatoria will, in the end, be found to 
furnish the facilities for this achievement; first by enabling 
the combined forces to drive the Russians from their present 
positions, and then compelling the garrison to submit, either 
by cutting off their supplies, or by besieging the forts on the 
north side of the town. 

We would gladly pass over in silence the disastrous events 
which have taken place in the Crimea during the winter cam- 
paign, if our duty would allow of this course. Instead of dealing 
in vituperation, we are disposed to look upon events in as fair 
and candid a manner as possible. The key to the whole 
affair, we imagine, will be found in Lord Raglan's anxiety to 
secure military advantages for his country, with the least delay, 
and at the least possible cost. This policy began on the 
entrance of our troops into the country. To secure every 
bayonet and every sabre, all the men were required to take their 
place in the ranks. To allow them full scope for their activity, 
they were not suffered to carry their knapsacks, and the tents 
were left on board ship. Disencumbered of these means of 
comfort, they marched forward to Balaklava, lying, for six or 
more nights, on the bare ground. The reason for this is clearly 
that which w^e have assigned. Again : as soon as his position 
was made good, nothing is seen going on in the way of a pro- 
vision for the future. The whole strength, both of the army 
and navy, was at once set to work to get up the artillery for the 
siege, to dig trenches, and to throw up earthworks. This pro- 
cess lasted for three wxeks, and required the untiring labour of 
every man. The trenches, as we have seen, were opened on the 
17th of October, and continued their fire during two or three days; 
and, after the active fire ceased, they had to be manned by day 
and night, requiring the same men, often, to be up three or four 
nights in the week. It is clear, then, that up to this time men 
could not be spared from active duties to build huts, to form 
depots of provisions, or to secure any other convenience. 

The battle of Balaklava was fought on the 25th of October, 
that is, five days after the cessation of the active attack on 
Sebastopol. This assault of the Russians was of the nature of a 
revelation as to then* design to dislodge us from our position. 
What would follow ? A conviction of the necessity of strength- 
ening this position, instantly, as much as possible. This was 
done, though, as the sequel tells, very inefficiently. At an 
interval of eleven days, namely, on the 5th of November, the 
battle of Inkermann took place ; and the army was reduced in its 
strength to about fourteen thousand men. Still the trenches 
had to be guarded by day and night, as well as the lines 
defended; for though the Russians had been beaten, their 
encampments still lay on the contiguous hills, threatening a 
j-enewed attack, in case an opportunity presented itself. It is 

Who is to blame ? 


certain^ then, that up to the 5th of November, and for many 
days after, in consequence of that sanguinary fiekl, no labour 
could possibly be spared to secure the shelter of the troops. 
But by this time the bad weather had set in, and on the 14th 
of November the memorable storm took place, — we may be 
certain, before the army had recovered itself, by the burial of the 
dead, the removal of the wounded, and repose from the toils of 
that terrible day. We are thus carried by events into the midst 
of the rains, the fogs, the desolations of the Crimean winter. 
This weather destroyed the roads by which provisions had been 
obtained, and reduced the whole plateau of Balaklava to a bog, 
a sea of mire. 

Much has been said as to the neglect of the Commander of 
the Forces, in not making a road from Balaklava to the camp, — 
a distance of seven miles. In the circumstances of the army, as 
before described, we should like to know, where Lord Raglan 
was to get hands to make this road ? But there is another 
matter of fact, respecting this road, of great importance. Up to 
the time of the battle of Balaklava, the WoronzoflF road from 
that place to Sebastopol was in the hands of the English, and 
Avas used for purposes of transport to the camp. The loss of 
the four forts occupied by the Turks, together with the hill on 
which they stood, was the loss of this road, which these forts 
commanded ; so that Lord Raglan was obliged, as he informed 
the Government, to contract his lines, leaving out these forts 
and the Woronzoff road. From that period, then, it was that 
the British troops were obliged to drag their provisions, medical 
stores, and clothing, across the mountains, and through the mud. 

We believe this to be the true state of the case, and we know 
the consequences. Lord Raglan and his staff may have had 
faults, in the course of events ; — and if, as is affirmed, he kept 
himself aloof from the miseries of his suffering men, this must 
be considered unpardonable ; — but, in the circumstances, we do 
not believe that the General, or any other man, could have 
prevented the catastrophe. The true causes of this sad event 
lay further back, out of sight, and not in the incapacity, the 
indifference, or the mismanagement of Lord Raglan, or his 
brave and enduring soldiers. 

The want of those accessories of an army which are essential 
to its very existence, could only be supplied from without. 
And it should not be forgotten that the occupation of the 
southern point of the Crimea was, and is, just the same thing 
as fifty or sixty thousand people landing on an uninhabited 
island. They only command the ground on which they are en- 
camped. They have no command of labour by the employment 
of the people of the country ; they have no command of beasts 
of burden and carriages of any sort ; they have no command of 
food and shelter from the resources of the country. The differ- 


The War with Russia. 

ence betwixt our army^ in Bulgaria and in the Crimea, is 
prodigious. In the former country, the peasantry with their 
carts and bullocks were constantly seen in great numbers in the 
camp, bringing provisions, and performing all the work required 
for the well-being of the army. The performance of a great 
amount of this sort of labour may be generally secured in 
campaigning, when in an enemy's country, by pay or pressure. 
Nothing of this kind could be done in the Crimea, and the 
whole burden lay on the army itself. It is very certain, then, 
that the absence of the means of transport over the boggy 
ground from the port .to the camp, was the true cause of the 
suffering and the death of our brave men. 

Where did tlie fault of this lie? Morally, as we believe, 
nowhere. It is impossible to conceive that the British Govern- 
ment would, with their eyes open, be, by wilful neglect, acces- 
sory to the destruction of the noble army of whicli they had 
just reason to be proud, as the force sent out by themselves. 
They did not foresee, or comprehend, the conditions of the 
campaign ; they knew, it is evident, no more of the country or 
of Sebastopol, than any other well-read Englishmen; they 
probably partook of the spirit of the nation, despised the 
enemy, and indulged in overweening confidence in the fortunes 
of our race ; they dreamt, like others, that Sebastopol would fall 
like Jericho, by the mere blast of our trumpet ; like Caesar, they 
thought that our General would have to report, ^'Veni, vidi, 
vici/' and fill all England with the frenzy of the triumph. Such 
dreamy romance may be pardoned in a people, but it is fatal in 
a Government. Hence, as the fruit of this want of forethought, 
when the day of trial came, the army was without reserves, 
without clothing, without siege artillery, without a waggon- 
train, or the means of transport. 

Let us be permitted to pay our meed of admiration to the 
passive heroism of our suffering soldiers. We justly admire the 
courage they displayed on the field of battle. This, in our 
apprehension, is as nothing compared with the fortitude 
evinced in their terrible privations. No riots, no insubordi- 
nation, no murmuring has been witnessed, in this dreadful 
struggle with sufl'ering and death. These men have endured cold, 
nakedness, and the want of provisions, and yet they have done 
their duty. They have lain down in wet blankets, exposed to 
wind, rain, snow, and frost, in their fragile tents, and then have 
gone cheerfully to the trenches. They have even lived on half- 
rations, and been obliged to eat their scanty fare of salt pork 
raw, and yet they have stoutly held up. They have seen their 
comrades, by hundreds, cut off by disease, but they have calmly 
waited their own turn. Nothing in history ever surpassed 
this courage, the spirit of the British soldier never appeared 
more undaunted. The fact of a company of men mustering 

Our Allies. 


under the command of their officer, each man taking his place 
in the ranks, on the deck of a sinking ship, near the Cape of 
Good Hope, and calmly waiting their fate, is not more illus- 
trative of this spirit, than the firm and heroic bearing of our 
army at Balaklava. What may not the country expect from 
such men ? Certainly every thing which can be done by men, 
will be done by these heroes. The system, however defective in 
some of its arrangements, has inspired every soul with the 
indomitable spirit of a hero. The mass is as one man: the 
purest patriotism, the profoundest enthusiasm, the glow of an 
inextinguishable fire, must be found in those silent serried lines 
that have met so many ills. 

Our alliances constitute one of the most important elements 
in this war ; and the moral of these alliances cannot end with 
the contest. We refrain from speculating on so intricate a 
prospective as this would open up, but cannot be blind to the 
circumstance, that international conventions, of the nature in 
question, must lead, like the war itself, mto new and untried 
paths. A nation in alliance with other states loses, for the time, 
much of its freedom of action, and, in reality, its national idio- 
syncrasy. A¥hen the policy of several States is to be one policy, 
it is easy to perceive that each must give up something to its 
neighbour, in order to secure harmony of operation. And when, 
as in the case of our own country, a somewhat marked, defined, 
not to say stereotyped, line of political development has long 
been going on, it is impossible for new alliances to be formed 
without some violence being done to their old maxims of policy. 
As an illustration of our meaning, we may remark, that 
our two great allies, France and Austria, are much more 
military nations than ourselves ; are without the constitu- 
tional freedom enjoyed by us ; and, in all respects, are 
governed by a policy different to our own. Now, a certain 
amount of supjjvessio veritatis, according to our notions, must 
be one condition of such alliances. The moral impression sought 
by a free nation to be made upon other nations, cannot be the 
same as that of despotic Governments ; for, whilst one, in its wars 
as well as in its diplomacy, must desire to advance the freedom of 
nations, politically and personally, the other can have no such 
purpose : all they can desire will be limited to some political 
advantage, and this may, in reality, lie in an opposite direction 
to our own desires; namely, to prevent the augmentation of 
liberty in neighbouring States, lest it should endanger the 
solidity of their own despotic power. Hence, the least that the 
latter States will expect from us, in alliance with themselves, 
will be to abstain from acting on our own national principles, to 
eschew all ideas of propagandism in favour of liberty, and to 
conform, in a certain degree, to the policy necessary to their 
own system. It may be true that, in these intercommunions of 


The War with Russia. 

nations^ their peculiar internal state never comes into question^ 
nor can be made a matter of interference. Undoubtedly this is 
the case. And we are not speaking of formal stipulations^ but of 
moral effects, rather of negative than of positive issues. Hence 
none of the nations in alliance can be themselves. France 
cannot carry out French ideas and notions ; Austria cannot be 
Austria, as she is on her own ground; England cannot be 
England, as she stands out in her own constitution, liberties, 
religion. Parliament, and press. Each must surrender something, 
or tlie amalgamation could not take place, so as to become at all 
practicable. Hence it is, that great numbers of intelligent and 
I'eligious men look upon our alliances with suspicion and repug- 
nance. What good result can spring out of the alliance of this 
country with powers, they imagine, " the one of which suppressed 
the liberties of France, and the other the constitution of Hun- 
gary And it is a perplexing question. But we are obliged 
to take the world as we find it ; and, in many conjunctures of 
human affairs, we are obliged to act upon the maxim of taking 
the lesser evil presented by the alternative. It is so in the pre- 
sent case. We had no choice in the matter, except that of retiring 
from the arena altogether, which suited neither our self-love, nor 
our position, nor, as we believe, our obligations. In the history 
of nations, events over-rule predilections, policy, and even the 
most far-seeing judgments of statesmen. This we believe to be 
one of these events. There is not the least proof that any of the 
nations involved in this alliance, or that may hereafter enter into 
it, had any part in bringing about the state of things which 
has successively led to their union. To one State alone is 
due the guilt of involving Europe in this war, and of forcing 
these international compacts upon the several States now 
united. This compact is a necessity, and, we may say, an 
imperious necessity ; one of those events which leave no scope for 

Our alliance with France is the most important event 
in the history of the two countries. After a long, ardent, 
variable, and bloody struggle, which lasted for centuries, these 
two neighbouring nations are at last in a state of concord and 
compact ; not, we fear, brought about by the force of public 
virtue on either side, but by a pressing danger. Such are the ways 
of Providence, that in this, as in many similar cases, that which 
wisdom and sound principles failed to effect. He has enforced by 
the uncontrollable teaching of events. And it is well that the 
enmities of past contentions had not the effect of blinding the 
two nations to the realities of their situation. But the preparatory 
events necessary to this alliance are most extraordinary. The 
Empire is the basis of our union with France, — that Empire 
against which we had fought with so much fierceness and perse- 
verance to overthrow. Had either the old or the younger 

France and Sardinia. 


Bourbons been on the throne of France, there would have been 
no alliance with this country to resist Russian aggression ; and, 
as far as human probabilities can pretend to decipher events, 
it is almost certain that Russia would have gained her point, 
without having, as now, to meet the forces of Western 

How little the course of events can be foreseen by human 
sagacity ! In this country, the burst of indignation on the 
resumption of the Empire, in the person of Louis Napoleon, 
was unbounded. The past flashed upon every Englishman's 
mind ; and it was feared that we should have to defend our own 
shores against the Gallic legions. We know not what would 
have arisen, had not this Russian outbreak called the atten- 
tion of the two nations to a danger that threatened them alike. 
How provident is God ! We imagine we now see, in the 
restoration of the French Empire, a preparatory foundation laid 
for the successful resistance of Russian domination, and the 
preservation of the national freedom of Europe. 

But what is most worthy of notice in this alliance, is its 
cordial character. The two nations had known each other too 
long, had contended with each other on too many well-fought 
fields, and been rivals in arts, commerce, and knowledge, on too 
great a scale, not to respect each other. The dynastic conten- 
tion had long ceased; the heads of the two Governments had 
no grounds of suspicion; the peoples of each country had 
enjoyed a friendly intercourse, and nothing remained to 
engender distrust. Such being the state of the nations, when 
the time came for their union, the happy compact had only to 
receive the formal recognition of the two Governments, to be 
complete. The good faith observed on each side has augmented 
the mutual respect in which it originated, and we have hitherto 
heard of no divergence, even of opinion, in the matters to be 
arranged. The armies have evidently participated in the spirit 
of the Governments, and we have witnessed nothing but cordial 
and hearty co-operation. The French Generals and troops have 
sympathized with us in our suffering condition, and brought their 
hale and robust men to assist our wasted and dying troops in their 
greatest need. We hail this alliance as the augury of success in 
this struggle ; but we look to it for even more permanent results, 
and trust in God that it may lead to the progress of each nation 
in the arts of peace and civilization. 

The Sardinian alliance, also, as we hope, augurs nothing but 
good to all the parties concerned. We have, indeed, looked 
upon the struggles of this small State for freedom, in the 
midst of prodigious difficulties, with extreme interest. The 
opposition of the Popedom and the Church party ; the disturb- 
ing elements introduced into the constitutional and moderate 
measures of the Court and Parliament by the factious; the 


The War with Russia. 

traditional prejudices and feelings to be overcome ; the unequal 
laws to be rescinded, and the privileged orders to be conciliated 
or subdued ; tlie political antagonism of the surrounding States ; 
— all these things met, and successfully overcome, give to Sardi- 
nia an interest in the affectionate concern of Englishmen, such 
as can be accorded to no other people. And they are now our 
allies. But the manner in which this alliance was accepted 
enhances its value. We have heard of no quibbling, no diplomatic 
finesse, no sordid attempt at a good bargain, no stipulations for 
recompense, no equivocations or reservations. Every thing 
appears to have been done in the most straiglitforward manner. 
The alliance was accepted frankly, with all its risks and all its 
conditions, and the only thing left for consideration was its 
details ; and these, as must always be the case with honest men, 
were soon settled. 

We can entertain no doubt of great advantages arising to 
Sardinia from this alliance. It places her in the family of 
European nations, not as an auxiliary, but as a principal. She 
has not sold her services to one or more of the greater States, 
but has entered into engagements with them on equal terms. 
This must give her a voice in the affairs of Europe, as well as 
secure a hearing in regard to her own. The position of the 
smaller States, since the growth of the larger, has become less 
and less secure, and their influence almost a nullity. We hear 
nothing now, even in the diplomatic transactions of the world, 
but about the Five Great Powers ; these Powers settle the con- 
ditions of peace and war, in entire disregard of the claims of the 
lesser States. Nations, — as Holland and Sweden, — principal 
members of the European family a century ago, are seldom heard 
of in modern diplomacy. We cannot help looking upon this as 
political injustice, inasmuch as these smaller nationalities have 
interests at stake as dear to them, as valuable, and as important 
to the well-being of the world, as those belonging to the greater 
powers. That the human race, the freedom of mankind, the 
means of personal happiness, the advancement of knowledge and 
virtue, fare the better from the conglomeration of great popula- 
tions under one head and system, may well be questioned. We 
trust that, in the case of Sardinia, a better fate than has fallen 
out to some of her sister States awaits her ; at any rate, that 
her own independence will be assured to her by this alliance. 
Sardinia, we conceive, is the hope of Italy. The order, freedom, 
literature, science, and religion, now emanating from Turin, 
cannot be lost in the peninsula. The secmity of the Piedmontese 
Government must lead to the freedom and advancement, in one 
way or other, of the Italian people ; and this, as we trust, is now 
rendered certain by her alliance with France and England. 

But Austria ! What of our alliance with this empire ? This 
is a large and, moreover, a grave question. The course pursued 



by this State, we confess, has been to us, as it must have been 
to all Englishmen, a perplexity, causing at times misgivings and 
doubts. We now, however, adopt the principle that, from the 
beginning, Austria has been governed by sincere and honourable 
motives in her diplomatic policy. Viewing the whole course 
of events from this starting-point, we are bound to accord to the 
Austrian Cabinet the praise of great prudence, and, indeed, of 
equal ability. Certainly Count Buol cannot be charged with pre- 
cipitancy, with the love of war, with participating in the crime 
of plunging Europe into the miseries of the present complica- 
tion. Like ourselves, he desired the continuance of peace ; 
he strove, by all the means in his power, to prevail on Russia to 
forego, for the sake of humanity, her haughty and unjust claims ; 
he mediated with caution and moderation between the bel- 
ligerents, to bring them to terms; he went as near the line 
dividing justice and injustice from each other, as he could, to 
satisfy the demands of the Czar ; he exhausted all the arts of a 
profound statesmanship, to compromise disputes so rife with 
peril to his country ; but all in vain. 

We say, "peril to his country," for Austria is more exposed 
to danger from the aggression of Russia on Turkey than any 
other State in Europe. The conquest of the Ottoman Power, 
or the aggrandizement of Russia on the Danube and the Black 
Sea, would be little less than the annihilation of the Austrian 
Empire. This being so obvious to all the world, from the geo- 
graphical position of Austria, it has been a matter of astonish- 
ment to many, why she did not unite with the Western Powers 
from the beginning. Without being the apologists of Austria, 
we imagine we can discover several grounds for this procrasti- 
nation. In the first place the empire was in a very disorganized 
state internally, arising out of the anarchy of 1848, and the 
Hungarian war. This disorder reached to the divided feelings 
of the people, the social and commercial condition of classes 
engaged in trade, to the finances of the coimtry, to the administra- 
tion of justice, — martial law existing in Hungary and Lombardy 
at the time, — and even to the moral state of the army itself. 
A nation so disorganized as Austria, in the beginning of this 
struggle, could not be expected hastily to rush into war ; and it 
is likely that this condition of his neighbour and ?dly would be 
one of the inducements to the Czar to commence the conflict at 
the time he did. But in addition to this, Austria belongs to a 
league of States, — the German Bund, — and it became essential 
to act in concert with these, if practicable. We apprehend this 
has been the chief impediment in the movements of Austria. It 
is known that the States, constituting the old Germanic Empire, 
are pretty equally divided in their adherence to Prussia on the 
one hand, and to Austria on the other; and, also, that it has 
been the avowed policy of Prussia to prevent the union of 


The War with Russia, 

Germany against Russia. The King of Prussia has been obliged 
to assent to the principle of justice, involved in the defence of 
Turkey by the Western Powers ; has taken part in the early 
negotiations to avert the horrors of war ; has signed the protocols 
and documents of many kinds^ to carry the designs of the several 
Powers into execution ; and then, true to the Prussian perfidy 
of all past times, has invariably endeavoured, under one pretext 
or another, to evade his own engagements, and to defeat the 
action of Austria in Germany. We admire the patience of the 
latter Power ; it has been most exemplary, and, although pro- 
voked and thwarted by her rival and, we must say, her betrayer, 
her language has been most moderate and dignified. No doubt 
Austria divined, from the beginning, the sort of game her 
powerful neighbour would play, the jugglery of her diplomacy, the 
insincerity of her adherence to the opposition against the Czar, 
the Russian tendency of her policy, the surreptitious corre- 
spondence going on with the Court of St. Petersburg, the 
sycophancy of the King to his imperial brother-in-law, and his 
readiness to barter the interests of Germany, and the freedom of 
nations, for a place in the satrapship of prostrate Europe. A 
diadem is no security against baseness; a high position, no 
safeguard agamst meanness of spirit ; the traditional honour of 
Kings, no shield against paltry passions ; and even the obligations 
of religion cannot guard some royal hearts against a craft and 
deceit, which, if found in private life, would banish its possessor 
from decent society. We cannot be surprised that the move- 
ment of Austria has not been more rapid, when it has had to 
wind its way in the midst of this Machiavellian antagonism. 
And now, though she has, it appears, escaped the danger of 
coming to blows with her German neighbours, she is obliged to 
act independently of Prussia and her satellite adherents. 

But, besides these difficulties, the military force of Austria 
was not in a condition to take the field. She knew, better than 
any other country, the character and resources of the enemy, 
and that this enemy was not to be despised, or met in the con- 
flict with inadequate, ill-appointed forces. Through the whole 
of the negotiations the Emperor Erancis Joseph has been 
increasing and organizing troops, purchasing horses and equip- 
ping a powerful cavalry, perfecting his materiel, and augmenting 
the artillery and engineer departments, strengthening the forti- 
fications of the empire, and providing provisions and munitions. 
And all this has so well succeeded, that^ on authentic informa- 
tion, Austria is now in possession of one of the most numerous 
and well-appointed armies in the world. Besides these consi- 
derations, the contiguity of the Austrian territories to those 
of the Czar must have exposed her to his heaviest blows, which, 
in her unprepared state, she must have been unable to resist. 
France, and especially England, could take the field at once. 

Austria's Obligations to Russia. 


^vithout danger, inasmuch as their geographical position placed 
them beyond the reach of llussia. This was, however, far from 
being the case with the Austrian territories ; and Transylvania, 
Galatia, and Moravia, would have been open to the assault of 
the enemy, and, possibly, a humiliating peace would have been 
exacted within the walls of Vienna itself. To avert this cala- 
mity, time was essential ; and, with consummate tact, the Court 
of Austria has obtained such a respite as to be fully prepared 
for every emergency. 

We have purposely kept for the last consideration the rela- 
tions, nay, the obligations, of Austria to Russia, on which, as 
it appears, the Czar confidently relied for the neutraUty of 
Austria in his crusade against Turkey, and the aggrandizement 
of his own empire. We have no very exalted idea of the disin- 
terested nature of the intervention of Russia in Hungary, and 
none at all of the gratitude of nations. Nicholas, no doubt, 
interposed in Hungary as much for Russian, as for Austrian, 
purposes. To allow Hungary to become a free and independent 
nation, to fraternize with Poland, to spread lil^eral principles on 
the frontiers of his dominions, and thus to become propagandist 
by example, he vv^ell knew^, would be as dangerous to himself as' 
to his ally. To arrest the progress of revolution in the Austrian 
dominions, he was too sagacious not to perceive, was to prevent 
a revolution in Russia. But this was too fair and good an 
occasion for the diplomatic finesse of the Chancery of St. 
Petersburg not to be used for attempting some advantage. It 
matters not to Russia w^liether the party is friend or foe ; every 
transaction is improved for the gain of something, if it is only 
the introduction of a new principle, to be drawn out of the 
archives of diplomacy at a distant day. The Czar obviously 
reckoned upon the humiliation of Austria, from her solicitation 
of his assistance ; and this feeling is, indeed, sanctioned by 
many historical events. One country never helps another but 
with the expectation of deriving profit of some sort, often 
its subjugation. Hence, in his conversations with Sir G. PI. 
Seymour, respecting the dying state of the " sick man," and the 
disposition of his inheritance, Nicholas made no account of 
Francis Joseph, and said he would answer for Austria. He was 
egregiously mistaken ! Austria, at any rate, w^as not dead as a 
nation ; and the insulting treatment she received on this occa- 
sion led to the fulfilment of Prince Schwartzenburg's memo- 
rable declaration, that the Russian intervention would be 
responded to wdth " huge ingratitude." The question was 
one of the most grave and v.^eiglity tliat a nation could have 
placed before its attention. It amounted to nothing less than 
this, namely, whether she should sell her dignity, her independ- 
ence, her greatness, her nationality, to Russia, for the assistance 
she had received, and for her questionable friendship for the future. 

VOL. IV. NO. VIT. s 


The War with Russia. 

Slie is now answering this question by the magnitude of her 
armaments_, by the attitude she has taken, and by her alliance with 
the Western Powers. No doubt it would have been for the 
interests of Austria to enjoy peace. This seemed peculiarly 
essential to her well-being. But the state of affairs left her no 
choice betwixt an ignominious debasement as a nation^ or a 
determination to resist llussian perfidy and aggression. She 
has cautiously, but firmly, and, as we cannot doubt, in good 
faith, made her election on the side of justice, truth, and the 
freedom of nations. 

Thus, then, the matter stands in respect to these alliances. 
In case affairs are not speedily settled, they cannot end wliere 
they are. The rest of the nations will have to make their selec- 
tion betwixt Russian ascendancy and their own freedom. There 
is, there can be, no alternative betwixt these two conditions 
of the question. "We write in the midst of negotiations for 
peace, but have slight hopes of its being realized. As if by 
concert, all the nations are armed to the teeth. There cannot be 
fewer than tliree millions of men in arms ; whilst all the popula- 
tions of Europe, having been trained for war, are in a state to 
be called out at any moment. These military preparations and 
expensive armaments can augur nothing but war. 

As we pen these lines, the startling news of the death of 
Nicholas has reached us. We indulge in no vindictive feelings ; 
in the presence of death silence is imposed. Nicholas was a 
great man. His private and domestic virtues were most exem- 
plary ; he no doubt conferred many benefits upon individuals, as 
well as sought his country's glory. The liussian system is 
power, and the late Czar was its most eminent type. His vices 
were the vices of the system he inherited. The administrator 
of a despotism must be a despot. From time immemorial the 
Muscovite nation has believed in its mission to conquer Turkey, 
and Nicholas inherited this belief with the possession of the 
throne itself. We hope his appeals to religion, so fanatical and 
offensive, had their rise in this inherited faith, and not in 
hypocrisy. This would not be a full extenuation, but it would 
save the memory of the Czar from the brand of deceit. What 
effect the departure of the chief actor from the scene of strife 
may have on its issue, we cannot pretend to foresee ; possibly 
the very opposite of those anticipated. The new Emperor may 
be the amiable man, the lover of peace and progress, he has been 
represented ; and yet these qualities of nature may place him 
more entirely in the hands of the war party than if he possessed a 
more stern and unbending nature. The iron will of Nicholas, 
we are told, was employed in balancing parties ; but, comparing 
the latter portion of his reign with the former, we see a great 
difference ; and from the appearance of Prince Menschikoff and 
the old Russian party on the field of action, followed by the 

The Future. 


invasion of Turkey^ it may be doubted^ whether even the firm 
hand of Nicholas could control the swelling tide. If this was 
the case^ then his less firm^ less experienced^ and less influential 
son must yield himself to the tide, and the war will go on to its 
issue; that issue being the humiliation of Ilussia_, or her still 
furtlier aggrandizement. 

We pause at this point. We pretend not to prognosticate 
the future, or to be the interpreters either of prophecy or of 
Providence. But taking existing facts as the data for judging 
of the course of events^ we cannot hide from ourselves the por- 
tentous character of our times, and the certain anticipation that 
this Eastern Question is destined to lead to momentous results. 
As believers in Providence, w^e cannot evade the conclusion 
that nations are the organs of God in the accomplishment of 
His decrees. The present war is, doubtless, destined to bring 
about some high purpose of the Divine Will. We cannot know 
this purpose ; but, from the nature of His dispensations, can 
have no doubt but that the end will be in mercy to mankind. 
This, however, does not preclude present and temporary suffer- 
ing j and it is likely that a period of calamity, on a great scale, 
awaits the human race. The conflict of passion, of ambition, 
of injustice, of tyranny, can, it seems, at present only be curbed 
by suffering, by resistance, by war. Many monstrous evils are 
found in human society awaiting the judgment of God ; and the 
instrument of His judgment is war. That some of these evils 
will be swept away by the present contest, we can have no 
doubt ; that a new path for the Gospel will be prepared, v/e have 
confident hope ; that a great area for the kingdom of our Lord 
w ill be cleared, and given to Christianity, we believe ; and that 
the freedom, the industry, and the civilization of distant races 
will be promoted, we fully anticipate. But end is not 

yet.^^ The storm precedes the calm, the winter the spring, the 
education of a people the ripe fruits of knowledge. 

We wait the issue with calmness, but not without anxiety. 
Their country is dear to all Englishmen; and her fortunes 
in this conflict cannot but be looked upon with profound 
solicitude. Vv^e believe her cause is just, her resolve mag- 
nanimous, her spirit heroic, her resolution firm. But, in a 
conflict so important, so full of peril, so moral, — we had almost 
said, so religious, — she especially needs the interposition of God. 
The basing of her policy on His Avord, trust in His protection, 
humility in the confession of national sins, fervent supplication 
for the guidance of His wisdom, and the blessing of His grace, 
— let these points be secured, and England is safe. We have out- 
ridden many storms ; we trust to be safe in this. We have 
assisted the oppressed in times past effectually ; we hope to 
leave a monument of our justice, as well as of our prowess, as 
the result of our interference in this Eastern Question. 

s 2 


The Sphere and Duties of Government. Translated from the 
German of Baron Wilhelm Yon Humboldt. By Joseph 
Coulthard, Jun. London : Chapman. 1854. 

The express design of this treatise is " to discover the legitimate 
ohjccts to which the energies of State organizations should he directed, 
and to define the limits within which those energies should he 
exercised." Full of the highest kind of interest, and at the same 
tin.e attended witli peculiar difficulties, this design was quite worthy 
of the late Baron Humholdt, — a statesman and philosopher of all 
hut the highest stamp. If the attempt has not been followed by 
success, we may suppose the subject would prove at least as intractable 
in other hands, and yield as little profit in conclusion. We may even 
suspect that there is something radically faulty in the design itself 

The author endeavours to establish a practical distinction between 
measures which promote the positive welfare, and those which regard 
only the negative security or well-being, of the citizen ; and maintains 
that the former are quite beyond the sphere of Government ; are 
restrictive of individual freedom and development, and therefore 
detrimental to true social prosperity and greatness. We believe 
this distinction is more plausible in theory than observable in prac- 
tice, if it be not even rather verbal than rea^ . As a positive restric- 
tion is often required to secure a merely negative advantage, so this 
negative advantage may be valued only for its positive results : it 
is, at any rate, the expression of a positive opinion on the part of 
ths majority, from whom the enactment of the law proceeds. The 
parties who may safely be allowed to judge of what is hurtful to 
the community as such, may surely judge of what is, in the main, 
desirable and necessary for the welfare of the same ; and to refuse 
the exercise of the latter privilege, is to lose a moiety of the benefits 
of combination. In regard to the material interests of a nation, this 
truth is generally understood and acted upon. To erect poor-houses 
and asylums is as legitimate an exercise of governmental functions, 
as to provide for the removal of pubhc nuisances, or to establi.?h 
courts of justice for the repression of public crime. The question, 
then, occurs. If a people may safely consent to intrust their material 
interests to a delegated power, may it not further commit certain 
of its moral interests to the same salutary supervision and control ? 
Are there not measures of the latter kind equal in importance to 

Brief Literary Notices. 


those of the former, — measures wherein, also, the majority are equally 
agreed ? There are other nuisances besides the accumulation of fdth 
in our streets, which the great mass of the nation may lawfully con- 
demn, and by means of the authorized executive remove. Perhaps 
the one is as imperative as the other ; both, of course, being 
effected under the constant witness and direction of the people, from 
whom authority is rightfully derived. Moreover, it must not be 
forgotten, that to corroborate private virtue is one of the pri7ne 
objects and advantages of public taws. Tlie best as well as the worst 
of us needs this species of protection. Only by this assistance is 
society tolerable, or even possible; we can only defend ourselves 
from each other by consenting to some positive restraint upon 

These few remarks will receive ample illustration, by a reference 
to one great public ordinance, — that, namely, which asserts and 
secures the perpetuity of the marriage contract. This is confessedly 
a restriction of individual liberty : directly personal in its character, 
it is immensely important in its results. Let it be granted, also, 
that there are hardships under this as under every great act of public 
legislation. Yet — omitting for the time all reference to divine autho- 
rity — who shall say that a nation has no right to confirm the fickle 
virtue of its members, to provide a fittnig basis of social order, to 
secure a higher kind and a larger amount of general order and 
individual happiness, by the enforcement of this uniform decree ? 
It is not only the virtuous and the good who are thankful for 
such a law ; but all who have any relic or desire of goodness, or 
recognise the utility and loveliness of virtue, — all who desire to see 
humanity distinguished from the lower creatures, and exercising its 
diviner faculties with due advantage, and in their proper spliere. 
Now, the tendency of Baron Humboldt's argument is to remove 
matrimony out of the sphere of Government, to make it a matter 
for private regulation, subject only to the dictates of individual 
opinion or caprice. " I should not be deterred," says the author, 
" from the adoption of this principle by the fear that all family rela- 
tions might be disturbed, or their manifestations in general impeded ; 
for, although such an apprehension might be justified by considera- 
tions of particular circumstances and localities, it could not be fairly 
entertained, in an inquiry into the nature of men and states in general. 
For experience frequently convinces us, that just where law has 
imposed no fetters, morality most surely binds : the idea of external 
coercion is one entirely foreign to an institution which, like matri- 
mony, reposes only on inclination and an inward sense of duty ; 
and the results of such coercive institutions do not at all correspond 
to the designs in which they originate." Surely all men of sober, 
impartial judgment v/ill be at issue with the author of these senti- 
ments ; and nothing but that tenacious fondness for a plausible and 
pieconcerted theory, which is characteristic of our German neigh- 
bours, could have blinded the eyes of so intelligent a philosopher 
to the overwhelming evidence of history and daily facts. 'Ihe theory 
he propounds is, in some measure, useful as well as specious, and 
we may hope to approximate thereto, as the world shall sensibly 
improve ; but we must bevv'are of paying too expensive or too dan- 


Brief Literary Notices, 

gerouK a compliment to human nature. What is c]nef]\^ needed in 
pubhc legislation, as well as in private life — what has, indeed, largely 
contributed to the consolidation and h^ipiness of this great empire — 
is that moral wisdom which temporarily commutes the demand of 
absolute perfection for its practicable steps, and consents even to a 
compromise between the full enjoyment and the sullen repudiation 
of liberty itself. 

Christianity^ Theoretical and Practical. By William Kirkus, 
LL.B. London : Jackson and Walford. 1854. 

The Outlines of Theology; or, The general Principles of Re- 
Ycaled Religion briefly stated. By the Rev. James Clark. 
Vol. I. London: Ward and Co. 1854. 

It is works like these — not seldom, but with comparative fre- 
quency, imparted to the world — which serve to remind us of the 
superiority and riches of our Christian literature. The theory of our 
iTligion is so perfect and profound as to exercise and develope the 
highest and most comprehensive reason of our nature ; yet so beautiful 
and so various as to impart a strange interest and fascination to the 
humblest epitome of its commanding truths. Whilst the cleverest of 
our sceptics is not able, with all the aids of an advanced eclecticism, to 
devise a theory of religion which can hold together during even an hour's 
])erusal, it is competent to any Minister of the Gospel of Christ to 
avail himself of a system matchless for authority, consistency, and 
power, — a system not more- replete with consolations than irresistible 
in its proofs, and not more mighty in its appeals than invincible in its 
numbei'less defences. 

In the great body of Christian apologists Mr. Kirkus may take an 
honourable phice. His work abl}' confutes some of the characteristic 
errors of the day : it is written, for the most part, with very evident 
ability, and in a pure and masculine style. The author shows a fine 
appreciation of the beauties and harmonies of "theoretical Christi- 

With these words of approval we should have been glad to stop ; 
but oui' commendation of this volume must be qualified by exceptions 
of a serious character. Much less justice is here done to practical, 
than to theoretical, Christianity. A single instance of defective and 
erroneous treatment may suffice to put the reader on his guard, in the 
perusal of this generally sound and thoughtful volume. " There are 
many," says Mr. Kirkus, "who seem constantly in expectation of some 
supernatural and unaccountable feeling which they call ' assurance,' 
' the witness of the Spirit,' ' getting salvation,' and the like. Such 
expectations are founded on mistaken views of the w^ord of God. 
There is a true ' assurance,' one which always accompanies the simple 
belief of the ' record which God has given of His Son : ' a man 
examining his own heart, finding that, in his sin and helplessness, he is 
wholly depending upon Christ for salvation, and taking God at His 
word, will be ' assured ' that ' there is no more condemnation for ' 
him." We submit that this reliance upon a logical inference is some- 
thing very different from a scriptural assurance, — indeed, is evidently 
no " assurance " at all. But Mr. Kirkus shall speak further for himself, 

Brief Literary Notices. 


and let us know how far he is qualified to preach upon one of tlie 
most important doctrines of the Gospel. That we do him no injustice 
in describing his assurance as the ellect of logic rather than of faitl), 
is very evident from the following sentence : " A mere flutter or 
palpitation of the heart, a deliciousness of unthinking reverie, an inex- 
plicable, unaccountable something, is mistaken for that ' witness of the 
Spirit with our spirits, that we are the children of God,' which is to be 
found only in the word of God." To be found only in the word of 
God ? what can this mean ? As a truth, it is certainly announced 
there ; but as 2. fact, it is surely to be looked for in the believer's heart. 
The merest common sense demands this evident distinction. It is 
the witness of Spirit with spirit, and not the written and formal 
absolution of a multitude on the condition of their " simple belief in 
the record." Though Mr. Kirkus has quoted the very words of 
Scripture, which would seem to leave him no chance of evasion, he 
puts the doctrine of this personal witness wholly by, and concludes in 
language which we transcribe vv^ith equal astonishment and grief: 
" Even in the word the Spirit bears no witness to the sonship of a 
separate individual, John or James, Martha or Mary, but to the son- 
ship of all and singular who possess certain characteristics, who, in 
short, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." If our author can so write, 
we hardly know whether his incompetency to enforce religion, or to 
teach theology, be most apparent. 

Of the "Outlines of Theology," by Mr. Clark, we have only one 
volume before us, and must, therefore, defer saying more than that it is 
written in a worthy simplicity of style, and sufficiently illustrates the 
remark with which this brief aotioe commenced. 

Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters. By the Right Hon. the 
Earl of Carlisle. Second Edition. London : Longman 
and Co. 1854. 

Loud Carlisle's genial disposition and generous tone of judging of 
mankind render him a delightful travelling companion. He wandered 
through the classic sceres of Greece and Asia Minor, at a time when 
our fleets were engaged in the preliminary operations of the war, and 
was conveyed from place to place by the friendly offices of the 
Commanders of various Queen's ships. In consequence of these 
facilities, he not only saw the natural beauties and historic scenes of 
the East to great advantage, but is now enabled to present his readers 
with a view of active professional duty, in connexion with a panorama 
of exceeding interest. The Piraeus, Athens, the Cape of Sunium, 
" Ohio's rocky isle," the Troad, and other scenes illustrious in story, 
are mingled with the doings of the present time. History, at its two 
extremities, is thus seen at a glance, and a double interest conferred 
upon the sunny waters and bold coasts of the ^gean Sea. To 
classical readers some of the descriptions introduced will have much 
interest, though we think the classical element appears too promi- 
nently for a popular volume of travels. Elaborate disquisitions upon 
tlie site of Troy and the Fountain of Arethusa are not every man's 
reading ; and those chiefly concerned resort to other sources of infor- 
mation. In speaking of the war, whose earlier nautical movements are 


Brief Literary Notices. 

here incidentally described, though his Lordship is as patriotic as might 
be expected, we trace some misgivings, which arise from the adoption 
of certain views of pro})hecy now greatl}^ in vogue in some circles. 

As a specimen of the style and matter of the volume, we give a 
description of a walk in Athens : — " The King's new palace is a most 
staring, ugly, browless-looking building. It is a blessed transition to 
the ruins of antiquity. We passed in succession Hadrian's Arch, the 
Temple of the Olympian Jupiter, the Fountain of Callirhoe, the bed of 
tlie Ilissus, the choragic monument of Lysicrates, the site of the 
Theatre of Bacchus, the Portico of the Furies, the Tlieatre of Herodes 
Atticus, the Areopagus, the Temple of Theseus ; reserving the 
Parthenon for ampler leisure, and a brighter, though it could not 
easily be a softer, sky. I have threaded all these pregnant names 
together, as the object of the day was rather to make a general 
survey, than a more special study of separate beauties and glories. 
What is admirable and wonderful, is the harmonious blending of every 
detached feature with each other, with the solemn mountains, the lucid 
atmosphere, the eternal sea, all wearing the same unchanged aspect 
as when the ships of Xerxes were shivered on that Colian Cape 
beneath ; as when the slope of the Acropolis was covered with its 
Athenian audience to listen under this open sky to iEschylus and 
Sophocles, to the Agamemnon or the CKdipus ; as when St. Paul 
stood on the topmost stone of yon Hill of Mars, and, while summit 
above and plain below bristled with idols, proclaimed, with the words 
of a power to which not even Pericles could ever have attained, the 
counsel of the true God. Let me just remark, that even the impres- 
sive declaration of the Apostle, that ' God dwelleth not in temples 
made with hands,' may seem to grow in effect when we remember 
that the buildings to which he must have almost inevitably pointed 
at that very moment, were the most perfect that the hands of man 
have ever reared, and must have comprised the Theseum below, and 
the Parthenon above, him. It seems to have been well that ' art and 
man's device' should be reduced to their proper level, on the very 
spot of their highest development and glory." 

The ^Mediterranean : a Memoir, Physical, Historical, and 
Nautical. By Rear- Admiral W. H. Smyth. London: 
J. W. Parker. 1854. 

The Mediterranean skirts the whole south of Europe ; it washes 
the shores of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and (including the 
Black Sea, which all geographers have considered to be a part of 
the Mediterranean system) Russia in Europe. Asia touches it on 
the west by the Caucasian provinces, by the coasts of Asia Minor 
to Aleppo, and, from that point to Egypt, by the coasts of Syria and 
Palestine. Africa, on the north, is entirely bounded by the Medi- 
terranean, as Europe on the south. The different civilized nations 
which have in turn fixed the attention of mankind, have almost 
exclusively inhabited its shores. When we travel in thought around 
the borders of this beautiful basin, historic names present themselves 
in crowds. Greece, Italy, Carthage, Syria, Arabia, and Judea ! Such 
are some of the names that present themselves to the imagination. 

Brief Literary Notices. 


Captain (now Admiral) Smyth, who has employed the greater part 
of a lifetime in determining the principal points of the charts of the 
Mediterranean, conceived the happy idea of collecting under this 
title all that his own labours, and those of his predecessors and 
colleagues, have brought to hglit respecting this vast basin ; every 
thing relating to its productions and the commerce of the surround- 
ing nations. He describes, also, the climate, prevailing winds, and 
the healthy or unhealthy atmospheric influences found in each 
locality ; and he gives illustrations of all the principles he establishes. 
He draws his materials in turn from history and science. The west 
wind, which chiefly prevails in these latitudes, the mistral, the sirocco, 
the tramontane, the etesian winds, &c., take their places in a plan 
well conceived, and rich in numberless details. Side by side with 
facts drawn from the biblical period, or the age of Homer, stand 
observations dating from the Anglo-French war at the beginning 
of this century, and explorations still more recent, carried on by him- 
self and by French mariners engaged on the hydrography of this sea. 

To give an idea of the work, we will mention the five important 
parts of which it consists. The first refers to the productions, the 
commerce, and the industrial pursuits of the difi'erent countries 
bordering upon the Mediterranean, from the Straits of Gribraltar to 
the extremity of the Sea of Azof. 

The second part refers to the sea itself, considered as a highway 
of communication, and as subject to the general physical laws of the 
globe or of meteorology ; and comprehends temperature, currents, 
freshets, system of rivers, evaporation, and all that relates to the 
colonies of fishes and other living beings which inhabit this sea, and 
enrich the surrounding countries. The depth of waters, the appear- 
ance of rivers, and the efiJ'ects of ancient and modern volcanoes are 
also described in due detail. 

In the third part he places questions relating to prevailing winds, 
the seasons, and climatology, with all the phenomena of the atmo- 
sphere, such as tempests, rain, and electric hurricanes. 

The fourth part contains the history of the geographical researches 
upon which the existing charts of the Mediterranean have been con- 
structed, from ancient times to the present day. The author's own 
share in these researches is described with becoming modesty, and 
ample justice is rendered to others. 

The fifth part is principally technical ; it treats of longitudes and 
geographical positions, and is followed by some valuable tables, with 
symbols pointing out anchorages, harbours, rocks, submarine 
dangers, &c., &c. 

The above outline will show that many most interesting problems 
are embraced within the scope of Admiral Smyth's work, which 
possesses a genuine value, and is worth a thousand mere compilations. 

Le Redempteur. Discours par Edmond de Pressense^ Pasteur. 
In-8vo. Paris : Meyrueis. 1 854. 

The author of this volume, one of the Pastors of the Independent 
congregation in Paris, has been for some years engaged upon a very 
important work. He purposes examining the various doctrines which 


Brief Literary Notices. 

obtained, both amongst the schools and in the world, respecting the 
life and teaching of our blessed Saviour, during the first three cen- 
turies of the Church. But, before grappling with this interesting 
subject, M. de Pressense felt the necessity of treating the question in 
itself, and as it is revealed to us by the word of God. Hence the 
Discourses we are now noticing ; Discourses which are more properly 
disquisitions, than compositions adapted to the pulpit. They are 
twelve in number. They form a complete Christ ology, and evidence 
in the author both a great amount of sound learning, and a thorough 
acquaintance with experimental religion, two qualities not always 
found together. Even if M. de Pressense had not intimated as much 
in his Preface, we could have had no difficulty in tracing, throughout 
his volume, the influence of Grerman theological literature. Neander, 
Sartorius, Liicke, Lange, are his favourite authors ; and he seems to 
have studied, with equal profit, patristic lore and modern divinity. 

We cannot, of course, pretend to give a full critique of M. de 
Pressense' s Discourses ; but the reader will find, in the remarkable 
Avant-propos which introduces the book, a statement of the views which 
the author entertains of the character and progress of contemporary 
theology. "If," says he, "the Grospel is the same, yesterday, to-day, 
and for ever, this immutability does not belong to theology. The 
history of dogmas is the history of the variations of divines, whilst 
there remains a certain amount of unity in essential points. As a 
scientific structure, the Reformation system of dogmatics can no more 
claim to be a definitive result, than the systems of the second and third 
centuries. Our predecessors were engaged in an immense movement 
forwards ; so are we. We believe we know the end to which we are 
hastening ; it is the ever deeper knowledge of the way in which the 
human and the divhie elements are blended together in the Chris- 
tian conception. By its deplorable Pelagianism, Catholicism had 
sacrificed God to man. The theology of the sixteenth century, 
through the determinism embodied in the most absolute of all sys- 
tems, sacrificed too much the human element : it gave, at the same 
time, a highly beneficial impulse to modern society, by a contradiction 
which an attentive study will sufficiently explain. The Church, in 
the third stage of its development, has for its mission to maintain 
both terms of the religious problem in their respective rights, and to 
conciliate, as much as possible, the human with the divine element, 
the moral with the religious." 

After having examined the event which first introduced sin into 
the world, and the promise it pleased God to make to Adam subse- 
quently to the Fall, M. de Pressense devotes three separate Discourses 
to the question, " How far man was prepared for the coming of our 
Saviour previous to the Mosaic dispensation, amongst the Jews them- 
selves, and, finally, in the heathen nations." This is one of the most 
important parts of the volume : it is one which the author has treated 
with the greatest care ; and we may say, that nothing so complete, so 
satisfactory, has hitherto been written in French on the same subject. 

Count Joseph de Maistre, in his Soirees de Saint-Petersl)Ourg , had 
already explained how, even in the darkest stages of Heathenism, the 
various forms of worship exhibited, especially through the rites of 
sacrifice, a sort of witness to the mission and person of the Redeemer. 

Brief Literary Notices. 


The celebrated philosopher, Von Schelling, finds likewise in the vague 
and obscure science of polytheism a preparation for revealed religion. 
Other parallels, besides, will suggest themselves naturally to the 
reader, as he studies the work we are now reviewing, and lead hini 
on to the conclusion adopted by M. de Pressense ; namely, that the 
preparation for salvation in the heathen world has been nothing else 
than a long and overwhelming experience of human weakness, — a 
series of desperate attempts to find God, a groping for the light. 

Time will only allow us to make one more quotation from the pre- 
sent Discoui'ses ; but it is an important one, inasmuch as it proves 
that there fortunately prevails, amongst our young divines on the 
other side of the Channel, a tendency to throw off' those fatalist views 
of religion which had misled so many respecting the influence of the 
Holy Spirit. 

" If we transform grace into I know not what divine absolutism, 
if we make of it an irresistible power, we take away from it its true 
character ; we deprive God of His sovereignty, under pretence of pre- 
serving it entire. His sovereignty is especially admirable, because it 
acts harmoniously with liberty, and reaches its own end whilst main- 
taining that liberty. The Spirit of God transforms us, penetrates us, 
by overcoming our opposition. Grace is a divine persuasion ; it con- 
quers us not by an act of authorit}^, but by a secret and gentle influ- 
ence ; and the great manifestations of its power are connected, as in 
St. Paul's conversion, with a long inward struggle, the catastrophe 
of which may be quite sudden. Let men therefore cease to mistake 
Fatalism for Christianity : the argument justifiable three centuries 
ago, as a weapon in the contest with Koman Catholic Pelagianism, 
would now injure those who attempted to handle it, and destroy them, 
by making them responsible for the tenets of contemporary Pan- 
theism. The reign of Jesus Christ is not to be assimilated to the 
w^orst thing there is upon earth. God's sovereignty has nothing in 
common with absolutism ; and the Spirit of the free and powerful 
God must not be lowered to a mechanical and material power." 

We hope that an accurate translation will soon render M. de 
Pressense' s volume accessible to English readers. 

Histoire des Doctrines morales et politiqiies des trois derniers 
Siecles. Par M. J. Matter^ Conseiller lionoraire, et ancien 
Inspecteur general de T University Correspondant de Fin- 
stitut. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris : Cherbnliez. 1854. 

The subject which M. Matter examines in this work, has never 
yet been accurately treated by any writer, although it is certainly one 
of the most profitable themes for the reflecting mind to study. There 
is one publication, however, which would seem to bear some affinity 
to it, and that is the celebrated Dissertation published by Dugald 
Stewart in the "Encyclopaedia Britanmca ;" but a slight perusal of both 
works will sufficiently prove the difference which exists between them. 
In the first place, the Scotch w^riter has almost exclusively confined 
himself to the history of the progress of ethical science ; and he 
alludes to political theories, only when his subject renders an allusion 
to them absolutely indispensable. Next, — and here we touch upon a 


7?/?*^/ Literary Notices. 

point of far greater dissimilarity^ — Dugald Stewart, by restricting his 
observations to the various metaphysical schools, and to the pro- 
pounders of moral systems viewed as teachers, b}^ shutting himself 
up, so to sa}^, within the walls of an academy, has deprived himself of 
the means of appreciating the real merits of the doctrines he exa- 
mines. For we should not forget, that the views adopted in schools 
are not always those which prevail in the world ; and, if the part of 
society is to apply the principles expounded by moral instructors, it is 
seldom that complete harmony exists between theory and practice. 
To quote only one example : the great religious and political drama 
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries resulted from the collision 
of two contradictory systems. On one side wei'e the doctrines of 
Erasmus, Bodin, Sir Thomas More ; on the other stood the despotic 
practices of Charles V., Henry YIIl., Catherine di Medici. If we 
M^ould know whether the ethical maxims taught in lecture-rooms are 
something better than useless or dangerous Utopias, we must study 
them in tlieir bearings upon the progress of society. This is the only 
way of discovering their real value ; for the political cataclysms by 
which God sees fit at times to visit the nations of the earth, are the 
natural consequences of the scission, — the differences we have just 
been alluding to. 

These cursory observations will best explain the nature of M. 
Matter's work. It embraces a complete sketch of modern history ; 
and by laying before us an account of the principal doctrines succes- 
sively maintained by ethical and metaphysical writers, from the 
Eeformation era down to the conclusion of the last century, it 
gives us a deep insight into the real causes of the various revolutions 
which have marked the annals of modern civilization. 

When we examine the state of Europe during the sixteenth cen- 
tury, we meet at the very onset two master-minds whose influence on 
their contemporaries cannot be overrated. Erasmus and Machiavelli 
were the representatives of the two systems between which the 
human race is constantly, though vainly, seeking a middle course. 
In the Colloquia^ the Adagia, the " Praise of Folly," it is not difficult 
to find the spirit of our modern Freethinkers ; whilst all the worst 
doctrines advocated in later times by Ilobbes, Filmer, and other writers 
of the same school, are most intelligibly propounded by the classical 
author of 77 Frincijje, the historian whose disciples were Philip II., 
Alexander VL, and Lorenzo di Medici. 

Machiavelli was the first man who reduced into axioms and definite 
rules the art of state-craft : his name is justly linked with the very 
essence of despotism, and no one can *jontend that justice has not 
been awarded to him. But Erasmus, on the other hand, has evidently 
obtained more praise than would have been his legitimate share. If he 
claims the honour of having vulgarized, and rendered popular, feelings 
and sentiments which were high in every breast, a philosopher less 
known, but far more original in his views, was the real thinker who 
broke loose through the fetters of scholasticism, and inaugurated the 
era of liberalism in metaphysical research. We allude to Peter 
Pomponazzio, for a complete account of whose tenets the reader 
should turn to M. Matter's instructive volumes. 

Pomponazzio and Machiavelli, — such are the first two links of that 

Brief Literary Notices. 

• 269 

double chain which may be traced down, through an unbroken series 
of philosophers and publicists, to M. de Laniennais on the one side, 
and Donoso Cortez on the other. 

The teachings of metaphysicians are not, however, the only channel 
through which public opinion is affected, or manifests itself; besides 
libri sententiarum, summcD theologiccd, and heavy artillery of that 
description, we have the light dragoons of literature, — pamphlets, 
plays, songs, vaudevilles. This point has not been omitted by 
M. Matter; and, as we approach the eighteenth century, it becomes 
more and more important. The French Revolution, for instance, is 
as much identified with the Mariage de Figaro, as with Eousseau's 
Contrat Social. 

After having sketched the political history of society, and tested 
every system adduced either by the spirit of absolutism or the 
genius of liberty, the historian cannot stop there. We must deduce 
I'rom a consideration of the past some useful teaching for our own 
times, and see whether the experience of ages now gone by will not 
supply us with directions for the future. M. Matter (let us bear in 
mind that he addresses himself to Frenchmen) utters the following 
severe but just denunciation against the nineteenth century. " Faith 
in things and in men has vanished ; doctrines and institutions no 
longer inspire any enthusiasm ; laws and morals are pervaded by 
scepticism ; we are disgusted at what we see, and frightened at what 
threatens us : such is the moral, such is the political situation to 
which, after three centuries of an immense development, that frac- 
tion of humanity is reduced, which has either sought for progress, 
or been compelled to submit to it." From this shall we conclude 
that our author scouts the idea of progress, and that he longs for a 
return to those good old notions so fondly regretted by our friends 
of the Oxford school ? No ; M. Matter only points out the evil 
to which we may ascribe the state of prostration unfortunately 
prevalent at the present time : he is a smcere advocate of imjirove- 
ment ; but, as he says very truly, there is no political advance, either 
possible, or even desirable, for nations, which is not also necessarily 
and naturally introduced by a corresponding moral development. 
Now, this is precisely the great mistake which both Princes and 
philosophers have always committed. They have sought for pledges 
of security in political, not moral, influence ; whilst professedly repu- 
diating, with all their might, the doctrines of Machiavelli, it is he 
whom, de facto, they have taken as their master and guide. Hence 
the natural conclusion, that the sole cure for the moral disease from 
which the political world appears to be now suffering, is a return to 
such religious principles as can alone insure the greatness and the 
lasting prosperity of nations. 

In concluding this imperfect sketch, we may just say, that M. Matter 
is well known in France by various publications on metaphysical and 
other subjects. He is a Lutheran Protestant, and a Doctor of Divinity ; 
and attached as he is to Gospel principles, the influence which his 
teaching possesses acts in a most beneficial way upon the mind of 
his countrymen. 


Brief Literary Notices. 

TIaud-Book of French Literature, Historical, Biographical, and 
Critical. London and Edinburgh : W. and R. Chambers. 

We are happy to be able to recommend this careful sketch of 
French literature to our young readers. They will find, if they put 
themselves under the guidance of the talented and judicious lady 
who has thus smoothed their path, that the chronological succession 
and general scope of French literatm'e, as well as its separate writers, 
are arranged, discriminated, and valued, with much judgment and 
precision. Nor will more advanced readers, whose acquaintance with 
the subject has been of many years' standing, fail to receive from 
a perusal of this volume a considerable accession both of pleasure 
and of profit. The country surveyed has many quagmires ; in these 
days an increasing number travel that way ; and it is a great thing to 
be able to take the hand of a pious and intelligent guide. 

Amerika. Die politischen, socialen nnd kirchlich-religioseu 
Zustiinde der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika, mit 
besonderer Biicksicht auf die Deutschen, aus eigener 
Anschauung dargestellt von Dr. Philipp S chaff, Prof, dcr 
Theologie zu Mercersburg in Pennsylvanien. 8vo. Berlin, 

It may be new to some of our readers, that there is an actual 
and not inconsiderable German literature indigenous to America. The 
one hundred thousand Germans who are annually landed in the port 
of New -York, are, it is true, for the most part, not of a class from 
whom much encouragement may be anticipated for literature ; never- 
theless, amongst the immense population spread through the United 
States, to whom the German language is vernacidar, there are those 
who are not only ready, but well fitted, to minister to the reading 
wants of their fellow-countrymen. 

Amongst these, the writer of the volume before us has already given 
to the world, through the medium of the Transatlantic German press, 
a work which has since enjoyed a far larger circulation and wider fame 
in its republished form in Germany, and in its translation both in 
America and our own country : — we allude to his " History of the 
Apostolic Church." The small work from the same pen, which we 
now introduce, is an expansion of lectures delivered by the author 
before a German audience, during a visit paid by him last year to his 
native land. It is not designed for America, but for Germany ; and 
has for its object the enlightenment of the Germans as to the political, 
social, and ecclesiastical condition of America, and especially as to the 
])osition of the great population of their own countrymen who have 
there found a home. 

Dr. Schaff's survey is peculiarly lucid, and, as may be expected from 
a German mind, no less philosophical, in its plan and arrangement. 
He first treats of the United States generally, in their geographical, 
political, social, scientific, literary, and rehgious aspects. From this 
he proceeds to a lengthened and very thorough examination of the 
ecclesiastical position of America, embracing an analysis of its several 
principal Churches and sects, — Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Dutch 

Brief Literary Notices, 


Eeformed,^ Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Quaker, Eomish, and Mor- 
mon. Lastly, he devotes about two-fifths of liis work to the subject 
of the German Churches in America ; noticing the history, language, 
scientific and educational institutions, religion, and morals of the 
German population ; and then the ecclesiastical position and prospects 
of the Lutlieran, the Eeformed, and the other German Churches. In 
speaking of the German Methodists, Dr. Schaff refers to the remark- 
able fact of some Missionaries having been sent by the Methodist 
communities to Germany, to labour amongst the neglected of their 
own native land. Altogether, we commend the work as a very sound 
and unbiassed examination of the religious condition of the rapidly 
increasing German population of the United States, characterized 
throughout by a very just appreciation of those points of mental 
constitution, and national character and temperament, by which the 
British, the German, and the American are respectively distinguished. 
Dr. Schaff is very earnest in his call to the Christians of his own 
land to make some united and large effort to supply the spiritual 
necessities of the four milhons of their fellow-countrymen in America. 
And with no less earnestness he calls upon those who have influence 
in the theological and literary productions of Germany, to exert that 
influence, so far as America is concerned, in such a way as shall con- 
tribute to an object towards which he looks at once with anxiety and 
enthusiasm ; namely, the formation — through a healthy fusion of the 
German with the Anglo-American character, and through the influence, 
rightly directed, which German writing alread}^ possesses over the men 
of thought in America — of a race which, as it shall assuredly be 
foremost in the future history of the world, so shall be foremost also 
in carrying throughout the unmeasured region of its sway the 
blessings of a true, and solid, and living Christianity. 

Die Verhandlungen des Siebenten Deutsclien Evaiigelischen 
Kirclientages zu Frankfurt am Main im September^ 
1854. 8vo. Berlin, 1854. 

We have before us the Report of the Seventh Annual Meeting of 
the Kirchentag, or Convention of the German Churches. 

This Convention is one of the few beneficial fruits of the Revo- 
lution of 1848. A deep sense of the necessity of the times was the 
origin of this endeavour, by concerted action amongst the chief 
representatives of the Evangelical faith in Germany, to ward off the 
evils with which the Church was at that period so terribly menaced. 
It had the happy effect, by drawing together men of different 
Churches, — Lutheran, Reformed, andUnited, — and by associating them 
in a common Christian purpose, of doing much to harmonize those 
whom a difference of name had hitherto kept apart, and thereby 
achieving a first step towards proving, by a practical exhibition, the 
true unity of Christian faith. 

As the Convention is one of a purely voluntary nature, it can 
assume no authoritative power. It continues, however, to maintain a 
growing influence, not only on the people at large, by means of its 
circulated Reports and apjjeals, but also on the various Governments 
with whom it intercedes for the concession of those legislative enact- 


Brief Literary Notices. 

ments or alterations, which are demanded by the interests of Chris- 
tianity,, and the religious liberty of the subject. In this way the 
Kirchentag has already wrought many highly beneficial changes of a 
public character, whilst, in its annual peregrinations from city to city, 
it has scattered precious seeds of Christian truth, which mark its 
course as one of blessing to the land. 

Dr. Holfmann's paper, with which the discussions at the last 
autumnal meeting were commenced, " On the right Use of the Bible 
in the Church, the School, and the House," is a noble defence of the 
sacred volume against the prevailing tendency in Germany to its 
disregard, or its abuse. After showing the right position that should be 
accorded to the Scriptures in the pulpit, the school, and the family, 
the second and still more important topic is taken up, as to the intro- 
duction of a " Bible life ;" and many valuable suggestions are offered on 
this vital question. A very important subject occupied the second 
morning of their meeting, — that of the relation of the Church to the 
civil legislation, as regards the question of divorce. It was intro- 
duced by the well-known Dr. Julius Miiller, of Halle, whose paper 
contains a very clear exhibition of the question of marriage and 
divorce, viewed in the light of the New Testament, contrasted with 
the actual state of the law in most of the Grerman States, and espe- 
cially in Prussia. Dr. Thesmar's Report, which followed, exhibits the 
legislative enactments from a historical point of view ; and at the close 
a unanimous Resolution was adopted to petition the various Grovern- 
ments of G-ermany for the amendment of those laws relating to this 
important question, which have been productive of so large an 
amount of moral and social evil. Dr. Wichern, the Superintendent 
of the Raulie Haus, near Hamburg, was present, as usual, to repre- 
sent the " Inner Mission," — Germany's great practical means of 
spreading godliness through the land. His speech, of which a beautiful 
outline is presented in the Report, gave a general survey of the 
labours of that Society during the past year, and produced a deep 
impression upon the audience by the thrilling eloquence which ever 
characterizes the effusions of that noble-hearted man. The Prelate 
KapfF, of Stuttgard, so known and loved in Germany for his Leighton- 
like fervour and heavenly unction, gave, on the last day, a masterly 
Report "On the Abolition of Gambling-Houses and Lotteries," 
which excited the deepest attention, and will doubtless exert a great 
influence toward the attainment of the object sought. Professor 
Schaff, of Mercersburg, occupied the afternoon with an eloquent 
paper upon "the German Church in America," — the warm enthu- 
siasm of which seemed a little too powerful for some of the more 
frigid Teutonic brethren to whom it was addressed. We omit in our 
notice many minor discussions which took place at the Meeting of 
the Kirchentag last September, however interesting their charac- 
ter, or great their intrinsic value. Having been personally present 
throughout the Conference, we are enabled to verify the correctness 
of the published Report. 

We would fain see a truer appreciation of the question of religious 
liberty, in the minds of the members of this important convention, 
which represents the best portion of the Evangelic Church of Ger- 
many. We would gladly see the doors of the Kirchentag throvv^n 

Brief Literary Notices. 


open to Christians of whatever sect or party, instead of being restricted 
to the admission of adherents of the Confessional Churches. In this, 
a grievous wrong is done to the German Methodist and Baptist 
bodies, as well as to others, who, like them, are excluded from its coun- 
cils. Nevertheless, with all its faults freely admitted, the Kirchen- 
tag is a noble movement on the side of true religion, and gives 
hopeful promise in relation to the future of Germany's Church. We 
commend it, as a peculiar development of ecclesiastical power and 
Christian activity, to the consideration of all interested in the strug- 
gles and toils of the evangelical faith in Germany. 

The Dream of Pythagoras, and other Poems. By Emma 
Tatham. Second Edition. London. 

The strains of this young poetess are very warm and sweet ; 
remarkable for pure sentiment, fine feeling, and natural expression. 
Their originality is quite as evident as their merit, though it be 
not offensively obtruded in peculiarities of thought and phrase, in 
any affected strangeness of subject or of manner : these, with true 
feminine instinct, are avoided, as fatal to the modesty of a woman's 
muse. Neither does Miss Tatham derive her inspiration from the 
urns of her sister minstrels ; we have no mournful echo from the 
distant tomb of Letitia Landon, no leaves from the sere, but sacred, 
chaplet of Felicia Hemans. Our poetess sings from her own full 
heart, and pours out an unpremeditated strain, inspired by religious 
faith, and breathing admiration, love, and hope in every line. The 
opening poem, "The Dream of Pythagoras," is of superior order to 
the rest, and full of beauty and significance. But the genius of 
Miss Tatham is eminently lyrical ; and the following song, extracted 
from "The Mother's Vigil," will give the reader a fair idea — and a 
very high one — of its general quality and power : — 

"0 life ! thou glad and throbbing heat ! 
O life ! thou cup of heavenly sweet ! 
Past is the dim gate of death ; 
See, I draw inamortal breath ! 

" From Redemption's crimson wave 
Rising free, baptized, and white ; 
Lo I my beaming wings I lave 
In the uncreated light. 

" See, my infant tears are dried, 

And my darksome slumbers broken ; 
See, in angels' arms I ride. 
Hear the music seraph- spoken ! 

" Hark ! T hear the boundless chorus 
Rolling on from star to star : 
Hark ! it thunders full before us ; 
Hark ! it dies, and echoes far, 

" See, 0 see the flashing gold 

Of a thousand suns outglancing ; 
See the starry heavens unroll'd. 
And the skies around me dancing, 


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" 0 how beautiful and warm 
To my newly-open'd eyes ! 
0 what majesties of form, 
And what melodies arise ! 

" Yet I feel a softer splendour 

Mowing o'er my heart like balm : 
O how thrilling and how tender ! 
It is Christ, — Creation's Calm. 

" Lovely angels ! raise me higher ; 
For my spirit leaps to be 
Where, above the crowns of fire. 
My Redeemer's face I see." 

Poems. By Matthew Arnold. Second Series. Longman. 

The merits of Mr. Arnold's poetry have been very generally acknow- 
ledged by the press ; yet the circle of its admirers is not Hkely to 
extend beyond the literary and highly educated classes. As the 
popular heart seldom finds utterance through it, so the popular 
enthusiasm will not settle round it. But we have no doubt of the 
genuineness of Mr. Arnold's claims. Not more highly gifted as a 
poet than many of his young contemporaries, with whom so much 
fault has recently been found, he writes much better poems. The 
sentiment diffused throughout their formless rhapsodies, with him 
acknowledges the subtle laws of taste, — finds order and coherence, — is 
first crystaUized into gems, and then appropriately set. Mr. Arnold's 
style is simple, almost to baldness, and contrasts strongly with the 
profuse ornaments of the school of " Balder." Yet this is the triumph 
of genuine poetrj^, when its suggestions of beauty, novelty, and grace, 
arise from the use of language apparently not one degree removed 
from artless prose. We believe this author also is young ; yet the 
tone of his poetry evinces large experience, as well as high culture and 
extensive learning. An admirer of Goethe the sage, and Wordsworth 
the contemplatist, he aims at the calm and eclectic spirit of the one, 
but despairs of the fortitude and pathos of the other. 

" Ah ! since dark days still bring to light 
Man's prudence and man's fiery might, 
Time may restore us in his course 
Goethe's sage mind and Byron's force : 
But where wiU Europe's latter hour 
Again find Wordsworth's healing power ? 
Others will teach us how to dare, 

And against fear our breast to steel : 
Others will strengthen us to bear, — 

But who, ah ! who will make us feel ? 
The cloud of mortal destiny — 
Others will front it fearlessly ; 
But who, like him, will put it by ? " 

There is something of exaggeration, as it seems to us, in this 
estimate of the philosophic poet ; but it is expressed with great feUcity 
and clearness. In like manner we do not quite approve of the tone 
which Mr. Arnold has caught from his great German model. Perhaps 

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the indifferentism of Goethe is too perceptible in his admirer's verses, 
and somewhat also of his serene and lofty fatalism. The tone we 
deprecate may be felt distinctly breathing in the lines addressed to 
Obermann : — 

" And then we turn, thou sadder sage ! 
To tlicc : we feel tliy spell, 
The hopeless tangle of our age — 
Thou, too, hast scann'd it well. 

" Immoveable thou sittest ; si ill 
As death ; composed to bear ; 
Thy head is clear, thy feeling chill, 
And icy thy despair. 

" Yes, as the son of Thetis said. 
One hears thee saying now — 
Greater hy far than thou are dead: 
Strive not : die also thou. 

" Ah ! two desires toss about 

The poet's feverish blood ; 
One drives him to the world without, 

And one to solitude. 
♦ * * * 

"Away the di-eams that but deceive ! 
And thou, sad guide, adieu ! 
I go ; Fate drives me : but I leave 
Half of my life with you. 

" We, in some unknown power's employ. 
Move on a rigorous Hue ; 
Can neither, when we will, enjoy ; 
Nor, when we wiU, resign." 

As giving voice to an occasional mood, we cannot object to these 
fine verses. But throughout Mr. Arnold's volume we miss the tone 
of cheerful and religious confidence, and mark the absence of a distinct, 
pervading Christian philosophy, which, most of all, is needed to rebuke 
the pagan and repining spirit of the age. 

The Haymakers^ Histories. Twelve Cantos^ in Terza Rima. 
By Buther. London : George Bell. 1854. 

True poetry, of a very delicate and charming sort ; to be admired 
most of them who love the Muses best. The pitch and genius of the 
whole strain is indicated in a few preluding lines, the closing senti- 
ment of which we heartily commend to minstrels of louder note 
and more ambitious theme : — 

" How common are the men and things 

Which Poesy loves best ! and on my page. 
Singing as when in love a woman sings, 
I chronicle the darlings of the age." 

We wish our space availed for some lengthier extracts from this 
volume, that we might find room to give some specimen of the 
stories of country life which it exhibits ; but we must limit ourselves 
to a few lines from the opening canto, which introduces the bonny 
heroines : — 

T 2 


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" See them pass, 

A young, a beautiful, and happy band ! 

Behold them while they roll the tedded grass. 
Hear their soft voices and their laughter clear. 

And judge right gently of each lovely lass 1 
'T was theirs, throiighout the luuisolar year 

Of sunlight days and moonlight nights, abode 
To make with Natm-e, to whom all were dear. 

Some stole out to their rural toils ; some strode 
"With almost manly strides, oft held the plough, 

Or to the fields the colts unbroken rode : 
Others there were that, when beneath the bough 

Of some broad tree the rustic company 
Sat in the shade, cool'd by the marshy slough, 

Cast on the youths full oft a sidelong eye. 
And won from them such kindness as a swain 

Whose manners are of nature bold or shy, 
Brings with him from the cottage to the plain." 

If the readers would know how fortune, as well as nature, dealt with 
these fair creatures, would make the acquaintance of Helen or of 
Lucy, of " bonny Maud " or of that " blithe " maid — 

" who went about 

Her very dairy work wi(h air so grand, 
More like a Duchess at her bridal rout 1 " — 

he must obtain this pleasant calendar for himself. We must not, 
however, omit to notice the author's skill in metrical composition. 
We are here forcibly reminded of the marvellous compass of the 
terza rima of Dante, even as cultivated in our harsher tongue. The 
measure to whose music the great bard traversed the fields of Para- 
dise and the plains of Hades, is found equally adapted to the move- 
ments of natural joy and sorrow which belong even to the humblest 
country life. This is the test of a great stanza, proving it to be 
framed neither in vanity nor caprice, but founded on principles of 
harmony and truth analogous to those of poetry itself. 

'Jlie poem is published anonymously ; but it bears little of the cha- 
racter of a first production. Of the author's sex the internal evidence 
is not quite decisive. The style of art is masculine, but the senti- 
ment is feminine throughout. " The hands truly are Esau's hands, 
but the voice is the voice of Jacob." 

The Golden Age^ and other Poams. By Alexander Gouge. 
London : Arthur Hall^ Virtue_, and Co. 1854. 

This book hardly keeps the promise of its flattering title and 
beautiful exterior. While we are glad to find, from the author's 
preface, that he is "prepared against failure," we are sorry to learn, 
from the same authority, that he not only hopes for, but " anticipates, 
success." We fear his merits as a poet are too small to establish his 
character as a prophet. The volume, however, is very elegantly 
di'essed in green and gold, and will serve the chief purposes of a 
drawing-room table-ornament, — to be taken carefully up, and put as 
gently down. Thus treated, it may outlast many a book of more 
vulgar interest and merit. 

Brief Literary Notices. 


Thouglits and Sketches in Verse. By Caroline Dent. Arthur 
Hall, Virtue, and Co. 1854. 

Always polished and melodious, the verses of this lady are marked 
by an occasional felicity of thought which indicates the presence of 
poetic gifts. The bulk of the volume does not, however, rise above 
the level of just reflection embodied in smooth and measured language. 
Even this degree of merit is not attained without a concurrence 
of advantages, — without more than the average talents and accom- 
plishments : but the difficulties of true poetry are not appreciated by 
the reading public, too busy, or too idle, to be arrested by any thing 
less than its most conspicuous triumphs, and only roused out of the 
mood of thankless indifference by sentiments of admiration and 

The History of Political Literature, from the earliest Times. 
By Robert Blakey, Author of the " History of the Philo- 
sophy of Mind.'^ Two Vols. London : Richard Bentley. 

It is somewhat remarkable that no work has hitherto appeared 
in this country, professing to record the progress of political litera- 
ture. Though more interested than other people in the advance 
of mankind towards rational liberty, and occupying a front rank 
amongst its assertors and defenders, in the field and in the legislature, 
we have seldom contemplated the subject in its scientific aspect. 
Political writers have appeared in all ages, exercising considerable 
influence, and frequently producing a permanent efl'ect upon the 
Government of the time ; but their labours have not been examined 
with a view to elicit principles which may take their place in a 
system of political philosophy. The temporary and local purpose 
answ^ered, such writings have retired into obscurity, and have been, 
perhaps, less read than those of any other class. 

Mr. Blakey has thought it time to attempt a sketch of the existing 
writings upon political and social philosophy. He has eminently 
succeeded in this attempt, and has produced a work of great 
importance and interest ; although the portion now published is 
likely to be exceeded in attractiveness by that which is yet to appear. 
The two volumes before us bring down the work to the year 1700 ; 
the third will include the entire eighteenth century ; and the fourth 
will complete the survey to the present time. We certainly did 
not expect to find so much agreeable reading in a class of literature 
which we are apt to imagine is somewhat dull and tedious in tliQ 

Russia. By the Marquis de Custine. Murray. 1854. 
Turkey, Russia, the Black Sea, and Circassia. By Captain 

Spencer. Routledge and Co. 1854. 
The Englishwoman in Russia. By a Lady. Murray. 1855. 

The sudden inroad of books upon a popular and engrossing subject 
is apt to perplex the choice of inquirers ; and not the least useful duty 
of our office is to point attention to those of the truQst merit. This 


Brief Literary Notices. 

brief indication is all that our space admits of in the present instance. 
Some of our readers maybe yet imperfectly acquainted with the countries 
forming the theatre and subject of the present war, and to them we 
recommend these admirable volumes. If not the most recent, they 
are among the most valuable of their class. De Custine has long 
been known as a conscientious and intelligent traveller. His oppor- 
tunities for observation were unusually good, and his statements may 
be thoroughly relied upon. His pages present a full and interesting 
picture of life and manners in the Russian Empire, from the Imperial 
Court down to the hovels of the poor and scattered peasantry. With 
such ample details as are there supplied the reader is independent of 
the author's judgment, and naturally forms opinions for himself. 
Captain Spencer's volume has less of personal interest and social detail, 
but is valuable as the fruit of extended observation and experience. 
It is even more comprehensive than its title indicates ; for, besides 
the regions there enumerated, it contains, at the commencement, two 
or three chapters on the state of Hungary. The work of the " English- 
woman " is a record of ten years' residence, not in one, but in many 
parts of the Russian Empire. The author's acquaintance with Mus- 
covite society and scenery was necessarily intimate and varied, and in 
some matters perhaps less exceptional in its character than that of a 
traveller of rank such as the Marquis de Custine. The narrative is 
lively and interesting. On the whole it is decidedly unfavourable to 
the social habits and institutions of our enemies ; but there is no 
evidence that this tone is adopted to flatter a mere national prejudice, 
and adapt it to the present market. 

Pictures of Life and Character, By John Leech. London : 

Bradbury and Evans. 1855. 
The Foreign Tour of Messrs. Brown, Jones, and Robinson. 

By Richard Doyle. London : Bradbury and Evans. 1854. 

The names of Leech and Doyle stand at the head of a long list of comic 
artists, who have arisen dming the last ten years. For some time they 
maintained a friendly rivalry in the pages of " Punch," before that 
ancient jester lost his ivits. But unfortunately A'Beckett left, and 
Doyle left, and Thackeray left, and only Leech is left to keep Mr. 
Punch's show standing. We have placed the two names together ; 
but it is almost necessary to consider each separately, for their styles 
present more points of contrast than of comparison. 

It is very rarely that an artist attains a high degree of perfection 
in two branches of his profession ; — that a painter combines landscape 
and history. But Leech is so truly a master of the highest branch 
of his art, that some of his pictures excite the same feeling as the 
serious poetry of poor Hood, — a regret that comic art should so 
exclusively occupy his attention. For instance, here is a background 
hardly two inches square, yet it represents a beautiful undulating 
landscape, dotted with trees stretching away for miles. These trees, 
though so minute, are not merely sketched in, but are carefully 
filled up with due attention to light and shade ; and the whole is 
finished with a delicacy and truthfulness that Birket Foster might 
envy. Numberless examples, on a larger scale, might be given : most 

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of his river and hunting pieces are perfect studies of EngHsh scenery. 
Doyle, on the contrary, rarely gives much background, and still 
more rarely attempts natural scenery ; if he does, he fails. Take 
the "Evening on the Lago Maggiore:" the clouds look far more 
like water than the Lake itself, which you would not recognise but 
for the boat upon it ; the mountains are much too low, and their 
outline is as stiff and angular as any sketch of the Pyramids ; the 
margin of the Lake is a hard straight line, wfthout a single bend 
or projection to break its monotony ; and of distance you gain no 
idea. Contrast with this one of Leech's evenings at the sea-side, — 
say, "Eomance and Beality." The heavy, but not too opaque, masses 
of cloud; the effect of moonlight on the water, on the two figures 
in the foreground, on the beach wet v/ith the retiring tide, on the 
shrimper, — especially at the knees, against which the water breaks, — 
these are some of the touches which almost give to a wood-engraving 
the effect of colour. 

His purely comic sketches are of an equally rare order. He is not 
dependent upon such aids as the monstrous heads of Doyle, or the 
goggle eyes and impossible mouths of Thackeray, or the mediaeval 
quaintness of Tenniel. There is, on the contrary, a remarkable 
absence of exaggeration. His men and women we meet a dozen 
times in a day ; we know his butchers' boys by sight, and their nags 
too ; his omnibus cads and Hansom cabbies drive us regularly through 
the city ; and his poor little swells, who are so mercilessly shown up, 
are recognised at a glance. The fidelity of his interior scenes is very 
striking. Not only do the members of the family group lounge, 
stand, or sit, in natural and easy postures, but all the accessories are 
in the most perfect drawing. The very paper on the wall, the 
D'oyley on the table, the half-dropped embroidery, with the position 
of the needle and fingers, are depicted with the truth of a photo- 
graph. Not less true than the air of comfort invariably thrown 
around home life, is the cheerlessness and discomfort which a bache- 
lor's establishment as invariably displays. We are shown an untidy 
room, the books all awry on the shelves ; the one footstool upset, 
just as it was left the night before. Enters the slip-shod maid of 
all work ; her hair scrambled under a limp cap, her left hand on 
the door-handle, and her right holding up an apron, evidently too 
dirty to be fully displayed ; and the bachelor himself, poor fellow ! 
with an old di'essing-gown huddled about him, and his loose necker- 
chief already half untied, looking helpless and forlorn enough to 
excite pity in all gentle bosoms. But, for an example of perfect 
expression, turn to that well-known breakfast scene in a country- 
house, where, with reference to a fishing excursion, Master Tom 
orders sundry lob-worms and grubs to be brought in for his inspec- 
tion. Note the evident disgust (not too strongly marked) on the 
maternal countenance ; all done by one or two lines about the eye- 
brows, assisted by a gesture of the hand, but as effectually done as 
by the most laboured skill. Even better still is the face of the 
cabman, who intimates to his recent fare, in the presence of her 
five children, that no one can be a gentleman tvho belongs to her : 
the eye and mouth are more than expressive, — they are eloquent ; and 
this without being overdrawn. 


Brief Literary Notices. 

So remarkable is the fidelity, and so complete the mastery of the 
pencil, that it is possible to detect varieties of colour ; to distinguish 
fair hair from dark hair, hands that are white and delicate from 
hands that are coarse and red, and pale complexions from those that 
are florid. A hunting sketch, in one of the recent Numbers of 
" Punch," represented a very stout old gentleman, wrought up by 
hard riding to a highly apoplectic condition : it was easy to see from 
the contrast with Ins grey whiskers, that his cheeks were actually 
purple. We can almost detect motion in some of our artist's hap- 
piest efforts, — say, the one in which the tottering old spinster is 
telling Mr. Tongs that her hair still comes off ; as she dresses at 
the glass, you can see the old woman's hands fumble at her bonnet- 
strings ; the cabman before noticed is evidently retiring sideways 
to his vehicle, keeping his face to the enemy; the ornaments that 
Mr. Briggs has knocked off the mantel-piece are not simply drawn 
in mid-air, they are falling ; his figures on the ice are not merely 
standing on skates, but they skate ; his dogs all but bark ; and when 
you cannot cross a saddle yourself, the next best thing is to look 
at Mr. Leech's horses. 

Up to a certain point exaggeration is an aid to humour, — beyond 
that point it defeats its own object. A " situation" loses its drollery 
in proportion as it exceeds the bounds of possibility ; and when it 
loses our sympathies, it also excites the opposition of our judgment. 
This over-exaggeration is Mr. Doyle's weakness, and is seldom long 
out of sight. In the outline of the " Review," Robinson is seen 
clinging to the neck of a rearing horse, both of them in impossible 
attitudes ; in the foreground is a grenadier considerably taller than 
the carriage horses ; a little to the left is a bi-clouded German, five 
feet high by four feet wide ; and in the background is a member 
of the band performing zealously on a trombone which is nearly 
nine feet long. When the trio visit the Jews' Quarter at Frankfort, 
they see a Hebrew countenance, the exact counterpart of its fellows, 
protruded from every window in the street. With just half the 
number, the effect would have been twice as comic. When Jones 
is arrested, it is by a small regiment of soldiers, and so on, ad libitum. 
Doyle, too, presents his situations complete, at their climax, perhaps 
past it. He leaves nothing to the imagination ; whereas Leech often 
leaves an hiatus, which each one fills up for himself, and which adds 
considerably to one's enjoyment. Here is a scene up the river : three 
individuals in a punt are in a happy, contemplative, vinous state ; 
one is standing up, lazily smoking a "dry" pipe; while another 
remarks how greatly he enjoys the delicious repose. But it is left 
for us to see, that in half an instant their repose will be rudely 
broken in upon by a Thames wherry, pulled with frantic energy by 
two equally oblivious amateur rowers, and that the erect gentleman 
in spectacles will inevitably conclude his meditations in a cold bath. 

Mr. Doyle appears to have studied human nature from an isolated 
position, not from the centre of a home circle. His only interiors 
are illustrative of club life, or public assemblies, or occasionally an 
evenhig party. His female faces display little variety of expression ; 
and child life, in its thousand attractive forms, he never touches. He 
loves the town, not the country, nor country sports. Mr. Leech, on 

Brief Literary Notices. 


the contrary, is at home every where, in any society, and under all 
circumstances ; and his hearty English feeling, added to his versatile 
genius, has gained him universal popularity. 

The Restoration of Belief. Cambridge: Macmillan. 1855. 

The history of the evidences and external reception of Christianity 
is replete wiih. profound lessons on human nature, and with proofs 
that infidelity is not a question of argument, but originates in " an 
evil heart of unbelief." Two things especially are remarkable; first, 
that the greatest efforts to defend Christianity were made at the time 
when vital religion was at its lowest state of inanition ; like a seed of 
truth enveloped in the cere-cloth of rigid orthodoxy and lifeless 
morality. Yet such labours did not revive Christianity ; for, secondly, 
it is observable that mere external evidences, however effectual in 
silencing the fire of the enemy, have seldom been successful in sub- 
duing the heart. The admission of the fact of its divine truth does 
not necessarily secure its reception as the one religion. Neither 
miracles nor argument form men to virtue and religion. Each new 
phase of society, and every advance of science, will expose Christianity 
to new assaults ; yet it is proof against every missive ; and, as the 
lighthouse of the world, endures all storms, dashing the broken billows 
into harmless spray at its base. 

There is, just now, a happy tendency in our defenders to pay less 
regard to the outworks, and more to the citadel and temple of Chris- 
tian truth. Mr. Kingsley takes the facts which are undisputed, and 
makes those facts reveal and defend the great truths of religion. 
While admitting that the positive truths of science must press against 
the whole structure of theology, and in their progess overthrow all 
that is mere opinion. — adhesive, merely, to Christianity, and not of its 
substance, — he shows that Christianity is a grand fact, — impregnable, 
indefectible, invariable, eternal. Like that divinely wise arrangement 
of the Books of Moses, which mingles history with law and prediction, 
so interwoven that they are inseparable, and therefore he who admits 
one must admit all, to the everlasting confusion of Jews and unbe- 
lievers ; the natural history of Christianity so obviously and neces- 
sarily comprises the supernatural, that all is wholly unaccountable 
without it. If divine, no discoveries of scientific truth can overthrow 
it, or militate against it. We may for a season lack the intermediate or 
reconciling link ; but true science and real Christianity must be con- 
sistent with each other: it cannot be otherwise. Self- consistent, each 
of the writers of the New Testament is calmly natural, while fully 
conversant with the supernatural ; every portion is full of indivi- 
duality, and all consistently coheres. Christianity is, by our author, 
represented as determinable, and not as an indeterminable matter of 
opinion. " Nothing in the entire round of human belief is more infal- 
libly sure than is Christianity, when it claims to be — beligion^, giyett 
TO MAIS' BT God." This is the proper challenging front which a man 
convinced of the truth should show towards opponents who are not 
to be won by foolish candour, needless concessions, and " gentle 
obliquities." It is needless, and is out of place in this controversy, 
to rehearse the articles of our Christian belief. It is enough to prove 


Brief Literary Notices. 

our facts : and those facts will embrace supernatural truths and cre- 
dentials, and exhibit the only religion which is suitable and saving. 

The great design of this important volume is to bring us back to 
the simplicity of the faith and feelings of primitive Christianity ; of 
the men who, thoroughly convinced of its truth, and permeated by its 
spirit, staked all for both worlds on its authenticity and power. And 
this is just what we need, — to come bach to the Booh. 

This is a manly, bold, Christian volume ; written in a mathematical 
and vigorous style, full of originality ; of great practical power ; and 
intensely interesting. Where is the sceptic who will honestly read it ? 
Where is he who will, in the same style and spirit, attempt to 
answer it ? 

Capital Punishment Unlawful and Inexpedient. An Essay on 
the Punishment of Death. By John Rippon. London: 
W. and F. G. Cash. 

We gladly acknowledge the temper and ability evinced by the 
writer of this little volume, and the unusual candour and fairness 
of his statements. In the earlier and best part of his Essay, Mr. 
Rippon establishes — against the opinion of the majority of abolition- 
ists — the popular and obvious sense of the passage in Genesis, (ix. 5, 6,) 
as an ordinance of the Almighty for the capital punishment of the 
murderer. We think he is much less fortunate in his attempt to 
prove its subsequent repeal under the dispensation of Christ. True, 
retaliation was then expressly forbidden, and the law of charity 
ordained ; but this was a strictly individual rule of life, and could 
not be supposed to proscribe the exaction of penalties deemed neces- 
sary for the protection of society. Besides, this argument would 
prove too much. If valid against capital punishments, why not 
against those of lighter character ? To practise " forgiveness" towards 
the shedder of blood, and yet exact a full penalty from the brawler 
and the thief, is not an equitable, much less a Christian, rule of pro- 
cedure. We think the necessity, as well as the lawfulness, of this 
solemn judicial requirement has been denied on equally fallacious 
grounds, and should strongly deprecate any legislative measure which 
should award to the assassin and the poisoner no heavier punishment 
than that which is meted to the robber, thus tempting the latter 
to make murder the cloak of his concealment, and double the chances 
of escape without adding to the amount of his responsibility. But 
we forbear from further prosecuting this inquiry, while it is not 
imperatively called for by the agitation of a cause at once so plausible 
and dangerous. 

A History of the Book of Common Prayer_, with a Rationale 
of its Offices. By the Rev. Francis Procter_, M.A. Cam- 
bridge : Macmillan and Co. 1855. 

We can speak with just praise of this compendious but comprehen- 
sive volume. It appears to be . compiled with great care and judg- 
ment, and has profited largel}^ by the accumulated materials collected 
by the learning and research of the last fifty years. Embodying 

Brief Literary Notices. 


much of the information long ago suppHed by Strype and Comber, 
it derives correctness and completeness from the more recent and 
elaborate works of Cardwell, Lathbury, and Maskell. It is a manual 
of great value to the student of ecclesiastical history, and of almost 
equal interest to every admirer of the liturgy and services of tlie 
English Church. As a more perfect digest of the whole subject, it 
will, no doubt, supersede the popular use of Wheatley's " Rational 

Tonga and the Friendly Islands; with a Sketch of their 
Mission History. Written for Young People. By Sarah 
S. Farmer. London : Hamilton^ Adams^ and Co. 1855. 

Thebe is a peculiar propriety in Miss Farmer's consecrating the 
first-fruits of her pen to the cause of Missions in general, and of 
Wesleyan Missions in particular. Nor, widely as the name of the 
father is known throughout the Christian world, can there be any 
fear lest this product of the daughter's pen should be found not to 
merit the welcome which that name will contribute to prepare for 
it throughout so wide a circle. 

Miss Farmer's book treats of a very interesting chapter in the 
history of Missions. She does for Tonga, in some respects, what Mr. 
Williams had done for some other of the South-Sea Missions. Her 
plan embraces a narrative both of the melancholy and unsuccessful, 
but not inglorious, attempt of the London Missionary Society to 
found a Mission in the Tonga group, and of the later Mission of the 
Wesleyan Society, which has been so remarkably successful. The 
introductory portion of the volume contains an elegant sketch of the 
subjects indicated by the following headings of the earlier chapters : — 
" Discovery of the South Seas ; " " Islands of the Pacific ; " Coral 
Workers and their Doings;" "The Friendly Islanders;" and 
" Captain Cook's Visits." 

Of the manner in which Miss Farmer has handled her theme, we 
cannot be so unjust as to speak with cold commendation. The book 
does equal credit to her head and her heart. She has spared no 
research necessary to master all the topics included in her task. She 
commands an excellent style, — clear, fresh, and telling. The book is 
fiUl of heart, but free from sentimentalism ; and the interest of the story 
never flags. The authoress has one great merit, particularly valuable 
in writing for the young, — she does not moralize too much. Though 
the work professes to be for young persons, it is suitable for all ages, 
classes, and intellects. It is written with elegant simplicity, but is as 
far as possible from any thing like puerility of tone or thought. Of 
the engravings which adorn the volume, Ave need only say that they 
are appropriate and valuable, and that, in beauty of execution, they 
are worthy of the letter-press which they illustrate. We believe it 
will add to the pleasure with which this delightful volume will be 
welcomed in many a home, both in this country and abroad, if we 
mention that these illustrations are understood to be from the pencil of 
another member of Mr. Farmer's family. We need scarcely add, that 
the volume is " got up " in the first style ; but it may be well to say, 
at the same time, that its price is exceedingly low ibr such a volume. 


Brief Literary Notices. 

Cain. By Charles Boner. Chapman and Hall. 1855. 

If ambition is the " last infirmity of noble minds," it is also the 
first impulse of mediocrity. This truth is once more illustrated in 
the work before us. The subject of Mr. Boner's dramatic poem 
has long been a favourite with the poets, but more especially with 
young and inexperienced writers. These latter have so frequently 
tried their "prentice han' " on the solemn story of the first murder, 
and often with such pitiful results, that it might be deemed no light 
portion of the punishment of Cain, if he could be supposed to have 
foreseen, or in his fabled wanderings to have witnessed, the publica- 
tion of these miserable libels. Mr. Boner's attempt is not the worst 
of its class ; the verse is smooth, and sometimes poetical ; but he has 
not achieved success. The great significance of the story of Cain 
is not easil}'- sustained in any poetical amplification ; and we would 
advise Mr. Boner to avoid a similar mistake in choosing for the 
future. If he cannot efPectually bend the bow of Ulysses, why should 
he incur the danger of its terrible recoil ? 

Literary Papers. By the late Professor Edward Forbes, F.R.S. 
London : Reeve. 1855. 

This little volume, it is only right to say, has no pretensions to 
form a literary monument quite worthy of the genius and reputation 
of its lamented author. It is composed of a number of brief reviews, 
chiefly of books in the departments of Natural History and Travels ; 
and these, being collected since the Professor's death, have necessarily 
wanted the benefit of his revision. This much premised, we have 
only to commend the volume as it is to the deserved attention 
of the reader. The most cursory remarks of a great philosopher 
are rich in allusion and suggestion, and seldom fail to illuminate 
the most salient points of any subject they may happen to alight 
upon. It is eminently so in the case before us. The papers here 
collected are, for the most part, on topics with which Professor 
Forbes was perfectly familiar ; his own genius for research comes 
frequently in illustration or correction of the views of others ; and 
it is no light advantage to know, from such a master, what books 
are especially worthy of a student's confidence, what individuals 
among the learned most proper for his emulous imitation. For 
other readers beside the earnest student, this volume will have peculiar 
attractions. As light reading, furnished by a learned and superior 
mind, it is precisely the desideratum of a considerable class, whose 
taste for pure literature and useful knowledge is very strong, while 
their zeal and leism'e are not equal to its satisfaction by systematic 
means or original research. 

Fabiola ; or^ The Chureh of the Catacombs. London : Burns 
and Lambert. 1855. 

This work is a religious novel, designed to further the views of 
Roman Catholics, and is understood to be from the pen of Cardinal 
Wiseman. As a work of fiction it will not increase the literary repu- 
tation of the Cardinal, being most inartistic throughout, and totally 

Brief Literary Notices. 


wanting in dramatic power. The author's object is to exempHfy the 
beauty of a reHgious life, as understood by the Romish Church, and 
to identify the opinions and practices of that Church, in their fully 
developed form, with the opinions and practices of the early Christians. 
In this attempt a considerable amount of information is afforded 
respecting the history and topography of ancient Rome, particularly 
in connexion with the catacombs. As might be expected, however, 
the facts of history are made to bend in subservience to the writer's 
views ; and the Christianity of the fourth century is made to put on 
the garments of the twelfth. From a careful examination of the 
Lapidarian Gallery in the Vatican, in which are deposited the slabs 
taken from the cemeteries of subterranean Rome, we can affirm that 
the assertions and inferences of the writer of "Fabiola" are not in 
accordance with facts. It is untrue that the inscriptions anterior to 
the date of the tale (a.d. 302) abound in praises of virginity ; it is 
absurd to say that at the same date there existed the records of 
numerous Pontics ; and it is grossly unfair that no reference should 
be made (not even in the historical notes) to the admitted inter- 
polations of the Middle Ages. 

This book deserves not the confidence of any reader ; and, fortunately, 
it is written with so little skill and power that it cannot possibly 
inspire a dangerous amount of interest. 

Popery as it Exists in Great Britain and Ireland : its Doctrines, 
Practices^ and Arguments ; exhibited from the Writings 
of its Advocates^ and from its most popular Books of 
Instruction and Devotion. By the Rev. John Mont- 
gomery, A.M., Inverleithen. Edinburgh : Bell and Brad- 
fute; London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. 1854. 

The volume before us has some advantages over many works which 
profess to exhibit and refute Popery. The authorities to which 
reference is made are of modern date and easy access, and the style is 
uncommonly pungent and lively. The principal Romish authority to 
whom attention is given is Dr. Wiseman. Mr. Montgomery has had 
the fairness not to quote either from Roman Catholic works which 
have been placed in the Index, or from recent converts to Rome. 
We are glad to find that he has noticed and exposed such works as 
" Geraldine, a Tale of Conscience," belonging to a class of agencies, 
by means of which the Romish Church has endeavoured to enlist the 
sentiment and taste of youth on their side. We strongly recommend 
the work to our readers, as one of the latest and best refutations 
of the principal tenets of Popery. 

Chapters on Prisons and Prisoners, and the Prevention of Crime. 
By Joseph Kingsmill, M.A., Chaplain of Pentonville 
Prison. Third Edition. London: Longman. 1854. 

Heee we find a sketch of the convict systems which have prevailed 
from the days of Botany Bay to those of model- prisons. The gradual 
ameliorations are depicted as they occm'red, and the existing system 
described with clearness. But the most valuable portions of the work 


Brief Literary Notices. 

are those which refer to the pecuUar duties of the writer's office. 
We might almost say that he has, miconsciously, described a model 
Chaplain. Plis views, and happily his practice, go far beyond the 
mere routine of clerical ministrations. He feels for the souls of the 
poor prisoners, and urges upon them the sole and sufficient remedy for 
the miseries of their position. Such truly evangelical labours cannot, 
and we learn from the volume that they do not, pass without a 
delightful measure of success. Would that we could believe that all our 
prisons had such officers as Mr. Kingsmill to tread their gloomy 
corridors, lighting up, in spots uncheered by earthly comfort, the joys 
of the heavenly world ! 

The episodes of actual occurrences interspersed through the volume 
are of deep and pathetic interest. It should be in the hands of all 
who can feel for the outcasts of society, and who remember the words, 
" I was in prison, and ye visited me." 

On the Study of Language : an Exposition of ^^Eirea TlrepoevTa, 
or the Diversions of Purley. By John Horne Tooke/^ By 
Charles Richardson, LL.D. London : George Bell. 1854. 

The versatile, clever, and learned Horne Tooke's " Diversions of 
Purley" are thought by many to affi^rd little diversion; and yet he 
managed to invest a subject, accounted the driest of the dry, with 
even a charm by his ingenuity and ever ready wit. The scene of 
these imaginary dialogues is laid at Mr. Tooke's seat, at Purley, near 
Croydon. His doctrines excel in simplicity and naturalness. He 
contends that nouns are the radicals of language, and verbs follow, as 
we know things before we know their motions, actions, or changes. 
These form the staple of the words necessary for the communication 
of our thoughts. Other parts of speech he considers as abbreviations 
used for the purpose of dispatch. Interjections are altogether ex- 
cepted. He denies that the mind is capable of the composition of 
ideas, and attributes that operation to language. Tooke's doctrine 
of etymologies is this : " That from the etymology of the word we 
should fix the intrinsic meaning ; that that meaning should always 
furnish the cause of the application ; and that no application of any 
word is justifiable for which that meaning will not supply a reason ; 
but that the usage of any application so supported is not only 
allowable, but indispensable." 

Dr. Pichardson has given us an able summary of the work, hoping 
thereby to induce his readers to study it for themselves. We thank 
him for his volume, — we hope, not " his last," — and trust his purpose 
will be accomplished. 

Jerusalem Revisited. By W. H. Bartlett, Author of " Walks 
about Jerusalem.^' With Illustrations. London : Arthur 
Hall, Virtue, and Co. 1855. 

This is, unhappily, a posthumous work ; the last of a series on the 
Holy Land, which the lamented writer had illustrated, by his pen and 
pencil, with acknowledged taste. Mr. Bartlett's death took place sud- 

Brief Literary Notices. 


denly, on the eve of publication. " Cut off in the flower of his age, and 
in the full vigour of intellect, after a few hours' illness, he has found 
a sepulclire in the waters of the Mediterranean, whose shores he has 
so often, and so successfully, illustrated." Such are the words of his 
brother, to whom it has fallen to complete the work. 

It is an elegant and useful volume, contains much interesting 
information as to the present state of Jerusalem, and will make an 
excellent gift-book. 

A Dictionary of Terms in Art. Edited and Illustrated by 
F. W. Fairholt^ F.S.A.^ with five hundred Engravings on 
Wood. London : Virtue^ Hall_, and Virtue. 

It is the design of this useful work to explain the meaning of all 
such terms as are generally employed in painting, sculpture, and engrav- 
ing, whether descriptive of real objects, or the principles of action which 
rule the mind and guide the hand of the artist. The terms required 
to describe the contents of a museum of art, or a collection of pic- 
tures, are also explained; and information is given relating to the 
different periods and schools of painting. A profusion of illustrations 
adds much to the value, and something to the beauty, of this work. 

Historic Notes on the Books of the Old and New Testaments. 
By Samuel Sharpe. London : Edward Moxon. 8vo. 

Theee is a large amount of learning, particularly historical and 
chronological, condensed into a convenient space in this little volume. 
Its condensation is so great, as to give a degree of ruggedness, which 
forbids its being pleasant reading ; but it will be found of much 
utility to bibhcal students. Upon the ethnology and migrations of 
the peoples in the neighbourhood of the Israelites, the information is 
minute and valuable. 

We cannot agree in all Mr. Sharpe's opinions, particularly with 
respect to the authorship of portions of St. Matthew's Grospel. 

Excelsior : Helps to Progress in Religion^ Science^ and Litera- 
ture. Vol. II. Nisbet. 

To say that this volume is as clever and instructive as its elder 
brother, is high praise. " Excelsior " was a happy conception, and is 
happily executed. The proof is complete when young people devour 
it, and their judicious elders rejoice to see them using such " Helps 
to Progress in Religion, Science, and Literature." 

Memoir of the Rev. Joseph Entwisle; Fifty-four Years a Wes- 
ley an Minister. By his Son. Second Edition. London : 
Mason. 1854. 

Me. Entwisle was a transparent Christian, and a faithful Pastor ; 
and these Memoirs truly exhibit his eminent piety, simplicity, and 
prudence. The Church wants thousands of such men ; and Method- 
ism a; shoal of such Biographies. 


Brief Literary Notices. 

The Marvels of Science^ and their Testimony to Holy Writ. 
By S. W. FuUom. 1854. 

This is a revised and enlarged edition of a popular work which makes 
science the handmaid and witness to revealed truth. He is a real 
benefactor to*the young especially, who will write such books ; who 
will group even common truths respecting science, so as to show their 
accordance with revelation, and thus disarm the modern sceptic of one 
of his favourite weapons against Christianity. Mr. Fullom is familiar 
with both fields, and knows their just boundaries, and their products. 
Science is quickened by revelation, and in turn confirms its truths. 
These are suitable books for young people exposed to adverse literary 

Historical and Descriptive Sketches of the Women of the Bible, 
chronologically arranged, from Eve of the Old, to the Marys 
of the New, Testament. By the Rev. P. C. Headley. 
London : Partridge, Oakey, and Co. 1855. 

An eloquent and instructive book, of a class we are always glad to 
see on the increase. The younger branches of Christian families will 
find its pages as captivating as most of the works of fiction to which 
they are so partial, and, we need hardly say, much more profitable. 

Constructive Exercises, for teaching the Elements of the Greek 
Language on a System of Analysis and Synthesis; with 
Greek Beading Lessons and copious Vocabularies. By 
John Robson, B.A. Lond., Member of the Philological 
Society, and Assistant Master in University College School, 
&c. London : Walton and Maberly. 1853. 

Constructive Exercises, for teaching the Elements of the Latin 
Language on a System of Analysis and Synthesis; with 
Latin Reading Lessons and copious Vocabularies. By 
John Robson, B.A. Lond., &c. London: Walton and 
Maberly. 1854. 

These works are prepared on what is called " the crude-form 
system," which for some time past has been growing into favour, 
but has not previously been brought out in a form so comprehen- 
sive and practical as that in which Mr. Robson has presented it. 
That system commends itself on principles which are sufficiently 
obvious, but which have not been sufficiently regarded hitherto, in 
the elementary works in general use for students in Greek and Latin. 
The crude-form S3^stem being founded on the etymological structure 
of the two languages in question, we are perfectly sure that, having 
been fairly propounded, it will make its way ; and that such exposi- 
tions and applications of it as those which are furnished in the works 
above mentioned, will largely contribute to its general adoption. 




JULY, 1855. 

Art. I. — 1. D^AuBiGNE^s History of the Reformation of the 
Sixteenth Century. Vol. V. — The Reformation in England. 
Edinburgli : Oliver and Boyd. 1853. 

2. Hallam's History of the Literature of Europe during the 
Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries. London : 
Murray. 1847. 

3. Writings of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. 
Cambridge : Printed at the University Press. 1846. 

4. The Works o/ Nicholas Hidley^ D.D., sometime Lord Bishop 
of London. Cambridge : Printed at the University Press. 

5. The Works o/ Thomas Becon^ S.T.P., Chaplain to Archbishop 
Cranmer, Prebendary of Canterbury , ^c. Cambridge : Printed 
at the University Press. 1843. 

6. The Works of Myles Coverdale^ Bishop of Exeter. Cam- 
bridge : Printed at the University Press. 1844. 

We purpose to trace our literature through the first part 
of the sixteenth century, — that is, through the struggles and 
establishment of Protestantism in England ; and, in so doing, 
we shall view the dav/n of its first really national development. 
The literary history of a nation may be generally divided into 
two periods, — that of unfettered creative genius, when each man 
follows at will the path indicated by his own predilections, 
strikes, like Israfel, the chords of his own heart, and reaches the 
sympathies of others whilst expressing what afiects himself. 
During this period, it seems as if, by the mere instinct of pas- 
sion, language were svv^ayed and moulded to its various uses as 


290 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

the organ of the soul. But in the next, — the period of science 
and philosophy — the mould is fixed; novelty and originality, 
men think, can no longer be attained, to any appreciable extent, 
by simply yielding to the impulses of the soul ; they are things 
to be sought out with pain ; authority exists and is submitted 
to ; examples of success are before the eyes, to follow which with 
exactest imitation too often becomes the sole aim of genius 
itself. An apprenticeship of imitation is to be served by the 
modern word-artist ; his effects are to be wrought by careful 
study ; he must form for himself, diligently, a style which may 
long be cramped, and even apparently artificial, and in which 
practice alone may enable him to move with the majesty and 
freedom of his predecessors. 

In England, the first of these periods never existed so perfectly 
as in the case of the great nations of antiquity. We are called 
upon to investigate the beginnings of our literature, when, if at 
all, there should be found such an intuitive sense of beauty and 
command of language ; but we shall discover in our early 
writers much painful hesitation and imperfection, both of 
thought and style. The Muse of England at first gave little 
promise of the glorious utterances into which she has since 
swelled. Few of the works produced in the former part of the 
sixteenth century are now read ; they remain as imperfect 
attempts, ere England gathered voice and power to speak, and 
are regarded only as monuments to mark the commencement 
of the after glory. Nevertheless, we would invite attention 
to them, as possessing in themselves interest and beauty; as 
experiments, not always unsuccessful, in the world of art ; and 
as forming an indispensable portion of our literary annals. The 
fact is, that it was not with us and the rest of Europe as with 
Greece. No inborn impulse urged the nation to arouse itself at 
once from the midst of surrounding darkness, and to become 
the apostle of art and civilization. Our literature was not so 
much a change as a growth, having its origin mainly in two 
great external causes, — the revival of learning, and the un- 
equalled political and social revolution of the sixteenth century. 
We must expect, therefore, to find in it for a time both the 
weakness of imitation and the roughness of a fierce struggle. 

Seldom has any period been so momentous as the six- 
teenth century. In contemplating it, we stand within the 
borders of a new world. It was the time when the Church 
of Eome first shrank at the contest with nationality ; when an 
ancient and multiform despotism first stood opposed to the 
fresh, but unformed, spirit of liberty ; and when those mingled 
forms of democracy and absolutism which at present divide 
Europe, first appeared. The Reformation was nothing less than 
the modernization of Europe. The mighty power which so long 
liad held the human race in fascination, then recoiled and con- 

Ancient political Protestantism of England. 291 

tracted before a power hitherto unfelt, — the power of public 
opinion. Her decrepitude brouglit on general reform; her 
despotism excited universal resistance ; her mummeries aroused 
the insulted intellect of mankind. For long, the Church had 
been the moral system of Europe ; and, as such, had been a great 
good. She was the only common element among the masses 
that peopled Europe at the decay and fall of the Empire, the 
only bond that held society together. Her fibres, interwoven 
with every thing, and, from the time of liildebrand, closely 
connected with Rome as their head, were for centuries the only 
organized force that appeared working in the utter confusion : 
at her altar alone all could bow ; her Priesthood was the only 
class acknowledged by all. She was the refuge of distress, the 
avenger of wrong, the only administrator of such justice as was to 
be had. To her chivalry owed its gentleness, romance its charm, 
art its dignity and nobleness : her voice alone had potency to 
summon forth the millions of Europe against the Saracen, and, 
by an exhibition of power altogether unequalled, make interests 
and factions so utterly opposite forget their animosities in a 
common cause. But every thing by its own excess works its 
own ruin ; and the sixteenth century saw the Church of Rome 
too refined and systematized to be otherwise than enfeebled, too 
enfeebled to be otherwise than corrupt, and too corrupt to 
endure the light of Divine truth and the scrutiny of that free- 
dom of thought which comes with civilization. We must, how- 
ever, look further back than the sixteenth century, if we would 
appreciate the steadfastness of England's resistance to the 
Papacy, or mark the progress of that literature which, the 
greatest in the world, has grown with the growth of the 
Reformation, and flourishes under the protection of civil and 
religious liberty. 

Rome has always used the most vigorous efforts to secure her 
supremacy in Great Britain : upon no possession has she looked 
with a more desiring eye ; and it is to be remarked that nowhere 
has her footing been so precarious. The first Romish mission 
to these islands employed the ablest emissary of the most able 
of the Pontiffs : no chapter of Romish history is darker or more 
cruel than that which recounts the intrigues of Augustine 
against the liberties of the primitive British Church, and the 
massacre of the twelve hundred British Christians at Bangor. 
Yet even then the truth of the Gospel, preserved in almost 
entire purity, found a refuge in Ireland and the famed isle lona 
of the Hebrides, whence it pervaded even the triumphant 
Saxons, who had received Romish hierarchical conversion, and 
been made the instruments of Romish cruelty. So that even the 
doctrinal usurpation of the Holy See was not established until 
four centuries after its first entrance, upon the accession of 
William the Conqueror. That Prince found it convenient to 

u 2 

292 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

follow the mandate of Hildebrand, and to expel, en masse, the 
recusant English episcopacy ; but found it equally convenient to 
fill up the vacant sees again by his own nomination. " I claim/' 
said he, ''to hold in this hand all the pastoral staffs in my 
kingdom and the haughtiest of Pontiffs submitted to this 
bold assertion of royal prerogative. From that time forth, 
Rome encountered in England an opposition sometimes spiri- 
tual, sometimes secular. William even dared to disobey Hilde- 
brand^s great innovation, the universal celibacy of the Clergy, by 
decreeing that married Priests in castles and towns need not be 
deprived of their wives : and again the Pope, who had thrown 
all Europe into confusion by his measure, gave way. Finally, 
William forbade his Clergy to recognise the Pope's authority or 
publish his Bulls : and the Pope in return styled him " the 
Pearl of Princes." Different was the conduct of Rome towards 
the coward John. Upon his refusal to acknowledge an Arch- 
bishop of Canterburj^, illegally appointed by Pope Innocent III., 
the latter, bolder than Hildebrand, laid the kingdom under an 
interdict. John submitted; but the resistance of England to 
the Papacy did not depend upon the temper of her Princes. In 
1215, forty-five Barons, clad in steel, wrung from the King his 
signature of the ]\Iagna Charta, which they maintained against 
the excommunication of the Pope and the sword of his royal 
vassal, until fhe sudden death of the latter. In 1350 and 1353, 
during the reign of Edward III., the coping-stone was laid 
upon the political Protestantism of England, by the statutes 
of Provisors and Praemunire ; the former of which secured to the 
crown and patrons all ecclesiastical appointments ; the latter 
interdicted all appeals to the Court of Rome, all Bulls, excom- 
munications, &c., and thus secured the rights of English 
Catholics against foreign aggression. 

But all this would have been unavailing without something 
more. England had decided to disallow the foreign jurisdiction 
of the Papacy ; and to that decision is to be imputed much 
of her freedom, her prosperity, and moral weight : now she was 
to confute the Papal dogmas, and, finally, to reject the Papal 
institutions. The man who leads the way to such an attempt 
shall gain a renown higher than that of the conquerors of 
Harold and of the Valois. We cannot follow Wycliffe through 
the scenes of his long and active career, or through his defence 
of the policy of Edward III. against the violence of Urban Y., 
or his crusade against the turbulent Mendicant Fi'iars, who, in 
his day, drained the wealth and population of the land. What 
we are concerned with is his English translation of the Latin 
Bible. This great and invaluable work issued from the quiet 
study of the Reformer in the year 1383. Before that time the 
English language scarcely existed. The amalgamation of the 
races which at different times found settlements in these islands 

PPTiat reformed England ? 


was slow, and tlie fluctuation of language, in consequence, 
great. The pure British was corrupted by the infusion of the 
Saxon tongue, — a mixture which prevailed for about three 
hundred years. This was succeeded by the Danish-Saxon, 
which lasted from the Danish to the Norman invasion, a period 
of one hundred and fifty years more; and the last was the 
Norman-Saxon, ''which,'' says Warton, ''formed a language 
exceedingly barbarous, irregular, and intractable." The result 
of these admixtures was what is usually denominated "Anglo- 
Saxon,'' and this, about the fourteenth century, had, almost imper- 
ceptibly, assimilated itself to the modern English, chiefly by the 
contraction of the orthography of words; by tire discontinuance of 
many inflections, and the "consequent use of auxiliary particles ; 
and by that introduction of French and Latin derivatives, to 
which our language owes so much of its copiousness and variety. 
For this last circumstance we are indebted chiefly to Wycliffe 
and his contemporary, Chaucer, who take equal rank as founders 
of the English language. It was not devoid of significance that 
the nation, destined to become the greatest in the world, should 
so soon employ its voice in uttering those truths, on the 
observance of which all national greatness depends. Considered 
in a religious point of view, the effects of Wyclifie's Bible were 
immense. It was eagerly welcomed, and read by nobleman, 
soldier, and citizen. The truths so long concealed touched and 
penetrated men's hearts with a strange power. " You could 
not meet two persons on the highway," writes a contemporary, 
"but one of them was WyclifFe's disciple." And throughout 
the struggle that ensued, Wycliffe was supported by a mighty 
force of public opinion. Prelatic craft might pervert King and 
nobility; but the people and the Commons ever stood by the 
fearless Reformer, who so unsparingly attacked the abuses of 
the times. Wycliffe's work was not to be fruitless, nor the 
Lollards to perish as a mere bye-word. He committed the 
germ of the Reformation to the will of the people. That poAver 
was felt to be great, even in the fourteenth century : how much 
greater was it destined to grow ! 

Thus, then, had the anti-Papal enactments of Edward III. 
and Richard II. prepared the way for the political Protestantism 
of Henry YIIL, whilst the labours of Wycliffe and his fellows 
had spread through the nation a leaven that never ceased to 
work. In more respects than one was the fourteenth century 
the precursor of the sixteenth. It is an utter mistake to sup- 
pose, as modern histories do, that the English Reformation in 
the sixteenth century was a royal caprice, a political act, viewed 
with indifference by the nation. The English Reformation was 
the result of the convictions and deliberate resolutions of the 
wisest and best : it sprang from the influence of Di\dne truth 
upon the consciences of men. Its opponents did not attribute 

294 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

it to political causes. They found martyrs ready in numbers 
to seal the truth with their blood, long before Henry gave his 
adherence to it ; and were fain to declare, that the inexplicable 
stubbornness of the Lollards, the Psalm-singers of old, had 
returned upon England with tenfold force. Dr. D'Aubigne is 
not one of those historians who go out of their way to seek, in 
the intrigues of courtiers, or the whims of royalty, the cause 
of that which could only have sprung from vital Christianity. 
He perceives that it was the restored authority of the word 
of God that first awoke the dormant spirit of law and liberty, 
that the enfranchised conscience led to the enfranchised thought, 
and that the religious sentiment in the nation can sufficiently 
account for its own development. Therefore his " History of the 
Reformation in England'^ is, in the main, a history of the 
obscure individuals who were instrumental in making revealed 
truth known to the people, — their struggles and difficulties, 
their progress, their human weakness and superhuman strength. 
" To say,^^ observes he, " that Henry VIII. was the reformer 
of his people, is to betray our ignorance of history. The kingly 
power by turns opposed and favoured the reform in the Church ; 
but it opposed before it favoured, and much more than it 
favoured. This great transformation was begun and extended 
by its own strength, by the Spirit from on high." Again : 
" There was much worldlincss in the age of Henry VIII., — 
passions, violence, festivities, a trial, a divorce ; and some 
historians call that the history of the Reformation in England. 
We shall not pass by in silence these manifestations of the 
worldly life ; opposed as they are to the Christian life, they are 
in history, and it is not oui' business to tear them out. But 
most assuredly they are not the Reformation." So far, indeed, 
was England from being the only nation that looked upon 
Church reforms with indifferent acquiescence, that nowhere can 
those reforms be proved to have met with more lively and 
general interest and sympathy. 

This is undoubtedly true, but must be understood with 
limitation. The heart of the nation was with the reform move- 
ment, but could do little else than beat in sympathy. Although 
the numbers and influence of the middle class greatly increased 
during this reign, yet its existence as a power in the State must 
be referred to a later period. By a rare combination of circum- 
stances, however, we are enabled, at the Reformation, to trace 
the history of the masses in that of the kingly power ; and here 
we have the origin of the vulgar error of attributing solely to 
the latter the success of a movement which engaged the atten- 
tion of all classes alike. At that time the interests of the King 
and the people were singularly united. The wars of the Roses, 
succeeded by the cautious and proscriptive policy of Henry 
VII., had effectually broken the power of the nobility. The age 

The Reformation and Classical Literature. 295 

of the King-makers, of all-powerful coalition on the part of the 
aristocracy, had passed away for ever; and the new element 
of democracy, destined one day to crush royal prerogative in 
England, was rising on the social world, fostered and patronized 
by royalty itself. Nearly all the acts of the Tudors, intention- 
ally or not, had a tendency to develope this new power ; for the 
suppression of the great houses, by whatever means, became a 
traditional policy with them. Never were English Sovereigns 
so absolute as from Henry VIII. down to Elizabeth; and never 
were they so popular. Hence it will be seen that the Court 
fairly represents, on the whole, the activity of the nation at the 
time in question. And this idea must never desert us. We 
may add to the Court the Universities, which were the scenes 
of strong reformatory agitation, and which witnessed the preach- 
ing of Latimer, the lectures of Sandford, and the disputations 
of Cranmer. In the history of these centres of influence may 
be found the history of a movement which was almost simul- 
taneous with the revival of learning, and always enlisted in its 
cause the most learned men, as well as the most honest thinkers. 
Nothing, in fact, is more noticeable in the Heformation than 
this, that the Reformers were all men of learning. The history, 
therefore, of learning at the time, and some estimate of its 
results, will claim our first attention. 

About fifty years before had occurred the catastrophe of the 
Turkish capture of Constantinople, an event which scattered the 
whole Greek nation over Europe, with their noble literature^ 
which thus suddenly re-appeared, after an absence of about seven 
hundred years, creating every where new habits of thought, and 
introducing an unknown accuracy of expression. The influence 
of Greek was soon felt in England. Fox, the fouuder of 
Corpus- Christi College, and Wolsey, of Christ- Church, instituted 
lectures in it, and thus were the first to break through the 
system which had confined the student to scholastic philosophy, 
and the acquisition of a bald Latinity. Erasmus, on his first 
visit to England, at the close of the fifteenth century, met 
with a select circle of scholars devoted to the newly found 
language, — Grocyn, Linacre, Latimer, and, above all, Thomas 
More, of whose genius and acquirements he speaks in terms 
of friendly hyperbole. Already were the volumes of Plato 
unrolled ; already was the cry, " Gr(BCum est, legi non potest /" 
waxing fainter along the college cloisters, when the Reformation 
came on. Its first effects were not favourable to the study 
of the classics, which were abandoned for the time both by 
Romanists and Reformers. 

On the Romanist side, Greek, and, we may say, the majority 
of Latin, authors lost the support of the higher Clergy, and^ 
with them, of the whole body of Ecclesiastics. Greek espe- 
cially, which had at first received the enthusiastic support of the 

296 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

Pontiffs themselves, was soon perceived to lead to innovations 
in religious belief, in philoso})hy, and in politics, by no means 
consistent with the established order of things. Accordingly it 
encountered the most violent and universal opposition ; and 
Groiculus iste, originally applied as an epithet of contempt to 
Erasmus, soon became synonymous with heretic/^ On tlie other 
hand, while the Reformers adopted, in theory, what their adver- 
saries rejected, their immediate attention was directed to 
patristic theology for a solution of the various questions at 
issue, and little leisure was left them for admiring tlie turn of a 
sentence, or the emphasis of a particle. They were, however, 
fully conscious of the importance of an accurate knowledge 
of Greek, Erasmus corrected numberless corruptions of doc- 
trine by restoring the right reading of texts upon the authority 
of codices ; and Melanchthon declared that " Optimus grain- 
maticus optimus theologus." Innumerable institutions were 
founded which insured the future cultivation of the language ; 
and the fact tliat many questions of religious belief were 
involved in a knowledge of it, rendered the revival of learning 
in the sixteenth century far more extensive than it would have 
been, ]iad scholarship been merely a matter of taste. 

There were several men — Smith, Cheke, Haddon, Ascham, 
Udal, Lily — who, although more or less actively engaged in the 
controversies of the day, achieved a simply literary reputation. 
These did their best to ditfase a love of philology among the 
students who attended their lectures ; but, notwithstanding 
their efforts, the progress of that science and of ancient criti- 
cism, which has occupied almost exclusively the attention of 
modern scholars, was slow. The study of languages was seldom, 
in the sixteenth century, a primary object. Books were few, 
and, after the abolition of the monasteries, no public library 
of any magnitude appears to have existed. Hallam states that, 
before 1550, only two books instrumental to the study of Greek 
appeared in England. Nor were these augmented at the end 
of the century, save by a few trifling publications, principally on 
grammar. In Latin, we meet with no work more than rudi- 
mentary; the only one that has at all maintained its ground 
being Lily's school-famed Latin Grammar, to which Wolsey 
himself condescended to write a Preface. The editions of Latin 
classics published in the realm scarcely amounted to a dozen. 

But we should arrive at a conclusion rather below the truth, 
were we to form our estimate of the state of classical literature 
from the number and quality of the books published. There 
were many men not unacquainted with Greek, for instance, Avho 
did not devote themselves to criticism or philology. Such were 
Pace, Tunstall, Gardiner, and Tyndale. The editions of Rome 
and Paris were eagerly sought after; much learning was 
acquired and perfected by foreign travel, and much was im- 

study of the Ancient Languages in England. 297 

ported by the learned strangers who, headed by Erasmus, made 
England their home in the early part of the century. In the 
absence of proper aids, the cultivation of Greek must have been 
extremely arduous. It was, however, introduced into several 
of the public schools, and Hallam thus describes the process : 
"The teacher provided himself with a lexicon, which was in 
common use among the pupils, and with one of the grammars 
published on the Continent, from which he gave oral lectures, 
portions of which were transcribed by each student. The books 
read in the lecture-room were probably copied out in the same 
manner, the abbreviations giving some facility to a cursive 
hand; and thus the deficiency of impressions was in some 
degree supplied, just as before the invention of printing.^^ To 
this laborious process, doubtless, is owing that immense verbal 
memory which astonishes us in the great scholars of the six- 
teenth century, and in which they have never been equalled. A 
great amount of exact and curious information, too, was pre- 
served in the adversaria, or " common-place books,^^ which it 
was the fashion among scholars of that day to keep. 

The Latin language, as written at this time, is far from pre- 
senting that high state of classical finish, of which the produc- 
tions of modern scholars furnish such exquisite specimens. 
It was not then so much an accomplishm.ent as an indis- 
pensable acquirement, — a spoken, a living language, subject to 
the fluctuations of colloquial use. In it were conducted the 
most important transactions; in it were drawn up the most 
minute statistics. Therefore the classic purity, which it has 
since cost so much to preserve, was contaminated by barbarous 
phraseology and foreign idiom. The Italian mania of Cicero- 
nianism, which has since been equalled, did not then obtain in 
England. Our Latinists seem to have considered the sacred 
language as their own property, as a mere means by which they 
might express their thoughts to the greatest number of readers ; 
and, provided they attained this object, to have cared little for 
Ciceronian phrase or rhythm. We need not ask, which view is 
the more manly, — that which manufactured its meaning accord- 
ing to Nizolius^s Index to Cicero, and substituted tame imita- 
tions of tame poets for the lovely hyinns of the Church ; or that 
which allows free scope to originality of thought and word ? — 
that which gives us Bembo's "Episto/ie/' or that which gives us 
More's " Utopia There were, however, two or three Eng- 
lishmen who paid most scholarly attention to their Latin style ; 
among whom must be counted foremost Sir John Cheke, who, 
indeed, took the lead in every branch of learning. The famous 
Latin orations of Walter H addon are remarkable for a certain 
florid redundance belonging neither to the chaste Ciceronians 
of Italy, nor to the more original followers of Erasmus, but 
rather formed on the model of the later Komans. Ascham^s 

298 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

Epistles — of which, as Public Orator of Cambridge, he wrote a 
vast number — are a more favourable specimen of easy and fluent 
Latinity. The Latin poetry of this period was something like 
that of Isaac Barrow, full of thought and force, but often hei- 
nous in prosody. It, as well as the prose, possesses that 
originality which is so killing to classic grace. 

The course of study pursued in the Universities may be 
understood from a letter of Ascham's to Cranmer : — " For 
oratory they plied Plato and Aristotle, from whose fountains 
among the Greeks prudence of speaking might be fetched ; and 
to these, among the Latins, they added Cicero. They were 
versed also in Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, — the three 
lights of chronology, truth, and Greek eloquence; and which 
brought also a great lustre upon their other studies. The 
Greek poets which they took delight in were Homer, Sopho- 
cles, and Euripides; the one the fountain, the other two the 
streams, of all eloquence and learned poetry.*^ 

So much for the classical pursuits of the Universities ; what 
of the " logicals and philosophicals which form the other part 
of the education given there ? We have to record the decline 
of the long-standing scholastic philosophy. Of this venerable 
fabric the foundations had been laid as early as the ninth cen- 
tury, in the Rationalism of John Scotus Erigena, a native 
of Ireland, whose bold and almost pantheistic philosophizing 
was strangely at variance with his devotional fervour. Its 
palmiest days were the thirteenth century, when it boasted an 
Albertus Magnus, a Thomas Aquinas, and a Duns Scotus. Its 
Doctors adopted the syllogistic method of Aristotle ; and this is 
what is meant by the inaccurate phrase, "scholastic logic." 
The separate logical treatises written by the Schoolmen were not 
nearly so numerous or so elaborate as those which have 
appeared in modern times ; and the phrase, " scholastic logic," 
generally means no more than the formal use, by the School- 
men, of logical moods and figures. Scholastic philosophy is a 
mixture of theology with metaphysics, psychology, and other 
subjects, being thus distinguished from positive theology, which 
relies solely upon the Scriptures and the Church. As a monu- 
ment of the greatness of the human intellect, the scholastic 
philosophy towers almost alone. It exhibits a subtlety and 
clearness of method well-nigh unequalled, a grandeirr of specu- 
lation exceeding Plato^s, inasmuch as it is always based upon 
the truths of revealed religion. Indeed, it bears, though not 
formally, a much stronger resemblance to Plato than to Aristotle, 
since its greatness and glory is to soar into regions where only 
the noetic faculty, the higher reason, can avail. The scholastic 
philosophy borrowed little from Aristotle except the tedious 
method which has caused it to be forgotten. Nothing is more 
to be regretted than that a system which made all philosophy a 

Decline of Scholastic Philosophy. 


part of theology, and for five centuries enlisted in the service 
of religion all the acute philosophizing intellect that appeared in 
Europe, should now be lost. Since its fall, philosophy has been 
beset by a spirit of infidelity, which has called itself pan- 
theistic " and " atheistic by turns. 

Oxford, during the prime of scholasticism, had been second 
only to Paris in the multitude of its students, and the renown 
of its Doctors. " What University, I pray," cries Wood, " can 
produce an invincible Hales, an admirable Bacon, an excellent 
well-grounded Middleton, a subtle Scotus, an approved Burleigh, 
a resolute Baconthorpe, a singular Ockham, a solid and indus- 
trious Holcot, and a profound Bradwardine ? " He adds, that 
it is " an undeniable truth that school divinity took its rise 
and had its perfection in England. This scholastic philosophy, 
in which Englishmen had so large a share, did not fall so 
immediately on the advent of the Reformation as is commonly 
supposed. Its champions had been divided into two bands, 
— scholastic and genuine Aristotelians ; the former adhering to 
the dogmas and terminology of the Middle Ages, the latter 
submitting to the authority of the Stagyrite alone. The attack 
of the Reformation fell principally upon the former, which 
certainly was involved in many of the errors of Romanism, 
leaving the latter nearly untouched ; and thus it happened, that, 
while what is most valuable in the Schoolmen, their profound 
and wonderful inquiries into the nature of ideas, the history 
of creation, the origin of evil, are forgotten, their logic, and its 
kindred sciences, which are mere logomachy, remain, and are 
studied with untiring assiduity to this day. The death, then, 
of scholasticism was slow, and its shade continued long to hover 
over the Universities. Disputations were still held, in which 
the scholastic syllogism was used ; and the writings of even the 
Reformed Divines were often scholastic enough, both in form 
and subtlety. The Schoolmen found advocates among the 
Reformers. Melanchthon obtained the establishment of the 
Aristotelian philosophy in the Protestant schools of Germany, 
and even prevailed on Luther to retract some of his vitupera- 
tions against it. But a revolt from Aristotle, not as furnishing 
the groundwork of the scholastic edifice, but as the author 
of the dogmatic philosophy, was begun in the very centre of his 
dominions — in the Sorbonne — by the famous Frenchman, Peter 
Ramus. " From the writings of Plato," says Hallam, " and 
from his own ingenious mind. Ramus framed a scheme of dia- 
lectics, which immediately shook the citadel of the Stagyrite." 
His system was more popular in England than in his own 
country, and was introduced by Andrew Melville into the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow. About the same time, Ludovicus Vives, 
tutor of the Princess Mary, produced his great work, " De 
corruptis Artibus;'' in which, complaining of the inefficient 

300 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

teaching of logic, grammar, rhetoric, ethics, mathematics, and 
civil law, he attacks the Schoolmen directly. This book also 
gained great influence in England. 

Perhaps no philosopher, though many have appeared of equal 
powers, has reached the heights gained by the Schoolmen. The 
Schoolmen wrote witliout dreaming of an infidel adversary : 
their works, with all their errors, were for Christians.; they 
always assumed the truths and facts of Christianity, and their 
wide inferences are drawn therefrom. Since then. Christian 
philosophers have been compelled to leave the citadel of Zion 
and fight in the plain ; to appeal to the common religious con- 
sciousness of man, neglecting the divine purity and beauty of 
their own faith ; while their opponents, rejecting the light of 
revelation, have done notliing else than re-produce, again and 
again, the theories of heathen pliilosophy. Hence arises the 
affecting spirit of Germanism, its tenderness, its humour, its 
many-phrased mysticism, its sympathy — it can do no more than 
sympathize — with the darkness and desolateness of much- 
endm'ing humanity, drifting ever onward through a sea of 
present troubles to an unknown and silent future. We would 
say more on this subject, but must hasten on to consider the 
further aspects of learning at the time in question. 

The state of the Universities does not always give the true 
criterion of the condition of learning. In the present case, we 
must look for it to the Court. At that time, great attention 
seems to have been paid to the education of Princes. In no 
respect was the wisdom of Henry YII., the English Solomon, 
more apparent, than in the careful training bestowed upon his 
children. Henry VIII., when quite a boy, had written a Latin 
letter to Erasmus, from his own resom'ces, and in his own hand- 
writing. He was a diligent reader of Thomas Aquinas, and 
dared to enter the lists of controversy against Luther himself. 
And Henry took care that the benefits of education should be 
transmitted to his own children. Edward VI. wrote Latin 
exercises and letters, of such elegance as to create suspicion 
among modern historians, that he received tutorial aid in their 
composition. They argue a mind of great precocity in acquiring 
knowledge, and a deeply reflective disposition. His interview 
with the celebrated Cardan, as related by that philosopher, is 
the testimony of a foreigner to the learning and intelligence of 
the English Prince. Edward's sisters, the Ladies Mary and 
Elizabeth, were of nearly equal attainments with himself. The 
former understood five languages, — Latin, Greek, French, Italian, 
and Spanish: the latter was even superior to her sister, and 
particularly eminent as a Grecian. Ascham has left a glowing 
account of her quickness and understanding ; and her learning 
must have been considerable, as we find her, when Queen, 
haranguing the Universities in Greek. Many other instances 

Influence of the Court upon Learning. 


occur of learning among the Court ladies. Foremost of the 
group stands the beautiful Lady Jane Grey, whose noble and 
gentle mind, rich accomplishments, and cruel fate, make her one 
of the sorrows of history. The Countess of Pembroke read Pindar 
with Ascham ; Lady Cecil and Lady Russell were distinguished 
scholars ; Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Cook, and mother of 
the great Lord Bacon, translated the " Apology of Bishop Jewel 
from the Latin, and the Sermons of Ochino from the Italian ; 
and her four sisters were equally accomplished with herself. 

The literary fame of Henry VIII. and his children rendered 
the Court at this time the audience-chamber of the learned both 
of England and the Continent. Numbers of learned foreigners 
— the distressed in circumstances, the persecuted for opinion — 
were attracted by it to the palace, there to be retained, or thence 
to be distributed over the country into situations where they 
might be of service to the republic of letters. Erasmus, the King 
of the Schools, Peter Martyr, and Martin Bucer, men of Euro- 
pean reputation; Fagius and Tremellius, the greatest Hebraists 
of their time ; all taught in our Universities. Ochino, Menius, 
Alexander, Jonas, Dryander, Lasco, and Sleidan the historian, 
are among the names of those who thus found a home in 
England. The famous Italian, Polydore Virgil, spent the 
greater part of a long life in the country which his history so 
unfairly traduces. Cranmer appears to have been the leading- 
patron of these learned strangers. At his invit action they came, 
and he provided for them on their arrival. At one time he 
entertained seven of them together in his house. 

It is, indeed, scarcely possiljle to overrate the influence of the 
Court upon both learning and literature. We must bear in 
mind what we already have stated of the popularity of the 
Tudor s. The Court was, in fact, the reading public of the 
sixteenth century. Despotic in act, our Sovereigns were 
always ready to listen to the most liberal sentiments and 
theories. Erasmus, author of the ^'^Adages,^^ a work unsur- 
passed in the bitterness of its strictures upon Kings by any 
seditious modern print, was honourably received by the tyran- 
nical Henry VIII. Sir Thomas More, notwithstanding his 
bold censures in "Utopia" of the vices of power, was long 
one of the most favoured courtiers of his day. It was the 
delight of Edward VI. to sit for hours listening to the long 
sermons of the Reformed Divines, who by no means confined 
their admonitions to spiritual subjects, but, like the Prophets of 
old, took every occasion of inveighing against the political and 
social abuses of the age. To the King, not to Parliament, did 
the people look for the redress of their wrongs, and before the 
King did they lay their memorials. This reciprocal action of 
the Court and the people is most interesting and important. 
The Reformation appealed to the people, and the people made 

302 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

the Court become the means of verifying the enthusiastic aspira- 
tions kindled by the Reformation. The example of royalty 
infused into the nobility a love for literary pursuits which has 
seldom been equalled^ and thus made them the organs of the 
united will of both King and people. It would be impossible to 
mention all^ having places in the royal household or holding 
Government offices^ who distinguished themselves by literary per- 
formances. Suffice it to say, that the continuous succession 
of English poets begins from Sir Thomas Wyatt_, the Earl of 
Surrey^ and Lord Vaux, that " companj^ of courtly makers/^ and 
that the fathers of English prose are Sir Thomas More and Sir 
Thomas Elyot. And thus arose the majestic form of English 
literature, instinct with the life of the people, adorned and robed 
by the hands of nobles, as to meet the eyes of Kings. 

An important event in the history of learning in this coun- 
try was the abolition of monasteries. We shall not inquire 
whether this was an act of political wisdom or arbitrary folly, 
but shall merely observe that there is indubitable evidence that, 
long before this time, the various orders had lost their hold on 
the minds of the people, and that the measure was acquiesced in. 
Opinions, again, have been divided as to its effects on classical 
learning. We cannot think, with Warton, that it was unfavour- 
able ; nor do we anticipate that the more consistent opposers of 
the abolition of monasteries will dispute our position. Monkish 
learning is not classical learning ; and the presence of the one, 
so far from promoting, is a hindrance to the other. Whatever 
classical learning might lose by the destruction of the monastic 
schools, has been well compensated by the numerous founda- 
tions, in the reign of Edward VL, of free grammar-schools, 
which may rank among the most beneficial institutions of any 
age or country, and have been indicated by Coleridge as the 
great preservatives of sound book-learnedness " and sober 

The abolition of monasteries did, however, in an indirect 
manner, retard the advance of learning. At the time of 
Edward^ s succession, the rapacious laity, who had glutted them- 
selves at the sack of the monasteries, and effected a partial 
spoliation of other Church property, endeavoured to reduce the 
endowments and privileges of the Universities. The attempt, 
though not absolutely successful, occasioned a great amount 
of confusion. Ignorant laymen were appointed to some of the 
chief offices of the Colleges, intended for the maintenance of 
the Clergy; and other annoyances were endured. But these 
grievances were redressed by the prompt interference of Cran- 
mer, through whose urgent representations Parliament, in 1554, 
secured the rights of the Universities against all encroachment. 

A far more serious evil was the almost total destruction of 
the conventual libraries. This is lamented by contemporary 

The Greek Testament of Erasmus. 


writers as altogether irreparable. Treasures were then ruth- 
lessly wasted^ which far exceeded the Alexandrian Library in 
number, and the Vatican in rarity. We certainly share in 
these laments, though not for classical reasons. How many 
a gloriously illuminated missal, — how many of those sweet 
Latin hymns, which as far exceed the Odes of Horace as 
Christianity exceeds Paganism, — must have utterly perished ! 
About the year 1550, the Council Book mentions the 
purging of the King's Library at Westminster from all super- 
stitious books. A similar fate overtook the Oxford libraries 
the same year, from the King's Visitors. Merton College 
suffered severely, a whole cartload of manuscripts being carried 
off and thrown away. Baliol, Exeter, Queen's, and Lincoln 
were almost equal sharers in calamity. The barbarous process 
is thus described by Jeremy Collier: "The books marked 
with red, or with a cross, were generally condemned, at a 
venture, for Popery ; and where circles and other mathematical 
figures were found, they were looked upon as compositions of 
magic, and either torn or burnt. And thus an almost ines- 
timable collection, both for number and value, were either seized 
by the Visitors and turned into bonfires, or given to binders 
and tailors for the use of their trade." 

We have now to record what was at once infinitely the most 
valuable fruit of the revival of learning, and the first step of 
Church Reformation. We mean the publication of the New 
Testament in the original, by Erasmus. This act alone is 
sufficient to place him, who, in taste, wit, and learning, stood 
high above his contemporaries, in the foremost rank of the 
Reformers. Already had he, in his "Encomium Mori(2y' — a 
book which had an unparalleled circulation, — signally exposed 
the ignorance and pretensions of the mendicant orders of monks ; 
but in this his greatest work he did far more to shake the gates 
of darkness. In controversy, his name has been eclipsed by 
his bolder successors ; but the results of that mode of scrip- 
tural study and interpretation which he inaugurated, have been 
more lasting than even those of controversy. " Never before/' 
says D'Aubigne, '^'^had Erasmus worked so carefully. ^ If I 
told what sweat it cost me, no one would believe me.' " He 
had collated many Greek MSS. of the New Testament, and 
was surrounded by all the commentaries and translations, by 
the writings of Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Basil, Chrysostom, 
Cyril, J erome, and Augustine. " Hic sum in campo meo I '^ 
he exclaimed, as he sat in the midst of his books. He had 
investigated the texts according to the principles of sacred 
criticism. When a knowledge of Hebrew was necessary, he 
had consulted Capito, and more particularly (Ecolampadius. 
" Nothing without Theseus," said he of the latter, making use 
of a Greek proverb. He had corrected the amphibologies. 

304 Injliience of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

obscurities, Hebraisms, and barbarisms of the Vulgate, and 
caused a list to be printed of the errors of that version. The 
New Testament of Erasmus crossed the Channel from Basle 
in 1516. It is not probable that the timid scholar foresaw 
at all the incalculable consequences of his work. He had 
seized, as he thought, a favourable opportunity for quietly 
introducing an acceptable offering to the learned world. But 
immediately the life-giving word was in every hand. *^'Men 
struggled to procure it, read it eagerly, and would even kiss 
it.^' Never had any book produced so wide an agitation. 
Erasmus, seeing that a great work was to be done, had looked 
for the support of all who loved the Church, and professed to 
be followers of its Author. Not so; Romanism and tradi- 
tionalism were stiiTed up from their lowest depths. Regular 
and secular, in terror for their ancient common, vied in their 
attempts to arouse the populace against the Book : the Priests 
thundered from their pulpits ; the monks went about among 
" susceptible women and credulous men.^^ " Here are horrible 
heresies," they cried ; here are frightful antichrists. If this 
Book be tolerated, it will be the death of the Papacy." "We 
must drive this man from the University," said one; "We 
must turn him out of the Church," said another. Erasmus 
stood aghast. "AYho," cried he in despair, "could have fore- 
seen this horrible tempest ? " 

His opponents did not content themselves with clamour. A 
champion must be sought for against the mighty adversary of 
human traditions. He was found at length in Edward Lee, — 
"the Doctor Eck of England," — a man of talent, but vain, 
jealous, passionate, and revengeful ; who was successively King's 
Almoner, Dean of Colchester, and Archbishop of York. This' 
Avorthy, who had been a friend of Erasmus, formed with the 
monks, the Priests, and the other partisans of the Papacy, a 
systematized league to prevent the circulation of Erasmuses 
book. He talked against it at table amongst his numerous 
guests; he wrote scores of letters against it; and he prepared 
to reply to it in form. All the Popery of England was engaged 
in rehearsing what Erasmus called " Lee^s Tragedy." At 
length, when all was ripe, Lee put forth his reply in the form 
of some Annotations on Erasmuses book. He vv^as a poor Greek 
scholar, and his performance, which, according to Erasmus, 
was a mere tissue of abuse and blasphem}', was not published, 
but secretly handed about, sheet by sheet. Through the influ- 
ence of the League, it found its way all over England, and 
was largely read. " Why don't you publish your work ? " 
asked Erasmus, with cutting irony. "Who knows whether 
the holy Father, appointing you the Aristarchus of letters, might 
not have sent you a birch to keep the whole world in order ? " 

Through the machinations of the League, it is doubtful 

WiUiani Tyndak and the New Testament. 305 

whether in any other conntry of Europe the Reformation was 
so hostilely received as in England. All, however, was in vain. 
As well might the sun be expected to rise without heat and 
light, as the Gospel of truth without power. Even greater 
innovations, or rather restorations, were about to take place. 
The edition of Erasmus had spoken to the learned world, — it 
.contained nothing but Greek and Latin; the Scriptures were 
now to be unfolded to the people in their own tongue. Great 
was the sensation produced by Erasmus in the Universities. 
*' In private chambers, in the lecture-rooms and refectories, 
students, and even Masters of Arts, were to be seen reading the 
Greek and Latin Testament. Animated groups were discussing 
the principles of the Reformation." Soon were to be found, 
among the youth of Oxford and Cambridge, true possessors, of 
the spirit and power of holiness, — followers of the great Example 
of Christian life, — men afterwards found willing to seal the word 
of the Testimony with their blood. Amongst others, we find 
at Oxford William Tyndale, a young man of blameless life, and 
of high reputation as a scholar. Himself a true believer, he 
became anxious that others should experience the blessings 
which he enjoyed; and what means could be found more effica- 
cious than to give to the people in their own language that 
wonderful book to which he owed his own happiness ? Erasmus 
himself had boldly avowed that the Scriptures ought to be 
translated into all languages, and read, not only by the Scotch 
and Irish, but by Turks and Saracens. Nothing in the history 
of England is more affecting than the struggles and difficulties 
of William Tyndale, the poor scholar, during the prosecution of 
his great design. For some time he laboured in peace and 
quietness at Sodbury Hall, on the Severn, the seat of his noble 
patron. Sir John Walsh. At length his design was discovered, 
and he was compelled to fly. Proceeding to London, he endea- 
voured, by the graceful gift of a Latin translation of Isocrates, 
to gain the post of Chaplain to Bishop Tunstall, who, as his 
favourite Erasmus told him, was " the first of Englishmen in 
Greek and Latin." Repulsed in that quarter, he was kept 
from starving by the generosity of Humphrey Monmouth, a 
princely merchant, in whose house he laboured night and day 
for some time at his translation. But he was soon again com- 
pelled to fly ; and, finding no place in England where he could 
rest in safety, he resolved to seek one on the Continent. A 
vessel was in the river, about to sail for Hamburg. The same 
noble hand v/hich before had ministered to his necessities, sup- 
plied him with ten pounds for the journey, and with that and, 
his New Testament he departed. In three years he completed 
the first two Gospels. ^^The Wartburg, in which Luther 
had translated the New Testament, was a palace in comparison 
with the lodging in which the Reformer of wealtliy England 


306 hifluence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

endured hunger and cold, while toiling day and night to 
give the Gospel to the English people/"* From the Elbe he 
proceeded to the Rhine, to Cologne, to have the benefit of 
the famous printers there, Quentel and the Byrckmans. As 
the work went on, and sheet followed sheet, Tyndale could 
not contain himself for joy. From his obscure lodging and 
close seclusion the Gospel was to go forth to the English- 
multitudes. Whether the King wills it or not, ere long all 
the people of England, enlightened by the New Testament, 
will obey the Gospel/^ Such was his exclamation; but a 
sudden intermption occurred. One of the printers, whilst 
intoxicated, betrayed him partially to a zealous agent of Popery, 
by name Cochlseus; and Tyndale only escaped apprehension 
by catching up his manuscript, springing into a boat, and 
rapidly ascending the river towards Worms. " The mountains, 
glens, and rocks, the dark forests, the ruined fortresses, the 
Gothic churches, the boats that passed and repassed each other, 
the birds of prey that soared above his head, as if they bore 
a message from Cochlseus, — nothing could turn away his eyes 
from the treasure he was carrying with him." At last he 
reached Worms, where Luther four years before had said, 
Here I stand ; I can do no other ; may God help me ! " 
To elude the vigilance of his enemies, he began a fresh octavo 
edition, instead of the original quarto ; and before long the two 
editions were quietly finished, and on their way to England. 
They were carried across the Channel by five pious Hanseatic 
merchants, received and stowed by a poor London Curate, 
named Garret, by whom they were introduced into the Uni- 
versities. Almost immediately afterwards comes the history 
of search-warrants and persecution. The struggle of Rome 
and England began wdth Tyndale^s translation. A third and 
fourth edition appeared from Antwerp within the next two 
years. The effects of this were such as always mark the presence 
of the Gospel of truth, the source of light and life. Tyndale 
had added the last touch to their popularity, by brief and 
plain explanations of whatever might be strange in scriptural 
phraseology to the unaccustomed multitude. 

It was to the labours of Tyndale that the Reformation in 
England owed its universality and living faith. Even if we 
admitted the hypothesis of the political conversion of a king- 
dom, it would prove nothing, except the slight hold of Romanism 
upon the affections of the people that could desert it, en masse, 
at the call of the Sovereign. But it was not so. The alarm 
of Wolsey and of the supporters of the Papacy was greater at 
Tyndale's labours, than at any thing else. Sir Thomas More 
employed his fine genius in vain against the Reformer, to whom 
he attributed an influence as wide and pestilent as that of 
Luther. And the hunted and mysterious man, who evaded, as 

The true literary Tone of the Reformaiion. 


by miracle, all the efforts of his persecutors, sent forth from his 
retreat in Germany a reply, which fell into the hands of Anne 
Boleyn, and through her reached the King. The establishment 
of the Reformation on royal authority soon followed. 

Tyndale, during his labours upon the New Testament, had 
the occasional assistance of Fryth, Bilney, and others eminent 
in the history of the times, and deserving honourable men- 
tion here. His first edition appeared in 1525 ; and it was not 
till 1529, after he had already, with the aid of Luther's 
German version and the Vulgate, commenced upon the Old 
Testament, that he met with Coverdale at Hamburg. The lat- 
ter was a man of like spirit, — ardent, faithful, and courageous. 
He had already been engaged in the same undertaking in 
England, under the patronage of Cromwell, who had a pre- 
cious collection of the necessary books. The two Reformers 
agreed, after many conferences, to work separately, but to unite 
the result of their labours. In 1535 appeared Tyndale and 
Coverdale's Bible ; the first complete version of the Scriptures 
into English, except the now obsolete one of Wyclifte. It is 
admirable for propriety, perspicuity, and accuracy, and has been 
closely followed in the present authorized version. Its literary 
efiects were as great as its spiritual. Like its successor, like 
every book that has obtained a universal circulation, it arrested 
and stamped into permanence the fleeting forms of spoken 

Here we may pause to consider the strictures of Mr. Hallam 
on the literary influence of the Reformation, and the literary 
character of some of the Reformers, — Luther and Carlostadt in 
particular. After stating that the great religious schism ab- 
sorbed all the learning of the day in theological controversy, so 
that classical studies were no longer pursued for their own 
sakes, but chiefly with reference to the grammatical interpreta- 
tion of Scripture, he adds, " In those parts which embraced the 
Reformation, a still more threatening danger panose from the 
distempered fanaticism of its adherents. Men who interpreted 
the Scripture by the Spirit, could not think human learning 
of much value in religion; and they were as little likely to 
perceive any other advantage it could possess. There seemed, 
indeed, a considerable peril that, through the authority of 
Carlostadt, or even of Luther, the lessons of Crocus and Mosel- 
lanus would be totally forgotten." This sentence means, that 
the men who, by aid of the revived literature of antiquity, had 
attained to the light and liberty of the Gospel, and who saw the 
advocates of darkness, with whom they were in mortal struggle, 
denounce and repudiate that literature, were willing to abandon 
the means by which their advantage had been gained, and to let 
the world sink back into ignorance, — which does not seem likely. 
The fact that they did not do so, Mr. Hallam imputes entirely 

X 2 

308 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

to Melanclithon. We think that the common sense of the 
impugned Reformers might have some share in it. But Mr. 
Hallam^s idea of the legitimate functions of learning is very 
different from that of the Reformers. He judges the education 
and the genius of each century, in a great degree, by the classi- 
calism of its Latin prose, and the prosody of its Latin verse. 
He measures the poetry of modern nations by the exploded 
standard of Virgil and Ovid. He can find no other offset 
against the poverty of letters in the dark ages, — the grand ages 
of Gothic architecture, — than military skill and civil prudence. 
Consequently, while his decisions on the comparative styles of a 
Scaliger and a Casaubon, an Erasmus and a Budseus, are ex 
cathedra, his critiques upon the great word-painters of the 
periods he reviews are confessedly dry and imperfect. With 
unquestionable erudition and untiring industry, he has yet failed 
to appreciate the spirit of modern art. Historically speaking, 
Mr. Hallam is justified in devoting so many pages to the 
ancient literature of Greece and Rome. The mania of Cicero- 
nianism has not been confined to Italy, nor was it extinguished 
by the sarcasm of Erasmus. That the classic models have been 
worn away by the hands of students ; that their interpretation 
and emendation have consumed the lives of numberless scholars ; 
that they, instead of nature, have been the inspiration of gene- 
rations of artists ; is matter of history, — a seventeenth century 
of poetry, painting, and architecture proves it : but the fact is 
not to be complacently regarded ; it is the longest and dreariest 
chapter of the history of human error. Far different was the 
view of the Reformers. We are as willing to admit, as Mr. 
Hallam can be to enforce, this charge. They did consider that 
the chief value of the great language of antiquity was, that it 
contained the New Testament of Jesus Christ; and that the 
most important office of criticism was to elucidate the sacred 
text. - They admired, mthout worshipping, the great authors 
of antiquity, and made ample pro\dsion for the study of them. 
Little did they dream that the time was coming when the 
acquisition of structural skill in the languages of the ^neid and 
the Agamemnon should be thought worth years of toil, and, as a 
necessary process, be undergone by all who would claim to be 
considered educated ; when the productions of the classic Muses, 
chiefly valuable as exhibiting the workings of minds somewhat 
akin to the mind of modern Europe, and affording a starting- 
point to the course of modern literature, should be looked upon 
as examples of excellence unattainable by men of modern 
mould. The blame of all this, we freely grant, rests not with 
the Reformation. Nay ; to the vigorous elements of thought 
and freedom which the Reformation introduced, we owe it, 
that the flood of classicalism did not submerge our literature a 
century sooner than it did. What, for instance, prevented the 

Second or Controversial Stage of the Reformation. 309 

learning of Milton from utterly warping his genius, and render- 
ing him no more than a second Virgilian moon to the Homeric 
sun, but the strong Hebrew element which is fused with his 
poetry? The Eeformers, including Luther, were men learned 
in their day ; but they were men of original spiritual life ; they 
looked down from a rock higher than Olympus, and gushing 
with springs of poetry purer and more copious than those of 

The great work of the first period of the Reformation, before 
the reformed tenets were established as the State religion of 
England, was, as we have seen, the translation of the Scriptures. 
When persecution is over, and inquisitors have ceased to hunt 
out and burn the sacred volumes, a new phase in reformatory 
proceedings appears for our notice. Works of controversy are 
multiplied ; endless and fruitless discussions are carried on, both 
between the Reformed and Romish Churches, and among the 
Reformers themselves, on the Eucharist, the nature of justifica- 
tion, the extent of salvation. Lutheranism and Calvinism hold 
an unrelenting internecine war. In the latter part of the reign 
of Henry VIIL, and in the reign of Edward VL, may be 
marked the origin of Sectarianism. It is to be regretted that 
the quarrels of the Reformers, carried often to intemperate 
lengths, did infinite injury to their cause. Nothing has been so 
clearly established by the history of the Church, as the useless- 
ness of polemics as a means of producing religious conviction. 
What is matter of religious belief, cannot be made amenable to 
reason ; it belongs to a higher region, — that of the understand- 
ing ; it falls under the jurisdiction of a higher faculty, — that 
of intuition ; and argument, proof, logic, rhetoric, sarcasm, have 
invariably failed in expelling what the mind has in this way 
perceived. The absurdity of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, 
it has been well remarked, struck the minds of the Reformers 
of the sixteenth century as forcibly as it has struck any Pro- 
testant since; yet all the tomes which the sixteenth century 
produced upon the subject, all its canons of scriptural interpre- 
tation, all its authorities, all the weapons of its logic, left 
unmoved the belief of Sir Thomas More, the acutest thinker 
of his age ; and Transubstantiation found in him an unreluctant 
martyr. In eff'ect, your polemic always starts with begging the 
question. He frames his logic, constructs his categories, and 
assumes the falsity of whatever does not fall within these self- 
invented conditions. 

When the star of Wolsey set, and, with it, the ecclesiastical 
domination of Rome in England, that of Cranmer arose, inau- 
gurating the establishment, on the basis of the State, of the 
Reformed religion. The career of this man is commensurate, as 
far as our scope extends, with the war of opinions which pre- 
vailed during and after the adjustment of Church and State, 

310 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

No historical cliaracter lias been more decried, none more 
lauded, than Cranmer. By some, he has been denied all talent ; 
by others, all principle. He has been alternately represented 
as a fool, the puppet of circumstances, the fortuitously great, 
and as a hypocritical time-server, without either courage or 
honesty. On the other hand, this greatest name in the English 
Reformation has been almost deified by his admirers. No spot, 
no fault, no inconsistency, is allowed to have had existence in 
his character, conduct, or writings. As usual, the truth lies in 
the mean. Cranmer was neither fool, knave, nor demi-god. 
He lived in an age when men had need of all the tact they 
could muster ; and he proved himself prudent and learned. He 
was one of those useful persons who sometimes acquire influence 
by the very a])sence of striking and ardent qualities, — the 
Melanchtlion of our English Reformation. The greatest defect 
of his character, want of firmness, which has ruined many a 
man of genius and learning, by a peculiar combination of cir- 
cumstances secured his advancement, and guided him to 
fortune. His mind possessed great acuteness; he could gene- 
rally perceive what was best, although, had vigorous action 
been required of him, he would have failed to do justice to the 
clearness of his views. Such a mind is common enough. 
Fortunately for the usefulness of Cranmer, the time required 
of him little more than to follow his bent and be moderate. 
He was surrounded by vehement and excited spirits, who 
required all the restraint of his temperate and quiet character. 
And these very traits of his have impressed upon the Church 
which he moulded, and upon the public office which he, as 
Primate, had the chief share in drawing up, a noble and digni- 
fied moderation, a just and wise tolerance, which has never been 
lost. It is through Cranmer's influence that the Chm^h of 
England at the present day is capable of sheltering, at once, 
the High and Low Churchman, the Universalist and the 

The literary character of Cranmer was of great merit, for the 
time in which he lived. His writings show him to have been a 
man of extensive research, and of prompt judgment in applying 
his learning. Disputations and controversial treatises on the 
Eucharist comprise the greater part of his remains, and these 
exhibit much acuteness and ingenuity of thought, clearness 
of distinction, and aptitude in exposing the weak points of his 
adversary's argument. They may be taken as a fair sample 
of all the polemic works of this age. In all are to be found 
the same nicety of distinction and arrangement, the same 
scholastic subtlety of argument, the same reliance upon patristic 
authority, the same redundancy of quotation. 

The greatest theologian, and probably, next to Cranmer, the 
most influential character, of the English Reformation, was 

Gardiner as a Controversialist. 


Bishop Ridley. His merit, relatively to Cranmer and Latimer, 
is thus determined l^y one of his most eminent adversaries : 
" Latimer leaneth to Cranmer, Cranmer leaneth to Latimer, 
and Ridley leaneth to his own singular wit/^ This is so far 
true, that Ridley, while in learning he is superior to the other 
two, is free from the harshness of the one, and the indecision 
of the otjier. He is not what the controversialists of his day 
too often became, a mere intellectual machine, colligating, 
dividing, inferring, and only giving evidence of human sensa- 
tions by occasional sarcasm and invective. There breathes 
through his writings a pathos and tenderness which could only 
have accompanied profound feeling. His mind was a rare 
union of several high qualities; his thoughts are remarkable 
both for force and acuteness : but what most distinguishes 
him from his contemporaries, is his fulness of sympathy, gentle- 
ness, and sensibility. The truly great must be great in heart 
as well as in mind. In Ridley severity, manly seriousness, 
and depth of thought, are tempered by the noblest love for 
humanity, the softest compassion for human sorrows and 
weaknesses. His are almost the only theological works of 
the time in question, which have, in any considerable degree, 
taken hold on the public mind. Had his sermons survived, 
they would have been the most valuable and interesting of the 

By far the most able and active of the adversaries of the 
Reformation, after the death of Sir Thomas More, was Stephen 
Gardiner. A system may be often typified by the qualities 
and proceedings of a single man; and Gardiner seems to be no 
unfit representative of the workings of Popery in England 
during the sixteenth century. He lived under three reigns, in 
which Popery underwent the three greatest changes that can 
befall any system, — subversion, degradation, triumph. It was 
prohibited, it was put under the ban of the State, and, finally, 
it regained its ascendancy. In each of these stages, Gardiner 
exhibits in his conduct the general features of his system, — 
obsequiousness, hostility, violence. In the first, while any 
advantage could be gained by submitting to the caprice of 
Henry VIIL, he veiled his haughty spirit in the garb of 
obedience, and became the most active instrument of that 
Monarch in procuring a divorce. No sooner, however, are the 
doctrines, of which his conscience does not approve, fully 
introduced, and sanctioned by the State, than we find him 
ofi'ering to them an open, manly, and befitting resistance. 
In the third stage, under Mary, the active part he took in the 
persecution of Protestantism is well known. We approach 
Kim during the second stage, at the time of his greatest pro- 
minence. He then appeared as the great champion of the 
Papacy. His activity, boldness, and vigilance earned for him 

312 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

the sob7i(juet of "the busy Bishop/^ He appears, indeed, 
to have been the very impersonation of restless and feverish 
energy ; leaving nothing untried in writing, intrigue, disputa- 
tion, preaching, or even suffering, that might conduce to the 
furtherance of his cause. He wrote, in answer to Cranmer, 
"An Explication of the Catholic Faith, touching the mo&t 
blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with the Confutation of a Book 
written against the same/^ The " Confutation lies in the 
alleged discrepancy between Cranmer^s denying the Eucharist 
to be a mere " bare token," and, at the same time, refusing 
to admit of Tran substantiation. Gardiner displays great 
dexterity in taking advantage of any seeming ambiguity in 
his antagonist's expressions; he supports his position by dint 
of skilful logic, but runs too much into groundless verbal dis- 
tinctions, and, like the rest, is too liberal of his sarcasm. 

Of the controversies waged at this time among the Reformers 
themselves, the most remarkable was that " concerning things 
indifferent," commonly called " the Interim." The question 
at issue was, whether the sacerdotal garments employed in 
the Church of Rome ought to be continued. The moderate 
party urged that, as the garments were indifferent in themselves, 
and were by law established, they ought to be preserved for 
the sake of order. On the other hand, it was objected that 
the Interim was a form of worship contrived to keep up the 
semblance of Popery, and that it was time to disabuse the 
ignorant, who attached peculiar and superstitious value to 
the priestly vestments. The question was first raised in Eng- 
land by Hooper, a man of zeal, learning, and ability, who 
imported from Zurich, the stronghold of the Recusants, ex- 
treme and rigorous opinions. He was strenuously opposed 
by Ridley; and, in the course of the dispute, published his 
" Declaration of Christ and His Office." This controversy is 
the more important, because in it may be discerned the germ 
of the great question of Nonconformity. 

We have traversed as quickly as possible the region haunted 
by the grim and saturnine spirit of controversy. The writings 
of those elder champions of a long war, both in England and 
on the Continent, have lost, ages ago, whatever attraction they 
might once have possessed. We must not seek to measure 
the Reformation of the sixteenth centiu"y by its treatises, but 
by its actions and institutions. The glory of the Reformers 
lies in the systems which they established, and the truths 
they perceived so well. The names of those worthies are in 
every man's mouth ; their practical influence will be felt whilst 
the world stands ; but who reads their books ? 

" These are they, and many more there were, down to the middle 
of the sixteenth century, at whom, along the shelves- of an ancient 
Hbrary, we look and pass by. Thej belong no more to man, hut 

Style of Thought and Writing in the Sixteenth Century, 313 

to the worm, tlie moth, and the spider. Their dark and ribbed 
backs, their yellow leaves, their thousand folio pages, do not more 
repel us than the unprofitableness of their substance. Their pro- 
lixity, their barbarous style, the perpetual recurrence, in many, of 
syllogistic forms, the reliance, by way of proof, on authorities that 
have been abjured, the temporary and partial disputes, which can 
be neither interesting nor always intelligible at present, must soon put 
an end to the activity of the most industrious scholar."* — Hallani's 
History of Literature, part i., chap. vi. 

Calvin^s " Institutes ^' is the only treatise of divinity of that 
date which has at all retained general interest. In other theo- 
logians^ that is^ controversialists^ we meet with a subtlety of 
discrimination and finish of detail which are common to the 
tribe, but little more. Their truths are narrowed to the 
occasions of their own time, and are often rather implied than 
stated distinctly. Great principles are left to develope them- 
selves from the explication of their parts, not asserted by any 
directly pointed observation. As far as we know, they are all 
pretty much alike in these respects; and little individuality, 
either of style or thought, can be traced among them. 

But, though we regret that the leading intellects of this early 
part of the Reformation should have been thus swallowed up 
in the vortex of controversy, the fact remains unaltered, and the 
major part of the remaining monuments of the period under re- 
view consists of polemic treatises; and, therefore, these deserve 
the attention w^hich we have given them. Notwithstanding 
their deficiencies, there are many qualities in these writings 
which may mark the embryo of a great literature. The 
thoughts are generally sound, equal, and laboriously worked 
out ; there is no glancing at a topic, but every thing is minutely 
investigated. There is no dishonour about them, no false 
graces, no feeble expression, no artificial conceits. In their 
massive sentences there is a fulness of meaning, resulting from 
stern truth of intellect, which rarely fails of satisfying the 
mind ; often, that sort of pathos which lies in sincerity and 
earnest conviction. The excitement of controversy imparts 
to some of them great spirit, which is heightened by the con- 
tinual recurrence of forms of interrogation, and the close 
grappling, paragraph by paragraph, almost dialogistically, with 
an adversary's arguments. Certainly, no one of our polemic 
authors succeeded in creating for himself a distinct style. They 
express similar views upon similar subjects in a manner similar 
to one another. Each sentence is a slow, solemn, encumbered 
march, the meaning weighing down the words, much as heavy 
baggage and equipment exhaust an army in motion. Much 

* To tlicsc g'eneral statements there is a coasiderabJc drawback, in the fact of a revived 
interest in the writings of the Reformers, as proved by an extensive republication of 
their writings l)y the " Parker Society." — Edit. 

314 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

of this may be accounted for by the youth and poverty of the 
language. Those turns of expression^ those delicate shades 
of meaning, on which mainly depends the charm of a modern 
style, could then have no existence. AVords had not acquired 
fixed and definite significations, had not come to symbolize 
complex conceptions, and to call up associative trains of 
thought; technical terms were few, and much had to be 
expressed by periphrasis, which is now contained in a single 
word. On the other hand, we are guaranteed, in these writers, 
from what, for want of a better word, we call slang, — the bane 
of modern literature. AVe mean, the carrying to excess of the 
facilities afforded by the associative power of words ; the 
strained, yet slovenly, efforts to produce eflFect by a certain 
selection or a certain sequence, which disgusts us in so many 
writers at the present day. These, for the most part, are but 
desperate attempts to appear easy and graceful in borrowed 
attire. Of course, the only way to write well is to think clearly 
and vigorously ; yet how often do we find, now- a-days, the 
poorest artifices of verbiage put in place of clear and consecutive 
thought ! It is better that men should express themselves 
unskilfully and strongly, than that pathos and seriousness 
should be sacrificed to flippant, self-conscious adornment. The 
men of the sixteenth century were not literati : they wrote for 
their own generation, not for all time ; they aimed at expressing 
their meaning tersely and simply ; and their attraction lies in 
this undi^dded purpose. 

If, however, the majority of theologians, absorbed in discus- 
sion, confined their attention to subjects, the abstruseness of 
which prevented their popularity, and addressed themselves 
exclusively to the learned, there were some religious authors 
who were not so neglectful of the wants of the people. Cran- 
mer^s Chaplain, Thomas Becon, produced, during the reign 
of Edward VI., a long series of devotional tracts, which gave 
him an influence over the public mind superior to that of any 
other author of the same age. The titles he gives to his books are 
rather fantastic, though to the people they would express much, 
and are supposed afterwards to have moved the ridicule of Ben 
Jonson. Becon's style is remarkably pure, homely, and per- 
spicuous ; his works breathe a spirit of unfeigned and ardent 
piety, and are often very beautiful in sentiment. 

Bishop Coverdale is another of the same stamp. His 
"Exhortation to the Carrying of Christ^s Cross," and his 
"Fruitful Lessons," are among the most valuable remains 
of that age. They argue an intimate acquaintance with the 
Scriptures, and much sacred learning ; and possess more 
copiousness, animation, and fluency than perhaps any other 
writings belonging to the same period. As an author. Cover- 
dale is, with one or two exceptions, the most pleasing of his 

The great Preachers of the Reformation. 


day. From his habits as a translator he had acquired large 
command of diction, and enriched his style with the idioms of 
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. In him we find the first indica- 
tions of that exuberance of metaphor, which was soon after- 
wards to swell the periods of Milton and Taylor. 

In the same category may be placed the great Preachers of 
the Reformation. The pulpit was then a very different thing 
from what it is now. It was not exclusively confined to reli- 
gion and theology; in the hands of the Reformers, it became 
a powerful engine against political and social abuses. The 
sermons of the Reformers are a running commentary on the 
times. In England, France, Germany, and Switzerland, 
appeared a crowd of unsparing and fearless Evangelists, whose 
denunciations and exhortations wrought miracles with the ni^iul- 
titude. And, at the time, such a union of the Censor with the 
Divine was very necessary. No other means existed of bringing 
abuses to the touchstone of public opinion. The Court used to 
listen to the voice of the Preacher, as to the voice of the nation. 
Since then, however, the pulpit has been succeeded by the press, 
as the organ of national remonstrance, and has become simply 
a means of religious instruction. This is as it should be. No 
nation, no Church, can boast of so magnificent a collection of 
sermons as the English, — a collection equally rich in learning, 
eloquence, and lofty contemplations of Christian truth. The 
genius of Howe, Barrow, and Horsley has done much to replace 
the old school divinity. The most distinguished of the Preachers 
of the Reformation were, — Latimer, who is admirable for honest 
warmth, picturesque delineation, and lively metaphor, but not 
free from invective and rough satire ; Ridley, whose sermons 
have perished, but who, to judge from his other works, must 
have possessed powers of the highest order as a preacher; 
Hooper, famed for extraordinary influence over the public mind ; 
Knox, the Scotchman, who resided in England during the reign 
of Edward VI. ; and Hutchinson, remarkable for calm argu- 
mentation and great learning. This fashion of political preach- 
ing had been set long before by the Romish Priests, — those 
Priests who blattered from their pulpits against Erasmus and 
Tyndale, — but latterly their appeals had failed of effect. No 
sooner, however, did a Wycliffe, and after him a Latimer, go 
forth, Bible in hand, against the foolish traditions of Roman- 
ism, than the mass of the nation rose up to cast aside current 
errors, and respond to the truth. " The common people heard 
the Gospel " giadly,^^ as of old. 

About the middle of the reign of Edward VI. were published 
the Homilies of the Church of England, which, together with 
the Liturgies now known as the " Book of Common Prayer," 
including the Communion Book and the " Short Catechism," 
must be regarded as necessary, though not complete, attempts 

316 hijiuence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

to define the doctrines of the Church. We say necessary, for 
even at that early date is found mention of many strange sects 
of Anabaptists and the like. The Reformation certainly did 
not improve the Church of Rome. Had the representations of 
Luther met with a less haughty reception, had reforms taken 
place in the Church, instead of resulting in a complete schism, 
the aspect of religion at the present day would have been very 
different. The attack of the Reformation naturally fell upon 
the more glaring absurdities of the criminal, yet arrogant, 
Church, — foolish traditions, invented by monks, and unacknow- 
ledged as Church doctrine ; administrative abuses, unsanctioned 
by the theory of Church government. These the overbearing 
Hierarchy felt it incumbent upon her to uphold; and the mise- 
rable sophistries and perversions she was reduced to employ, 
awakened a spirit of infidelity which has not since been laid, 
among those who understood the conduct, and watched the 
rancour, of the contest. The very fact of a feud, open, and on 
one side malignant and shameless, among those who called 
themselves Christians, was sufficient to raise terrible doubts in 
minds which otherwise would have implicitly believed. Nothing 
is so prompt to suspicion as outraged confidence. Hitherto 
men had believed, where they could not exercise understanding : 
henceforth ignorance itself was to reject the authority of Chris- 
tianity, and broach " perilous stuff in the shape of philosophic 
infidelity. Better, far better, the spirit of credulity than of 
unbelief. " Multitudes of minds," says the most eloquent of 
writers, discussing this subject, " which in other ages might have 
brought honour and strength to the Church, preaching the more 
vital truths which it still retained, were now occupied in 
pleading for arraigned falsehoods, or magnifying disused 
frivolities ; and it can hardly be doubted by any candid observer, 
that the nascent or latent errors, which God pardoned in times 
of ignorance, became unpardonable when they were formally 
defined and defended ; that fallacies which w^ere forgiven to the 
enthusiasm of a multitude, were avenged upon the stubborn- 
ness of a Council ; that, above all, the great invention of the age, 
which rendered God's word accessible to every man, left all sins 
against its light incapable of excuse or expiation; and that 
from the moment when Rome set herself in direct opposition to 
the Bible, the judgment was pronounced upon her, which made 
her the scorn and prey of her owti children, and cast her dow^n 
from the throne where she had magnified herself against Heaven, 
so low, that at last the unimaginable scene of the Bethlehem 
humiliation was mocked in the temples of Christianity." 

The few books belonging to the first part of the sixteenth 
century, unconnected with Theology, w^hich have come down to 
us, may be dispatched in brief. In 1509 appeared Sir Thomas 
More's History of Edward V.," a w ork worthy of the noble 

More, Elyot, and Ascham. 


genius of its author, and which may still be regarded as a model 
of perspicuous and effective narration. It has been praised for its 
English, " well-chosen, and without vulgarisms or pedantry ; 
and is about the first prose work which can lay claim to such 
praise. Sir Thomas Elyot^s " Governor (1531) is the produc- 
tion of a man of sagacity and learning, and a courtier. It pro- 
fesses to be a treatise describing " the form of a just public 
weal," after the fashion of " Utopia;" but is in reality a theory 
of education. Elyot complains, not without reason, of "cmel 
and y7'ous schoolmasters, by whom the wits of children be 
dulled," and of the practice of setting boys of fifteen to study 
the law. In his scheme of education he insists very wisely on 
the importance of the elegant arts, such as painting, music, 
sculpture. The works of Ascham, especially his " Toxophilu#," 
or Dialogue on Archery, are better known to modern readers 
than most of the writings of this age, and have been frequently 
reprinted. Ascham was one of the most meritorious of the 
learned men of his time; no one knew more, or turned his 
knowledge to better account. His style, as Dr. Johnson says, 
'^'^to the ears of that age was undoubtedly mellifluous." In 
1553 appeared Wilson^s '^'^Art of Rhetorique," the first work 
that laid down any definite rules for English composition, 
except a small pamphlet of the same name by Cox, a school- 
master. Wilson writes with considerable ability and judgment. 
He blames the fashionable rejection of familiar and natural 
expressions for others more recherchees. " Him," he exclaims, 
'^^ that can catch an inkhorn term by the tail, they count to be a 
fine Englishman and a good rhetorician." He also blames the 
conceit of alliteration, as compelling a forced and inadequate 
style. The book is fraught with good sense, and was deemed 
important enough to procure the author an imprisonment when 
he visited Rome. These few pretty nearly exhaust the list of 
noticeable non-theological books before the accession of Eliza- 
beth. Literature was still subordmate to the mighty influence to 
which above all things it owed its existence. The great distinc- 
tion between the literature of reason and the literature of taste 
was vague, and not yet strictly recognised. 

History may be viewed in two ways : either as a casual and 
disjointed succession of facts ; or as the evolvement, under a 
series of distinct phases, of the intellectual and moral character 
of mankind. The former view induces doubt and scepticism : 
the latter manifests the superintendence of a Divine Being, and 
the moral law of the universe. The former exhibits nothing 
more than local catastrophe, and national or personal fortune ; 
it is but a register of dates, giving account of a set of naked 
facts : the latter shadows forth the progress of the human 
kindred, moving onward by the fulfilment of events and the 
development of ideas towards its great hidden destiny. Yet it is 

318 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

to be observed, that this former aspect of history, which would 
surely above all things show the nothingness, the chance-birth, 
of man, which would be a memorial oi our race sadder than 
many cemeteries of grave-stones, has seldom, if ever, been 
absolutely set forth, even by those who have advocated it. 
Infidelity itself has been compelled to systematize in declaring 
the absence of all system. Few otherwise would have been 
found to look without repugnance upon its hideous doctrines. 
The danger, in fact, to him who looks for the truth in history, 
lies in the other extreme. No one should attempt to systema- 
tize too rigidly, otherwise he will do away with the free agency 
of man. True, there is movement in the world ; for there is 
destiny, and every individual is enshrined in the mass of 
mankind. But events are strong enough to testify this of 
themselves, and we must not force and dovetail into our system 
every cause or action that may be found. A growth, putting 
forth free and wild life, — not a smooth tesselated pavement, — 
such is history. 

We are now to consider the influence of the Reformation 
upon art, — the art poetic : and it must be acknowledged to have 
been, for better and for worse, almost incalculable. But we are 
not therefore to overlook other great independent causes of 
what is now belield in English poetry ; and still less are we to 
connect them with the Reformation, as subservient, in any 
attempt to make the latter a cause of causes. Perhaps some 
surprise may be excited by our affirming, that the great reli- 
gious schism of the sixteenth century had any influence at all 
upon the formation and progress of an art. Nevertheless, we 
believe that it has been most powerful, both in bad and good 
results. The hidden influences of the Reformation — that pro- 
mulgation of law and liberty — have been of infinite value in the 
history of English poetry; but, whenever it has visibly en- 
croached, so as to alter form and method, it has been marked by 
narrowing and degrading consequences. We see this especially 
in the ante-Elizabethan period under our notice. Literature, 
which is always more or less the reflex of society, is never so much 
so as in times of great political change, when one spirit agitates 
the mass of mankind, and seizes upon the most prominent and 
cultivated intellects as the organs of its inspirations. We have 
already remarked the disproportion bet\feen theological and 
other books during the former part of the sixteenth century, in 
proof of the extent to which the Reformation occupied the 
thoughts of men ; and in an age when the domains of art were 
ill defined, we must expect many strange efi'ects of the irruption 
of a sectarian and bigoted spirit upon the land of ideal liberty 
and beauty. Eventually, the rays of light and truth, ema- 
nating from the Reformation, did not prove convergent. They 
diverged, and became all-pervading as the sunbeams, giving 

The twofold Origin of Modern Poetry. 319 

its own proper colour to every thing : — but it was not so yet. 
The Reformation, at first, was like the red lightning, bathing 
every thing in its own hue. 

The poetry of modern Europe is the fusion of two elements, — 
the classical and the niediseval. By the revival of learning, that 
enthusiastic veneration for antiquity which had always existed 
in Italy, and more or less prevented the imagination of the 
most original Italians, was introduced into Cisalpine Europe. 
Before this time, the legends of Greece and Home had, in 
England, France, and Germany, been moulded afresh by the 
spirit of chivalry. The element of real classicalism did not 
enter into the composition of the knightly roundelay or the 
mazy romaunt. It is true that there were stories of the Knight 
Theseus, the Knight Proteus, or the Knight Hercules, as of ^ir 
Launcelot or Sir Bevys ; but they were told by Dan Ovid or 
the wizard Virgil ; and their spirit, their symbolism, their 
meaning, was totally different from that of the antique. The 
romantic or mediaeval element was very foreign from the 
classical element. The difference between them may be suc- 
cinctly stated. The one primarily regarded man, the other 
nature. In the one every thing is humanized; nature is only 
brought within that scope; the truth that God has revealed 
Himself to man is taught, not from nature, but in an elaborate 
anthropomorphism; and the essence of ancient poetry is a 
solemn high-voiced sadness, arising from the uncertainty of 
human destiny, and the waywardness of human passions. 
Homer and his successors sing the gradual purging of the soul 
of Achilles from earthly blindness and prejudice, until the 
mighty form of the hero was seen a demi-god amid the stormy 
clouds of the Euxine; ^schylus is full of the workings of a 
dreadful Nemesis upon the children of men ; while the pious 
hero of the JEneid is virtuous and great, in a social sense, as the 
founder of a grand empire. To the poetry of the Middle Ages 
Christianity, which was always felt as a presence, imparted a 
happiness and serenity, a confidence in the future and an enjoy- 
ment of the present, which were productive of the best results. 
We find there a paramount sense of beauty, a grotesquerie, — a 
symbolism, — less ornamental, but therefore more impressive, 
than the mere anthropomorphism of antiquity, and an ennobling 
conception of the nature of love, such as is never to be found in 
any Heathen. In Christianity alone can the imagination and 
fancy find their highest and purest range. 

We easily perceive that th^ mediseval element, with its 
chivalry, its pure homage to woman, its quick sense of honour, 
its constant devotion to the glory of religion, its infinite world 
of grotesque, its deep watchfulness of nature, is by far the more 
essentially poetic. What, then, has the classical element sup- 
plied to modern poetry ? Method, perhaps, and an appreciation 

320 Influence of the Reformation upon Eyiglish Literature. 

of the more unessential rules of art. With all their beauty, all 
their lavish fancy, the old romances are often very deficient in 
sesthetics, as at present understood. They often seem mere 
agglomerations and superventions of incident, without plot, or 
connexion, or ending. The master-pieces of antiquity afforded 
unequalled examples of connected incident and sequential develop- 
ment. They are like the ancient sculpture, clear, precise, beauti- 
fully modelled; while mediaeval romances are equally like mediaeval 
pictures, which often set at nought the rules of perspective, but 
are full of thought, truth, and beauty. Such a contrast would 
immediately strike the mind of the sixteenth century ; and to the 
unity of design exhibited by the ancients must be attributed the 
hopeless admiration with which they were so long regarded. 
Herein lies the value of the antique models : they show perfect 
moulds in which poetry may be cast, — the epic, the lyric, and, 
above all, the dramatic. 

It was well for England that the mediaeval ballads and 
romances had taken deep root in her soil ; otherwise, there 
would have been danger that the study of the classics might 
have exhausted the sap of all that was native and true in her. 
The remark has been made, that those nations which are most 
gifted with imagination, are most apt to be imitative. So it 
was with susceptible Italy. The Italians dwelt upon the memory 
of ancient Rome, and worshipped the literature of their mighty 
ancestors, as if they thought that with Virgil and Horace the 
count of poets had been made up, and that nothing remained to 
be done except to admire and tremblingly imitate. Petrarch 
valued the name of " restorer of learning," more than that of ^^first 
of modern poets," and relied for fame upon his Latin hexameters 
more than upon his Italian sonnets. Boiardo, Pulci, Ariosto, 
threw off their great poems at leisure moments, laughing at 
themselves, their readers, and their work. But in England, the 
quarrel with Rome, the magnificent and ostentatious character 
of Henry YIIL, who loved the Middle Ages, and caused careful 
collections and revisions to be made of the old ballads, together 
with a certain happy indocility in receiving impressions, which 
is characteristic of the people, put off for a century the evil day 
when the classics took the place of nature, and that degrada- 
tion of all art ensued over which every Englishman must 

But the general fact remains unaltered, that, as modern Eng- 
lish is formed from the infusion of the Latin into Saxon, so 
modern English poetry arose ^len ^' plain spake fair Ausonia." 
And we shall find, in the poets prior to Elizabeth, innumerable 
instances of tame and faltering imitation, to which truth and 
beauty are alike sacrificed ; and which is the more important, as 
the greatest and the most original of our poets have been, more 
or less, compelled to follow the track of their imitati^ e predeces- 

The Amatisis — Wyatt, Surrey, Sackville. 321 

sors. The poets of the first part of the sixteenth century may 
be nearly dmded into those who imitated antiquity^ and those 
who degraded their art into becoming the handmaid of religious 

We shall now select from the ante-Elizabethan poetry enough 
to exhibit the workings of these principles. The first names 
that occur are those of Wyatt and Surrey. Both these men 
were courtiers in the splendid household of Henry VIII. ; both 
were well versed in the literature of romance^, and skilled in the 
knightly exercises in which the Monarch took delight ; both 
had travelled into Italy, where, having ^' tasted the sweet and 
stately measures and style of the Italian poesie, as novices newly 
crept out of the school of Dante, Ariosto, and Petrarch, they 
greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poesie, 
from that it had been before, and for that cause may be justly 
sayd the first reformers of our English meeter and stile.''^ Great 
part of the works of these " first reformers'^ are translations from 
the Italian or Latin ; each of them rendered or imitated much, 
especially, of Petrarch ; and Surrey gave a version of the second 
book of the ^neid, which is the first blank verse in our lan- 
guage. . It is, as might be expected, somewhat inharmonious, 
and the sense is rarely carried beyond the line. He also lays 
claim, though with disputed title, to the establishment of metri- 
cal or syllabic versification, as distinguished from the rhythmical 
or accentual versification of Chaucer and his successors. The 
poems of Wyatt and Surrey were printed together in 1557, and 
their names are inseparable. They cannot be better compared 
than in the words of theii' editor. Dr. Nott : " Wyatt had a 
deeper and more accurate penetration into the characters of men 
than Surrey had ; hence arises the difi'erence in their satires. 
Surrey, in his satu'e against the citizens of London, deals only 
in reproach ; Wyatt, in his, abounds with irony and those nice 
touches of ridicule, which make us ashamed of our faults, and 
therefore often silently effect amendment. Surrey's observation 
of nature was minute; but he directed it towards the works 
of nature in general, and the movements of the passions, rather 
than to the foibles and characters of men : hence it is that he 
excels in the description of rural objects, and is always tender 
and pathetic. In Wyatt's complaint we hear a strain of manly 
grief which commands attention, and we listen to it with respect, 
for the sake of him that suffers. Surrey's distress is painted in 
such natural terms, that we make it our own, and recognise in 
his sorrows emotions which we are conscious of having felt our- 
selves. In point of taste and perception of propriety in compo- 
sition, Surrey is more accurate than Wyatt ; he therefore sel- 
dom either offends with conceits, or wearies with repetition, and, 

* Piiltenham's " Art of Poesie." 

322 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

when he imitates other poets, Tie is original, as well as pleasing." 
So much for the minute differences of their character : in taste 
and perceptions, as well as in personal career, they were very 
similar, and are identified in history as the founders of what is 
called '^^the amatory school of poetry," which was continued in the 
" Paradise of dainty Devices," 1576, a collection of short pieces, 
contributed by Richard Edwards, Lord Vaux, William Hunnis, 
and others. It contains several love- songs, among the most 
beautiful in the language. 

The most remarkable feature of poets of this class is the entire 
absence of any thing like light and sportive gaiety, such as that 
of lierrick or Suckling. AH is sad, plaintive, and lugubrious. 

It seemed," Hallam says, " as if the confluence of the poetic 
melancholy of the Petrarchists, with the reflective seriousness of 
the Reformation, overpowered all the lighter sentiments of the 
soul." The " Paradise of dainty Devices " abounds in quaint- 
ncss, antithetical conceits, and alliteration. It displays much 
of that exaggerated expression of the passion of love, which is 
seen in the sonnets of Spenser and Shakspeare. We must not 
omit to mention Nicholas Grimoald, the second writer of blank 
verse in our language, who added new strength and modulation 
to the style exhibited by Surrey. His works only exist in 
fragments ; but what is left possesses some poetical power, 
descriptive and pathetic. He is also remarkable for an amount 
of the sententious compactness of the didactic poetry of the 
seventeenth century. 

But the greatest of the ante-Elizabethans, that is, those who 
wrote before the accession of the Queen, or during the first 
moiety of her reign, is Thomas Sackville, afterwards Lord 
Bathurst. In 1559 was published the " Mirrour of Magis- 
trates," a series of dramatic soliloquies, with a Prologue, 
recounting the misfortunes of eminent Englishmen, on the plan 
of Boccacio's " De Casibus Virorum illustrium" It seems to 
have been planned by Sackville, who wrote the Induction, or 
Prologue, and one of the stories, that of the first Duke of Buck- 
ingham. Sackville's Induction, that '^'^ landscape without sun," 
is truly said by Hallam to form a connecting link between the 
school of Chaucer and Lydgate and that of Spenser. It is a 
sort of allegory, vigorously sustained, full of imagination, and 
so far above the elegant coldness of Surrey, that it may be 
compared, without disadvantage, to some of the best passages 
in the " Faery Queen." Yet the unbrightened cloud which 
possesses most of the poetry of the age, the sadness of faith 
shaken by the spectacle of Church schism, and of imagination 
somewhat shackled by the contemplation of models deemed 
imapproacha1)le, rests also upon it. Short as it is, its gloom and 
grief make it monotonous. The rest of the contributions to the 
" Mirrour of Magistrates " are flat and prosaic in the extreme. 

Religious Ver sides. 


Observe here the effect of the finished models of antiquity. 
They quickened the growth of English poetry very rapidly, but 
they did not prevent it from having a growth. The plant does 
not look particularly sightly during the process of forcing, 
though the world is overshadowed by the boughs and green 
twilights of its maturity. Sometimes our poets sink well nigh 
into elegantly frigid imitators or translators, as Wyatt and 
Surrey; sometimes they seem utterly to distrust their own 
powers of imagination, dreading to use other than the baldest 
and most usual forms of speech, as in the contributors, except 
Sackville, to the " Mirrour of Magistrates ; " anon comes a 
stuffed and stilted style, full of affectation and tricks of lan- 
guage, but meagre in sense, exemplified best in the Euphues " 
of Lilly, — a book which supplied the place, in Elizabeth's 
Court, of the old romances, and was so popular, that to talk 
Euphuism was as necessary then to a Court lady, as to talk 
French is now. Those poets saw but dimly the glories of the 
ideal world; they accustomed themselves too much to look 
thereon through the medium of other minds and another age ; 
they fell into strange and opposite errors of manner, not having 
greatness enough to be natural. It required the genius of a 
Sackville, and afterwards of a Spenser, to reciprocate the influ- 
ences to which they were subjected; to weave into real dreams 
the gorgeous material supplied to them by the past and present. 

We may now gather a few of the flowers, or rather the weeds, 
of metre, which flourished along the margin of the lava-stream 
issuing from the burning crater of religious controversy. We 
shall see poetry made a means of disseminating religious 
opinion. First appear the metrical translations of Scripture ; 
and foremost among them the well-meaning and well-known 
version of the Psalter by Sternhold and Hopkins. Of this we 
need say nothing more than that it is a fair specimen of its 
class, and that Whittingham, Dean of Durham, who contributed 
to it, also versified the Decalogue, the three Creeds, the Lord's 
Prayer, and other parts of the public service. The cause of 
this will account for very many similar undertakings in this 
age. Whittingham was a zealous Calvinist, and wished to reduce 
the Church service to the standard of Calvin's Church at 
Geneva, where nothing was allowed but preaching, prayer, and 
singing. We find in the ranks of these metrists the names of 
Coverdale, Baldwyn, Hall, Pullain, and Parker, with others also 
famous in history. Perhaps the most notable of them all, in 
the difficulty of his undertaking, was William Hunnis, who 
actually turned into verse the whole of Genesis, and called it a 
" Hive full of Honey." As " Sternhold and Hopkins " has been 
read and despised by most people, and is neither better nor 
worse than the rest, we need say no more upon the matter : but 
it is not wonderful that men of that age should have fallen even 

y 2 

324 Influence of the Reformation upon English Literature. 

below themselves in an attempt which has quelled the strengtli 
of Milton. 

From the Scripture versifiers we descend to the religious 
satirists^ who abound chiefly in the reign of Edward VI. The 
most conspicuous of them are — Robert Crowley, a stationer, and 
Dr. Turner, a herbalist. The nature of their works may be 
judged of from their titles : by the one, " The Voice of the last 
Trumpet blown by the Seventh Angel," and " A Dialogue 
between Lent and Liberty ; " by the other, " The Examination 
of the Mass," a dialogue. Some epigrams by Crowley are 
preserved in Strype. They are wretched. A vast number of 
sectarian ballads was circulated by the partisans both of the 
Reformation and of Rome. One beginning, " Sing up, heart, 
and sing no more down," written on the coronation of Edward 
VI., created great excitement in Ijondon. Another, entitled, 
" Luther, the Pope, a Cardinal, and a Husbandman," is charac- 
terized by Warton as "having some spirit, and supporting a 
degree of character in the speakers." Such is, in outline, the 
history of poetry in England during the struggle of the 
Reformation. We have been able to mention only one really 
great name. The rest of the cultivators of the art may be 
divided into two great bands, — those who want spirit, and those 
who want refinement : the one party sedulously cultivating the 
adventitious graces of poetry, believing that the secret of pleasing 
lies, noAv in frigid simplicity, now in hollow ])ombast; the 
other party possessing no poetical attributes at all, except vigour 
and verse. The first party breaks into the sepulchres of anti- 
quit}^, to carry out little from thence but dust and ashes ; while, 
in the other, the spirit of poetry, which is creation viewed 
through the lens of the human soul, — the beauty, the glory, the 
concord of the outer world translated to the ideal world, imbued 
with the associations, and inspired by the spirit, of mankind, 
— loses its highest office of conferring pleasure, and is banished 
from its proper sphere, in order to become the medium of 
sectarian prejudice. We do not, of course, mean to be exact in 
such a statement, but in general it is true : although many 
minor poems of beauty and delicacy were produced in this age, 
yet they are not sufficient to stamp the character of its poetry, 
which is as we have described it, now unduly timid, now rough 
and coarse. But that such a melancholy tuning of instruments 
should prelude "those melodious bursts that fill the spacious 
times of great Elizabeth," was, as the case stood, unavoidable. 
That it did not last long, may be subject of rejoicing. 

We may see the same causes at work on art, and with the 
same results, perhaps, even more clearly in the case of the 
drama. Although the history of the poetry of modern Europe 
by no means corresponds so closely to that of the poetry of 
Greece, as is often imagined; although we find in it little 

Formation of the English Drama. 


to resemble the simultaneous passing of the strcngtli and 
honour of a nation from one form of poetry into another, — 
that progress from the epic to the lyric, and from that to 
the dramatic, spoken of by the literary historians of Greece; 
yet in the drama it must be confessed that some analogy 
, may be traced. The drama may be regarded as the genu