Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 347, September, 1844
Author: Various
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{Transcriber's note: Spellings are sometimes erratic. A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling has been retained. Accents in the French phrases are inconsistent, and have not been standardised. Greek phrases have been transliterated, and are enclosed in + signs autochthones gaias.}














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M. Louis Blanc, a democratic journalist, with all, and perhaps more than the usual talents of the Parisian journalist—with all, and more than the usual faults of one—has undertaken to write the history of his country, during and since the revolution of 1830. What can we expect to be the result of such an undertaking? What can we expect from a man who sits down to a task of this description, animated with all the party virulence which gives zest to a democratic newspaper? It is not a history, but a scandal, that he will write. M. Louis Blanc has distilled the bile of journalism; he has paused over the hasty sarcasm which political animosity deals forth, not to correct, or moderate, or abate, but merely to point and envenom it. His appreciation of men, their character, their talents, their designs—all bear the hue of the atrabilious journalist. There is this difference only between his history and the daily portion of envy and malignity which a democratic newspaper pours forth, that the dye is more deeply engrained. In the mind of the author, the stain of his party has become ineffaceable. Those who are pleased—and the number is not few—with having high names and established reputations laid at their feet, soiled, trod upon, will meet here with ample gratification. To be sure they will be occasionally required, in lieu of such as they have thrown down, to set up the bust of some democratic celebrity, whose greatness, or whose genius, they were not previously aware of. But, not to say that the justice of party requires this substitution, it is a penalty which writers of this description will invariably impose upon them. It is the common trick of the envious, and the mock magnanimity with which they seek to conceal their true nature—to exalt the lowly, while they debase the exalted. Since some idol there must be, let it be one of their raising. Even while helping to raise it, they enjoy, too, the secret consciousness that it is of brittle metal.

But in the composition of a history, the spirit of party, however eager it may be, cannot always guide the pen. The mere interest of the narrative, the strangeness and peculiarity of circumstances, will claim their share of the author's mind. The politician must sometimes be absorbed in the chronicler; and so it happens with M. Louis Blanc. His narrative often interests by its details; and if it has the partiality, it has also the vivacious colouring, of a contemporary. It possesses, also, a richness of anecdote—the fruit, probably, of his position as a journalist; add to which, that M. Louis Blanc is not without a species of off-hand, dashing eloquence. He can say daring things in a daring manner, and give the pungency of epigram to his political paradoxes. He has a full share of that rhetoric of journalism which is so well calculated to make an impression on the careless reader, but which requires that the reader should continue careless, in order to retain the impression he has received. It results from all this, that while we constantly distrust our guide, while we perpetually refuse the appreciation he offers to us of men and events, we still read on with interest a work which is, at least, relieved from the charge of insipidity or dulness; and indeed, if we had not derived some entertainment from its perusal, we should not have thought of bringing it under the notice of our readers. To have engaged ourselves merely in combating its errors and misrepresentations, would have been a dreary and an endless task.

To enable the reader at once to judge of the tone and temper of M. Louis Blanc's politics, we present him the following passage. It is the object of the long Introduction which precedes his history, to show that the events which have transpired in France since 1793, have had, for their great result, the establishment of the government of the middle classes through a Chamber of Deputies—a view which we think is incontestably right. That France has its House of Commons, is the great fruit of all its struggles, its calamities, and its victories. It must not be supposed, however, that this is a result in which M. Louis Blanc rejoices. Nothing he so much detests as this government of the middle classes; nor is there any portion of society he vilifies more cordially than the bourgeoisie. Hear how he speaks of them. After relating the history of the Carbonari, who troubled by their plots the reign of Louis XVIII., he says:—"This Carbonarism never descended into the depths of society; it never moved the lower strata. How, then, could it be preserved from the vices of the middle class—egoism, littleness of ideas, extreme love of a mere material happiness, gross instincts!"—(P. 115.) So that he finds Carbonarism to have lacked in virtue, because it had not descended, for its disciples, sufficiently low in the scale of society!—to have grown corrupt, by reason of its not having penetrated to the "lower strata!" And yet the duties of the Carbonari seem to have been precisely calculated for these lower strata. These were, he had already told us himself, "to have a gun and fifty cartridges, to be ready to devote one's-self, and to obey blindly the orders of unknown leaders."—(P. 101.)

When we describe M. Louis Blanc as a democrat, it is rather for want of a better and more accurate title, than because this exactly describes him. A democrat is generally understood to be one who has a large faith in the lowest class of the people, such as they really exist; our author has a faith only in the future of this class. He does not fail to give vent, when the occasion prompts him, to his compassion or contempt for the ignorant mass of mankind. The democracy he worships is one to be established in some distant age, by a people very different, and living under some modification of the law of property, which he has not thought fit to explain. It is a democracy which has nothing distinct but its hatreds—a shadowy monster, peculiarly disagreeable to deal with. Our historian writes with overflowing gall against kings, against aristocracies, against the middle class. You would say he is a stanch republican, and that the people are to be his depositaries of power. But no; a lamentation, which escapes him from time to time—as bitter as any which Tory or Legitimist would utter—over the blindness of the people, their passions and their ignorance, contradicts this conclusion. Where is the power, and in whom lodged, that M. Louis Blanc would willingly obey, or see obeyed? It exists nowhere. Society is corrupt, is chaotic; nor can it, by any organ it possesses, exercise a sound or rational power. A new era must arise—how, whence, when, we are not instructed.

It is the peculiar characteristic of French democracy, that there is always mixed up with it the principle, more or less distinctly avowed, of the community of goods. Perhaps the vagueness we complain of in M. Louis Blanc, is dictated by mere prudence; perhaps there is no vagueness to the eye of a propagandist. One sentiment of French democracy he certainly expresses with sufficient hardihood. It is not often we meet with the principle of intervention between state and state, asserted in these days with so much boldness as in the following passage:—"Men have stigmatized the war in Spain, calling the principle of intervention an oppressive principle. Puerile accusation! All people are brothers, and all revolutions cosmopolite. When a government believes that it represents a just cause, let it make it triumph wherever a triumph is possible. This is its right; it is more—it is its duty."—(Introduction, p. 120.)

How exactly analogous to this is the reasoning which leads to persecution in religion—to the Holy Inquisition, and all its philanthropic schemes of intervention! The conviction in a good cause allowed to overrule the fundamental principles of justice between man and man—to overrule them, not occasionally and by way of exception, but systematically—this is the very essence of persecution. But let no one think that, by any such representation, he would gain an advantage over the republican propagandist. He no longer fears religious persecution—it is a thing past: he braves it. He would adopt his favourite principle, and all its consequences. He would probably admit that it was the duty of the priest, according to his priestly intelligence, to ban and persecute. Not mutual toleration, but reciprocal compulsion, would be his principle. Combat thou for thy truth—let me fight for mine; such would be his formula.

In a writer bent upon startling and surprising us, there is often a sort of premeditated haste, a voluntary forgetfulness, which it is curious to remark. One who weighs his matter well before he speaks, will often end, alas! in having something very tame and moderate to propound—something which, after all his turmoil and reflection, may sound very like a good old commonplace. Now this approximation to commonplace is the great horror of shallow writers; and the way to avoid it appears to be this:—Proclaim your thought at once, in all its crude candescence, before it has had time to cool and shape itself; then, in order to save your credit with the more captions and scrutinizing, give, at some convenient interval, such an explanation or modification as will show that, after all, you were as wise as your reader. State your paradox in all the startling force of unmitigated diction, and refute it yourself afterwards, or say enough to prove that you could have done so. This, well managed, gives two occasions for brilliant display; a sober statement has been converted into a couple of bold and glancing propositions. Truth, it is well proved, like the diamond, shines the more by being cut into surfaces.

M. Louis Blanc, for instance, makes a startling remark on the incompatibility of royalty and a representative chamber. The two powers are represented to us as flatly irreconcilable. "Can society," he asks, "have two heads? Is the sovereignty divisible? Between the government of a king and the government of an assembly, is there not a gulf which every day makes wider? And wherever this dualism exists, are not the people condemned to fluctuate miserably between a 10th of August and an 18th Brumaire?"—(Int., p. 64.) And a little further on, speaking of the times of Louis XVIII., he writes—"Meanwhile Europe began to be disquieted on the state of things in France. Foreign sovereigns had thought to establish peace in our country, by establishing the empire of the charter, and the political dualism which it consecrates. The error was great, and they ended by discovering it. M. de Richelieu, who had been present at the congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, brought back with him a very lively apprehension of the future fate of the monarchy in France. A change of the electoral law was proposed. Unhappily, it was not in the law of the 5th February that lay the danger which occupied the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. To consolidate the throne, and raise it above the storms which threatened it, not this or that electoral law, but the electoral power itself, should, if possible, be abolished. For in whatever hands this formidable lever was placed, it was impossible that royalty could long resist its action. To shift the elective power was only to give the monarchy other enemies, not to save it. * * * The aim of the new ministry was to preserve the electoral law; which amounted to this—the monarchy chose ministers whose programme was the destruction of monarchy."

On reading such passages, we naturally set about recalling certain old-fashioned political truisms, bearing on the character and interest of that middle class of society in which the electoral power is generally lodged. We recollect that the middle classes have been held to have an interest as well in preserving, as in checking and controlling the monarchy. Alone, they could not govern society; and they have a larger share in the government, as partners with the monarchy, than if they were absorbed in the general mass of the population. They have every thing to lose by the abolition of a royalty which they have ceased to fear, and which they have bound by laws. Such a royalty, with its sway over the imagination of the multitude, with its strong hand of military power—hand in which the sword is allowed always to rest, as pomp in time of peace, as weapon in time of war—such a royalty they feel to be their best protection. Why, then, should they, in their electoral capacity, be thrust on by a blind rage to destroy it? But all this train of reflection we might have spared ourselves. M. Louis Blanc knows it all, and, if you will wait a reasonable time, he will show you that he knows it. He will put it to you very forcibly—in another place. Accordingly, some ninety pages off, he tells us:—"At bottom, the middle class (la bourgeoisie) sees in the monarchy a permanent obstacle to democratic aspirations: it would have subjected royalty, but not destroyed it."

For the enlightenment of those who may wish to write history in the most captivating manner, and at the least possible expense to themselves, we will reveal another fruitful expedient. There are two ways of writing history. You may either deduce its great events from certain wide and steadily-operating causes, as the growing wealth or intelligence of a people, or you may raise a vulgar wonder by describing them as the result of some quite trivial incident. In the one case, you appeal to a philosophic taste; in the other, to a popular love of the marvellous. A revolution may be represented as the inevitable outbreak of the discontent and misery of the people; or it may be traced, with all its disasters, to the caprice of a courtier, or perhaps the accidental delay of a messenger. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the man—and so all was owing to the want of a nail!

The two manners seem incompatible. Never mind. Use them both—both freely, independently—just as occasion prompts, and the effect requires. Flatter the philosophic taste that delights in generalities, and please the childish wonder which loves to fancy that the whole oak—trunk, branches, leaves—lay in the acorn. M. Louis Blanc has certainly no idea of forfeiting either of these attractions by laying claim to the other. Observe the ease and boldness with which he embraces them in his narrative of the fall of Napoleon, and the restoration of the Bourbons. He commences in the generalizing mood.

"The fall of Napoleon lay in the laws of the development of the middle classes. Can a nation be at the same time essentially commercial and essentially warlike? Napoleon must have renounced his great part of military chieftain, or he must have broken with the spirit of citizenship and commerce. It was madness to think of reigning by the sword, and continuing the Constituent Assembly. France could not have, at the same time, the destinies of Rome and Carthage. Napoleon succumbed, and must have succumbed, to the Carthaginian party of the people of France. But if the necessary development of the middle classes called for the overthrow of the empire, it demanded also the return of the Bourbons. To prove this, we have only to present, in its instructive simplicity of detail, that narrative of the restoration which so many historians have distorted."—(Int., p. 18.)

Well, he proceeds with this simple and instructive detail; and his first object is evidently to deprive Talleyrand, to whom on all occasions he manifests a singular bitterness, of the credit generally given him of having aided materially in the recall of the Bourbons in 1814. But does he effect this by showing, as from this exordium we might expect, that his countrymen of the middle class, wearied of the costly triumphs and disasters of the empire, had begun to sigh for peace and their old kings? Not at all. He transfers the personal share in the drama from Prince Talleyrand to Baron de Vitrolles. The Duke d'Alberg had introduced the baron to Talleyrand, whose intention was to employ him merely to sound the views of the Allies. Talleyrand was to have accredited him by some lines of his own writing, but ultimately refused to commit himself. How was Baron de Vitrolles, who by no means limited himself to the subordinate part designed for him, and on whom it will be seen so much really depended, to get accredited to the Allies?

The Duke d'Alberg was intimately acquainted with the Count de Stadion, representative of Austria at the congress. Now these two friends had formerly, at Munich, had a certain tender intimacy with two young girls, whose names the Duke d'Alberg remembered; he wrote them on the leaf of a pocket-book, and they served as a letter of credence to the adventurous ambassador. "Such," exclaims our lately generalizing historian—"such is the manner in which God disposes of the fate of nations!—Voila de quelle sorte il plait a Dieu de disposer du sort des peuples!"

The Baron de Vitrolles, we are told, found the Emperor Alexander possessed with a strong repugnance against the Bourbons. It cost him three hours' conversation to gain him over. But he succeeded. It was he who did gain him over. On the 31st of March, when the Emperor of Russia entered Paris, Talleyrand stepped forward to receive him.

"Well," said Alexander, "it seems that France recalls the Bourbons."

These words occasioned M. Talleyrand a profound surprise, which, however, he was too skilful a diplomatist to betray. From that moment, he was a convert to what he considered the successful cause. "Thus," continues our historian, "this restoration took place contrary to the will of the people, to whom the Bourbons in 1814 were unknown; contrary to the sympathies of Alexander, who feared the dangers of a reaction; contrary, in fine, to the opinion of M. Talleyrand, who had never thought it possible, and had desired only the regency of Marie Louise!"

What particle of truth there may be in this narrative, we do not stop to enquire; we refer to it only as an example of the bold union of the two historic manners. The restoration of the Bourbons was "in the laws of the development of the middle classes!" It was all owing to the Baron de Vitrolles, and that lucky little intrigue at Munich!

It is one of the boasts and privileges of history to reverse the judgment that contemporaries have formed of the character of the actors in it. This privilege M. Louis Blanc, since he writes history, is determined at all events to seize upon; and he can boast, perhaps, of having reversed more judgments of this kind than any other historian, however voluminous. M. Talleyrand has obtained his reputation for ability—his moral reputation it would be too commonplace a matter to attack—by "speaking in monosyllables one half his life, and saying nothing the other half." M. Guizot is a man "whose talent consists in concealing, under the solemnity of expression and the pomp of formulae, an extreme poverty of views, and sentiments without grandeur." M. Dupin, the elder, is "skilful in concealing, under an affectation of rudeness, the pusillanimity of his heart." Cuvier, whose scientific reputation is untouched, probably because no motive led him to assail it, is "homme plus grand par l'intelligence que par le coeur." Of Metternich he writes—"A lover of repose from selfishness, he sought it also from incapacity. He wished to enjoy a reputation easily usurped, the falsehood of which the least complication of events would have exposed." And the picture he gives throughout of Casimir Perier is that of an "illustrious charlatan," in whom nothing was genuine but his pride, his hate, and his physical infirmities.

The ministers of Charles X. meet with a much fairer appreciation than those of Louis Philippe. Towards them, one might even say that he is indulgent. This is easily accounted for: in the war of party, those with whom we come into the closest and most frequent collision, must, of course, excite the largest share of our animosity. M. de Polignac seems to have been aware that he had little to fear from the fierce democrat: he has not disdained a sort of literary participation in the work, having contributed some manuscript notes of his own, explanatory of his share in the transactions of 1830. Altogether, we may presume that the history, so far as it relates to the ministers of Charles X., is not unfairly written. Let us approach the narrative by this quarter.

It is a singular picture that M. de Polignac presents to the imagination, with his unruffled serenity, his extreme audacity, his violent measures, his negligent preparation, his strong will, his weak intelligence. The minister is always smiling, and, in the midst of disaster and ruin, is still beaming with self-confidence; he seems to have thought that self-confidence wrought like magic, or like faith, and could of itself remove mountains. If difficulties occurred, his resource was to be still more self-confident. He was well aware of the hostility his ordonnances would create; he was well aware that the army must be their veritable support: yet observe with what a sublime air of nonchalance he prepares himself for the subjection of a people. "How many men," asked M. d'Haussez, as the ministers sat round the council-table, "can you reckon on at Paris?—have you twenty-eight or thirty thousand?" "More," said the premier; "I have forty-two thousand;" and, rolling up a paper which he held in his hands, he threw it across the table to d'Haussez. "But," said the latter, as he looked over the statement that had been given to him, "I see here only thirteen thousand. Thirteen thousand men on paper—that amounts to about seven or eight thousand actually ready to fight your battles. And the other twenty-nine thousand to complete your number, where are they?" M. de Polignac assured him that they were spread about the neighbourhood of Paris, and in ten hours, if it were necessary, could be assembled in the capital. The ministers felt, adds our historian, that they were entering into a dreadful game blindfold.

M. de Polignac appears to have relied upon the army, much in the same way that a speculative writer, theorizing upon government, rests upon his great abstraction, the military power. He treated it as if it were a principle, an idea, that developed itself without his aid, and not a palpable fact of there being a certain number of armed men, then and there, to fight for his ordonnances.

There is no virtue so much applauded in the present day as resolution—will; and there are who regard a strong will as the essence of all virtue. But the history of M. de Polignac proves, (if this needed proof,) that the weak can have will enough. Your strong will may be purchased at the sole expense of reason. Let there be one idea in a brain that cannot hold two, and you have a strong will. M. de Polignac never wavered once; he was always seen with a smiling countenance, calm, radiant with hope and self-approval. When others around him began to despond, when the Duke of Ragusa, commander of the forces, writing to the king, said that it was not a riot, but a revolution, and advised him to retreat while he could still retreat with honour, the minister had, for all answer, but one word—"Fire!" It was still, Fire! But what if the troops, it was asked, desert to the people? "Then fire on the troops!"

On the publication of the ordonnances, the members of the Chamber who were in Paris met at each others' houses to discuss measures of resistance. But it was not from the members of the Chamber that the movement was to emanate. Those who had any position to compromise looked on, for the most part, with anxiety and astonishment, waiting to see what current the disturbed waters would finally take. "On the evening of the 27th, a man, name unknown, appeared on the Quai d'Ecole, and paraded the banks of the river with the tri-coloured flag, which had been folded up and hidden away for fifteen years." The symbol was adopted by the people. The revolution had commenced.

Then followed all those strange scenes of levity and blood, buffoonery and heroism, which the history of Parisian revolutions has familiarized to the imagination, but which, nevertheless, have an inexhaustible interest. The people arm themselves wheresoever and howsoever they can. One brings into the Place de la Bourse two large hampers, full of muskets and accoutrements. They come from the Theatre du Vaudeville, where a piece had been played, a few days before, which required that a number of actors should be armed. To command men thus equipped there were extemporary generals, whose epaulets were obtained from the wardrobe of the Opera Comique. The students of the Polytechnic were, as usual, on the alert to practise whatever they had learned of military science; the younger sort entering into the war with the same spirit that other schoolboys partake of any minor mischief that is going forward. A student of the Polytechnic is standing on the left bank of the river; he has a musket, but no ammunition. A fellow-student, a lad of fifteen, has a packet of cartridges, but no musket: "You shall share them," said he, showing his treasure, "if you will lend me the gun to shoot my half." A party of the royal guard were coming over the bridge. He started with the gun to have his shots. He was swept off with others by the fire of the military.

On one side comes a party led by a violin, women applauding. But the women do more than applaud. They carry great paving-stones to the top of the house, to be thence precipitated on the heads of the soldiers; they tend the wounded, they bruise charcoal for gunpowder.

There was, no doubt, some severe fighting during the Three Days; but, generally speaking, the military seem to have entered into the contest with reluctance. Some instances are here given of singular forbearance on their part. At a time when, in certain quarters of Paris, each house was converted into a sort of fortress whence the military was assailed, three men had placed themselves behind a stack of chimneys, and had, from this shelter, directed a destructive fire on the troops. They were at length discovered, and a cannon was levelled against the chimney. But, before firing, the gunner made signal to the men to escape, contenting himself with demolishing their breastwork. As another company of soldiers, led by its officer, was marching through the streets, one of the mob rushed forward, and, with a mad audacity, struck the officer on the head with a bar of iron. He staggered, and his face overflowed with blood; but he still had strength enough to raise his sword to put aside the muskets of his men, who were in the act of firing on the assailant.

We have here a vivid description of the taking of the Tuileries by the populace. Some amused themselves by mutilating the statues of kings, or by firing at the portraits of such of the marshals as they considered to have been guilty of treason to Napoleon. A number of artisans installed themselves in the chamber of the throne; they sat, each in his turn, upon the royal seat, afterwards they placed a corpse in it. Some of them drew, over shirts stained with blood, the court-dresses which had circled the waist of royal princesses, and strutted about in this masquerade. Riot and destruction as much as you please, but no theft—such was the order of the day. A young man was bearing off a hat, decorated with plumes of a costly description. "Where are you going," cried his companions, "with that hat?" "It is only a souvenir," said he of the hat. "Ha! good; but in that case the value is nothing." So saying, they took the hat and trampled it under their feet, and then returned it to him—doubly valuable as a souvenir. Many striking traits of honesty were exhibited. One man brought a vase of silver to the prefect of police, and did not even leave his name. Another found a bag of three thousand francs in the Louvre, and hastened with the money to the Commune. The next day he was probably amongst the number who were wandering about Paris without bread and without work, driven out of employment by the commercial panic of their own glorious revolution.

A scene of a like grotesque description took place, at a later period, on the return of the mob from Rambouillet, where they had gone in search of the unhappy Charles X. The king had left Rambouillet before the mob reached it, so that they had nothing to do but to return, unless any work of demolition should invite them to stay. M. Degoussee, at that moment the man in authority, in order to save the royal carriages from destruction, bethought him of the expedient of offering a ride home in them to the most violent and redoubtable of the mob. In a moment these gilded vehicles, blazoned with the royal arms, were filled with the lowest of the rabble, who projected their pipes and their bayonets from the windows. These state carriages, drawn by eight horses, and driven by silken postilions, were heaped up, inside and out, with this riotous crew, who entered Paris in triumph, amidst the responsive jests and shouts of the populace. Driven up to the Palais Royal, they there descended from their splendid vehicles, and delivered them over to their new owner. "Tenez—voila vos voitures!" they shouted, as they alighted under the windows of the Duke of Orleans.

It is curious to remark the contrast between the thoughtless, reckless bravery of the combatants of July, and the watchful timidity of the politicians who were ultimately to profit by their courage and infatuation. The soldiers had, at many points, fraternized with the people—all was success for the popular party—and the drawing-room of M. Lafitte was full of distinguished men of that party.

"The court of the hotel," continues M. Blanc, "was now full of soldiers. Five of the royal officers entered the saloon. M. Lafitte, who had been wounded in the leg, received them sitting in an arm-chair. He received them with great blandness and dignity. 'Gentlemen,' said he, 'keep your arms, but swear never to turn them against the people.' The officers extended their hands, as if to take an oath. 'No oath, gentlemen,' said M. Lafitte with much emotion; 'kings have dishonoured oaths. The word of the brave is sufficient.' This was received with universal applause, and every one present resigned himself to the excitement of the hour; when suddenly a discharge of musketry was heard. How describe the tumult that in a moment filled the apartment! The royal guard was certainly victorious—the enemy would be down on them—every one fled. They rushed into the hall, they pushed, they struggled for egress. Some jumped through the windows of the ground-floor into the garden. Two deputies were found hiding in the stables. In an instant, M. Lafitte was abandoned by all those who had besieged his arm-chair. His nephew was the only person who remained with him. And what had happened? The soldiers of the 6th had followed the example of their comrades of the 55th, and, gained over to the cause of the people, they had fired their muskets in the air!"

Already, at the first outbreak of the revolution, some one had remarked—"here were a good game for the Duke of Orleans, if he has the courage to play it." Courage he had, but equal caution it seems, equal prudence. A deputation had proceeded from the house of Lafitte to Neuilly, the residence of the Duke, to invite him to the throne; but it was the Duchess who received them. The Duke himself had taken refuge at Raincy. To Raincy messengers were sent. The Duke of Orleans ordered his carriage. Those who were waiting his arrival at Neuilly heard the wheels approach—heard them suddenly recede. The carriage had turned, and was regaining Raincy with all the speed possible. The resolution was not quite taken, or the pear was not quite ripe.

His entry into Paris, according to M. Blanc, was made on foot in the evening, and he clambered like a common citizen over the barricades. Arrived at the Palais Royal, he sent to notify his presence to Lafitte and Lafayette—representatives, the one of the Chamber, and the other of the Hotel de Ville—and also to the Duke de Mortemart, minister of Charles X. The interview with this last took place the same evening, and had for its apparent object to proclaim, in the presence of the minister, his attachment and unalterable fidelity to the elder branch of the Bourbons. When De Mortemart arrived, he was ushered into a little cabinet on the right, which looks upon the court, not ordinarily used as an apartment of the family.

The Duke of Orleans was stretched upon the floor, lying on a mattrass, in his shirt. His forehead was bathed in sweat;{B} the glare of his eyes, and every thing about him, betrayed a great fatigue, and a singular state of excitement. On seeing the Duke de Mortemart enter, he began to speak with great rapidity. He expressed himself with much volubility and ardour, proclaiming his attachment to the elder branch, and protesting that he came to Paris only to save the town from anarchy. At this moment a great noise was heard in the court, and the cry was raised of Vive le Duc d'Orleans! "You hear that cry," said the minister; "it is you the people call for." "No, no!" answered the Duke with increasing energy. "They shall kill me before I accept the crown."

The next morning the deputation from the Chamber presented itself at the Palais Royal; and so far was resolved, that the Duke of Orleans was proclaimed lieutenant-general of the kingdom.

M. Louis Blanc gives several anecdotes respecting the King of the French, and his successive ministers, which we should be disposed to extract, but that his political antipathies lying exactly in this quarter, we have not felt sufficient confidence in their authority. For this reason we will pass on abruptly to a portion of the work where the political bias of the writer is harmless, or where it may have induced him to inform himself more accurately on his subject than the generality of persons.

This last is evidently the case in his account of the doctrines and practices of the St Simonians. One who felt no sympathy with any portion of their creed, would not have taken the trouble to obtain accurate information, or an intimate knowledge on this subject. Not that M. Blanc is a St Simonian; to do him justice, he has argued with ability and clearness against their leading tenets or maxims; but being a man devoted to a new order of things of some kind or other, he has given naturally a more than usual attention to this sect, and we think our readers will hold themselves obliged to us, if we abridge some portion of his account of St Simon and his disciples.

"The founder of the St Simonian school had been deceased five years when the revolution of July broke out. He belonged to one of the noblest houses of France, bearing the name and arms of that famous Duke de St Simon, the historian of the reign of Louis XIV., and the last of our veritable grands seigneurs. Yet it was the privilege of birth that he attacked, and the impiety of war that he proclaimed. He was a man of singular independence of mind, and of extreme moral courage. Convinced that, before dictating a code for the regulation of human life, it was necessary to have attentively analysed that life as it actually exists, he spent the first half of his days in studying society under all its aspects; recoiling from no experience, practising, in the character of an observer, even vice as well as virtue; drawing a lesson from his own frailties, and making a study of his own follies. He dissipated his fortune in premeditated prodigality, and terminated a studious opulence in excessive poverty; living on the miserable salary of a copyist, when in idea he was governing the world. In the estimation of some, a sage—of others, a madman; at one time sanguine to enthusiasm, at another discouraged to the point of attempting suicide; reduced at last to the condition of a mendicant, after having so often united round his table, in order to observe and judge them, the most celebrated men in art and literature. Such was St Simon in life and character: it remains to see what were the intellectual results he arrived at."—(Vol. III. p. 96.)

His first project of a code for human life was sufficiently ridiculous. In a work entitled Letters from an Inhabitant of Geneva to his Contemporaries, he addressed himself to the learned portion of the world, inviting them to undertake the government of the human race. The programme was as follows. A subscription was to be opened before the tomb of Newton. Every one was called upon to subscribe according to his means, rich and poor, man and woman; and each subscriber was to have a voice in the selection of—three mathematicians, three natural philosophers, three chemists, three physiologists, three men of letters, three painters, and three musicians. These several threes, amounting to twenty-one, besides having the produce of the subscription, were to form a council, called the Council of Newton, and undertake the spiritual government of the world, directing the efforts of the several nations of the globe towards one common end.

The learned portion of the world made no response to this invitation; he therefore next addressed himself to the operatives, declaring that the time was come to tear the crown from the brow of idleness, and establish the reign of labour. The king was now to be the chief of artisans, his ministers enlightened workmen; and the electoral right was to be so placed as to transfer all power from the proprietor of the soil to the cultivator, from the capitalist to the journeyman. One would say that, piqued with the indifference of the most literate portion of mankind, he was determined to offer the government of the world to the most illiterate. Since the Royal Society would not accept the ball and sceptre which he had placed at its disposal, he gave them over to the Trades' Union.

But neither would this satisfy him. He who appeals to the lowest order of minds must confine himself to what is intelligible to, and influential on the lowest; and this would hardly accord with one who, at all events, had led an intellectual life, of however wild an order. He again reverted to the thinking classes, and to some modification of his first idea; and his New Christianity—his last and most complete effort—has for its object to erect an intellectual and spiritual government of the world. Taking his analogy from the spiritual dominion of the church of Rome, but finding that that power was too restricted in its exercise, inasmuch as the material interests and scientific labours of mankind were not embraced by it, he called for the foundation of "a religious power, which, embracing humanity in all its interests, should conduct it towards a Christian purpose—the amelioration of the lot of the great multitude of mankind; by their sentiments employing artists, by their reason employing the learned, and by their activity employing the operative."

Whatever may be the importance of this conception, it answered one purpose—it satisfied the builder's mind. St Simon died full of faith and hope. When he bade his eternal adieus to the few disciples who surrounded his dying bed, he regarded his work as completed, his mission as fulfilled. "The fruit is ripe," said he; "you will gather it."

The disciples of St Simon still further elaborated and disseminated his doctrines; and a school was formed which recognised MM. Enfantin and Buzard for its chiefs. It need hardly be said, that the new order of society was to be founded on universal benevolence—no war, and no rivalry—and the industry of mankind organized in such sort, that to each man would be assigned according to his capacity, and to each capacity according to its works.

We quote with pleasure the remarks (tinctured though they are by his own peculiar opinions) which M. Blanc makes on this famous formula:—"In preaching a universal association of men, founded on benevolence—in demanding that industry should be regularly organized, and that she should establish her empire on the ruins of a system of violence and war, the St Simonians showed a thorough intelligence of the laws which will one day govern humanity. But they overthrow with one hand the edifice they erect with the other, when they announce this famous formula—To each according to his capacity; to each capacity according to its works—a formula wise and equitable in appearance, but in reality subversive and unjust.

"If we say that a man, in virtue of his intellectual superiority, is to adjudge to himself a larger share than others of the goods of this world, what right have we to censure the sturdy barbarian, who, in virtue of his physical superiority, was wont to take the lion's share to himself? We have changed the basis on which the tyranny rested—the tyranny remains. The St Simonians, it is true, justify their formula on the grounds of public utility; it is well, say they, to stimulate talent by recompense. But is it necessary that the recompense of talent be of this gross and material kind? that it be counted down in so much wealth? Thank Heaven! man has other and more energetic motives. With a piece of riband to be attached to the buttonhole, Napoleon could make an army of a million of men rush forward upon danger and death. The word glory, well or ill understood, has always decided the destinies of the world. What is amply sufficient when the work of destruction is in hand, by what disastrous fatality does it become incompetent when the task is to produce and to create? Is it not true that great men have always sought and found their principal recompense in the very exercise of their high faculties? If society had wished to recompense Newton, it would have been utterly powerless to do so; there was for Newton, in all the world, no other or sufficient recompense, but the joy he must have felt when his genius discovered the laws which govern the planets. * * * The greater the intelligence, the greater the sphere of action; but not necessarily the greater the material recompense. The inequality of capacities can legitimately conduct to the inequality only of duties."

The revolution of 1830 gave a wonderful stimulant to the little society of St Simon. It extended rapidly, and adjourned its sittings from a private house to an ample theatre, where three tiers of boxes held the admiring or ironical auditory. Fetes, and the presence of charming women, increased the number of proselytes; artists, physicians, advocates, poets, flocked to share in the generous hopes of the new era. The capital and the provinces were portioned out into new departments, to accord with the new administration of affairs, and St Simonism had also its map of France. The two chiefs, or fathers, took upon themselves the ambitious title of popes. They already cast their eyes upon the Tuileries. Louis-Philippe was summoned by letter to yield his place to MM. Enfantin and Buzard. St Simonism was already a government destined to replace the authority of the Catholic church.

But there were schisms in this new church—Pope Enfantin thinking one thing and Pope Buzard another; and that, too, on the important topic of matrimony. The principal adepts of the sect met together, and held strange fanatical discussions for the discovery of the truth on these controverted points. It is worthy of remark, that St Simonism, as well as Irvingism or Mesmerism, could boast of its convulsions and its prophecies.

"At this time there passed in the Rue Monsigny, in the midst of this sceptical and mocking France, scenes so extraordinary, that, to find their parallel, we must revert to the history of the Anabaptists. Those who had hitherto resisted the extreme doctrines of Father Enfantin, felt as if impelled against their will to the borders of some immense abyss. With the rest, it was an accession of fervour altogether indescribable, an exaltation which ended in delirium. There, in a room, the doors of which were carefully closed, and whose thick walls betrayed no sound, discussions were continued whole days and whole nights without interruption, without relief, without repose. It sometimes happened that a young man, incapable of sustaining these consuming vigils, reeled and fainted; they removed the apparently lifeless body without suspending the discussion. M. Caseaux was in an ecstasy for an hour, and began to prophesy. Another day, M. Olinde Rodrigues was struck as if by apoplexy; because, asking each of the members in turn whether it was not true that the Holy Spirit was in him, (M. Olinde Rodrigues,) one of the persons interrogated had the temerity to answer by certain expressions of incredulity. The fit was extremely violent, and Dr Fuster, in order to save the patient, had recourse to a formal retractation from the inconsiderate respondent, who, on his part, was full of affliction for the mischief he had occasioned. Such, even on men of serious thought and elevated understanding, may be the effect produced by a belief carried to a certain point of excitement."

Such, too, may be the danger of contradicting a prophet; and we intend to take the hint, and never be guilty of so great an imprudence. These dissensions, accompanied with certain financial difficulties, led to a rupture, and the family of the Rue Monsigny were compelled to dissolve.

"In this crisis, the profound calm of Enfantin never deserted him. He possessed, at Menilmontant, a house and garden; here he resolved to seek a place of retreat, of study, and of labour, for himself and his more faithful disciples. Forty of these followed him to this retreat, and there commenced the life in common, combined always with a just sentiment of the true hierarchy of society. Poets, artists, officers, musicians, all devoted themselves in turn to the rudest and coarsest labours. They repaired the house, they swept the courts, they cleaned the chambers and polished the floors; they dug up the uncultivated soil, they covered the walks with gravel, extracted from a pit which they themselves had excavated. To prove that their ideas on the nature of marriage, and the emancipation of women, were pure from any selfish or sensual calculations, they imposed upon themselves the law of celibacy. Morning and evening they nourished their mind with the words of the father, or, in the lives of the Christian saints read aloud, they found example, encouragement, and precept. Hymns, the music of which one of their members had composed, served to elevate their minds and charm their labours. At five o'clock, dinner was announced by the sound of a horn. Then these philosophic workpeople piled up their tools, arranged their wheel-barrows symmetrically, and took their place, after having first sung 'the prayer before repast.'"

In this retreat they adopted a distinctive dress, of which one portion, the waistcoat, was symbolical; it was so made that it could not be put on without the help of a brother—and thus was calculated perpetually to call to mind the necessity of mutual aid. On the day of the institution of this habit, Enfantin declared that he and his followers had renounced all rights to property according to the existing law, and had duly qualified themselves to receive "the honourable wages" of labour.

But this fantastical experiment was cut short by the interference of the law. A public prosecution was instituted against the St Simonians; and Pere Enfantin, and other chiefs of the sect, were brought before the tribunal at Paris. It will be easily understood that the court that day was crowded with spectators, eager to see the St Simonians, especially Enfantin, who appeared in a violet-coloured robe, with the words LE PERE written in large letters on his breast. When asked by the president, whether he did not style himself the Father of Humanity—whether he did not profess to be the Living Law—he answered, "Yes!" with perfect calmness and assurance. The discourse he delivered in his own defence was chiefly remarkable for the long pauses he made from time to time, occupying himself with looking steadfastly at the president, or the advocate-general. He said he wished to make them feel "the power of the flesh." But this species of animal magnetism appears to have had no other effect than that of irritating the court. He and some others were condemned to pay a fine, and suffer a year's imprisonment. The family was dispersed. For the present there was an end to St Simonism.

A history is hardly complete without a plague, or pestilence, or famine, or some such wide-spreading calamity, on which the historian can spend the dark colours of his descriptive eloquence. Considering that M. Louis Blanc had but the space of ten years under him, he must have regarded himself as very fortunate in meeting with the cholera, which figures here as a very respectable pestilence. The carrying forth the dead, naked and uncoffined, in open carts, is an image often presented to us in descriptions of this nature; but it is perhaps surpassed in terrible effects by the one here offered to us, of the bodies of those who had died of the cholera piled up in carts and tumbrils, in coffins so hastily and slightly constructed, that, as they rattled over the stones, there was constant danger of their horrible contents being poured upon the pavement. But the strange reports that were afloat amongst this credulous and passionate populace, form the most striking feature in the picture. It was reported in Paris, as our readers will probably remember, that there was, in reality, no cholera, but that poison had been poured into the fountains of the metropolis, and had been mingled with the wine and the flour; and thus it was that the people were dying. It was dangerous to be found with a phial in the hand, or to be seen sitting, without any ostensible cause, near one of the public fountains. A young man was looking into a well; he was massacred. Another met the same fate, who was leaning over the door of a dealer in wine and spirits, in order to see what o'clock it was. A Jew in the market-place was thought to have a sinister laugh; they searched him, found a packet of white powder—it was camphor—they killed him, and set on the dogs to tear the body.

And then that insurrection against the mud-carts—what an insight does it give into the wide-spreading and tangled interests of a modern capital! It was impossible to touch the mud of Paris without periling the subsistence of eighteen hundred persons. What more fit, what more innocuous to all parties, it would seem, than to clear away the mud from the streets—to clear it away as soon as possible, that it should not lie there, exhaling pestilence during the heat of the day? But stop—there are in Paris some eighteen hundred persons who gain their bread out of this mud, groping in it, and extracting from it every article of the least commercial value. With a basket slung upon their back, and a crook in their hand to facilitate their search, these chiffoniers are to be seen in every quarter of the city, congregating wherever there is dirt. And now, if all that is thrown out of the houses of Paris is taken away before these industrious persons have had time to search it, what is to become of the whole profession of chiffonerie? These new mud-carts, with their ruthless sweepers, traversing the city at dawn of day, must be broken up and thrown into the Seine; and it was done so accordingly.

There is a peculiar charm, we think, in having related to us, for the first time, in the shape of history, what we remember to have read and talked over as the news and gossip of the day. We seem to be present at the making of history. We see facts, as the death of princes, which made so much stir and confusion, sink into the commonplace of the historical record; while anecdotes, which were repeated and forgotten, may stand forward as instructive proofs of the temper of the times, and the spirit of the past age. More than one such anecdote we think we could select from the pages before us; but it is possible we might draw them from a purer source than the work of M. Louis Blanc, to which our readers will perhaps think that we have already given more than sufficient space.


{A} Histoire de Dix Ans, 1830-1840. Par M. LOUIS BLANC.

{B} As well it might, if he had been clambering over barricades in those hot days of July; for the three glorious days were remarkable for their heat.


"Can you tell us how far we are from Brown's ferry?" said I to a man, who came suddenly and silently upon us from a narrow side-path.

We were on the banks of the Tennessee: the evening was drawing in; the fog, that hung over land and river, was each moment thickening. The landscape had a wild chaotic appearance, and it was scarcely possible to distinguish objects at five paces distance.

The horseman paused some moments before answering my question. At last he replied, accompanying his words with an ominous shake of the head—

"To Brown's ferry? Perhaps you mean Cox's ferry?"

"Well, then—Cox's ferry," said I, rather impatiently.

"Ay, old Brown is dead," continued the man, "and Betsy has married young Cox. Ain't it him you mean?"

"That we know nothing about," replied I; "but what we wish to learn is, whether we are far from the ferry, and if this is the right road to it."

"Ah! the way to the ferry—that's the rub, man! You're a good five miles off, and might just as well turn your horse's head another way. I guess you're strangers in these parts?"

"Heaven preserve us!" whispered my friend Richards, "we are in the hands of a Yankee; he is guessing already."{A}

Meantime the horseman had drawn nearer to us, in spite of the thorns and of the wet boughs, that each moment slapped and slashed him across his face; and he was now close to our horse. As far as we could distinguish through the rapidly-increasing gloom, he was a middle-aged man, bony and long-legged, with a sallow unprepossessing physiognomy surmounting his long ungainly carcass, and metal buttons upon his coat.

"And so you've lost your way?" said the stranger after a long pause, during which the thick fog had had the kindness to convert itself into a close penetrating rain. "That's queer too, seein' that the ferry ain't fifteen paces from the road, which runs right along the side of the river. A very queer mistake to be goin' up the stream, instead of followin' yer nose and the run of the water."

"What do you mean?" cried Richards and I in a breath.

"That you're goin' up the Tennessee instead of down it, and are on the road to Bainbridge. That's all!" replied the supposed Yankee.

"On the road to Bainbridge!" repeated we, in voices in which astonishment and vexation were tolerably evident.

"You hadn't a mind to go to Bainbridge, then?"

"How far is the infernal place from here?" asked I.

"How far, how far?" repeated the man with the metal buttons. "It's not to say very far, nor yet so very near, as I may guess. Perhaps you know Squire Dimple?"

"I wish you and Squire Dimple were at the devil!" muttered I. But Richards, who took things more quietly, replied—

"No, we have not the honour of his acquaintance."

"Humph! And whereaway may you be goin'?" enquired our tormentor, who was apparently waterproof.

"To Florence in Alabama," answered Richards, "and thence down the Mississippi."

"Ah, fine city, Florence! such as one only finds in this country. Ain't it now? And a good market, too. Talkin' of that, what's the price of flour in the north? You're come from thereaway, I guess. I did hear it was six and four levies, and Injun corn five and a fip—butter three fips."

"Are you mad?" cried I, losing all patience, and unconsciously raising my whip as I spoke—"are you stark staring mad, to keep us talking here about flour and butter, and fips and levies, while the rain is falling by bucketsfull?"

"Hallo, stranger!" cried the man, raising himself for the first time out of his lounging position on the saddle. "Guess you're gettin' wolfish. I'm for you—stick, fist, or whiphandle, rifle or bowie-knife. Should like to see the man as could leather Isaac Shifty!"

"The road, the road, Mister Isaac Shifty!" interrupted friend Richards in a conciliating tone. There was another long pause.

"I guess you're traders," said the fiend at last.

"No, man."

"And what may you be, then?"

Our answer was followed by another long inspection of our persons and physiognomies. He gazed at us for a couple of minutes or more, examining us from head to foot; at last he spoke.

"And so you've a mind to go down the Mississippi?"

"Yes, in the Jackson, which starts to-morrow, we are told."

"Ah, the Jackson! a mighty good steamboat too—ain't it now? But I guess you ain't a thinkin' of takin' that thing and your horse with you?" continued the Yankee, pointing to our gig.

"Yes, we are."

"Oh, you are! Well.—You haven't seen two women in a dearborn on the road, have you?"

"No, we have not."

"Well, then," continued the man in the same indifferent tone, "it's a'most too late now to get to Bainbridge; and yet you might try it, too. Better turn your horse round, and follow the road till you come to a big walnut-tree; there it divides. Take to the right hand for half a mile, till you come to neighbour Dims's hedge; then you must go through the lane; and then, for about forty rods, right through the sugar-field; keep to your left till you come to some rocks, but then turn to your right, if you don't want to break your necks. There's a bit of a stream there; and when you are over that, the left-hand road will take you straight to Cox's ferry. You can't miss it," concluded he, in a self-satisfied tone, striking his horse a blow with his riding-whip. The animal broke into a smart trot, and in ten seconds our obliging friend had disappeared into the fog.

My countenance, during the Yankee's interminable directions, must have somewhat resembled that of a French recruit, to whom some scarred and mustached veteran is relating his Egyptian campaigns, and telling him wonderful stories of snakes and crocodiles at least half a mile long—monsters who made nothing of swallowing a drum-major to their breakfast, bearskin cap, cane, and whiskers, included. I was so completely bothered and confounded with the rights and lefts, that the metal-buttoned individual was out of sight and hearing before I thought of explaining to him, that, dark as it then was, we should never be able to find even the walnut-tree, let alone neighbour Dims's hedge and the break-neck rocks. Patience is by no means one of my virtues; but the man's imperturbable phlegm and deliberation, in the midst of the most pouring rain that ever wetted poor devil to the skin, tickled my fancy so exceedingly, that the sound of his horse's hoofs had hardly died away, when I burst into an almost interminable fit of laughter. "First right, then left—look out for the big walnut-tree, and don't break your neck over the crags!" repeated I, in a tone between merriment and despair. Richards, however, saw nothing to laugh at.

"The devil take the Yankee!" cried he. "May I be hanged if I know what you find so amusing in all this!"

"And hang me if I know how you manage to look so grave!" was my answer.

"How could we possibly have missed the ferry?" cried Richards; "and, what is still more stupid, to come back instead of going forward!"

"Not very astonishing," replied I, "considering the multitude of by-roads and cross-roads, and waggon-tracks and cattle-paths, and the swamp into the bargain. It is quite impossible to see which way the river runs. And then you have been sleeping all the afternoon, and I had to find the way by myself."

"And you found it after an extraordinary fashion—retracing your own steps," said Richards in a vexed tone. "It is really too stupid."

"Very stupid," said I—"to sleep."

As may be seen, we were on the verge of a quarrel; but we were old and sincere friends, and stopped in time. The discussion was dropped. The fact was, that our mistake was by no means a very surprising one. The country in which we were, seemed made on purpose to lose one's-self in. The road winds along at some distance from the river, frequently out of sight of it; the shore is uneven, covered with crags and hillocks; nothing like a landmark to be seen, or a mountain to guide one's-self by, except occasionally, when one gets a peep at the Appalachians rising out of the blue distance. The fog, however, had hidden them from us, and that just at the time when we most wanted them as guides. We found ourselves in a long low clearing—a sort of bottom, as they call it in that country—which was laid out in sugar-fields, and through which there ran nearly as many cart-roads as there were owners to the land. The morning had been bright and beautiful; but, towards noon, a grey mist had begun to rise in the south-western corner of the horizon, and had gone on, thickening and advancing, till it spread like a pall over the Tennessee. With a grey wall of fog on one side, and the swamp, intersected with a hundred cross-paths, on the other, we had gone on for about a mile; until it got so thick and dark, that it was quite as possible we should find our way into the marsh as over the Mussel shoals.{B} So certain was I, however, of the proximity of the latter, that I pushed on, expecting each moment to find the ferry, until the unlucky Yankee brought all my hopes to a termination.

It was now quite night—one of those dreary pitch-dark nights that are of no unfrequent occurrence in the south-western states. I would as soon have been on the banks of Newfoundland as in this swamp, from which nothing was more probable than that we should carry away a rattling fever. The Yankee's directions concerning the road were, as may be supposed, long since forgotten; and even had they not been so, it would have required cat's eyes to have availed ourselves of them. Even the owls, the nightingales of that neighbourhood, seemed puzzled by the extreme darkness. We could hear them whooping and screaming all around us; and now and then one flew against us, as if it had lost its way as well as ourselves. The road we were now following ran close to the bank of the river; so close, indeed, that a single stumble of our horse might have precipitated us into the water, which was then very high.

"I think we should do our best to get out of the gig," said I to my companion; "or else we have a very good chance of passing the night in the Tennessee."

"No danger," replied Richards, "Caesar is an old Virginian."

A shock that made our very ribs crack again, and as nearly as possible threw us backwards out of the gig, came rather opportunely to interrupt this eulogium on Caesar, who had suddenly reared furiously up on his hind-legs.

"There must be something in the path," cried Richards. "Let us see what it is."

We got out, and found a huge walnut-tree lying right across the road. Here was an end to our journey. It was an absolute impossibility to get the gig over the enormous trunk; the boughs, which spread out full twenty yards in every direction, had given Caesar timely warning of the impediment to our further progress. The road, moreover, was so narrow that it was impossible to turn. There was nothing for it but to back out. Richards began hunting about for a cross-road, where we might turn; I set to work to back the gig. I had no sooner, however, set one foot out of the road, than my cloak was almost torn from my shoulders by a thorn half a yard long. To get through this detestable wilderness with a whole skin, one ought to have been cased in complete armour. I had only just taken my unfortunate garment off this new-fashioned cloak-peg, when Richards returned.

"This is the most infernal wilderness in all the west!" said he. "Neither road nor path, mud up to the ears, and, to add to my enjoyment, I have left one of my boots in the swamp."

"And, for my part, there are as many holes in my cloak as thorns on that cursed acacia-tree," replied I by way of consolation.

These were the last words we spoke in any thing like a jesting tone; for we were now wet to the skin: and of all situations, I believe a damp one to be the least favourable to jocularity. I confess a certain partiality for adventures, when they are not carried too far. There is nothing I detest like a monotonous wearisome Quaker's journey, with every thing as tame, and dull, and uniform, as at a meeting of broad-brims; but to be overtaken by darkness and a deluge in the middle of a maple-swamp, to be unable to go three steps on one side without falling into the Tennessee, with an impenetrable morass and thicket on the other hand, a colossal walnut-tree barring the way in front, and no possibility of turning back—this was, even to my taste, rather too much of an adventure.

"Well, what is to be done now?" said Richards, who had placed himself in a sort of theatrical posture—his bootless foot on the gig-step, the other sticking fast in the mud.

"Take out the horse, and draw the gig back," suggested I.

Easily said, but rather more difficult to accomplish. We set to work, however, with a will; and pushed, and tugged, and pulled, till at last, after much labour, we got the gig about thirty paces backwards, where the road became wider. We then turned it, and were putting Caesar into the shafts, when, to our inexpressible delight, a loud hallo was given quite close to us.

Reader, if you were ever at a hard contested election, where you had bet your fifty or a hundred dollars on your favourite candidate, and just when you made sure of losing, and your five senses were almost extinguished by noise, brandy, and tobacco smoke, you heard the result proclaimed that secured you your stake, and a hundred per cent to boot; if you have ever been placed in such circumstances, then, and then only, can you form an idea of the joyful feeling with which we heard that shout. After such a thorough Yankee fashion was it given, that it caused the fog to break for a moment, and roused the obscene inhabitants of the neighbouring swamp from their mud-pillowed slumbers. They set up a screeching, and yelling, and croaking, that was lovely to listen to.

"And now have patience, for Heaven's sake!" whispered Richards to me, "and hold your tongue for a quarter of an hour, or you will spoil all with this infernal Yankee."

"Do not be afraid," replied I; "I am dumb."

My blood was certainly tolerably cooled by the shower-bath I had had—to say nothing of the prospect of passing the night in this vile hole; and I would willingly have given the tenacious Yankee information concerning the prices of flour and butter in every state of the Union, upon the sole condition that he should afterwards help us out of this reservoir of fever.

It was, as we had at once conjectured, our friend Mr Isaac Shifty, in soul, body, and buttons. In true Connecticut fashion, he stood a couple of minutes close to us without saying a word. It almost looked as if he took a delight in our difficulties, and was in no particular hurry to extricate us from them. For our part, we kept very much on our guard. The cross-grained scarecrow might likely enough have left us to our fate again, if we had said any thing that did not exactly chime in with his queer humour. Richards at last broke silence.

"Bad weather," said he.

"Well, I don't know. I shouldn't say it was though, exactly," returned the Yankee.

"You have not met the two women you were looking for, have you?"

"No. Guess they'll have stopped at Florence, with cousin Kate."

"You are not thinking of going there too, are you?" said Richards.

"No. I'm goin' home. I thought you were at the ferry by this time."

"Perhaps we should have been, if your roads were better, and the holes in them filled up with stones instead of walnut-trees," returned Richards, laughing.

"Guess you ain't inclined to go to the ferry to-day?"

"Inclined we are, but able we are not," replied Richards; "and you will acknowledge, my friend, that is a pretty strong reason for not going."

"Well, so it is," replied the man sententiously. "It ain't very agreeable lyin' out in the swamp; and so, stranger, if you like to go to Bainbridge, you can come with me. Better let me drive, and my mare can follow behind."

It took at least five minutes before the wearisome, pedantical fellow had finished his arrangements and preparations. At last, to the infinite satisfaction of Richards and myself, we sat three in the gig. After undergoing a questioning and cross-questioning that would have done honour to an experienced diplomatist, we had succeeded in striking up a sort of alliance with Mr Isaac Shifty, and were on our way to one of the hundred famous cities of Alabama—cities which have decidedly not their match in the whole of the United States.

I do not know how it happens, but I am constantly finding myself disappointed in my expectations. I had hoped that the distance between the infernal maple swamp and the place to which we were going, would have borne some sort of relative proportion to the agreeableness of our situation—that is to say, that it would not be very great. It nevertheless appeared to me enormous, and Horace's impatience during his celebrated walk was trifling compared to mine. Our Yankee, like the Roman babbler, had abundance of time to discourse on fifty different subjects. The first which he brought before our notice was naturally his own worthy person. From the interesting piece of biography with which he favoured us, we learned that he was originally from Connecticut, and that his first occupation had been that of usher in a school; which employment he had, after a short trial, exchanged for the less honourable but more independent one of a pedlar. From that he had risen to be a trader and shop-keeper, and was now, as he modestly informed us, a highly respectable and well-to-do man. He next gave us an account of all the varieties of merchandise in which he dealt, or ever had dealt; intermixing the details with an occasional side-blow at a certain Mr Bursicut, who had dared to set up an opposition store, and whom Providence had punished for his presumption by the loss of sundry dozen knives and forks, and pairs of shoes, upon the Mussel shoals. He then found occasion to talk of the thousand and one mishaps that had occurred upon the aforesaid Mussel shoals; and thence branched off into the various modes of water-carriage which the enlightened inhabitants of Alabama were accustomed to employ. After amusing us for some time with long histories concerning steam-boats and keel-boats, barks and flat-boats, broad-horns, dug-outs, and canoes, he glided into some canal-making scheme, which was to connect the waters of the Tennessee with Heaven knows what others. It was a most monstrous plan—that I remember; but whether the junction was to be made with Raritan bay or Connecticut river, I have clean forgotten. At last we came to the history of Bainbridge—a sure sign, as I thought, with much inward gratulation, that we were approaching the end of our journey; yet the accomplishment of this hope, reasonable as it was, was doomed to be deferred a long time. We had first to listen to the whole history and topographical description of that celebrated city; how it had sprung up in the right corner, he reckoned; and how flourishing and industrious it was; and whether we had not a mind to settle there—because if we had, he, Mr Isaac Shifty, had some almighty fine building land to sell; and how the town already boasted of three taverns, just the right proportion to the ten houses of which Bainbridge consisted. We should find two of the taverns chokeful of people, he said, because there was a canvass going on for the Florence election; as to the third, it was a poor place, hardly habitable indeed.

At the word canvass, Richards and I looked aghast.

"An election coming on!" stammered Richards.

"An election!" repeated I, the words dying away upon my tongue from consternation at this unwelcome news. An election in Alabama, which even in old Kentucky is considered as backwoods! Farewell, supper and sleep, and comfortable bed and clean linen! every thing, in short, which we had flattered ourselves with obtaining, and which we stood so much in need of, after such a hard day's journey.

Before we had time to make any further enquiries, Caesar, who had for some time been splashing through a sea of mud, stood suddenly still. The light of a tallow candle, glimmering and flaring through an atmosphere of tobacco-smoke, and the hoarse and confused sounds of many voices, warned us that we had reached the haven. We sprang out of the gig; and whilst Richards was tying Caesar to a post, I hurried to the door, when I felt myself suddenly seized by the skirt of my cloak.

"Not there—not there! This is the house where you are to stop," exclaimed Mr Isaac Shifty, pointing anxiously to an adjacent edifice, that looked something between a house and a pigsty.

"Don't go with him," whispered I to Richards, heartily glad to be at last independent of the insupportable Yankee, and to be able to vex him a little in my turn. My hand was already on the latch; I opened the door, and we entered.

There sat the burgesses of Bainbridge, with their heels upon the table—those, at least, for whom there were chairs; while those for whom there were none, made shift with tubs, or stood up in various elegant attitudes. There was a prodigious amount of talking, shouting, drinking, and laughing going on; and my first feeling was, that I would rather have been any where else than in that worshipful assembly. Richards, however, stepped boldly forward, in spite of his bootless foot; and luckily the men appeared disposed to be upon their best behaviour with us. They pressed back right and left, forming a lane about a foot wide, enclosed between living palisades, six feet and upwards in height, through which we passed, subjected, as we did so, to a searching inspection. Richards stepped smartly up to the table, then turned round, and confronted the group of half-horse, half-alligator visages there assembled.

"A hurra for old Alabama!" cried he, "and the devil take the Bainbridge roadmaster!"

"Are you mad?" I whispered to him.

"May I be scalped if you don't soon feel the weight of these five bones upon your carcass, stranger!" growled a voice, proceeding from a sort of mammoth that had just filled itself a half-pint tumbler of Monongahela. Before the double-jointed Goliath put his threat into execution, he swallowed the whisky at a gulp, and then, striding forwards, laid his open hand upon my companion's shoulder, with a force that threw the poor fellow on one side, and gave him the appearance of being crooked. At the same time the giant stared Richards in the face, with an expression which the natural hardness of his features, and the glimmer of his owl-like eyes, rendered any thing but agreeable.

"The devil take the Bainbridge roadmaster—I repeat it!" cried Richards, half in earnest and half laughing, raising his muddy and bootless foot as he spoke, and placing it on a chair. "See there, men! I may thank him for the loss of my boot. The cursed swamp between here and the ferry was kind enough to pull it off for me."

The roar of laughter that responded to these words would inevitably have broken the windows, had there been any glass in them. Fortunately the latter luxury was wanting; its place being supplied by fragments of old inexpressibles, and of ci-devant coats and waistcoats.

"Come, lads!" continued Richards, "I mean no offence; but of a surety I have to thank your bad roads for the loss of my boot."

Richard's jest, exactly adapted to the society in which we found ourselves, was the most fortunate impromptu that could have been hit upon. It seemed at once to have established us upon a footing of harmony and friendship with the rough backwoodsmen amongst whom we had fallen.

"May I be shot like a Redskin, if that ain't Mister Richards from Old Virginny, now of the Mississippi," suddenly exclaimed the same colossus who had so recently had his hand upon Richards's shoulder, twisting, as he spoke, his wild features into a sort of amicable grin. "May I never taste another drop of rale Monongahela, if you sha'n't drink a pint with Bob Snags the roadmaster!"

It was the very dignitary whom Richards had insulted with such imminent risk to his shoulder-blade.

"A hurra for old Virginny!" shouted the master of the roads, biting, as he spoke, into a piece of tobacco from that famous state. "Come, mister—come, doctor!" continued the man, offering Richards with one hand a roll of tobacco, with the other a pint glassful of whisky.

"Doctor!" repeated the whole assembly—"a doctor!"

A man possessing power over gin and whisky, and whose word is an indisputable veto against even a smaller, is no unimportant personage in that feverish neighbourhood. In this instance, Richards's doctorship was of the double utility of delivering us from the threatened pint-glasses, and of causing us to be considered as privileged guests—no small advantage in a backwoods' tavern, occupied as the headquarters of an electioneering party. Caesar, however, was the first to derive a positive profit from the discovery. Bob left the room for a minute or two, and we could hear the horse walking into the stable. When the roadmaster returned, he had assumed a patronizing sort of look.

"Mister Richards!" said he confidentially, "Mister Richards! May I be shot if you ain't continually a sensible man, with more rale blood in your little finger than a horse could swim in. Yes, and I'll show you that Bob Snags is your friend. I say, doctor, what countryman is your horse?"

"A thorough-bred Virginian," replied Richards.

"The devil he is!" cried Bob. "Well, doctor, to prove to you that I'm your friend, and that I ain't forgotten old times, I'll swop with you without lookin' at him. May I be shot if I ain't reg'larly cheatin' myself. Well, I'm uncommon glad to see you again. Bob Snags has no reason to fear lookin' a rale gemman in the face. Come, lads, none of yer jimmaky, and slings, and poorgun,{C} and suchlike dog's wash, but ginuine Monongahela—that's the stuff. Hurra for Old Virginny! Well, doctor, it's a deal—ain't it?"

"No, Bob," said Richards, laughing; "your generosity is so truly Alabamian, that I cannot make up my mind to accept it. For the present, at least, I must keep my Virginian. It is my wife's saddle-horse."

"But Swiftfoot," replied Bob, in a cordial confidential manner—"Swiftfoot is a famous trotter."

"It won't do, Bob," was the answer. "I should not dare show myself at home without Caesar."

Bob bit his lips, a little vexed at not being able to make a deal; but another half-pint of whisky, which he poured down as if it had been spring water, seemed to restore him to good humour. Meanwhile my wet clothes were beginning to hang heavy upon me, and to steam in the hot atmosphere in which we were. Bob, who had already cast several side-glances at me, now turned to Richards.

"And who may the mister be?" said he.

The mention of my name and condition, procured me a welcome that I could willingly have dispensed with. After the shake of the hand with which Bob favoured me, I looked at my finger-nails, to see if the blood was not starting from under them. The fellow's hands were as hard and rough as bear's paws.

"Very glad that you're come, boys," said Bob in a low confidential tone. "I'm just makin' a try for the next Assembly; and it's always good, you know, to have somebody to speak to one's character. How long is it, Mister Richards, since I left Blairsville."

"Eight years," replied my friend.

"No, Harry," whispered the roadmaster; "may I be shot if it's more than five."

"But," replied Richards, "I have been living five years by the Mississippi, and you know"——

"Ah, nonsense!" interrupted Bob. "Five years—not an hour more. D'ye understand?" added he cautiously—"five years, if you're asked."

The facts were thus. This respectable candidate for the representation of his fellow-citizens, had made his escape from his previous residence, the birthplace of Richards, on account of certain misdeeds, of which the sheriff and constables had taken cognizance, and after wandering about for a few years, had settled in Bainbridge county, where he seemed to have thriven—as far, at least, as whisky and human weakness had allowed him. We could hardly help laughing outright at the importance which Bob thought proper to attribute to us before his companions, the independent electors, whose votes he was desirous of securing. AEsculapius himself was a mere quacksalver compared to Squire Richards, whose twenty-five negroes were rapidly multiplied into a hundred; while my poor neglected plantation was, between brothers, well worth five hundred thousand dollars. We allowed Mr Bob to have it his own way; for it might have been dangerous to contradict a giant of his calibre, who was always ready to support his arguments with his huge cocoa nut-coloured fists. At last Richards was able to slip in a word.

"You are not going to make your speech now, are you?"

"May I be shot if I ain't, though! I'll begin at once."

"Cannot we manage to change our clothes, and get some supper first?" said Richards.

"Change your clothes!" said Bob contemptuously. "And what for, man? Not on our account; you're quite smart enough, quite good enough for us—no occasion to bother yourselves. If it's for your own pleasure, however, you can do it. Hallo, Johnny!"

And he commenced a negotiation with Johnny, the host, who, to our great joy, took up a candle, and led the way into a sort of back parlour, with a promise that we should have our supper before very long.

"Is there no other room where we can dress ourselves?" said I.

"To be sure there is," was the answer. "There's the garret—only there's my daughter and a dozen gals sleepin' there; then there's the kitchen, if you like it better."

I looked round the room. A servant girl was beginning to lay the table; and, unluckily, the apartment was connected by an open door with the kitchen, in which there was a loud noise of voices. I would have given a good deal for a quarter of an hour's undisturbed possession of the room. I looked about for our portmanteaus, but could see nothing of them.

"Six smalls it ain't buffalo hide!" vociferated a young Stentor in the kitchen.

"Six smalls its cow hide!" roared another.

"If I am not very much mistaken," said Richards, "it is our portmanteaus that those fellows are betting about."

"That would really be too bad," said I.

Nevertheless, it was as Richards had said. We had little occasion to fear that the portmanteaus would be lost or injured; but we knew very well that the only way to get them out of the claws of these rough backwoodsmen would be by some well-contrived joke. And those jokes were exactly what I feared; for one had often to risk breaking an arm or a leg by them. There was a crowd of men in the kitchen. One young fellow, upwards of six feet high, held a lighted candle; and they were all busily engaged examining something which lay in the middle of the floor.

"No," cried a voice, appealing apparently from a decision that had been given, "I won't pay without I see the inside."

They were debating whether the portmanteaus were of buffalo or cow hide. They had caught sight of them as they were being carried through the kitchen into the back-room, and had at once seized upon them as good subjects for a bet. It was time for us to interfere, if we did not wish to see our trunks ripped open, for the sake of ascertaining the quality of the leather.

"Sixteen smalls," cried Richards, "that it's deer hide!"

"Done!" thundered half a score voices, with loud peals of laughter.

"It is a bet, then," said my friend; "but let us see what we are betting about."

"Make way for the gemmen!" cried the men.

"Our portmanteaus!" exclaimed Richards, laughing. "No, certainly, they are not deer hide. Here is my bet."

A loud hurra followed the payment of the dollar which my friend handed over; and we now found ourselves in undisputed possession of our baggage. The next thing to be done was to endeavour to get the room to ourselves for a few minutes.

"We wish to be left alone for a short time," said I to the help, who was bustling in and out, and covering the table with innumerable plates of preserved fruits, cucumbers, beet-root, and suchlike edibles.

I shut the door.

"That is the surest way to have it opened again," said Richards.

He had hardly uttered the words, when, sure enough, the door flew open, amidst a peal of uproarious laughter.

"Tail!" cried one fellow.

"Head!" shouted another.

"They want another dollar," said Richards. "Well, they must have it, I suppose. Head!" cried he.

"Lost!" roared the fellows in chorus.

"There is something for you to drink," said my friend, whose wonderful patience and good-humour was bringing us so fortunately through the shoals and difficulties of this wild backwoods' life. We now shut the door, and had time enough to change our wet clothes for dry ones. We were nearly dressed, when a gentle tapping at the only pane of glass of which the room window could boast attracted our attention. On looking in the direction of the sound, we distinguished the amiable features of Mr Isaac Shifty, who, upon our entering the tavern, had thought proper to part company.

"Gentlemen," whispered he, removing the remains of an old waistcoat, which supplied the place of one of the absent panes, and then applying his face to the aperture—"Gentlemen, I was mistaken. Our spies say you are not come to the election, but that you are from lower Mississippi."

"And if we are, what then?" replied I dryly. "Didn't we tell you as much at first?"

"So you did, but I wasn't obliged to believe it; and d'ye see, they're a-canvassing here for next election, and we've got an opposition in the other tavern; and as we knew that Bob Snags's people were expectin' two men from down stream, we thought you might be they."

"And so, because you thought we should vote against you, you allowed us to stick in the mud, with the agreeable prospect of either breaking our necks or tumbling into the Tennessee?" said Richards laughing.

"Not exactly that," replied the Yankee; "though if you had been the two men that were expected, I guess we shouldn't have minded your passing the night in the swamp; but now we know how matters stand, and I'm come to offer you my house. There'll be an almighty frolic here to-night, and p'r'aps somethin' more. In my house you can sleep as quiet as need be."

"It won't do, Mr Shifty," said Richards, with a look that must have shown the Yankee pretty plainly that his object in thus pressing his hospitality upon us was seen through; "it won't do, we will stop where we are."

The latch of the door leading into the kitchen was just then lifted, which brought our conversation to a close. During the confabulation, our Yankee's sharp grey eyes had glanced incessantly from us to the door; and hardly was the noise of the latch audible, when his face disappeared, and the old waistcoat again stopped the aperture.

"He wants to get us away," said Richards, "because he fears that our presence here will give Bob too much weight and respectability. You see they have got their spies. If Bob and his people find that out, there will be a royal row. A nice disreputable squatter's hole we have fallen into; but, bad as it is, it is better than the swamp."

The table was now spread; the tea and coffee-pots smoking upon it. The supper was excellent, consisting of real Alabama delicacies. Pheasants and woodcocks, and a splendid haunch of venison, which, in spite of the game-laws, had found its way into Johnny's larder—wheat, buckwheat, and Indian-corn cakes; the whole, to the honour of Bainbridge be it spoken, cooked in a style that would have been creditable to a Paris restaurateur. By the help of these savoury viands, we had already, to a considerable extent, taken the edge off our appetite, when we heard Bob's voice growling away in the next room. He had begun his speech. It was high time to make an end of our supper, and go and listen to him under whose protecting wings we were, and to whom we probably owed it, that we had got so far through the evening with whole heads and unbroken bones. Backwoods' etiquette rendered our presence absolutely necessary; and we accordingly rose from table, and rejoined the assemblage of electors.

At the upper end of the table, next to the bar, stood Bob Snags, in his various capacity of president, speaker, and candidate. A thickset personage, sitting near him, officiated as secretary—to judge at least from the inkstand with which he was provided. Bob looked rather black at us as we entered, no doubt on account of our late arrival; but Cicero pleading against Catiline could not have given a more skilful turn to his oration than did Bob upon the occasion of our entrance.

"And these gemmen," continued he, "could tell you—ay, and put down in black and white—no end of proofs of my respectability and character. May I be shot by Injuns, if it ain't as good as that of the best man in the state."

"No better than it should be," interposed a voice.

Bob threw a fierce look at the speaker; but the smile on the face of the latter showing that no harm was meant, the worthy candidate cleared his throat and proceeded.

"Yes," said he, "we want men as know what's what, and who won't let themselves be humbugged by the 'Ministration, but will defend our nat'ral born sovereign rights. I know their 'tarnal rigs, inside and out. May I be totally swallowed by a b'ar, if I give way an inch to the best of 'em; that is to say, men, if you honour me with your confidence and"——

"You'll go the whole hog, will you?" interrupted one of the free and independent electors.

"The whole hog!" repeated Bob, striking his fist on the table with the force of a sledge-hammer; "ay, that will I! the whole hog for the people! Now lads, don't you think that our great folks cost too much money? Tarnation to me if I wouldn't do all they do at a third of the price. Why, half a dozen four-horse waggons would have enough to do to carry away the hard dollars that Johnny{D} and his 'Ministration have cost the country. Here it is, lads, in black and white."

Bob had a bundle of papers before him, which we had at first taken for a dirty pocket-handkerchief, but which now proved to be the county newspapers—one of which gave a statement of the amount expended by the first magistrate of the Union during his administration, reduced, for the sake of clearness, into waggon-loads. Bob was silent, while his neighbour the secretary put on his spectacles, and began to read this important document. He was interrupted, however, by cries of "Know it already! Read it already! Go on, Bob!"

"Only see here now," continued Bob, taking up the paper. "Diplomatic missions! what does that mean? What occasion had they to send any one there? Then they've appointed one General Tariff, who's the maddest aristocrat that ever lived, and he's passed a law by which we ain't to trade any more with the Britishers. Every stocking, every knife-handle, that comes into the States, has to pay a duty to this infernal aristocrat. Where shall we get our flannel from now, I wonder?"

"Hear, hear!" cried a youth in a tattered red flannel shirt, to whose feelings this question evidently went home.

"Moreover," continued Bob, "it's a drag put upon our ships, to the profit of their Yankee manyfacters. Manyfacters, indeed! Men! free sovereign citizens! to work in manyfacters!"

"Hear, hear!" in a threatening tone from the audience.

"But that ain't all," continued Bob, nodding his head mysteriously. "No, men—hear and judge! You, the enlightened freemen of Alabama, listen and judge for yourselves! Clever fellows, the 'Ministration and the Yankees! D'ye know what they've been a-doin'?"

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