MARCH 14, 1857.
GOODRICH'S RECOLLECTIONS OP A LIFETIME..
A PERUSAL of these bulky volumes does not sustain the expectation which a cursory inspection raised. There are curious pictures of country life in New England some half-century ago ; there are equally curious and perhaps more interesting notices of polities and politicians, commencing with the century, and running on to frarrison's election and even to the present day. Although the life of Mr. Goodrich has neither been varied nor eventful, his family connexions in the States and his vocations as publisher and author have brought him into communication with distinguished men both in Europe and America,—though in America numerous local 'celebrities encumber the pages, of whom the reader knows nothing. Mr. Goodrich has also been an observer of the times, and he has especially a good many recollections of Paris, where he resided some years, and for a time as United States Consul. These topics induce a variety of curious, informing, and interesting matter ; but it is very much overlaid. In addition to the fluency of his countrymen, Peter Parley exhibits traits of the juvenile didactic writer and pedagogue, though without the pedagogue's pedantry. He continually pauses and digresses while he " improves ' or expdunds and at an unconscionable length. Thus, in youth Mr. doodrich went to a provincial dancing-school for young gentlemen and ladies, kept by a French refugee at Hartford. The description of the cheerful old count and the almost pastoral simplicity of the scholars is proper enough ; but thereupon Peter Parley launches out into a regular essay on dancing, with its pros and cons, and the circumstances under which he Peter considers it beneficial. A longwinded essay on the law of copyright is not even excusable by the author's double calling, for it is introduced apropos of nothing : and so he goes on expanding. When it is considered that his style, though not weak, is somewhat diffuse, we think the book might be reduced by two-thirds without any loss of valuable matter, certainly by a half. The strict biography of Mr. Goodrich would go into brief compass. He was born at Ridgefield, a country-town in the Western part of Connecticut, in 1793; and his memory goes back to 1797 for very prominent circumstances. His uncle was Chauncey Goodrich, his father a divine of the old Puritan stock; and such was the primitive state of things in those days in New England, that he brought up and respectably settled eight surviving ohildren on the Ridgefield stipend of 400 dollars (80/.) a year. Young Goodrich had little schooling, and he seems to have in a measure run wild in boyhood. His father's means could not give more than one son a college education ; but it appears surprising that a man so strict not only as a divine but in everything—it being the fashion of the age—should not have educated his family himself. At fifteen, our author went as clerk to a relation a storekeeper, and after that relation's death filled the same post in other stores. He served as a militiaman in the war of 1812, but never came into action; and in 1815 he started as a bookseller, in partnership with a friend. In 1823 Mr. Goodrich made a voyage to England, a passing visit to Paris, and a tour through Ireland and Scotland, —seeing the lions of Edinburgh, including Scott, Jeffrey, and Lockhart. In 1827 he conceived the idea of improving children's books by presenting information in the form of fiction or narrative, told with the garrulity of an old man, Peter Parley. The idea was eminently successful: great numbers of his works were sold in America ; they were reprinted in this country, with but scanty profit to the author ; and many books were sold by the credit of Peter Parley's name which were never written by S. G. Goodrich. In the endeavour to remedy the deficiency of his early education the author permanently injured his eyes ; in his overlabour on Peter Parley and other books—fourteen hours a day dictating—he shook his constitution, and suffered from apparent disease of the heart. French physicians pronounced it structural, and did him no good. Brodie reversed their decision; pronouncing it functional, originating in nervous irritability. "It was not a little remarkable to me to find a man of his eminence thus positively and authoritatively reversing the recommendations of French practitioners of hardly inferior fame. Of one thing I am convinced, that for us Anglo-Saxons an Anglo-Saxon practitioner is much better than a Gallic one. • * • • There is, no doubt, great science in the medical and surgical professions of Paris; but there are two things to be suggested to those who go there for advice. In the first.place., these practitioners are very daring in their treatment of strangers ; and m the next, their charges to foreigners are usually about double the ordinary rates. "While I was in Paris, a very wealthy and rather aged gentleman from Virginia consulted an eminent surgeon there, as to hydrocele. An operation was recommended and performed, entirely against the advice of a Virginia physician who chanced to be in Paris and was consulted. In thirty • Reeolleetiona of a Lifetime; or Men and Things r Sere Seen: in a series of familiar Letters to a Friend, Historical, Biographical, Anecdotal, and Descriptive. By S. G. Goodrich. In two volumes. Pubhshed by Low and Son. dap the gentleman died. He had intrusted his affairs to me, and I paid his bills. The charge of the surgeon was five thousand francs! The bills of the nurses, hotels, attendants, &c., were of a similar character. A young physician, who had been employed fourteen days as nurse, estimated his services at fifteen hundred francs ! I make these remarks that my countrymen going to Paris for medical or surgical advice may be duly warned against placing themselves in the hands of rash and unprincipled practitioners. A great name in Paris is by no means a guarantee of that care, prudence, and conscientiousness, which belong to the physician at home."
To some persons the most interesting parts of this book will be the earlier portion, with its sketches ot rural New England life upwards of fifty years ago, and of veterans who had been trained under the old Colonial system of opinion. Many of these men, indeed all with whom our author came in contact, were Republicans and patriots ; some had fought, some had suffered, in the war of Independence. But they were Republicans after the school of the Pilgrim Fathers, and the Fathers had been formed in the like circumstances as Milton, Hampden, and the men of the Commonwealth. The gentlemen of Mr. Goodrich's boyhood had no notion of allowing a tyrant majority to rule, and they scouted the idea that "Jack was as good as his master." Federalists in politics, they practised if they did not profess our English Whig doctrine, "good governmentfor the people, not by the people." To such men Democracy was something like Radicalism here before the Reform Bill sera. In Ridgefield the prinoeps of the place was Colonel Bradley, who is well described by Mr. Goodrich : the Colonel and his &Air may be taken as a type, soon to be shaken by Jefferson and his doctrines, and finally extinguished by time.
"Colonel Bradley was an exclusive. His cold, distant manner bespoke it. Be was, I believe, an honourable man. He was a member of the church; he was steady in his worship, and never mined the sacrament. He was a man of education, and held high offices. His commission as Colo
nel was signed by John Jay, President of the Continental Congress, i and h office of Marshal of the District of Connecticut was signed by Washington. His commission as Judge of the County Court was signed by the Governor of the State. He was, as I have said, the most distinguished citizen of the place, and naturally enough imagined that such a position carried with it not the shadow but the substance of power. He seldom took fln open part in the affairs of the town, but when be did he felt that his word should be law. He deemed even a nod of his head to be imperative; people were bound to consult his very looks, and, scenting his trail, should follow in his footsteps. Like most proud men of despotic temper, he sometimes condescended to bring about his ends by puppets and whn-pullera. Affecting to disdain all meddling, he really contrived openly or covertly to govern the church and the town. When parties in polities arose, he was of course a Federalist ; though ostentatiously standing aloof from the tomb& of caucuses, he still managed to fill most of the offices by his seen or unseen dictation.
"Such a man could little appreciate the real spirit of Democracy, now rising like a spring-tide over Connecticut. Believing in the good old way, he sincerely felt that innovation was synonymous with ruin. Thinking all virtue and all wisdom to be centred in the few, he believed all folly and mischief to be in the many. The passage of power from the former to the latter he regarded with unaffected horror. The sanctity of the church, the stability of the law, the sacredness of home, life, anal property, all seemed to him put at hazard if committed to the rabble, or what to him was equivalent, that dreaded thing—Democracy.
"Ho was certainly a man of ability, well read in history, and of superior mental gifts. He saw the coming storm, which soon lowered and thundered in the sky; but he neither comprehended its force nor the best manner of combating it. He had not those sensitive feelers—the gift of such born Democrats as Jefferson and Van Buren—which wind their invisible and subtle threads among the masses, and bring home to the shrewd sensorium an account of every trembling emotion in the breast of the million. In fact, so far as the mass, the people were concerned, he was a profound owl, seeing deeply into the nothingness of night, but stark blind in the open day of real and pressing action. In wielding power, put into his hands by authority, he was a strong man ; in acquiring it at the hands of Democracy, he was a child.
"I cannot better illustrate his character, and the humour of his day and generation, than by depicting one of our town meetings of this tem. This was of course held in my father's church, according to custom. At an early hour Colonel Bradley was there, for he was punctual in all things. He sat apart in a pew with about half-a-dozen other men, the magnates of the town. In other pews near by sat still others, all stanch respectabilities. These were the leading Federalists—persons of high character, wealth, and influence. They spoke a few words to each other, and then relapsed into u sort of dignified. silence. They did not mingle with the mass : they might be suspected of electioneering—of seeking to exercise an influence over the minds of the people. That was too degrading for them : it might do for General King, and the other Democrats who could condescend to such things. These circulated freely in the aislea, giving the warm right-hand of fellowship to all they met, especially the rabble. Nevertheless, the Federalists had privately determined a few days before on whom they would cast their votes, and, being a majority, they carried the day."
Mr. Goodrich is himself a Federalist, or "Republican" ; strong against Jefferson, Madison, and other Democrats ; stronger still
against Clay, Adams, and men who, having once been or pro fessed to be Federalists, subsequently went over to the enemy, or halted between the two parties. We are not sure but that this
feeling colours his portraits with a darker tint than is natural ; as in this passing sketch of the celebrated John Randolph of Virginia. It is from the author's first passing visit to Washmgton—nearly forty years ago.
"Some time after, in the course of the debate, a tall man, with a little head and a small oval countenance, like that of a boy prematurely grown old, arose and addressed the chair. He paused a moment, and I had tame to study his appearance. His hair was jet black, and clubbed m a queue; his eye was black, small, and painfully penetrating. His complexion was a yellowish-brown, bespeaking Indian blood. I knew at once that it must he John Randolph. As he uttered the words Mr. Speaker ! ' every member turned in his seat, and facing him, gazed as if some portent had suddenly appeared before them. 'Mr. Speaker,' said he in a shrill 1-01CM, which, however, pierced every nook and corner of the hall, I have but one word to say ; one word, sir, and that is to state a fact. The measure to which the gentleman has just alluded originated in a dirty trick.' These were his precise words. The subject to which he referred I did not gather, but the coolness and impudence of the speaker were admirable in their way. I never saw better acting, even in Kean. His look, his manner, his long arm, his elvish fore-finger—like an exclamation point, punctuating his bitter thought—showed the skill of a master. The effect of the whole was to startle everybody, as if a pistol-shot had rung through the hall. "A remarkable instance of the licence which Mr. Randolph allowed to himself occurred in the Senate, of which he was then a member, soon after Mr. Adams's accession to the Presidency. In a discussion which took place urn the Panama Mission,' Randolph closed a very intemperate speech with the following words, on their face referring to events which had occurred at a recent race-course, but in fact plainly meaning the alliance between Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay. 'I was defeated, horse, foot, and dragoons—cut up, clean broke down, by the coalition of Blifil and Black George --by the combination, unheard of till then, of the Puritan and the blackleg.' " The 'Coalition,' so much talked of at the time, charged Mr. Clay with giving Mr. Adams his influence in the election to the Presidency, in consideration that he was to be Secretary of State. This was urged with great vehemence and effect, both against Mr. Adams's Administration and Mr. Clay personally. Randolph's indorsement of the charge at this time, fiendish as the manner of it was, seemed a staggering blow, and Mr. Clay thought it necessary to call him to account for it. The duel took place on the banks of the Potomac ; but Randolph fired in the air, and the difficulty was appeased.
"No man in our history has been more discussed than John Randolph. He was undoubtedly a man of genius, but on the whole, both in public and private, was an exceedingly dangerous example. He said sonic good things, and sometimes seemed almost inspired ; but his mind and heart were soured and narrowed by inherent physical defects, which at last led to occasional lunacy. He died at Philadelphia in 1833, aged sixty."
Daniel Webster is the great political gun of Mr. Goodrich ; spite of his later inclining& towards the Democratic party, of which the reminiscent says nothing, and his failings, which he passes over in general terms. He describes him as more genial and playful than his appearance would have led people to suppose ; though an anecdote of his playfulness would show that he was dangerous in his jocularity if pressed upon. This incident occurred at a political though private dinner.
"Late in the evening, when all were warmed with the cheer, Preston, of South Carolina, rose and proposed this sentiment= Daniel Webster, a Northern man with Southern principles !' "Mr. Webster, after a moment's hesitation, said Mr. Chairman, I rise in obedience to the flattering call of my good friend from South Carolina— Daniel Webster, a Northern man with Southern principles! Well, sir, I was born in New Hampshire, and therefore I am a Northern man. There is no doubt of that. And if what the people say of us be true, it is equally certain that I am a man of Southern principles. Sir, do lever leave a heeltap in my glass ; Do I ever pay my debts ? Don't I always prefer challenging a man who won't fight ? ' And he went on in a manner more suitable to the occasion than to these pages—until at last, amid roars of laughter and shouts of applause, he sat down."
The author's position as publisher, and as a publisher looking (to his cost) something beyond more profit on books, made him aoquainted with many authors. Some of them are well known names—as Willis, Mrs. Sigourney ; others, if known, are not sufficiently familiar to excite much interest in this country.
PALGRAVE'S HISTORY OF NORMANDY AND ENGLAND.. A LARGE part of the first volume of Sir Francis Palgrave's History, which he terms of Normandy and England, consisted of disquisition : of an essay on the influence of Rome upon mediieval and indeed upon modern Europe ; a very valuable essay upon the Latin language ; an historical review of Charlemagne, his empire, and descendants ; and a fuller history of France, introductory to the establishment of Rollo and his Northmen, that establishment being in fact the proper subject of the work. Much of this was varied, not to say remote enough ; but the fullness of matter, the result of lifelong research, and the quaint, familittr, earnest, vigorous style of the writer, sustained the interest of the reader. The subjects, too, though far away from the nominal history, were perfect in themselves, capable of complete treatment, and forming definite wholes ; and this is more than can be said of the present volume, commencing the history of the true subject. This history partakes of the characteristics both of the old and the new school. It exhibits the research of the moderns, with their greater originality or independence of judgment; it is often lax in referring to specific authorities.' It resembles the older or classical school, in limiting history to the lives, characters, and fortunes of great men, overlooking the social condition of the country; though it was only a full exposition of the manners, state, and character of the people and lower clergy, that could render the entire history popularly interesting, at least on the plan and scale of Sir Francis Palgrave's work, which requires nine hundred paps for a century. The plan, in fact, involves the history of France at as great a length as that of the ostensible subject, Normandy and England, with pretty full occasional notices of Germany, and what was afterwards called the Low Countries. This creates a want of unity, that an avowed history of the formation of the states of Western Europe (which this work in a measure is) might have avoided.
• The History of Normandy and of England. By Sir Francis Palgrave, the Deputy Keeper of her Majesty's Public Records. Volume II. Published by Parker and Son. The scale has too great a minuteness even on this last idea, unless it be said that so many chieftains wielded a power scarcely inferior to the sovereigns whose feudatories they nominally were that it was necessary to exhibit their characters and proceedings at length. It is clear that this minuteness is too much for the principal object of the work. An idea of the general condition of France was essential to explain the manner in which the Normans were able to settle in the country and establish their power. The history of Charles the Simple was by no means necessary in order to say that Rollo in extreme old age made some accessions to his territory through the misfortunes and downfall of Charles Ins ally. The sense of minuteness which arises from the introduction of too many subjects in proportion to the extent of the nominal design, and the particularity with which actors are delineated who had little or nothing to do with Normandy, is further increased by the style of the author. This style is not devoid of a rough homely power, with a certain degree of warmth, but Sir Francis continually allows it to run into an exuberance, which is less historical reflection than pulpit enforcement. The Frankish chiefs had the custom of repudiating their allegiance' or more properly perhaps resuming their independence, though they retained their grants. This custom was practised against Charles the Simple ; and it is not only described but expounded by the historian.
"There was an ancient privilege, common to all the barbaric nations, existing in full vigour, yet most rarely exercised, and therefore the more
solemnly impressive; a tradition which the youngest had heard from the oldest, the 'franchise they inherited from their forefathers ; a mystic rite whereby they could annul his authority—wither the very root of his power. "According to modern principles, the Subject's allegiance is indefeasible, sailing with him across the ocean, binding him from cradle to grave ; but the primeval legislation of the Teutons permitted to the vassal or liegeman the right of diffidation—he might undo his faith ; and, to employ the technical expression, which in modern language has swerved from its original signification, they defied him.
"It is a marvellous portion of the human constitution, that our belief in objective existence can only be obtained absolutely through the grossest and
least spiritual of our senses. Seeing does not bring such conviction as feeling: we cannot always trust our eyes, the touch is never distrusted. We bear the strongest testimony to this law of our nature by our analogical language. In our judgments of the human character, insight does not afford us a sufficient practical guidance, unless the rare faculty, figuratively denominated tact accompanies our powers of social knowledge—intellectual vision is not adequate unless perfected by intellectual feeling. No description of a Lisbon auto da re, no narrative of the sufferer burnt alive at the Smithfield stake, enables you to realize the horror of the execution so palpably as the roughness of the Forfar witch-collar, calcined and scaled away by the oft-repeated fire. No charm of verse or eloquence of prose can teach you to appreciate the devotion of Kilmarnock and Balmerino, so intimately as the pressure beneath your own neck of the block at the Tower.
"Hence among the Teutons nay indeed amongst all the ancient nations, the universal custom of eifecthig legal acts by the agency of specific, material, and tangible symbols, which, accompanying the spoken formulas, possessed a sacramental power. Words were essential, writing an adjunct, a useful record of the transaction, employed to aid the memory; but the ratification was given by the hand.
"When the simplification of our English modes of conveyancing was discussed, men least disposed to resist innovation out of reverence for antiquity objected to abolish the ceremony which requires the grantor to confirm the writing by word and action, placing his finger upon the seal' This is my act and deed.' The delivery of the turf conveyed the land ; net and cobble passed the fishery ; the house-key, the house ; and the pulling of the bell-rope still invests the incumbent but no symbol was of such universal application amongst ancient nations as the stipida, the festuca, the culni, the hawm. Thrice was the hawm to be cast when the Teuton bequeathed his land to the stranger in blood. Thrice was the hewm to be flung down before the Sovereign when the lieges refused their assent to the doom ; and once was the hawm to be cast up in the air before that Senior whom his lieges rejected and spurned away. To this usage, therefore, the sternly indignant Frankish Proceres resorted, proclaiming that they cast off their faith; and with one act in the open field, the field of council, did they east the hawm—they, no longer Charles's lieges ; Charles no longer their Senior or King."
The treatment is sui generis, according to the idea broached by the author in his first volume. There are persons who will trace in the pages the forced and artificial manner of Carlyle ; but Sir Francis Palgrave was a known writer when the author of Cromwell and the French Revolution was unknown. If there is any imitation, we should rather incline to consider Sir Francis indebted to ltanke ; but as the vigour, the warmth, and a certain oldfashioned naturalness, are entirely his own, it seems most probable that peculiarities of manner amounting to oddities if not to coarseness, accompanied occasionally by the prejudices of a modern politician are his own also. This eldlike independence of thought and freedom of expression, while it gives a raciness to the style, occasionally degenerates into unbecoming coarseness of diction and illustration. Here is an example,—reflections on the prosperous state of Louis d'Outremer, and his coming misfortunes.
"Their dutiful obedience bordered upon servility. 'Not a Prince, or a Baron,' as the Trouveur tells, who did not bow before him,—all subjected to Charlemagne's heir.' None could contradict the King of France—none oppose him. Nay, they dared not gainsay even the meanest Frenchman who had followed the King. The omen of his keeping his seat on the curvetting steed seemed to have been completely fulfilled.
"But this could not last. His luck had turned. When the master is about to lay on the last feather—then ought the horse to kick, but not till then. If the horse misses the moment, you break his back, and he is done for ; but if his nostril smells your approach, then, dear good master, look to his ears, and lighten the burden, or you are flung. The'mass-book,' rowned in the lug' of Jeannie Geddes the loose limmer, followed by the stool hurled at the Chaplain's head, carized the Scottish Prelacy. The sight of the Seven English Bishops boating to the Tower drove out the Staart
A work of aft Palgra.ve's History of Normandy and of England is not ; nor from the extended yet imperfect nature of Replan, and occasionally the disjointedmaxiner of its treatment, is it likely to be a very popular history. It is, however, a very valuable production. There may be coarseness here, and too much digression there ; incidents and persons that do not belong to the theme may be introduced, and sometimes handled too minutely, sometimes too allusively. Still the History of Normandy and of England is a remarkable work, for the historian's mastery of his subject and the vigour with which he sustains himself throughout. We do not think the present volume equal to the first, not only from the deficiency of the plan, with the want of unity it induces but because essay (in the modern. sense of the term) rather then narrative is the author's forte.
Sir Francis has not succeeded in the very difficult task of presenting a distinct idea of the condition of the peoples and society at large in the periods of which he treats, although this knowledge is necessary to realize this particular history to the reader's mind. Unless, for instance, we have distinctly present to us that the peopk of France and other countries were mere slaves—and the army, though a feudal militia, so far resembled modern armies that soldiers were a distinct body of men and of limited numbers, while every Norman or Danish settler was a man-atarms—the oft-repeated remark of Sir Francis, that frequent victories over the Normans counted for nothing, is a puzzle. When the circumstances are fully understood, it is suite intelligible that the slaughterous defeat of a feudal army might involve ruinous consequences. A similar slaughter to the earlier Danish invaders might be grievous, but would merely involve raising a further force. A race of soldiers is formidable to the last man. Modern nations have too much lost sight of this fact, except some of the less wealthy states of America, or the greater despots of the Continent.
But although Sir Francis does not present us with a picture of society at large, he exhibits its customs. We have already quoted a Frankish practice ; here is a Danish one. William the Conqueror was not the only Duke of Normandy to whom his less polite cognomen might be applied.
"Guillaume Longue-We having pleased himself in the selection of his consort, became a husband, following his father's example, and his own wilful way. He would not bring the bride to church—why should he disgrace his mother's memory ? had her union with Rollo received the benediction of the_priest before the altar ? Therefore Guillaume took the maiden to be his Hustrue,' more _Danko, pursuant to the ancient Gentile usages of the North. Guided by a deliberate and carefully considered determination, Guillaume refused to wed his true-love otherwise than in conformity to the ethnic Danish custom ; exhorted to espouse her as beseemed a Christian, the advice was peremptorily refused.
"Icele ama moult c tint shire; Mats lila Danesehe manere La voult aveir, non autreraent Ce dist Vestorie, qui no meat.'
"When the French vituperated Espriota's son, they called his parent a concubine—or even applied a more disgraceful appellation to her. Ilia accusation belongs to the numerous class of judgments which are, in a measure, both true and untrue. The Teutonic nations in general had been slack in comprehending the difference between the civil and the ecclesiastical marriage ; and, however strongly a marriage contracted according to the traditional secular or Gentile rites might be reprobated by the Church, it was binding according to popular opinion. The English Church wisely incorporated the civil vomit° in her ordinal ; and amidst prayer and benediction she yet preserves the substance of the original wedding, the alliterative verses echoed from pnmEeval ages softened and sanctified. In Normandy, both modes continued equally common, so that in the following century it was still needful, when speaking of a marriage, to state whether the matrimony had been concluded snore Dania) or more Christiano,—the mere notice of the fact did not raise any presumption for or against the Danishry or the Christianity of the ceremony. "In thetenth century, France and Germany had begun to exhibit more decency of morals than during the earlier periods; and such scandals as those occasioned by Charlemagne's licentious liberty were comparatively rare. Example, therefore did not encourage Guillaume Longue-46e ; and if he, well taught, well knowing his duty, adopted the before-mentioned course for the purpose of conciliating the Pagan or Danish party, the compliance was an unworthy concession. If he acted with the intention that thereby he might reserve to himself the liberty of discarding his companion when he might think fit to rid himself of her, he would deserve a far heavier censure. Anyhow, he could not conceal from himself, that, according to the principles he professed, he was doing wrong."
NEW BOOKS OF TRAVEL.* Ir would be well if every traveller meditating publication would ask himself these questions—Can I furnish any new information ; and is that information of a kind which is important in itself, or which the public at large requires? Sketches of external things, where only their common character is exhibited, are not information; and if new' they are scarcely wanted unless the artist can endow each picture with individual as well as general characteristics. A narrative of every-day occurrences over much-trodden ground, the expansion of mere jottings, or friendly outpourings, is about as tedious as anything can be ; and yet, in these days of printing, the world has such, and in too great numbers. Apart from information, the only certain attraction is human character and remarkable incident, the interest of a story or touches of nature.
Captain Sherard Osborn in his Quedah, or a Journal in Malayan Waters, has somewhat overlooked the difference between
Quedah; or Stray Leases from a Journal in Malayan Waters. By Captain Sherard Osborn, R.N., C.B., Officier de la, Legion d'Honneur. Published by Longman and Co.
From Bombay to Bushire and Samara; including an ,Account of the Present State of Persia, and Notes on the Fenian War. By William Ashton Shepherd. Published by Bentley,
A Long racafbri Raltak in Norway and Stearn. By X and Y, (Two Unknown Quantities.) Published by Macmillan and Co., Cambridge. Going Abroad ; or Glimpses of Art and Character an Franee and Rely. By Nona Bellair' s. a voyage in the Straits of Maim% and the blockade of an obscure fort on its shores so long ago as 1838, compared with a narrative of Arctic enterprise, its important ends, and the importance attached in the publio mind to the rescue of Franklin and his companions, or the discovery of the manner in which they met their fate. It is true that in Quedah there are sketches of bingopore, with the various craft in its waters and the various people m its streets ; there are likewise pictures of Malayan landscapes, portraits of Malayan pirates from the favourable point of view, and some "yarns" Oriental or Western. These things are scarcely information' and, if they were, the author's obvious use of his writing powers would throw some doubt, not upon the truth of what is called a "picture," but upon the precise accuracy of the literal whole. All these subjects, indeed, are fresher than many continually thrust upon us in books of travels; still they are not absolutely new. Voyagers have described the Straits of Malacca and Singapore ; a few, like Koppel and Marryat, the adjacent Archipelago. Is regards the Malayan pirates, all the three writers somewhat differ in their moral conclusion ; but as Captain Osborn rather dwells upon their persons, bearing, and esuipments, the excellence of which neither Koppel nor even Rajah Brooke denies, the real difference is not very great. Captain Osborn admits that they are " promptus in maim," and not very nice in their distinctions between " meum " and " tunm" ; but these peccadilloes are the custom of the country. The Malayans are better got-up for the performance than their competitors,—if that is any advantage to the victims. Our author evidently thinks them far too chivalrous to adopt the horrible tortures our allies the Siamese inflicted on such Malaya and other rebels as they caught. It may be observed, however, that the Malayans he drew his conclusions from had no opportunity of performing such exploits as the following, being in the British service and under British command.
"Many of their cruelties will not boar repetition ; but two refined modes of torture I will venture to describe ; and the Inchi assured me that some of their unhappy countrymen and women had been subjected to them.
"One was cooking a human being alive. A hollowtree, either naturally so or scooped out by manual labour, was left with merely its bare stem standing ; into it a prisoner was put naked, his hands tied behind his back, and a largo piece of fat lashed on his head ; the tree was then carefully coated with an unctuous mud, to prevent its ignition, or if it did ignite, that it might merely smoulder, and then a slow steady fire was maintained round it; the unfortunate victim's sufferings being by these means terribly prolonged, his shrieks and exclamations being responded to by the exultant shouts of his executioners.
"Another torture was that of carrying the pirate or rebel down to the banks of a river where a peculiar species of palm-tree grows, and choosing a spot in the mud where the sprout of a young plant was just found shooting upwards, which it does at the rate of several inches in twenty-four hours : they would construct a platform around it, and lash their miserable victim in a sitting posture over the young tree, so that its lanee-like point should enter his body, and bring on mortification and death by piercing the intestines—in short, a slow mode of impaling.
"Of the possibility of this last torture being performed, I can almost vouch ; for 'although not botanist enough to name the peculiar species of palm-tree which is used, I have often seen it growing both on the banks of the Setoue and Perlis rivers. I believe it to be the Nipti palm, but I am by no means certain. It grows to no great height, and when fullgrown has little if any atom; the large and handsome leaves waving over the banks of the Malayan stream like a bunch of green feathers springing from the mud. The young plant springs up from the earth in a peculiar manner : the embryo leaves are wrapped in solid mass together, round their own sterns, forming one solid green triangular-shaped stick, ranging in length from four to six feet, and having a point as hard and sharp as a bayonet."
The story of these horrors was told by a Malayan envoy on a visit he paid from the fort of Quedah to the boat of which the then Mr. Midshipman Osborn was in command. Next day his countrymen retaliated on their Siamese prisoners.
"Suddenly a Chinaman from the town was seen running towards our anchorage, followed, directly his object WOB observed, by a couple of Malaya: several shots were fired at the fugitive, but when under cover of our vessels we discharged a musket over his head, to show we claimed him ; and his pursuers resigned him to our custody. I never, before or since' saw a man so horror-stricken as this poor Chinese barber was ; for he had all the instruments of his trade about him, and had apparently dropped his razor and fled, stricken by some sudden fear. With much ado the man was soothed into telling us, crying all the while with nervous excitement, that the noise which was just subsiding on shore had been the death-ahrieke of all the ill-fated Siamese prisoners ; that Tonkoo Mehemet Type-clam had been burning for revenge ever since his late discomfiture at Allegagou, and the Malays generally were frantic at the horrors perpetrated on their coun trymen ; in retaliation, therefore, they miming had that marched out three hundred Siamese (all they had in their hands) to the margin of the tank, and there drawing his creece, Type:etam had given the signal to fall on by plunging it into the body of a prisoner ; and the bodies were thrown into the tank, which lay in the road over which the Siamese troops must advance to the capture of Quedah. The Chinaman happened to be a witness of the massacre, and not knowing whether Type-etam might not take it into his head to clear off the Chinese likewise' he, like a prudent barber, decamped
at once. * • 4. •
"The keen sight of the vulture, or possibly its power of scent, was wonderfully exemplified on the day of the massacre ; for although none of us had ever seen a vulture here before, within a few hours after it had taken place a number of those repulsive creatures were wheeling round and round over the bodies and soon settled down to their filthy repast ; only to rise for a short and lazy flight when startled by some exchange of shots between the besieprs and besieged. "Habit reconciles many a disgusting sight to our ideas of what is natural; but I know nothing that, to an European as yet unhardened to it, seems so repulsive as that of a large bird feeding. upon the corpse of a human being. Yet this soon became a common sight, for many a body floated down the stream, and directly it grounded on the mud-flats vultures would be seen flapping their wings over their loathsome food."
The service in which an English corvette, the Hyacinth, and several boats, manned chiefly by Malays under the command of English officers were engaged, was the blockade of Quedah and its adjacent territory. The object was to assist the Siamese land
forces by preventing the importation of provisions, and if possible the escape of the Malayan rebels by sea, should the fortress fall, as it finally did. Captain Osborn even now evidently thinks that the Company's alliance with his Majesty of Siam was of doubtful ,justice and that he himself was battling in a doubtful cause. We think the gallant bearing and appearance of the Malays biassed his judgment. The rightful rulers of Quedah, in common with the Malayan empire' had been upset by the Portuguese so long ago as 1M1. Siam had or claimed ancient rights of sovereignty, which, by a treaty made at the time of the first Burmese war, the Company had acknowledged and engaged to support. It was therefore a case of established de facto rulers against some questionable de jure claimant, who was himself a very loose fish, though assisted by able piratical Malay chiefs, probably looking to be viceroys over him. Such an establishment of searovers in the immediate vicinity of Singapore and other settlements, and in the great ocean highway to China and the Spice Islands, was by no means a desirable neighbour. The Company would have been justified in preventing the establishment of this piratical state by assisting Siam, without reference to the treaty.
This blockade forms the most interesting and indeed the largest part of Captain Osborn's volume. There was not action in the sense of fighting, and only an occasional pursuit, which was seldom successful. But there was the nightly watch and the daily trip for water and provisions ; there were the characters and superstitions of the Malayan crew ; the spirit of gallantry in both senses of the word displayed in saving the women, children, and non-combatants, from the ferocity of the Siamese ; and there are novelties in the earth, sea, and animated nature, which would have produced more impression had they occasionally been less overdone.
If the reader expects much information touching Persia or the (late ?) Persian war from the title of Bombay to Bus/the, he will be disappointed. Mr. Shepherd's voyage was made some time since ; and, if any military chief had relied upon the traveller's description of the weakness of Bushire, we think he would have been disappointed too ; at all events, there is considerable discrepancy in the impression left by the text of the book and by the official despatches. The contents of the volume consist of an account of a brief sojourn at Bombay, and of a voyage on service up the Persian Gulf, calling at Muscat and other places. Perhaps no ability could make so barren a subject very attractive. Mr. Shepherd overlays it by a sort of dead-lively effort to snake an inventory of commonplace things animated by smart writing. The "Present State of Persia," and the "Notes on the Persian War" of thestitlepage do not amount to much more than any one could acquire from blue-books and former works on Persia ; in fact, from such sources he could learn a good deal more than Mr. Shepherd tells him, and draw his own conclusions from a wider field of facts. Mr. Shepherd is strongly in favour of warlike measures; anticipating evil to India from Russian encroachments and from Persian weakness and falsehood. We are not inclined to place much reliance on his opinions ; for, independently of his general tone and his apparent error in reconnoissance at %shire, he makes an interlocutor talk jantily of "what would be a few thousand miles to Russia, through a friend's country, commis&minted by its kindness." We suspect Russia has found out that less than "a few thousand miles" through her own country is a serious affair for an army to undertake. The most attractive part of the book is a trip up the Bussorah river to Bussorah itself. There is some information here, though it chiefly relates to the present insecurity but natural capabilities of the country, and some adventures, though they do not get far beyond pig-shooting. There is, however, information of a novel kind.
The author is fond of exhibiting his views of things, and even occurrences, in the dramatic form of dialogue. This may impart an artificial vivacity, but it raises some doubts as to the accuracy of the report. Here is a sample from the Governor of Bushire's visit to the steamer.
"Pipes and coffee, coffee and pipes, a parade round the steamer, a little talk ; discourse with the engineer about his clean engines, which awoke much astonishment; and all gather round the 68.pounder pivot-gun, on the quarter-deck. The size is nothing—the have plenty at Teheran bigger and longer, and much more powerful. So, at least, all the motley group say. His Governorship, the Commander-in-chief, the Admiral, and Aidede-camp, have all patted it, and said nothing. It is loaded, a low elevation given,—hang! and the ball has sunk beneath the waters, at the edge of -cinder sand-bank, scarcely half a mile from the ship. Stroking his black beard, the Governor remarked, turning to the Commander-in-chief, A very short distance ; could never reach the town.' Stroking their beards, the motley group remark to each other, Could never reach the town.' Different elevations gradually increased—different degrees of astonishment gradually produced in the faces of the Governor, his staff, and motley group. They jump up, they wonder, they question, they look, they stare.
" Where is it? asks the Governor.
" Where is it ? ' asks the staff.
"'Wham is it ? ' asks the motley group ; with starting, staring eyes, and uplifted hands, they see it fall at the foot of the town—their astonishment is now speechless.
"The Marines present arms, the boatswain whistles, the Captain shakes hands; and his Governorship, as he steps down the ladder into the cutter, is again saluted with seventeen guns."
The test applied to the last two books is equally applicable to A Long Vacation Ramble in Norway and Sweden ; it contains no information which the public care about, and the authors have not the power to endow the common with freshness. Years ago, Mr, Laing gaTe to the world the results of a residence in Norway, which embraced the political, institutional, social, and economical condition of the country. About the same time, Mr. Barrow published an account of his carriole journeys, containing such superficial things as a man might see in driving from one end of the country to the other and looking about him when his horse would let him. The late Professor Forbes not very long since investigated the natural characteristics of Norway. Last summer, we had an Oxonian's account of a sea voyage along the coast and an exploration of the extreme Northern regions. Various leaser writers, on sporting thoughts intent, or from mere love of locomotion, have published their observations on old Norway. "X and Y, (two Unknown Quantities,)" occasionally assisted by Z, appear to have been Cambridge men, who journeyed. through Norway from Christiania to the North Cape by almost every means of locomotion—steamer, carriole, boat, and afoot. They were capital pedestrians; had cheerful minds, which enjoyed the good, put up with the bad, and made the best of everything. At starting, there is an exuberance of spirits which runs almost into self-obtrusiveness ; but it soon wears off. When the topics handled are so strongly marked that they have an interest in themselves,—as North Cape and its vicinity, or some incidents of peasant life to which the authors' mode of travel made them witnesses,—the writers succeed in conveying their impression to the reader. As a whole, the Rambles in Norway has been published on a mistaken idea of what Englishmen's "notions of Norway are usually," or at least of what their means of learning about Norway really are.
The portion of the book relating to Sweden is not much newer than that upon Norway, but it seems so from being shorter. At Gottland the tourists had an object in its churches, one of the party having a turn for ecclesiastical architecture. This gives a distinct feature to their visit to that island.
"Far above everything else in beauty are the doorways ; while they are all after the same type, they display a fertility of invention, and a skill in the disposition and execution of ornament, which is truly astonishing. They usually project some distance beyond the wall of the church, and have a pent-house of stone over them to keep out the weather ; they are also deeply recessed ; so that, the walls being from three to four feet in thickness, great space is given for the insertion of shafts and mouldings in the jamb and arch above. The capitals of these shafts are frequently all carved out of the same block of stone, and contain subjects from Holy Scripture, invested with the characteristics of the time when they were executed. Thus at Lye we saw the Holy Innocents being murdered by knights in full armour. The subjects generally refer to the earlier events of the Gospel history ; as the salutation of Mary and Elizabeth, the Nativity, and the Magi offering their gifts. Sometimes they are grotesque, as at Dalhem, where the groups were a monk blowing a trumpet, a winged bull with a woman's face, and a dragon swallowing a man. The actual doorway does not commence where the jamb terminates, but is narrowed by the addition of stone-work, which sometimes is left plain ; but generally its fiat srarface is covered with ornament, in the form of arabesque or subjects in medallions, as at Stange. The head of this doorway is a trefoil, or a quatrefoil, or a cinquefoil, in proportion to its size ana elaboration ; and the cusps are carved, or left plain, in the same way. The door is hung behind this opening, and where the original wood-work remains is covered with iron-work. Their size, for they are generally some ten feet high and four or five wide, makes them the most conspicuous objects on the exterior. * "What surprised us more than anything else was the stained glass. There was something so strange to find, on entering some out-of-the-way church, three or four windows filled with Romanesque glass, combining good drawing with distinctness and brilliancy—brilliancy such as one rarely sees. The colours, bright as the day when the window was first put up, flashed upon the old stone-work ; reproachfully it almost seemed, when one looked to the miserable neglect in which the church lay, and thought of the days when the glass was only a portion of a splendid whole, when the colours of the windows were in unison with the colours of the walls. The treatment of subjects in them is extremely simple. The glass generally fills a triplet ; at the top of the centre light our Lord is seated in majesty, His right hand raised to bless, while His left holds a book. The rest of the window is occupied with subjects in compartments, generally taken from the life of our Saviour, displayed upon a blue ground, upon which is drawn a pattern in black ; round the whole runs a border ; white, yellow, and white again, next the stone-work. "If a man would study Early Pointed architecture, when as yet it had hardly blossomed forth in all its beauty, but was mingled, not unpleasingly, with the ornaments of the preceding style—if he would see glass in its simplest and loveliest forms, as best suited to a parish-church—if, finally, he would see how reverence and faith turned the resources of successful commerce to the service of God, and so thronged the land with churches that every man might find where to worship beneath a fitting roof—let him go to Gottland, for there he will find all this in greater purity than elsewhere. And thence much might be derived that might with advantage be reproduced in our own parish-churches."
There is so much good feeling and unaffected writing in Going Abroad, that it may seem ungracious to say that a journey made through France, via Marseilles to Pisa, Florence, Milan, and the intermediate towns, cannot furnish a very fresh field of observation, especially when the party travelled under the guidance of a courier. Neither speech nor silence, however, can alter facts, and it requires a wider range of travel than the beaten roads of France and Italy, or a much wider knowledge of important living subjects than our fair writer lays any claim to, in order to pick up fresh and informing matter in streets, hotels, galleries, churches, a private carriage, or railway trains. Yet the book is pleasant enough. The fair writer makes friends with everybody who will let her; she visits the churches of every place she arrives at, if time permits; she sees the collections, and passes her judgment upon them, sometimes in opposition to received opinion, but that is better than the cant of criticism ; she picks up a few stories to retail, and describes the company she met at the tables-d'hote, and the conversations she held. The probable absence of the chilling reserve in her manners, which she charges upon her countrymen, brought her into relations with various Americans ; and here is Mr. Fillmore. The passage will give an example of
her writing in its pleasantness and weakness : one can scarcely fancy Sir Remy Bulwer frightened at the President.
"The table-d'hôte on this evening, March 29th, was very interesting, being filled with pleasant Americans. One figure attracted you at once, by its conscious possession of calm dignity—a dignity so great that to have once seen Mr. Fillmore, the ex-President of America, is never to forget him— less, perhaps, for himself, than as the embodiment of a dignified power I have never seen surpassed. "it is related of Sir Henry L. Bulwer, that, when English Minister at Washington, he said, Though he had spoken before many European Courts, he never knew what it was to feel nervous of his own powers, till he stood before Mr. Fillmore, the then President, who, owing nothing to external grandeur, awed him by the very simplicity of his greatness.' It seemed very strange, having heard this anecdote, to see how very merg we all were at the table of mine host of the Grand Bretagne, and how kindly the exPresident joined in the merriment. I wondered if it had been Lord Palmerston, or even Lord John Russell, how we should have managed ? or how much we should have learned from them about the affairs of the country in general? No, no, Monsieur Rosbif is better taught than to ask impertinent questions, where he knows they will never be answered ; so he pays his money and grumbles, and pays it again, never hoping for any change. "Mr. Fillmore seemed to have noticed everything in his travels, and to have drawn clear deductions from all he had seen ; and we learned much of interest from him during after conversations. He has a clear voice, and all attractive way of speaking, that seems to possess the power of making_you view things from his own level. He appears to enlarge the understanding of his listeners ; and you find yourself talking of governments, of the difficulties arising from America being divided into such intensely opposite interests—North and South, Commerce versus Agriculture, Slaves and no Slaves—till you get frightened and stop. Yet there is a deep pleasure in listening and talking thus; it is totally different to English conversation—so bold and free, you shake your wings, as if after long imprisonment you were in the free pure air, with nothing to stay your flight, if only your wings be unfettered."