SPOTTISWOODE'S TARANTA.SSE JOURNEY THROUGH EASTERN RUSSIA.* A " TABAPTASSE" /13 the vehicle mmon to the country) in which Mr. Spottiswoode made his Russian journey, and such a journey as no one but an Englishman or an American would have undertaken. On the 3d of last September, before the coronation ceremonies were finished, he left Moscow, to scamper over some dozen degrees of latitude and double the number of longitude, 'without any object that we can discover beyond a restless love of locomotion, and a desire to see new scenes and peoples. A Russian autumn was beginning when he started; as he travelled Northward and Eastward autumn rapidly approached winter, into which it finally passed. The North-east with similar winds blew round and into his tarantasse ; fogs, rain, sleet, mud, and at last frost and snow, accompanied him: but on he went day and night, resting only at prinoipal cities, yet observing the country as he passed along when darkness or mist would allow him to see, and giving a fresh and vivacious description of what he saw. "Speak well of the bridge that carries you safe over" is a maxim of our traveller. He bore stoically the weather and the hardships of the route ; he praises whatever he can find to praise, and rises into panegyTio on the charioteers who drove him.
"The posting on the Great Siberian Road is the best, excepting that on the chaussees, in Russia ; the horses are plentiful and spirited, and so are the drivers. Now the yarastchik knows but one duty in life, viz, to go from his own station to the next ; and this he performs as if his soul were dependent on each single journey. He is lodged, fed, and clothed by the Government ; so he need have no thought for the morrow, and he has none. His normal state is to be on the road; and it is a matter of utter indifference to him whether he be called out during day or night, fine weather or foul. I have heard them singing unconcernedly at night, to keep themselves awake ; or holding a chatty conversation with their horses, and addressing each by its name, when the storm has been driving hard against us through the forest, or the wind and the rain have been sweeping overthe steppe; when we, even inside, have wrapped ourselves in our furs, and crouched silent in the least breezy corner of the tarantasse, not trusting our tongues with an expression of our feelings. And more than once, on our return, when the winter weather had set in, and the wind and the snow had encased horses and driver with a sort of mail-coat of ice, they have come up at the end of the stage, laughing as heartily as a schoolboy at the fun of it. They have often been abused by travellers, who complain of their stupidity, obstinacy, dishonesty, and recklessness; but I confess that my experience was different. Out of some three hundred or more that I employed in various parts of the country, there were not above half-a-dozen with whom there was reason to find fault. The traveller must not expect intelligence from them, nor even the more refined good qualities that may be learned in a country of civilization and education ; but they drive very well, they have a just appreciation of the doctrine of rewards and punishments as carried out in their na
tchai,' or ' na e. 'for tea,' or for brandy,' drink-money ; and cases of intoxication at their work are extremely rare. In my entire journey I met with only two who were not in a fit state for driving; and even they managed to reach the end of the stage without accident. When a glove, or some little wrap, has been lent them in very rough weather, the faces of the poor fellows have brightened as if some new sense had just dawned upon them ; and never, in any such instance, have I known the slightest attempt at purloining the thing lent. But thoroughly to appreciate this last trait, one should have experience of the thieving in Russia. "The misfortune, however, is, that these fellows, once on route, care nothing about your bones, and, what is worse, nothing about the carriage. The horses put to, and everything in order, away they go at a canter, which, if mud permits, soon ripens into a gallop. Whirr go the wheels, and pleasant enough it is when the road is smooth ; but except on the steppe, far away from towns and cultivation, ruts, mud, and general unevenness, are the order of the day. But these things are not the worst ; the traveller soon begins to be very keen at seeing the little streams, with their ominous-looking bridges, ahead. Bump, bump, go the fore-wheels over the logs ; immediately your feet, and the wrappers that envelope them, commence a little voyage autour de in voiture, on their own account, while the small luggage and provisions fly in dismay in all directions. But this is only a prelude to the passage of the hind-wheels : then indeed, in Homeric language, do your teeth chatter, the joints of your limbs are loosened, your dear heart makes unwonted leaps in your breast, and your head, exalted by the convulsions of your little world, strikes the firmament of the carriage.'
The tarantasse, however, was not put into requisition at first. From Moscow to the fair of Nishni-Novgorod, Mr. Spottiswoode travelled by diligence, and thence descended the Volga to Kazan by a steamer. From this old Tartar capital he began with his tarantasse, crossing-the Ural mountains by way of Perm to enter Asia, and see Ekaterinburg, the Birmingham of Russia or properly of Siberia, and the head of the Ural metalliferous and mining districts. After superficially inspecting the manufactories and the second-rate precious or curious stones which the district produces, he again rushed forward, keeping on the Eastward side of the mountain-range to Miask ; where he orossed to the Western side, making for Astrakhan, through Orenburg, Samara, and the banks of the Volga. Our traveller would seem to think he was in Europe, but for the greater part if not.for the whole of this way he was only in a very modern Europe. The true boundary between Europe and Asia is the Ural mountains and the lower course of the Volga. It is only very lately that map-makers have followed the crafty and audacious example of Russia in making the Ural river the frontier and turning the Caspian into an European sea.
At Astrakhan Mr. Spottiswoode remained longer than at any other place ; tempted by the hospitality of a millionaire, Mr. Saposhnikoff, who, besides conducting a various and extensive business, and writing papers on the history and antiquities of Russia, speaks with perfect fluency five European languages and
A Tarantosse Journey through Eastern Russia, in the Autumn of ISM. By William Spottiswoode, P.R.& Published by Longman and Co.
several Asiatic tongues. There as elsewhere, however, the observations relate to the outward forms of things ; a course almost necessitated by Mr. Spottiswoode's rapidity of travelling and ignorance of the language ; perhaps it was somewhat stimulated by his skill as an artist. Besides wood-cuts, there are some coloured plates, that represent with distinctness, and apparently with truth, half-a-dozen of the most striking scenes on the journey.
The volume does not contain much information as the word is generally understood. 'What there is of statistics, population, ethnology, and similar matters, is compiled from other authors, pithily and rapidly. The lines of route were too distant from the fields of operation to enable the traveller to throw any light upon the effects of the late war. The route traversed may, as Mr. Spottiswoode intimate ts have been only done of late by Mr. Oliphant, and that partially; but a good deal has been printed about various features. We have had some accounts of the fair of Novgorod, better than this author's, because he arrived only when it was over. Mr. Turnerelli has published a large book on Kazan, the result of residence. Mr. Hill travelled over part of the same ground as Mr. Spottiswoode, and his account of Siberia is very much fuller. The Torantasse Journey is, however, a welcome book, from the vivacity of the author, the rapidity of his movements, and the manner in which he throws some of his own velocity into his narrative. We are carried over a strange country of varying features, but all Ricturesque the immense steppes deriving an interest from their magnitude and grand bareness, equal to the pieturesqueness of the mountains and the forest, or the setter beauty of the river and its banks. The circumstance which limits descriptions to the external gives something of unity to the character of the book. These descriptions and this unity perhaps better impress the mind with the peculiar features of Russia than if they were mixed up with other things. The wood, and waste land, and scanty population of the country, with the backwardness and poverty of that population, form an almost over present picture. When variedt it is by great towns which exhibit a' forced civilization. It is only in the old Tartar cities that any appearance of antiquity or spontaneous reality is to be found. The design of the Russian towns is capital ; the execution not bad, especially when it costs nothing, -like the breadth of the streets and the regularity with which they are laid out. The Government buildings are not amiss ; sometimes they are very good. At Ekaterinburg, where there are Government manufactories, some life and bustle, at least fire and smoke are given to the place ; but the towns generally are dull and lifeless. They are not, as in other places, the natural effect of country wealth forming a nucleus for its surplus in a town, or the wealth of a town pouring itself out upon the country, the neighbourhood in either case showing signs of this natural growth by a better cultivation and the scattered houses of the wealthy. There is nothing of the kind in Russia. Even in a provincial capital like Perm the forest comes up to the town. "The third morning from Kazan, the 12th of September, was fine and bright, although cold. The forest looked guy with rich autumnal tints, and the air was like that of a clear morning at the end of October. From some high ground, before the last station, Kultaieva, there is a lino view of the valley of the Kama, cleared in many places for cultivation, and Penn in the distance. In spite of the bright morning, the whole scene had a very Northern aspect ; the appearance of the villages, surrounded with stout wooden paling, and shut in with gates to protect both men and cattle against wolves and bears, the houses strongly built with unsquarcd timber, and small windows and doors, all contributed to the eflbot ; nor did the character of the town, which we reached at half-past eleven a.m., in any way diminish it. Penn is entered by a gateway, the side-posts of which are crowned with pinnacles cased in sheet tin, which glitter surprisingly in tho sunshine, but, after all, look only like the sign of a whitesmith's shop. The streets, as is universally the case in Russian towns, are broad, and set at right angles to One another, and contain a number of showy buildings; but after driving through a few of them, the traveller is astonished to find himself suddenly at the end of the town, with nothing between himself and the forest. This is particularly the case on the North or river side. Here a row of houses of some pretension, containing among other things the post-house and a very respectable hotel, stands facing the Kama ; a little footpath leads down the rough. grassy bank ; at the top is a collection of country carte laden with Siberian goods ; at the bottom a few small beats, communicating with the steamer at anchor. This is not tho boat in connexion with that which brought us to Karen; for although by land the traveller reaches Perm in three days, by water he is fortunate lib) arrives in a fortnight or three works. Beyond the river is a virgin Await, stretching out to the tundras and the Icy Sea."
It is the same with roads. They are well laid out; broad, straight, and all that can be desired in appearanee ; post-houses occur at regular intervals; and although many complain of delays and difficulties, Mr. Spottiswoode found the posting well managed, Three things alone are wanted, but those are essentials, —levelling, draining, and road-metal. Here is the great road from Kazan.
"Here, then, we were fairly off in Russian fashion on the Great Siberian Road. Imagine a great broad way eut out of the forest, some seventy or eighty yards wide. In the centre 18 a space marked out as the road itself, Bolshoi doroga, or the Great road ; this consists of a broad strip of the natural soil, denuded of all vegetable growth for a breadth of perhaps thirty yards, and left hard, soft, rough or smooth, as it may please iteeli and the winds and rain of heaven. And somewhere within this space may be seen a track, narrow and wheel-worn, winding its way so as best to avoid lumps and hollows, rocks and quagmires, and marking out the practicable course for the driver. On either side of the road is an open space, intended to give the traveller a chance of seeing his enemy before being attacked, be that enemy man or beast. Wherever the country is at all open, and even in the less dense parts of the forest, a double line of birch-trees has been planted on either side ; these have attained to a very considerable size, and, wherever the road undulates or winds, have a most pleasing effect."
There is a similar backwardness in commercial emporiums; not
in this case from any hollowness in the actual business, but from limitation of demand to a few classes, and the immense extent of space over which the supplies have to be spread. As soon as the fair at Novgorod is over, the traders vanish, the place is deserted. At Orenburg, the great entrepot of Asiatic commerce, this backwardness is displayed in the more usual articles of foreign commerce. But the truth is, the people of Russia, and at Orenburg, It would seem, even the merchants and gentry, have no demand for foreign luxuries or comforts. Yet it is the people who make a foreign commerce really great. What would. our Tropical Indian and Colonial trades be if it were only the nobility and a few rich merchants whom it supplied ?
"The traveller will find himself very comfortably lodged in the hotel ; which, by the by, he cannot mistake, as it is situated in the principal street, and is the only one of which the town can boast. lie willnot be badly attended to if the landlord be at home : he will live well, and although at a tolerably high rate, not exorbitantly, if he knows what to avoid. But if he insists upon wine, he will probably pay fifteen shillings a bottle for what he would give the same sum afterwards not to have tasted; and unless, like ourselves, he buys a loaf of sugar for the journey at the grocer's next door, and commences upon it at once he will find an item of eighteenpence for the few small lumps that he has demolished every time he has called for the samovar. Above all, there is that which no English traveller will easily forget, a good iron camp-bedstead. "It may seem trifling, as we sit at home, to go through all these minutia, or to give a thought to luxuries; but at the time it is different. One cannot, even on a tour like the present, much more on a serious journey, be too careful of one's comfort. A. little unnecessary fatigue, or a slight derangement of system which might have been avoided, may interfere with some expedition for which an opportunity may ?lever recur, or may make the traveller apathetic or incapable of observing what he will never see again. And, indeed, few people, who have not tried themselves, would be inclined to believe how much effect may be produced on the mind and spirits by short commons or the loss of a single meal. I speak, at least, from my own experience, having at times discovered even a difference in my own notes made before and after breakfast or dinner.
"But fantastic varieties of price in Eastern Russia are not confined to the walls of the hotel. If the happy possessor of a hundred lemons could only dispose of his stock-in-trade at Ufa—or if a grocer at Orenburg were to devote so much of his capital as, invested in sugar, would satisfy half-a-dozen
guests at the samovar morning himself and evening for week, in respectable,' he ewetoeepcariage,orse,
and coachman, for an entire year."
Yet Russia, without naturally grown towns, or solid roads, (except perhaps between St. Petersburg and Moscow,) or a people without demand for foreign produce unless may be what is called brick tea, and with no interior trade of moment because there is little to sell and few to buy, is about to make railroads of much greater length than any in this country or Western Europe if not in America—and, with true Russian craft, at other people's expense.
KNIGHT'S POPULAR HISTORY OP ENGLAND.* STIMULATED by an article in the Times on the study of history and the merits of Hume as an historian, suggested by Lord John Russell's address at Bristol in 1854, Mr. Knight determined on writing a history of England which should "hold a middle place, as to its extent, between the school history such as that of Goldsmith, and the library history of Hume himself with Continuation upon Continuation. Of course the alleged partiality of Hume was to be avoided, as well as those views upon the barbarism and superstition of the middle ages which were less those of Hume than of his times. Some original records that Hume did not, very many which he could not consult, would as a matter of course be used by a conscientious inquirer like Charles Knight. The private memorials which our arehteological societies have so properly exhumed and printed,—an exhumation going on even as the historian composes,—are yet less likely to be overlooked by so zealous an antiquarian, whose cherished studies have so long lain among the manners, lives, and doings of our ancestors. According to a widespread opinion towards the formation of which Mr. Knight himself has exercised no small influence, the people are as much entitled to a place in history as the characters, sayings, and doings of monarchs and great men, to which the older or more epic mode of composition confined the historical narrative. The people, therefore, occupy a place in Mr. Knight's plan ; which place, according to his account of the people, must get larger and larger as they increase in numbers, power, and comparative wealth.
But for the earlier, if not for the later periods of our history, kings and great men rightly occupy the position they fill in relation to those events with which history must deal. In those times, a king combined the present offices of sovereign and prime minister in his own person, and not only stamped his impress upon the public administration, but, according to his qualities, gave a character to his reign, and permanently influenced the fortune of the country. Had Richard the Second been a wiser and steadier, or Henry the Sixth a more resolute man, the whole of our history would have been changed. As regards the people of those early times, it may be doubted whether they have been altogether so overlooked as the theory alluded to supposes. When they exercised any influence upon public affairs, which from their ignorance and enslaved condition was rarely the case, they appear in the narrative with their great men—Wat Tyler and Jack Cade, for instance. Materials do not exist for any very ample account of their modes of living and general condition. Nor if they did would they have been elaborately exhibited ; because the system of composition practised by the older historians avoided minute
• The Popular History of England : an Illustrated History of Society and Government from the Earliest Period to our outs Dines. 14 Charles Knight. Volumes I. and 11. Published In. Bradbury and ENane. details, keeping history rigidly from biography ; and their age knew not what we call ' sketches." It so happens, however' that Hume was one of the first if not the very first who exhibited. such general pictures of manners and society as can be deduced from laws, customs, and the public or private memorials which throw light upon life—such as account-books. He did this not only in those as yet unrivalled chapters or appendices where he directly treated of the subject, but frequently dropped some incidental illustration into the text or notes. He was undoubtedly the first who applied the test of philosophy to. commercial and social legislation; for he was the first historian who condescended to apply himself to such matters as political economy. " Whate'er is best admimster'd is best." A plan is of secondary importance compared with the execution ; and the great value of Mr. Knight's execution consists in the mass of materials he has drawn from the authorities, whether long since or only lately known, and the sound judgment he usually exercises upon the questions before him. Some persons may think that portions of these materials do not belong to history proper, or that they overlay the composition : but without any question, they form a vast mass of facts calculated to throw light upon the men and the times to which they relate ; while if the recorder remarks upon them too often, his remarks are mostly just. As an artistical literary work, we cannot think The Popular History of England of great mark. The style partakes too much of the " article " or the sketch-book, with too great a tendency towards the rhetorical. The narrative is often encumbered rather than enlivened by the particulars, and by comment in place of reflection. Mr. Knight, too, has imported out of his own London, and Shakspere a Biography, rather too much of the imaginative-picture style. We do not mean that his efforts to call up a vision of the past to the mind's eye is carried to the same length as in those works, or that it would mislead any to take the fancy-picture for facts, but the method is not historical, while the tone is too like the literary sketcher. It may be difficult to know when to stop and what to leave out, especially when omission appears to result in loss of information ; yet the artist must risk the loss. In the exposition of manners and social condition deduced from such materials as remain, Mr. Knight often appears too operose. The result of all this is not only to throw a heaviness over large portions of the book, but it will.probably have the effect of extending its bulk beyond the original design. The scale is properly expansive with the increase of authorities ; but if the narrative goes on enlarging from the death of Henry the Eighth, (to which the second volume comes down,) we suspect that by the time the Popular _History of England reaches the Revolution of 1688, Knight may have attained the length of Hume.
The literary features of the work are three,—narrative; exposition of customs, social conditions, arts, die.; historical disquisition. The last is the briefest, and the most successful: the remarks on the mooted question of Richard the Third's murder of his nephews, for example, well bring together all the authorities upon the subject. The narrative is copious and plain; but, besides being often encumbered, it wants natural ease, and animation, and that indescribable unity and completeness down to the minutest part which characterizes the well-bred man and the well-appointed house or army. The pictures of the state of the country and the condition of the people, though too much elaborated, are those which give a distinctive character as well as a peculiar value to the book. Here is an example both of disquisition and exposition—an economical deduction from Domesday Book, and an estimate of the popular traditions of the New Forest.
"Coming to the inferior officers and artificers, we have carpenters, smiths, goldsmiths, farriers, potters, ditchers, launders, armourers, fishermen, millers, bakers, salters, tailors, and barbers. We have mariners, moneyers, minstrels, and watchmen. Of rural occupations, we have the bee-keepers, ploughmen, shepherds neat-herds, goat-herds, and swine-herds. Here is a i population n which there is a large division of labour. The freemen, tenants, villains, slaves, are labouring and deriving sustenance from arable land, meadow, common pasture, wood, and water. The grain-growing land is, of course, carefully registered as to its extent and value, and so the meadow and pasture. An equal exactness is bestowed upon the woods. It was not that the timber was of great commercial value, in a country which possessed such insufficient means of transport ; but that the acorns and beechmast, upon which great herds of swine subsisted, were of essential importance to keep up the supply of food. We constantly find such entries as 'a wood for pannage of fifty hogs.' There are woods described which will feed a hundred, two hundred, three hundred hogs; and on the Bishop of London's demesne at Fulham a thousand hogs could fatten. The value of a tree was determined by the number of hogs that could lie under it, in the Saxon time ; and in this survey of the Nornian period, we find entries of useless woods, and woods without pannage, which to some extent were considered identical. In some of the woods there were patches of cultivated ground, as the entries show, where the tenant had cleared the dense undergrowth, and had his corn land and his meadows. Even the fen lands were of value, for their rents were paid in eels. "There is only mention of five forests in this record—Windsor, Gravelings, (Wiltshire,) Winburn, Whichwood, and the New Forest. Undoubtedly there were many more, but being no objects of assessment they are passed over. It would be difficult not to associate the memory of the Conqueror with the New Forest, and not to believe that his unbridled will was here the cause of great misery and devastation. Ordericus Vitalis says, speaking of the death of liVitiiam's second son Robert—' Learn now, my reader, why the forest in which the young prince was slain received the name of the New Forest. That part of the country was extremely populous from early times, and full of well-inhabited hamlets and farms. A nume rous population cultivated Hampshire with unceasing industry, so that the Southern part of the district plentifully supplied Winchester with the pro ducts of the land. When William the 'First ascended the throne of Albion, being a great lover of forests, he laid waste more than sixty parishes, compelling the inhabitants to emigrate to other places, and substituted beasts of the chase for human beings, that he might satisfy his ardour for hunt
ing.' There is probable some exaggeration in the statement of the country being extremely populous from early times.' This was an old woodydistrict, called Ytene. No forest was artificially planted, as Voltaire has imagined; but the chases were opened through the ancient thickets, and hamlets and solitary cottages were demolished. It is a curious fact, that some woodland spots in the New Forest have still names with the terminations of haat and ten. There are many evidences of the former existence of human abodes in places now solitary; yet we doubt whether this part of the district plentifully supplied Winchester with food as Ordericus relates, for it is a sterile district in most places, fitted for little else than the growth of timber. The lower lands are marsh, and the upper are sand. The Conqueror, says the Saxon Chrcnicle, so much loved the high deer as if he had been their father.' The first of the Norman Kings and his immediate successors would not be very scrupulous about the depopulation of a district if the presence of men interfered with their pleasures. But Thierry thinks that the extreme severity of the forest laws was chiefly enforced to prevent the assemblage of Saxons in those vast wooded spaces which were now included in the royal demesnes. All these extensive tracts were more or less retreats for the dispossessed and the discontented. The Normans, under pre.fience of preserving the stag and the hare, could tyrannize with a pretended legality over the dwellers in these secluded places; and thus William :alight have driven the Saxon people of Ytene to emigrate, and have destroyed their cottages, as much from a possible fear of their association as from his own love of 'the high deer."
Mr. Knight's mode of composition, rather than the actual plan of the work, frequently introduces individual traits, that a more fastidious style might have lost. Such are these pictures of two of the first N..orman settlers' though it is reasonable to suppose that the good largely exceeded the bad in numbers, or the country could not have taken the stride in advancement which it quickly "Another of this [bad] class was Ivo Taillebois, whom the people of the Fens 'supplicated as their lord on their bended knees' ; and who, at his good pleasure, 'tortured and harassed, worried and annoyed, incarcerated and tormented them.' This mirror of chivalry 'would follow the various animals of the people of Croyland in the marshes with his dogs ; drive them to a great distance, drown them in the lakes, mutilate some in the tail, others in the ear ; while often by breaking the feet and the legs of the beasts of burden' he would render them utterly useless.' Still it would be unjust to believe that such specimens of the Norman gentleman' constituted the majority of those who had dispossessed the 'Saxon barbarian.' Ingulphus gives us a very different picture of a Norman, who thought that life had higher duties than to take lance in hand against grumbling churls, and destroy the property of those who had still something to call their own. There was a real agricultural improver in those days, living in the same district where Ivo Taillebois amused himself with laming cattle and hunting swine. Richard de Rules enclosed the waste marshes of Beeping; shut out the overflowings of the Welland by a great embankment ; built within the embankment numerous cottages ; and made in the meadow land, which had previously been impassable bogs, quite a pleasure-garden of fertile fields. The example of this good and sensible Norman changed the character of the great fen district, and the people of Mutton, and Weston, and Spalding, 'in imitation of those at Beeping, by a common enactment agreed to among them, divided among themselves, man by man„their marshes.' Such were the healing influences that very speedily mitigated the evils of the Conquest."
Sometimes the author's minute treatment brings out a scene with quaint dramatic effect, the character of which the epic style would have lost in descriptive generalization. Such is the clerical hortative by which Henry the First was incited to take possession of 'Normandy ; which duchy the levity and facility of his brother Duke Robert had undoubtedly reduced to a very sad state.
"In the spring of 1105, the King of England took a final step towards the union of the two crowns. There is a dramatic interest in his cautious and half-reluctant approaches to the deposition of his brother, which reminds us of the well-known passage of a later history, whenGlo'ster is urged of his accustomed goodness and zeal unto the realm, now with his eye of pity to behold the long-continued distress and decay of the same.' Henry landed on Easter Eve, at the small port of Barbaflot ; and slept at the village of Carentan. On Easter Sunday, he went in the most private manner to the church, where Serb, the Bishop of Seez, was to officiate at the solemnities of the great festival. The King had taken his place at the lower end of the church, seated amongst peasants' panniers and household goods of every kind, with which the place was encumbered. The Bishop took this desecration as his theme. The spectacle exhibited in the church shows the desolation of the Cotentin. All Normandy is a prey to freebooters. This edifice is for want of a just protector, become the storehouse of the people. The goods heaped up in this house of God are brought here by the defenceless peasants, to save them from the sons of violence. Reuse
yourself then, 0 King, n the name of the Lord, and with the sword of justice make yourself master of your father's inheritance. Your brother Robert is abandoned to sloth and folly. He is surrounded by buffoons and harlots,. who plunder him even of his clothes. Take arms, then, to redress this affliction of the land : take arms, and recover the territory a your ancestors, and rescue the people from the dominion of abandoned men. And then the King said, In God's name, I will not shrink from toiling earnestly for the restoration of peace.' The Bishop then went on to inveigh against the fashions of the time—against long hair, and long beards, and peaked-toed shoes; and exhorted the King to testify by his example against these abominations. The King was ready with his testimony • and forthwith the zealous Bishop produced a pair of seise-an out of his scrip, and cropped first the King's hair with his own hand ; then the flowing locks of the Earl of Mellent, 'the glass of fashion' as well as the most sagacious councillor of the English Court, were subjected to the fatal shears. After these examples, the royal household and the other great men of the congregation contended with each other who should be cropped first. This farce went before the tragedy."
The character of Richard the Third is still with many a disputed point. It was the cue of the courtiers chroniclers, and every loyal person under the Tudors, to blacken his memory. Me. might rather inclines to Richard ; not denying his ambition, but endeavouring to show, what may be granted without discussion, that but for the unsettled state of the country after a long civil war' and the hardness of men long accustomed to deeds of violence he would not have succeeded in his attempt upon the crown.
violence, circumstances may slightly influence the moral judg ment, but they cannot in any way change the nature of feats; and these facts and the current of contemporary opinion serve to support tradition, the chroniclers, and Shakspere's play. The
capacity of Richard no one denies, or his fitness for government had he regularly obtained it. The superiority of his laws is also admitted, but ascribed to the necessity of his position, which compelled him to adopt popular arts. Mr. Knight forms a higher opinion of his 1 coislation,—bribed perhaps by Richard's apparent zeal for "the diffusion of useful knowledge." "A great legal authority, looking at these acts of Richard III., fifteen altogether, says of this, his only Parliament, We have no diffioulty in pronouncing it the most meritorious national council for protecting the liberty of the subject, and putting down abuses in the administration of justice, which had sat since the time of Edward I.' But in opening the volumes of our laws., as printed by authority from original records and authentic • manuscripts; we are struck with a change upon the face of these statutes of Richard III., which indicates as true a regard for the liberty of the subject as the laws themselves. For the first time the laws to be obeyed by the English people are enacted in the English tongue. But beyond this, they ard the first laws of the land which were ever printed. In the legislatiosi of this short and troubled reign, and in the mode of promulgating a knowledge of the laws, there is the evidence of some master mind breaking down the trammels of routine and proscription. The eceamercial nets are not marked by any advance beyond the principle of protection, except iu one striking instance, in which an exception is made to the old system of fettering the dealings and restricting the liberty of alien traders. There was one commodity which was to conic into the land as freely as the light from heaven •' there was one class of foreign merchants whose calling was to be encouraged, for in their hands were the great instruments of all national progress. Let us give this memorable enactment in its original English. Provided alwey that this acte, or any part theroft or any other mite made or to be made in this present parliament, in no wise extend° or be prejudiciall, any lette, hurts, or impedimout, to any artificer or merchaunt strainsgier of what nation or contrey he be or sheltie of, for bryngyng into this realm°, or sellyng by retail or otherwise, of any manes bakes wrytten or imprynted, or for the inhabitynge within the said realme for the same intent, or to any writer, lympner, bynder, or imprvriter, of audio belies as he hath or shall have to sell bywey of merchaundiae, or for their Oxide in the same realm° for the exereisyng of the said occupacions; this tide or any parte therof notwithstaudyng. There could be no greater homage to the memory of Gutenberg, the inventor of printing, than this law, enacted fifteen years after his death, which said to his fellow craftsmen of every 114.• tion that no English restrictions upon aliens should touch them. The power, now for the first time exercised, of securing a better obedience to the laws by a wider publicity, demanded such a tribute to the merchants and artificers of knowledge. Richard and his eounoillora stood upon the threshold of a new state of society ; and this encouragement of trauceribers, printers, and sellers of books, showed that they understood what was one of the characteristics of their time."
The volumes, according to Mr. Knight's .custom, are full of cuts, intended to illustrate the text, or rather, to do what words can only do very imperfectly, present material forms to the mind through the eye. In such things as implements, costumes,_ portraits, this intention is completely effected. It is attained in a less degree as regards buildings and local scenes, though this class of illustrations often possesses considerable interest. When the outs become imaginative, as they sometimes do in themselves or in reference to the letterpress, they rise no higher than "pretty pictures."