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the conversation was thus resumed with Mr. | world think of the geniuses who have been among Howitt :
"Publisher. Well, you authors regard yourselves as the salt of the earth. It is you who are the great men of the world; you move society and propel civilization. We publishers are but good pudding-caters and paymasters to you.' "Myself. True enough; but you think that you are the master manufacturers, and we authors the poor devil artizans who really have no right to more than artizan wages.'
"Publisher.-Ay, if you will take them as wages, and often before they are earned. Grant that you are the salt of the earth; methinks the salt has wonderfully lost its' savour when it has to come with a manuscript in one hand, and hold out the other for the instant pay, or the kettle cannot boil. See, there now is a man just gone that will be a name these five hundred years hence; yet what does he come to me for? For a sovereign! I tell you candidly, that if no hero can be a hero to his valet de chambre, neither can an author be a hero to his publisher, when ho comes in forma pauperis every day before him. For the life of me I cannot maintain an admiration of a man when, like a rat, he is always nibbling at my purse-strings, and especially when I know--and what publisher does not know it-that give the coin before the work is done, and it never is done. I content myself with things as I find them, and I leave all homage to the reader.'
What author, with candour, will deny that the publisher, in the main, was in the right? But association is to remedy all this. Now, we humbly think that effectual reform must begin, in the first place, with individual reformation.
To turn to lighter topics, Mr. Howitt, from some mistake in his geography or topography, what between hunger and fatigue, was nearly wrecked on his weary way to the birth-place of Hogg. He had imagined the distance from Moffat to Ettrick Kirk about six miles, and behold it proved sixteen, while the heights of Bodsbeck, which divide Moffatdale from Ettrick, proved something as formidable as the passes of the Alps, before they were smoothed by the engineering genius of Napoleon. Those who know the district will conclude that Mr. Howitt has either made the most of his adventure, or pity him as an Englishman, or half-cockney, bewildered in the bogs and hills, and left many more hours without "refreshment," or a "summat," than such delicate pedestrians are imagined to relish. The fine and wild scenery about the head of "Ettrick water," was altogether lost upon the exhausted traveller, and hunger had, for the time, banished his poetry, or he must have felt the pathos of the bleating lambs, just preparing to leave their dams and their native valley, for the cold, stern world of St. Boswell's or Melrose Fair, and the butcher's knife. He who has written of the "Seasons" might have been aware that the departure of the lambs is one of the most poetical events of the pastoral year.
them. Mr. Howitt saw next day all that was to be seen at and about Altrive, and listened to opinions of "the Shepherd," which, to say the least, were very natural in the quarter in which they originated, and would not be altogether unjust anywhere :
"An old farmer and his wife in the neighbourhood, who seemed the last people in the world to admire poets or poetry, though very worthy people in their way, blamed Hogg extremely for taking Mount Benger. He was more fitted for books than for farming,' said they. Perhaps,' I observed, he did not find that little farm of Altrive enough to maintain him.' Why should he not?' asked they. He had nothing to do there but look after his little flock; that was all he had to care for; and that was the proper business of a man who called himself the Ettrick Shepherd; as though there he wanted more income, had not he his pen, and was not was never a shepherd in Ettrick besides himself. he very popular with the periodicals? But he was always wanting to take great farms, without any money to stock them. He was hand and glove with great men in Edinburgh-Professor Wilson, and Scott, and the like; he was aye going to Abbotsford and Lord Napier's, and so he thought himself a very great man too, and Mrs. Hogg thought herself a great woman, and looked down on her neighbours. These poets think nothing's good enough for them. Hogg paid the Duke no rent; but he caught his fish, and killed his game; he was a desperate fellow for fishing and shooting. If people did not do just what he wanted, he soon let them know his mind, and that without much ceremony. He wrote a very abusive letter to Sir Walter Scott, because he would not give him a poem to print when he asked him, and would not speak to him for months; and when he took Mount Benger, he wrote to his generous friend Mr. Grieve, of Ettrick, and desired him to send him £350 to stock the farm, which Mr. Grieve refused, because he knew that the scheme was a ruinous one; on which he wrote him a very abusive letter, and would not speak to him for years. The upshot was, that he failed, and paid eighteenpence in the pound; and yet the Duke, though he got no rent, allows the widow the rental of Altrive. held in by his neighbours. "It is curious to hear the estimation that a man is * Hogg, who is admired by the more intellectual of his countrymen, is still, in the eyes of the now matter-of-fact sheep farmers of Ettrick and Yarrow, regarded only as an aspiring man, and bad farmer. They cannot comprehend why he should be so much more regarded than themselves, who are great up hard cash. Yet these men who pay eighteenpence in at market, great on the hills, and pay every man, and lay the pound have farms for nothing, and their families after them, and associate with lords and dukes. That is very odd, certainly."
There are many particulars given of Hogg's history, but none that can be new to Scottish, or to any curious readers; and for his real biography, save as we have it from his own questionable narrative, that still remains to be written, and probably now for ever will. Altrive was the scene or commencement of one of those episodes which, as we have previously intimated, give an air of freshness to the narrative of our author's wanderings, and for this reason we quote the passage in preference to much eloquent criticism, and literary disquisition of more ambitious
The lions of the place, so far as Hogg is concerned, were visited and discussed; and then the intelligent and hospitable schoolmaster gave the literary traveller a three miles, or Scotch convoy,racter:to the long-sought inn of Tushielaw.
Here, and in other places, Mr. Howitt falls into, perhaps, unavoidable blunders and mistakes; but they are of little consequence; while it is of the last to learn what the folks of the work-a-day
"In many of my visits to the homes and haunts of the poets, I have fallen in with persons and things which I regret that I could not legitimately introduce, and which Exactly such a person did I meet with at Altrive Lake, yet are so full of life that they deserve to be preserved. at Mr. Scott's, the successor of Hogg. It was a jolly
spend much time over these little lots;' and away we went. At one house, no sooner did he enter than out came a bonny lass with a glass and the whisky bottle, and most earnestly and respectfully pressing that I should take a glass. "What could the bonny girl mean by being so urgent that I should take some of her whisky?' Oh,' said he, laughing heartily, it was because I told her that ye were a Free Church minister frae London, and they're mighty zealous Free Church folk here..'
Well, there meet the Ettrick and Yarrow, and become the Tweed; and the meadow between is no other than that of Carterhaugh; you've heard of it in the old ballads."
It would be pleasant to give the continuation; yet as we are not quite sure but that Mr. Howitt has gone fully far enough in reporting confidences implied, if not exacted, we must curb our vein, though we should be comparatively venial offenders in following his seductive example. One certainly does like to hear some things one would dislike exceedingly to be the first to tell; but, fortunately, there are good-natured persons less scrupulous.
wool-buyer. He was a stout, fine, jovial-looking manone of that class who seem to go through the world seeing only the genial side of it, and drawing all the good out of it, as naturally as the sun draws out of the earth flowers and fruit. The hearty fellow was sitting at luncheon with Mr. Scott as I went in, and I was requested to join them, His large, well-fed person, and large, handsome face, seemed actually to glow and radiate with the fulness of this world's joyousness and prosperity. His head of rich, bushy, black hair, and his smooth black suit, both cut in town fashion, marked him as belonging to a more thronged and bustling region than those tawny, treeless, solitary hills. The moment I mentioned Hogg, and my object in visiting Altrive and Ettrick, the stranger's countenance lit up with a thorough high-flowing tide of rosy animation. Eh, but you should ha' had me in Ettrick wi' ye! I know every inch of all these hills and the country round. Haven't I bought the wool all over this country these twenty years? Hogg! Why, Sir, I've bought his wool many a time, and had many a merry "clash" and glass of toddy wi' him at this verra table. Nothing would do but I must accept half his gig thence to Galashiels that evening, a distance of twenty miles. It was a very friendly offer, for it saved me much time. Our drive was a charming one, and my stout friend knowing all the country, and apparently everybody in it, he pointed out everything, Another instance of this sort, which must not and had a nod, a smile, a passing word for every be let slip, occurs in the Memoir of Mrs. Hemans, one that we met or passed in their cottages by the road whose temporary" Home," the Dove's Nest, deside. He pointed out the piece of a wall, the only re-lightfully situated near Windermere, was visited mains of Hogg's old house at Mount Banger, adding Ay, I bought his wool.' We descended the Vale of Yarrow, passing through the beautiful woods of Hangingshaw. 'Ye'll remember,' said he what was said by some English noblemen in the rising in '45, when they heard that the lairds of Hangingshaw and Galashiels were among the Scotch conspirators. "These are ominous names," said they, "we'll have nothing to do with 'em ;" and withdrew, and thereby saved their own necks.' So we went on, every few hundred yards bring-gular character. She was very violent against steam, ing new histories of my jolly friend's wool-buying, and of matters which seemed nearly as important in his eyes, There was Newark tower, a beautiful object, standing on a lofty green mound on the other side of the Yarrow, the banks of which are most beautifully wooded. The tower, indeed, is included in the pleasure-grounds of Bowhill, a seat of the Duke of Buccleuch's, within sight; and you see neat walks running all along the river side for miles, amid the hanging woods, and looking most tempting. Opposite to Newark, my friend pointed out a farmhouse. 'Do you know what that is?" A farm-house,' I replied. Ay, but what farm-house-that's the thing? Why, Sir, that's the house where Mungo Park lived, and where his brother now lives.'"
"I buy all the wool of that farm.' I have no doubt if the jolly fellow had fallen in with the fairies on Carterhaugh, he would have tried to buy their wool.
"Ever and anon, out of the gig he sprung, and bolted into a house. Here there was a sudden burst of exclamations, a violent shaking of hands. Out he came again, and a whole troop of people after him. Well, but Mr. don't you take my wool this time!' Oh, why not? what is it? what weight? what do you want? 'It is so-and-so, and I want so much for it.' Oh, fie, ILAB! I'll gie ye so much.' That's too little.' Well, that's what I'll gie; ye can send it if ye like the price;' and away we brushed. The man, all life and jollity, giving me a poke in the side with his elbow, and a knowing look, with-He'll send it. It wont do to
by our author, and
"Consists of but four rooms in front; two little sitting rooms, and two bedrooms over them. It is a little white battlemented affair, with a glass door. The woman of the house pointed out to me the chamber, that on the right hand as you face the house, at which Mrs. Hemans, she said, used to write, and which commands a fine view of the lake and its encircling hills. The woman is a re
railroads, and all sorts of new-fangled things. She wondered what Parliament was about that they did not stop the steam. What are your Sir Robert Peels, your Grahams, and your Stanleys, good for, if they cannot stop the steam?' She would make them sit, if she could have her way, till they did some good; for they had done none yet. She almost preferred O'Connell to them; for he did get master of the queen.
"You seem to be a great Radical,' I said.
Nay, nay!' she replied; I'm naw Radical. stick fast to the Church; but I am a great politic! And what will all those navvies do when the railways are all made? What is to become of the poor boatman when there are nothing but steamers?'
"Well, but has not Mr. Wordsworth written against the railroads?'
Ay, he may write; but there's more nor Mister Wordsworth, now-a-days. People are got too clever now; and if he writes there's twenty ready to write against him.'"'
And again Mr. Howitt wakens his doleful dirge over the miseries of poets" of the old melancholy story of genius fighting for the world, and borne down by the world, which should be its friend."
"Once more, and for the ten thousandth time under such circumstances, we must exclaim with Shakspeare
"O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! We have here the bright, warm-hearted, fascinating girl of Bronwylfa, full of all the romance of life and the glorious visions of poetry, now sinking the martyr of the heart betrayed in its tenderest trust, doomed to labour like Pegasus in the peasant's cart and harness, perishing of exhaustion, and feeling that the unequal contest of life had yet left undeveloped the full affluence of the spirit. I could not avoid gazing again on the empty alcove, the beautiful prospect, and the wildly growing white rose, and feeling the full contagion of their and the good woman's melancholy.
"But at once, out broke the strange creature with a different look and tone- And we have now got another writer lady down at Ambleside.'
"Nay, nothing of the sort; another guess sort of egregiously must have done but only in his person, I can tell you.'
"Why, who is that?"
Who is that? why, Miss Martineau they call her. They tell me she wrote up the Reform Bill for Lord Brougham, and that she's come from the Lambtons here; and that she's writing now about the taxes. Can she stop the stream, eh? can she, think you? Nay, nay, I warrant, big and strong as she is. Ha! ha! good lauk as I met her the other day walking along the muddy road below here-Is it a woman, or a man, or what sort of anim alis it? said I to myself. There she came, stride, stride great heavy shoes-stout leather leggings on and a knapsack on her back! Ha! ha! that's a political comicalist, they say. What's that? Do they mean that she can stop steam? But I said to my husband -Goodness! but that would have been a wife for you. Why, she'd a ploughed and they say she mows her own grass, and digs her own cabbage and potatoes! Ha! ha! well, we see some queer 'uns here. Wordsworth should write a poem on her. What was Peter Bell to a comicalist? The good woman laughed outrageously at the images she had raised in her own mind; and infected by her mirth, as I had been by her melancholy, I bade her good bye.'
Mr. Howitt, also, saw in Dublin the lodging where Mrs. Hemans spent her last days; but this Memoir, like so many more, contains little or nothing that has not appeared in previous biographies, except the warm expression of the writer's homage and admiration. Yet how useful and pleasant to have so many scattered rays drawn into one focus!
Considerable space is allotted to Sir Walter Scott; and of Campbell we learn the strange and solitary new fact, that in Glasgow, where the poet has many surviving friends and relatives, no one can now point out the house in which he was born!
Mr. Howitt is not sparing of censure of Southey's defalcation from his original political creed; and for this he is justified, not by the Laureate's total change of opinion, unhappy as that might be, but by the keenness, the bitterness, and even malignity, of his feelings, towards those who, in an honest heart, cherished and avowed the sentiments of which he once had been the fearless champion and promulgator. It is just probable that the Messrs. Longman's shelves testify to the justice of Mr. Howitt's criticism of Southey's poetry, or, at least, of his long poems. They want the ethereal essence the master-touch; and beautiful fancy and copious invention will never supply the want of soul and sentiment; the something truthful and spiritual, also is missed by the readers, for the second time, of "Thalaba" and the Curse of Kehama."
The biography of Sir Walter Scott is abundantly eulogistic; but in the Life, or "Homes and Haunts" of Southey, the personal character of the baronet appears in a different light, and one which will not permit the English reader to forget that Scott was not only a sagacious "Norlan," but had been a lawyer in his youth, and what he in his Scottish characters would call "an auld sneck-drawer." It is altogether too bad, and yet so perverse is human nature, that
one is tempted to laugh either at the bare-faced dissimulation of Scott, or the simplicity and credulity of Southey, as he who fooled him so sleeve. The short story is this:-Scott, in agony and horror at the idea of being himself disgraced, degraded, and made ridiculous, as he thought, by the ignominy of receiving the Laurel, and imagining that his literary reputation would be for ever damaged, if not blasted, and, on the other hand, mortally afraid of offending the royal patron who graciously intended him this mark of distinction and bounty, contrived to foist the dreaded honour upon Southey, his " dear friend.” This piece of genuine life would have made a rich scene in a comedy by Sheridan. It requires no touch of embellishment or exaggeration. Mr. Howitt becomes dramatic, and almost facetious, upon this famous illustration of the nature of literary friendships. Southey had his own faults; and Mr. Howitt conceives it his bounden duty to point them out. The Laureate could call men as honest and enlightened as himself very hard names, and openly cherished the most bitter animosity against those who presumed to remain stedfast in the principles from which he had swerved so widely; but his nature was too essentially upright to have allowed him to betray a dear friend" and "elder brother in the Muses," rather than incur the possible risk of losing one gleam of court favour;-the favour of the Regent afterwards George IV.
We regret to learn that some parts of the Memoir of Southey have given offence, where Mr. Howitt could, we are certain, least have intended offence. As his recommendation is, however, not in the least likely to promote Mrs. Southey's chance for a pension, there might have been more delicacy in avoiding that subject altogether. Of Southey's errors he was constrained to speak.
Mr. Howitt has conceived a fanciful theory to account for what is peculiar in the poetry of Wordsworth, which he terms a system of " poetical quakerism," affirming that George Fox, had the gods made him poetical, would have written just such verses as the Bard of Rydal Mount. We opine that they would have much more re sembled the verses of John Bunyan. No doubt much of the poetry of Wordsworth is the poetry of contemplation-of quietism, if not of transcendentalism-though we cannot imagine that he caught his inspiration from the Quaker theology. Differing widely as he does, and, from the constitution of the whole man, mental and physical, must have done, from Burns the object, nevertheless, from early life of his fervent admiration-it was from the peasant-poet, the man of burning passions and headlong impulse, who, by the intuitions of untaught genius, threw himself daringly and unreservedly upon the bosom of Nature and Truth, in their lowliest and yet most holy and beautiful manifestations, that Wordsworth, as we think, first caught the idea of that theory of poetry which he has ingeniously promulgated in his prefaces, however imperfectly it may be developed in lyrics, which
emanate rather from a brooding, contemplative | many of them as individuals were very amiable people.' mind, than from the impassioned heart, and wild impulses of genius.
Mr. Howitt's speculation is, however, curious; and, if well-founded, proves that there can now be very little genuine Quakerism left among the settled-down, instead of the "centred-down," descendants of Fox and Naylor. If there were, half the business of Mark Lane must either change hands or stand still.
We should have been delighted to indicate the "Homes" of Cowper, often as they have been described; of Moore, of Leigh Hunt, the venerable Montgomery, and many others; but Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn-Law Rhymer, it would be sinful to pass altogether unnoticed, since his life teaches lessons as noble as those of his verse, and is itself an antidote to half " the calamities of authors."
A good many years since, Tait's Magazine contained an account of this remarkable, this truly great man, many of whose finest lyrical compositions have adorned its pages. But Elliott is a man of progress; "a sleepless soul." Yet no dreamer, no weakling, he, succumbing under the “calamities of authors," and grievously in want of a pension or a patron, sustains his life and his fortitude under the adversity which almost universally, according to Mr. Howitt, overwhelms genius, Elliott maintained with life and its common ills, a long and an arduous, but a manful struggle. But no one ever heard him rave about the world's neglect, or the hard lot of genius doomed to poverty. He came to Sheffield with a wife and children, poor as ever working-man can be—a harder conflict few men or poets have had, but he chose to help himself, and came off victorious, nay triumphant.
After visiting several of the haunts of Elliot around Sheffield, he is traced to the final restingplace of his brave and useful life, near Darfield, not far off the Railroad between Rotherham and Wakefield, and just beyond the village of Great Houghton, an antique farming hamlet.
Elliott's house, which he has built, is a good stone house in the style of the country, with a flag roof, and is fit for gentleman or farmer. It occupies the top of a hill on the edge of a common. It has a good garden lying round it; the views from it are fine and very extensive, including distant towns and villages, and here and there a great mass of wood. There is a fine airiness about the situation; but the prospect of suitable society is not so easy to be perceived. One naturally connects the idea of Ebenezer Elliott and the brisk movements of a populous town; but he complains that the constant political excitements of a town had wearied him, and gave too much interruption to his literary enjoyments. Here certainly he has withdrawn to complete leisure for books and the country; and yet, if he need the intercourse with towns, the various railroads put half a dozen within the speediest access. He says that time, instead of hanging heavily, never went so fast with him. I found Ebenezer Elliot t
This was a little too much for him. The latent fire of the Corn-Law Rhymer blazed up; he started from his chair, claimed, Amiable men! amiable robbers! thieves! and and pacing to and fro with his hands at his back, exmurderers! Sir, I do not like to hear thieves, robbers, and murderers called amiable men. Amiable men indeed! Who are they that have ruined trade, made bread dear, made murder wholesale, put poverty into prison, and made hear such terms used for such men!' crimes of ignorance and misery? Sir, I do not like to I laughed, and said, Well, Mr. Elliott, you and I shall certainly not quarrel about any such people; and I ought not to sit talking thus as a perfect stranger-it creates a false position and false conclusions.' I then mentioned my name. hand with both his, gave it a great shake, and then hastHe sprang across the room, caught hold of my offered ened out to call Mrs. Elliot. Very soon Mrs. Elliot and a daughter appeared, and we were speedily afloat on an the dialogue of that one afternoon, in all its freedom of ocean of talk. * Were I at liberty to pen down remark, it would make the brightest but most startling chapter of these volumes. But that cannot be, and I must add nothing more to this article than simply to say, that in a strange place I should never have recognised him. He is somewhat above the middle height. He is Ebenezer Elliott by his portrait. There is no good one of sixty-five, but not old looking for his years, His hair is white, and his manner and tone, except when excited by those topics that rouse his indignation against cruelty and oppression, mild, soft, and full of feeling. Perhaps no man's spirit and presence are so entirely the spirit and presence of his poetry."
notice; or, rather, a few complimentary senOf Professor Wilson we have a very meagre tences, and a selection of the absurd or exagger ated stories, which are current regarding his although not more ridiculous than a hundred others leged eccentricities. The following anecdote, of the sort, is new to us, or else forgotten, though Mr. Howitt must have found it somewhere; not that he is very particular about his authorities when a good story might be lost.
excursion of this kind, nobody knowing whither he had "It is also said, that, quite as a youth, he made an vanished, till a Paisley man, happening to enter an inn at Conway, to his amazement saw him acting as a waiter there. Information was immediately sent to his father, it is said, who hastened into Wales, and surprised John by his presence, requesting him to return forthwith home! But here the Boniface interfered, declaring that he could not part on any terms with his waiter, for such a waiter he never had in his house in his life. So active, so expert, so full of wit and good humour, that every one of his guests was charmed with him. In short, he was the making of the house, and go he should not. It was only when mine host was convinoed who and what the youth was, and that it was only a lark, that he gave way and consented to his loss."
It must have been delightful to have seen Wilson, with a cork-screw in his hand, and a napkin thirsty customers, who could not but have liover his arm, calling out "Anon, anon," to the berally "tipped " the adroit and facetious waiter. If this story be not quite correct, it is almost a pity that anything so good should not be true.
Much in the same style, and almost as racy are standing at his porch, with his huge Newfoundland dog the anecdotes of the amazement which the poets beside him. I merely introduced myself as an admirer of excite by their habit of loudly chanting their halfhis poetry, who had a desire in passing to pay my respects composed rhymes, by way, it is presumed, of getto him. He gave me a very cordial welcome. We entered his room, and were soon deep in conversation. And we were soon too high in conversation; for our talk, amongst other things, turning on a certain class of society, I happened to say that, spite of all their faults as a class,
ting on, or keeping up the steam. Campbell, in early life, we have heard, but scarce vouch for the fact, not only indulged in this sort of wild recitation, but swung the door of his room back
wards-not as a Franklin, but a lyrical bellows to the great alarm of his respective Edinburgh landladies, equally in terror for their lodger's wits and the door hinges. For forty years, Wordsworth has gone sounding on over the Cumberland hills and dales, or under his own laurels; and even the sober Southey's chant in his garden at Greta Lodge, led a visiter of his next door neighbour to inquire of his host, Have you got bitterns here?" "Oh! no bitterns: only Southey spouting his verses.
Our readers must perceive that the "Homes and Haunts" is one of Mr. Howitt's greatest literary efforts. We must not omit to state that in the subordinate commercial view, merely as a bargain
of print, paper, and decoration, "The Homes and Haunts," handsome, and even elegant externally, and no flimsy modern tomes, are deserving of praise and patronage: Altogether, the work will be quoted and referred to with more interest a hundred years hence, than at the present day. What would not one give for a similar work, by a contemporary of Chaucer, or of the luminaries of the Elizabethan era? Mr. Howitt, as their contemporary, has in many cases seen, with his own eyes, men only inferior to the very greatest of these.
There are several passages in the volumes which we have not noticed, but which Mr. Howitt should erase, if a second edition of his work be required.
THE CAUSE AND CURE OF CRIME.
NINETY-SEVEN years ago the House of Commons began a reformation of the criminal laws; but the bill passed by that branch of the Legislature was rejected in the Peers, and the subject was not reconsidered until more than half a century elapsed. The late Sir Samuel Romilly, in 1808, introduced and passed a bill to prevent the execution of pickpockets, who were convicted of success in their pursuits, on any single venture, to the value of five shillings. That gentleman, during the next ten years, wrought incessantly to soften the criminal law of England, which was then, and for many subsequent years, disgraceful to the country. In 1811 he succeeded in passing bills to abolish capital punishments for three classes of offences. He was also enabled to carry a bill in 1812, by which soldiers and sailors might beg on the streets, without incurring the risk of being hanged; for that was formerly the penalty incurred for street-begging in their case. Sir Samuel Romilly continued to press his amendments of the criminal law in each successive session without material success-for the Commons passed measures apparently to give the Peers an opportunity of rejecting them-until 1818, when he died, and his mantle descended on Sir James Mackintosh. He commenced to take charge of these measures in 1819, and for eleven years occupied the position vacated by Sir Samuel Romilly's death. Although opposed by Lord Castlereagh and Sir Robert Peel, he was enabled to reduce materially the number of red statutes in England's laws. In Castlereagh he found an honest and most unflinching opponent, and a steady consistent friend of the hangman; one who resisted, by force and fraud, to the last, any infringement, however slight, on the vested interest of that class of public functionaries. Sir Robert Peel, even at that early period in his history, exhibited a disposition to comply with the rising spirit of the times. He was perfectly willing to stand by the gallows while it was safe; but he gave most unequivocal evidence of a determination never to be a political martyr to the art of strangling. He has even, in recent years, frequently sought credit for his improvements of the penal
laws, but they were never of a large or generous character. His first effort went only to substitute a record of the capital sentenee for those cases in which it could not be inflicted, in place of the ordinary and solemn forms pursued. Then he carried a series of bills to consolidate the laws relating to capital punishments; but, even while thus engaged, he mitigated the punishment itself in the most parsimonious manner. No statesman could have dealt more tenderly by the hangman. He doled out mitigations of the law with a stinted hand like a political miser parting with the highest gems of the constitution. In one instance he raised the scale of capital punishment, in stealing out of a dwelling-house, from 40s. to 100s. The difference was that between a good and a bad silver watch, although a thief was not likely to weigh with a tradesman's eye the value of the article which his fingers clutched. There was no probability whatever of the criminal stealing up to £4 19s. 6d. nett, and leaving any light and portable article behind, that he might establish, if arrested, a good defence against being hanged. The intention in all such cases is the same; the thief is there to take all that he can get; he seldom leaves a balance out of respect to those from whom he pilfers; and Sir Robert Peel's improvement left hanging, not the punishment of demerit so much as of a fortunate run in a bad business. When he introduced his forgery bill in 1830, he was still faithful to the gallows. Although he had, ere then, deserted Oxford and Lord Eldon, he continued to be true to Ketch. In the Commons the capital punishment clauses were successfully opposed by Mr. Spring Rice-the present Lord Monteagle; but the Peers reinserted them, and the bill passed. Two years afterwards the Government carried a measure for expunging these clauses, except in two cases preserved by the Peers, faithful still in a year of faithlessness. In the same session, Mr. W. Ewart, who then represented Liverpool, and now represents Dumfries, introduced, and carried a most important bill for abolishing capital punishments in cases of sheep, cattle, and horse stealing, and larceny in dwellings. The legis