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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 331, May, 1843 by Various

Part 5 out of 6

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Doctor Mayhew had been a faithful friend, and such he continued, looking
to the interests of the friendless, which might have suffered in the
absence of so good an advocate. It was he, as I learnt, who had drawn
from the incumbent his reluctant consent to my return. My departure
following my thoughtless declaration so quickly, was not without visible
effect on her who had such deep concern in it. Her trouble was not lost
upon the experienced doctor; he mentioned his suspicion to her father,
and recommended my recall. The latter would not listen to his counsel,
and pronounced his _diagnosis_ hasty and incorrect. The physician bade
him wait. The patient did not rally, and her melancholy increased. The
doctor once more interceded, but not successfully. Mr Fairman received
his counsel with a hasty word, and Dr Mayhew left the parsonage in
anger, telling the minister he would himself be answerable no longer for
her safety. A week elapsed, and Doctor Mayhew found it impossible to
keep away. The old friends met, more attached than ever for the parting
which both had found it difficult to bear. The lady was no better. They
held a conference--it ended in my favour. I had been exactly a month
reinstated, when Doctor Mayhew, who could not rest thoroughly easy until
our marriage was concluded, and, as he said, "the affair was off his
hands," took a convenient opportunity to intimate to Mr Fairman the many
advantages of an early union. The minister was anxious to postpone the
ceremony to a distant period, which he had not courage himself to name.
This Mayhew saw, and was well satisfied that, if my happiness depended
on the word of the incumbent, I should wait long before I heard it
voluntarily given. He told me so, and undertook "to bring the matter to
a head" with all convenient speed. He met with a hundred objections, for
all of which he was prepared. He heard his friend attentively, and with
great deference, and then he answered. What his answers were, I cannot
tell--powerful his reasoning must have been, since it argued the jealous
parent into the necessity of arranging for an early marriage, and
communicating with me that same day upon the views which he had for our
future maintenance and comfort.

Nothing could exceed the gratification of Doctor Mayhew, that best and
most successful of ambassadors, when he ran to me--straight from the
incumbent's study--to announce the perfect success of his diplomacy. Had
he been negotiating for himself, he could not have been in higher
spirits. Ellen was with me when he acquainted me, that in three months
the treasure would be my own, and mine would be the privilege and right
to cherish it. He insisted that he should be rewarded on the instant
with a kiss; and, in the exuberance of his feelings, was immodest enough
to add, that "if he wasn't godfather to the first, and if we did not
call him Jacob after him, he'd give us over to our ingratitude, and not
have another syllable to say to us."

It was a curious occupation to contemplate the parent during the weeks
that followed--to observe all-powerful nature working in him, the
chastened and the upright minister of heaven, as she operates upon the
weakest and the humblest of mankind. He lived for the happiness and
prosperity of his child. For that he was prepared to make every
sacrifice a father might--even the greatest--that of parting with her.
Was it to be expected that he should be insensible to the heavy cost?
Could it be supposed that he would all at once resign the dear one
without a quiver or a pang? There is a tremor of the soul as well as of
the body, when the knife is falling on the limb to sever it, and this he
suffered, struggling for composure as a martyr, and yet with all the
weakness of a man. I have watched him closely, and I have known his
heart wringing with pain, as the eye of his child sparkled with joy at
my approach, whilst the visible features of his face strove fiercely to
suppress the rising selfishness. He has gazed upon her, as we have sat
together in the cheerful night, wondering, as it seemed, by what
fascination the natural and deep-rooted love of years could be surpassed
and superseded by the immature affection of a day--forgetful of her
mother's love, that once preferred him to her sire. In our evening walks
I have seen him in our track, following from afar, eager to overtake and
join us, and yet resisting the strong impulse, and forbearing. He could
not hide from me the glaring fact, that he was envious of my fortune,
manifest as it was in every trifling act; nor was it, in truth, easier
for him to conceal the strong determination which he had formed to act
with honour and with justice. No angry or reproachful word escaped his
lips; every favour that he could show me he gladly proffered; nay, many
uncalled-for and unexpected, he insisted upon my receiving, apparently,
or, as I guessed, because he wished to mortify his own poor heart, and
to remove from me the smallest cause for murmuring or complaint. I
endeavoured not to be unworthy of his liberality and confidence; and the
daughter, who perceived the conflict in his breast, redoubled her
attention, and made more evident her unimpaired and childlike love.

It wanted but a month to the time fixed for our union, when Ellen
reached her twentieth year. On that occasion, Doctor Mayhew dined with
us, and passed the evening at the parsonage. He was in high spirits; and
the minister himself more gay than I had known him since our engagement.
Ellen reflected her father's cheerfulness, and was busy in sustaining
it. All went merry as a marriage-bell. Ellen sang her father's favourite
airs--played the tunes that pleased him best, and acquired new energy
and power as she proceeded. The parent looked upon her with just pride,
and took occasion, when the music was at its loudest, to turn to Mayhew,
and to speak of her.

"How well she looks!" said he; "how beautiful she grows!"

"Yes," answered the physician; "I don't wonder that she made young
Stukely's heart ache. What a figure the puss has got!"

"And her health seems quite restored!"

"Well, you are not surprised at that, I reckon. Rest assured, my friend,
if we could only let young ladies have their way, our patients would
diminish rapidly. Why, how she sings to-night! I never knew her voice so
good--did you?"

"Oh, she is happy, Mayhew; all her thoughts are joyful! Her heart is
revelling. It was very sinful to be so anxious on her account."

"So I always told you; but you wouldn't mind me. She'll make old bones."

"You think so, do you?"

"Why, look at her yourself, and say whether we should be justified in
thinking otherwise. Is she not the picture of health and animation?"

"Yes, Mayhew, but her mother"----

"There, be quiet will you? The song is over."

Ellen returned to her father's side, sat upon a stool before him, and
placed her arms upon his knee. The incumbent drew her head there, and
touched her cheek in playfulness.

"Come, my friend," exclaimed the physician, "that isn't allowable by any
means. Recollect two young gentlemen are present, and we can't be

The minister smiled, and Ellen looked at me.

"Do you remember, doctor," enquired the latter, "this very day eleven
years, when you came over on the grey pony, that walked into this room
after you, and frightened us all so?"

"Yes, puss, I do very well; and don't I recollect your tying my wig to
the chair, and then calling me to the window, to see how I should look
when I had left it behind me, you naughty little girl!"

"That was very wrong, sir; but you know you forgave me for it."

"No, I didn't. Come here, though, and I will now."

She left her stool, and ran laughing to him. The doctor professed to
whisper in her ear, but kissed her cheek. He coughed and hemmed, and,
with a serious air, asked me what I meant by grinning at him.

"Do you know, doctor," continued Ellen, "that this is my first
birth-day, since that one, which we have kept without an interruption.
Either papa or you have been always called away before half the evening
was over."

"Well, and very sorry you would be, I imagine, if both of us were called
away _now_. It would be very distressing to you; wouldn't it?"

"It would hardly render her happy, Mayhew," said Mr Fairman, "to be
deprived of her father's society on such an occasion."

"No, indeed, papa," said Ellen, earnestly; "and the good doctor does not
think so either."

"Doesn't he, though, you wicked pussy? You would be very wretched, then,
if we were obliged to go? No doubt of it, especially if we happened to
leave that youngster there behind us."

"Ellen shall read to us, Mayhew," said the incumbent, turning from the
subject. "You will find Milton on my table, Caleb."

As he spoke, Ellen imparted to her friend a look of tenderest
remonstrance, and the doctor said no more.

The incumbent, himself a fine reader, had taken great pains to teach his
child the necessary and simple, but much neglected art of reading well.
There was much grace and sweetness in her utterance, correct emphasis,
and no effort. An hour passed delightfully with the minister's favourite
and beloved author; now the maiden read, now he. He listened with
greater pleasure to her voice than to his own or any other, but he
watched the smallest diminution of its power--the faintest evidence of
failing strength--and released her instantly, most anxious for her
health and safety, then and always.

Then arose, as will arise from the contented bosom of domestic piety,
grateful rejoicings--the incense of an altar glowing with love's own
offerings! Past time was summoned up, weighed with the present, and,
with all the mercies which accompanied it, was still found wanting in
the perfect and unsullied happiness that existed now. "The love of
heaven," said the minister, "had never been so manifest and clear. His
labours in the service of his people, his prayers on their behalf, were
not unanswered. Improvement was taking place around him; even those who
had given him cause for deepest sorrow, were already turning from the
path of error into that of rectitude and truth. The worst characters in
the village had been checked by the example of their fellows, and by the
voice of their own conscience, (he might have added, by the working of
their minister's most affectionate zeal) and his heart was joyful--how
joyful he could not say--on their account. His family was blessed--(and
he looked at Ellen with a moistened eye)--with health, and with the
promise of its continuance. His best and oldest friend was at his side;
and he, who was dear to them all on her account whose life would soon be
linked with his, was about to add to every other blessing, the
advantages which must follow the possession of so good a son. What more
could he require? How much more was this than the most he could

Doctor Mayhew, touched with the solemn feeling of the moment, became a
serious man. He took the incumbent by the hand, and spoke.

"Yes, Fairman, we have cause for gratitude. You and I have roughed it
many years, and gently enough do we go down the hill. To behold the
suffering of other men, and to congratulate ourselves upon our
exemption, is not the rational mode of receiving goodness from Almighty
God--yet it is impossible for a human being to look about him, and to
see family after family worn down by calamity, whilst he himself is free
from any, and not have his heart yearning with thankfulness, knowing, as
he must, how little he merits his condition. You and I are happy
fellows, both of us; and all we have to do, is to think so, and to
prepare quietly to leave our places, whilst the young folks grow up to
take them. As for the boy there, if he doesn't smooth your pillow, and
lighten for you the weight of old age as it comes on, then am I much
mistaken, and ready to regret the steps which I have taken to bring you
all together."

There was little spoken after this. The hearts were full to the
brink--to speak was to interfere with their consummate joy. The doctor
was the only one who made the attempt, and he, after a very ineffectual
endeavour to be jocose, held his peace. The Bible was produced. The
servants of the house appeared. A chapter was read from it by the
incumbent--a prayer was offered up, then we separated.

I stole to Ellen as she was about to quit us for the night. "And you,
dear Ellen," I whispered in her ear, "are you, too, happy?"

"Yes, _dearest_," she murmured with a gentle pressure, that passed like
wildfire to my heart. "I fear _too_ happy. Earth will not suffer it"

We parted, and in twelve hours those words were not without their

We met on the following morning at the usual breakfast hour. The moment
that I entered the apartment, I perceived that Ellen was
indisposed--that something had occurred, since the preceding night, to
give her anxiety or pain. Her hand trembled slightly, and a degree of
perturbation was apparent in her movements. My first impression was,
that she had received ill news, for there was nothing in her appearance
to indicate the existence of bodily suffering. It soon occurred to me,
however, that the unwonted recent excitement might account for all her
symptoms--that they were, in fact, the natural consequence of that
sudden abundance of joyous spirits which I had remarked in her during
the early part of the evening. I satisfied myself with this belief, or
strove to do so--the more easily, perhaps, because I saw her father
indifferent to her state, if not altogether ignorant of it. He who was
ever lying in wait--ever watching--ever ready to apprehend the smallest
evidence of ill health, was, on this morning, as insensible to the
alteration which had taken place in the darling object of his
solicitude, as though he had no eyes to see, or object to behold; so
easy is it for a too anxious diligence in a pursuit to overshoot and
miss the point at which it aims. Could he, as we sat, have guessed the
cause of all her grief--could some dark spirit, gloating on man's
misery, have breathed one fearful word into his ear, bringing to life
and light the melancholy tale of distant years--how would his nature
have supported the announcement--how bore the?----but let me not
anticipate. I say that I dismissed all thought of serious mischief, by
attributing at once all signs of it to the undue excitement of the
festive night. As the breakfast proceeded, I believed that her anxiety
diminished, and with that passed away my fears.

At the end of the pleasure garden of the parsonage was a paddock, and,
immediately beyond this, another field, leading to a small valley of
great beauty. On one side of "_the Dell_," as it was called, was a
summer-house, which the incumbent had erected for the sake of the noble
prospect which the elevation commanded. To this retreat Ellen and I had
frequently wandered with our books during the progress of our love. Here
I had read to her of affection and constancy, consecrated by the
immortal poet's song. Here we had passed delightful hours, bestowing on
the future the same golden lustre that made so bright the present. In
joy, I had called this summer-house "_the Lover's Bower_," and it was
pleasing to us both to think that we should visit in our after days, for
many a year, and with increasing love, a spot endeared to us by the
fondest recollections. Thither I bent my steps at the close of our
repast. It wanted but two days to the time fixed for the resumption of
our studies. The boys had returned, and the note of preparation was
already sounded. I carried my task to the retreat, and there commenced
my labours. An hour fled quickly whilst I was occupied somewhat in
Greek, but more in contemplation of the gorgeous scene before me, and in
lingering thoughts of her whose form was never absent, but hovered still
about the pleasure or the business of the day. The shadow of that form
was yet present, when the substance became visible to the bodily eye.
Ellen followed me to the "_Lover's Bower_," and there surprised me. She
was even paler than before--and the burden of some disquietude was
written on her gentle brow; but a smile was on her lips--one of a
languid cast--and also of encouragement and hope. I drew her to my side.
Lovers are egotists; their words point ever to themselves. She spoke of
the birth-day that had just gone by; the tranquil and blissful
celebration of it. My expectant soul was already dreaming of the next
that was to come, and speaking of the increased happiness that must
accompany it.

Ellen sighed.

"It is a lover's sigh!" thought I, not heeding it.

"Whatever may be the future, Caleb," said Ellen seriously, but very
calmly, "we ought to be prepared for it. Earth is not our
_resting-place_. We should never forget that. Should we, dearest?"

"No, love; but earth has happiness of her kind, of which her children
are most sensible. Whilst we are here, we live upon her promises."

"But oh, not to the exclusion of the brighter promises that come from
heaven! You do not say that, dear Caleb?"

"No, Ellen. You could not give your heart to him who thought so;
howbeit, you have bestowed it upon one unworthy of your piety and

"Do not mock me, Caleb," said Ellen, blushing. "I have the heart of a
sinner, that needs all the mercy of heaven for its weaknesses and
faults. I have ever fallen short of my duty."

"You are the only one who says it. Your father will not say so, and I
question if the villagers would take your part in this respect."

"Do not misunderstand me, Caleb. I am not, I trust, a hypocrite. I have
endeavoured to be useful to the poor and helpless in our
neighbourhood--I have been anxious to lighten the heaviness of a
parent's days, and, as far as I could, to indemnify him for my mother's
loss. I believe that I have done the utmost my imperfect faculties
permitted. I have nothing to charge myself with on these accounts. But
my Heavenly Father," continued the maiden, her cheeks flushing, her eyes
filling with tears--"oh! I have been backward in my affection and duty
to him. I have not ever had before my eyes his honour and glory in my
daily walk--I have not done every act in subordination to his will, for
his sake, and with a view to his blessing. But He is merciful as well as
just, and if his punishment falls now upon my head, it is assuredly to
wean me from my error, and to bring me to himself."

The maid covered her moistened cheek, and sobbed loudly. I was fully
convinced that she was suffering from the reaction consequent upon
extreme joy. I was rather relieved than distressed by her burst of
feeling, and I did not attempt for a time to check her tears.

"Tell me, dear Caleb," she said herself at length, "if I were to lose
you--if it were to please Heaven to take you suddenly from this earth,
would it not be sinful to murmur at his act? Would it not be my duty to
bend to his decree, and to prepare to follow you?"

"You would submit to such a trial as a Christian woman ought. I am sure
you would, dear Ellen--parted, as we should be, but for a season, and
sure of a reunion."

"And would you do this?" enquired the maiden quickly. "Oh, say that you
would, dear Caleb! Let me hear it."

"You are agitated, dearest. We will not talk of this now. There is grace
in heaven appointed for the bitterest seasons of adversity. It does not
fail when needed. Let us pray that the hour may be distant which shall
bring home to either so great a test of resignation."

"Yes, pray, dear Stukely; but, should it come suddenly and quickly--oh,
let us be prepared to meet it!"

"We will endeavour, then; and now to a more cheerful theme. Do we go to
Dr Mayhew's, as proposed? We shall spend a happy day with our facetious,
but most kind-hearted friend."

Ellen burst again into a flood of tears.

"What is the matter, love?" I exclaimed. "Confide to me, and tell the
grief that preys upon your mind."

"Do not be alarmed, Stukely," she answered rapidly; "it may be nothing
after all; but when I woke this morning--it may, I hope for your sake
that it _is_ nothing serious--but my dear mother, it was the
commencement of her own last fatal illness."

She stopped suddenly, as if her speech had failed her--coughed sharply,
and raised her handkerchief to her mouth. I perceived a thick, broad
spot of BLOOD, and shuddered.

"Do not be frightened, Stukely," she continued, shocked fearfully
herself. "I shall recover soon. It is the suddenness--I was unprepared.
So it was when I awoke this morning--and it startled me, because I heard
it was the first bad symptom that my poor mother showed. Now, I pray
you, Stukely, to be calm. Perhaps I shall get well; but if I do not, I
shall be so happy--preparing for eternity, with you, dear Caleb, at my
side. You promised to be tranquil, and to bear up against this day; and
I am sure you will--yes, for my sake--that I may see you so, and have no

I took the dear one to my bosom, and, like a child, cried upon her neck.
What could I say? In one moment I was a bankrupt and a beggar--my
fortunes were scattered to the winds--my solid edifice as stricken by
the thunder-bolt, and lay in ruins before me! Was it real?

Ellen grew calmer as she looked at me, and spoke.

"Listen to me, dearest Stukely. It was my duty to acquaint you with this
circumstance, and I have done so, relying on your manliness and love.
You have already guessed what I am about to add. My poor father"--her
lips quivered as she said the word--"he must know nothing for the
present. It would be cruel unnecessarily to alarm him. His heart would
break. He MUST be kept in ignorance of this. You shall see Mayhew; he
will, I trust, remove our fears. Should he confirm them, he can
communicate to papa." Again she paused, and her tears trickled to her
lips, which moved convulsively.

"Do not speak, my beloved," I exclaimed. "Compose yourself. We will
return home. Be it as you wish. I will see Mayhew immediately, and bring
him with me to the parsonage. Seek rest--avoid exertion."

I know not what conversation followed this. I know not how we reached
our home again. I have no recollection of it. Three times upon our road
was the cough repeated, and, as at first, it was accompanied by that
hideous sight. In vain she turned her head away to escape detection. It
was impossible to deceive my keen and piercing gaze. I grew pale as
death as I beheld on each occasion the frightful evidence of disease;
but the maiden pressed my hand, and smiled sweetly and encouragingly to
drive away my fears. She did not speak--I had forbidden her to do so;
but her looks--full of tenderness and love--told how all her thoughts
were for her lover--all her anxiety and care.

At my request, as soon as we arrived at home, she went to bed. I saw the
incumbent--acquainted him with her sudden illness--taking care to keep
its nature secret--and then ran for my life to Dr Mayhew's residence.
The very appearance of blood was to me, as it is always to the common
and uninformed observer, beyond all doubt confirmatory of the worst
suspicions--the harbinger of certain death. There is something horrible
in its sight, presented in such a form; but not for itself do we shrink
as we behold it--not for what it is, but for what it awfully proclaims.
I was frantic and breathless when I approached the doctor's house, and
half stupified when I at length stood before him.

I told my errand quickly.

The doctor attempted instantly to mislead me, but he failed in his
design. I saw, in spite of the forced smile that would not rest upon his
lips, how unexpectedly and powerfully this news had come upon him--how
seriously he viewed it. He could not remove my miserable convictions by
his own abortive efforts at cheerfulness and unconcern. He moved to his
window, and strove to whistle, and to speak of the haymakers who were
busy in the fields, and of the weather; but the more he feigned to
regard my information as undeserving of alarm, the more convinced I grew
that deadly mischief had already taken place. There was an air about him
that showed him ill at ease; and, in the midst of all his quietude and
indifference, he betrayed an anxiety to appear composed, unwarranted by
an ordinary event. Had the illness been trifling indeed, he could have
afforded to be more serious and heedful.

"I will be at the parsonage some time to-day. You can return without me,

"Dr Mayhew," I exclaimed, "I entreat, I implore you not to trifle with
me! I can bear any thing but that. Tell me the worst, and I will not
shrink from it. You must not think to deceive me. You are satisfied that
there is no hope for us; I am sure you are, and you will not be just and
say so."

"I am satisfied of no such thing," answered the doctor quickly. "I
should be a fool, a madman, to speak so rashly. There is every reason to
hope, I do believe, at present. Tell me one thing--does her father know
of it?"

"He does not."

"Then let it still be kept a secret from him. Her very life may depend
upon his ignorance. She must be kept perfectly composed--no
agitation--no frightened faces around her. But I will go with you, and
see what can be done. I'll warrant it is nothing at all, and that puss
is well over her fright before we get to her."

Again the doctor smiled unhealthfully, and tried, awkwardly enough, to
appear wholly free from apprehension, whilst he was most uncomfortable
with the amount of it.

The physician remained for half an hour with his patient, and rejoined
me in the garden when he quitted her. He looked serious and thoughtful.

"There is no hope, then?" I exclaimed immediately.

"Tush, boy," he answered; "quiet--quiet. She will do well, I
hope--eventually. She has fever on her now, which must be brought down.
While that remains there will be anxiety, as there must be always--when
it leaves her, I trust she will be well again. Do you know if she has
undergone any unusual physical exertion?"

"I do not."

"I confess to you that I do not like this accident; but it is impossible
to speak positively now. Whilst the fever lasts, symptoms may be
confounded and mistaken. I will watch her closely."

"Have you seen her father?"

"I have; but I have told him nothing further than he knew. He believes
her slightly indisposed. I have calmed him, and have told him not to
have the child disturbed. You will see to that?"

"I will."

"And now mark me, Stukely. I expect that you will behave like a man, and
as you ought. We cannot keep Fairman ignorant of this business. Should
it go on, as it may--in spite of every thing we can do--he must know it.
You have seen sufficient of his character to judge how he will receive
the information which it may be my painful lot to take to him. I think
of it with dread. It has been my pleasure to stand your friend--you must
prove mine. I shall expect you to act with fortitude and calmness, and
not, by weakness and self-indulgence, to increase the pain that will
afflict the parent's heart--for it will be sufficient for Fairman to
know only what has happened to give up every hope and consolation. You
must be firm on his account and chiefly for the sake of the dear girl,
who should not see your face without a smile of confidence and love upon
it. Do you hear me? I will let you weep now," he continued, noticing the
tears which prevented my reply, "provided that you dry your eyes, and
keep them so from this time forward. Do you hear me?"

"Yes," I faltered.

"And will you heed me?"

"I will try," I answered, as firmly as I might, with every hope within
me crushed and killed by the words which he had spoken.

"Very well. Then let us say no more, until we see what Providence is
doing for us."

The fever of Ellen did not abate that day. The doctor did not leave the
house, but remained with the incumbent--not, as he told his friend,
because he thought it necessary so to do, but to keep the word which he
had given the night before--viz., to pass the day with him. He was sorry
that he had been deprived of their company at his own abode, but he
could make himself quite comfortable where he was. About eleven o'clock
at night the doctor thought it strange that Robin had not brought his
pony over, and wondered what had happened.

"Shall we send to enquire?" asked Mr Fairman.

"Oh no!" was the quick answer, "that never can be worth while. We'll
wait a little longer."

At twelve the doctor spoke again. "Well, he must think of moving; but he
was very tired, and did not care to walk."

"Why not stay here, then? I cannot see, Mayhew, why you should be so
uneasy at the thought of sleeping out. Come, take your bed with us for

"Eh?--well--it's very late--suppose I do."

Mayhew had not been shrewd enough, and, with his ready acquiescence, the
minister learned all.

I did not go to bed. My place was at her door, and there I lingered till
the morning. The physician had paid his last visit shortly after
midnight, and had given orders to the nurse who waited on the patient,
to call him up if necessary, but on no account to disturb the lady if
she slept or was composed. The gentle sufferer did not require his
services, or, if she did, was too thoughtful and too kind to make it
known. Early in the morning Doctor Mayhew came--the fever had
increased--and she had experienced a new attack of haemoptysis the moment
she awoke. The doctor stepped softly from her room, and deep anxiety was
written on his brow. I followed him with eagerness. He put his finger to
his lips, and said, "Remember, Stukely."

"Yes, I will--I do; but, is she better?"

"No--but I am not discouraged yet. Every thing depends upon extreme
tranquillity. No one must see her. Dear me, dear me! what is to be said
to Fairman, should he ask?"

"Is she placid?" I enquired.

"She is an angel, Stukely," said the good doctor, pressing my hands, and
passing on. When we met at breakfast, the incumbent looked hard at me,
and seemed to gather something from my pale and careworn face. When
Mayhew came, full of bustle, assumed, and badly too, as the shallowest
observer could perceive, he turned to him, and in a quiet voice asked
"if his child was much worse since the previous night."

"Not much," said Mayhew. "She will be better in a short time, I trust."

"May I see her?" enquired the father in the same soft tone.

"Not now--by and by perhaps--I hope to-morrow. This is a sudden
attack--you see--any excitement may prolong it--it wouldn't be well to
give a chance away. Don't you see that, Fairman?"

"Yes," said the minister, and from that moment made no further mention
of his daughter during breakfast. The meal was soon dispatched. Mr
Fairman retired to his study--and the doctor prepared for his departure.
He promised to return in the afternoon.

"Thank God!" he exclaimed, as he took leave of me at the gate, "that
Fairman remains so very unsuspicious. This is not like him. I expected
to find him more inquisitive."

"I am surprised," I answered; "but it is most desirable that he should
continue so."

"Yes--yes--by all means--for the present at all events."

Throughout the day there was no improvement in the patient's symptoms.
The physician came according to his promise, and again at night. He
slept at the parsonage for the second time. The minister betrayed no
wonder at this unusual act, showed no agitation, made no importunate
enquiries. He asked frequently during the day if any amendment had taken
place; but always in a gentle voice, and without any other reference to
her illness. As often as the doctor came, he repeated his wish to visit
his dear child, but, receiving for answer "that he had better not at
present," he retired to his study with a tremulous sigh, but offering no

The doctor went early to rest. He had no inclination to spend the
evening with his friend, whom he hardly cared to see until he could meet
him as the messenger of good tidings. I had resolved to hover, as I did
before, near the mournful chamber in which she lay; and there I kept a
weary watch until my eyes refused to serve me longer, and I was forced
against my will, and for the sake of others, to yield my place and crawl
to my repose. As I walked stealthily through the house, and on tiptoe,
fearful of disturbing one beloved inmate even by a breath--I passed the
incumbent's study. The door was open, and a glare of light broke from
it, and stretched across the passage. I hesitated for a moment--then
listened--but, hearing nothing, pursued my way. It was very strange. The
clock had just before struck three, and the minister, it was supposed,
had been in bed since midnight. "His lamp is burning," thought I--"he
has forgotten it." I was on the point of entering the apartment--when I
was deterred and startled by his voice. My hand was already on the door,
and I looked in. Before me, on his knees, with his back towards me, was
my revered friend--his hands clasped, and his head raised in
supplication. He was in his dress of day, and had evidently not yet
visited his pillow. I waited, and he spoke--

"Not my will," he exclaimed in a piercing tone of prayer--"not mine, but
thy kind will be done, O Lord! If it be possible, let the bitter cup
pass from me--but spare not, if thy glory must needs be vindicated.
Bring me to thy feet in meek, and humble, and believing confidence--all
is well, then, for time and for eternity. It is merciful and good to
remove the idol that stands between our love and God. Father of
mercy--enable me to bring the truth _home, home_ to this most
traitorous--this lukewarm, earthy heart of mine--a heart not worthy of
thy care and help. Let me not murmur at thy gracious will--oh, rather
bend and bow to it--and kiss the rod that punishes. I need
chastisement--for I have loved too well--too fondly. I am a rebel, and
thy all-searching eye hath found me faithless in thy service. Take her,
Father and Saviour--I will resign her--I will bless the hand that smites
me--I will"--he stopped; and big tears, such as drop fearfully from
manhood's eye, made known to heaven the agony that tears a parent's
heart, whilst piety is occupied in healing it.

It is not my purpose to recite the doubts and fears, the terrible
suspense, the anxious hopes, that filled the hours which passed whilst
the condition of the patient remained critical. It is a recital which
the reader may well spare, and I avoid most gladly. At the end of a
week, the fever departed from the sufferer. The alarming symptoms
disappeared, and confidence flowed rapidly to the soul again. At this
time the father paid his first visit to his child. He found her weak and
wasted; the violent applications which had been necessary for safety had
robbed her of all strength--had effected, in fact, a prostration of
power, which she never recovered, from which she never rallied. Mr
Fairman was greatly shocked, and asked the physician for his opinion
_now_. The latter declined giving it until, as he expressed himself,
"the effects of the fever, and her attack, had left him a fair and open
field for observation. There was a slight cough upon her. It was
impossible for the present to say, whether it was temporary and
dependent upon what had happened, or whether it resulted from actual
mischief in her lung."

* * * * *

A month has passed away since the physician spoke these words, and to
doubt longer would be to gaze upon the sun and to question its
brightness. Mayhew has told the father his worst fears, and bids him
prepare like a Christian and a man for the loss of his earthly treasure.
It was he who watched the decay of her mother. The case is a similar
one. He has no consolation to offer. It must be sought at the throne of
Him who giveth, and hath the right to take away. The minister receives
the intelligence with admirable fortitude. We are sitting together, and
the doctor has just spoken as becomes him, seriously and well. There is
a spasm on the cheek of the incumbent, whilst I sob loudly. The latter
takes me by the hand, and speaks to the physician in a low and
hesitating tone.

"Mayhew," said he, "I thank you for this sincerity. I will endeavour to
look the terror in the face, as I have struggled to do for many days. It
is hard--but through the mercy of Christ it is not impracticable. Dear
and oldest friend, unite your prayers with mine, for strength, and
holiness, and resignation. Cloud and agitation are at our feet. Heaven
is above us. Let us look there, and all is well."

We knelt. The minister prayed. He did not ask his Master to suspend his
judgments. He implored him to prepare the soul of the afflicted one for
its early flight, and to subdue the hearts of them all with his grace
and holy spirit. Let him who doubts the efficacy of _prayer_ seek to
clear his difficulty in the season of affliction, or when death sits
grimly at the hearth--he shall be satisfied.

If it were a consolation and a joy in the midst of our tribulation to
behold the father chastened by the heavy blow which had fallen so
suddenly upon his age, how shall I express the ineffable delight--yes,
delight, amidst sorrow the most severe--with which I contemplated the
beloved maiden, upon whose tender years Providence had allowed to fall
so great a trial. Fully sensible of her position, and of the near
approach of death, she was, so long as she could see her parent and her
lover without distress, patient, cheerful, and rejoicing. Yes, weaker
and weaker as she grew, happier and happier she became in the
consciousness of her pure soul's increase. Into her ear had been
whispered, and before her eyes holy spirits had appeared with the
mysterious communication, which, hidden as it is from us, we find
animating and sustaining feeble nature, which else would sink, appalled
and overwhelmed. There was not one of us who did not live a witness to
the truth of the heavenly promise, "_as thy days, so shall thy strength
be_;" not one amongst the dearest friends of the sufferer, who did not
feel, in the height of his affliction, that God would not cast upon his
creatures a burden which a Christian might not bear. But to _her_
especially came the celestial declaration with power and might. An
angel, sojourning for a day upon the earth, and preparing for his
homeward flight, could not have spread his ready wing more joyfully,
with livelier anticipation of his native bliss, than did the maiden look
for her recall and blest ascension to the skies. In her presence I had
seldom any grief; it was swallowed up and lost in gratitude for the
victory which the dear one had achieved, in virtue of her faith, over
all the horrors of her situation. It was when alone that I saw, in its
reality and naked wretchedness, the visitation that I, more than any
other, was doomed to suffer. For days I could scarcely bring myself to
the calm consideration of it. It seemed unreal, impossible, a dream--any
thing but what it was--the direst of worldly woes--the most tremendous
of human punishments.

I remember vividly a day passed in the chamber of the resigned creature,
about two months after the first indication of her illness. Her disease
had increased rapidly, and the signs of its ravages were painfully
manifest in her sunken eye, her hectic cheek, her hollow voice, her
continual cough. Her spirit became more tranquil as her body retreated
from the world--her hopes more firm, her belief in the love of her
Saviour--his will and power to save her, more clear, and free from all
perplexity. I had never beheld so beautiful a sight as the devoted maid
presented to my view. I had never supposed it possible to exist; and
thus, as I sat at her side, though the thought of death was ever
present, it was as of a terror in a milkwhite shroud--a monster
enveloped and concealed beneath a robe of beauty. I listened to her with
enchantment whilst she spoke of the littleness of this world, and the
boundless happiness that awaited true believers in the next--of the
unutterable mercy of God, in removing us from a scene of trouble whilst
our views were cloudless, and our hopes sure and abiding. Yes, charmed
by the unruffled air, the angelic look, I could forget even my mortality
for a moment, and feel my living soul in deep communion with a superior
and brighter spirit. It was when she recalled me to earth by a
reminiscence of our first days of love, that the bruised heart was made
sensible of pain, and of its lonely widowed lot. Then the tears would
not be checked, but rushed passionately forth, and, as the clouds shut
out and hid the one brief glimpse of heaven, flowed unrestrained.

Her mind was in a sweet composed state during the interview to which I
allude. She had pleasure in referring to the days of her childhood, and
in speaking of the happiness which she had found amongst her native

"How little, Caleb," she said, "is the mind occupied with thoughts of
death in childhood--with any thoughts of actual lasting evil! We cannot
see these things in childhood--we cannot penetrate so deeply or throw
our gaze so far, we are so occupied with the joys that are round about
us. Is it not so? Our parents are ever with us. Day succeeds to day--one
so like the other--and our home becomes our world. A sorrow comes at
length--a parent dies--the first and dearest object in that world; then
all is known, and the stability of life becomes suspected."

"The home of many," I replied, "is undisturbed for years!"

"Yes, and how sweet a thing is love of home! It is not acquired, I am
sure. It is a feeling that has its origin elsewhere. It is born with us;
brought from another world, to carry us on in this with joy. It attaches
to the humblest heart that ever throbbed."

"Dear Ellen!" I exclaimed, "how little has sorrow to do with your

"And why, dear Caleb? Have you never found that the difficulties of the
broad day melt away beneath the influences of the quiet lovely night?
Have you never been perplexed in the bustle and tumult of the day, and
has not truth revealed itself when all was dark and still? This is my
night, and in sickness I have seen the eye of God upon me, and heard his
words, as I have never seen and heard before?"

It was in this manner that she would talk, not more disturbed, nay, not
so much, as when in happier times I never heard her speak of the
troubles and anxieties of her poor villagers. No complaint--no mournful
accents escaped her lips. If at times the soaring spirit was repressed,
dejected, the living--the loved ones whom she must leave behind her had
possession of her thoughts, and loaded them with pain. Who would wait
upon her father? Who would attend to all his little wants? Who could
understand his nature as she had learnt it--and who would live to
comfort and to cheer his days? These questions she has asked herself,
whilst her only answers have been her struggling tears.

The days were travelling fast; each one taking from the doomed
girl--years of life. She dwindled and wasted; and became at length less
than a shadow of her former self. Why linger on the narrative? Autumn
arrived, and, with the general decay--she died. A few hours before her
death she summoned me to her bedside, and acquainted me with her
fast-approaching dissolution. "It is the day," she said, speaking with
difficulty--"I am sure of it. I have watched that branch for many
days--look--it is quite bare. Its last yellow leaf has fallen--I shall
not survive it." I gazed upon her; her eye was brighter than ever. It
sparkled again, and most beautiful she looked. But death was there--and
her soul eager to give him all that he could claim!

"You are quite happy, dearest Ellen!" I exclaimed, weeping on her thin
emaciated hand.

"Most happy, beloved. Do not grieve--be resigned--be joyful. I have a
word to say. Nurse," she continued, calling to her attendant--"the

The nurse placed in her hand the sketch which she had taken of my
favourite scene.

"Do you remember, love?" said she. "Keep it, for Ellen--you loved that
spot--oh, so did I!--and you will love it still. There is another
sketch, you will find it by and by--afterwards--when I am----It is in my
desk. Keep that too, for Ellen, will you? It is the last drawing I have

I sat by and bit my lips to crush my grief, but I would not be silent
whilst my heart as breaking.

"You should rejoice, dear," continued Ellen solemnly. "We did not expect
this separation so very soon; but it is better now than later. Be sure
it is merciful and good. Prepare for this hour, Caleb; and when it
comes, you will be so calm, so ready to depart. How short is life! Do
not waste the precious hours. Read from St John, dearest--the eleventh
chapter. It is all sweetness and consolation."

The sun was dropping slowly into the west, leaving behind him a deep red
glow that illuminated the hills, and burnished the windows of the
sick-chamber. The wind moaned, and, sweeping the sere leaves at
intervals, threatened a tempest. There was a solemn stillness in the
parsonage, around whose gate--weeping in silence, without heart to
speak, or wish to make their sorrow known--were collected a host of
humble creatures--the poorest but sincerest friends of Ellen--the
villagers who had been her care. They waited and lingered for the heavy
news, which they were told must come to them this day; and prayed
secretly--every one of them, old and young--for mercy on the sufferer's
soul! And she, whose gentle spirit is about to flit, lies peacefully,
and but half-conscious of the sounds that pass to heaven on her behalf.
Her father, Mayhew, and I, kneel round her bed, and the minister in
supplicating tones, where nature does not interpose, dedicates the
virgin to _His_ favour whose love she has applied so well. He ceases,
for a whisper has escaped her lips. We listen all. "_Oh, this is
peace_!" she utters faintly, but most audibly, and the scene is over.

"It is a dream," said the minister, when we parted for the night--I with
the vain hope to forget in sleep the circumstances of the day--the
father to stray unwittingly into _her_ former room, and amongst the
hundred objects connected with the happy memory of the departed.

The picture of which my Ellen had spoken, I obtained on the following
day. It was a drawing of the church and the burial-ground adjoining it.
One grave was open. It represented that in which her own mortal remains
were deposited, amidst the unavailing lamentations of a mourning

In three months the incumbent quitted Devonshire. The scenery had no
pleasure for him, associated as it was with all the sorrows of his life.
His pupils returned to their homes. He had offered to retain them, and
to retain his incumbency for the sake of my advancement; but, whilst I
saw that every hour spent in the village brought with it new bitterness
and grief, I was not willing to call upon him for so great a sacrifice.
Such a step, indeed, was rendered unnecessary through the kind help of
Dr Mayhew, to whom I owe my present situation, which I have held for
forty years with pleasure and contentment. Mr Fairman retired to a
distant part of the kingdom, where the condition of the people rendered
the presence of an active minister of God a privilege and a blessing. In
the service of his Master, in the securing of the happiness of other
men, he strove for years to deaden the pain of his own crushed heart.
And he succeeded--living to bless the wisdom which had carried him
through temptation; and dying, at last, to meet with the reward
conferred upon the man _who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seeks
for glory, and honour, and immortality_--ETERNAL LIFE.

The employment obtained for me by the kind interest of Dr Mayhew, which
the return of so many summers and winters has found me steadily
prosecuting, was in the house of his brother--a gentleman whose name is
amongst the first in a profession adorned by a greater number of
high-minded, honourable men, than the world generally is willing to
allow. Glad to avail myself of comparative repose, an active occupation,
and a certain livelihood, I did not hesitate to enter his office in the
humble capacity of clerk. I have lived to become the confidential
secretary and faithful friend of my respected principal.

As I have progressed noiselessly in the world, and rather as a spectator
than an actor on the broad stage of life, it has been no unprofitable
task to trace the career of those with whom I formed an intimacy during
the bustle and excitement of my boyhood. Not many months after my
introduction into the mysteries of law, tidings reached my ears
concerning Mr Clayton. He had left his chapel suddenly. His avarice had
led him deeper and deeper into guilt; speculation followed speculation,
until he found himself entangled in difficulties, from which, by lawful
means, he was unable to extricate himself. He forged the signature of a
wealthy member of his congregation, and thus added another knot to the
complicated string of his delinquencies. He was discovered. There was
not a man aware of the circumstances of the case who was not satisfied
of his guilt; but a legal quibble saved him, and he was sent into the
world again, branded with the solemn reprimand of the judge who tried
him for his life, and who bade him seek existence honestly--compelled to
labour, as he would be, in a humbler sphere of life than that in which
he had hitherto employed his undoubted talents. To those acquainted with
the working of the unhappy system of _dissent_, it will not be a matter
of surprise that the result was not such as the good judge anticipated.
It so happened that, at the time of Mr Clayton's acquittal, a dispute
arose between the minister of his former congregation and certain
influential members of the same. The latter, headed by a fruiterer, a
very turbulent and conceited personage, separated from what they called
the _church_, and set up another _church_ in opposition. The
meeting-house was built, and the only question that remained to agitate
the pious minds of the half-dozen founders was--_How to let the pews_!
Mr CLAYTON, more popular amongst his set than ever, was invited to
accept the duties of a pastor. He consented, and had the pews been
trebled they would not have satisfied one half the applications which,
in one month, were showered on the victorious schismatics. Here, for a
few years, Mr Clayton continued; his character improved, his fame more
triumphant, his godliness more spiritual and pure than it had been even
before he committed the crime of forgery. His ruling passion,
notwithstanding, kept firm hold of his soul, and very soon betrayed him
into the commission of new offences. He fled from London, and I lost
sight of him. At length I discovered that he was preaching in one of the
northern counties, and with greater success than ever--yes, such is the
fallacy of the system--with the approbation of men, and the idolatry of
women, to whom the history of his career was as familiar as their own.
Again circumstances compelled him to decamp. I know not what these were,
nor could I ever learn; satisfied, however, that from his nature _money_
must have been in close connexion with them, I expected soon to hear of
him again; and I did hear, but not for years. The information that last
of all I gained was, that he had sold his noble faculties
_undisguisedly_ to the arch enemy of man. He had become the editor of
one of the lowest newspaper of the metropolis, notorious for its Radical
politics and atheistical blasphemies.

Honest, faithful and unimpeachable John Thompson! Friend, husband,
father--sound in every relation of this life--thou noble-hearted
Englishman! Let me not say thy race is yet extinct. No; in spite of the
change that has come over the spirit of our land--in spite of the rust
that eats into men's souls, eternally racked with thoughts of gain and
traffic--in spite of the cursed poison insidiously dropped beneath the
cottage eaves, by reckless, needy demagogues, I trust my native land,
and still believe, that on her lap she cherishes whole bands of faithful
children, and firm patriots. Not amongst the least inducements to return
to London was the advantage of a residence near to that of my best
friend and truest counsellor. I cannot number the days which I have
spent with him and his unequalled family--unequalled in their unanimity
and love. For years, no Sunday passed which did not find me at their
hospitable board; a companion afterwards in their country walks, and at
the evening service of their parish church. The children were men and
women before it pleased Providence to remove their sire. How like his
life was good John Thompson's death! Full of years, but with his mental
vision clear as in its dawn, aware of his decline, he called his family
about his bed, and to the weeping group spoke firmly and most

"He had lived his time," he said, "and long enough to see his children
doing well. There was not one who caused him pain and fear--and that was
more than every father of a family could say--thank God for it! He
didn't know that he had much to ask of any one of them. If they
continued to work hard, he left enough behind to buy them tools; and if
they didn't, the little money he had saved would be of very little use.
There was their mother. He needn't tell 'em to be kind to her, because
their feelings wouldn't let them do no otherwise. As for advice, he'd
give it to them in his own plain way. First and foremost, he hoped _they
never would sew their mouths up_--never act in such a way as to make
themselves ashamed of speaking like a man;" and then he recommended
strongly that _they should touch no bills but such as they might cut
wood with_. The worst that could befall 'em would be a cut upon the
finger; and if they handled other bills they'd cut their heads off in
the end, be sure of it. "Alec," said he at last,--"you fetch me bundle
of good sticks. Get them from the workshop." Alec brought them, and the
sire continued,--"Now, just break one a-piece. There, that's right--now,
try and break them altogether. No, no, my boys, you can't do that, nor
can the world break you so long as you hold fast and well together.
Disagree and separate, and nothing is more easy. If a year goes bad with
one, let the others see to make it up. Live united, do your duty, and
leave the rest to heaven." So Thompson spake; such was the legacy he
left to those who knew from his good precept and example how to profit
by it. My friendship with his children has grown and ripened. They are
thriving men. Alec has inherited the nature of his father more than any
other son. All go smoothly on in life, paying little regard to the
broils and contests of external life, but most attentive to the
_in-door_ business. All, did I say?--I err. Exception must be made in
favour of my excellent good friend, Mr Robert Thompson. He has in him
something of the spirit of his mother, and finds fault where his
brethren are most docile. Catholic emancipation he regarded with
horror--the Reform bill with indignation; and the onward movement of the
present day he looks at with the feelings of an individual waiting for
an earthquake. He is sure that the world is going round the other way,
or is turned topsy-turvy, or is coming to an end. He is the quietest and
best disposed man in his parish--his moral character is without a
flaw--his honesty without a blemish, yet is his mind filled with designs
which would astonish the strongest head that rebel ever wore. He talks
calmly of the propriety of hanging, without trial, all publishers of
immorality and sedition--of putting embryo rioters to death, and
granting them a judicial examination as soon as possible afterwards.
Dissenting meeting-houses he would shut up instanter, and guard with
soldiers to prevent irregularity or disobedience. "Things," he says,
"are twisted since his father was a boy, and must be twisted back--by
force--to their right place again. Ordinary measures are less than
useless for extraordinary times, and he only wishes he had power, or was
prime-minister for a day or two." But for this unfortunate _monomania_,
the Queen has not a better subject, London has not a worthier citizen
than the plain spoken, simple-hearted Robert Thompson.

In one of the most fashionable streets of London, and within a few doors
of the residence of royalty, is a stylish house, which always looks as
if it were newly painted, furnished, and decorated. The very imperfect
knowledge which a passer-by may gain, denotes the existence of great
wealth within the clean and shining walls. Nine times out of ten shall
you behold, standing at the door, a splendid equipage--a britzka or
barouche. The appointments are of the richest kind--the servants' livery
gaudiest of the gaudy--silvery are their buttons, and silver-gilt the
horses' harness. Stay, whilst the big door opens, and then mark the
owner of the house and britzka. A distinguished foreigner, you say, of
forty, or thereabouts. He seems dressed in livery himself; for all the
colours of the rainbow are upon him. Gold chains across his breast--how
many you cannot count at once--intersect each other curiously; and on
every finger sparkles a precious jewel, or a host of jewels. Thick
mustaches and a thicker beard adorn the foreign face; but a certain air
which it assumes, convinces you without delay that it is the property of
an unmitigated blackguard. Reader, you see the ready Ikey, whom we have
met oftener than once in this short history. Would you know more? Be
satisfied to learn, that he exists upon the follies and the vices of our
high nobility. He has made good the promises of his childhood and his
youth. He rolls in riches, and is----a fashionable money-lender.

Dark were the shadows which fell upon my youth. The indulgent reader has
not failed to note them--with pain it may be--and yet, I trust, not
without improvement. Yes, sad and gloomy has been the picture, and light
has gleamed but feebly there. It has been otherwise since I carried, for
my comfort and support, the memory of my beloved Ellen into the serious
employment of my later years. With the catastrophe of her decease,
commenced another era of my existence--the era of self-denial, patience,
sobriety, and resignation. Her example dropped with silent power into my
soul, and wrought its preservation. Struck to the earth by the immediate
blow, and rising slowly from it, I did not mourn her loss as men are
wont to grieve at the departure of all they hold most dear. Think when I
would of her, in the solemn watches of the night, in the turmoil of the
bustling day--a saint beatified, a spirit of purity and love--hovered
above me, smiling in its triumphant bliss, and whispering----peace. My
lamentation was intercepted by my joy. And so throughout have I been
irritated by the small annoyances of the world, her radiant
countenance--as it looked sweetly even upon death--has risen to shame
and silence my complaint. Repining at my humble lot, her words--that
estimated well the value, the nothingness of life compared with life
eternal--have spoken the effectual reproof. As we advance in years, the
old familiar faces gradually retreat and fade at length entirely. Forty
long years have passed, and on this bright spring morning the gentle
Ellen steals upon the lawn, unaltered by the lapse of time. Her slender
arm is twined in mine, and her eye fills with innocent delight. Not an
hour of age is added to her face, although the century was not yet born
when last I gazed upon its meek and simple loveliness. She vanishes. Is
it her voice that through the window flows, borne on the bosom of the
vernal wind? Angel of Light, I wait thy bidding to rejoin thee!

* * * * *



The extraordinary breadth and boldness of the fiscal measures propounded
and carried out at once in the past year with vigour and promptitude no
less extraordinary, wisely calculated of themselves, as they may be,
perhaps, and so far experience is assumed to have confirmed, to exercise
a salutary bearing upon the physical condition of the people, and to
reanimate the drooping energies of the country, can, however, receive
the full, the just development of all the large and beneficial
consequences promised, only as commercial intercourse is extended, as
new marts are opened, and as hostile tariffs are mitigated or abated, by
which former markets have been comparatively closed against the products
of British industry. The fiscal changes already operated, may be said to
have laid the foundation, and prepared the way, for this extension and
revival of our foreign commercial relations; but it remains alone for
our commercial policy to raise the superstructure and consummate the
work, if the foundations be of such solidity as we are assured on high
authority they are. In the promotion of national prosperity,
colonization may prove a gradually efficient auxiliary; but as a remedy
for present ills, its action must evidently be too slow and restricted;
and even though it should be impelled to a geometrical ratio of
progression, still would the prospect of effectual relief be discernible
only through a vista of years. Meanwhile, time presses, and the patient
might perish if condemned alone to the homoeopathic process of
infinitesimal doses of relief.

The statesman who entered upon the Government with his scheme of policy,
reflected and silently matured as a whole, (as we may take for granted,)
with principles determined, and his course chalked out in a right line,
was not, assuredly, tardy, whilst engaged with the work of fiscal
revision, in proceeding practically to the enlargement of the basis of
the commercial system of the empire. An advantageous treaty of commerce
with the young but rising republic of Monte Video, rewarded his first
exertions, and is there to attest also the zealous co-operation of his
able and accomplished colleague, Lord Aberdeen. This treaty is not
important only in reference to the greater facilities and increase of
trade, conceded with the provinces on the right bank of the river Plate,
and of the Uruguay and Parana, but inasmuch also as, in the possible
failure of the negotiations for the renewal of the commercial treaty
with Brazil, now approaching its term, it cannot fail to secure easy
access for British wares in the territory of Rio Grande, lying on the
borders of the republic of the Uruguay, and far the most extensive,
though not the most populous, of Brazilian provinces; and this in
despite of the Government of Brazil, which does not, and cannot, possess
the means for repressing its intercourse with Monte Video, even though
its possession and authority were as absolute and acknowledged in Rio
Grande as they are decidedly the reverse. The next, and the more
difficult, achievement of Conservative diplomacy resulted in the
ratification of a supplementary commercial convention with Russia. We
say difficult, because the iron-bound exclusiveness and isolation of the
commercial, as well as of the political, system of St Petersburg, is
sufficiently notorious; and it must have required no small exercise of
sagacity and address to overcome the known disinclination of that
Cabinet to any relaxation of the restrictive policy which, as the
Autocrat lately observed to a distinguished personage, "had been handed
down to him from his ancestors, and was found to work well for the
interests of his empire." The peculiar merits of this treaty are as
little understood, however, as they have been unjustly depreciated in
some quarters, and the obstacles to the accomplishment overlooked. It
will be sufficient to state, on the present occasion, that notice had
been given by the Russian Government, of the resolution to subject
British shipping, importing produce other than of British, or British
colonial origin, to the payment of differential or discriminating duties
on entrance into Russian ports. The result of such a measure would have
been to put an entire stop to that branch of the carrying trade, which
consisted in supplying the Russian market with the produce of other
European countries, and of Brazil, Cuba, and elsewhere, direct in
British bottoms. To avert this determination, representations were not
spared, and at length negotiations were consented to. But for some time
they wore but an unpromising appearance, were more than once suspended,
if not broken off, and little, if any, disposition was exhibited on the
part of the Russian Government to listen to terms of compromise. After
upwards of twelvemonths' delay, hesitation, and diplomacy, the
arrangement was finally completed, which was laid before Parliament at
the commencement of the session. It may be accepted as conclusive
evidence of the tact and skill of the British negotiators, that, in
return for waiving the alterations before alluded to, and leaving
British shipping entitled to the same privileges as before, it was
agreed that the produce of Russian Poland, shipped from Prussian ports
in Russian vessels, should be admissible into the ports of Great Britain
on the same conditions of duty as if coming direct and loaded from
Russian ports. As the greater part of Russian Poland lies inland, and
communicates with the sea only through the Prussian ports, it was no
more than just and reasonable that Russian Polish produce so brought to
the coast--to Dantzig, for example--should be admissible here in Russian
bottoms on the same footing as if from a Russian port. To this country
it could be a matter of slight import whether such portion of the
produce so shipped in Prussian ports as was carried in foreign, and not
in British bottoms, came in Russian vessels or in those of Prussia, as
before. To Russia, however, the boon was clearly of considerable
interest, and valued accordingly. In the mean time, British shipping
retains its former position, in respect of the carriage of foreign
produce; and, however hostile Russian tariffs may be to British
manufactured products--as hostile to the last degree they are, as well
as against the manufactured wares of all other States--it is undeniable
that our commercial marine enjoys a large proportion of the carrying
trade with Russia--almost a monopoly, in fact, of the carrying trade
between the two countries direct. Of 1147 foreign ships which sailed
with cargoes during the year 1842 from the port of Cronstadt, 515 were
British, with destination direct to the ports of the United Kingdom,
whilst only forty-one foreign or Russian vessels were loaded and left
during that year for British ports. Of 525 British vessels, of the
aggregate burden of nearly 118,000 tons, which anchored in the roadstead
of Cronstadt in that year, 472 were direct from the United Kingdom, and
fifty-three from various other countries, such as the two Sicilies,
Spain, Cuba, South America, &c. The number of British vessels which
entered the port of St Petersburg, as Cronstadt in fact is, was more
considerable still in 1840 and 1841--having been in the first year, 662,
of the aggregate burden of 146,682 tons; in the latter, of 645 ships and
146,415 tons. Of the total average number of vessels by which the
foreign trade of that empire is carried on, and load and leave the ports
of Russia yearly, which, in round numbers, may be taken at about 6000,
of an aggregate tonnage of 1,000,000--ships sailing on ballast not
comprehended--the average number of ships under the Russian flag,
comprised in the estimate, does not much, if any, exceed 1000, of the
aggregate burden of 150 or 160,000 tons. This digression, though it has
led us further astray from our main object than we had contemplated,
will not be without its uses, if it serve to correct some exaggerated
notions which prevail about the comparative valuelessness
of our commerce with Russia, because of its assumed entire
one-sidedness--losing sight altogether of its vast consequence to the
shipping interest; and of the freightage, which is as much an article of
commerce and profit as cottons and woollens; oblivious, moreover, of the
great political question involved in the maintenance and aggrandisement
of that shipping interest, which must be taken to account by the
statesman and the patriot as redressing to no inconsiderable extent the
adverse action of unfriendly tariffs. It is only after careful
ponderance of these and other combined considerations, that the value of
any trading relations with Russia can be clearly understood, and that
the importance of the supplementary treaty of navigation recently
carried through, with success proportioned to the remarkable ability and
perseverance displayed, can be duly appreciated. It is, undoubtedly, the
special economical event of the day, upon which the commercial, and
scarcely less the political, diplomacy of the Government may be most
justly complimented for its mastery of prejudices and impediments,
which, under the circumstances, and in view of the peculiar system to be
combated, appeared almost insurmountable. Common honesty and candour
must compel this acknowledgment, even from men so desperate in their
antipathies to the political system of Russia, as Mr Urquhart or Mr
Cargill--antipathies, by the way, with which we shall not hesitate to
express a certain measure of participation.

We shall not dwell upon those other negotiations, now and for some time
past in active progress with France, with Brazil, with Naples, with
Austria, and with Portugal, by which Sir Robert Peel is so zealously
labouring to fill up the broad outlines of his economical policy--a
policy which represents the restoration of peace to the nation, progress
to industry, and plenty to the cottage; but which also otherwise is not
without its dangers. Amidst the whirlwind of passions, the storm of
hatred and envy, conjured by the evil genius of his predecessors in
office, and most notably by the malignant star which lately ruled over
the foreign destinies of England, the task has necessarily been, yet is,
and will be, Herculean; but the force of Hercules is there also, as may
be hoped, to wrestle with and overthrow the hydra--the AEolus to recall
and encage the tempestuous elements of strife. A host in himself, hosts
also the premier has with him in his cabinet; for such singly are the
illustrious Wellington, the Aberdeen, the Stanley, the Graham, the
Ripon, and, though last, though youngest, scarcely least, the Gladstone.

Great as is our admiration, deeply impressed as we are with a sense of
the extraordinary qualifications, of the varied acquirements, of the
conscientious convictions, and the singleness and rightmindedness of
purpose of the right honourable the vice-president of the Board of
Trade, we must yet presume to hesitate before we give an implicit
adherence upon all the points in the confession of economical faith
expressed and implied in an article attributed to him, and not without
cause, which ushered into public notice the first number of a new
quarterly periodical, "The Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review," in
January last, and was generally accepted as a programme of ministerial
faith and action. Our points of dissonance are, however, few; but, as
involving questions of principle, whilst we are generally at one on
matters of detail, we hold them to be of some importance. This, however,
is not the occasion proper for urging them, when engaged on a special
theme. But on a question of fact, which has a bearing upon the subject
in hand, we may be allowed to express our decided dissent from the
_dictum_ somewhat arbitrarily launched, in the article referred to, in
the following terms:--"We shall urge that foreign countries neither have
combined, nor ought to combine, nor can combine, against the commerce of
Great Britain; and we _shall treat as a calumny the imputation that they
are disposed to enter into such a combination_." The italics, it must be
observed, are ours.

We have at this moment evidence lying on our table sufficiently
explanatory and decisive to our minds that such a spirit of combination
is abroad against British commercial interests. We might indeed appeal
to events of historical publicity, which would seem confirmatory of a
tacitly understood combination, from the simultaneity of action
apparent. We have, for example, France reducing the duties on Belgian
iron, coal, linen, yarn, and cloths, whilst she raises those on similar
British products; the German Customs' League imposing higher and
prohibitory duties on British fabrics of mixed materials, such as wool,
cotton, silk, &c.; puny Portugal interdicting woollens by exorbitant
rates of impost, and scarcely tolerating the admission of cotton
manufactures; the United States, with sweeping action, passing a whole
tariff of prohibitory imposts; and, in several of these instances, this
war of restrictions against British industry commenced, or immediately
followed upon, those remarkable changes and reductions in the tariff of
this country which signalized the very opening of Sir Robert Peel's
administration. Conceding, however, this seeming concert of action to be
merely fortuitous, what will the vice-president of the Board of Trade
say to the long-laboured, but still unconsummated customs' union between
France and Belgium? Was that in the nature of a combination against
British commercial interests, or was it the reverse? It is no cabinet
secret--it has been publicly proclaimed, both by the French and Belgian
Governments and press, that the indispensable basis, the _sine qua non_
of that union, must be, not a calculated amalgamation of, not a
compromise between the differing and inconsistent tariffs of Belgium and
France, but the adoption, the imposition, of the tariff of France for
both countries in all its integrity, saving in some exceptional cases of
very slight importance, in deference to municipal dues and _octrois_ in
Belgium. When, after previous parley and cajoleries at Brussels,
commissioners were at length procured to be appointed by the French
ministry, and proceeded to meet and discuss the conditions of the
long-cherished project of the union, with the officials deputed on the
part of France to assist in the conference, it is well known that the
final cause of rupture was the dogged persistance of the French members
of the joint commission in urging the tariff of France, in all its
nakedness of prohibition, deformity, and fiscal rigour, as the one sole
and exclusive _regime_ for the union debated, without modification or
mitigation. On this ground alone the Belgian deputies withdrew from
their mission. How this result, this check, temporary only as it may
prove, chagrined the Government, if not the people, and the mining and
manufacturing interests of France, may be understood by the simple
citation of a few short but pithy sentences from the _Journal des
Debats_, certainly the most influential, as it is the most ably
conducted, of Parisian journals:--"_Le 'ZOLLVEREIN,'_" observes the
_Debats, "a prodigieusement rehausse la Prusse; l'union douaniere avec
la Belgique aurait, a un degre moindre cependant, le meme resultat pour
nous.... Nous sommes, donc, les partisans de cette union, ses partisans
prononces, a deux conditions: la premiere, c'est qu'il ne faille pas
payer ces beaux resultats par le bouleversement de l'industrie
rationale; la seconde, c'est que la Belgique en accepte sincerement es
charges en meme temps qu'elle en recuiellera les profits, et qu'en
consequence elle se prete a tout ce qui sera necessaire pour mettre
que les interets de notre Tresor soient a couvert._" This is plain
speaking; the Government journal of France worthily disdains to practise
mystery or attempt deception, for its mission is to contend for the
interests, one-sided, exclusive, and egoistical, as they may be, and
establish the supremacy of France--_quand meme_; at whatever resulting
prejudice to Belgium--at whatever total exclusion of Great Britain from
commercial intercourse with, and commercial transit through Belgium,
must inevitably flow from a customs' union, the absolute preliminary
condition of which is to be, that Belgium "shall be ready to do every
thing necessary to place our commerce beyond the reach of invasion by
foreign products." Mr Gladstone may rest assured that the achievement of
this Franco-Belgiac customs' union will still be pursued with all the
indomitable perseverance, the exhaustless and ingenious devices, the
little-scrupulous recources, for which the policy of the Tuileries in
times present does not belie the transmitted traditions of the past. And
it will be achieved, to the signal detriment of British interests, both
commercial and political, unless all the energies and watchfulness of
the distinguished statesmen who preside at the Foreign Office and the
Board of Trade be not unceasingly on the alert.

Other and unmistakeable signs of the spirit of commercial combination,
or confederation, abroad, and more or less explicitly avowed and
directed against this country, are, and have been for some time past,
only too patent, day by day, in most of those continental journals, the
journals of confederated Germany, of France, with some of those of Spain
and of Portugal, which exercise the largest measure of influence upon,
and represent with most authority the voice of, public opinion. Nor are
such demonstrations confined to journalism. _Collaborateurs_, in serial
or monthly publications, are found as earnest auxiliaries in the same
cause--as _redacteurs_ and _redactores_; pamphleteers, like light
irregulars, lead the skirmish in front, whilst the main battle is
brought up with the heavy artillery of _tome_ and works voluminous. Of
these, as of _brochures, filletas_, and journals, we have various
specimens now on our library table. All manner of customs, or commercial
unions, between states are projected, proposed, and discussed, but from
each and all of these proposed unions Great Britain is studiously
isolated and excluded. We have the "Austrian union" planned out and
advocated, comprising, with the hereditary states of that empire,
Moldavia, Wallachia, Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, as well as those
provinces of ancient Greece, which, like Macedonia, remain subject to
Turkey, with, perhaps, the modern kingdom of Greece. We have the
"Italian union," to be composed of Sardinia, Lombardy, Lucca, Parma, and
Modena, Tuscany, the two Sicilies, and the Papal States. There is the
"Peninsular union" of Spain and Portugal. Then we have one "French
union" sketched out, modestly projected for France, Belgium,
Switzerland, and Savoy only. And we have another of more ambitious
aspirations, which should unite Belgium, Switzerland, and Spain under
the commercial standard of France. One of the works treating of projects
of this kind was, we believe, crowned with a prize by some learned
institution in France.

From this slight sketch of what is passing abroad--and we cannot afford
the space at present for more ample development--the right honourable
Vice President of the Board of Trade will perhaps see cause to revise
the opinion too positively enounced, that "foreign countries neither
have combined, nor ought to combine, nor can combine, against the
commerce of Great Britain;" and that it is a "calumny" to conceive that
they are "disposed to enter into such a combination."

With these preliminary remarks, we now proceed to the consideration of
the commercial relations between Spain and Great Britain, and of the
policy in the interest of both countries, but transcendently in that of
Spain, by which those relations, now reposing on the narrowest basis, at
least on the one side, on that of Spain herself, may be beneficially
improved and enlarged. It may be safely asserted, that there are no two
nations in the old world--nay more, no two nations in either, or both,
the old world and the new--more desirably situated and circumstanced for
an intimate union of industrial interests, for so direct and perfect an
interchange of their respective products. The interchange would, indeed,
under a wise combination of reciprocal dealing, resolve itself purely
almost into the primitive system of barter; for the wants of Spain are
such as can be best, sometimes only, supplied from England, whilst Spain
is rich in products which ensure a large, sometimes an exclusive,
command of British consumption. Spain is eminently agricultural,
pastoral, and mining; Great Britain more eminently ascendant still in
the arts and science of manufacture and commerce. With a diversity of
soil and climate, in which almost spontaneously flourish the chief
productions of the tropical as of the temperate zone; with mineral
riches which may compete with, nay, which greatly surpass in their
variety, and might, if well cultivated, in their value, those of the
Americas which she has lost; with a territory vast and virgin in
proportion to the population; with a sea-board extensively ranging along
two of the great high-ways of nations--the Atlantic and the
Mediterranean--and abundantly endowed with noble and capacious harbours;
there is no conceivable limit to the boundless production and creation
of exchangeable wealth, of which, with her immense natural resources,
still so inadequately explored, Spain is susceptible, that can be
imagined, save from that deficient supply of labour as compared with the
territorial expanse which would gradually come to be redressed as
industry was promoted, the field of employment extended, and labour
remunerated. With an estimated area of 182,758 square miles, the
population of Spain does not exceed, probably, thirteen millions and a
half of souls, whilst Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 115,702
square miles, support a population of double the number. Production,
however, squares still less with territorial extent than does
population; for the stimulus to capital and industry is wanting when the
facilities of exchanges are checked by fiscal prohibitions and
restrictions. Agricultural produce, the growth of the vine and the
olive, is not unfrequently known to run to waste, to be abandoned, as
not worth the toil of gathering and preparation, because markets are
closed and consumption checked in countries from which exchangeable
commodities are prohibited. The extent of these prohibitions and
restrictions, almost unparalleled even by the arbitrary tariff of
Russia, may be estimated in part by the following extract from a
pamphlet, published last year by Mr James Henderson, formerly
consul-general to the Republic of New Granada, entitled "A Review of the
Commercial Code and Tariffs of Spain;" a writer, by the way, guilty of
much exaggeration of fact and opinion when not quoting from, or
supported by, official documents.

"The 'Aranceles,' or Tariffs, are four in number; 1st, of
foreign importations; 2d, of importations from America; 3d,
from Asia; and, 4th, of exportations from Spain.

"The Tariff of foreign importations contains 1326 articles
alphabetically arranged:--

800 to pay a duty of 15 per cent in Spanish vessels,
230 " " 20 "
80 " " 25 "
55 " " 10 "
26 " " 30 "
3 " " 36 "
2 " " 24 "
2 " " 45 "
about 50 from 1 to 8 per cent, and the rest free of duty.

"The preceding articles imported in foreign vessels are subject
to an increased duty, at the following rates:--

1150 articles at the rate of 1/8 more,
80 " " 1/4 more,
10 " " 1/2 more.

"There is, besides, a duty of 'consumo,' principally at the
rate of 1/8 of the respective duties, and in some very few
cases at the rate of 1/4 and 1/2.

"Thus the duty of 15 per cent levied, if the importation is by
a Spanish vessel, will be increased by the 'consumo' to 20 per
cent. And the duty of 20 per cent on the same articles, in
foreign vessels, will be augmented to 27 per cent.

"The duty of 20 per cent will be about 27 in Spanish vessels,
and in foreign vessels, on the same articles, 36 per cent. The
duty of 25 per cent, will in the whole be 33 per cent by
Spanish, and by foreign vessels 44 per cent.

"The duty on articles, amounting to seventy-three, imported
from America, vary from 1 to 15 per cent, with double the duty
if in foreign vessels.

"The articles of importation from Asia are--sixty-nine from the
Phillipines at 1 to 5 per cent duty, and thirty-six from China
at 5 to 25 per cent duty, and can only be imported in Spanish

"The articles of export are fourteen, with duties at 1 to 80
per cent, with one-third increase if by foreign vessels.

"There are eighty-six articles of importation prohibited,
amongst which are wrought iron, tobacco, spirits, quicksilver,
ready-made clothing, corn, salt, hats, soap, wax, wools,
leather, vessels under 400 tons, &c. &c. &c.

"There are eleven articles of exportation prohibited, amongst
which are hides, skins, and timber for naval purposes."

Such a tariff contrasts strangely with that of this country, in which 10
per cent is the basis of duty adopted for importations of foreign
manufactures, and 5 per cent for foreign raw products.

Can we wonder that, with such a tariff, legitimate imports are of so
small account, and that the smuggler intervenes to redress the
enormously disproportionate balance, and administer to the wants of the
community? Can we wonder that the powers of native production should be
so bound down, and territorial revenue so comparatively diminutive, when
exchanges are so hampered by fiscal and protective rapacity? Canga
Arguelles, the first Spanish financier and statistician of his day,
calculated the territorial revenue of Spain at 8,572,220,592 reals, say,
in sterling, L.85,722,200; whilst he asserts, with better cultivation,
population the same, the soil is capable of returning ten times the
value. As a considerable proportion of the revenue of Spain is derived
from the taxation of land, the prejudice resulting to the treasury is
alone a subject of most important consideration. For the proprietary,
and, in the national point of view, as affecting the well-being of the
masses, it is of far deeper import still. And what is the financial
condition of Spain, that her vast resources should be apparently so
idle, sported with, or cramped? Take the estimates, the budget,
presented by the minister _De ca Hacienda_, for the past year of 1842:--

Revenue 1842, 879,193,400 reals
Id. expenditure, 1,541,639,800 id.
Deficit on the year, 662,446,400

Thus, with a revenue of L.8,791,934, an expenditure of L.15,416,398, and
a deficit of L.6,624,460, the debt of Spain, foreign and domestic, is
almost an unfathomable mystery as to its real amount. Even at this
present moment, it cannot be said to be determined; for that amount
varies with every successive minister who ventures to approach the
question. Multifarious have been the attempts to arrive at a clear
liquidation--that is, classification and ascertainment of claims; but
hitherto with no better success than to find the sum swelling under the
labour, notwithstanding national and church properties confiscated,
appropriated, and exchanged away against _titulos_ of debt by millions.
It is variously estimated at from 120 to 200 millions sterling, but say
150 millions, under the different heads of debt active, passive, and
deferred; debt bearing interest, debt without interest, and debt
exchangeable in part--that is, payable in certain fixed proportions, for
the purchase of national and church properties. For a partial
approximation to relative quantities, we must refer the reader, for want
of better authority, to Fenn's "Compendium of the English and Foreign
Funds"--a work containing much valuable information, although not
altogether drawn from the best sources.

In the revenues of Spain, the customs enter for about 70,000,000 of
reals, say L.700,000 only, including duties on exports as well as
imports. Now, assuming the contraband imports to amount only to the
value of L.6,000,000, a moderate estimate, seeing that some writers, Mr
Henderson among the number, rashly calculate the contraband imports
alone at eight, and even as high as ten, millions sterling, it should
follow that, at an average rate of duty of twenty per cent, the customs
should yield additionally L.1,200,000, or nearly double the amount now
received under that head. As, through the cessation of the civil war, a
considerable portion of the war expenditure will be, and is being
reduced, the additional L.1,200,000 gained, by an equitable adjustment
of the tariff, on imports alone, perhaps we should be justified in
saying one million and a half, or not far short of two millions
sterling, import and export duties combined, would go far to remedy the
desperation of Spanish financial embarrassments--the perfect solution
and clearance of which, however, must be, under the most favourable
circumstances, an affair of many years. It is not readily or speedily
that the prodigalities of Toreno, or the unscrupulous, but more
patriotic financial impostures of Mendizabal, can be retrieved, and the
national faith redeemed. The case is, to appearance, one past relief;
but, with honest and incorruptible ministers of finance like Ramon
Calatrava, hope still lingers in the long perspective. With an
enlightened commercial policy on the one hand, with the retrenchment of
a war expenditure on the other, the balance between receipts and
expenditure may come to be struck, an excess of revenue perhaps created;
whilst the sales of national domains against _titulos_ of debt, if
managed with integrity, should make way towards its gradual diminution.

As there is much misapprehension, and many exaggerations, afloat
respecting the special participation of Great Britain in the contraband
trade of Spain, its extraordinary amount, and the interest assumed
therefrom which would result exclusively from, and therefore induces the
urgency for, an equitable reform of the tariff of Spain, we shall
briefly take occasion to show the real extent of the British share in
that illicit trade, so far as under the principal heads charged; and
having exhibited that part of the case in its true, or approximately
true, light, we shall also prove that it is, as it should be, the
primary interest of this country to regain its due proportion in the
regular trade with Spain, and which can only be regained by legitimate
intercourse, founded on a reciprocal, and therefore identical,
combination of interests. In this strife of facts we shall have to
contend against Senor Marliani, and others of the best and most
steadfast advocates of a more enlightened policy, of sympathies entirely
and patriotically favourable towards a policy which shall cement and
interweave indissolubly the material interests and prosperity of Spain
and Great Britain--of two realms which possess each those products and
peculiar advantages in which the other is wanting, and therefore stand
seized of the special elements required for the successful progress of
each other. Our contest will, however, be one of friendly character, our
differences will be of facts, but not of principles. But we hold it to
be of importance to re-establish facts, as far as possible, in all their
correctness; or rather, to reclaim them from the domain of vague
conjecture and speculation in which they have been involved and lost
sight of. The task will not be without its difficulties; for the
position and precise data are wanting on which to found, with even a
reasonable approximation to mathematical accuracy, a comprehensive
estimate, to resolve into shape the various and complex elements of
Spanish industry and commerce, legitimate and contraband. Statistical
science--for which Spain achieved an honourable renown in the last
century, and may cite with pride her Varela, Musquiz, Gabarrus, Ulloa,
Jovellanos, &c., was little cultivated or encouraged in that decay of
the Spanish monarchy which commenced with the reign of the idiotic
Carlos IV., and his venal minister Godoy, and in the wars and
revolutions which followed the accession, and ended not with the death
of Fernando his son, the late monarch--was almost lost sight of; though
Canga Arguelles, lately deceased only, might compete with the most
erudite economist, here or elsewhere, of his day. Therefore it is, that
few are the statistical documents or returns existing in Spain which
throw any clear light upon the progress of industry, or the extent and
details of her foreign commerce. Latterly, indeed, the Government has
manifested a commendable solicitude to repair this unfortunate defect of
administrative detail, and has commenced with the periodical collection
and verification of returns and information from the various ports,
which may serve as the basis--and indispensable for that end they must
be--on which to reform the errors of the present, or raise the
superstructure of a new, fiscal and commercial system. Notwithstanding,
however, the difficulties we are thus exposed to from the lack or
incompleteness of official data on the side of Spain, we hope to present
a body of useful information illustrative of her commerce, industry, and
policy; in especial, we hope to dispel certain grave misconceptions, to
redress signal exaggeration about the extent of the contraband trade,
rankly as it flourishes, carried on along the coasts, and more largely
still, perhaps, by the land frontiers of that country, at least so far
as British participation. Various have been the attempts to establish
correct conclusions, to arrive at some fixed notions of the precise
quantities of that illicit traffic; but hitherto the results generally
have been far from successful, except in one instance. In a series of
articles on the commerce of Spain, published under the head of "Money
Market and City Intelligence," in the months of December and January
last, the _Morning Herald_ was the first to observe and to apply the
data in existence by which such an enquiry could be carried out, and
which we purpose here to follow out on a larger scale, and with
materials probably more abundant and of more recent date.

The whole subject of Spanish commerce is one of peculiar interest, and,
through the more rigorous regulations recently adopted against
smuggling, is at this moment exciting marked attention in France, which,
it will be found with some surprise, is far the largest smuggler of
prohibited commodities into Spain, although the smallest consumer of
Spanish products in return. It is in no trifling degree owing to the
jealous and exclusive views which unhappily prevail with our nearest
neighbour across the Channel, that the prohibitory tariff, scarcely more
adverse to commercial intercourse than that of France after all, which
robs the revenue of Spain, whilst it covers the country with hosts of
smugglers, has not sooner been revised and reformed. France is not
willing to enter into a confederacy of interests with Spain herself, nor
to permit other nations, on any fair equality of conditions, and with
the abandonment of those unjust pretensions to special privileges in her
own behalf, which, still tenaciously clinging to Bourbonic traditions of
by-gone times, would affect to annihilate the Pyrenees, and regard Spain
as a dependent possession, reserved for the exclusive profit and the
commercial and political aggrandisement of France. That these
exaggerated pretensions are still entertained as an article of national
faith, from the sovereign on his throne to the meanest of his subjects,
we have before us, at this moment of writing, conclusive evidence in the
report of M. Chegaray, read in the Chamber of Deputies on the 11th of
April last, (_vide Moniteur_ of the 12th,) drawn up by a commission, to
whom was referred the consideration of the actual commercial relations
of France with Spain--provoked by various petitions of the merchants of
Bayonne, and other places, complaining of the prejudice resulting to
their commerce and shipping from certain alterations in the Spanish
customs' laws, decreed by the Regent in 1841. We may have occasion
hereafter to make further reference to this report.

The population of Spain may be rated in round numbers at thirteen
millions and a half, whilst that of the United Kingdom may be taken at
about double the number. With a wise policy, therefore, the interchange
should be of an active and most extensive nature betwixt two countries,
reckoning together more than forty millions of inhabitants, one of
which, with a superficial breadth of territory out of all proportion
with a comparatively thinly-scattered community, abounding with raw
products and natural riches of almost spontaneous growth; whilst the
other, as densely peopled, on the contrary, in comparison with its
territorial limits, is stored with all the elements, and surpasses in
all the arts and productions of manufacturing industry. Unlike France,
Great Britain does not rival Spain in wines, oils, fruits, and other
indigenous products of southern skies, and therefore is the more free to
act upon the equitable principle of fair exchange in values for values.
Great Britain has a market among twenty-seven millions of an active and
intelligent people, abounding in wealth and advanced in the tastes of
luxurious living, to offer against one presenting little more than half
the range of possible customers. She has more; she has the markets of
the millions of her West Indies and Americas--of the tens of millions of
British India, amongst whom a desire for the various fruits and
delicious wines of Spain might gradually become diffused for a thousand
of varieties of wines which, through the pressure of restrictive duties,
are little if at all known to European consumption beyond the boundaries
of Spain herself. With such vast fields of commercial intercourse open
on the one side and the other, with the bands of mutual material
interests combining so happily to bind two nations together which can
have no political causes of distrust and estrangement, it is really
marvellous that the direct relations should be of so small account, and
so hampered by jealous adherence to the strict letter of an absurd
legislation, as in consequence to be diverted from their natural course
into other and objectionable channels--as the waters of the river
artificially dammed up will overflow its banks, and, regaining their
level, speed on by other pathways to the ocean. We shall briefly
exemplify the force of these truths by the citation of official figures
representing the actual state of the trade between Spain and the United
Kingdom antecedent to and concluding with the year 1840, which is the
last year for which in detail the returns have yet issued from the Board
of Trade. That term, however, would otherwise be preferentially
selected, because affording facilities for comparison with similar but
partial returns only of foreign commerce made up in Spain to the same
period, little known in this country, and with the French customhouse
returns of the trade of France with Spain. It must be premised that the
tables of the Board of Trade in respect of import trade, as well as of
foreign and colonial re-exports, state quantities only, but not values;
nor do they present any criteria by which values approximately might be
determined. Where, therefore, such values are attempted to be arrived
at, it will be understood that the calculations are our own, and pretend
no more--for no more could be achieved--than a rough estimate of
probable approximation.

Total declared value of British and Irish produce and manufactures
exported to Spain and the Balearic Isles in--

1840, amounted to L.404,252
1835, 405,065
1831, 597,848

From the first to the last year of the decennial term, the regular
trade, therefore, had declined to the extent of above L.193,000, or at
the rate of about 33 per cent. But as for three of the intermediate
years 1837, 1838, and 1839, the exports are returned at L.286,636,
L.243,839, and L.262,231, exclusive of fluctuations downwards in
previous years, it will be more satisfactory to take the averages for
five years each, of the term. Thus from--

1831 to 1835, both inclusive, the average was L.442,916
1836 to 1840, 320,007

The average decline in the latter term, was therefore above 27-1/2 per

Of the Foreign and Colonial merchandise re-exported within the same
period it is difficult to say what proportion was for British account,
and, as such, should therefore be classed under the head of trade with
Spain. It may be assumed, however, that the following were the products
of British colonial possessions, whose exports to Spain are thus stated
in quantities:--

1831. 1835. 1840.
Cinnamon, 284,201 123,590 144,291 lbs.
Cloves, 15,831 9,470 23,504 ...
India Cottons, 38,969 3,267 10,067 pieces
India Bandannas, 17,386 11,864 16,049 ...
Indigo, 16,641 5,231 8,623 lbs.
Pepper, 227,305 69,365 194,254 ...

To which may be added--

Tobacco, 64,851 2,252,356 1,729,552 ...

The tobacco, being of United States' growth, may, to a considerable
extent, be bonded here for re-exportation on foreign account merely. The
foregoing, though the heaviest, are not the whole of the foreign and
colonial products re-exported for Spain, but they constitute the great
bulk of value. Taking those of the last year, their value may be
approximatively estimated in round numbers, as calculated upon what may
be assumed a fair average of the rates of the prices current in the
market, as they appear quoted in the London _Mercantile Journal_ of the
4th of April. It is only necessary to take the more weighty articles.

Cinnamon, 144,290 lbs. at 5s. 6d. L.39,679
Indigo, 8,620 -- at 6s. 2,586
Pepper, 194,250 -- at 4d. 3,232
Tobacco, 1,729,550 -- at 4d. 28,825
Indian Bandannas, 16,049 pieces at 25s. 20,061

It may, we conceive, be assumed from these citations of some few of the
larger values exported to Spain under the head of "Foreign and Colonial
Merchandise," that the total amount of such values, inclusive of all the
commodities non-enumerated here, would not exceed L.150,000, which,
added to the L.404,252 already stated as the "declared values" of
"British and Irish produce" also exported, would give a total export for
1840 of L.554,250.

We come now to the imports from Spain and the Balearic Isles, direct
also into the United Kingdom, as stated in the Board of Trade tables in
quantities; selecting the chief articles only, however:--

1831. 1835. 1840.
Barilla, 61,921 64,175 36,585 cwts.
Lemons and Oranges, 28,266 30,548 30,171 packages.
Madder, 1,569 3,418 6,174 cwts.
Olive Oil, 1,243,686 1,793 1,305,384 galls.
Quicksilver, 269,558 1,438,869 2,157,823 lbs.
Raisins, 105,066 104,334 166,505 cwts.
Brandy, 69,319 15,880 223,268 galls.
Wines, 2,537,968 2,641,547 3,945,161 galls.
Wool, 3,474,823 1,602,752 1,266,905 lbs.

Applying the same plan of calculation upon an average of the prices
ruling in the London market, we arrive at the following approximate

Barilla, 36,585 cwts. at 10s. per cwt. L.18,292
Lemons and oranges, 30,170 packages, at 30s. per packet, 45,255
Madder, 6174 cwts. at 30s per cwt. 9,261
Olive oil, 1,305,384 gallons, at L.45 per 252 gallons 233,100
Quicksilver, 2,157,823 lbs., at 4s. per lb., 431,564
Raisins, 166,505 cwts., at 40s. per cwt. 333,000
Brandy, 223,268 gallons, at 2s. 6d. per gallon, 27,900
Wines, 3,945,160, gallons, at L.20 per butt, 730,580
Wool, 1,266,900 lbs., at 2s. per lb., 126,690

The value of the other articles of import from Spain,
which need not be enumerated here, amongst which
corn, skins, pig-lead, bark for tanning, &c., would
certainly swell this amount more by 200,000
Total direct imports from Spain, L.2,165,642

On several of the foregoing commodities the average rates of price on
which they are calculated may be esteemed as moderate, such as wines,
brandies, raisins, &c.; and several are exclusive of duty charge, as
where the averages are estimated at the prices in bond. In other
commodities the average rates are inclusive of duty. Wines, brandies,
quicksilver, barilla, are exclusive of duty, for example; the others,
duty paid, but in some instances duties scarcely more than nominal. On
the other hand, it must be taken into the account, for the purpose of a
fair comparison, that these average estimates of the prices of imported
merchandise do include and are enhanced by the expense of freights and
the profits of the importer, and therefore all the difference must be in
excess of the cost price at which shipped, and by which estimated in
Spain. The "declared values" of British exports to Spain embrace but a
small proportion, perhaps, of these shipping charges, and are altogether
irrespective of duties levied on arrival in Spanish ports. As not only a
fair, but probably an outside allowance, let us, therefore, redress the
balance by striking off 20 per cent from the total estimated values of
imports from Spain to cover shipping charges, profits, and port-dues,
whether included in prices or not. The account will then stand thus:--

Estimated imports from Spain in round numbers L.2,165,000
Deduct 20 per cent, 433,000
Value of imports shipped, L.1,732,000
Deduct declared value of British exports to Spain, 554,000
Excess of Spanish imports direct on equalized
estimates of values, L.1,178,000

The acceptation is so common, it has been so long received as a truism
unquestionable as unquestioned, as well in Spain as in Great Britain, of
British commerce being one-sided, and carrying a large yearly balance
against the Peninsular state, that these figures of relative and
approximate quantities can hardly fail to excite a degree of
astonishment and of doubt also. It will be, as it ought to be, observed
at once, that the trade with Spain direct represents one part of the
question only; that the indirect trade through Gibraltar, and elsewhere,
might, in its results, reverse the picture. The objection is reasonable,
and we proceed to enquire how far it is calculated to affect the

The total "declared value" of the exports of British and Irish produce,
and manufactures to Gibraltar, for the year 1840, is stated at

Of which, as more or less destined
for Spain, licitly or illicitly,
cotton manufactures, 635,821
Linens, &c., &c., 224,061
Woollens, 97,092

It may be asserted as a fact, for, although not on official authority,
yet we have it from respectable parties who have been resident on, and
well conversant with the commerce of that rock, that, of the cotton
goods thus imported into Gibraltar, the exports to Ceuta and the
opposite coast of Africa amount, on the average, to L.70,000 per annum.
Of linens and woollens a considerable proportion find their way there
also, and to Italian ports. Of British and colonial merchandise exported
to Gibraltar in the same year, the following may be considered to be
mainly, or to some extent, designed for introduction into Spain:--

Cinnamon value, 77,352 lbs., say value L.21,000
Indigo 26,000 lbs., say 7,800
Tobacco 610,000 lbs., say 10,166

Some cotton piece-goods from India, and silk goods, such as bandannas,
&c., pepper, cloves, &c., &c., were also exported there; say, inclusive
of the quantities enumerated above, to the total value of L.100,000 of
commodities, of which a considerable proportion was destined for Spain.
Assuming the whole of the cotton goods to be for introduction into
Spain, minus the quantity dispatched to the African coast, we have in
round numbers the value of

Say of linens one-third, 74,660
Of woollens, ib., 32,360
Of cinnamon, India goods,
and other articles, in
value L.90,000, minus
tobacco, one-half, 45,000
Tobacco, the whole, 10,166
Total indirect exports 727,986
To which add direct 554,000

Again, however, various products of Spain are also imported into the
United Kingdom _via_ Gibraltar, such as--

Bark for tanning or dyeing, 5,724 tons, say value, L.51,500
Wool, 292,730 lbs. ib., 29,270

It may be fairly assumed, therefore, that to the extent of L.100,000 of
Spanish products, consisting, besides the foregoing, of wines, skins,
pig-lead, &c., &c., is brought here through Gibraltar, which, added to
the amount of the imports from Spain direct, will sum up the account

Imports from Spain direct, L.1,732,000
_Via_ Gibraltar, 100,000
Total, L.1,832,000

Exports to Spain
direct, L.554,000
_Via_ Gibraltar, 727,900
Excess in favour of Spain,
and against England, L.550,100

--A sum nearly equal to the amount of the exports to Spain direct. As we
remarked before, these figures and valuations, which are sufficiently
approximative of accuracy for any useful purpose, will take public men
and economists, both here and in Spain, by surprise. Amongst other of
the more distinguished men of the Peninsula, Senor Marliani, enlightened
statesman, and well studied in the facts of detail and the philosophy of
commercial legislation as he undoubtedly is, does not appear to have
exactly suspected the existence of evidence leading to such results.

From the incompleteness of the Spanish returns of foreign trade, it is
unfortunately not possible to test the complete accuracy of those given
here by collation. The returns before us, and they are the only ones yet
undertaken in Spain, and in order, embrace in detail nine only of the
principal ports:--

For Cadiz, Malaga, Carthagena, St
Sebastian, Bilboa, Santander,
Gijon, Corunna, and the Balearic
Isles, the total imports and exports
united are stated to have amounted,
in 1840, to about L.6,147,280

Employing 5782 vessels
of the aggregate tonnage
of 584,287

Of the foreign trade of other ports
and provinces no returns are made
out. All known of the important
seaport of Barcelona was, that its
foreign trade in the same year occupied
1,645 vessels of 173,790
tonnage. The special aggregate
exports from the nine ports cited to
the United Kingdom--the separate
commodities composing which, as
of imports, are given with exactness
of detail--are stated for 1840
in value at L.1,476,000

To which add, of raisins
alone, from Valencia,
about 184,000 cwts,
(other exports not given,)
value 185,000

Exports from Almeria, 13,000

Although these are the principal ports of Spain, yet they are not the
only ports open to foreign trade, although, comparatively, the
proportion of foreign traffic shared by the others would be much less
considerable. It is remarkable, under the circumstances, how closely
these Spanish returns of exports to Great Britain approach to our own
valuations of the total imports from Spain direct, as calculated from
market prices upon the quantities alone rendered in the tables of the
Board of Trade.

Our valuation of the direct imports
from Spain being L.1,732,000
The Spanish valuation, 1,674,000

The public writers and statesmen of Spain have long held, and still
maintain the opinion, that the illicit introduction into that country of
British manufactures whose legal import is prohibited, or greatly
restricted by heavy duties, is carried on upon a much more extensive
scale than what is, or can be, the case. In respect of cotton goods, the
fact is particularly insisted upon. It may be confidently asserted, for
it is susceptible of proof, that much exaggeration is abroad on the
subject. We shall bring some evidence upon the point. There can be no
question that, so far as British agency is directly concerned, or
British interest involved, in the contraband introduction of cottons, or
other manufactures, or tobacco, it is almost exclusively represented by
the trade with Gibraltar. We are satisfied, moreover, that the Spanish
consumption of cotton goods is overrated, as well as the amount of the
clandestine traffic. Senor Marliani an authority generally worthy of
great respect, errs on this head with many others of his countrymen. In
a late work, entitled _De la Influencia del Sistema prohibitiva en la
Agricultura, Commercio, y rentas Publicas_, he comes to the following

Imported direct to Spain, L.34,687
To Gibraltar, 608,581
To Portugal, L731,673, of
which three-fourths find
their way to Spain, 540,000
Total, L.1,183,268

Again, Great Britain imports annually into Italy to the amount of
L2,005,785 in cotton goods, L500,000 worth of which, it is not too much
to assume, go into Spain through the ports of Leghorn and Genoa. Adding
together, then, these several items of cotton goods introduced from
France and England into Spain by contraband, we arrive at the following
startling result:--

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