Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, by Various

Adobe PDF icon
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, by Various - Full Text Free Book
File size: 0.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


VOL. 20. No. 559] SATURDAY, JULY 28, 1832. [PRICE 2d.

* * * * *


[Illustration: OPORTO.]

Persons who are looking for "news from the seat of war" will probably
hail the timely appearance of this Engraving, and regard it as folks
sitting at a play do a drop-scene between the acts. The reader knows our
pacific politics: we are of the pen, not of the sword; but we cannot be
indifferent to a great political result, when

Old men, and beldams, in the streets
Do prophesy upon it.

Oporto is a place of great commercial as well as political
consideration. Thousands of Englishmen have a grateful recollection of
the former importance upon their very lips. Its situation is one of
great natural beauty. It is the largest city in Portugal, Lisbon
excepted. It has been commonly said to owe its origin to the Romans;[1]
but it appears, from the best authors, to have been founded about A.D.
417 by the Suevi, who had established themselves in Braga and other
parts of ancient Galicia, but who were driven by the Alani to the banks
of the Douro, where they fortified themselves on the steep hill now
occupied by the cathedral and the bishop's palace, and which is still
distinguished by the appellation of the Cidade de Antiga.

[1] At Coimbra, about two days' journey from Oporto, is a Roman
bridge and aqueduct, nearly entire.

The city occupies the north bank of the Douro, (anciently _Durius_,)
about five miles from the mouth of the river, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The approach from thence to Oporto is remarkably beautiful. The dangers
of the bar, across the mouth of the river, once passed,[2] a succession
of interesting objects present themselves on both sides, as we ascend
towards the city. The little town of St. Joao da Foz stands on the north
bank, close to the sea, and is the favourite resort of the wealthier
inhabitants of Oporto during the violent heat of the summer. The river,
immediately within the bar, expands into the appearance of a lake. A
little higher up it is narrowed by two abrupt hills. That on the right
terminates in a precipice of bright hard sandstone, descending so
steeply to the water's edge, that but lately a road has been made from
Oporto along the bank of the river, to St. Joao da Foz, by blasting and
hewing down a sufficient portion of the rock. This height, from its
precipitous sides, is called the Monte d'Arabida, and forms the western
boundary of a lovely valley, opening upon the Douro, covered with the
Quintas, or villas, of the wealthier inhabitants of the adjoining city.
Most of the Quintas at the mouth of the river command delightful
prospects of the Atlantic Ocean, and the splendid effects produced on
these scenes at sunset, in this glowing climate, are almost
indescribable. Some idea of its beauty may be formed by reference to
Colonel Batty's view from this point.[3] The appearance of the Douro,
with its numerous shipping, and the variety of interesting objects
scattered on its cheerful banks, render this one of the most pleasing
scenes in the circle of Oporto.

[2] The dangerous passage across the bar of the Douro, and its
shifting sands, are well known. The care and skill required to
navigate a vessel with safety into the Douro, even during the
summer, may give an idea of what the perils of this dangerous
bar must be during the winter months; when the coast is exposed
to the unbridled fury of the westerly winds, and to the full
force of the Atlantic waves.--_Portugal Illustrated, by the Rev.
W. Kinsey, B.D._

[3] See Select Views of Oporto. By Lieut. Col. Batty, F.R.S.,
the accuracy of which may be said to extend as far as pictorial
art can succeed in conveying foreign objects to our firesides.
We are indebted for our Engraving to this valuable work.

To economize time and space we must quit this enchanting spot. Gondolas,
like those at Venice, are used on the river, but will not suffice for
our celerity. We must reach at once the point of our Engraving. The view
is taken from Villa Nova, an important suburb of Oporto, on the opposite
bank of the river. The city may be divided into the high and the low
town. It contains, in a civil sense, five wards, or _bairros_, of which
the Se, or cathedral hill, and the Vittoria, or height opposite to the
Se, (and crowned by a church, which was founded in commemoration of a
celebrated battle fought on the spot with the Moors, which terminated in
their defeat and expulsion from the place,) form the town properly
called Oporto; and it is possible still to trace the remains of the old
wall, which formerly surrounded and defended the place. The three other
quarters, San Idelfonso, Miragaya, and Villa Nova, are open. The latter
is connected with the principal town by a bridge of boats, which is so
badly constructed as to be scarcely able to sustain the violent power of
the river when swelled by winter torrents. The Douro, like the Rhine and
the Rhone, and all other rivers which flow through a rocky and often
confined channel, commits at certain seasons the greatest ravages; and
property to a considerable amount is annually lost at Oporto, by the
irresistible force with which the river pours down and carries every
thing before it. A bridge of granite has been long talked of to connect
Villa Nova and Oporto, but the funds are not yet forthcoming, and the
expense will be considerable.

The Engraving represents the most ancient part of the city of Oporto. We
are here directly fronting the bishop's palace, which, with the Se, or
Cathedral,[4] and buildings, to the left, occupy the crest of the hill.
Further left is the steeple of the church dos Clerigos, said to be the
loftiest in Portugal after that of Mafra. This tower is visible from the
sea at a distance of ten leagues, and serves as an important landmark
for ships steering to the mouth of the Douro. It was erected in the year
1748, and is built entirely of the finest masonry, an art in which the
Portuguese are almost unrivalled. On the summit of the hill to the
right, touching the old walls and towers, is the convent of Santa Clara.
Immediately below the Cathedral, the rocky steep has been cut into
terraces, and laid out in gardens. The river is bordered by the old city
wall. A noble street, the Rua Nova de St. Joao, is seen opening upon the
quay on the left. Part of the bridge of boats appears on the right: it
was first constructed in the year 1806, destroyed in 1809, but
re-established in 1815. It was the scene of dreadful slaughter at the
time the city was given up to pillage by the French. Some of the boats
forming it had been destroyed, and many of the wretched inhabitants
crowding to the bridge, in hopes of escaping from the enemy's sword were
urged on by the affrighted multitude into the rapid stream, and thus
perished. On the river, to the right and left, is seen a Portuguese
coasting vessel, called Hyate; in the centre is a wine-boat of the
Douro, with a raised platform for the steersman. The foreground of the
view is the shore of Villa Nova, adjoining the quay. The chief article
of export is wine;[5] and here is the grand depot for this commodity,
which is stowed in long, low buildings, called lodges.

[4] Here is the altar of wrought silver, which was fortunately
rescued from the hands of the French, when in possession of

[5] The annual average quantity of wine exported from Oporto to
Great Britain, was in the ten years, 1813-1822, 24,364 pipes,
and to all other parts of the world only 1,094 pipes per annum.
The quantity since 1822 has not materially altered.--_See a
Communication to vol. xv. of the Mirror_, p. 118.

"On the quays," says Mr. Kinsey, "are seen fine blocks of granite,
already converted into form, having their edges cased with wood, ready
to be shipped off for buildings in Brazil, where it appears that no good
stone, or, at least, so durable as this, can be procured;--pipe-staves
from Memel,--flax and iron,--and occasionally coals from the north of
England. There are generally at anchor in the river between Villa Nova
and Oporto, Russian, Brazilian, English, American, Dutch, Danish, and
some French vessels; but many of the latter nation are not to be found
in the Portuguese ports. Two thirds of the shipping to be seen in the
Douro, are British, Brazilian, or Portuguese."

The gardens of the city are luxuriantly stored. Brazilian plants, easily
distinguished by their gaudy colours, vines on trellis, superb
lemon-trees, lime and orange-trees, pear, apple, and plum-trees, and
Alpine strawberries are in abundance. The Indian cane, with its splendid
blossom, whose colour resembles that of the Guernsey, or rather the
Chinese lily, is a gay addition to the ornaments of this earthly
paradise. Mr. Kinsey says "The _ulmis adjungere vitem_ is well known in
poetical description, but in Portugal, besides overshadowing their
artificial supporters, the vines are seen attaching themselves to, or
hanging down in luxuriant festoons from forest-trees, such as the oak,
chestnut, and cork, in all the wildness of nature, and not unfrequently
insinuating themselves among the branches of myrtle-trees, which attain
a considerable size in the hedge-rows, and contrasting their large,
purple bunches with the snow-white blossom. The union is truly poetical,
and its novelty is charming to the eye of a northern traveller. A vine
is often purposely planted by the farmer under an oak-tree, whose boughs
it soon over-runs, repaying the little labour expended in its
cultivation by its fruit, and the lop of its branches. Ten pipes of
green wine, _vinho verde_, expressed from these grapes, will yield one
pipe of excellent brandy. Being light and sharp, the vinho verde is
preferred by the generality of Portuguese in the summer, to wines of
superior strength and quality."

The population of Oporto and Villa Nova was stated by Colonel Batty in
1830, to amount to about 80,000 inhabitants.

* * * * *


Perhaps no branch of literary reputation is so difficult to establish as
that of first-rate poetic excellence. During the last fifty years, many
meritorious competitors for bardic renown have successively aspired to
public favour, and have each in their turns exhibited their fancy-woven
_bouquets_, as containing a more beautiful assemblage of "flowers of all
hue," as Milton divinely sings, than those which their equally emulative
and praiseworthy compeers have, in their best attempts, laid out upon
the _parterre_ of the public. In the poetic foreground of the above
period, are to be seen the names of Pye, Ogilvie, Whitehead, Tasker,
Mason, Cowper, Merry, Jerningham, Woty, Hurdis, Pratt, Fitzgerald, &c.
over whose metrical effusions, with the exception of the fifth and
sixth, the clouds of obscurity have long since cast a darkening hue.
Even the "Elegaic Sonnets" of Charlotte Smith, which first appeared in
1784, and formed a sort of poetical era in point of popularity, have
long since "fallen into the sere and yellow leaf," as it was
discriminately hinted by Burns would be the case with his soul-breathing
Letters; the Sonnets by the Rev. W.L. Bowles, although emanating from a
beautiful fountain-spring of thought and feeling, which should have
screened their writer from the venomous shaft of Byron, have already
sunk beneath the meridian of their popularity; and the loaded ornamental
rhymes of Darwin; the prettily embroidered couplets of Miss Seward,
together with the Della Cruscan Rhymes of Mary Robinson, Mrs. Cowley,
&c. are left like daisies, plucked from the greensward, to perish
beneath unfeeling neglect. Who now reads the verses of Ann Yearsley, the
poetic milkwoman, who was so lauded beyond her deserts, by Mrs. H.
More?--few or none. Why is this revolution in public taste? Because
those master-spirits which guide the present age, have given birth to a
species of poetry more legitimate and useful in its design, and more
valuable in its tendencies and characteristics. Instead of the "namby
pamby" verses of the period I have alluded to, and the coarse scurrility
of style which runs with a discolouring vein through the satirical pages
of Dr. Wolcot, we have now the heart-stirring metres of a Campbell, as
in that beautiful rainbow of poetic loveliness and imagination, his
"Pleasures of Hope." We have now a series of pictures bearing an impress
as pleasant as the gleams of warm autumn in the "Pleasures of Memory,"
by Rogers; the wildness of Loutherbourgh, the grandeur of Salvator Rosa,
the terror-striking forms of Fuseli, embodied with increased energy in
the immortal Lays of Byron: the every-day incidents of life, copied with
the graphic fidelity of a Sharp, and bearing the faithful stamp of
cottage grouping, which distinguished the pencil of a Morland,--in the
natural paintings of Crabbe. We have Catullus stealing from his couch,
to breathe a new intonation into the harp of Moore; and last of all, we
have the votaress of virtue and moral feeling, the Cambrian minstrel,
Mrs. Hemans, making melancholy appear as delightful as love.

_The Author of a Tradesman's Lays._

* * * * *


Though the waves of old Time are darkly advancing,
There still is one spot where the sunbeams are glancing,
There glow the gay visions of youth's sunny morn,
Safe from the ocean-wave, safe from the storm:
For Memory keeps the spot fresh and green ever,
The dark tides of Time, shall sweep over it never!

There Fancy, her mirror holds up to the eye,
And lovely the forms that come wandering by,
Like music come softly the sounds that have fled,
The voices of lov'd ones, the tones of the dead:
Oh Memory! keep that spot fresh and green ever,
And the dark tides of Time, sweep over it never.

For beautiful Hope, wanders oft to the Isle,
With her wreath of bright flowers, and radiant smile.
She stands with her finger upraised to the sky,
And she dries the sad tear-drop in Memory's eye:
An emerald green, be that Island for ever,
May the dark tides of Time, sweep over it never!

Kirton, Lindsey. ANNE R.

* * * * *


* * * * *


In Ireland, carding the tithe proctors was occasionally resorted to by
the White Boys, and was performed in the following manner:---

The tithe proctor was generally waked out of his first sleep by his door
being smashed in; and the _boys_ in white shirts desired him "never to
fear," as they only intended to _card_ him this bout for taking a
quarter instead of a tenth from every poor man in the parish. They then
turned him on his face upon the bed; and taking a lively ram cat out of
a bag which they brought with them, they set the cat between the
proctor's shoulders. The beast, being nearly as much terrified as the
proctor, would endeavour to get off; but being held fast by the tail, he
intrenched every claw deep in the proctor's back, in order to keep up a
firm resistance to the White Boys. The more the tail was pulled _back_,
the more the ram cat tried to go _forward_; at length, when he had, as
he conceived, made his possession quite secure, main force convinced him
to the contrary, and that if he kept his hold he must lose his tail. So,
he was dragged backward to the proctor's loins, grappling at every pull,
and bringing away here and there strips of the proctor's skin, to prove
the pertinacity of his defence.

When the ram cat had got down to the loins he was once more placed at
the shoulders, and again _carded_ the proctor (_toties quoties_)
according to his sentence.

* * * * *


(_From Sir Jonah Barrington's Sketches._)

Among the extraordinary characters that turned up in the fatal
"ninety-eight," there were few more extraordinary than Lieutenant H----,
then denominated the "walking gallows;"--and such he certainly was,
literally and practically.

Lieutenant H---- was an officer of the line on half pay. His brother was
one of the solicitors to the Crown--a quiet, tremulous, _vino deditus_
sort of man, and a leading Orangeman;--his widow who afterwards married
and survived a learned doctor, was a clever, positive, good-looking
Englishwoman, and, I think, fixed the doctor's avowed _creed_: as to his
genuine _faith_, that was of little consequence.

Lieutenant H---- was about six feet two inches high;--strong, and broad
in proportion. His strength was great, but of the dead kind
unaccompanied by activity. He could lift a ton, but could not leap a
rivulet; he looked mild, and his address was civil--neither assuming nor
at all ferocious. I knew him well, and from his countenance should never
have suspected him of cruelty; but so cold-blooded and so eccentric an
executioner of the human race I believe never yet existed, save among
the American Indians.[6]

[6] His mode of execution being perfectly novel, and at the same
time _ingenious_, Curran said, "The lieutenant should have got a
patent for cheap strangulation."

His inducement to the strange barbarity he practised I can scarcely
conceive; unless it proceeded from that natural taint of cruelty which
so often distinguishes man above all other animals when his power
becomes uncontrolled. The propensity was probably strengthened in him
from the indemnities of martial law, and by those visions of promotion
whereby violent partizans are perpetually urged, and so frequently

At the period alluded to, law being suspended, and the courts of justice
closed, the "question" by torture was revived and largely practised. The
commercial exchange of Dublin formed a place of execution; even
_suspected_ rebels were every day immolated as if _convicted_ on the
clearest evidence; and Lieutenant H----'s _pastime_ of hanging _on his
own back_ persons whose physiognomies he thought characteristic of
rebellion was (I am ashamed to say) the subject of jocularity instead of
punishment. What in other times he would himself have died for, as a
murderer, was laughed at as the manifestation of loyalty: never yet was
martial law so abused, or its enormities so hushed up as in Ireland.
Being a military officer, the lieutenant conceived he had a right to do
just what he thought proper, and to make the most of his time while
martial law was flourishing.

Once, when high in blood, he happened to meet _a suspicious-looking_
peasant from County Kildare, who could not satisfactorily account for
himself according to the lieutenant's notion of evidence; and having
nobody at hand to vouch for him, the lieutenant of course immediately
took for granted that he _must_ be a rebel strolling about, and
imagining the death of his Most Gracious Majesty.[7] He therefore, no
other _court of justice_ being at hand, considered that he had a right
to try the man by his _own opinion_; accordingly, after a brief
interrogation, he condemned him to die, and without further ceremony
proceeded to put his own sentence into immediate execution.

[7] The lieutenant's brother being a Crown solicitor, had now
and then got the lieutenant to copy the high treason
indictments: and he, seeing there that _imagining_ the death of
a _king_ was punished capitally, very naturally conceived that
_wishing_ it was twice as bad as _supposing_ it: having
therefore no doubt that _all_ rebels wished it, he consequently
decided in the tribunal of his own mind to hang every man who
hypothetically and traitorously wished his majesty's
dissolution, which wish he also conceived was very easily
ascertained by the wisher's countenance.

A cabinet-maker, at Charing Cross, some years ago, put on his
board "patent coffin-maker to his majesty:" it was considered
that though this was not an _ill-intentioned_, yet it was a very
improper mode of _imagining_ the king's death, and the board was
taken down accordingly. Lieutenant H. would surely have hanged
him in Ireland.

However, to do the lieutenant justice, his _mode_ was not near so
tedious or painful as that practised by the grand signior, who sometimes
causes the ceremony to be divided into three acts, giving the culprit a
drink of spring water to _refresh_ him between the two first; nor was it
so severe as the burning old women formerly for witchcraft. In fact, the
"walking gallows" was both on a new and simple plan; and after some
kicking and plunging during the operation, never failed to be completely
effectual. The lieutenant being, as before mentioned, of lofty stature,
with broad and strong shoulders, saw no reason why they might not answer
his majesty's service, upon a pinch, as well as two posts and a crossbar
(the more legitimate instrument upon such occasions): and he also
considered that, when a rope was not at hand, there was no good reason
why his own silk cravat (being softer than an ordinary halter, and of
course less calculated to _hurt_ a man) should not be a more merciful
choke-band than that employed by any _Jack Ketch_ in the three kingdoms.

In pursuance of these benevolent intentions, the lieutenant, as a
preliminary step, first knocked down the suspected rebel from County
Kildare, which the weight of mettle in his fist rendered no difficult
achievement. His garters then did duty as handcuffs: and with the aid of
a brawny aide-de-camp (one such always attended him), he pinioned his
victim hand and foot, and then most considerately advised him to pray
for King George, observing that any prayers for his _own_ d--d _popish
soul_ would be only time lost, as his fate in every world (should there
be even a thousand) was decided to all eternity for having imagined the
death of so good a monarch.

During this exhortation, the lieutenant twisted up his long cravat so as
to make a firm, handsome rope, and then expertly sliding it over the
rebel's neck, secured it there by a double knot, drew the cravat over
his own shoulders, and the aide-de-camp holding up the rebel's heels,
till he felt him _pretty easy_, the lieutenant with a powerful chuck
drew up the poor devil's head as high as his own (cheek by jowl), and
began to trot about with his burden like a jolting cart-horse,--the
rebel choking and gulping meanwhile, until he had no further solicitude
about sublunary affairs--when the lieutenant, giving him a parting
chuck, just to make sure that his neck was broken, threw down his
load--the personal assets about which the aide-de-camp made a _present_
of to _himself_.

Now all this proceeding was very painstaking and ingenious: and yet the
ungrateful government (as Secretary Cook assured me) would have been
better pleased had the execution taken place on timber and with hemp,
according to old formalities.

To be serious:--this story is scarcely credible--yet it is a notorious
fact; and the lieutenant, a few nights afterwards, acquired the
_sobriquet_ which forms a head to this sketch and with which he was
invested by the upper gallery of Crow Street Theatre--nor did he ever
get rid of it to his dying-day.

The above _trotting_ execution (which was humorously related to me by an
eye-witness) took place in the barrack-yard at Kerry House, Stephen's
Green. The _hangee_ was, I believe, (_as it happened_) in reality a

* * * * *


* * * * *


Many laws have been made against bachelors by various nations, who all
concurred in considering the bachelor as an enemy to his country and to
mankind. The chief of these laws were those made by the Romans, and
consisted of fining the bachelor, and various other penalties: the most
celebrated one was that of Augustus, which was entitled the "_Lex julia
de maritandis ordinibus_" by which the bachelor was made incapable of
receiving legacies, or of holding inheritances given by a will, unless
they were bequeathed to him by a near relation. Plutarch observes that
this brought many to marry, not for the mere sake of raising heirs to
their estates, but to make themselves capable of receiving legacies, and
for the purpose of inheriting such estates as might be left them by a

The Jewish nation also had their laws to the disfavour of the bachelor.
The rabbis affirm, that according to the Laws of Moses, every one who
has attained the age of twenty-one years is bound in conscience to
marry; and this makes one of their 613 precepts. We should suppose that
if this law ever had existence, it has been handed down by tradition, as
we cannot find any trace of it in the "Books of Moses." Their "wise men"
have many sayings in favour of marriage and against bachelors, one of
which is "He who does not take necessary means to leave heirs behind
him, _is_ not a man, and ought to be reputed as a homicide." The Law of
Lycurgus was not a shade more favourable to them: by his statutes,
bachelors were branded with infamy and disgrace; they were also excluded
from participating in the cares of government, from all offices either
civil or martial, and were not permitted to view either public shows or
sports. At certain of their feasts, they were forced to appear in the
marketplace, and there were exposed to the cutting sarcasm, jest, and
derision of the populace. At one feast, in particular, they were led to
the altars _by women_, amidst a concord of harmonious sounds, and there
were obliged to submit to blows and lashes with a rod, at the _merciful_
pleasure of a _merciful_ people. And "Oh, most unkindly act of all,"
they had also to sing certain songs composed to their own dishonour,
contempt, and derision.

By many, the Christian dispensation is supposed to be, in a great
degree, favourable to a state of bachelorism, because the Apostle, Paul,
has recommended it as preferable; but we think the recommendation was
given for the following reason: (i.e.) every one in the early ages of
Christianity was exposed to liability of testing his religious
principles, by the loss of both his property and life; and consequently,
the loss must have been felt in a greater degree, if the sufferer was
married. Thus persecution must have been more dreadful to the married
than to the unmarried. The ancient church, misconstruing the Apostle's
words, and also overlooking his meaning, recommended the state of
bachelorism in the male, and perpetual virginity in the female sex, not
only as a state more perfect than marriage, but even as highly
meritorious. Thus, by degrees, came into being the absurd and fast
decaying system of monastic establishments, which, for many centuries
burdened Europe with drones innumerable.

In England, bachelors are not left to go forgotten to their solitary
graves. There was a tax laid on them by the 7th William III., after the
twenty-fifth year of their age, which was L12. 10_s_. for a duke, and
1_s_. for a commoner. At present they are taxed by an extra duty upon
their servants: for a male, L1. 5_s_.; for a female, 2_s_. 6_d_., above
the usual duties leviable upon servants. E.J.H.

*** So, Touchstone's philosophy hath legal warrant: "Is the single man
blessed? No: as a walled town is more worthier than a village, so is the
forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare brow of a
bachelor."--_As you like it._ (Ed. M.)

* * * * *


The Saxons were accustomed to engrave upon square pieces of wood, the
courses of the moons for the whole year, (or for a specified space of
time) by which they could tell when the new-moons, full-moons, and
changes would occur, and these pieces of wood were by them called
_Al-mon-aght_ (i.e.) _Al_-moon-heed, which signifies the regard and
observation of all the moons, and from this term is derived the word

Many of our readers are probably aware of, or have seen, a Saxon
Almanac, answering the above description, in St. John's College,
Cambridge. E.J.H.

* * * * *


* * * * *


_Voyage of Manufacture._--The produce of our factories has preceded even
our most enterprising travellers. Captain Clapperton saw at the court of
the Sultan Bello, pewter dishes with the London stamp, and had at the
royal table a piece of meat served up on a white wash-hand basin of
English manufacture. The cotton of India is conveyed by British ships
round half our planet, to be woven by British skill in the factories of
Lancashire; it is again set in motion by British capital, and
transported to the very plains whereon it grew, is repurchased by the
lords of the soil which gave it birth, at a cheaper price than that at
which their coarser machinery enables them to manufacture it themselves.
At Calicut, in the East Indies (whence the cotton cloth called calico
derives its name) the price of labour is one-seventh of that in England,
yet the market is supplied from British looms.

_Additions to human power._--The force necessary to move a stone along
the roughly-chiselled floor of its quarry is nearly two-thirds of its
weight; to move it along a wooden floor, three-fifths; by wood upon
wood, five-ninths; if the wooden surfaces are soaped, one-sixth; if
rollers are used on the floor of the quarry, it requires
one-thirty-second part of the weight; if they roll on wood,
one-fortieth; and if they roll between wood, one-fiftieth of its weight.
At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every
new tool, human labour becomes abridged.

_Economy of time._--Several pounds of gunpowder may be purchased for a
sum acquired by a few days' labour; yet, when this is employed in
blasting rocks, effects are produced which could not, even with the best
tools, be accomplished by other means in less than many months.

_Economy of Materials._--The worn-out saucepans and tin-ware of our
kitchens, when beyond the reach of the tinker's art, are not utterly
worthless. We sometimes meet carts loaded with old tin kettles and
worn-out iron coal-scuttles traversing our streets. These have not yet
completed their useful course; the less corroded parts are cut into
strips, punched with small holes, and varnished with a coarse black
varnish for the use of the trunkmaker, who protects the edges and angles
of his box with them; the remainder are conveyed to the manufacturing
chemists in the outskirts of the town, who employ them, in conjunction
with pyroligneous acid, in making a black dye for the use of calico

_Accumulation of Power_ arises from lifting a weight and then allowing
it to fall. A man, even with a heavy hammer, might strike repeated blows
upon the head of a pile without producing any effect. But if he raises a
much heavier hammer to a much greater height, its fall, though far less
frequently repeated, will produce the desired effect.

_Regulating Power._--A contrivance for regulating the effect of
machinery consists in a vane or a fly, of little weight, but presenting
a large surface. This revolves rapidly, and soon acquires an uniform
rate, which it cannot greatly exceed, because any addition to its
velocity produces a much greater addition to the resistance it meets
with from the air. The interval between the strokes on the bell of a
clock is regulated by this means; and the fly is so contrived, that this
interval may be altered by presenting the arms of it more or less
obliquely to the direction in which they move. This kind of fly or vane
is generally used in the smaller kinds of mechanism, and, unlike the
heavy fly, it is a destroyer instead of a preserver of force. It is the
regulator used in musical boxes, and in almost all mechanical toys.

_Increase and Diminution of Velocity._--Twisting the fibres of wool by
the fingers would be a most tedious operation; in the common
spinning-wheel the velocity of the foot is moderate; but, by a very
simple contrivance, that of the thread is most rapid. A piece of cat-gut
passing round a large wheel, and then round a small spindle, effects
this change. The small balls of sewing cotton, so cheap and so
beautifully wound, are formed by a machine on the same principle, and
but a few steps more complicated. The common smoke-jack is an instrument
in which the velocity communicated is too great for the purpose
required, and it is transmitted through wheels which reduce it to a more
moderate rate.

_Extending the Time of Action in Forces._--The half-minute which we
daily devote to the winding up of our watches is an exertion of labour
almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels its effect is spread
over the whole twenty-four hours. Another familiar illustration may be
noticed in our domestic furniture: the common jack by which our meat is
roasted, is a contrivance to enable the cook in a few minutes to exert a
force which the machine retails out during the succeeding hour in
turning the loaded spit.

_Saving Time in natural Operations._--The process of tanning formerly
occupied from six months to two years; this time being apparently
required in order to allow the tanning matter to penetrate into the
interior of a thick hide. The improved process consists in placing the
hides with the solution of tan in close vessels, and then exhausting the
air. The consequence of this is to withdraw any air which might be
contained in the pores of the hides, and to employ the pressure of the
atmosphere to aid capillary attraction in forcing the tan into the
interior of the skins. The effect of the additional force thus brought
into action can be equal only to one atmosphere, but a further
improvement has been made: the vessel containing the hides is, after
exhaustion, filled up with a solution of tan; a small additional
quantity is then injected with a forcing-pump. By these means any degree
of pressure may be given which the containing vessel is capable of
supporting, and it has been found that, by employing such a method, the
thickest hides may be tanned in six weeks or two months.

_Printing from Wooden Blocks._--A block of box-wood is, in this
instance, the substance out of which the pattern is formed: the design
being sketched upon it, the workman cuts away with sharp tools every
part except the lines to be represented in the impression. This is
exactly the reverse of the process of engraving on copper, in which
every line to be represented is cut away. The ink, instead of filling
the cavities cut in the wood, is spread upon the surface which remains,
and is thence transferred to the paper.

_Making and Manufacturing._--There exists a considerable difference
between the terms _making_ and _manufacturing_. The former refers to the
production of _a small_, the latter to that of _a very large number of
individuals_; and the difference is well illustrated in the evidence
given before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Export of
Tools and Machinery. On that occasion Mr. Maudslay stated, that he had
been applied to by the Navy Board to make iron tanks for ships, and that
he was rather unwilling to do so, as he considered it to be out of his
line of business; however, he undertook to make one as a trial. The
holes for the rivets were punched by hand-punching with presses, and the
1,680 holes which each tank required cost seven shillings. The Navy
Board who required a large number, proposed that he should supply forty
tanks a week for many months. The magnitude of the order made it worth
while to commence _manufacturer_, and to make tools for the express
business. Mr. Maudslay therefore offered, if the Board would give him an
order for two thousand tanks, to supply them at the rate of eighty per
week. The order was given: he made the tools, by which the expense of
punching the rivet-holes of each tank was reduced from seven shillings
to ninepence; he supplied ninety-eight tanks a week for six months, and
the price charged for each was reduced from seventeen pounds to fifteen.

_Brass-plate Coal Merchants._--In the recent examination by the
committee of the House of Commons into the state of the Coal Trade, it
appears that five-sixths of the London public is supplied by a class of
middle-men who are called in the trade "Brass-plate Coal Merchants:"
these consist principally of merchants' clerks, gentlemen's servants,
and others, who have no wharfs, but merely give their orders to some
true coal-merchant, who sends in the coals from his wharf. The
brass-plate coal merchant, of course, receives a commission for his
agency, which is just so much loss to the consumer.

_Raw Materials._--Gold-leaf consists of a portion of the metal beaten
out to so great a degree of thinness, as to allow a greenish-blue light
to be transmitted through its pores. About 400 square inches of this are
sold, in the form of a small book, containing twenty-five leaves of gold
for 1_s_. 6_d_. In this case, the raw material, or gold, is worth rather
less than two-thirds of the manufactured article. In the case of silver
leaf, the labour considerably exceeds the value of the material. A book
of fifty leaves, covering above 1,000 square inches is sold for 1_s_.

The quantity of labour applied to Venetian gold chains is very great,
but incomparably less than that which is applied to some of the
manufactures of iron. In the case of the smallest Venetian chain the
value of the labour is not above thirty times that of the gold. The
pendulum spring of a watch, which governs the vibrations of the balance,
costs at the retail price twopence, and weighs fifteen one-hundredths of
a grain, whilst the retail price of a pound of the best iron, the raw
material out of which fifty thousand such springs are made, is exactly
the sum of twopence.

In France bar-iron, made as it usually is with charcoal, costs three
times the price of the cast-iron out of which it is made; whilst in
England, where it is usually made with coke, the cost is only twice the
price of cast-iron.

* * * * *


* * * * *



Armadillos are almost exclusively natives of South America, principally
of the province of Paraguay. Some inhabit the forests; others are found
in the open country. There are several species, all of which are
invested with a coat of mail, or a kind of plate armour resembling the
covering of the pangolin, or scaly ant-eater, and the shell of the
tortoise. This crust or shell covers the upper parts of the animal, and
consists of four or five different parts or divisions. The head may be
said to have a helmet, and the shoulders a buckler, composed of several
transverse series of plates. Transverse bands, varying in the different
species from three to twelve, which are movable, cover the body; the
crupper has its buckler similar to that on the shoulders, and the tail
is protected by numerous rings. The hairs of the body are few, springing
from between the plates; the under parts, which are without armour, have
rather more hairs. In a living state, the whole armour is capable of
yielding considerably to the motions of the body; the pieces or plates
being connected by a membrane, like the joints in a tail of a lobster.
The under parts present a light grainy skin. The legs are thick and
strong, but only long enough to raise the body from the ground; the
nails are very powerful, and calculated for digging; and, according to
Buffon, the mole is not more expert in burrowing the earth.

Some of the species have nocturnal habits and are very timid, flying to
their burrows the moment they hear a noise. Other species quit their
retreat equally by day and night, and these are said not to be so rapid
in their motions as the others. All the species walk quickly, but they
can neither leap, run, nor climb; so that, when pursued, they can only
escape by hiding themselves in their holes; if these be too far off, the
poor hunted creatures dig a hole before they are overtaken, and with
their strong snout and fore claws in a few moments conceal themselves.
Sometimes, however, before they are quite concealed, they are caught by
the tail, when they struggle so powerfully that the tail often breaks
short, and is left in the hands of the pursuers. To prevent this the
hunter tickles the animal with a stick, till it looses its hold, and
allows itself to be taken without further resistance. At other times,
when pursued, and finding flight ineffectual, the Armadillos withdraw
the head under the edge of the buckler of the shoulders; their legs,
except the feet, are naturally hidden by the borders of the bucklers and
the bands; they then contract the body as far towards the shape of a
ball as the stretching of the membrane which unites the different
movable pieces of the armour will permit.[8] Thus defended, they
frequently escape danger; but if near a precipice, the animal will
sometimes roll itself over, and in this case, says Molina, in his
Natural History of Chili, it generally falls to the bottom unhurt.

[8] It should here be observed that the Three-banded Armadillo
is remarkable for the faculty of rolling itself up more
completely than the other species. It can, in so doing, totally
conceal the head, the tail, and the fore feet, which none of the
other species can completely effect.--_Cuvier._

Armadillos were formerly thought to feed exclusively on vegetables; but
they have since been found to devour insects and flesh. The directions
of their burrows evince that they search after ant heaps, and the
insects quickly disappear from near the hole of an Armadillo. The
largest species, the great black Armadillo, common in the forests of
Paraguay, feeds on the carcasses of animals; and the graves of the dead
which are necessarily formed at a distance from the usual places of
sepulture, in countries where the great Armadillo is found, are
protected by strong double boards to prevent the animal from penetrating
and devouring the body. It appears, also, that it eats young birds,
eggs, snakes, lizards, &c. The Indians are very fond of the flesh of the
Armadillo as food, especially when young; but, when old, it acquires a
strong musky flavour. Mr. Waterton, who tasted the flesh, considered it
strong and rank. The shells or crusts are applied to various useful
purposes, and painted of different colours are made into boxes, baskets,

Cuvier remarks that that old mode of distinguishing the species of
Armadillos by the number of the bands is clearly objectionable, inasmuch
as D'Azara has established that not only the number of these bands
varies, in the different individuals of the same species, but further,
that there are individuals of different species which have the same
number of bands. Eight species mentioned by D'Azara are admitted as
distinct, but the whole number is very doubtful.

(The species represented in the Cut,[9] or, the Nine-banded, is the most
common. In the Zoological Gardens, in the Regent's Park, and in Surrey,
are several specimens. They are usually kept in cages, but on fine sunny
days are let out upon the turf. Their general pace may here be seen to
advantage: it is a sort of quick shuffling walk, and they get over the
ground easily, notwithstanding the weight of their shelly covering.)

[9] From a specimen figured in Dr. Shaw's Zoological Lectures,
with plates, by Mrs. Griffith, vol. i.

In conclusion, it is interesting to remark that the whole series of
these very singular animals offers a notable example of one genus being
confined to a particular country. We have observed that they all belong
to South America; nor do we find that in any parts of the old world, or,
indeed, in the great northern division of the new, any races of
quadrupeds at all to resemble them, or in any manner to be compared with
them. They may be said to stand perfectly insulated; they exhibit all
the characters of a creation entirely distinct, and except as to the
general characters of mammiferous quadrupeds, perfectly of their own
kind. There is no break in the whole circle of them, no deviation or
leaning towards any other organized form; so that the boldest conjecture
will hardly venture to guess at any other than a separate creation for
these animals, and a distinct allocation in South America. This
peculiarity is rendered the more striking by the facility with which it
seems to endure removal, even to our latitudes; thereby proving that its
present confined identity with South America is not altogether the
result of its physical necessities.[10]

[10] Popular Zoology. Comprising Memoirs and Anecdotes of the
Animals of the Zoological Society's Menagerie. With many
Engravings. 1832.

* * * * *


_From Sketches, by a Backwoodsman._

It never has been accountable to me, how the heat of the sun is
regulated. There is no part of Upper Canada that is not to the south of
Penzance, yet there is no part of England where the cold is so intense
as in Canada; nay, there is no cold in England equal to the cold of
Virginia, which, were it on the European side of the hemisphere, would
be looked upon as an almost tropical climate. To explain to an European
what the climate of Upper Canada is, we would say, that in summer it is
the climate of Italy, in winter that of Holland; but in either case we
should only be giving an illustration, for in both winter and summer it
possesses peculiarities which neither of these two climates possess. The
summer heat of Upper Canada generally ranges towards 80 deg. Fahrenheit;
but should the wind blow twenty-four hours steadily from the north, it will
fall to 40 deg. during the night. The reason of this seems to be the
enormous quantity of forest over which that wind blows, and the leaves
of the trees affording such an extensive surface of evaporation. One
remarkable peculiarity in the climate of Canada, when compared with
those to which we have likened it, is its dryness. Far from the ocean,
the salt particles that somehow or other exist in the atmosphere of
sea-bounded countries are not to be found here; roofs of tinned iron of
fifty years' standing are as bright as the day they came out of the
shop; and you may leave a charge of powder in your gun for a month, and
find, at the end of it, that it goes off without hanging fire. The
diseases of the body, too, that are produced by a damp atmosphere, are
uncommon here. It may be a matter of surprise to some to hear, that
pectoral and catarrhal complaints, which, from an association of ideas
they may connect with cold, are here hardly known. In the cathedral at
Montreal, where from three to five thousand people assemble every
Sunday, you will seldom find the service interrupted by a cough, even in
the dead of winter and in hard frost; whereas, in Britain, from the days
of Shakspeare, even in a small country church, "coughing drowns the
parson's saw." Pulmonary consumption, too, the scourge alike of England
and the sea-coast of America, is so rare in the northern parts of New
York and Pennsylvania, and the whole of Upper Canada, that in eight
years' residence I have not seen as many cases of the disease as I have
in a day's visit to a provincial infirmary at home. The only disease we
are annoyed with here, that we are not accustomed to at home, is the
intermittent fever,--and that, though most abominably annoying, is not
by any means dangerous: indeed, one of the most annoying circumstances
connected with it is, that, instead of being sympathized with, you are
only laughed at. Otherwise the climate is infinitely more healthy than
that of England. Indeed, it may be pronounced the most healthy country
under the sun, considering that whisky can be procured for about one
shilling sterling per gallon. Though the cold of a Canadian winter is
great, it is neither distressing nor disagreeable. There is no day
during winter, except a rainy one, in which a man need be kept from his
work. It is a fact, though as startling as some of the dogmas of the
Edinburgh school of political economy, that the thermometer is no judge
of warm or cold weather. Thus, with us in Canada, when it is low, (say
at zero,) there is not a breath of hair, and you can judge of the cold
of the morning by the smoke rising from the chimney of a cottage, and
shooting up straight like the steeple of a church, then gradually
melting away in the beautiful clear blue of the morning sky: yet in such
weather it is impossible to go through a day's march in your great coat;
whereas, at home, when the wind blows from the north-east, though the
thermometer stands at from 55 deg. to 60 deg. you find a fire far from
oppressive. The fact is, that a Canadian winter is by far the
pleasantest season of the year, for everybody is idle, and everybody is
determined to enjoy himself. Between the summer and winter of Canada, a
season exists, called the Indian summer. During this period, the
atmosphere has a smoky, hazy effect, which is ascribed by the people
generally to the simultaneous burning of the prairies of the western
part of the continent. This explanation I take to be absurd; since, if
it were so to be accounted for, the wind must necessarily blow from that
quarter, which is not in all instances the case. During this period,
which generally occupies two or three weeks of the month of November,
the days are pleasant, and with abundance of sunshine, and the nights
present a cold, clear, black frost. When this disappears, the rains
commence, which always precede winter; for it is a proverb in the Lower
Province, among the French Canadians, that the ditches never freeze till
they are full. Then comes the regular winter, which, if rains and thaws
do not interfere, is very pleasant; and that is broken up by rains
again, which last until the strong sun of the middle of May renders
everything dry and in good order. A satirical friend of mine gave a
caricature account of the climate of the province, when he said that,
for two months of the spring and two months of the autumn, you are up to
your middle in mud; for four months of summer you are broiled by the
heat, choked by the dust, and devoured by the mosquitoes; and for the
remaining four months, if you get your nose above the snow, it is to
have it bit off by the frost.

* * * * *


* * * * *


"His name is never heard."

Late one evening, a packet of letters, just arrived by the English mail,
was handed to Mynheer Von Kapell, a merchant of Hamburgh. His head clerk
awaited, as usual, for any orders which might arise from their contents;
and was not a little surprised to observe the brow of his wealthy
employer suddenly clouded; again and again he perused the letter he
held, at last audibly giving vent to his feelings--

"Donder and blitzen!" he burst forth, "but this _is_ a shock, who would
have thought it? The house of Bennett and Ford to be shaken thus! What
is to be done?"

"Bennett and Ford failed!"' cried the astonished clerk.

"Failed! ten thousand devils! not so bad as that; but they are in deep
distress, and have suffered a heavy loss; but read, good Yansen! and let
me have your advice."

The clerk read as follows:--

"_London, August 21st._

"Most respected friend,

"Yours of the 5th inst. came safe to hand, and will meet prompt
attention. We have to inform you, with deep regret, that the son of the
trustworthy cashier of this long-established house has absconded, taking
with him bills accepted by our firm, to a large amount, as per margin;
and a considerable sum in cash. We have been able to trace the misguided
young man to a ship bound for Holland, and we think it probable he may
visit Hamburgh, (where our name is so well known and, we trust, so
highly respected) for the purpose of converting these bills into cash.
He is a tall, handsome youth, about five feet eleven inches, with dark
hair and eyes; speaks French and German well, and was dressed in deep
mourning, in consequence of the recent death of his mother. If you
should be able to find him, we have to request you will use your utmost
endeavours to regain possession of the bills named in the margin; but,
as we have a high respect for the father of the unfortunate young man,
we will further thank you to procure for him a passage on board the
first vessel sailing for Batavia, paying the expense of his voyage, and
giving him the sum of two hundred louis d'or, which you will place to
our account current, on condition that he does not attempt to revisit
England till he receives permission so to do.

"We are, most respected friend,

"Your obedient servants,


"Mynheer Von Kapell."

"My life on't," said Yansen, "'tis the very lad I saw this day, walking
up and down in front of the Exchange, who appeared half out of his wits;
looking anxiously for some particular object, yet shunning general
observation: his person answers the description."

"That's fortunate," said the merchant, "you must devote the morrow to
searching for him; bring him to me if possible, and I'll do my utmost to
serve my excellent friends, Bennett and Ford of London."

Early next morning, Yansen went to the Exchange, and kept an anxious
watch for many hours in vain; he was returning hopeless, when he saw the
identical youth coming out of the door of a Jew money-changer; he
brushed hastily past him, exclaiming, "The unconscionable scoundrel!
seventy per cent, for bills on the best house in England!"

Yansen approached him. "Young gentleman," said he, in a very mild tone,
"you appear to have met with some disappointment from that griping
wretch, Levi. If you have any business to transact, my house is close
by; I shall be happy to treat with you."

"Willingly," replied the youth, "the sooner the better. I must leave
Hamburgh at day-break."

The clerk led him to the house of the merchant, and entered it by a
small side door, desiring the young man to be seated, whilst he gave
some directions. In a few minutes he reappeared, bringing Von Kapell
with him. The worthy Hamburgher having no talent for a roundabout way of
doing business, said bluntly, "So Mynheer! we are well met; it will be
useless to attempt disguise with me; look at this!" and he put into his
hand the letter he had the night before received.

Overwhelmed with consternation, the young man fell at his feet.

"Oh heaven!" he cried, "I am lost for ever--my father, my indulgent, my
honourable father, is heart-broken and disgraced by my villany. My
mother!" Here he became nearly inaudible, and hid his face in his hands.
"You," he continued, "are spared all participation in the agony your
wretched son is suffering."

"Boy, boy!" said the merchant, raising him, and quite melted at this
show of penitence, "listen to me! are the bills safe? if so, you may
still hope."

"They are," eagerly exclaimed the youth; "how fortunate that I did not
listen to the offers of that rapacious Jew. Here, sir, take them, I
implore you," pulling from his breast a large pocket-book; "they are
untouched. Spare but my life, and I will yet atone--Oh, spare me from a
shameful death."

There was a pause, broken at last by Yansen's saying significantly to
his employer, "as per margin."

The merchant turned to the unhappy young man. "Take heart," said he,
"'Wenn die noth ist amgroeszten die huelfe ist am naechsten.'[11] There's
an old German proverb for you. Sit down and hear what I have to say. I
think myself not a little fortunate in so soon being able to fulfil the
wishes of my English correspondents; your natural alarm did not suffer
you to finish their letter; you will perceive how generously they mean
to act; their house's credit saved, they intend not to punish you. Read,
read; and Yansen, order some eatables, and a bottle or two of my old
Heidelberg hock, trouble always makes me thirsty--three glasses, my good

[11] When things are at the worst they must mend.

Again the young Englishman hid his face, and sighed convulsively, "I do
not deserve this lenity. My excellent father! this is a tribute to your

Von Kapell left his guest's reflections undisturbed, till a servant
entered, who placed refreshments on a well polished oak table; when she
retired, he resumed.

"And now, what devil tempted you to play the--runaway?" swallowing the
term he had intended to use. "Was it for the wenches, or the dicing

"Spare me, most kind and worthy sir, I intreat you! To my father I will
make full confession of all my faults; but he must be the first to know
the origin of my crimes."

"Well, well, take another glass of wine; you shall stay in my house till
we can find a passage for you. It was but last night my good ship the
Christine sailed for Batavia, and--"

"Under favour," interrupted Yansen, "she has not yet left the harbour;
the wind blew too fresh for her to venture on crossing the sand-banks at
night, and it is now only shifting round a point or two."

"You are lucky, youngster;" quickly added the merchant, "the Christine
has noble accommodations; you shall aboard this evening. Put these in
the chest, good Yansen," handing him the bills, "and count me out the
two hundred louis d'or the boy is to have. Come, man! finish your meal,
for I see," said he, regarding a vane on the gable of an opposite house,
"you have no time to lose."

The meal was finished--the money given--the worthy merchant adding as
much good advice as the brief space would permit. The Briton was profuse
in his expressions of gratitude, promised amendment, and returned the
warm grasp of Von Kapell, unable to speak for his tears. Yansen
accompanied him on board, gave the owner's most particular charge to the
skipper, to pay his passenger every attention on the voyage. The vessel
cleared the harbour--was in a few hours out of sight--and the next
morning, Mynheer Von Kapell wrote to London a full account of the
transaction, returning the bills he had so fortunately recovered.

* * * * *

In less than a fortnight, the following letter reached the good old

"Sir,--We have to inform you, that we never lost the bills sent in your
last favour, every one of which is fabricated, and our acceptance
forged. Our cashier has no son, nor has he lost a wife. We are sincerely
grieved that your friendly feeling towards our house should have led you
to listen to so palpable a cheat.

"We remain, with great respect, yours,


"P.S. If you should ever hear again of the person you have, at your own
expense, sent to Batavia, we shall be glad to know."

* * * * *

What can be said of the good old German's feelings, but that they may
"be more easily conceived than described?"--_Monthly Magazine._

* * * * *


* * * * *


(Hundreds of our readers who have again and again heard

Belvidera pour her soul in love--

may not be aware of the precise historical connexion of the incidents of
Otway's play with the events of history. They are taken, in the main,
from an atrocious conspiracy formed at Venice in 1618. Sir Henry Wotton,
then English ambassador at Venice, writes as follows on the 25th of May,
in the above year:--"The whole town is here at present in horror and
confusion upon the discovering of a foul and fearful conspiracy of the
French against this state; whereof no less than thirty have already
suffered very condign punishment, between men strangled in prison,
drowned in the silence of the night, and hanged in public view; and yet
the bottom is invisible." Beyond this quaint, meagre, chronological
notice, little is actually established of the details, although the
event is perhaps as familiarly known by name to English readers as any
other in the History of Venice. We are, therefore, happy to see the
affair treated with minute consideration in the second volume of
"Sketches from Venetian History," in the _Family Library_; and so
interesting is the narrative, or rather the facts and conjectures, to
the lover of history, as well as to the unstudious playgoer, that we are
induced to quote nearly every line of the passage. The editor

Muratori indeed has scarcely exaggerated the obscurity in which this
incident is enveloped when he affirms that only one fact illuminates its
darkness; namely that several hundred French and Spaniards engaged in
the service of the Republic were arrested and put to death. The
researches of Comte Daru have brought to light some hitherto unknown
contemporary documents; but even the inexhaustible diligence of that
most laborious, accurate, and valuable writer has been baffled in the
hope of obtaining certainty as its reward; and he has been compelled to
content himself with the addition of one hypothesis more to those
already proposed in explanation of this mystery.

All that can be positively affirmed is that during the summer of 1617,
Jacques Pierre, a Norman by birth, whose youth had been spent in
piratical enterprises in the Levantine seas, from which he had acquired
no inconsiderable celebrity, fled from the service of the Spanish Duke
d'Ossuna, Viceroy of Naples; and, having offered himself at the Arsenal
of Venice, was engaged there in a subordinate office. Not many days
after his arrival in the _Lagune_, Pierre denounced to the Inquisitors
of State a conspiracy projected, as he said, by the Duke d'Ossuna, and
favoured by Don Alfonso della Cueva, Marquis de Bedemar, at that time
resident ambassador from Spain. The original minutes of Pierre's
disclosures, written in French, still exist among the correspondence of
M. Leon Bruslart, the contemporary ambassador from the court of France
to the Republic; and they were translated into Italian, with which
language Pierre was but imperfectly acquainted, by his friend Renault,
in order that they might be presented to the Inquisitors. In this plot,
Pierre avowed himself to be chief agent; his pretended abandonment of
the Duke d'Ossuna forming one part of the stratagem: and he added that
his commission enjoined him to seduce the Dutch troops employed in the
late war, who still remained in Venice and its neighbourhood; to fire
the city; to seize and massacre the nobles; to overthrow the existing
government; and ultimately to transfer the state to the Spanish crown.
The sole immediate step taken by the Inquisitors in consequence of these
revelations was the secret execution of Spinosa, a Neapolitan, whom
Pierre described as an emissary of the Duke d'Ossuna; and whom he
appears to have regarded with jealousy as a spy upon his own conduct.
For the rest, the magistrates contented themselves, as it, seems, by
awaiting the maturity of the plot with silent vigilance. Ten months
elapsed during which Pierre communicated on the one hand with the Duke
d'Ossuna, unsuspicious of his treachery, and on the other with the
Inquisitors; till at the expiration of that term he was seized by an
order of the X, while employed on his duties with the Fleet, and drowned
without the grant of sufficient delay even for previous religious
confession. More, perhaps many more, than three hundred French and
Spaniards engaged in various naval and military capacities were at the
same time delivered to the executioner; and Renault, after undergoing
numerous interrogatories, and being placed seven times on the cord, was
hanged by one foot on a gibbet on the _Piazzetta_, which day after day
presented similar exhibitions of horror.

This evidence of Pierre remained at the time concealed in the bosoms of
the Inquisitors to whom it had been delivered; and no official
declarations satisfied public curiosity as to the cause of the
sanguinary executions which deformed the Capital. A rumour indeed spread
itself abroad, and, although not traced to any certain authority, was
universally credited, that a great peril had been escaped; that Venice
had trembled on the very brink of destruction; and that the Spaniards
had meditated her ruin. Popular fury was accordingly directed against
the Marquis de Bedemar; and so fierce were the menaces of summary
vengeance that the ambassador was forced to protest his innocence before
the _Collegio_, more in the spirit of one deprecating punishment than
defying accusation. He then earnestly solicited protection against the
rabble surrounding his palace; for "God knows," affirmed his pale and
affrighted secretary more than once, "the danger of our residence is
great!" The Vice-doge, who during the interregnum between the death of
one chief magistrate and the election of another presided over the
_Collegio_, replied vaguely, coldly, and formally; and, the application
having been renewed without any more favourable result, Bedemar, justly
apprehensive for his safety, seized a pretext for withdrawing, till a
successor to his embassy was appointed. Meantime, considerable doubts
were entertained, not only by the resident foreign ministers,--
especially by that of France, better informed than his brethren through
the possession of Pierre's minutes,--but by the Venetian senators
themselves, also, whether any conspiracy whatever had really existed.
Nevertheless, in spite of these misgivings not obscurely expressed, it
was not till the expiration of five months that the X presented a report
to the Senate, detailing the information which they had received and the
views upon which they had acted. That report however is so manifestly
contradicted in many very important instances by Pierre's depositions,
that it must be considered as drawn up and garbled solely with the
intention of _making a case_; and therefore as revealing only so much
truth dashed and brewed with a huge proportion of falsehood, as it
suited the interests of the magistrates to exhibit to public view. All
mention of the denouncements of Pierre during the long period of ten
months is carefully suppressed, and yet no fact in history is more
distinctly proved than that he did so communicate. The first intimation
of the plot is there said to have been given but a few days before it
was to have been executed, by two Frenchmen, Montcassin and Balthazar
Juven, whom Pierre had endeavoured to seduce. "Look at these Venetians,"
said the daring conspirator one day to his apparent proselytes, "they
affect to chain the lion; but the lion sometimes devours his master,
especially when that master uses him ill." According to their further
evidence, some troops despatched by the Duke d'Ossuna were to land by
night on the _Piazzetta_ and to occupy all the strong holds of the city;
numerous treasonable agents already within the walls were to master the
depots of arms; and fire, rapine, and massacre were to bring the
enterprise to consummation.

The papers abovementioned, together with a few letters from the Doge to
the Venetian ambassador at Milan, and one or two other not very
important documents contained in the archives of Venice, all printed by
Comte Dam, are the sole authentic vouchers for this conspiracy now known
to exist; and it must be confessed that they are insufficient for its
elucidation. The Abbe St. Real, who for a long time was esteemed the
chief historian of this dark transaction, is an agreeable and attractive
writer; but--since he was unacquainted with the report of the X; since
he does not cite the correspondence of the French ambassador containing
Pierre's depositions; and since he frequently varies from a MS which he
does cite, _The Interrogatories of the Accused_,[12] a MS indeed, which,
even when quoted faithfully, is often contradicted by the few
established facts, and by numerous well-known usages of the Venetian
government,--little faith can be attached to his narrative. It was his
opinion, and it has been that which has most generally prevailed, that
the Duke d'Ossuna, the Marquis de Bedemar, and Don Pedro di Toledo,
governor of Milan, mutually concerted a plan for the destruction of
Venice; the chief execution of which was entrusted to Pierre and
Renault: and that, on the very eve of its explosion, Jaffier, one of
their band, touched by the magnificence of the Espousals of the Adriatic
which he had just witnessed, was shaken from his stern purpose, and
revealed the conspiracy. In order to overthrow the latter part of this
hypothesis, it may be sufficient to state that the first executions took
place on the 14th of May, 1618, and that it was not till the 24th of
that month that the Feast of Ascension, and its gorgeous ceremonies,
occurred in the same year.

[12] A translation of this document is given by Daru: the
original Italian may be found in the _Memorie recondite_ of
Vittorio Siri, i. 407.

Comte Daru, on the other hand, first explains a design which it is
notorious was entertained by the Duke d'Ossuna to convert his
viceroyalty of Naples into a kingdom, the crown of which, wrested from
Spain, should be placed on his own head. And hence he establishes the
impossibility that d'Ossuna should at the same moment be plotting the
overthrow of Venice; that power whose assistance, or at least whose
connivance was one of the weapons most necessary for his success. On
these grounds, Comte Daru contends that the Duke maintained a secret
understanding both with the Signory and the court of France; that,
refining on political duplicity, he deceived Pierre by really
instructing him to gain over the Dutch troops quartered in the _Lagune_;
not, however, as his emissary supposed, to be employed ultimately for
the seizure of Venice, but in truth for that of Naples; that Pierre's
courage was not proof against the dangers with which his apparently most
hazardous commission beset him; and that accordingly he betrayed his
employer, and revealed to the Inquisitors a plot which _they_ well knew
to be feigned: and, lastly, that when the ambitious plans of d'Ossuna,
partially discovered before their time by the Spanish government, might
have compromised Venice also if they had been fully elucidated; in order
to blot out each syllable of evidence which could bear, even indirectly,
upon the transaction, so far as she was concerned, it was thought
expedient to remove every individual who had been even unwittingly
connected with it. So fully was this abominable wickedness perpetrated,
that both the accused and the accusers, the deceivers and the deceived,
those either faithless or faithful to their treason, the tools who
either adhered to or who betrayed d'Ossuna, who sought to destroy or to
preserve Venice, were alike enveloped in one common fate, and silenced
in the same sure keeping of the grave. Some few, respecting whose degree
of participation a slight doubt arose, were strangled on the avowed
principle that _all_ must be put to death who were in any way
implicated; others were drowned by night, in order that their execution
might _make no noise_.[13] Moncassin, one of the avowed informers, was
pensioned, spirited away to Cyprus, and there despatched in a drunken
quarrel; and if it be asserted that his companion Balthazar Juven was
permitted to survive, it is because he is the only individual concerning
whose final destiny we cannot pronounce with certainty.[14]

[13] Laurent Brulard, concerning whose fate much discussion
arose, was strangled _par beaucoup de considerations et par une
suite du parti qu'on avrait pris de mettre a mort tons ceux qui
etaient impliques dans cette affaire_. The brothers Desbouleaux
were drowned by night in the _Canale Orfano, pour ne point
ebruiter l'affaire_; and the instructions sent to the Admiral
who was to drown Pierre were to fulfil his commission _avec le
moins de bruit possible_. Accordingly that ruffian, and
forty-five of his accomplices, were drowned at once _sans
bruit_. _Interrogatoire des Accuses_, translated by Daru, vol.
viii. sec. x.

[14] It is believed that Balthazar Juven, and a relation of the
Marechale de Lesdiguieres, who is stated to have escaped
punishment, are one and the same person.

Of one personage who holds an important station in St. Real's romance,
and yet more so in Otway's coarse and boisterous tragedy, which, by dint
of some powerful _coups de theatre_, still maintains possession of the
English stage, we have hitherto mentioned but the name; and, in fact,
even for that name we are indebted only to the more than suspected
summary of the _Interrogatories of the Accused_.

Antoine Jaffier, a French captain, is there made chief evidence against
Pierre and Renault, who are employed by d'Ossuna, as he vaguely states,
to surprise _some_ maritime place belonging to the republic. This
informer was rewarded with four thousand sequins, and instructed
forthwith to quit the Venetian territories; but having, while at
Brescia, renewed communications with suspected persons, he was brought
back to the _Lagune_ and drowned. The minute particularities of
Jaffier's depositions, and the motive which prompted him to offer them,
(the latter, as we have already shown, resting on a gross anachronism,)
are, we believe pure inventions by St. Real; and Otway has used a poet's
license to palliate still farther deviations from authentic history.
Under his hands, Pierre,--whom all accounts conspire in representing to
us as a foreign, vulgar and mercenary bravo, equally false to every
party, and frightened into confession,--is transformed into a Venetian
patriot, the proud champion of his country's liberty; who declaims in
good, set, round, customary terms against slavery and oppression; and
who, in the end, escapes a mode of execution unknown to Venice, by
persuading the friend who has betrayed him, and whom he has consequently
renounced, to stab him to the heart, in order "to preserve his memory."
The weak, whining, vacillating, uxorious Jaffier, by turns a cut-throat
and a King's evidence; now pawning, now fondling, and now menacing with
his dagger an imaginary wife; first placing his comrade's life in
jeopardy, then begging it against his will, and finally taking it with
his own hand, is a yet more unhappy creation of wayward fancy; and it is
only in the names of the conspirators, in the introduction of an
Englishman, Eliot, (whom he has brought nearer vernacular spelling than
he found him,--Haillot,[15]) and in the character of Rainault, that
Otway is borne out by authority. The last-mentioned person is described
by the French ambassador as a sot, a gambler, and a sharper, whose
rogueries are well known to all the world; in a word, therefore, as a
fit leader of a revolutionary crew wrought up, "without the least
remorse, with fire and sword t' exterminate" all who bore the stamp of
nobility; and _not_ as the most fitting depository in which Belvidera's
honour might be lodged as a security for that of her irresolute husband.

[15] Nani, iii. p. 169. He was to have commanded the naval part
of the enterprise.

Whatever hypothesis may be adopted, be this conspiracy true or false,
there is no bloodier, probably no blacker page in history than that
which records its development. Were it not for the immeasurable weight
of guilt which must press upon the memory of the rulers of Venice if we
suppose the plot to have been altogether fictitious, we should assuredly
admit that the evidence greatly preponderates in favour of that
assertion. But respect for human nature compels us to hesitate in
admitting a charge so monstrous. Five months after the commencement of
the executions, either a tardy gratitude or a profane mockery was
offered to Heaven; and the Doge and nobles returned thanks for their
great deliverance, by a solemn service at St. Mark's.

(Among the master-spirits who have commemorated the olden glories of
Venice, but more especially her association with our dramatic
literature, must not be forgotten Lord Byron:

But unto us she hath a spell beyond
Her name in story, and her long array
Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond
Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway;
Our's is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto: Shylock and the Moor,
And Pierre cannot be swept away---
The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er,
For us repeopled were the solitary shore.

* * * * *

I lov'd her from my boyhood--she to me
Was as a fairy city of the heart,
Rising like water-columns from the sea,
Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart;
And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's art
Had stamp'd her image in me, and ever so,
Although I found her thus, we did not part,
Perchance even dearer in her day of woe
Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show.

Returning to the "Sketches," we must observe that we beg to differ with
the Editor in merely applying the epithets "coarse and boisterous," to
Otway's play, and pointing to "_coups de Theatre_" as its only merits.
He surely ought not to have omitted its originality of whatever order it
may be.

The volume before us brings the history of Venice to her subjection to
Austria in 1798. It is throughout spiritedly executed. The
illustrations, antique and modern, are precisely of this character,
being from Titian, and our contemporary artist, Prout.)

* * * * *


* * * * *

_Sir Hercules Langreish and his Friend._--We found him in his study
alone, poring over the national accounts, with two claret bottles empty
before him, and a third bottle on the wane; it was about eight o'clock
in the evening, and the butler, according to general orders when
gentlemen came in, brought a bottle of claret to each of us. "Why," said
Parnell, "Sir Heck, you have emptied _two bottles_ already." "True,"
said Sir Hercules. "And had you nobody to help you?" "_O yes_, I had
that bottle of _port_ there, and I assure you he afforded me very great
assistance!"--_Sir Jonah Barrington._

_The Irish Bar._--They used to tell a story of Fitzgibbon respecting a
client who brought his own brief, and fee, that he might personally
apologize for the smallness of the latter. Fitzgibbon, on receiving the
fee, looked rather discontented. "I assure you, counsellor," said the
client (mournfully) "I am ashamed of its smallness; but in fact it is
all I have in the world." "Oh! then," said Fitzgibbon, "you can do no
more:--as it's all you have in the world--why--hem--I must _take it_."

* * * * *

Speaking of the Catholics in the hall of the Four Courts, Keller seemed
to insinuate that Norcott was favourable to their emancipation. "What!"
said Norcott, with a great show of pomposity--"what! Pray, Keller, do
you see anything that smacks of the _Pope_ about me?" "I don't know,"
replied Keller; "but at all events there is a great deal of the
_Pretender_, and I always understood them to travel in company."

_National Gallery and Record Office, on the site of the King's Mews,
Charing Cross._--The estimated expense of erecting the above building is
50,000_l_.; the amount proposed to be taken for the present year is
15,000_l_.; leaving to be granted in future years 35,000_l_. The
proposed building will be 461 feet in length and 56 feet in width in its
extreme dimensions, and will consist of a centre and two wings. The
western wing will contain, on the ground floor, rooms for the reception
of records, and an entrance into the barrack-yard such as now exists.
Above them will be the picture-gallery, divided into four rooms; one 50
feet by 50 feet; two 50 feet by 38 feet; and one room 50 feet by 32
feet; together with four cabinets for the reception of small pictures,
or for the use of the keeper. The floors will be made fire-proof. The
eastern wing, of similar extent, will contain, on the ground floor, a
hall for casts, the library and council-room of the Royal Academy, and a
dwelling for the keeper. There will be likewise a gateway or entrance
corresponding to that leading into the barrack-yard in the other wing.
In the basement below this wing there will be offices for the use of the
Royal Academy, and a separate set attached to the dwelling-house of the
keeper. The centre building will consist of halls, vestibules,
staircases, &c. for both establishments; they will be distinct and
separated; but so brought together as to form one grand feature of
interior decoration. The building is proposed to be executed in stone.
The central portico is to be constructed with the columns and other
members of that which formerly decorated the palace at Carlton House.
The materials of the present building are to be used in the construction
of the new building, so far as they can be employed with propriety. The
whole cost of the building will be 50,000_l_., exclusive of the old
materials above mentioned, which have been valued at 4,000_/l_. It is
impossible to state with any degree of accuracy the cost of the grates,
air-stoves, and fittings of the buildings, which will mainly depend upon
the mode to be adopted in warming them; but it may be confidently stated
that it will not exceed 600_l_.--_Parliamentary Paper, No. 611._

_Home Truth._--"Give me my liar," was the phrase in which Charles the
Fifth was used to call for a volume of history; and certainly no man can
attentively examine any important period of our annals without
remarking, that almost every incident admits of two handles, almost
every character of two interpretations; and that, by a judicious packing
of facts, the historian may make his picture assume nearly what form he
pleases, without any direct violation of truth.--_Quarterly Rev._

_Envy._--"Of all the spies that are," says Mr. Owen Feltham, "envy is
the most observant and prying. When the physicians to Frederick were
relating what most would sharpen the sight, some were for fennel, and
some for glasses, and others for other matters; the noble Actius did
assure them, there was nothing that would do it like envy. Whatsoever
man does ill, by it is magnified, and multiplied; his failings are all
watched, drawn out, and blazed to the world; and under the pretence of
good, he is oft led to the extremest issue of evil. Like oil that is
poured upon the roots of trees, which softens, it destroys and withers
all the branches. And being once catched, with scorn he is insulted on.
For envy is so unnoble a devil, that it ever tyrannizeth most upon a
slip or low prostration, at which time gallant minds do most disdain to
triumph. The envious is more unhappy than the serpent: for though he
hath poison within him, and can cast it upon others, yet to his proper
bosom it is not burdensome, as is the rancour that the envious keeps;
but this most plainly is the plague, as it infects others, so it fevers
him that hath it, till he dies. Nor is it more noxious to the owner than
fatal and detrimental to all the world beside. It was envy first unmade
the angels and created devils. It was envy first that turned man out of
Paradise, and with the blood of the innocent first dyed the untainted
earth. It was envy sold chaste Joseph as a bondman, and unto crucifixion
gave the only Son of God. He walks among burning coals that converses
with those that are envious. He that would avoid it in himself, must
have worth enough to be humble and beneficent. But he that would avoid
the danger of it from others, must abandon their company."

_Extraordinary Whipping._--During the minority of King James I. he was
at Stirling Castle, under the tuition of the celebrated Buchanan. It is
reported that Buchanan's reverence for his royal pupil, did not prevent
his giving him a severe whipping when he persisted against remonstrance,
in disturbing him whilst he was reading. Historians do not tell us how
the royal pupil supported this chastisement. Swift says, "Heirs to
titles and large estates, have a weakness in their eyes, and are not
able to bear the pain and indignity of whipping." P.T.W.

* * * * *

_Erratum_ in page 2--the line quoted from Montgomery should be "The
parrots swung like blossoms on the trees."

* * * * *

_Printed and published by_ J. LIMBIRI, 143, _Strand, (near Somerset
House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; G.G.
BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and

Book of the day: