The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. II (2 vols)
by Thomas De Quincey
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Certainly this idea of De Quincey about the misfortune to Coleridge of the early loss of his father, separation from his mother, and removal from Devon to London, is fully borne out by the more personal utterances to be found in Coleridge's poems. Looking through them with this idea in view, we are surprised at the deposit left in them by this conscious experience on Coleridge's part. Not to dwell at all on what might be very legitimately regarded as indirect expressions of the sentiment, we shall present here, in order to add emphasis to De Quincey's position, some of the extracts which have most impressed us. From the poem in the Early Poems 'To an Infant,' are these lines:

'Man's breathing miniature! thou mak'st me sigh— A babe art thou—and such a thing am I, To anger rapid and as soon appeased, For trifles mourning and by trifles pleased, Break friendship's mirror with a tetchy blow, Yet snatch what coals of fire on pleasure's altar glow.'

Still more emphatic is this passage from the poem, 'Frost at Midnight':

'My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tender gladness thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, And in far other scenes! For I was reared In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags; so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all and all things in Himself. Great Universal Teacher! he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.'

In another place, when speaking of the love of mother for child and that of child for mother, awakened into life by the very impress of that love in voice and touch, he concludes with the line:

'Why was I made for Love and Love denied to me?'

And, most significant of all, is that Dedication in 1803 of his Early Poems to his brother, the Rev. George Coleridge of Ottery St. Mary, when he writes, after having dwelt on the bliss this brother had enjoyed in never having been really removed from the place of his early nurture:

'To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispensed A different fortune, and more different mind— Me, from the spot where first I sprang to light Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fixed Its first domestic loves; and hence, through life Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills, But like a tree with leaves of feeble stem, If the clouds lasted, and a sudden breeze Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once Dropped the collected shower: and some most false, False and fair-foliaged as the manchineel, Have tempted me to slumber in their shade E'en 'mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps Mixed their own venom with the rain from Heaven, That I woke poisoned! But (all praise to Him Who gives us all things) more have yielded me Permanent shelter: and beside one friend, Beneath the impervious covert of one oak I've raised a lowly shed and know the name Of husband and of father; not unhearing Of that divine and nightly-whispering voice, Which from my childhood to maturer years Spake to me of predestinated wreaths, Bright with no fading colours! Yet, at times, My soul is sad, that I have roamed through life Still most a stranger, most with naked heart, At mine own home and birthplace: chiefly then When I remember thee, my earliest friend! Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth; Did'st trace my wanderings with a father's eye; And, boding evil yet still hoping good, Rebuked each fault and over all my woes Sorrowed in silence!'

And certainly all this only gains emphasis from the entry we have in the 'Table Talk' under date August 16, 1832, and under the heading, 'Christ's Hospital, Bowyer':

'The discipline of Christ's Hospital in my time was ultra-Spartan; all domestic ties were to be put aside. "Boy!" I remember Bowyer saying to me once when I was crying the first day of my return after the holidays. "Boy! the school is your father! Boy! the school is your mother! Boy! the school is your brother! the school is your sister! the school is your first cousin, and all the rest of your relations! Let's have no more crying!"'


[1] Really now I can't say that. No; I couldn't have stood Cruger's arguments. 'Ditto to Mr. Burke' is certainly not a very brilliant observation, but still it's supportable, whereas I must have found the pains of contradiction insupportable.

[2] This sublimest of all Greek poets did really die, as some biographers allege, by so extraordinary and, as one may say, so insulting a mistake on the part of an eagle.

[3] Frankistan.—There is no word, but perhaps Frankistan might come nearest to such a word, for expressing the territory of Christendom taken jointly with that of those Mahometan nations which have for a long period been connected with Christians in their hostilities, whether of arms or of policy. The Arabs and the Moors belong to these nations, for the circle of their political system has always been made up in part by a segment from Christendom, their relations of war being still more involved with such a segment.

[4] 'Merry Wives of Windsor,' Act I., Sc. 4. Mrs. Quickly: '... An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in house withal; and I warrant you no tell-tale, nor no breed-hate; his worst fault is, that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish that way; but nobody but has his fault—but let that pass.'—ED.

[5] 'Pun them into shivers': Troilus and Cressida, Act II., Sc. 1. We refer specially to the jolly boatswain, having already noticed the fact, that sailors as a class, from retaining more of the simplicity and quick susceptibility belonging to childhood, are unusually fond of waxen exhibitions. Too much worldly experience indisposes men to the playfulness and to the toyfulness (if we may invent that word) of childhood, not less through the ungenial churlishness which it gradually deposits, than through the expansion of understanding which it promotes.

[6] 'Science not always fathomable.' Several distinguished Frenchmen have pursued a course of investigations into these fenestral phenomena, which one might call the Fata Morgana of Frost; and, amongst these investigators, some—not content with watching, observing, recording—have experimented on these floral prolusions of nature by arranging beforehand the circumstances and conditions into which and under which the Frost Fairy should be allowed to play. But what was the result? Did they catch the Fairy? Did they chase her into her secret cells and workshops? Did they throw over the freedom of her motions a harness of net-work of coercion as the Pagans over their pitiful Proteus? So far from it, that the more they studied the less they understood; and all the traps which they laid for the Fairy, did but multiply her evasions.

[7] The passage occurs at p. 354, vol. ii. of the Lectures; and we now find, on looking to the place, that the illustration is drawn from 'a dell of lazy Sicily.' The same remark has virtually been anticipated at p. 181 of the same volume in the rule about 'converting mere abstractions into persons.'

[8] It is true that Mr. De Quincey did make the mistake of supposing Coleridge to have 'calculated on' a remark which Mrs. Coleridge justly characterises as a blind one. It was blind as compared with the fact resulting from grounds not then known; else it was not blind as a reasonable inference under the same circumstances.

[9] If for the words 'more than fifteen years' we say sixteen or seventeen, as Coleridge died in 1834, this article would be written in 1850 or 1851.—ED.

[10] 'The Saintly Herbert,' the brother, oddly enough, of the brilliant but infidel Lord Herbert of Cherbury; which lord was a versatile man of talent, but not a man of genius like the humble rustic—his unpretending brother.

[11] In saying this, Coleridge unduly disparaged his own personal advantages. In youth, and before sorrow and the labour of thought had changed him, he must have been of very engaging appearance. The godlike forehead, which afterwards was ascribed to him, could not have been wanting at any age. That exquisite passage in Wordsworth's description of him,

'And a pale face, that seem'd undoubtedly As if a blooming face it ought to be,'

had its justification in those early days. If to be blooming was the natural tendency and right of his face, blooming it then was, as we have been assured by different women of education and taste, who saw him at twenty-four in Bristol and Clifton. Two of these were friends of Hannah More, and had seen all the world. They could judge: that is, they could judge in conformity to the highest standards of taste; and both said, with some enthusiasm, that he was a most attractive young man; one adding, with a smile at the old pastoral name, 'Oh, yes, he was a perfect Strephon.' Light he was in those days and agile as a feathered Mercury; whereas he afterwards grew heavy and at times bloated; and at that gay period of life his animal spirits ran up naturally to the highest point on the scale; whereas in later life, when most tempestuous, they seemed most artificial. That this, which was the ardent testimony of females, was also the true one, might have been gathered from the appearance of his children. Berkeley died an infant, and him only we never saw. The sole daughter of Coleridge, as she inherited so much of her father's intellectual power, inherited also the diviner part of his features. The upper part of her face, at seventeen, when last we saw her, seemed to us angelic, and pathetically angelic; for the whole countenance was suffused by a pensive nun-like beauty too charming and too affecting ever to be forgotten. Derwent, the youngest son, we have not seen since boyhood, but at that period he had a handsome cast of features, and (from all we can gather) the representative cast of the Coleridge family. But Hartley, the eldest son, how shall we describe him? He was most intellectual and he was most eccentric, and his features expressed all that in perfection. Southey, in his domestic playfulness, used to call him the Knave of Spades; and he certainly had a resemblance to that well-known young gentleman. But really we do not know that it would have been at all better to resemble the knave of hearts. And it must be remembered that the knave of spades may have a brother very like himself, and yet a hundred times handsomer. There are such things as handsome likenesses of very plain people. Some folks pronounced Hartley Coleridge too Jewish. But to be a Jew is to be an Arab. And our own feeling was, when we met Hartley at times in solitary or desolate places of Westmoreland and Cumberland, that here was a son of Ishmael walking in the wilderness of Edom. The coruscating nimbus of his curling and profuse black hair, black as erebus, strengthened the Saracen impression of his features and complexion. He wanted only a turban on his head, and a spear in his right hand, to be perfect as a Bedouin. But it affected us as all things are affecting which record great changes, to hear that for a long time before his death this black hair had become white as the hair of infancy. Much sorrow and much thought had been the worms that gnawed the roots of that raven hair; that, in Wordsworth's fine way of expressing the very same fact as to Mary Queen of Scots:

'Kill'd the bloom before its time, And blanch'd, without the owner's crime, The most resplendent hair.'

Ah, wrecks of once blooming nurseries, that from generation to generation, from John Coleridge the apostolic to S. T. C. the sunbright, and from S. T. C. the sunbright to Hartley the starry, lie scattered upon every shore!


In attempting to appraise Mr. Finlay's work comprehensively, there is this difficulty. It comes before us in two characters; first, as a philosophic speculation upon history, to be valued against others speculating on other histories; secondly, as a guide, practical altogether and not speculative, to students who are navigating that great trackless ocean the Eastern Roman history. Now under either shape, this work traverses so much ground, that by mere multiplicity of details it denies to us the opportunity of reporting on its merits with that simplicity of judgment which would have been available in a case of severer unity. So many separate situations of history, so many critical continuations of political circumstances, sweep across the field of Mr. Finlay's telescope whilst sweeping the heavens of four centuries, that it is naturally impossible to effect any comprehensive abstractions, as to principles, from cases individual by their nature and separated by their period not less than by their relations in respect to things and persons. The mere necessity of the plan in such a work ensures a certain amount of dissent on the part of every reader; he that most frequently goes along with the author in his commentary, will repeatedly find himself diverging from it in one point or demurring to its inferences in another. Such, in fact, is the eternal disadvantage for an author upon a subject which recalls the remark of Juvenal:

'Vester porro labor fecundior, historiarum Scriptores: petit hic plus temporis, atque olei plus: Sic ingens rerum numerus jubet, atque operum lex.'

It is this ingens rerum numerus that constitutes at once the attraction of these volumes, and the difficulty of dealing with them in any adequate or satisfactory manner.

Indeed, the vistas opened up by Mr. Finlay are infinite; in that sense it is that he ascribes inexhaustibility to the trackless savannahs of history. These vast hunting-grounds for the imaginative understanding are in fact but charts and surveyors' outlines meagre and arid for the timid or uninspired student. To a grander intellect these historical delineations are not maps but pictures: they compose a forest wilderness, veined and threaded by sylvan lawns, 'dark with horrid shades,' like Milton's haunted desert in the 'Paradise Regained,' at many a point looking back to the towers of vanishing Jerusalem, and like Milton's desert, crossed dimly at uncertain intervals by forms doubtful and (considering the character of such awful deserts) suspicious.

Perhaps the reader, being rather 'dense,' does not understand, but we understand ourselves, which is the root of the matter. Let us try again: these historical delineations are not lifeless facts, bearing no sense or moral value, but living realities organized into the unity of some great constructive idea.

Perhaps we are obscure; and possibly (though it is treason in a writer to hint such a thing, as tending to produce hatred or disaffection towards his liege lord who is and must be his reader), yet, perhaps, even the reader—that great character—may be 'dense.' 'Dense' is the word used by young ladies to indicate a slight shade—a soupcon—of stupidity; and by the way it stands in close relationship of sound to Duns, the schoolman, who (it is well known) shared with King Solomon the glory of furnishing a designation for men weak in the upper quarters. But, reader, whether the fault be in you or in ourselves, certain it is that the truth which we wish to communicate is not trivial; it is the noblest and most creative of truths, if only we are not a Duns Scholasticus for explanation, nor you (most excellent reader!) altogether a Solomon for apprehension. Therefore, again lend us your ears.

It is not, it has not been, perhaps it never will be, understood—how vast a thing is combination. We remember that Euler, and some other profound Prussians, such as Lambert, etc., tax this word combination with a fault: for, say they, it indicates that composition of things which proceeds two by two (viz., com-bina); whereas three by three, ten by ten, fifty by fifty, is combination. It is so. But, once for all, language is so difficult a structure, being like a mail-coach and four horses required to turn round Lackington's counter[12]—required in one syllable to do what oftentimes would require a sentence—that it must use the artifices of a short-hand. The word bini-ae-a is here but an exponential or representative word: it stands for any number, for number in short generally as opposed to unity. And the secret truth which some years ago we suggested, but which doubtless perished as pearls to swine, is, that combination, or comternation, or comquaternation, or comdenation, possesses a mysterious virtue quite unobserved by men. All knowledge is probably within its keeping. What we mean is, that where A is not capable simply of revealing a truth (i.e., by way of direct inference), very possible it is that A viewed by the light of B (i.e., in some mode of combination with B) shall be capable; but again, if A + B cannot unlock the case, these in combination with C shall do so. And if not A + B + C, then, perhaps, shall A + B + C combined with D; and so on ad infinitum; or in other words that pairs, or binaries, ternaries, quaternaries, and in that mode of progression will furnish keys intricate enough to meet and to decipher the wards of any lock in nature.

Now, in studying history, the difficulty is about the delicacy of the lock, and the mode of applying the key. We doubt not that many readers will view all this as false refinement. But hardly, if they had much considered the real experimental cases in history. For instance, suppose the condition of a people known as respects (1) civilization, as respects (2) relation to the sovereign, (3) the prevailing mode of its industry, (4) its special circumstances as to taxation, (5) its physical conformation and temperament, (6) its local circumstances as to neighbours warlike or not warlike, (7) the quality and depth of its religion, (8) the framework of its jurisprudence, (9) the machinery by which these laws are made to act, (10) the proportion of its towns to its rural labour, and the particular action of its police; these and many other items, elements, or secondary features of a people being known, it yet remains unknown which of these leads, which is inert, and of those which are not inert in what order they arrange their action. The principium movendi, the central force which organizes and assigns its place in the system to all the other forces, these are quite undetermined by any mere arithmetical recitation of the agencies concerned. Often these primary principles can be deduced only tentatively, or by a regress to the steps, historically speaking, through which they have arisen. Sometimes, for instance, the population, as to its principle of expansion, and as to its rate, together with the particular influence socially of the female sex, exercises the most prodigious influence on the fortunes of a nation, and its movement backwards or forwards. Sometimes again as in Greece (from the oriental seclusion of women) these causes limit their own action, until they become little more than names.

In such a case it is essential that the leading outlines at least should be definite; that the coast line and the capes and bays should be well-marked and clear, whatever may become of the inland waters, and the separate heights in a continuous chain of mountains.

But we are not always sure that we understand Mr. Finlay, even in the particular use which he makes of the words 'Greece' and 'Grecian.' Sometimes he means beyond a doubt the people of Hellas and the AEgean islands, as opposed to the mixed population of Constantinople. Sometimes he means the Grecian element as opposed to the Roman element in the composition of this mixed Byzantine population. In this case the Greek does not mean (as in the former case) the non-Byzantine, but the Byzantine. Sometimes he means by preference that vast and most diffusive race which throughout Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, the Euxine and the Euphrates, represented the Graeco-Macedonian blood from the time of Alexander downwards. But why should we limit the case to an origin from this great Alexandrian aera? Then doubtless (330 B.C.) it received a prodigious expansion. But already, in the time of Herodotus (450 B.C.), this Grecian race had begun to sow itself broadcast over Asia and Africa. The region called Cyrenaica (viz., the first region which you would traverse in passing from the banks of the Nile and the Pyramids to Carthage and to Mount Atlas, i.e., Tunis, Algiers, Fez and Morocco, or what we now call the Barbary States) had been occupied by Grecians nearly seven hundred years before Christ. In the time of Croesus (say 560 B.C.) it is clear that Grecians were swarming over Lydia and the whole accessible part of Asia Minor. In the time of Cyrus the younger (say 404 B.C.) his Grecian allies found their fiercest opponents in Grecian soldiers of Artaxerxes. In the time of Alexander, just a septuagint of years from the epoch of this unfortunate Cyrus, the most considerable troops of Darius were Greeks. The truth is, that, though Greece was at no time very populous, the prosperity of so many little republics led to as ample a redundancy of Grecian population as was compatible with Grecian habits of life; for, deceive not yourself, the harem, what we are accustomed to think of as a Mahometan institution, existed more or less perfectly in Greece by seventeen centuries at least antecedently to Mahometanism. Already before Homer, before Troy, before the Argonauts, woman was an abject, dependent chattel in Greece, and living in nun-like seclusion. There is so much of intellectual resemblance between Greece and Rome, shown in the two literatures, the two religions, and the structure of the two languages, that we are apt to overlook radical repulsion between their moral systems. But such a repulsion did exist, and the results of its existence are 'writ large' in the records, if they are studied with philosophic closeness and insight, and could be illustrated in many ways had we only time and space for such an exercise. But we must hurry on to remark that Mr. Finlay's indefiniteness in the use of the terms 'Greece' and 'Grecian' is almost equalled by his looseness in dealing with institutions and the principles which determined their character. He dwells meditatively upon that tenacity of life which he finds to characterize them—a tenacity very much dependent upon physical[13] circumstances, and in that respect so memorably inferior to the social economy of Jewish existence, that we have been led to dwell with some interest upon the following distinctions as applicable to the political existence of all nations who are in any degree civilized. It seems to us that three forces, amongst those which influence the movement of nations, are practically paramount; viz., first, the legislation of a people; secondly, the government of a people; thirdly, the administration of a people. By the quality of its legislation a people is moulded to this or that character; by the quality of its government a people is applied to this or that great purpose; by the quality of its administration a people is made disposable readily and instantly and completely for every purpose lying within the field of public objects. Legislation it is which shapes or qualifies a people, endowing them with such qualities as are more or less fitted for the ends likely to be pursued by a national policy, and for the ends suggested by local relations when combined with the new aspects of the times. Government it is which turns these qualifications to account, guiding them upon the new line of tendencies opening spontaneously ahead, or (as sometimes we see) upon new tendencies created deliberately and by forethought. But administration it is which organizes between the capacities of the people on the one hand, and the enlightened wishes of the government on the other—that intermediate nexus of social machinery without which both the amplest powers in a nation and the noblest policy in a government must equally and continually fall to the ground. A general system of instruments, or if we may use the word, system of instrumentation and concerted arrangements—behold the one sole conditio sine qua non for giving a voice to the national interests, for giving a ratification to the national will, for giving mobility to the national resources. Amongst these three categories which we have here assigned as summing up the relations of the public will in great nations to the total system of national results, this last category of administration is that which (beyond the rest) postulates and presupposes vast developments of civilization. Instincts of nature, under favourable circumstances, as where the national mind is bold, the temper noble, veracity adorning the speech, and simplicity the manners, may create and have created good elementary laws; whilst it is certain that, where any popular freedom exists, the government must resemble and reflect the people. Hence it cannot be denied that, even in semi-barbarous times, good legislation and good government may arise. But good administration is not conceivable without the aids of high civilization. How often have piracy by sea, systematic robbery by land, tainted as with a curse the blessings of life and property in great nations! Witness the state of the Mediterranean under the Cilicians during the very sunset of Marius; or, again, of the Caribbean seas, in spite of a vast Spanish empire, of Buccaneers and Filibusters. Witness Bagandae in Roman Spain, or the cloud of robbers gathering in France through twelve centuries after every period of war; witness the scourges of public peace in Italy, were it in papal Rome or amongst the Fra Diavolos of Naples.

We believe that, so far from possessing any stronger principle of vitality than the Roman institutions, those of Greece Proper (meaning those originally and authentically Greek) had any separate advantage only when applied locally. They were essentially enchorial institutions, and even physically local (i.e., requiring the same place as well as the same people); just as the ordinances of Mahomet betray his unconscious frailty and ignorance by presuming and postulating a Southern climate as well as an Oriental temperament. The Greek usages and traditionary monuments of civilization had adapted themselves from the first to the singular physical conformation of Hellas—as a 'nook-shotten'[14] land, nautically accessible and laid down in seas that were studded with islands systematically adjusted to the continental circumstances, whilst internally her mountainous structure had split up almost the whole of her territory into separate chambers or wards, predetermining from the first that galaxy of little republics into which her splintered community threw itself by means of the strong mutual repulsion derived originally from battlements of hills, and, secondarily, from the existing state of the military art. Having these advantages to begin with, reposing upon these foundations, the Greek civil organization sustained itself undoubtedly through an astonishing tract of time; before the ship Argo it had commenced; under the Ottoman Turks it still survived: for even in the Trojan aera, and in the pre-Trojan or Argonautic aera, already (and perhaps for many centuries before) the nominal kingdoms were virtually republics, the princes being evidently limited in their authority by the 'sensus communis' of the body politic almost as much as the Kings of Sparta were from the time of Lycurgus to the extinction of the Peloponnesian independence.

Accidents, therefore, although accidents of a permanent order (being founded in external nature), gave to Greece a very peculiar advantage. On her own dunghill her own usages had a tenacity of life such as is seen in certain weeds (couch-grass, for instance). This natural advantage, by means of intense local adaptation, did certainly prove available for Greece, under the circumstances of a hostile invasion. Even had the Persian invasion succeeded, it is possible that Grecian civilization would still have survived the conquest, and would have predominated, as actually it did in Ionia, etc.

So far our views seem to flow in the channel of Mr. Finlay's. But these three considerations occur:

1st. That oftentimes Greece escaped the ravages of barbarians, not so much by any quality of her civil institutions, whether better or worse, as by her geographical position. It is 'a far cry to Loch Awe'; and had Timon of Athens together with Apemantus clubbed their misanthropies, joint and several, there would hardly have arisen an impetus strong enough to carry an enemy all the way from the Danube to the Ilyssus; yet so far, at least, every European enemy of Thebes and Athens had to march. Nay, unless Monsieur le Sauvage happened to possess the mouths of the Danube, so as to float down 'by the turn of tide' through the Euxine, Bosphorus, Propontis, Hellespont, etc., he would think twice before he would set off a-gallivanting to the regions of the South, where certainly much sunshine was to be had of undeniable quality, but not much of anything else. The Greeks were never absolute paupers, because, however slender their means, their social usages never led to any Irish expansion of population; but under no circumstances of government were they or could they have been rich. Plunder therefore, that could be worth packing and cording, there was little or none in Greece. People do not march seven hundred miles to steal old curious bedsteads, swarming, besides, with fleas. Sculptured plate was the thing. And, from the times of Sylla, that had a strange gravitation towards Rome. It is, besides, worth noticing—as a general rule in the science of robbery—that it makes all the difference in the world which end of a cone is presented to the robber. Beginning at the apex of a sugar-loaf, and required to move rapidly onwards to the broad basis where first he is to halt and seek his booty, the robber locust advances with hope and cheerfulness. Invert this order, and from the vast base of the Danube send him on to the promontory of Sunium—a tract perpetually dwindling in its breadth through 500 miles—and his reversion of booty grows less valuable at every step. Yet even this feature was not the most comfortless in the case. That the zone of pillage should narrow with every step taken towards its proper ground, this surely was a bad look-out. But it was a worse, that even this poor vintage lay hid and sheltered under the AEgis of the empire. The whole breadth of the empire on that side of the Mediterranean was to be traversed before one cluster of grapes could be plucked from Greece; whereas, upon all the horns of the Western Empire, plunder commenced from the moment of crossing the frontier. Here, therefore, lies one objection to the supposed excellence of Grecian institutions: they are valued, upon Mr. Finlay's scale, by their quality of elastic rebound from violence and wrong; but, in order that this quality might be truly tested, they ought to have been equally and fairly tried: now, by comparison with the Western provinces, that was a condition not capable of being realized for Greece, having the position which she had.

2ndly. The reader will remark that the argument just used is but negative: it does not positively combat the superiority claimed for the Greek organization; that superiority may be all that it is described to be; but it is submitted that perhaps the manifestation of this advantage was not made on a sufficient breadth of experiment.

Now let us consider this. Upon the analogy of any possible precedent, under which Rome could be said to have taken seven centuries in unfolding her power, our Britain has taken almost fourteen. So long is the space between the first germination of Anglo-Saxon institutions and the present expansion of British power over the vast regions of Hindostan. Most true it is that a very small section of this time and a very small section of British energies has been applied separately to the Indian Empire. But precisely the same distinction holds good in the Roman case. The total expansion of Rome travelled, perhaps, through eight centuries; but five of these spent themselves upon the mere domestic growth of Rome; during five she did not so much as attempt any foreign appropriation. And in the latter three, during which she did, we must figure to ourselves the separate ramifications of her influence as each involving a very short cycle indeed of effort or attention, though collectively involving a long space, separately as involving a very brief one. If the eye is applied to each conquest itself, nothing can exhibit less of a slow or gradual expansion than the Roman system of conquest. It was a shadow which moved so rapidly on the dial as to be visible and alarming. Had newspapers existed in those days, or had such a sympathy bound nations together[15] as could have supported newspapers, a vast league would have been roused by the advance of Rome. Such a league was formed where something of this sympathy existed. The kingdoms formed out of the inheritance of Alexander being in a sense Grecian kingdoms—Grecian in their language, Grecian by their princes, Grecian by their armies (in their privileged sections)—did become alarming to the Greeks. And what followed? The Achaean league, which, in fact, produced the last heroes of Greece—Aratus, Philopoemen, Cleomenes. But as to Rome, she was too obscure, too little advertised as a danger, to be separately observed. But, partly, this arose from her rapidity. Macedonia was taken separately from Greece. Sicily, which was the advanced port of Greece to the West, had early fallen as a sort of appanage to the Punic struggle. And all the rest followed by insensible degrees. In Syria, and again in Pontus, and in Macedonia, three great kingdoms which to Greece seemed related rather as enemies than as friends, and which therefore roused no spirit of resistance in Greece, through Rome had already withdrawn all the contingent proper from Greece. Had these powers concerted with Egypt and with Greece a powerful league, Rome would have been thrown back upon her Western chambers.

The reason why the Piratic power arose, we suppose to have been this, and also the reason why such a power was not viewed as extra-national. The nautical profession as such flowed in a channel altogether distinct from the martial profession. It was altogether and exclusively commercial in its general process. Only, upon peculiar occasions arose a necessity for a nautical power as amongst the resources of empire. Carthage reared upon the basis of her navy, as had done Athens, Rhodes, Tyre, some part of her power: and Rome put forth so much of this power as sufficed to meet Carthage. But that done, we find no separate ambition growing up in Rome and directing itself to naval war. Accidentally, when the war arose between Caesar and Pompey, it became evident that for rapidly transferring armies and for feeding these armies, a navy would be necessary. And Cicero, but for this crisis, and not as a general remark, said—that 'necesse est qui mare tenuit rerum potiri.'

Hence it happened—that as no permanent establishment could arise where no permanent antagonist could be supposed to exist—oftentimes, and indeed always, unless when some new crisis arose, the Roman navy went down. In one of these intervals arose the Cilician piracy. Mr. Finlay suggests that in part it arose out of the fragments from Alexander's kingdoms, recombining: partly out of the Isaurian land pirates already established, and furnished with such astonishing natural fortresses as existed nowhere else if we except those aerial caves—a sort of mountain nests on the side of declivities, which Josephus describes as harbouring Idumean enemies of Herod the Great, against whom he was obliged to fight by taking down warriors in complete panoply ensconced in baskets suspended by chains; and partly arising on the temptation of rich booties in the commerce of the Levant, or of rich temples on shore amidst unwarlike populations. These elements of a warlike form were required as the means of piracy, these fortresses and Isaurian caves as the resources of piracy, these notorious cargoes or temples stored with wealth as temptations to piracy, before a public nuisance could arise demanding a public chastisement. And yet, because this piracy had a local settlement and nursery, it seemed hardly consonant to the spirit of public (or international) law, that all civil rights should be denied them.

Not without reason, not without a profound purpose, did Providence ordain that our two great precedents upon earth should be Greece and Rome. In all planets, if you could look into them, doubt not (oh, reader of ours!) that something exists answering to Greece and Rome. Odd it would be—curioes! as the Germans say—if in Jupiter—or Venus—those precedents should exist under the same names of Greece and Rome. Yet, why not? Jovial—and Venereal—people may be better in some things than our people (which, however, we doubt), but certainly a better language than the Greek man cannot have invented in either planet. Falling back from cases so low and so lofty (Venus an inferior, Jupiter a far superior planet) to our own case, the case of poor mediocre Tellurians, perhaps the reader thinks that other nations might have served the purpose of Providentia. Other nations might have furnished those Providential models which the great drama of earth required. No. Haughtily and despotically we say it—No. Take France. There is a noble nation. We honour it exceedingly for that heroic courage which on a morning of battle does not measure the strength of the opposition; which, when an enemy issues from the darkness of a wood, does not stop to count noses, but like that noblest of animals, the British bull-dog, flies at his throat, careless whether a leopard, a buffalo, or a tiger of Bengal. This we vehemently admire. This we feel to be an echo, an iteration, of our own leonine courage, concerning which—take you note of this, oh, chicken-hearted man! (if any such is amongst our readers)—that God sees it with pleasure, blesses it, and calls it 'very good!' Next, when we come to think at odd times of that other courage, the courage of fidelity, which stands for hours under the storm of a cannonade—British courage, Russian courage—in mere sincerity we cannot ascribe this to the Gaul. All this is true: we feel that the French is an imperfect nation. But suppose it not imperfect, would the French therefore have fulfilled for us the mission of the Greek and the Roman? Undoubtedly they would not. Far enough are we from admiring either Greek or Roman in that degree to which the ignorance, but oftener the hypocrisy, of man has ascended.

We, reader, are misanthropical—intensely so. No luxury known amongst men—neither the paws of bears nor the tails of sheep—to us is so sweet and dear as that of hating (yet much oftener of despising) our excellent fellow-creatures. Oftentimes we exclaim in our dreams, where excuse us for expressing our multitude by unity, 'Homo sum; humani nihil mihi tolerandum puto.' We kick backwards at the human race, we spit upon them; we void our rheum upon their ugly gaberdines. Consequently we do not love either Greek or Roman; we regard them in some measure as humbugs. But although it is no cue of ours to admire them (viz., in any English sense of that word known to Entick's Dictionary), yet in a Grecian or Roman sense we may say that [Greek: thaumazomen], admiramur, both of these nations: we marvel, we wonder at them exceedingly. Greece we shall omit, because to talk of the arts, and Phidias, and Pericles, and 'all that,' is the surest way yet discovered by man for tempting a vindictive succession of kicks. Exposed to the world, no author of such twaddle could long evade assassination. But Rome is entitled to some separate notice, even after all that has been written about her. And the more so in this case, because Mr. Finlay has scarcely done her justice. He says: 'The Romans were a tribe of warriors. All their institutions, even those relating to property, were formed with reference to war.' And he then goes on to this invidious theory of their history—that, as warriors, they overthrew the local institutions of all Western nations, these nations being found by the Romans in a state of civilization much inferior to their own. But eastwards, when conquering Greece, her institutions they did not overthrow. And what follows from that memorable difference? Why, that in after days, when hives of barbarians issued from central Europe, all the Western provinces (as not cemented by any native and home-bred institutions, but fighting under the harness of an exotic organization) sank before them; whereas Greece, falling back on the natural resources of a system self-evolved and local, or epichorial in its origin, not only defied these German barbarians for the moment, but actually after having her throat cut in a manner rose up magnificently (as did the Lancashire woman after being murdered by the M'Keans of Dumfries)[16], staggered along for a considerable distance, and then (as the Lancashire woman did not) mounted upon skates, and skated away into an azure infinite of distance (quite forgetting her throat), so as to—do what? It is really frightful to mention: so as to come safe and sound into the nineteenth century, leaping into the centre of us all like the ghost of a patriarch, setting her arms a-kimbo, and crying out: 'Here I come from a thousand years before Homer.' All this is really true and undeniable. It is past contradiction, what Mr. Finlay says, that Greece, having weathered the following peoples, to wit, the Romans; secondly, the vagabonds who persecuted the Romans for five centuries; thirdly, the Saracens; fourthly and fifthly, the Ottoman Turks and Venetians; sixthly, the Latin princes of Constantinople—not to speak seventhly and eighthly of Albanian or Egyptian Ali Pashas, or ninthly, of Joseph Humes and Greek loans, is now, viz., in March, 1844, alive and kicking. Think of a man, reader, at a soiree in the heavenly spring of '44 (for heavenly it will be), wearing white kid gloves, and descended from Deucalion or Ogyges!

Amongst the great changes wrought in every direction by Constantine, it is not to be supposed that Mr. Finlay could overlook those which applied a new organization to the army. Rome would not be Rome; even a product of Rome would not be legitimate; even an offshoot from Rome would be of suspicious derivation, which could find that great master-wheel of the state machinery a secondary force in its system. It is wonderful to mark the martial destiny of all which inherited, or upon any line descended from Rome in every age of that mighty evolution. War not barbaric, war exquisitely systematic, war according to the vigour of all science as yet published to man, was the talisman by which Rome and the children of Rome prospered: the S.P.Q.R. on the legionary banners was the sign set in the rubric of the heavens by which the almighty nation, looking upwards, read her commission from above: and if ever that sign shall grow pale, then look for the coming of the end, whispered the prophetic heart of Rome to herself even from the beginning. But are not all great kingdoms dependent on their armies? No. Some have always been protected by their remoteness, many by their adjacencies. Germany, in the first century from Augustus, retreated into her mighty forests when closely pressed, and in military phrase 'refused herself' to the pursuer. Persia sheltered herself under the same tactics for ages;[17] scarcely needed to fight, unless she pleased, and, when she did so, fought in alliance with famine—with thirst—and with the confusion of pathless deserts. Other empires, again, are protected by their infinity; America was found to have no local existence by ourselves: she was nowhere because she was everywhere. Russia had the same illimitable ubiquity for Napoleon. And Spain again is so singularly placed with regard to France, a chamber within a chamber, that she cannot be approached by any power not maritime except on French permission. Manifold are the defensive resources of nations beyond those of military systems. But for the Roman empire, a ring fence around the Mediterranean lake, and hemmed in upon every quarter of that vast circuit by an indago of martial hunters, nature and providence had made it the one sole available policy to stand for ever under arms, eternally 'in procinctu,' and watching from the specular altitude of her centre upon which radius she should slip her wolves to the endless circumference.

Mr. Finlay, in our judgment, not only allows a most disproportionate weight to vicious taxation, which is but one wheel amongst a vast system of wheels in the machinery of administration, and which, like many similar agencies, tends oftentimes to react by many corrections upon its own derangements; but subsequently he views as through a magnifying glass even these original exaggerations when measured upon the scale of moral obligations. Not only does false taxation ruin nations and defeat the possibility of self-defence—which is much—but it cancels the duties of allegiance. He tells us (p. 408) that 'amidst the ravages of the Goths, Huns, and Avars, the imperial tax-gatherers had never failed to enforce payment of the tribute as long as anything remained undestroyed; though according to the rules of justice, the Roman government had really forfeited its right to levy the taxes, as soon as it failed to perform its duty in defending the population.' We do not believe that the government succeeded in levying tribute vigorously under the circumstances supposed; the science and machinery of administration were far from having realized that degree of exquisite skill. But, if the government had succeeded, we cannot admit that this relation of the parties dissolved their connection. To have failed at any time in defending a province or an outwork against an overwhelming enemy, that for a prince or for a minister is a great misfortune. Shocking indeed it were if this misfortune could be lawfully interpreted as his crime, and made the parent of a second misfortune, ratifying the first by authorizing revolt of the people; and the more so, as that first calamity would encourage traitors everywhere to prepare the way for the second as a means of impunity for their own treason. In the prospect of escaping at once from the burdens of war, and from the penalties of broken vows to their sovereign, multitudes would from the first enter into compromise and collusion with an invader; and in this way they would create the calamity which they charged upon their rulers as a desertion; they would create the embarrassments for their government by which they hoped to profit, and they would do this with an eye to the reversionary benefit anticipated under the maxim here set up. True, they would often find their heavy disappointment in the more grievous yoke of that invader whom they had aided. But the temptation of a momentary gain would always exist for the improvident many, if such a maxim were received into the law of nations; and, if it would not always triumph, we should owe it in that case to the blessing that God has made nations proud. Even in the case where men had received a license from public law for deserting their sovereign, thanks be to the celestial pride which is in man, few and anomalous would be the instances in which they really would do so. In reality it must be evident that, under such a rule of Publicists, subjects must stand in perpetual doubt whether the case had emerged or not which law contemplated as the dissolution of their fealty. No man would say that a province was licensed to desert, because the central government had lost a battle. But a whole campaign, or ten campaigns, would stand in the same predicament as a solitary battle, so long as the struggle was not formally renounced by the sovereign. How many years of absolute abandonment might justify a provincial people in considering themselves surrendered to their own discretion, is a question standing on the separate circumstances of each separate case. But generally it may be said, that a ruler will be presumed justly not to have renounced the cause of resistance so long as he makes no treaty or compromise with the enemy, and so long as he desists from open resistance only through momentary exhaustion, or with a view to more elaborate preparation. Would ten battles, would a campaign, would ten campaigns lost, furnish the justifying motive? Certainly it would be a false casuistry that would say so.

Why did the Romans conquer the Greeks? By why we mean, Upon what principle did the children of Romulus overthrow the children of Ion, Dorus, AEolus? Why did not these overthrow those? We, speak Latino more—Vellem ostenderes quare hi non profligaverint illos? The answer is brief: the Romans were one, the Greeks were many. Whilst no weighty pressure from without had assaulted Greece, it was of particular service to that little rascally system that they were split into sections more than ever we have counted or mean to count. They throve by mutual repulsion, according to the ballad:

When Captain X. kick'd Miss Roe, Miss Roe kick'd Captain X. again.'

Internally, for pleasant little domestic quarrels, the principle of division was excellent; because, as often as the balance tended to degravitation (a word we learned, as Juliet tells her nurse, 'from one we danc'd withal'), instanter it was redressed and trimmed by some renegade going over to the suffering side. People talk of Athens being beaten by the Spartans in the person of Lysander; and the vulgar notion is, that the Peloponnesian war closed by an eclipse total and central for our poor friend Athens. Nonsense! she had life left in her to kick twenty such donkeys to death; and, if you look a very little ahead, gazettes tell you, that before the peace of Antalcidas, those villains, the Spartans (whom may heaven confound!) had been licked almost too cruelly by the Athenians. And there it is that we insist upon closing that one great intestine[18] war of the Greeks. So of other cases: absolute defeat, final overthrow, we hold to be impossible for a Grecian state, as against a Grecian state, under the conditions which existed from the year 500 B.C. But when a foreign enemy came on, the possibilities might alter. The foreigner, being one, and for the moment at least united, would surely have a great advantage over the crowd of little pestilent villains—right and left—that would be disputing the policy of the case. There lay the original advantage of the Romans; one they were, and one they were to the end of Roman time. Did you ever hear of a Roman, unless it were Sertorius, that fought against Romans? Whereas, scoundrel Greeks were always fighting against their countrymen. Xenophon, in Persia, Alexander, seventy years later, met with their chief enemies in Greeks. We may therefore pronounce with firmness, that unity was one cause of the Roman superiority. What was the other? Better military institutions. These, if we should go upon the plan of rehearsing them, are infinite. But let us confine our view to the separate mode in each people of combining their troops. In Greece, the phalanx was the ideal tactical arrangement; for Rome, the legion. Everybody knows that Polybius, a Greek, who fled from the Peloponnesus to Rome a little before the great Carthaginian war, terminated by Scipio Africanus, has left a most interesting comparison between the two forms of tactical arrangement: and, waiving the details, the upshot is this—that the phalanx was a holiday arrangement, a tournament arrangement, with respect to which you must suppose an excess of luck if it could be made available, unless by mutual consent, under a known possibility of transferring the field of battle to some smooth bowling-green in the neighbourhood. But, on the other hand, the legion was available everywhere. The phalanx was like the organ, an instrument almighty indeed where it can be carried; but it cost eight hundred years to transfer it from Asia Minor to the court of Charlemagne (i.e., Western Europe), so that it travelled at the rate of two miles per annum; but the legion was like the violin, less terrifically tumultuous, but more infinite than the organ, whilst it is in a perfect sense portable. Pitch your camp in darkness, on the next morning everywhere you will find ground for the legion, but for the fastidious phalanx you need as much choice of ground as for the arena of an opera stage.

And the same influence that had tended to keep the Greeks in division, without a proper unity, operated also to infect the national character at last with some lack of what may be called self-sufficiency. They were in their later phases subtle, but compliant, more ready to adapt themselves to changes than to assert a position and risk all in the effort to hold it. Hence it came that even the most honourable and upright amongst a nation far nobler in a moral sense (nobler, for instance, on the scale of capacity for doing and suffering) never rose to a sentiment of respect for the ordinary Grecian. The Romans viewed him as essentially framed for ministerial offices. Am I sick? Come, Greek, and cure me. Am I weary? Amuse me. Am I diffident of power to succeed? Cheer me with flattery. Am I issuing from a bath? Shampoo me.

The point of view under which we contemplate the Romans is one which cannot be dispensed with in that higher or transcendental study of history now prompted by the vast ferment of the meditative mind. Oh, feeble appreciators of the public mind, who can imagine even in dreams that this generation—self-questioned, agitated, haunted beyond any other by the elementary problems of our human condition, by the awful whence and the more awful whither, by what the Germans call the 'riddle of the universe,' and oppressed into a rebellious impatience by

'The burthen of the mystery Of all this unintelligible world,'

—that this, above all generations, is shallow, superficial, unfruitful? That was a crotchet of the late S. T. Coleridge's; that was a crotchet of the present W. Wordsworth's, but which we will venture to guess that he has now somewhat modified since this generation has become just to himself. No; as to the multitude, in no age can it be other than superficial. But we do contend, with intolerance and scorn of such opposition as usually we meet, that the tendencies of this generation are to the profound; that by all its natural leanings, and even by its infirmities, it travels upwards on the line of aspiration and downwards in the direction of the unfathomable. These tendencies had been awakened and quickened by the vast convulsions that marked the close of the last century. But war is a condition too restless for sustained meditation. Even the years after war, if that war had gathered too abundantly the vintages of tears and tragedy and change, still rock and undulate with the unsubsiding sympathies which wars such as we have known cannot but have evoked. Besides that war is by too many issues connected with the practical; the service of war, by the arts which it requires, and the burthen of war, by the discussions which it prompts, almost equally tend to alienate the public mind from the speculation which looks beyond the interests of social life. But when a new generation has grown up, when the forest trees of the elder generation amongst us begin to thicken with the intergrowth of a younger shrubbery that had been mere ground-plants in the aera of war, then it is, viz., under the heavenly lull and the silence of a long peace, which in its very uniformity and the solemnity of its silence has something analogous to the sublime tranquillity of a Zaarrah, that minds formed for the great inquests of meditation—feeling dimly the great strife which they did not witness, and feeling it the more deeply because for them an idealized retrospect, and a retrospect besides being potently contrasted so deeply with the existing atmosphere, peaceful as if it had never known a storm—are stimulated preternaturally to those obstinate questionings which belong of necessity to a complex state of society, turning up vast phases of human suffering under all varieties, phases which, having issued from a chaos of agitation, carry with them too certain a promise of sooner or later revolving into a chaos of equal sadness, universal strife. It is the relation of the immediate isthmus on which we stand ourselves to a past and (prophetically speaking) to a coming world of calamity, the relation of the smiling and halcyon calm which we have inherited to that darkness and anarchy out of which it arose, and towards which too gloomily we augur its return—this relation it is which enforces the other impulses, whether many or few, connecting our own transitional stage of society with objects always of the same interest for man, but not felt to be of the same interest. The sun, the moon, and still more the starry heavens alien to our own peculiar system—what a different importance in different ages have they had for man! To man armed with science and glasses, labyrinths of anxiety and study; to man ignorant or barbarous less interesting than glittering points of dew. At present those 'other impulses,' which the permanent condition of modern society, so multitudinous and feverish, adds to the meditative impulses of our particular and casual condition as respects a terrific revolutionary war, are not few, but many, and are all in one direction, all favouring, none thwarting, the solemn fascinations by which with spells and witchcraft the shadowy nature of man binds him down to look for ever into this dim abyss. The earth, whom with sublimity so awful the poet apostrophized after Waterloo, as 'perturbed' and restless exceedingly, whom with a harp so melodious and beseeching he adjured to rest—and again to rest from instincts of war so deep, haunting the very rivers with blood, and slumbering not through three-and-twenty years of woe—is again unsealed from slumber by the mere reaction of the mighty past working together with the too probable future and with the co-agencies from the unintelligible present. The fervour and the strife of human thought is but the more subtle for being less derived from immediate action, and more so from hieroglyphic mysteries or doubts concealed in the very shows of life. The centres of civilization seethe, as it were, and are ebullient with the agitation of the self-questioning heart.

The fervour is universal; the tumult of intellectual man, self-tormented with unfathomable questions, is contagious everywhere. And both from what we know, it might be perceived a priori, and from what we see, it may be known experimentally, that never was the mind of man roused into activity so intense and almost morbid as in this particular stage of our progress. And it has added enormously to this result—that it is redoubled by our own consciousness of our own state so powerfully enforced by modern inventions, whilst the consciousness again is reverberated from a secondary mode of consciousness. All studies prosper; all, with rare exceptions, are advancing only too impetuously. Talent of every order is almost become a weed amongst us.

But this would be a most unreasonable ground for charging it upon our time and country that they are unprogressive and commonplace. Nay, rather, it is a ground for regarding the soil as more prepared for the seed that is sown broadcast. And before our England lies an ample possibility—to outstrip even Rome itself in the extent and the grandeur of an empire, based on principles of progress and cohesion such as Rome never knew.


Civilization.—Now about prisoners, strange as this may seem, it really is not settled whether and how far it is the duty in point of honour and reasonable forbearance to make prisoners. At Quatre Bras very few were made by the French, and the bitterness, the frenzy of hatred which this marked, led of necessity to a reaction.

But the strangest thing of all is this, that in a matter of such a nature it should be open to doubt and mystery whether it is or is not contradictory, absurd, and cancellatory or obligatory to make prisoners. Look here, the Tartars in the Christian war, not from cruelty—at least, no such thing is proved—but from mere coercion of what they regarded as good sense the Tartars thought it all a blank contradiction to take and not kill enemies. It seemed equal to taking a tiger laboriously and at much risk in a net, then next day letting him go. Strange it is to say, but it really requires an express experience to show the true practical working of the case, and this demonstrates (inconceivable as that would have been to the Tartars) that the capture is quite equal (quoad damage to the enemy) to the killing.

(1.) As to durability, was it so? The Arabs were not strong except against those who were peculiarly weak; and even in Turkey the Christian Rajah predominates.

(2.) As to bigotry and principles of toleration Mr. Finlay says—and we do not deny that he is right in saying—they arose in the latter stages. This, however, was only from policy, because it was not safe to be so; and repressed only from caution.

(3) About the impetuosity of the Arab assaults. Not what people think.

(4.) About the permanence or continuance of this Mahometan system—we confound the religious system with the political. The religious movement engrafted itself on other nations, translated and inoculated itself upon other political systems, and thus, viz., as a principle travelling through or along new machineries, propagated itself. But here is a deep delusion. What should we Europeans think of an Oriental historian who should talk of the Christians amongst the Germans, English, French, Spaniards, as a separate and independent nation? My friend, we should say, you mistake that matter. The Christians are not a local tribe having an insulated local situation amongst Germans, French, etc. The Christians are the English, Germans, etc., or the English, Germans, French, are the Christians. So do many readers confer upon the Moslems or Mahometans of history a separate and independent unity.

(a) Greek administration had a vicarious support.

(b) Incapacity of Eastern nations to establish primogeniture.

(c) Incapacity of Eastern nations to be progressive.


[12] 'Lackington's counter': Lackington, an extensive seller of old books and a Methodist (see his Confessions) in London, viz., at the corner of Finsbury Square, about the time of the French Revolution, feeling painfully that this event drew more attention than himself, resolved to turn the scale in his own favour by a ruse somewhat unfair. The French Revolution had no counter; he had, it was circular, and corresponded to a lighted dome above. Round the counter on a summer evening, like Phaeton round the world, the Edinburgh, the Glasgow, the Holyhead, the Bristol, the Exeter, and the Salisbury Royal Mails, all their passengers on board, and canvas spread, swept in, swept round, and swept out at full gallop; the proximate object being to publish the grandeur of his premises, the ultimate object to publish himself.

[13] 'Dependent upon physical circumstances,' and, amongst those physical circumstances, intensely upon climate. The Jewish ordinances, multiplied and burthensome as they must have been found under any mitigations, have proved the awfulness (if we may so phrase it) of the original projectile force which launched them by continuing to revolve, and to propagate their controlling functions through forty centuries under all latitudes to which any mode of civilization has reached. But the Greek machineries of social life were absolutely and essentially limited by nature to a Grecian latitude. Already from the earliest stages of their infancy the Greek cities or rural settlements in the Tauric Chersonese, and along the shores (Northern and Eastern) of the Black Sea, had been obliged to unrobe themselves of their native Grecian costumes in a degree which materially disturbed the power of the Grecian literature as an influence for the popular mind. This effect of a new climate to modify the influence of a religion or the character of a literature is noticed by Mr. Finlay. Temples open to the heavens, theatres for noonday light and large enough for receiving 30,000 citizens—these could no longer be transplanted from sunny regions of Hymettus to the churlish atmospheres which overcast with gloom so perpetual poor Ovid's sketches of his exile. Cherson, it is true, in the Tauric Chersonese, survived down to the middle of the tenth century; so much is certain from the evidence of a Byzantine emperor; and Mr. Finlay is disposed to think that this famous little colonial state retained her Greek 'municipal organization.' If this could be proved, it would be a very interesting fact; it is, at any rate, interesting to see this saucy little outpost of Greek civilization mounting guard, as it were, at so great a distance from the bulwark of Christianity (the city of Constantine), under whose mighty shadow she had so long been sheltered, and maintaining by whatever means her own independence. But, if her municipal institutions were truly and permanently Greek, then it would be a fair inference that to a Grecian mechanism of society she had been indebted for her Grecian tenacity of life. And this is Mr. Finlay's inference. Otherwise, and for our own parts, we should be inclined to charge her long tenure of independence upon her strong situation, rendered for her a thousand times stronger by the two facts of her commerce in the first place, and secondly, of her commerce being maritime. Shipping and trade seem to us the two anchors by which she rode.

[14] 'Nook-shotten,' an epithet applied by Shakspeare to England.

[15] Christianity is a force of unity. But was Paganism such? No. To be idolatrous is no bond of union.

[16] See Murder as one of the Fine Arts. (Postscript in 1854.)

[17] 'Under the same tactics'—the tactics of 'refusing' her columns to the enemy. On this subject we want an elaborate memoir historico-geographical revising every stage of the Roman warfare in Pers-Armenia, from Crassus and Ventidius down to Heraclius—a range of six and a half centuries; and specifically explaining why it was that almost always the Romans found it mere destruction to attempt a passage much beyond the Tigris or into central Persia, whilst so soon after Heraclius the immediate successors of Mahomet overflowed Persia like a deluge.

[18] 'Intestine war.' Many writers call the Peloponnesian war (by the way, a very false designation) the great civil war of Greece. 'Civil'!—it might have been such, had the Grecian states had a central organ which claimed a common obedience.


The assassination of Caesar, we find characterized in one of his latter works (Farbenlehre, Theil 2, p. 126) by Goethe, as 'die abgeschmackteste That die jemals begangen worden'—the most outrageously absurd act that ever was committed. Goethe is right, and more than right. For not only was it an atrocity so absolutely without a purpose as never to have been examined by one single conspirator with a view to its probable tendencies—in that sense therefore it was absurd as pointing to no result—but also in its immediate arrangements and precautions it had been framed so negligently, with a carelessness so total as to the natural rebounds and reflex effects of such a tragic act, that the conspirators had neither organized any resources for improving their act, nor for securing their own persons from the first blind motions of panic, nor even for establishing a common rendezvous. When they had executed their valiant exploit, the very possibility of which from the first step to the last they owed to the sublime magnanimity of their victim—well knowing his own continual danger, but refusing to evade it by any arts of tyranny or distrust—when they had gone through their little scenic mummery of swaggering with their daggers—cutting '5,' '6' and 'St. George,' and 'giving point'—they had come to the end of the play. Exeunt omnes: vos plaudite. Not a step further had they projected. And, staring wildly upon each other, they began to mutter, 'Well, what are you up to next?' We believe that no act so thoroughly womanish, that is, moving under a blind impulse without a thought of consequences, without a concerted succession of steps, and no arriere pensee as to its final improvement, ever yet had a place or rating in the books of Conspiracy, far less was attended (as by accident this was) with an equipage of earth-shattering changes. Even the poor deluded followers of the Old Mountain Assassin, though drugged with bewildering potions, such men as Sir Walter Scott describes in the person of that little wily fanatic gambolling before the tent of Richard Coeur-de-lion, had always settled which way they would run when the work was finished. And how peculiarly this reach of foresight was required for these anti-Julian conspirators—will appear from one fact. Is the reader aware, were these boyish men aware, that—besides, what we all know from Shakespeare, a mob won to Caesar's side by his very last codicils of his will; besides a crowd of public magistrates and dependents charged upon the provinces, etc., for two years deep by Caesar's act, though in requital of no services or attachment to himself; besides a distinct Caesarian party; finally, besides Antony, the express representative and assignee of Caesar, armed at this moment with the powers of Consul—there was over and above a great military officer of Caesar's (Lentulus), then by accident in Rome, holding a most potent government through the mere favour of Caesar, and pledged therefore by an instant interest of self-promotion, backed by a large number of Julian troops at that instant billeted on a suburb of Rome—veterans, and fierce fellows that would have cut their own fathers' throats 'as soon as say dumpling' (see Lucan's account of them in Caesar's harangue before Pharsalia)? Every man of sense would have predicted ruin to the conspirators. 'You'll tickle it for your concupy' (Thersites in 'Troil and Cress.') would have been the word of every rational creature to these wretches when trembling from their tremulous act, and reeking from their bloody ingratitude. For most remarkable it is that not one conspirator but was personally indebted to Caesar for eminent favours; and many among them had even received that life from their victim which they employed in filching away his. Yet after that feature of the case, so notorious as it soon became, historians and biographers are all ready to notice of the centurion who amputated Cicero's head that, he had once been defended by Cicero. What if he had, which is more than we know—must that operate as a perpetual retaining fee on Cicero's behalf? Put the case that we found ourselves armed with a commission (no matter whence emanating) for abscinding the head of Mr. Adolphus who now pleads with so much lustre at the general jail delivery of London and Middlesex, or the head of Mr. Serjeant Wild, must it bar our claim that once Mr. Adolphus had defended us on a charge of sheep-stealing, or that the Serjeant had gone down 'special' in our cause to York? Very well, but doubtless they had their fees. 'Oh, but Cicero could not receive fees by law.' Certainly not by law; but by custom many did receive them at dusk through some postern gate in the shape of a huge cheese, or a guinea-pig. And, if the 'special retainer' from Popilius Laenas is somewhat of the doubtfullest, so is the 'pleading' on the part of Cicero.

However, it is not impossible but some will see in this desperate game of hazard a sort of courage on the part of the conspirators which may redeem their knavery. But the courage of desperation is seldom genuine, and least of all where the desperation itself was uncalled for. Yet even this sort of merit the conspirators wanted. The most urgent part of the danger was that which in all probability they had not heard of, viz., the casual presence at Rome of Julian soldiers. Pursuing no inquiries at all, they would hear not; practising no caution, they would keep no secret. The plot had often been betrayed, we will swear: but Caesar and Caesar's friends would look upon all such stories as the mere expressions of a permanent case, so much inevitable exposure on their part—so much possibility of advantage redounding to the other side. And out of these naked possibilities, as some temptation would continually arise to use them profitably, much more would arise to use them as delightful offsets to the sense of security and power.

[Mommsen is more at one with De Quincey here than Merivale, who, at p. 478, vol. ii., writes: 'We learn with pleasure that the conspirators did not venture even to sound Cicero'; but at vol. iii., p. 9, he has these significant words: 'Cicero, himself, we must believe, was not ashamed to lament the scruples which had denied him initiation into the plot.' Forsyth writes of Cicero's views: 'He was more than ever convinced of the want of foresight shown by the conspirators. Their deed, he said, was the deed of men, their counsels were the counsels of children,' 'Life of Cicero,' 3rd edition, pp. 435-6.—ED.]


Some little official secrets we learn from the correspondence of Cicero as Proconsul of Cilicia.[19] And it surprises us greatly to find a man, so eminently wise in his own case, suddenly turning romantic on behalf of a friend. How came it—that he or any man of the world should fancy any substance or reality in the public enthusiasm for one whose character belonged to a past generation? Nine out of ten amongst the Campanians must have been children when Pompey's name was identified with national trophies. For many years Pompey had done nothing to sustain or to revive his obsolete reputation. Capua or other great towns knew him only as a great proprietor. And let us ask this one searching question—Was the poor spirit-broken insolvent, a character now so extensively prevailing in Italian society, likely to sympathize more heartily with the lordly oligarch fighting only for the exclusive privileges of his own narrow order, or with the great reformer who amongst a thousand plans for reinfusing vitality into Roman polity was well understood to be digesting a large measure of relief to the hopeless debtor? What lunacy to believe that the ordinary citizen, crouching under the insupportable load of his usurious obligations, could be at leisure to support a few scores of lordly senators panic-stricken for the interests of their own camarilla, when he beheld—taking the field on the opposite quarter—one, the greatest of men, who spoke authentically to all classes alike, authorizing all to hope and to draw their breath in freedom under that general recast of Roman society which had now become inevitable! As between such competitors, which way would the popularity be likely to flow? Naturally the mere merits of the competition were decisive of the public opinion, although the petty aristocracy of the provincial boroughs availed locally to stifle those tumultuous acclamations which would else have gathered about the name of Caesar. But enough transpired to show which way the current was setting. Cicero does not dissemble that. He acknowledges that all men's hopes turned towards Caesar. And Pompey, who was much more forced into towns and public scenes, had even less opportunity for deceiving himself. He, who had fancied all Campania streaming with incense to heaven on his own personal account, now made the misanthropical discovery—not only that all was hollow, and that his own name was held in no esteem—but absolutely that the barrier to any hope of popularity for himself was that very man whom, on other and previous grounds, he had for some time viewed as his own capital antagonist.

Here then, in this schism of the public affections, and in the mortifying discovery so abruptly made by Pompey, lay the bitter affront which he could not digest—the injury which he purposed to avenge. What barbed this injury to his feelings, what prepared him for exhausting its bitterness, was the profound delusion in which he had been previously laid asleep by flattering friends—the perfect faith in his own uniform popularity. And now, in the very teeth of all current representations, we advance this proposition: That the quality of his meditated revenge and its horrid extent were what originally unveiled to Cicero's eyes the true character of Pompey and his partisans.

* * * * *

The last letter of the sixth book is written from Athens, which city, after a voyage of about a fortnight, Cicero reached precisely in the middle of October, having sailed out of Ephesus on the 1st. He there found a letter from Atticus, dated from Rome on the 18th of September; and his answer, which was 'by return of post,' closes with these words: 'Mind that you keep your promise of writing to me fully about my darling Tullia,' which means of course about her new husband Dolabella; next about the Commonwealth, which by this time I calculate must be entering upon its agony; and then about the Censors, etc. Hearken: 'This letter is dated on the 16th of October; that day on which, by your account, Caesar is to reach Placentia with four legions. What, I ask myself for ever, is to become of us? My own situation at this moment, which is in the Acropolis of Athens, best meets my idea of what is prudent under the circumstances.'

Well it would have been for Cicero's peace of mind if he could seriously have reconciled himself to abide by that specular station. Had he pleaded ill-health, he might have done so with decorum. As it was, thinking his dignity concerned in not absenting himself from the public councils at a season so critical, after a few weeks' repose he sailed forward to Italy, which he reached on the 23rd of November. And with what result? Simply to leave it again with difficulty and by stratagem, after a winter passed in one continued contest with the follies of his friends, nothing done to meet his own sense of the energy required, every advantage forfeited as it arose, ruined in the feeble execution, individual activity squandered for want of plan, and (as Cicero discovered in the end) a principle of despair, and the secret reserve of a flight operating upon the leaders from the very beginning. The key to all this is obvious for those who read with their eyes awake. Pompey and the other consular leaders were ruined for action by age and by the derangement of their digestive organs. Eating too much and too luxuriously is far more destructive to the energies of action than intemperance as to drink. Women everywhere alike are temperate as to eating; and the only females memorable for ill-health from luxurious eating have been Frenchwomen or Belgians—witness the Duchess of Portsmouth, and many others of the two last centuries whom we could name. But men everywhere commit excesses in this respect, if they have it in their power. With the Roman nobles it was almost a necessity to do so. Could any popular man evade the necessity of keeping a splendid dinner-table? And is there one man in a thousand who can sit at a festal board laden with all the delicacies of remotest climates, and continue to practise an abstinence for which he is not sure of any reward? All his abstinence may be defeated by a premature fate, and in the meantime he is told, with some show of reason, that a life defrauded of its genial enjoyments is not life, is at all events a present loss, whilst the remuneration is doubtful, except where there happen to be powerful intellectual activities to reap an instant benefit from such sacrifices. Certainly it is the last extremity of impertinence to attack men's habits in this respect. No man, we may be assured, has ever yet practised any true self-denial in such a case, or ever will. Either he has been trained under a wholesome poverty to those habits which intercept the very development of a taste for luxuries, which evade the very possibility therefore of any; or if this taste has once formed itself, he would find it as impossible in this as in any other case to maintain a fight with a temptation recurring daily. Pompey certainly could not. He was of a slow, torpid nature through life; required a continual supply of animal stimulation, and, if he had not required it, was assuredly little framed by nature for standing out against an artificial battery of temptation. There is proof extant that his system was giving way under the action of daily dinners. Cicero mentions the fact of his suffering from an annual illness; what may be called the etesian counter-current from his intemperance. Probably the liver was enlarged, and the pylorus was certainly not healthy. Cicero himself was not free from dyspeptic symptoms. If he had survived the Triumvirate, he would have died within seven years from some disease of the intestinal canal. Atticus, we suspect, was troubled with worms. Locke, indeed, than whom no man ever less was acquainted with Greek or Roman life, pretends that the ancients seldom used a pocket-handkerchief; knew little of catarrhs, and even less of what the French consider indigenous to this rainy island—le catch-cold. Nothing can be more unfounded. Locke was bred a physician, but his practice had been none; himself and the cat were his chief patients. Else we, who are no physicians, would wish to ask him—what meant those continual febriculae to which all Romans of rank were subject? What meant that fluenter lippire, a symptom so troublesome to Cicero's eyes, and always arguing a functional, if not even an organic, derangement of the stomach? Take this rule from us, that wherever the pure white of the eye is clouded, or is veined with red streaks, or wherever a continual weeping moistens the eyelashes, there the digestive organs are touched with some morbid affection, probably in it's early stages; as also that the inferior viscera, not the stomach, must be slightly disordered before toothache can be an obstinate affection. And as to le catch-cold, the-most dangerous shape in which it has ever been known, resembling the English cholera morbus, belongs to the modern city of Rome from situation; and probably therefore to the ancient city from the same cause. Pompey, beyond all doubt, was a wreck when he commenced the struggle.

Struggle, conflict, for a man who needed to be in his bed! And struggle with whom? With that man whom his very enemies viewed as a monster ([Greek: teras] is Cicero's own word), as preternaturally endowed, in this quality of working power. But how then is it consistent with our view of Roman dinners, that Caesar should have escaped the universal scourge? We reply, that one man is often stronger than another; every man is stronger in some one organ; and secondly, Caesar had lived away from Rome through the major part of the last ten years; and thirdly, the fact that Caesar had escaped the contagion of dinner luxury, however it may be accounted for, is attested in the way of an exception to the general order of experience, and with such a degree of astonishment, as at once to prove the general maxim we have asserted, and the special exemption in favour of Caesar. He only, said Cato, he, as a contradiction to all precedents—to the Gracchi, to Marius, to Cinna, to Sylla, to Catiline—had come in a state of temperance (sobrius) to the destruction of the state; not meaning to indicate mere superiority to wine, but to all modes of voluptuous enjoyment. Caesar practised, it is true, a refined epicureanism under the guidance of Greek physicians, as in the case of his emetics; but this was by way of evading any gross effects from a day of inevitable indulgence, not by way of aiding them. Besides, Pompey and Cicero were about seven years older than Caesar. They stood upon the threshold of their sixtieth year at the opening of the struggle; Caesar was a hale young man of fifty-two. And we all know that Napoleon at forty-two was incapacitated for Borodino by incipient disease of the stomach; so that from that day he, though junior by seventeen years to Pompey, yet from Pompey's self-indulgence (not certainly in splendid sensuality, but in the gross modes belonging to his obscure youth) was pronounced by all the judicious, superannuated as regarded the indispensable activity of martial habits. If he cannot face the toils of military command, said his officers, why does he not retire? Why does he not make room for others? Neither was the campaign of 1813 or 1814 any refutation of this. Infinite are the cases in which the interests of nations or of armies have suffered through the dyspepsy of those who administered them. And above all nations the Romans laid themselves open to this order of injuries from a dangerous oversight in their constitutional arrangements, which placed legal bars on the youthful side of all public offices, but none on the aged side. Of all nations the Romans had been most indebted to men emphatically young; of all nations they, by theory, most exclusively sanctioned the pretensions of old ones. Not before forty-three could a man stand for the consulship; and we have just noticed a case where a man of pestilent activity in our own times had already become dyspeptically incapable of command at forty-two. Besides, after laying down his civil office (which, by itself, was often in the van of martial perils), the consul had to pass into some province as military leader, with the prospect by possibility of many years' campaigning. It is true that some men far anticipated the legal age in assuming offices, honours, privileges. But this, being always by infraction of fundamental laws, was no subject of rejoicing to a patriotic Roman. And the Roman folly at this very crisis, in trusting one side of the quarrel to an elderly, lethargic invalid, subject to an annual struggle for his life, was appropriately punished by that catastrophe which six years after threw them into the hands of a schoolboy.

Yet on the other hand it may be asked, by those who carry the proper spirit of jealousy into their historical reading, was Cicero always right in these angry comments upon Pompey's strategies? Might it not be, that where Cicero saw nothing but groundless procrastination, in reality the obstacle lay in some overwhelming advantage of Caesar's? That, where his reports to Atticus read the signs of the time into the mere panic of a Pompey, some more impartial report would see nothing to wonder at but the overcharged expectations of a Cicero? Sometimes undoubtedly this is the plain truth. Pompey's disadvantages were considerable; he had no troops upon which he could rely; that part which had seen service happened to be a detachment from Caesar's army, sent home as a pledge for his civic intentions at an earlier period, and their affection was still lively to their original leader. The rest were raw levies. And it is a remarkable fact, that the insufficiency of such troops was only now becoming matter of notoriety. In foreign service, where the Roman recruits were incorporated with veterans, as the natives in our Eastern army, with a small proportion of British to steady them, they often behaved well, and especially because they seldom acted against an enemy that was not as raw as themselves. But now, in civil service against their own legions, it was found that the mere novice was worth nothing at all; a fact which had not been fully brought out in the strife of Marius and Sylla, where Pompey had himself played a conspicuous and cruel part, from the tumultuary nature of the contest; besides which the old legions were then by accident as much concentrated on Italian ground as now they were dispersed in transmarine provinces. Of the present Roman army, ten legions at least were scattered over Macedonia, Achaia, Cilicia, and Syria; five were in Spain; and six were with Caesar, or coming up from the rear. To say nothing of the forces locked up in Sicily, Africa, Numidia, etc. It was held quite unadvisable by Pompey's party to strip the distant provinces of their troops, or the great provincial cities of their garrisons. All these were accounted as so many reversionary chances against Caesar. But certainly a bolder game was likely to have prospered better; had large drafts from all these distant armies been ordered home, even Caesar's talents might have been perplexed, and his immediate policy must have been so far baffled as to force him back upon Transalpine Gaul. Yet if such a plan were eligible, it does not appear that Cicero had ever thought of it; and certainly it was not Pompey, amongst so many senatorial heads, who could be blamed for neglecting it. Neglect he did; but Pompey had the powers of a commander-in-chief for the immediate arrangements; but in the general scheme of the war he, whose game was to call himself the servant of the Senate, counted but for one amongst many concurrent authorities. Combining therefore his limited authority with his defective materials, we cannot go along with Cicero in the whole bitterness of his censure. The fact is, no cautious scheme whatever, no practicable scheme could have kept pace with Cicero's burning hatred to Caesar. 'Forward, forward! crush the monster; stone him, stab him, hurl him into the sea!' This was the war-song of Cicero for ever; and men like Domitius, who shared in his hatreds, as well as in his unseasonable temerity, by precipitating upon Caesar troops that were unqualified for the contest, lost the very elite of the Italian army at Corfinium; and such men were soon found to have been embarked upon the ludicrous enterprise of 'catching a Tartar;' following and seeking those

'Quos opimus Fallere et effugere est triumphus.'



Bribery was it? which had been so organized as the sole means of succeeding at elections, and which, once rendered necessary as the organ of assertion for each man's birthright, became legitimate; in which Cicero himself declared privately that there was '[Greek: exoche] in nullo,' no sort of pre-eminence, one as bad as another, pecunia exaequet omnium dignitatem. Money was the universal leveller. Was it gladiators bought for fighting with? These were bought by his friend Milo as well as his enemy Clodius, by Sextus Pompey on one side as much as by Caesar on the other. Was it neglect of obnunciatio? And so far as regards treating, Cicero himself publicly justified it against the miserable theatrical Cato. How ridiculous to urge that against a popular man as a crime, when it was sometimes enjoined by the Senate with menaces as a duty! Was it the attacking all obnoxious citizens' houses? That was done by one side quite as much as by the other, and signifies little, for the attack always fell on some leading man in wealth; and such a man's house was a fortress. Was it accepting provinces from the people? Cicero would persuade us that this was an unheard of crime in Clodius. But how came it that so many others did the same thing? Nay, that the Senate abetted them in doing it; saying to such a person, 'Oh, X., we perceive that you have extorted from the people.'


Then his being recalled; what if a man should say that his nephew was for it, and all his little nieces, not to mention his creditors? The Senate were for it. But why not? Had the Senate exiled him? And, besides, he was their agent.


It was 'an impious bargain' are the words of Middleton, and Deiotarus who broke it was a prince of noble character. What was he noble for? We never heard of anything very noble that he did; and we doubt whether Dr. Conyers knew more about him than we. But we happen to know why he calls him noble. Cicero, who long afterwards came to know this king personally and gave him a good dinner, says now upon hearsay (for he had then never been near him, and could have no accounts of him but from the wretched Quintus) that in eo multa regia fuerunt. Why yes, amputating heads was in those parts a very regal act. But what he chiefly had in his eye, comes out immediately after. Speaking to Clodius, he says that the visit of this king was so bright, maxime quod tibi nullum nummum dedit.


Wicked Middleton says that Cicero followed his conscience in following Pompey and the cause approved by what in the odious slang of his own days he calls 'the honest men.' But be it known unto him that he tells a foul falsehood. He followed his personal gratitude. This he is careful to say over and over again. Some months before he had followed what he deemed the cause of the Commonwealth and of the boni. The boni were vanished, he sought them and found only a heap of selfish nobles, half crazy with fear and half crazy with pride. These were gone, but Pompey the man remained that he clung to. And in his heart of hearts was another feeling—hatred to Caesar.


403. 'Cicero had only stept aside' was the technical phrase for lurking from creditors. So Bishop Burnet of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, it was thought he might have stept aside for debt.


[19] Cicero entered on the office of Proconsul of Cilicia on the last day of July, 703 A.U.C.; he resigned it on the last day but one of July, 704.—ED.


I. The Main Subject Opened. What is Chronology, and how am I to teach it? The what is poorly appreciated, and chiefly through the defects of the how. Because it is so ill-taught, therefore in part it is that Chronology is so unattractive and degraded. Chronology is represented to be the handmaid of history. But unless the machinery for exhibiting this is judicious, the functions, by being obscured, absolutely lose all their value, flexibility, and attraction. Chronology is not meant only to enable us to refer each event to its own particular era—that may be but trivial knowledge, of little value and of slight significance in its application; but chronology has higher functions. It teaches not only when A happened, but also with what other events, B, C, or D, it was associated. It may be little to know that B happened 500 years before Christ, but it may be a most important fact that A and B happened concurrently with D, that both B and D were prepared by X, and that through their concurrent operation arose the ultimate possibility of Z. The mere coincidences or consecutions, mere accidents of simultaneity or succession, of precession or succession, maybe less than nothing. But the co-operation towards a common result, or the relation backwards to a common cause, may be so important as to make the entire difference between a story book, on the one hand, and a philosophic history, on the other, of man as a creature.

History is not an anarchy; man is not an accident. The very motions of the heavenly bodies for many a century were thought blind and without law. Now we have advanced so far into the light as to perceive the elaborate principles of their order, the original reason of their appearing, the stupendous equipoise of their attraction and repulsion, the divine artifice of their compensations, the original ground of their apparent disorder, the enormous system of their reactions, the almost infinite intricacy of their movements. In these very anomalies lies the principle of their order. A curve is long in showing its elements of fluxion; we must watch long in order to compute them; we must wait in order to know the law of their relations and the music of the deep mathematical principles which they obey. A piece of music, again, from the great hand of Mozart or Beethoven, which seems a mere anarchy to the dull, material mind, to the ear which is instructed by a deep sensibility reveals a law of controlling power, determining its movements, its actions and reactions, such as cannot be altogether hidden, even when as yet it is but dimly perceived.

So it is in history, though the area of its interest is yet wider, and the depths to which it reaches more profound; all its contradictory phenomena move under one embracing law, and all its contraries shall finally be solved in the clear perception of this law.

* * * * *

Reading and study ill-conducted run to waste, and all reading and study are ill-conducted which do not plant the result as well as the fact or date in the memory. With no form of knowledge is this more frequently the case than with history. Such is the ill-arranged way of telling all stories, and so perfectly without organization is the record of history, that of what is of little significance there is much, and of what is of deep and permanent signification there is little or nothing.

The first step in breaking ground upon this almost impracticable subject, is—to show the student a true map of the field in which his labours are to lie. Most people have a vague preconception, peopling the fancy with innumerable shadows, of some vast wilderness or Bilidulgerid of trackless time, over which are strewed the wrecks of events without order, and persons without limit. Omne ignotum, says Tacitus, pro magnifico; that is, everything which lies amongst the shades and darkness of the indefinite, and everything which is in the last degree confused, seems infinite. But the gloom of uncertainty seems far greater than it really is.

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