Изображения страниц


with coats only, many without either coats or breeches. The soldiers that had been lucky enough to procure shoes were more fortunate than their officers. There was a large tent erected on the "Champ de Mars" capable of containing from ten thousand to twelve thousand people. At a distance of four hundred yards there was another, erected immediately behind the government palace, which served as a robing-chamber for the imperial family. On the east-end stood a platform on which there was a Catholic altar; the rest of the tent was partitioned off for the deputies, nobles, ladies of honour (black), consuls, and foreign merchants; the troops assembled and formed into a square, and a double line was stationed along the route leading to the palace, in order to protect their majesties from violence. Then came the senators and deputies, dukes, earls, and ladies of honour, who were led to the place assigned to them by the master of the ceremonies. Their majesties were to make their appearance at six o'clock a.m., but with true negro punctuality they did not arrive till nine. They were announced by the discharge of artillery, music, and loud and long vivas from the spectators, and none shouted more lustily than the foreign merchants, while at the same time they inwardly cursed Soulouque and his government for ruining the commerce of the country. Their majesties were preceded by the vicar-general. Her majesty first made her appearance, attended by her ladies of honour, under a canopy like that which is seen at Roman Catholic ceremonies on the occasion of the procession of the holy sacrament. She wore on her head a tiara, and was robed in the most costly apparel. Before her husband was elected president she had been a vender of fish. Soulouque himself then followed, accompanied by all the distinguished nobility, under a similar canopy, wearing a crown that, it is said, cost thirty dollars, and having in his hand two sceptres. Their majesties were led to the prie-dieu, where they first said their prayers, and they were then conducted to the throne. The ceremonies then commenced by the vicar pronouncing a solemn benediction on the crown, sword, sword of justice, sceptre, cloak, ring,


collar, and imperial cloak of the emperor, after which were blessed the crown, cloak, and ring of the empress. Then came the president of the court of cassation (the supreme court of Hayti) accompanied by the deputies, and presented to Soulouque the constitution of Hayti, demanding of him to swear not to violate it; upon which he placed the crown on his head, and placed the Bible on the pages of the constitution, and said, "I swear to abide by the constitution, and to maintain the integrity and independence of the empire of Hayti." Then the master of the ceremonies cried aloud, "Long live the great, glorious, and august Emperor Faustin the First." So ended the pomp and pageantry of crowning this "nigger" emperor. The accounts of it caused much amusement in England, and when Louis Napoleon was crowned the occasion was not forgotten by caricaturists and jokers. But there was more than joking on the subject of the French emperor, for it must be remembered that while Louis Napoleon was challenging the admiration of most of us by his release of the grand old Algerian chief Abd-el-Kader on parole, he was endeavouring to spread his nets all over Europe with an eye to political conspirators. Lord Malmesbury, our foreign minister, nicknamed M. le Comte de Malmesbury and much laughed at about "my French cook," introduced into the Upper House an alarming bill for the extradition of "offenders," including Englishmen, in favour of France. It is enough to say that his lordship had to withdraw the measure, but it looked at one time very near to getting passed.

At the time of which we are now speaking there was considerable excitement in relation to Arctic enterprise, more particularly as to the fate of Sir John Franklin and the crews of the Erebus and Terror, which had sailed in search of the north-west passage in 1845 and had not since been heard of. From 1847 onwards, expeditions, both by land and sea, had been despatched in search of the missing ships, at a cost of about a million sterling to the country. In the spring of 1852 the brig Renovation, of North Shields, came home with a report that the captain and men had

The general conclusion,

seen two ships embedded in ice somewhere off | betting and "betting-offices." It was not yet Newfoundland. This brig was herself in the hour for the legislature to interfere with danger at the moment, and the captain so ill these precious institutions, and it is not yet a that he could hardly do more than "groan;" settled thing in all minds that it had any busibut the tidings naturally caused much discus- ness to interfere, or that it has done any good sion in England. by meddling. But there never was any doubt that the results of the "betting-office" system were shocking. The thing began, probably, in a cigar-shop, with some such words in the window as "The Races! A List Kept Here." But after a time these places of resort were openly styled betting-offices, and a horrible "roaring trade" was done. Servant-girls, shop-boys, clerks, all and sundry, went and betted, large numbers of the wretched adventurers stealing the money of their employers in order to "speculate." Courts of justice all over the country had a dreary tale to tell. In one town in the north of England as much as £50,000 was lost on one horse; and it was found that very poor people had pawned blankets and children's clothing to procure money for this kind of gambling! Meanwhile the honest friends of the "turf," as it is called, were concerned in helping to expose this nuisance, for jockeys and stable-boys were frequently bribed by the proprietors of these dreadful dens, to betray the secrets of their masters with regard to particular horses. The cry, once taken up, did not cease for long until something was done.

after this discussion and comparing of notes, was that the whole story was the result of an illusion not unfrequently occurring to nautical observers of distant icebergs or masses of ice. A high authority expressed this opinion:-"I think,” he wrote, "they were 'country ships,' as we whalers call them-formations upon an iceberg which deceive even practised eyes. To place ships in such a position by the process of freezing into an iceberg would require thirty to forty years, and floe ice would have been broken up with the western ocean swell before it had even reached Cape Farewell. Not a piece of sufficient size would be found to contain even one ship, much less two. No iceberg of one-fourth of a mile would reach such a position; it must have been two pieces of icebergs, and the vessel being five miles distant could not observe the water over the detached ice. We have the experience of the eleven whalers wintered on the ice; they all broke from their icebergs long before they reached Cape Farewell."

Sir Edward Belcher expressed his belief that two ships had been seen, not on, but beyond the iceberg, and that they were not the Erebus and Terror. No reliance, he said, could be placed on the position or correctness of the objects seen over a field of ice. He instanced a case which occurred to Captain Sir Edward Parry, who, with a shooting party in the Arctic regions, saw what every one of the party would have taken his oath was a herd of moose deer, until they came up to them, after nearly a whole day's exertion, and found they were a flock of ptarmigan. All this, however, while it added to what some people might call "the poetry of the case," kept the subject alive in the mind of friends at home, and it never died out till the expedition in the Fox under Captain M'Clintock.

One of the "social" topics which in 1852 began to attract serious attention was that of

It has already been hinted that the accession of the Tory party to power was followed by one or two signs of a return to what were regarded as repressive measures by the Radical side. There has always been a tendency among high-and-dry politicians of the church-and-king school to limit that right of public meeting and discussion which is so dear to Englishmen. Now Mr. Home-Secretary Walpole was one of the best men that ever lived, and a sound constitutional lawyer, a Christian gentleman who would not for his life do a thing that he believed to be unjust. But he was not a man of robust feeling and intelligence, and had somewhat feminine views on points of order. Unfortunately he had excuse, or what looked like excuse, for interfering with certain meetings in the open air at the East-End of


London, and he directed the police to check or stop them. These were largely Sunday meetings of artisans to discuss politics and religion, and were almost entirely "officered," so to speak, by republicans and atheists. But whatever power the law gives its administrators in such cases, it would have been wiser for the new Tory government to "let things slide," than to interfere in a way which they were not prepared to follow up, and which was sure to provoke an outcry. Practically, their interference did only harm, and had to be given up; though the police retreated in due order; and the Sunday "orating" in Bonner's Fields, beyond Bethnal Green, went on again finely.

In this connection may be noticed the rapid increase among the working-classes of the party now known as Secularists. For some time previously Mr. Holyoake, who had led the anti-Christian and anti-theistic party, had felt that it was a bad thing for them to be called “atheists,” and he succeeded in organizing the party of Secularism, and in establishing that as the current name of the anti-religious body whose chief apostle he was. The point of the change of style lay in this, that a man might adopt the formula of secularism without being an atheist, though, we may add, it was exceedingly improbable that he should, and secularism utterly ignores all questions of God and a future life.

Just at this time it happened that Mr. Holyoake appeared as the "bail” in a bankruptcy case before Mr. Commissioner Phillips -of Courvoisier celebrity-and declined to take the usual oath. Being asked if he did not believe in a God, he replied that he was "not prepared to answer the question with the brevity the court would require." To the question what he called himself he answered that if he must take a name he should call himself a Secularist. After a little more twaddle on both sides Mr. Commissioner Phillips dismissed him with ungrammatical abuse: "Go and attend to your secularism, sir." Now Mr. Holyoake was an able man and a journalist, and had friends and allies, so the case made a great noise. An immoral and irreligious novel of the worst French-revolu


tion type had been written by Mr. Phillips when young, and this unsavoury work-The Loves of Celestine and St. Aubert-was dug up and brought into public notice for the purpose of showing the inconsistency of the author; while his defence of Courvoisier was made the most of against him. Those personalities are, however, a trifle. The important fact is, that the Liberal papers all over England, including some religious papers like the Nonconformist of Mr. Edward Miall, took up the case, and made it the text of an argument for permitting others than Quakers and Separatists to "affirm." From this time forward the subject assumed a prominence that it never lost.

The gold discoveries in Australia were having many startling effects both at home and in the colonies, the derangement of the currency and a rise in prices being among them. This was expected; but no human being was prepared for the escape of "Meagher of the Sword," one of the Irish patriots whom we had sent to Australia for his share in the rising of 1848. Mr. Meagher had the partial liberty of a ticket-of-leave at the time of his escape, but did not violate its literal conditions. It ran as follows:-"I undertake not to escape from the colony so long as I hold this ticketof-leave." Having made previous preparations for his flight, with a horse saddled in his stable, and being armed with pistols, he addressed a letter to the magistrate of Ross, about twenty miles distant, and a township of the district out of which he was not permitted to go. The place in which he resided was the wild bush. In his letter he returned his ticket-of-leave and said he would remain at his house that

day till twelve o'clock, when the leave expired, in order to give the authorities an opportunity of arresting him if they could. When the magistrate read the letter he was astounded, and he immediately ordered the chief of police, who happened to be present, to proceed at once to arrest Meagher. The chief of police replied he would not do any such thing, as he was an Irishman, and that young gentleman was an Irishman. "But you must do it," retorted the magistrate. "Faith, I will not," replied the Irishman; "I will resign

first." "But I will not accept your resignation." "Then if you do not you may let it alone, but I will not arrest young Meagher." The magistrate gave it up as a bad case, and rode immediately to another station in search of police. Meantime the Irish chief of police set out for the mines, as he thought he could make more money in digging gold than in arresting his Irish friends. Meagher waited for six hours after the time, in order not to give the British authorities any excuse for saying he had violated his pledge. He was accompanied and assisted by three young English settlers, who supplied him with horses and had horses themselves. They proposed to wait till the police came and to kill them. Meagher thought it unnecessary to shed blood, but stayed till the police came, and kept his friends waiting at a short distance. The moment the police entered the house he passed out at another door, and, mounting his horse, came round to the front of the building within pistol-shot of them, and told them to arrest him if they could. In the next moment he put spurs to his horse, and with his friends was soon out of sight. They travelled over 180 miles without halt, having relays of horses on the way. They at length reached unmolested a lonely spot upon the sea-coast, where, according to previous arrangements, a whale-boat was in waiting, and bore Meagher off in safety. He of course fled to America. When it became known in New York that he was there, detachments of the Irish militia regiments, accompanied by their bands, marched up to his residence in succession and serenaded him. But this was only a part of the "demonstrations" that ensued. The event is particularly interesting at the present time because it is certain that the presence of Meagher and Mitchell had much influence in the formation of the antiEnglish party among the Irish in America.

A very short time before the escape of Meagher, one of the exiles of the year of insurgence had written to a friend in Galway an amusing account of the then condition of "Smith O'Brine, of royal line," and "Meagher of the Sword." "Smith O'Brien, since his acceptance of a ticket-of-leave, has lived in

great privacy and retirement in the vale of Avoca, having, in order to employ his highly cultivated mind, condescended to become tutor to the young sons of an eminent Irish physician who resides in that retired locality. His constant and dignified demeanour has procured him the respect of all, even of those most opposed to him in principles and politics. He is now, I am informed, in very bad health, so much that he has been obliged to give up the employment he had accepted, and has got permission to reside in a different locality. Mitchell has been joined by his wife and family; and with such a family, and with the society of his old and excellent friend Mr. John Martin, he must be as happy as it is possible for an exiled rebel to be. O'Meagher still resides in his solitary domicile at Lake Sorell, save that the solitude is now somewhat disturbed by the presence of his amiable and beautiful bride."

For some years the influence of Dr. J. H. Newman had been increasingly felt in religious circles, and from the Oratory at Birmingham and otherwise he made damaging attacks on what may be called show or shop Protestantism. This led at last to the longdrawn Achilli business, which ended in one of the most memorable trials of the century, that of "The Queen versus J. H. Newman, in the matter of Giovanni Giacinti Achilli." It took place in the Court of Queen's Bench before Lord Campbell and a special jury, Sir Alexander Cockburn leading the case for the defence. The court was crowded, and the scenes which occurred when the women, some of them Italians, were in the box, as witnesses against Achilli, were most dramatic. Achilli himself was a very dark, firmly-built Italian, with deep-set brown eyes, great self-possession, and large mouth and jaw. He wore a shorthaired black wig, and in dress and bearing looked a curious mixture of Romanist and Protestant Evangelical.

This Dr. Achilli is almost forgotten now by the general public, but he was then a great celebrity as a "converted Catholic" lecturer, making capital out of what he had seen, or said he had seen, in the Roman


Church. Father Newman, now Cardinal Newman, was then lecturing at the Oratory, Birmingham, and delivered an impassioned and bitterly ironical attack on the character and career of Achilli, which was included in a pamphlet on the "Logical Inconsistency of the Protestant Point of View." This attack contained the libel for which Father Newman was now indicted. It charged Achilli openly with the very worst offences that could be alleged against a minister of religion; with deliberate atheistic treachery and hypocrisy, and with the grossest immorality. The libel alleged-and this was proved at the trialthat he had been deprived of his office as a priest by his clerical superiors, and it was stated that he had then lived almost publicly in Italy with the wife of a chorus-singer. But publicity or privacy was-according to the libel-all one to Achilli, and the sacristy of a church was mentioned as the scene of some of the evil acts of which he was accused.

were obliged to give hush-money to the father of one of your victims, as we learn from the official report of the police of Viterbo. You are reported in an official document of the Neapolitan police to be 'known for habitual incontinency;' your name came before the civil tribunal at Corfu for the crime of aduitery. You have put the crown on your offences by, as long as you could, denying them all; you have professed to seek after truth when you were ravening after sin. Yes, you are an incontrovertible proof that priests may fall and friars break their vows. You are your own witness; but while you need not go out of yourself for your argument, neither are you able. With you the argument begins; with you, too, it ends; the beginning and the end you are both. When you have shown yourself you have done your worst, and your all; you are your best arguments, and your sole. Your witness against others is utterly invalidated by your witness against yourself."

It would be impossible to quote any of the evidence, except that which related to Dr. Achilli's being deprived of all ecclesiastical functions for ever, and some of the less impor

Two of his wife's English servant-girls, one of them little more than a child, came forward to give evidence against him. Protestants found it difficult to believe that a man making the most solemn professions of piety and purity could be guilty of the iniquities with which he was charged; but a very black story was brought out by Sir A. Cockburn for the defence. An account of Achilli's career, true or false, was published in the great Roman Catholic organ the Dublin Review, and was left unnoticed for fifteen months. A few passages, much condensed, from Dr. Newman's terrible indictment may be placed maintaining that the administration of justice

tant testimony of Lord Shaftesbury and other Englishmen. The trial lasted three days. Lord Campbell summed up by merely reading his notes with a few connecting remarks, and the jury found a verdict for the crown. This was received with repeated cheers, which, it was noted, Lord Campbell did not attempt to stop. The Times wrote an indignant article,

on record here. "You

in England had received terrible blow in a trial the like of which had not been seen since the first triumphs of Titus Oates. At

the same time Achilli's residence was besieged by congratulating visitors.


speak truly, O Achilli, and we cannot answer you a word. You are a priest; you have been a friar; you are, it is undeniable, the scandal of Catholicism and the palmary argument of Protestants, by your extraordinary depravity. You have been, it is

true, a crite.

To return for a moment to some of the movements which distinguished the portentous session of 1852, it may be mentioned that the Militia Bill, introduced by Mr. Wal

profligate, an unbeliever, and a hypo-
Not many years passed of your con-

ventual life, and you were never in choir,
always in private houses, so that the laity pole and warmly supported by the Duke of

observed you.

You were deprived of your
we own it; you were prohibited
preaching and hearing confessions; you

Wellington, was generally held to be an im-
provement on that of Lord John Russell, and
was at the time largely accredited to Lord

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »