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children of Satan, without law and without God in their world; and were given into the hands of the true believers, as the Canaanites had been of yore to the posterity of Jacob. So the Castilian in the sixteenth century thought and acted. Yet we should do him, or rather his nation, great injustice, if we thus concluded the reckoning of his qualities. Great virtues as well as great vices appertained to him. It was possible to hate, but hardly possible to despise him. In courage he was undaunted, in enterprise unwearied; his faith was sincere; his loyalty without blemish; and his very arrogance was a mark or an excess of selfrespect. Neither should the Spanish people be measured by the standard of the adventurers who flocked to the New World. Among the explorers and colonists were many both lay and secular for whom neither society nor religion need to blush, men whom the most virtuous of commonwealths might rank among its heroes, and the least superstitious of churches adopt as its saints. But if camps are frequently the refuge of the most restless and ungovernable of spirits, much more so are expeditions of conquest and colonisation. The family-tie and the state-tie are alike relaxed, if not altogether broken: an adventurer cares not for the opinion of his neighbours or the rebuke of his household. He bears with him the arts and the strength of civilisation; but he himself returns, in some degree, to the freedom of the nomad. Mr. Helps's volumes abound in anecdotes of the early life and training of the more conspicuous pioneers of the conquest. Some, like Ojeda, were notorious for their physical strength; others, like Vasco Nuñez, were runaway debtors: this one had made his native place too hot to hold him; and another had set at naught the vice-chancellor and proctors of the university. The greater expeditions, like that of Cortes, were conducted by picked men; the importance of the venture demanding a careful choice of instruments. But the less extensive and systematic discoverics were undertaken by men resembling those who resorted to David in the cave of Adullam; “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented,” flocked to the banner of some leader as reckless as themselves. Over such spirits the home-government had no control: and often a new region was explored and its inhabitants were expelled, enslaved, or even exterminated, before the council of the Indics could interfere, or the crown take them under its protection. It has been so usual to regard the Spanish monarchy as an unmixed despotism, and historians have so often confounded the powers exercised by Ferdinand the Catholic with those usurped by his successors after the battle at Villalar had crushed the liberties of Spain, that the reader who is not previously cognisant of the change may remark, with some surprise, how accessible Ferdinand was to the petitions, the representations, and even the rebuke of his subjects. Las Casas, after ineffectual patience in the antechamber, makes his way at last to the royal closet, and states the grievances of his Indian clients with freedom and favourable acceptance. Ferdinand is willing and even eager to listen to evidence, and puts what he has collected fairly before his council. His soldiers retain the freedom of their Gothic ancestors; and his priests are rather the directors than the keepers of his conscience. ** He was reckoned The wisest prince that there had reigned by many A year before:” but his wisdom was not the cunning of his great-grandson Philip; and, compared with the jealousy and seclusion of the Escurial under his successor, Ferdinand was as free to all men as when justice was administered in the city-gates. There are few more tragic stories than that of the conquest of America; there is no more mournful spectacle than the long decrepitude of Spain; and history affords no more appalling example of the nemesis which impends equally over guilty households and guilty nations. Writing of the Indians as they appeared to the first explorers, Mr. Helps employs the following remarkable words: “In many parts of America the manners and perhaps the whole aspect of the people would have given a traveller the notion of persons of decayed fortune, who had once been more prosperous and formidable than they were now, or who had been the offshoot of a more defined and forcible people.” Is not this the very aspect of the Spaniards at the present moment? the very burden of the poet's reproach” “Oh, could their ancient Incas rise again, How would they take up Israel's taunting strain Art thou too fallen, Iberia 2 do we see The robber and the murderer weak as we ? Thou that hast wasted earth, and dared despise Alike the wrath and mercy of the skies; Thy pomp is in the grave, thy glory laid Low in the pits thine avarice has made: We come with joy from our eternal rest To see the oppressor in his turn oppressed.” The armies of Spain are no longer formidable to Europe; her navy is scarcely sufficient to defend any one of her principal harbours; her credit has sunk; her commerce is departed; no platefleet annually recruits her exchequer; no vice-roys depart from her shores; no slaves delve in her mines. Her chiefest of cities are too wide for their scanty population, and by their gloom and silence recall to the traveller the stillness of Bagdad and the sadness of Ispahan. Spain, since the reign of Philip II., has not only looked to the past, but also rested on the past. . Rejecting all change, she has become herself a monument of change. She that sat as a queen is now least among the nations: she that ruled in Ophir is a lazar on the earth.
On reverting to what we have written, we feel aware of some injustice to Mr. Helps. We have been dwelling upon the elements rather than upon the contents of his book. But inasmuch as the author himself has intimated that the distribution of the races in the New World first turned his attention to the subject of their conquest, and since the character of the conquerors formed also an important feature in their dealings with the conquered, we have sought to bring prominently forward the central point of his observation, and securely commend the details of his narrative to our readers. Our limits forbade us to indulge in the pleasure of entering Mr. Helps's portraitgallery, and drawing from his masterly sketches of Columbus, Cortes, Las Casas, of the vice-roys of the New World, of the councils which drew up their instructions, of the shrewd yet not hard Ferdinand, and of the beautiful and bounteous Isabella. We know of few undertakings more difficult than the one which he has, in our opinion, so far successfully performed— the telling over again an oft-repeated tale. We can imagine few discoveries more agreeable than to have discerned that, without supplanting any earlier labourer, there was still room in the field for fresh speculation and research. Hitherto the conquerors alone have occupied the foreground: in these pages their history forms but a portion of the narrative; and we are led to contemplate not only their deeds, but the result also of their actions. We trust that we may very shortly possess a record by the same hand of the conquest of South America, and survey the civilisation of the Incas under the guidance of a writer who has so ably delineated the fiercer and less attractive empire of Anahuac,
Life of Thomas Young, M.D., F.R.S., &c. By George Peacock, D.D., Dean of Ely, &c. 8vo. London, Murray, 1855.
The Miscellaneous Works of Dr. T. Young. Edited by G. Peacock, D.D., Dean of Ely, and John Leitch, Esq. 3 vols. 8vo. London, Murray, 1855.
THE name of Thomas Young, up to the present time, has been hardly known among his countrymen beyond a circle, extensive no doubt, of private friends and men of science. Yet he was, perhaps, one of the most extraordinary men of whom the present or any age can boast. His celebrity, however, is probably becoming greater every day; and the recent, though long-promised, publication of his life by the master hand of the Dean of Ely, accompanying a reprint of his varied and numerous miscellaneous works, under the able editorship of Mr. Leitch, hitherto only found scattered through a wide range of periodicals, some of them little known or difficult to procure, will probably do much to secure for his name its just place among the most eminent cultivators of literature and discoverers in science; while his personal history, now first exhibited in detail, will evince the wonderful variety and extent of his manifold attainments and high qualities and endowments, moral, intellectual, and physical, so as fairly to place him in the very highest rank of talent and accomplishment in the estimation of readers of all classes. In the wish to further such an object, we propose in the present article in the first instance to give a sketch of his personal history, after which we shall offer a brief analysis of some of his chief literary and scientific labours. He was born at Milverton in Somersetshire, June 13, 1773, of a family belonging to the Society of Friends, and was brought up in a strict adherence to the tenets of that sect. His intellectual development was rapid, and from his earliest years, what particularly strikes us is the unusual quantity of reading he describes himself as going through ; he had, for example, read through the Bible twice before he was four years old ! besides other books. He learned by heart at that age a vast amount of English poetry. In his seventh year he went to a school at Stapleton, near Bristol, where his progress in a year and a half was equally wonderful. In that time, previously knowing nothing of Latin, he learned all Lilly’s grammar, and
read through two books of Phaedrus, besides a variety of English