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we entered a labyrinth of broken rocks, which had the appearance of being the wreck of a mountain shattered by some terrible convulsion into a thousand fragments, and scattered over the plain. After losing and finding our path at least a dozen times, we issued from this perplexing place into the open country, when one of the strangest-looking beings ever seen was the first object that arrested our attention.
At a short distance from us we discovered a man, a stranger to our party, who at first appeared disposed to avoid us, but, owing to the nature of his position, that was almost an impossibility; the open country was before him it is true, but the view was unobstructed to the sea, and we were between him and the only hiding-place at hand-the narrow, rocky defile through which we had so lately passed, and from which, as we afterwards found, he had retreated on hearing our approach.
He appeared to consider any further attempts at concealment unnecessary, and gradually approached us. He wore upon his head a roughly-made seal-skin cap, a jacket made of similar materials covered his body, and a ragged pair of
coarse canvas seaman's trowsers en
Upon asking him whether he belonged to the party of our consort, he replied in the negative, and at the same time expressed his joy on finding we were his countrymen, upon which information his caution was instantly banished; and, without further reserve, told us he had seen the ships anchor in the road, and the boats approach the shore, and then he fled into the interior of the island, and gave as his reasons for such proceeding, that he had been ill used and robbed by a party who had landed on the island about six months previous to our visit.
veloped his lower extremities. His face was deeply bronzed by exposure, and a long beard hung down from his chin upon his chest, which was open to view; a long gun was in his hand
"The only law of a desert land”—
and held in a position for instant use, should its services be required. Singlehanded he would have been a dangerous foe; but, opposed to our numerous party, resistance would be madness, and, no harm being meant or intended on our side, we were at a loss to account for the cautious and somewhat menacing attitude he assumed. We thought we had found the Robinson Crusoe of the place, and, all circumstances considered, the suggestion was excusable. The surprise of his great prototype, on discovering the impression of the footprint in the sand, could not be greater than ours in finding a human being in a situation so remote from the haunts of men as this solitary place-this speck upon the globe; the dotting of a pin's point upon the map being an exaggeration of its size, in comparison with the defined proportions of the rest of the world.
Confidence rapidly sprung up between us; and, among other things, he gave us the following brief outline of his life, and the cause that led him to adopt this strange and solitary place for his abode.
His name, he said, was George Stewart, and that he came from a rural district in North Britain; in early life he emigrated, with many others, to the Canadas, hoping to better his condition in the New World; after suffering many misfortunes and hardships, his agricultural speculation ending in ruin, he joined a hunting expedition in the backwoods of America, in the service of a fur company; from some circumstance which he did not explain, he abandoned this pursuit.
Having found his way to a seaport, he then embarked in an American whaler, which ship had left him on the island where we found him, as near as he could calculate, about a year; he had lost all reckoning as regards time, neither knowing the day in its monthly or weekly position.
English and American whalers sometimes leave men upon the island for the purpose of catching seals, and taking their skins and oil, the ship pursuing her voyage to other seas for the grander object of killing whales, and, having completed their cargo (which sometimes occupies a period of one or two years' varying duration, according to the successful nature of their operations), they return home, picking up on their route the men they have left at different places sealing.
It happens sometimes that the ship is lost, and humanity shudders at the fate of the hapless individuals thus left to their solitary fate. We dwelt upon the chance of his either being forgotten, or that his ship might be lost, and urged
him to take his passage in ours, which he instantly declined. Taking a lively interest in his behalf, we expressed our surprise at his being able to sustain such a solitary existence; he acknowledged it was very irksome at first, but that was occasioned by his companion, with whom he had repeated quarrels ; but since he had left him for the neighboring island (which he thought was nine months since), he had been much happier. As for solitude, he was used to it, having spent months quite alone in the wilds of America when engaged on his fur-hunting expeditions, and that he was then perfectly contented.
Of course our astonishment was excited on finding in such a place, with every circumstance to bind two lonely men together, if not for the sake of society, at least for protection, that they should separate: it appeared, however, that his companion was of a quarrelsome disposition, avaricious, and overbearing; and at night," said Stewart, "I never closed my eyes in safety, for fear of being murdered by him, knowing that all the profits accruing from their mutual labors in sealing would belong to the survivor, and there would be no evidence to prove that I had not died a natural death."
Under these circumstances, existence became insupportable; and one morning, after a quarrel, ending in a desperate conflict, in which they seriously wounded each other, they agreed to separate, and casting lots which should depart, and Stewart winning the choice, remained on St. Paul's; his companion, taking the largest of the two boats, left them by their ship, sailed for the neighboring island of Amsterdam, and from that hour to the time of our meeting Stewart, they had never seen nor heard of each other.
During our conversation with him, among other things he mentioned, while looking for seals, he had seen ships at various times pass the island; but, with the exception of the one which robbed him, none had sent a boat on shore; and the remembrance of his former treatment induced him to endeavor to avoid a meeting with us. But," said the honest-hearted fellow, "it was wrong to suppose all men were like the cowards who ill-treated and robbed a single man in my situation. Bah!" said he, with a strong Scotch accent, "they were Portuguese."
One day, while hunting seals in a remote part of the island, he found upon a flat shelving rock, near the sea beach, a human skeleton, which he supposed was the remains of some former inhabitant of the place, who, like himself, had been left for the purpose of taking skins, and, being overtaken by sickness, had crawled to the spot where his bones were found, in the hope of seeing a ship pass by, and, waiting there in vain, had died in a manner the heart sickens to dwell upon. This circumstance caused him great uneasiness for some time; he, however, performed the last offices upon his remains, and buried them near the spot where they were found.
Some time after the above melancholy affair, while repairing his boat, he was alarmed by a rumbling noise proceeding from the circular basin, which was followed by a smart shock of an earthquake. This he stated was the only occurrence of the kind that had happened during his residence there.
He had been able to exist very well, the lagoon supplying him with abundance of fish, and occasionally he killed a hog, but was indifferently supplied with vegetables. The biscuit left him by his ship was nearly expended, which he felt as an evil; but we relieved his anxiety by promising to leave him a good store for his future wants, together with some flour, ammunition, and fishing-lines and hooks.
Our excursion being brought to a close, our newly-found friend conducted us to his hut, which was upon the margin of the lagoon, in a recess formed by nature in the rock: the entrance he had narrowed with stones, filling the interstices with sand and earth combined, leaving a small doorway, which was curtained with a piece of canvas. It contained a seaman's chest, a large barrel which held th skins he had dried, and in other parts, skins were undergoing the process necessary for their preservation. A seaman's hammock and bedding, with a gun, and a few other articles, completed the furniture of his cabin.
It surprised our party to find his dwelling so near the place where we landed, and that we should have passed it unobserved; but the fact can be accounted for in no other way than our being overwhelmed with the novelties of the place, and unable to bestow any
time upon objects which appeared insignificant.
As night was fast approaching, we felt anxious to return to our vessel, Stewart accompanying us in his boat, first extracting a promise not to take
him to sea.
On board he was the object of considerable curiosity, and amused those who had not been on shore, with a recital of his monotonous existence; and when urged again to leave his dreary abode, and sail with us, he stoutly de
clined, having a firm reliance in the word of the captain of his ship, who, he was confident, would call for him when he had completed his cargo.
IF the reader of our present age could be transported back into the living England of some thirty years ago, one of the names that he would oftenest hear, and hear always in connection with some earnest intellectual work, would be that of Henry Brougham. Even then he was distinguished in many, almost contradictory, ways. His knowledge was held to be but little short of encyclopædian; he had won for himself a high reputation in mathematical science; his writings were both numerous and powerful; the senate and the bar were daily ringing with his passionate eloquence; and he had become a prominent and a popular advocate of some of the very grandest causes which contribute to the progress of mankind. And, beyond all this, he had given abundant proof of an able, restless, and aspiring nature, conscious of its own capacities, and using them on all fit occasions with a ready and impetuous daringness which augured well for a triumphant issue of his aims.
One of the earliest glimpses that we get of him is in St. David street, Edinburgh, running on the pavement with Francis Horner, before either of the little playfellows had fairly got through his second year. His education was begun betimes, at the High School, where Mr. Luke Fraser and Dr. Adam were in turn his masters. The anecdote which Lord Cockburn tells of Brougham's dispute with Mr. Fraser on a point of Latinity, his punishment, his renewal of the dispute the next day under the ægis of a heap of authorities which compelled the kind-hearted pre
The breeze freshening, we became impatient to put to sea, and, having fulfilled our promise to Stewart in supplying his deficiencies, we got under way; and for some time all eyes were fixed upon his receding figure in his boat, when the extreme distance at last shut him and his solitary abode forever from our view.
ceptor to own himself in the wrong, and his subsequent fame as "the fellow who had beat the master," is so curiously characteristic of the Henry Brougham of maturer years, that one regrets to be obliged to transfer the honor of the achievement to some other and unknown person. A more certain fact is, that he was distinguished as a quick and eager scholar, and proceeded to the university at the age of sixteen. His attention, in the first instance, was given chiefly to physical and mathematical science; and so considerable was his progress, that papers of his, on subjects belonging to these departments of knowledge, were soon afterwards published in the Transactions of the Royal Society, and were noticed in a highly flattering manner in some of the circles most competent to judge fairly of their value. Indicative as these contributions were of the early ripeness of the youth's intellect, and probably of some special faculty for the pursuits which they referred to, one cannot but rejoice that his studies swept betimes over a far wider sphere. In his twentieth year on the 21st of November, 1797 he was admitted, with Francis Horner again for a companion, into that Speculative Society in which so many of the ablest of his Scottish contemporaries prepared themselves for the realities of public life. Three years afterwards-having, in the mean time, traveled awhile on the Continent-he became a member of the Society of Advocates, of Edinburgh.
Up to this point in his career, or even a little beyond it, it is probable
that Brougham had hardly much surpassed in visible performances many of the very gifted young men who were his associates at the Scottish bar. he had been silently building up the foundations of that surprising versatility which has been ever since one of the most marked of all his mental characteristics. When the "Edinburgh Review" began, with an audacity at least as great as its ability and knowledge, to fulmine over the literary world, Brougham was a distinguished member of the brilliant band of its contributors; but he had, at the same time, already completed a bargain with the publisher for his "Inquiry into the Colonial Policy of the European Powers"-an extensive work, marked in an equal measure by extent of information, vigor of talent, and maturity and boldness of political views. That so good a book should have been written by so young a man, was extraordinary enough; but that the same individual should have also found time, within so short an antecedent period, to make his important communications to the Royal Society, to become a prominent debater in the Speculative, to prepare himself for his admission to the bar, to get through his foreign travel, and to write brilliant contributions to the "Edinburgh Review," was such a manifestation of intellectual activity and power as would not easily be paralleled in recent times. And there was one amongst his intimates by whom the strength and weakness of his singular nature was even then correctly and completely known. In a letter, written a few months after their joint admission to the Speculative Society, Horner says:
"Had you any conversation with Brough.
am? He is an uncommon genius, of a composite order, if you allow me to use the expression: he unites the greatest ardor for general information in every branch of knowl
edge, and, what is more remarkable, activity
in the business, and interest in the pleasures of the world, with all the powers of a mathematical intellect."
And again, four years later, on the eve of the publication of his friend's work on Colonial Policy, the same deep and calm observer writes:
"Should an active scene be opened to Brougham, I shall tremble with anxiety for some time, though it is what I very ardently wish his information on political subjects, especially in some departments, is now immense; his talents are equal to the most
effective use and display of that knowledge. But his ardor is so urgent, that I should be afraid of his being deficient in prudence. That he would ultimately become a leading and predominant mind, I cannot doubt; but he might attempt to fix himself in that place too soon-before he had gone through what I presume is a necessary routine of subordination."
He was, at any rate, not much disposed to continue long in subordination at Edinburgh. In that city of strong political partisanship, Whiggism, in the early years of the present century, was far from being the most profitable side for a young advocate to enlist on; and Brougham, animated by the consciousness of power, and the ambition which that consciousness engendered, may have been not prevented by his good professional success from seeking for a wider and a freer field for his exertions. Instigated by this consideration, and hastened, probably, in his determination by the result of his appearance before the House of Lords as one of the junior counsel for Lady Essex Ker in the Roxburghe peerage case, in his twentyninth or thirtieth year, he settled in London, where, after a short time, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, and began to practice as a barrister in the Court of King's Bench.
This was in 1808, and from this date until that of his elevation to the woolsack in 1830, Mr. Brougham came by degrees to be engaged in what was literally an unparalleled amount of labor. In his capacities of statesman, advocate, and author, he was soon doing the work of three industrious men. Marvelous stories have been told of his dispatch of business, indubitable myths originating in a reality of performance surprising enough to stand in no need of exaggeration. Business, indeed, flowed in upon him in a deep and full tide. In the Court of King's Bench, became, especially in political cases, a and on the Northern Circuit, he quickly favorite advocate; and his distinction at the bar recommended him at once to an ample participation in the toils, and strife, and triumphs of the senate. In the midst of these abundant occupations he still found time for a multitude of publications of which he is the known, acknowledged author, as well as, probably, for no inconsiderable number-as there is good reason for surmising— which may be hereafter traced to his prolific pen. In order to understand
the extent of his activity during this portion of his indefatigable career, let us endeavor to catch a glimpse of some of his greater labors in each of these departments of exertion.
afterwards conducted the "Champion," and the "London Magazine," and who was killed in a duel consequent upon a stern, unpalatable reprehension of the personalities of "Blackwood's Magazine;"-and it is a curious instance of the uncertainty of law, that whilst John and Leigh Hunt were acquitted by a jury at Westminster, Drakard was convicted at Lincoln and sentenced by the Court of King's Bench to imprisonment for eighteen months. But the defense on both occasions was clear, and vigorous, and eloquent; doing as much justice to the principle of free discussion, which these prosecutions aimed at, as to the individual defendants in the two causes. It was the very natural result of a frequent advocacy of this kind to make Mr. Brougham eminently popular both as a barrister and a politician. How great his business and his popularity had grown, may be in some degree inferred from the well-remembered delight of the people when it became known to them that he had engaged in the onerous duties of Attorney-General to the Queen. He had been for many years her lawadviser, and in that capacity had, in conjunction with Mr. Whitbread, strongly remonstrated against her perilous residence abroad; and when the fruits of her unfortunate resolution appeared in their mature bitterness in the Bill of Pains and Penalties, he entered with his whole heart and soul into her defense.
One of the earliest of his memorable efforts as an advocate, occurred within two years of his admission to the English bar. The Berlin decrees, by which Napoleon sought to cramp the commerce of England, had provoked the government of that day to a retaliatory absurdity in the shape of "orders in Council," which, by a subsequent modification, had been made oppressively severe. Mr. Brougham, as the representative of a large and influential portion of the mercantile community, was employed to plead against the coercion and continuance of these "orders" before the House of Lords; and his argument, which occupied two days in its delivery, though ineffectual as to its specific aim, manifested so rare a combination of knowledge, boldness, ingenuity, and eloquence, that the advocate himself was at once welcomed as a pillar of strength on the popular side in the fierce party warfare of the time. A seat in the House of Commons was one of the immediate consequences of this masterly discourse, but not the only or the most important one. It opened the way to a very considerable extension of his professional business; not merely by making known the warmth and vigor of his powers and the wide extent of his resources, but by making known also the liberality of his own political views, and the likelihood that he would, therefore, put forth his strength with a hearty goodwill in defense of those who had, by too free an advocacy of similar convictions, subjected themselves to the inquisition of a somewhat rigorous law. It was not long before cases of this kind occurred, in which he was actually called to champion the oppressed. In the volume of his "Social and Political Speeches," just published by Messrs. Griffin & Co., there are the reports of two speeches which were delivered in the following year, in defense of persons against whom prosecutions on a charge of libel had been instituted by the state. On both of these occasions, Mr. Brougham's clients were proceeded against for the publication of the same article- -an article on Military Flogging, written by Mr. John Scott, who
But to him, as to the great mass of the people of England at that time, the question at issue was not one that might be compressed within the narrow limits of an inquiry into the guilt or innocence of his ill-fated client. It expanded itself into the broader and the higher problem-the problem infinitely more momentous, both in its moral and political bearing-of the absoluteness of the king's power to degrade and do away with a consort whom he had outraged by his own uniform career of coarse, unprincipled sensuality; whom he had from the beginning of their union slighted, hated, and by meanest arts oppressed; and whom he sought at last to cast down from her queenly rank, and ruin outright; though, had the foulest perjuries that English gold had bought against her been believed, she would still have seemed, even to human eyes, immeasurably less stained