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feel it a melancholy business. I couldn't, do all I could, get the horrors of the battle out of my head. When the organ began to play, I only thought of the roaring of the guns and the groans of the dying. There was one part in the printed account of the fight that I could not forget. It was this;
“This battle had begun at six, and was over at eleven o'clock; the handto-hand combat commenced at nine, and lasted scarcely two hours. The river was full of sinking men. For two hours volley after volley was poured in upon the human mass—the stream being literally red with blood, and covered with the bodies of the slain. At last the musket ammunition becoming exhausted, the infantry fell to rear ; the horse artillery plying grape, till not a man was visible within range. No COMPASSION WAS FELT, OR MERCY SHOWN.”
Yes, John :: “no compassion was felt, or, mercy shown !” And we, as Christians, were called upon to give thanks for it!
Well, our clergyman-he's a kind, good creature as ever prayed in a pulpit—he preached upon the text, (I've no doubt he'd some meaning in it,) ~ But I say unto you, Love your enemies." A. beautiful discourse he made ; though I do assure you, a good many of the people, all tucked out in their best feathers (quite a church review, I can tell you) in compliment to your guns and bayonets, did look a little glum as the good gentleman went on ; for all the world as if they thought such a discourse wasn't for that day—any how. Nevertheless, he preached as he always does, real, everyday religion-religion to be worn like an every-day coat in the working-day world, and not the religion that 's put on to come to church in. He worked the text in all manner of beautiful ways. It did sound cold to be sure, after we 'd been thanking God for helping us to slaughter thousands of barbarians—thanking God in the words of an archbishop-to hear the words of Him who tells us to “ love our enemies,"--and not to kill 'em. “No compassion was felt, or mercy shown,” says the account of the battle. “Love your enemies," says Christ.
“Yes, all that's very well,” said Collops, the butcher, to whom I was talking after this fashion—Collops had mounted an entire new suit for the Thanksgiving—“that's all very well, Mister Hedgehog ; but it won't do : such things are not to be taken in a straightfor’ard sense. Christianity is a beautiful thing, not a doubt on it, but to be a Christian every day in the week, I must shut up my shop. It was never intended. It's quite enough if a
man attends his church and is an earnest Christian once in seven days." And there's a good many folks like Collops in our parish; and I 'm afeard in every other parish too.
However, John, I hope it's our last thanksgiving for gunpowder. Let us only keep peace for an odd ten or fifteen years more, and you may bid good bye to war for good. The young lads of our time will be brought up in a better school than their poor fathers, and won't have the same relish for blood. They won't cackle about glory like their parent ganders--it's the young uns that I put my hope upon ; for it's no easy matter-in fact it's not to be done to send middle-aged and old men to school again to unlearn all the stupidity and trumpery of all their lives. And so, John, I do hope you 'll never fire another shot. Not but what you 'll be pleased to hear that there 's quite a stir among us just now-get the Quarterly Review if there's a circulating library at Lahorequite a stir about educating the private soldier. They 're going to make him quite a moral, scientific gentleman. They're going to have libraries for him, though they say nothing about taking away the halberds. And whether the soldier is still to have the cat-oʻ-nine-tails or no, I can't tell ; but certainly they do say he's to have books.
We're to have no fighting, John, about America. And even if a war was to be declared, there 's heaps of New Englandersas I've heard who would not enlist for the defence of the southern States. And the slaveholders seem to have an inkling of this, and so wouldn't like to risk the loss of their propertytheir black brothers-in a skrimmage ; for the good men of the north swear they will not pull a trigger in defence of slavery. And so, if the quarrel was ever so right upon the side of America, the wrong that is in her must work its vengeance. And so no more from
Your affectionate friend,
A HISTORY FOR YOUNG ENGLAND.*
What a pitie is it to see a proper gentleman to have such a crick in his neck that he cannot look backward. Yet no better is he who cannot see behind him the actions which long since were performed. History maketh a young man to be old, without either wrinkles or grey hairs; privileging him with the experience of age, without either the infirmities or inconveniences thereof. Yea, it not onely maketh things past, present; but inableth one to make a rationall conjecture of things to come. For this world affordeth no new accidents, but in the same sense wherein we call it a new moon; which is the old one in another shape, and yet no other than what had been formerly. Old actions return again, furbished over with some new and different circumstances. FULLER.
CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.
MAGNA CHARTA. 1213—1216. In the multitudinous correspondence of His Holiness Innocent the Third, there is a letter from his royal vassal, John of England, to the effect that the English earls and barons had been devoted to him before he surrendered his kingdom to the pontiff; but since that time had violently risen against him: and specially on that account, sicut publicè dicunt.' The writer's mean soul is in the letter, striving to make what worldly profit it can of the slavish infamy it has undergone.
Neither assertion was true. Indignation after the Papal compact existed as little as devotion before it. There is indeed some reason to believe that the barons who now became most active against the king had declined to take any active part against the surrender of the kingdom. Beside the Archbishop of Dublin, the Bishop of Norwich, Walter Fitz-Peter, William of Salisbury, William of Pembroke, Reginald of Boulogne, William of Warrenne, Saher of Winchester, William of Arundel, Williama of Ferrers, William Briwere, Peter Fitz-Herbert, and Warren Fitz-Gerald, who, though with popular leanings, never left the banner of the king, even the Bigods, De Mowbrays, and De Veres, may be pronounced entitled to so much of the infamy of the act as presence and non-interference can imply. But the letter which is relied upon by the Roman Catholic historians to show that they
• Continued from p. 276, Vol. III.
had even compelled it, must be taken with large allowance. That one of John's most servile agents in Rome should report to his master an alleged appeal from the barons to the pope's gratitude, on the ground that it was not to the good-will of the king, but * to them, and the compulsion which they had employed, that he
was indebted for his superiority over the English crown,' will only be thought conclusive by the most hasty, or the most prejudiced historian. On the other hand, it consists with the best authorities to admit that the uniform policy of the nobles to degrade the position and humble the pride of their sovereign, might have seemed to them to sanction the cold acquiescence, if not the savage satisfaction, with which they saw that desperate consummation of the incredible baseness of John. Party spirit, as I have shown, had arisen in England. From it have sprung scenes and compromises often neither just nor honourable ; but with it have been associated, in very memorable periods of history, the liberties and political advances of the English people.
By the act of the 15th of May, 1213, the aspect of the existing contention was changed. The pope declared himself on the side of his vassal ; and the French king, who lay with a powerful army at Boulogne, meditating invasion, was ordered' by Pandulf to desist. But Philip's compact was loosened with the pope, to be only more firmly knit with the barons. They had already opened overtures with his son ; doubtful of the side that would be taken by the burgesses and townsmen, the most important section of the people. These, lately so eager to resist invasion that they had rallied to the standard of John, can alone be said to have remained undecided at this extraordinary crisis..
But the event was at hand which determined them. By the compact made at Dover, and which in all its provisions on the side of justice the king even now sought to evade, Langton and the exiles returned. John met them with assumed deference at Winchester, as the clients of his feudal lord ; and embraced the cardinal archbishop at the entrance of the cathedral. But the sentence of excommunication having been publicly revoked, and the oath of papal fealty repeated, he was unexpectedly called upon by Langton to make additional oath that he would abolish all illegal customs, restore to every man his rights, and revive the laws of the Confessor. It is added by Mathew of Paris, who relates this, that to the multitude assembled such proceedings were vague and unintelligible, but by the few initiated in the secret sufficiently understood. From that day, in truth, the Grand
Confederacy took life; and what was best in England, gradually, in part unconsciously, joined and strengthened it.
Stephen de Langton was its soul and head. Selected by Innocent, as I have said, for that inflexible constancy and courage of character which was thought most available to confront the king, the pontiff had now an opportunity to test the endurance of this quality, with himself as its antagonist. For not with Innocent's authority had Langton exacted John's oath for liberty. When the cardinal stepped again upon his native soil, after his long and partly voluntary exile, he seemed to have left behind him every allegiance that could impinge upon his obligations as an Englishman. No man worthier of the highest honours of the name exists in our records. In an unlettered age, he had cultivated with perfect success the most elegant accomplishments of poetry; and at a time apparently the most unfavourable to the growth of freedom, he now directed existing discontents, which might have wasted in casual conflict but for him, to the establishment of that deep and broad distinction between a free and a despotic monarchy, of which our history, throughout all the varying fortunes and disasters that awaited it, never afterwards lost the trace. This was the work of Langton, and his claim to eternal memory. The barons were a rope of sand before his arrival. He concentrated their wavering purposes and scattered aims.
In a month after the scene at Winchester, the first bold step was taken. Excited by the noble exploit, the first of an uninterrupted series, of the English navy against the French fleet at Damme (the latter thrice outnumbering the former, yet at once dispersed or taken), John had suddenly resolved to assume the offensive against Philip and carry war into France; and he summoned the leading barons by their allegiance to meet him on the French coast. Instead of obeying the summons they repaired to St. Albans, and held a council, at which Langton was present; over which Fitz-Peter the justiciary presided ; and where was first unrolled that charter of the First Henry which was in future made the basis of what they now resolved to claim. The copy (according to Roger of Wendover) belonged to Langton, and was supposed to be the only one then in existence. After council, the daring resolve was taken to send forth the issue of its deliberations in the form of a series of royal proclamations. In these, the laws granted by Henry the First were ordered to be universally observed ; and capital punishments were denounced against the