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which are told with great minuteness, according to the custom of this author, who gives much of his attention (perhaps too much) to military description. At length, after some changes of fortune, Lord Evandale is made prisoner in a sally, and on the point of being executed by the more violent party of the insurgents. The more moderate leaders unite with Morton in opposing this cruel resolution, and liberate Evandale upon conditions, one of which is the surrender of the castle, the other, his promise to forward their remonstrance and petition to the Council, petitioning for a redress of those grievances which had occasioned the insurrection. A
This incident is not in any respect strained. From the principles expressed in former quotations, it seems that the Cameronian part of the insurgents had resolved to refuse quarter to their prisoners. It appears, from the joint testimony of Creighton and Guild, countenanced by a passage in Blacader's Manuscript Memoirs, that they set up in the centre of their camp at Hamilton, a gallows of unusual size and extraordinary construction, furnished with hooks and balters for executing many criminals at once; and it was avowed that this machine was constructed for the service of the malignants : por was this an empty threat, for they actually did put to death, in cold blood, one Watson, a butcher in Glasgow, whose crime was that of bearing arms for the government. This execution gave great displeasure to that portion of their own friends whom they were pleased to call Erastians, as appears from Russell's Memoirs, already quoted.
The deliverance of Lord Evandale occasions an open breach betwixt Morton, the hero of the novel, and his father's friend Burley, who considered himself as specially injured in the transaction. While these dissensions are reuding asunder the insurgent army, the Duke of Moninouth, at the head of that of Charles II., advances towards them, like the kite in the fable, hovering over the puguacious frog and mouse, and ready to pounce on both. Morton goes as an envoy to the Duke, who seems inclined to hear him with mdulgence, but is prevented by the stern influence of Claverhouse and General Dalzell. In this last point, the author has cruelly falsified history, for he has represented Dalzell as present at the battle of Bothwell Bridge; whereas that old and bloody man,' as Wodrow calls him, was not at the said battle, but at Edinburgh, and only joined the army a day or two afterwards. He also exhibits the said Dalzell as wearing boots, which it appears from the authority of Creighton the old general never wore.. We know little the author can say for himself to excuse these sophistications, and, therefore, may charitably suggest that he was writing a romance, and not a history. But he has done strict justice to the facts of history in representing Monmouth as anxious to prevent bloodshed, 5 VOL. XVI. NO. XXXIT.
both before and after the engagement, and as overpowered by the fiercer spirits around him when willing to offer favourable terms to the insurgents. · Morton, after having, as is incumbent on him as the hero of the tale, done prodigious things to turn the scale of fortune, is at last compelled to betake himself to flight, accompanied by the faithful Cuddie, the companion of his distress. They arrive at a lone farmhouse occupied by a party of the retreating Whigs, with their preachers. *As unfortunately, these happened to be of the wilder cast of Cameronians, who regarded Morton as an apostate at least, if not a traitor, they prepared, after consulting among themselves, to put him to death; his unexpected arrival among them being considered as a sufficient proof that such was the will of Providence. These unfortunate men were, indeed, too apt to consider such coincidences, joined to the earnest conviction impressed upon their own minds by long dwelling upon ideas of vengeance, to be an immediate warrant from Heaven to shed the blood of others. In Russell's varrative we find John Balfour (the Burley of the romance) assuring the party which were assembled on the morning of Bishop Sharpe's murder, that the Lord had some great service for him, since, when he was on the point of flying to the Highlands, he felt it was borne in upon him that he ought to remain. He twice consulted Heaven by earnest prayer, and to the first petition for direction obtained the response, and on the second the more decisive command, ‘Go! Have I not sent thee?' James Russell himself conceived that he had received a special mandate upon this memorable occasion.
Morton is rescued from his impending fate by the arrival of his old acquaintance Claverkouse, who was following the pursuit with a body of horsemen, and, surrounding the house, put to death, without mercy, all who had taken refuge within it. This commander is represented as sitting quietly down to his supper, while his soldiers led out and shot two or three prisoners who had survived' the fray. He treats the horror which Morton expresses at his cruelty with military non-chalance, and expresses, in bold and ardent language, his attachment to his sovereign, and the obligation be felt himself under to execute his laws, to the uttermost, against the rebels. Claverhouse' takes Morton under his immediate protection, in consideration of the favour he had conferred on Lord Evandale, and, carrying him to Edinburgh, procurés'the doom of death, which he had incurred for being found in arms against the government, to be exchanged for a sentence of banishment. But he witnesses the dreadful examination by torture imposed upon one of his late companions. The scene is described in language which seems almost borrowed from the records of those horrible' pro
ceedings, and, with many other incidents, true in fact, though mingled with a fictitious narrative, ought to make every Scotchman thank God that he has been born a century and a half later than such atrocities were perpetrated under the sanction of law. The accused person sustains ihe torture with that firmness which most of the sufferers manifested, few of whom, excepting Donald Cargil the preacher, who is said by Fountainhall to have behaved very timorously, lost their fortitude even under these dreadful inflictions. Cuddie Headrigy, whose zeal was by no means torture-proof, after as many evasions as were likely from his rank and country, for Scotch country-people are celebrated for giving indirect answers to plain questions, is at length brought to confess his error, drink the king's health, recant his whiggish principles, and accept a free pardon. The scene of his examination is characteristic, but we have not room for its iusertion.
Morton receives a second communication from his old friend Burley, stating that he possessed unbounded influence over the fortune of Edith Bellenden, to whom he knew Morton's attachment, and would exercise it in his favour in case of his perseverance in the Presbyterian cause. The reason given for this unexpected change of conduct is Burley's having witnessed Morton's gallant behaviour at Bothwell Bridge. But we consider the motive as inadequate, and the incident as improbable. Morton being on ship-board when he receives the letter, has no opportunity to take any step in consequence of it.
Of the remaining events we must give a brief and very general summary. After an absence of some years, Morton returns to his native country, and finds that the house of Tillietudlem has been saved from that disgrace which Cato was so antious to avoid : it had not stood secure nor Aourished in a civil war: by the loss of a deed of importance, which Burley for his own ends had secreted, the possession of the inheritance had passed to Basil Oliphant, the heir male of the family; and Lady Margaret Bellenden, with her grand-daughter, had found a retreat in a small cottage of Lord Evandale, whose steady friendship had long delayed their ruin. Morton arrives in this humble abode; and the projected marriage of Lord Evandale with Miss Bellenden, to which she reluctantly assents, in consequence of her persuasion that her first lover has long been dead, and which he generously presses, for the purpose of placing the fortunes of Lady Margaret Bellenden and her niece beyond that risk to which she was just about to expose himself,- for his old commander, Dundee, was to strike another stroke for his exiled king,- is prevented, by Edith's discovery that Morton still existed. Such of the events as may be necessary to ihe mere developement
of the story may be told in a single sentence. In a recess far in the mountains, whose wild and savage features are portrayed by a master's hand, to which he had been driven by his abhorrence of the governnent of King William, Morton finds his early associate John Balfour of Burley; his mind tottering on the verge of insanity, produced by the united working of his political and religious enthusiasm, and compunctious visitings for a base and cowardly deed of murder, which the fervour of his zeal could not altogether allay. After effecting his escape from this moody manjae, who attempts to involve him in his favourite scheme of radical reformation, and who destroys the deed under which Lady Margaret Bellenden claimed the inheritance of her fathers, Morton, with high-minded generosity, endeavours to save the life of his rival, which is in peril from the machinations of Basil Oliphant and Balfour. His exertions, however, are unsuccessful. Just as he is settiug out to join the insurgent jacobites, Lord Evandale is surrounded by the assassins, and mortally wounded. Balfour is slain after a most desperate resistance well and strikingly described. The intrusive heir male is killed in the fray--which opeps to Lady Margaret an easy access to her rightful inheritance ;, and Miss Edith, who must now have obtained the ripe age of thirty years, bestows her hand on Morton.
We have given these details partly in compliance with the es tablished rules which our office prescribes, and partly in the hope that the authorities we have been enabled to bring together might give additional light and interest to the story. From the unprecedented popularity of the work, we cannot flatter ourselves that our summary has made any one of our readers acquainted with events with which he was not previously familiar. The causes of that's popularity we may be permitted shortly to allude to; we cannot a even hope to exhaust them, and it is the less necessary that we should attempt it, since we cannot suggest a consideration which a perusal of the work has not anticipated in the minds of all our readers.
One great source of the universal admiration which this family of Novels has attracted, is their peculiar plan, and the distinguished excellence with which it has been executed. The objec, tions that have frequently been stated against what are called His torical Romances, have been suggested, we think, rather from observing the universal failure of that species of composition, than, from
any inherent and constitutional defect in the species of coinposition itself. If the manners of different ages are injudiciously blended together,-if unpowdered crops and slin and fairy shapes are com-, mingled in the dance with volumed wigs and far-extending hoops, ---, if in the portraiture of real character the truth of history be violated,
eyes of the spectator are necessarily averted from a picture which excites in every well regulated and intelligent mind the hatred of incredulity. We have neither time nor inclination 10 enforce our remark by giving illustrations of it. But if those unpardonable sins against good taste can be avoided, and the features of an age gone by can be recalled in a spirit of delineation at once faithful and striking, the very opposite is the legitimate conclusion: the composition itself is in every point of view dignitied and improved; and the author, leaving the light and frivolous associates with whom a careless observer would be disposed to ally hiin, takes his seat on the bench of the historians of his time and country. In this proud assembly, and in no mean place of it, we are disposed to rank the author of these works; for we again express our conviction--and we desire to be understood to use the term as distinguished from knowledge—that they are all the offspring of the same parent. At once a master of the great events and minuter incidents of history, and of the manners of the times he celebrates, as distinguished from those which now prevail,--the intimate thus of the living and of the dead, his judgment enables him to separate those traits which are characteristic from those that are generic; and his imagination, not less accurate and discriminating than vigorous and vivid, presents to the mind of the reader the manners of the times, and introduces to his familiar acquaintance the indivi duals of his drama as they thought and spoke and acted. We are not quite sure that any thing is to be found in the mamer and character of the Black Dwarf which would enable us, without the aid of the author's information, and the facts he relates, to give it to the beginning of the last century; and, as we have already remarked, his free-booting robber lives, perhaps, too late in time. But his delineation is perfect. With palpable and inexcusable defects in the denouement, there are scenes of deep and overwhelming interest; and every one, we think, must be delighted with the portrait of the Grandmother of Hobbie Elliott, a representation soothing and consoling in itself, and heightened in its effect by the contrast produced from the lighter manners of the younger members of the family, and the honest but somewhat blunt an boisterous bearing of the shepherd himself.
The second tale however, as we have remarked, is more adapted to the talents of the author, and bis success has been proportionably triumphawt! We have trespassed too unmercifully on the time of der gentle readers to indulge our inclination in endeavouring to form an estimate of that melancholy but, nevertheless, most attractive period in our history, when by the united efforts of a corrupt and unprincipled government, of extravagant fanaticism, want of education, perversion of religion, and the influence of ill