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succeeded in digging out the dogs; and then Lady Barker insisted on accompanying them to the summit of a neighboring hill, in order to ascertain the fate of the sheep. This must be told in her own words, a forcible and simple account of one of the most terrible calamities which ever befell New Zealand, where it appears this fearful snowstorm had been foretold by the Maori, thopgh there is no record among their traditions of any similar disaster.
"As soon as we got to the top, the first glance showed us a small dusky patch close to the edge of one of the deepest and widest creeks at the bottom of the paddock. Experienced eyes saw that they were sheep, but to me they had not the shape 01 animals at all, though quite near enough to be seen distinctly. I observed the gentlemen exchange looks of alarm, and they said some low words, from which I gathered that they feared the worst. Before we went down to the flat, we took a long careful look around, and made out another patch, dark by comparison with the snow, some two hundred yards lower down the creek, but apparently in the water. On the other side of the little hill the snow seemed to have drifted even more deeply, for the long narrow valley which lay there presented, as far as we could see, one smooth level snow-field. As soon as we got near the spot we had observed, we found we were walking on frozen sheep, imbedded in the snow one over the other; but, at all events, their misery had been over some time. It was more horrible to see the drowning huddled
up 'mob' which had made the dusky patch we had noticed from the hill."
The tremendous exertions made by the whole party, the suspense and pity they felt, the small effect their exhausting labor produced, form a touching picture. In the case of the second " mob," all the sheep were dead, but a few hundreds were saved among the first. On an island formed at the head of the creek, where the water swept with such fury round a point as to wash the snow and sheep all away together, till at some little distance they began to accumulate in a heap, Lady Barker counted ninety-two ewes in one spot, but could not wait to count the lambs.
The total loss was half their flock and ninety per cent, of their lambs. When they learned the news of the fearful snowstorm from other parts of the country, they found that the distant "back country" ranges had suffered more severely than they had, for the sheep took shelter under the high river-banks, and the tragedy of the creeks was enacted on a still larger scale; or they drifted along before the first days' gale, until they came to a wirefence, and there they were soon covered up, and trampled each other to death. Not only were sheep, but cattle, found dead in hundreds along the fences on the plains.
This tragic occurrence is the sole drawback to the best, pleasantest, and most encouraging narrative of colonial life to be found among the abundant literature of emigration.
The Spectator. EVIDENCE FROM HANDWRITING.
The Quarterly asserts that Mr. Twisleton in his forthcoming book on Junius has placed the authorship of the celebrated Letters beyond controversy, and we agree with the Quarterly. At least, we cannot imagine circumstantial evidence on behalf of any proposition more absolutely unanswerable. If Sir Philip Francis and Junius were not identical, then it is possible for two persons not only to have precisely the same tricks of handwriting, and the same individualities of punctuation, and to preserve them through seams of manuscript, but to be able without knowing it in all moments of forget
fulness to write different hands, each of which shall be the hand of the other. Most of our readers are probably familiar with Macaulay's celebrated summary of the evidence which identifies Sir Philip Francis with the invisible author of Junius, the coincidences of peculiar knowledge, personal history, likes and dislikes, and political opinions between the two personages; but Mr. Twisleton has employed a new test, the evidence of an expert in handwriting, Mr. Chabot, who, in an elaborate report, carefully though succinctly summarized by the reviewer, not only affirms his own belief that the letters of Sir Philip Francis and the letters of Junius were written by the same hand, but gives reasons for the belief which even in their summarized form seem to us to force conviction. For example, it is clear that in comparing a disguised with an avowed handwriting, the first things to be considered are those unconscious peculiarities of which the writer himself is unaware, and which therefore he would make no effort to conceal. He would, for instance, carefully alter the slope of his usual handwriting, but would do this mainly in the downstrokes, the upstrokes being made by a movement almost instinctive. He would alter the size of his handwriting, a change which takes in all but careful observers, while he would retain one of the most marked of individual peculiarities, what printers call the "spacing," the distance between each letter of a word. The difference between huddling and spacing out is one which depends partly on character and partly on eyesight, and is as a rule entirely unconscious, very few men, perhaps none, spacing out their letters exactly alike or connecting them with each other in the sairfe way. Again, some men make the upper turns of the letters angular while the lower are rounded, others the lower turns angular while the upper are rounded, and others make both either round or angular, but few writers not practised in comparing handwritings would be conscious which method they themselves pursued. In each of these three unconscious peculiarities Junius and Sir P. Francis were precisely alike, more alike than any two forgers imitating Sir P. Francis could have been. This habit of specialty, of course, extends "to individual letters, methods of punctuation, and modes of correcting mistakes, the latter, we may observe, with our large experience in the reading of manuscript, being one of the most strongly marked individualisms. In all these circumstances Junius and Sir Philip Francis had exactly the same habits. For example, Francis frequently wrote the letter "i" upside down, as if it were the first stroke of the letter "m," a very unusual specialty of handwriting, and it reappears in the most striking way in his artificial hand. So does a singular trick of making a flourish above a small "t," which almost changes it into a capital letter, and a still more definite specialty, a habit whenever the letter "m" was
joined to the word preceding it of altering its appearance. Both Francis and Junius wrote the "m" by itself with rounded curves, and both when they prefixed a letter and joined the "m " on made the curves sharply angular, a coincidence explicable only on the theory of identity. So with punctuation. No two people, it may be said roughly, punctuate on the same principle, more especially if they employ, as most people who write hurriedly do, the dash instead of a period; and not only is the punctuation of Junius and Francis identical, but they both put a full-stop after a salutation, and both make the note of interrogation with three strokes instead of, as is most usual, with two. Both, too, corrected within the line instead of above or below it, and both marked the initial of their signature with strokes above and below the letter. This last fact is the more noteworthy, because Francis did not make these strokes in his original hand, but adopted them to help in disguising his hand, and caught the habit while composing the Junian letters. There are, in fact, no less than ten circumstances of identity between the two handwritings: —" i. The mode of dating letters. 2. The placing a full-stop after the saluation. 3. The mode of signing initials between two clashes. 4. Writing in paragraphs. 5. Separating paragraphs by dashes placed between them at their commencement. 6. Invariable attention to punctuation. 7. The enlargement of the first letters of words. 8. The insertion of omitted letters in the line of writing, and not above it, and the various modes of correcting miswriting. 9. Mode of abbreviating words, and abbreviating the same words. 10. Misspelling certain specified words." And finally it would be presumed that any person intent on disguising his hand would forget himself most frequently in dating his letters, and all the peculiarities of Junius's datings, as, for instance, his habit of putting a full-stop after the name of the place, are found in Francis's letters, while all the "dates were not inserted in the manuscripts as sent to the printer, but were added in the proof-sheets. It would seem that Francis, being more off his guard in correcting the proofs than in writing the letters, inadvertently inserted the dates in his natural handwriting; but, upon discovering the mistake he had committed, he carefully blotted out these dates, and rewrote them above the obliterations in his feigned hand On examining the photographed proof-sheets, we find that all the original dates have been obliterated and written in the feigned hand, except in one instance, namely, in the letter to Dr. William Blackstone, where Francis forgot to make the obliteration, and has left the date [29. July. 1769.] in his own handwriting." It seems to us, as to the reviewer, that after this evidence, which would be indefinitely more striking if we could give the fac-similes as he has done, doubt is impossible, except upon the theory that Francis copied somebody else's letters. That theory, however, is disposed of by the excessive effort made to secure secrecy, for which Francis as a mere amanuensis had little motive; by the character of Francis, who was no man to be an amanuensis; and by another argument which we submit respectfully to the reviewer. The most complete and most natural method of disguising the handwriting of important documents is to write with the left hand. An amanuensis would almost to a certainty have done this, but no man trying to write models of composition, trying to win the public ear by the form as well as the substance of his letters, would so embarrass his thoughts by reducing the speed at which they could be put on paper. He would content himself with writing a hand as unlike his own in general appearance as he could manage, would in particular adopt a much smaller hand, using a crow-quill, and this is precisely what Francis appears to have done.
We do trust that Mr. Chabot will one day give us, perhaps through the Quarterly, an essay explaining any view he may have as to the evidence of character contained in handwriting. No idea is more firmly fixed in men's minds than the characteristicalness of handwritings, and none perhaps is so little based upon any wellconceived law. We do not know, for instance, with any certainty whether the key to handwriting is to be found in the intellect, in the moral nature, or in physical peculiarities, as, for example, eyesight, or in all of them,—whether handwriting can be inherited without the accompanying qualities, as many habits are inherited, or how far handwriting is modified by deliberate volition. Is it mere impatience, or is it moral deficiency, which induces some men never -to dot an i or cross a /, or is it largeness of intellect, satisfied that the object of writing is intelligibility and not apparent neatness? What is it that induces educated people to omit all stops in their letters? Is it cruelty, or contempt for things so ignoble as grammar, or mere mental crassitude, and above all, what is the moral 'meaning of illegible writing? We will, in the name of all editors in England, promise Mr. Chabot such a testimonial, if he will only prove to demonstration that a man who, writing much, writes a really illegible hand is a selfish fool, a potential criminal, who should be executed for the benefit of society, and whose letters, till he is hung, it is a moral duty to throw away unread.
In every part of the world where English is spoken, especially where it is spoken with a Scotch accent, the names of William and Robert Chambers pass over the tongue with something of esteem and gratitude. To the productions of their discreet and busy pens, brought to our hearths and homes by their cheap and indefatigable press, most of us, when young, owed much useful information that we might otherwise have lacked, and many kindly sentiments which we might not otherwise have felt. The brothers began to popularize and diffuse knowledge when political distraction, and a low apprecia
tion of intellectual culture combined to discourage rather than to promote general education ; not long indeed after the time indicated by Sydney Smith when no man who had not an independent five hundred a year dared proclaim liberal opinions; when a Chinese awe of the "wisdom of our ancestors" checked wholesome efforts to increase our own ; when, consequently, books were quite out of the reach of the humble and needy. The value of the work then inaugurated by these two brothers of providing elevating and accessible mental ailment for "The Million" was incalculable. The loss, therefore, of one of them is surely a public loss ; and Mr. Robert Chambers, who passed away on Friday, the 17th of March, will be mourned by all who value education and who love literature.
The brothers were born at Peebles, on the banks of the Tweed. Their father was a muslin-weaver, employing some twenty looms. Mr. James Chambers— at first a prosperous manufacturer, always a lover of books, a keen politician, an open-hearted friend—had already suffered in his purse from his kindness to the French prisoners paroled in Peebles during the wars of Napoleon, and was eventually ruined by the competition of machine with hand-loom weaving. He was obliged to withdraw his family, with the wreck of his means, to Edinburgh. Here, by the help of his sensible and energetic wife, he managed to bring up creditably a family of six children.
Robert, the second son,was born in 1802. He grew up a quiet, self-contained boy, unable, from a painful defect in his feet, to join in the robust play of his schoolfellows. He may be said to have devoured books from his infancy. In the preface to his collected works he writes : "Books, not playthings, filled my hands in childhood. At twelve I was deep, not only in poetry and fiction, but in encyclopaedias." A great prize fell into his hands in an old lumber-room to which he had retired for quiet. He found there a mass of odd volumes of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica." These he read through with insatiable eagerness.
The rudiments of classical knowledge which Robert Chambers obtained at the Peebles public school were much improved in Edinburgh by the teaching of Mr. Benjamin Mackay, afterwards head master of the High School. At sixteen he broke away from home. His passion was books. Even at that unripe age he tried to write them ; but determined, at all hazards, to sell them. With a stock worth no more than two pounds, the produce of long savings of pocket money, he commenced business; a boy-book seller, selfreliant, unaided. There lies before us a kind of small ciphering-book, containing young Robert Chambers's first year's account of profit and loss. The former was small, but, for his modest wants, sufficient. The writing is extremely neat. Indeed, the young penman was employed by the city authorities to copy on vellum the ad.
dress presented to Qeorge the Fourth, who visited Edinburgh in 1822.
Meanwhile, the elder brother, William, had also started as a printer and bookseller, and they commenced a crude weekly miscellany, called the Kaleidoscope. Robert was trie editor. William setting up his own compositions in type without troubling himself with pen and ink. This first effort closed a short life in December, 1821.
Robert Chambers never ceased to cultivate his Tweed-side associations, and was therefore able to "spot," from personal knowledge, several of the characters in the Waverley Novels, then in the height of popularity. "Illustrations of the Author of Waverley," his maiden book, brought him into notice, and introduced him to Sir Walter Scott. His next venture, "Traditions of Edinburgh," has not ceased to be issued and read to this day. Every type of it was set up, every sheet pulled at press, by his brother. The first edition, dated 1823, presents a curious contrast to the handsome copies of the same work, improved also in other respects, published only last year.
Publishers now began to seek out its author. For one he wrote "Walks in Edinburgh," partly the result of rambles in the odd nooks and corners of the quaint old city in company with Sir Walter Scotr. In 1824 there was a great fire, depriving many poor families of their means and homes. Robert Chambers, having no money to give them, wrote a book describing the past historical fires in Edinburgh, for their benefit; and it sold largely. Having published his "Popular Rhymes of Scotland," he set out, as if determined to harden his tender feet by pedestrianism, to explore Scotland, chiefly on foot; his object being to collect materials for his "Picture of Scotland"—a work that proved for many years to be the Scottish tourist's best companion. Although now a prosperous bookseller, he found leisure to write and compile upwards of twenty volumes. Among them five for Constable's Miscellany, entitled Histories of the Scottish Rebellions, and a Life of James the First in two volumes. Then, for other publishers, Scottish Ballads and Songs, a Biographical Dictionary of distinguished Scotsmen, and a compact little History of Scotland. He also edited for several years the Edinburgh Advertiser newspaper. Yet this goodly list represents little more than the beginning of his literary career.
Neither was William Chambers idle. He toiled away in his snug little shop in the Broughton suburb, writing, printing, and selling books. He had already written and published an account of the legal constitution and customs of his native country, under the title of "The Book of Scotland." Another work, "The Gazetteer of Scotland," must have cost much labor, which, happily, proved to be profitable. About the end of the year '31 the turning-point in the fortunes of the brothers accidentally turned up. The agitation for Parliamentary Reform had awakened a necessity for the spread of education. Lord Brougham proclaimed that the "Schoolmaster was abroad." The schoolmaster accordingly appeared in various guises. Henry Brougham himself started him, through the agency of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a formidable organization of Chairmen, Treasurers, Committees, paid and honorary secretaries, and local agents. This literary mountain did not labor in vain; and among its progeny was The Penny Magazine. A copy of the prospectus (which appeared a very long time before the periodical itself) having been seen by William Chambers—who had long been gestating similar schemes,—he forwarded to one of the chief promoters several suggestions which, in his judgment, would have improved the chances of the project. No answer was vouchsafed to his letter, and his self-love was wounded. He determined to realize his unappreciated ideas himself; and they took the form of Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. The first number appeared on the 4th of February, 1832—six weeks before the ponderous Society in London fulfilled its promise of a Penny Magazine. Success exceeded not only expectation, but the means of production. The projector had to call in the aid of his brother Robert for the editorship: and all Edinburgh proved to be equal only to produce the Scotch edition, one of the largest printing-offices in London being employed to work off the supply for England and the colonies. The Penny Magazine expired long ago: Chambers's Journal still flourishes amongst the widely-read hebdomadals of to-day.
Robert Chambers's contributions to the Journal, of which he now became joint
proprietor, plainly express his mental organization. His early bent was towards history and archaeology, and he contributed many pleasant articles on these subjects. But it was the front page that he most impressed with his own idiosyncrasy. Gifted with keen, accurate observation, and a good-natured -yet grave (therefore mirthprovoking) humor, his miniature portraits of character and pictures of life, under the name of " Mr. Balderstone," were so truthful and sympathetic, that, even when removed from their context and republished in seven volumes in '47, they met with a very general acceptance. The seeret of their success is revealed in the Preface: "It was my design from the first to be the essayist of the middle class—that in which I was born, and to which I continue to belong. I therefore do not treat their manners and habits as one looking de haul en bas, which is the usual style of essayists, but as one looking round among the firesides of my friends." He also furnished articles on elementary science. Eventually, indeed, he became a leading geologist; and, in his favorite pursuit, he explored, hammer in hand, not only many parts of Great Britain, but visited Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and the United States. A theory which he had formed respecting Ancient Sea Margins he propounded before the British Association, and also in a volume with that title. The list of his other independent works comprises, "The Domestic Annals of Scotland," and a chronological edition of Burns's Poems, so arranged with connecting narrative that it serves also as a biography, with the money proceeds of which he helped to make Burns's sister comfortable for life. This was a labor of love. Robert Chambers was himself a poet,— tender, sympathetic,—as a dainty little volume printed, for private circulation, in '35, fully attests. Associated with Mr., now Dr. Carruthers, he produced the "Cyclopaedia of English Literature ;" and lastly (if we except the mysterious work to be presently discussed), "The Book of Days." During all this hard work, Robert Chambers helped to conduct, with his brother William, one of the largest printing and publishing establishments in Scotland, gradually grown out of the single hand-press at Broughton. He, too, aided in realizing an educational project so