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Henry and his eldest son returned to England, Mr. James paus, ing at this period, now that the first unhappy rebellion of Richard against his father was at an end, to notice several events which took place in the years 1173-4-5, that lend some insight into the state and progress of society in those days. The simplicity of the first ages of chivalry, he observes, was at an end, and a more gorgeous and ostentatious epoch was opening. "The generosity and liberality which had been inculcated as virtues of a principal order, had now deviated into profusion and extravagance.
Here is a lively picture of the chivalric ages and their most profuse splendours; let us add, barbaric displays :
“The arms and clothing of the knights were of the most sumptuous and costly description. Their shields were covered with gold, and painted or enamelled with various colours; their tents also were ornamented in every different way that their fancy could devise; the crests of their helmets blazed with the precious metals, and sometimes with jewels; and the robes and the surcoats which they wore were formed of the richest silks and cendals, of scarlet and every other bright and dazzling hue. Fine linen, which was then a rarity, was eagerly sought among them; and we find from John of Salisbury, that it was becoming the custom in that day to make the garments of the male part of society, when not absolutely in the field, fit so tightly to the body as to resemble a skin. At the great meetings of princes, every sort of pageantry and luxury was displayed : and in the year 1174 one of those conferences occurred, in which splendour and profusion were carried to an excess that more resembled some of the wild follies of the Roman tyrants or the extravagant poinp of Eastern barbarians, than anything that modern Europe has produced. In the course of that year, the Count of Toulouse, as much, in all probability, with the design of being absent from a scene of warfare, where he might have been obliged to take part with one of two princes to each of whom he had done homage, as for the purpose of arranging some difficult affairs on his eastern frontier, retired from his capital towards the Gulf of Lyons, and held what was then called a cour plenière at his castle of Beaucaire.
“It is affirmed, that Henry King of England himself had appointed to meet the King of Arragon at that place, in order to mediate a reconciliation between him and the Count of Toulouse. The English King, however, was prevented from attending by the war in which he was engaged ; and the time passed in festivities and sports. Nearly ten thousand knights are said to have been present on the occasion; one baron alone, named William de Martal, having three hundred knights in his train. Every one endeavoured to surpass the other in extravagance: the Count of Toulouse gave a hundred thousand solidi, or two thousand marks of fine silver, to a knight named Raymond d'Agout; who immediately distributed them among the other persons present. William de Martal required all his repasts to be cooked by the heat of wax-candles. Bertrand Raimbaud ordered the fields in the neighbourhood of the castle to be ploughed, and sown with small coin; in which insane act he scattered thirty thousand solidi : and Ray
mond de Venous, to add brutality to folly, caused thirty of his finest horses to be burnt before the whole assembly." Such, says
Mr. James, were the amusements of the famous cour plenière of Beaucaire; remarking at the same time, that, as out of evil good continually springs, perhaps this extravagant meeting, by the multitude of merchants and dealers which it called together from all parts of the world, gave rise to the well-known annual fair of Beaucaire, which for so many years was one of the greatest commercial marts in Europe. The following reflections are apt and striking, furnishing an example of a kindly and elegant philosophy which we have often discovered in Mr. James's pages:
“ The cour plenière of Beaucaire, however, afforded by no means a solitary example. In a thousand other instances, human vanity and pride, unchecked by accurate notions either in taste or morals, and acting in the free license of a state nearly approaching to barbarism, produced results scarcely less wild and extravagant. But although it is always to be lamented that men should fall into such absurdities, yet the consequences are not altogether so evil as they appear. Society has always hitherto vacillated between one excess and another; in some stages going backwards and forwards to the very extremes, and even in more refined and cultivated ages trembling, like a finely balanced lever, at the slightest impulse, and continually passing to and fro over the accurately adjusted mark, without ever pausing at the exact point. But from these continual fluctuations, and from the deviation from what is perfect in taste, in feeling, and in thought, arises that boundless variety which in itself is admirable. One epoch may not always improve upon another; and it occasionally happens that, in consequence of some great convulsion, the world is cast back for many centuries. But in the common course of events, each age, in its deviation from that which preceded it, produces new and beautiful combinations in its progress to the extreme opposite of that which went before. To the extravagant splendour and ostentatious magnificence of these ages, may be attributed very many improvements in various arts, and in none more than architecture. Superstition, indeed, joined with the love of display; but superstition almost always derives its character from the circumstances that surround it ; and though it acts upon the spirit of the age, it receives in return an impression from that spirit, which characterises all its efforts, in whatever direction they may be turned. Mere superstition would never have produced the crusades, had not other circumstances given to that impulse a great military development; and though, as some writers have asserted, superstition might have a share in producing the magnificent edifices which at this time rose thickly throughout every part of Europe, yet she might have restrained her efforts to raising the mighty stones of the Druids, or piling up the rubble-temples of the early Saxons, if the ambition of exciting wonder by performing vast and extraordinary things in every course that presented itself to the human mind, had not brought about the second great change in the architecture of modern Europe." vol. III. (1841.) No. IV.
Having had a spirited account and striking illustrations of the barbaric splendours of chivalry, we may appropriately subjoin a passage which describes the system and mode of training that a young man pursued after he had reached fourteen years of age, so as to entitle him to the character of a squire in the feudal age
of which Mr. James treats:
“ Bearing heavy weights, running immense distances, enduring every sort of fatigue, springing on a horse armed at all pieces without putting a foot in the stirrup, and even leaping on the shoulders of a man on horseback with no other aid than a grasp of one arm, were among the performances of the aspirants to chivalry. Besides these feats, we read of others in the historians of those days, requiring equal strength and exertion,such as mounting by means of the arms alone the lower side of a long ladder, casting complete summersets in heavy armour, and climbing up between two walls at a small distance apart, by the pressure of the hands and feet only. Casting lances to great distances, and striking heavy balls of wood with large rackets or malls, were among the amusements of the youths of Europe at that period, besides that regular practice in the use of all weapons which daily took place. Almost all of their sports and pastimes indeed were of a military character. That which was called the Chicane, and which was practised in several parts of France within the last century, together with dancing, chess, and some few games of chance, were the only exceptions, I believe ; and indeed the chicane, which consisted in following a heavy wooden ball, and beating it with malls beyond certain limits defended by another party, might well be considered a military sport, as well as hunting and hawking, from the dangers and accidents which continually occurred in such amusements.
“ Though the tournament, the joust, and the passage of arms, did not admit of any but experienced and mature cavaliers, yet there were many other military pastimes of the day in which the more youthful nobility could take part, and practise against each other a mimic warfare. Among these were the game of the Quintaine; which consisted in running with a lance or sword, either on horseback or on foot, at a wooden figure representing the upper part of a man's body. This was impaled upon a strong post, on which it turned with the slightest touch; and both arms of the figure being extended, a lance or long sword was found in the one hand, and sometimes a shield or another pole in the other. As in all tournaments and other chivalrous sports, it was held unfair to strike an adversary anywhere but on the chest or helmet, the great object in the game of the quintaine was so to direct the lance or sword with which the player attacked his wooden adversary, as to touch the figure directly in the middle; but if the luckless cavalier chanced to miss his mark and strike too much to the right or left, the automaton instantly took vengeance of his awkwardness by whirling round in consequence of the very blow he gave .it, and striking him violently with the weapons it carried in either hand.
“The Behour was simply another military sport; and consisted in the attack of a small fortress, or redoubt, by one party, and its defence by others; and as in all these amusements many accidents occurred, and some peril was encountered, strength and hardihood were acquired, and a knowledge of danger and acquaintance with pain were gained, not unaccompanied by contempt of risk and habit of endurance."
Art. VI.-Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions. By CHARLES
MACKAY. 2 vols. Bentley. Mr. Mackay's work does not profess to accomplish any philosophical or metaphysical purpose, by tracing and illustrating the innate causes and the actual development of the grosser and more extraordinary delusions to which individuals and communities have yielded their minds and lent credit. He has not undertaken to reduce to any system the characteristics of such errors, or to mark what are peculiar to one state of society rather than to another; although the facts which he has collected, the anecdotes which he retails, and the sensible--sometimes the original observations which he bestows upon oft-told and well known stories, will be very useful to any philosophic historian of popular delusion. The present author's work is for all sorts of readers, and is amusing, suggestive, and instructive to the most ordinary thinker. In short, he treats popular delusions popularly.
The subjects of the Memoirs take a wider range than is frequently contemplated by writers on the species of insanities which may properly be called delusive. The mention of some of the subjects and classes is alone necessary to introduce so much variety and copiousness of extract as we can allow space for. Well, then, we have first of all an account of the Mississippi Scheme, but to which we shall last call attention. The South-Sea Bubble; the. Tulipomania, which at one time was the madness of the Dutch especially; the love of the marvellous, and the disbelief of the true; the admiration of great criminals, such as thieves; the crusades, the witch-mania, haunted houses, &c. compose the subjects, the bare announcement of which not merely directs the mind to the particular species of delusion to be illustrated under each head, but immediately indicates where the reader is to go for what is most novel to him, or best calculated to satisfy his curiosity and awaken his speculation.
We begin with examples of the Tulipomania, as its infection discovered itself in Holland :
“People who had been absent from Holland, and whose chance it was to return when this folly was at its maximum, were sometimes led into awkward dilemmas by their ignorance. There is an amusing instance of the kind related in Blainville's Travels. A wealthy merchant, who prided himself not a little on his rare tulips, received upon one occasion a very valuable consignment of merchandise from the Levant. Intelligence of its arrival was brought him by a sailor, who presented himself for that purpose at the counting-house, among bales of goods of every description. The merchant, to reward him for his news, munificently made him a present of a fine red herring for his breakfast. The sailor had, it appears, a great partiality for onions; and seeing a bulb very like an onion lying upon the counter of this liberal trader, and thinking it no doubt very much out of its place among silks and velvets, he slily seized an opportunity, and slipped it into his pocket as a relish for his herring. He got clear off with his prize, and proceeded to the quay to eat his breakfast. Hardly was his back turned when the merchant missed his valuable Semper augustus, worth three thousand florins, or about 2801. sterling. The whole establishment was instantly in an uproar; search was everywhere made for the precious root, but it was not to be found. Great was the merchant's distress of mind. The search was renewed; but again without success. At last some one thought of the sailor. The unhappy merchant sprang into the street at the bare suggestion. His alarmed household followed him. The sailor, simple soul! had not thought of concealment. He was found quietly sitting upon a coil of ropes, masticating the last morsel of his onion.' Little did he dream that he had been eating a breakfast whose cost might have regaled a whole ship's crew for a twelvemonth; or, as the plundered merchant himself expressed it,' might have sumptuously feasted the Prince of Orange and the whole court of the Stadtholder.' Anthony caused pearls to be dissolved in wine to drink the health of Cleopatra ; Sir Richard Wittington was as foolishly magnificent in an entertainment to King Henry V.; and Sir Thomas Gresham drank a diamond dissolved in wine, to the health of Queen Elizabeth, when she opened the Royal Exchange: but the breakfast of this roguish Dutchman was as splendid as either. He had an advantage, too, over his wasteful predecessors: their gems did not improve the taste or the wholesomeness of their wine, while his tulip was quite delicious with his red herring. The most unfortunate part of the business for him was, that he remained in prison for some months on a charge of felony, preferred against him by the merchant."
An English and philosophical traveller ignorantly committed a deed of spoliation, about as ludicrous as that of the sailor, and similarly serious in the result :
“This gentleman, an amateur botanist, happened to see a tulip-root lying in the conservatory of a wealthy Dutchman. Being ignorant of its quality, he took out his penknife, and peeled off its coats, with the view of making experiments upon it. When it was by this means reduced to half its original size, he cut it into two equal sections, making all the time many learned remarks on the singular appearances of the unknown bulb. Suddenly the owner pounced upon him; and, with fury in his eyes, asked him if he knew what he had been doing? 'Peeling a most extraordinary onion,' replied the philosopher. 'Hundert tausand duyvel!' said the Dutchman ; “it's an Admiral Van der Eyck.' Thank you,' replied the traveller, taking out his note-book to make a memorandum of the same; ‘are these admirals common in your country?' 'Death and the