There is a kind of right of primogeniture among books, well as among men; and it is difficult for an author, who has obtained great fame by a first publication, not to appear fall off in a second — especially if his original success could imputed, in any degree, to the novelty of his plan of composition. The public is always indulgent to untried talents; and even apt to exaggerate a little the value of what it receives without any previous expectation. But, for this advance of kindness, it usually exacts a most usurious return in the end. When the author comes back, he is no longer received as a benefactor, but a debtor. In return for the credit it formerly gave him, the world now conceives that it has a just claim on him for excellence, and becomes impertinently scrupulous as to the quality of the coin in which it is to be paid.
The just amount of this claim plainly cannot be for more than the rate of excellence which he had reached in his former production; but, in estimating this rate, various errors are perpetually committed, which increase the difficulties of the task which is thus imposed on him. In the first place, the comparative amount of his past and present merits can only be ascertained by the uncertain standard of his reader's feelings; and these must always be less lively with regard to a second performance; which with every other excellence of the first, must necessarily want the powerful recommendations of novelty and surprise, and, consequently, fall very far short of the effect produced by their strong cooperation. In the second place, it may be observed, in general that wherever our impression of any work is favourable on the whole, its excellence is constantly exaggerated, in those vague and habitual recollections which form the basis of subsequent comparisons. We readily drop from our memory the dull and bad passages, and carry along with us the remembrance of those only which had afforded us delight. Thus, when we take the merit of any favourite poem as a standard of comparison for some later production of the same author, we never take its true average merit, which is the only fair standard, but the merit of its most striking and memorable passages, which naturally stand forward in our recollection, and pass upon our hasty retrospect as just and characteristic specimens of the whole work; and this high and exaggerated standard we rigorously apply to the first, and perhaps the least interesting parts of the second performance. Finally, it deserves to be noticed, that where a first work, containing considerable blemishes, has been favourably received, the public always expects this indulgence to be repaid by an improvement that ought not to be always expected. If a second performance appear, therefore, with the same faults, they will no longer meet with the same toleration. Murmurs will be heard about indolence, presumption, and abuse of good nature; while the critics, and those who had gently hinted at the necessity of correction, will be more out of humour than the rest at this apparent neglect of their admonitions.
For these, and for other reasons, we are inclined to suspect, that the success of the work now before us will be less brilliant than that of the author's former publication, though we are ourselves of opinion that its intrinsic merits are nearly, if not altogether, equal; and that, if it had had the fortune to be the elder born, it would have inherited as fair a portion of renown as has fallen to the lot of its predecessor. It is a good deal longer, indeed, and somewhat more ambitious; and it is rather clearer that it has greater faults, than that it has greater beauties; though, for our own parts, we are inclined to believe in both propositions. It has more tedious and flat passages, and more ostentation of historical and antiquarian lore; but it has also greater richness and variety, both of character and incident; and if it has less sweetness and pathos in the softer passages, it has certainly more vehemence and force of colouring in the loftier and busier representations of action and emotion. The place of the prologuizing minstrel is but ill supplied, indeed, by the epistolary dissertations which are prefixed to each book of the present poem; and the ballad pieces and mere episodes which it contains, have less finish and poetical beauty; but there is more airiness and spirit in the lighter delineations; and the story, if not more skilfully conducted, is at least better complicated, and extended through a wider field of adventure. The characteristics of both, however, are evidently the same; — a broken narrative — a redundancy of minute description — bursts of unequal and energetic poetry — and a general tone of spirit and animation, unchecked by timidity or affectation, and unchastised by any great delicacy of taste, or elegance of fancy.
But though we think this last romance of Mr. Scott's about good as the former, and allow that it affords great indications of poetical talent, we must remind our readers, that we never entertained much partiality for this sort of composition, and ventured on a former occasion to express our regret, that an author endowed with such talents should consume them in imitations of obsolete extravagance, and in the representation of manners and sentiments in which none of his readers can be supposed to take much interest, except the few who can judge of their exactness. To write a modern romance of chivalry, seems to be much such a fantasy as to build a modern abbey, or an English pagoda. For once, however, it may be excused as a pretty caprice of genius; but a second production of the same sort is entitled to less indulgence, and imposes a sort of duty to drive the author from so idle a task, by a fair exposition of the faults which are in a manner inseparable from its execution. To enable our readers to judge fairly of the present performance, we shall first present them with a brief abstract of the story; and then endeavour to point out what seems to be exceptionable, and what is praiseworthy, in the execution.
Lord Marmion, the fictitious hero of the poem, was an English knight of great rank, fortune and prowess, in the reign of Henry VIII., and had, some years before the opening of the narrrative, seduced and carried off from her convent, Constance de Beverley, a professed nun of good family, whom he had afterwards retrained about his person in the disguise of a page. At the end of three years, however, he falls in love with the fair face or the broad lands of Clara de Clare, a damsel of great merit, whose affections, however, were previously engaged to Ralph De Wilton, a valiant knight in her neighbourhood. Marmion can think of no better way of disposing of this rival, than to employ Constance to put a parcel of forged letters, importing treasonable practices, into his portfolio, and thereafter to arraign him of those offences before their jealous sovereign. The forged papers give credit to this accusation; and the matter is referred to the judgment of God by a single combat between the two parties. In this contest, he treacherous Marmion is victorious; and the true De Wilton, who is supposed to die of his wounds, assumes the dress of a palmer, and wanders from shrine to shrine brooding over his unmerited disgrace, and his natural purposes of revenge. Constance, in the mean while, who had lent herself so this scheme for promoting the marriage of Marmion, only to make herself mistress of a secret which gave her power over his life, now resolves to gratify her own jealousy and envy by the destruction of the rival who had supplanted her in the heart of her seducer. She therefore engages a wicked monk in a plot to murder the Lady Clare; but before she can carry it into execution she is delivered up by Marmion, now satiated with her beauty, and wearied out with her murmurs, to the spiritual superiors from whom she had fled, and by whom this new crime of projected murder is speedily detected. The Lady Clare, in the mean time, full of sorrow for De Wilton and of horror at his conqueror, had retired into the convent of Whitby, with the intention of taking the veil; and Lord Marmion, bearing down remorse with pride and ambition, was proceeding on an embassy from his Sovereign to the court of James IV. of Scotland, to inquire into the cause of the great levy of troops which that prince was making, and the destination of the vast army which he had assembled in the neighbourhood of his capital.
Such is the situation of matters at the commencement of the poem, which opens with the arrival of Lord Marmion and his train at the castle of Norham upon the Tweed, the last English post upon his road, where he takes up his quarters in a fine summer evening, in the year of our Lord 1513. The whole first canto is taken up with the description of his train, and his reception and entertainment in the castle; every minute particular of which, from the letting down the drawbridge and bringing in the venison pasties for supper, down to the presentation of the stirrup cup at parting in the morning, is recorded with the most anxious and scrupulous exactness. While at table, he asks his host to provide him a guide to the Scotish court; and after some consultation, a holy palmer is introduced for this purpose, who afterwards turns out to be his injured rival De Wilton, although so much disguised by his dress, beard and misery, as not to be recognized by his oppressor. This is the only incident in the first canto that can be said to bear at all upon the business of the poem. It ends with the departure of the embassy on the following morning under the guidance of the mysterious palmer.
In the Second Canto, we entirely drop Lord Marmion and his retinue, in order to attend to the voyage of Clara, and the fate of Constance. This poor lady had been detected in her plot against her rival in the monastery of Holy Isle; and a chapter of the adjoining superiors had been summoned, to pass sentence on her for this crime and for the breach of her monastic vows. The canto begins with a picture of the voyage of the abbess of Whitby, to assist at this tragical convocation. There is then a description of the Abbey at Holy Isle, and an abstract of the legends connected with the history of its saints, and with those of the rival foundation of Whitby. Then comes the condemnation of Constance, and her auxiliar monk. The judges assemble in a low, dark vault, paved with tombstones, and lighted with an iron chandelier, where two deep niches already appear in the massive walls, with stones and mortar laid, ready to immure the convicted delinquents. The monk howls and shrieks with unmanly and unheeded agonies of terror; but Constance maintains a lofty and heroic resolution. She discloses the whole perfidy of Marmion, in his accusation of De Wilton, and his baseness to herself: She expresses little penitence for her own conspiracy against the blameless Lady Clare; but after arraigning her judges of bigoted cruelty, and prophesying the speedy downfal of their power, she receives sentence from the stern blind abbot of Lindisfarn, and left to expiate her offences in the gloomy sepulchre to which he is committed.
In the Third Canto, we return again to Lord Marmion and the Palmer, who guides him in silence across the Border, and to the village of Gifford, in East Lothian, where the train halts for the night at a country inn. Here the ghastly visage, and keen, steady eye of the Palmer disturbs the soul of Marmion, and awes the whole band into silence. Marmion tries to relieve this, by calling on one of his squires for a song; but is still further annoyed, when he pitches upon a favourite air of Constance, and sings about the vengeance that is reserved for those who are perfidious in love. The host then tells a long story of a rencontre which took place in the neighbourhood, between King Alexander the III. and a spirit in the shape of Edward the I. of England, in which the Scottish monarch discomfited his unearthly antagonist, and forced him to reveal the fortune that awaited him in the war in which he was engaged with the Danes. He concludes with saying, that any knight who will repair at midnight to the same spot, and blow his bugle of defiance, will still be encountered by an aerial representation of his greatest enemy; and, if victorious, may learn from him the destiny of his future life. Marmion is unable to sleep after hearing all these stories; and rising in the night, mounts his charger, and gallops to the appointed ground, where he is encountered by the figure of De Wilton, and unhorsed in the first shock. His foe, however, spares his life, and disappears; and the astonished champion returns sullenly to his train. The reader will probably guess, what is afterwards related at length that this unexpected opponent was no other than the real De Wilton himself, who had heard Marmion ride out, and, suspecting his purpose, had put off his palmer's dress, and borrowing the arms and the steed of one of his sleeping attendants, had followed and answered his challenge.
The Fourth Canto pursues the march of Marmion to the Scotish court. In his way, he meets the chief herald, or Lyon King at Arms of Scotland, who had been despatched to attend him, and who conducts him to a castle a few miles from Edinburgh, where he is to reside for a day or two, till the King is at leisure to receive him. Here the Lord Lyon tells a strange story, of a vision which had recently appeared to his Sovereign at Linlithgow, warning him not to persist in his warlike resolutions; which Marmion repays, by recounting his night adventure at Gifford. At last they take the way to Edinburgh: and the Canto ends with a spirited description of the appearance of that city and the adjoining landscape, as it appears on gaining the summit of the hills that rise above it on the south, and of the great army that then lay encamped between the bottom of these hills and the walls.
The Fifth Canto begins with a more exact and detailed description of the different bands and sorts of forces through which Marmion passed in his way to the city. In the evening he is conducted to the court, which, as well as the person of the Scotish monarch, is described with great spirit and vivacity. He is then told, that his Sovereign's aggressions on the Border have been such as to leave little hope of accommodation; but that he is to take up his residence in Lord Angus's castle of Tantallon till the return of the herald who had been sent to complain of these injuries, and to denounce desperate hostility, if they were not instantly repaired. We now learn, too, that the Lady Abbess of Whitby, returning by sea with the Lady Clare, from the condemnation of poor Constance, had been captured by a Scotish privateer, and brought to Edinburgh, to await the disposal of the Sovereign. These unfortunate persons are now put under the charge of Lord Marmion, and directed to remain with him at Tantallon, and to be conducted by him to their respective homes, upon his final return to England. The Abbess, who had received from the dying Constance the written proofs of the perfidy of Marmion and the innocence of De Wilton, is fearful that these documents may fall into the hands of that unprincipled warrior, and, in her distress, applies to the palmer, to whom she narrates the whole story, and puts the papers into his hands, that they may be presented to Cardinal Wolsey or the King, and Clara he delivered from the suit of so unworthy an admirer. The conference of these holy persons, which takes place in a gallery looking down on the street, is suddenly broken off by a strange apparition of figures like heralds and pursuivants, who glide through the air, and, taking their station at the market-cross, summon the Scotish king and most of his nobles, together with Marmion and De Wilton, to appear before the throne of their Sovereign within forty days. The palmer protests and appeals against this citation. The train afterwards proceeds to Tantallon, the Abbess being dropped at a convent in the way; and Marmion growing impatient at the delay of the Scotish herald, and learning that James had advanced into Northumberland at the head of a great army, and that Lord Surrey had marched to oppose him, resolves to join the latter army without further delay, and to stay no longer in the castle of Lord Angus, whose demeanour he observed had recently become very cold and disrcpectful.
In the beginning of the last Canto, which is by far the busiest, we learn, that De Wilton, who had obtained the proofs of his innocence from the Abbess, had told his story to Lord Angus, who had agreed to restore him to the rank of knighthood, and, for that purpose, had sought out a suit of old armour, with which he proposed to invest him, and send him forth armed to the English host. Over this armour, as it lay in the castle-yard, to be watched by the knightly candidate, the Lady Clare first stumbles, and then moralizes; when, behold, De Wilton him self stands before her, and, in a few words, recounts his disastrous story, and clears his injured fame. Clara assists in accoutring him as a knight; and forth he rides in the morning on an old steed of the Earl's. Marmion, in the mean time, gets his band set in order, and presents himself to take leave of his host, who refuses to shake hands with him at parting, and some high words pass between them. However, he goes on, accompanied by Clara, in very bad humour; and, by the way, learns the particulars of the extraordinary conversion of the palmer into a knight, and calling to mind the whole particulars of his deportment, becomes satisfied that this mysterious personage is no other than his antient and still dreaded rival. The sight of the two armies, however, soon drives all other thoughts from his mind. He leaves the Lady Clare on an eminence in the rear, and gallops to Lord Surrey, who instantly assigns him a station in the van, where he is received with shouts of joy and exultation. The battle is very finely described. It is represented as seen from the eminence where Clara was left; and the indistinctness of the picture, and the anxiety and uncertainty which results from that distinctness, add prodigiously to the interest and grandeur of the representation. His two squires bear back Marmion, mortally wounded, to the spot where Clara is waiting. In his last moments, he learns the fate of Constance, and bursts out into an agony of rage and remorse, which is diverted, however, by the nearer roar of the battle; and he expires in a chivalrous exclamation of encouragement to the English warriors. The poet now hurries to a conclusion; the disastrous issue of Flodden Field is shortly but powerfully represented; and the reader is told, in a few words, of the restoration of De Wilton to his honours, and of his happy marriage with Clara, which closes the story.
Now, upon this narrative, we are led to observe, in the first place, that it forms a very scanty and narrow foundation for a poem of such length as is now before us. There is scarcely matter enough in the main story for a ballad of ordinary dimensions; and the present work is not so properly diversified with episodes and descriptions, as made up and composed of them. No long poem, however, can maintain its interest without connected narrative. It should be a grand historical picture, in which all the personages are concerned in one great transaction, and not a mere gallery of detached groupes and portraits. When we accompany the poet in his career of adventure, it is not enough that he points out to us, as we go along, the beauties of the landscape, and the costume of the inhabitants. The people must do something after they are described; and they must do it in concert, or in opposition to each other; while the landscape, with its castles and woods and defiles, must serve merely as the scene of their exploits, and the field of their conspiracies and contentions. There is too little connected incident in Marmion, and a great deal too much gratuitous description.
In the second place, we object to the whole plan and conception of the fable, as turning mainly upon incidents unsuitable for poetical narrative, and brought out in the denouement in a very obscure, laborious, and imperfect manner. The events of an epic narrative should all be of a broad, clear, and palpable description; and the difficulties and embarrassments of the characters, of a nature to be easily comprehended and entered into by readers of all descriptions. Now, the leading incidents in this poem are of a very narrow and peculiar character, and are woven together into a petty intricacy and entanglement which puzzles the reader instead of interesting him, and fatigues instead of exciting his curiosity. The unaccountable conduct of Constance, in first ruining De Wilton in order to forward Marmion's suit with Clara, and then trying to poison Clara, because Marmion's suit seemed likely to succeed with her — but, above all, the paltry device of the forged letters, and the sealed packet given up by Constance at her condemnation, and handed over by the abbess to De Wilton and Lord Angus, are incidents not only unworthy of the dignity of poetry, but really incapable of being made subservient to its legitimate purposes. They are particularly unsuitable, too, to the age and character of the personages to whom they relate; and, instead of forming the instruments of knightly vengeance and redress, remind us of the machinery of a bad German novel, or of the disclosures which might be expected on the trial of a pettifogging attorney. The obscurity and intricacy which they communicate to the whole story, must be very painfully felt by every reader who tries to comprehend it; and is prodigiously increased by the very clumsy and inartificial manner in which the denouement is ultimately brought about by the author. Three several attempts are made by three several persons to beat into the head of the reader the evidence of De Wilton's innocence, and of Marmion's guilt; first, by Constance in her dying speech and confession; secondly, by the abbess in her conference with De Wilton; and, lastly, by this injured innocent himself, on disclosing himself to Clara in the castle of Lord Angus. After all, the precise nature of the plot and the detection is very imperfectly explained, and, we will venture to say, is not fully understood by one half of those who have fairly read through every word of the quarto now before us. We would object, on the same grounds, to the whole scenery of Constance's condemnation. The subterranean chamber, with its low arches, massive walls, and silent monks with smoky torches, — its old chandelier in an iron chain, — the stern abbots and haughty prioresses, with their flowing black dresses, and book of statutes laid on an iron table, are all images borrowed from the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe and her imitators. The public, we believe, has now supped full of this sort of horrors; or, if any effect is still to be produced by their exhibition, it may certainly be produced at too cheap a rate, to be worthy the ambition of a poet of original imagination.
In the third place, we object to the extreme and monstrous improbability of almost all the incidents which go to the composition of this fable. We know very well, that poetry does not describe what is ordinary; but the marvellous, in which it is privileged to indulge, is the marvellous of performance, and not of accident. One extraordinary rencontre or opportune coincidence may be permitted, perhaps, to bring the parties together, and wind up matters for the catastrophe; but a writer who gets through the whole business of his poem, by a series of lucky hits and incalculable chances, certainly manages matters in a very economical way for his judgment and invention, and will probably be found to have consulted his own ease, rather than the delight of his readers. Now, the whole story of Marmion seems to us to turn upon a tissue of such incredible accidents. In the first place, it was totally beyond all calculation, that Marmion and De Wilton should meet, by pure chance, at Norham, on the only night which either of them could spend in that fortress. In the next place, it is almost totally incredible that the former should not recognize his antient rival and antagonist, merely because he had assumed a palmer's habit, and lost a little flesh and colour in his travels. He appears unhooded, and walks and speaks before him and, as near as we can guess, it could not be more than a year since they had entered the lists against each other. Constance, at her death, says she had lived but three years with Marmion; and, it was not till he tired of her, that he aspired to Clara, or laid plots against De Wilton. It is equally inconceivable that De Wilton should have taken upon himself the friendly office of a guide to his arch enemy, and discharged it quietly and faithfully, without seeking, or apparently thinking of any opportunity of disclosure or revenge. So far from meditating any thing of the sort, he makes two several efforts to leave him, when it appears that his services are no longer indispensable. If his accidental meeting, and continued association with Marmion, be altogether unnatural, it must appear still more extraordinary, that he should afterwards meet with the Lady Clare, his adored mistress, and the Abbess of Whitby, who had in her pocket the written proofs of his innocence, in consequence of an occurrence equally accidental. These two ladies, the only two persons in the universe whom it was of any consequence to him to meet, are captured in their voyage from Holy Isle, and brought to Edinburgh, by the luckiest accident in the world, the very day that De Wilton and Marmion make their entry into it. Nay, the king, without knowing that they are at all of his acquaintance, happens to appoint them lodgings in the same stair-case, and to make them travel under his escort! We pass the night combat at Gifford; in which Marmion knows his opponent by moonlight, though he never could guess at him in sunshine; and all the inconsistencies of his dilatory wooing of Lady Clare. Those, and all the prodigies and miracles of the story, we can excuse, as within the privilege of poetry; but, the lucky chances we have already specified, are rather too much for our patience. A poet, we think, should never let his heroes contract such great debts to fortune; especially when a little exertion of his own might make them independent of her bounty. De Wilton might have been made to seek and watch his adversary, from some moody feeling of patient revenge; and it certainly would not have been difficult to discover motives which might have induced both Clara and the Abbess to follow and relieve him, without dragging them into his presence by the clumsy hands of a cruizer from Dunbar.
In the fourth place, we think we have reason to complain of Mr. Scott for having made his figuring characters so entirely worthless, as to excite but little of our sympathy, and at the same time keeping his virtuous personages so completely in the back ground, that we are scarcely at all acquainted with them when the work is brought to a conclusion. Marmion is not only a villain, but a mean and sordid villain; and represented as such, without any visible motive, and at the evident expense of characteristic truth and consistency. His elopement with Constance, and his subsequent desertion of her, are knightly vices enough, we suppose; but then he would surely have been more interesting and natural, if he had deserted her for a brighter beauty, and not merely for richer bride. This was very well for Mr. Thomas Inkle, the young merchant of London; but for the valiant, haughty and liberal Lord Marmion of Fontenaye and Lutterward, we do think it was quite unsuitable. Thus, too, it was very chivalrous and orderly perhaps, for him to hate De Wilton, and to seek to supplant him in his lady's love; but, to slip a bundle of forged letters into his bureau, was cowardly as well as malignant. Now, Marmion is not represented as a coward, nor as at all afraid of De Wilton; on the contrary, and it is certainly the most absurd part of the story, he fights him fairly and valiantly after all, and overcomes him by mere force of arms, as he might have done at the beginning, without having recourse to devices so unsuitable to his general character and habits of acting. By the way, we have great doubts whether a convicted traitor, like De Wilton, whose guilt was established by written evidence under his own hand, was ever allowed to enter the lists, as a knight, against his accuser. At all events, we are positive, that an accuser, who was as ready and willing to fight as Marmion, could never have condescended to forge in support of his accusation; and that the author has greatly diminished our interest in the story, as well as needlessly violated the truth of character, by loading his hero with the guilt of this most revolting and improbable proceeding. The crimes of Constance are multiplied in like manner to such a degree, as both destroy our interest in her fate, and to violate all probability. Her elopement was enough to bring on her doom; and we should have felt more for it, if it had appeared a little more unmerited. She is utterly debased, when she becomes the instrument of Marmion's murderous perfidy, and the assassin of her unwilling rival.
De Wilton, again, is too much depressed throughout the poem. It is rather dangerous for a poet to chuse a hero who has been beaten in fair battle. The readers of romance do not like an unsuccessful warrior; but to be beaten in a judicial combat, and to have his arms reversed and tied on the gallows, is an adventure which can only by expiated by signal prowess and exemplary revenge, achieved against great odds, in full view of the reader. The unfortunate De Wilton, however, carries this stain upon him from one end of the poem to the other. He wanders up and down, a dishonoured fugitive, in the disguise of a palmer, through the five first books; and though he is knighted and mounted again in the last, yet we see nothing of his performances; nor is the author merciful enough to afford him one opportunity of redeeming his credit by an exploit of gallantry or skill. For the poor Lady Clare, she is a personage of still greater insipidity and insignificance. The author seems to have formed her upon the principle of Mr. Pope's maxim, that women have no characters at all. We find her every where, where she has no business to be; neither saying nor doing any thing of the least consequence, but whimpering and sobbing over the Matrimony in her prayer book, like a great miss from a boarding school; and all this is the more inexcusable, as she is altogether a supernumerary person in the play, who should atone for her intrusion by some brilliancy novelty of deportment. Matters would have gone on just well, although she had been left behind at Whitby till after the battle of Flodden; and she is daggled about in the train, first the Abbess and then of Lord Marmion, for no purpose, that we can see, but to afford the author an opportunity for two or three pages of indifferent description.
Finally, we must object, both on critical and on national grounds, to the discrepancy between the title and the substance of the poem, and the neglect of Scotish feelings and Scotish character that is manifested throughout. Marmion is no more a tale of Flodden Field, than of Bosworth Field, or any other field in history. The story is quite independent of the national feuds the sister kingdoms; and the battle of Flodden has no other connexion with it, than from being the conflict in which the he loses his life. Flodden, however, is mentioned; and the preparations for Flodden, and the consequences of it, are repeatedly alluded to in the course of the composition. Yet we nowhere find any adequate expressions of those melancholy and patriotic sentiments which are still all over Scotland the accompaniment those allusions and recollections. No picture is drawn of national feelings before or after that fatal encounter; and the day that broke for ever the pride and the splendour of his country, is only commemorated by a Scotish poet as the period when an English warrior was beaten to the ground. There is scarcely one trait of true Scotish nationality or patriotism introduced into the whole poem; and Mr. Scott's only expression of admiration or love for the beautiful country to which he belongs, is put, if we rightly remember, into the mouth of one of his Southern favourites. Independently of this, we think that too little pains is taken to distinguish the Scotish character and manners from the English, or to give expression to the general feeling of rivalry and mutual jealousy which at that time existed between the two countries.